With the release of our December/January 2016 issue, “Transitions,” last month, and the New Year upon us, it got me reflecting about change and life stages.

Editor in chief, Kris Costa, references a quote from Heraclitus in this issue’s From the Editor, “The Only Thing That Is Constant Is Change – ” In life change is constant and inevitable. In fact, besides death, change is the only certainty in this life. Change is present in all areas of our life, whether it’s in our relationships, jobs, society, or our character.

I used to be afraid of change, resisting it with every ounce of my mental strength. Every minor possibility of a change in my life would send me into a whirl wind of “what-ifs” that would paralyze me with fear. This year I struggled with the idea of change when it came to aging. I worried over the changes of time and how they have and will continue to affect my appearance. I thought about life transitions and how things won’t always be the same. One day I will be a mom. My body will change, my life will change, and my very dreams will change. Instead of being excited about this idea I found myself fearing it, almost dreading it. Not dreading being a mother, but dreading the changes over time, and how life seems to pass that much more quickly with little ones around. I was dreading that feeling a mother must get when her children grow up and no longer need her the way they once did.

Then I looked around at all my friends who have become mothers. I watched these women grow through our high school years, college, marriage, and now motherhood. These women have changed. They are no longer the same girls I knew in high school. Not once have I looked at their life and thought the changes they went through were negative. Instead, I marvel and admire these women who have morphed through the years into strong, intelligent, kind, capable, and beautiful women (inside and out). It is a beautiful thing to witness a person grow through so many life stages. It’s exciting to see how we will all continue to change and grow (and even age).

Eventually those friends that became mothers will be grandmothers, and I will be a grandmother too.  That thought scared me. I was scared about the changes that will take place in my appearance over the years, and the changes that will take place socially. Will the memories of my younger days make me mourn my youth and want to go back? Will the smile lines on my face fill me with sadness or will they fill me with memories of all the laughter I’ve shared with friends and family throughout life? What about the knowledge, wisdom, and experience I’ll have gained in my life? I don’t think I will want to go back to being naïve or wondering how things will turn out or sweating the small stuff. There are many things that can be gained in the older years. One is being established in both family and experience. Aging means learning what’s truly important in life, and it means you have weathered the storms of growth and change.

This brings me to reflect on the changes I have been through in my life. Every time I sense a change coming I fight it. But why? Every change I’ve made so far has been a blessing. I changed jobs almost 2 years ago. I was very unhappy in my old job but I was still fearful to take a leap of faith into a new job. It was one of the best choices I ever made. Switching jobs, getting married, buying a house, were all changes that have been essential parts of who I am today. Quite honestly, I am so happy I am not the same person I was yesterday, or a couple years ago. I am happy to be the person I am today. I am sure with the growth opportunities before me, I will like future me even more!

Without change, there is no growth. This notion has proved to be true in my life. Sure, there were growing pains along the way. I think growing pains come from trying to hold on to who we were (and how we looked) when we were younger, all the while life is moving forward around us. But where is the beauty is staying stagnant? Isn’t that why life is so beautiful, the inevitable reality that we all change both internally and externally? From innocent bald headed, sweet smelling baby, to wise, warm grandparent, every stage of life is precious. Every stage requires growth that can only happen through changes.

I think it’s time for me, and for you, to see change for what it truly is, an opportunity for growth, and to welcome it with open arms.

~Micha Wilhoite

Chu-Gi Loyalty

Chugi – Loyalty in Japanese Martial Arts


Chu (Chugi) | Duty and Loyalty – The warrior knows that s/he is accountable for their actions and words and accepts all consequences that may result from them. The warrior is intensely loyal to those s/he is responsible to and those s/he is responsible for. Trust and unity are the backbone of what Bushido represents.

Chu is a very typical and important rule for any person among the traditional Japanese martial arts world/ society. There is no equivalent word in English that truly captures the meaning of this type of fidelity between the student and teacher of Budo. For a non-Japanese speaker, to truly grasp its meaning, he/she has to deeply understand the uniqueness of Japanese culture.

The pursuit of duty, justice and correct action, is the best way to conceptualize this character trait. As a teacher of Budo (martial arts and disciplines), I chose this typical term within the traditional Japanese culture to show the beauty, the educational values and the benefits of understanding and following the rules of Chu.

Joining an authentic Dojo or school of martial arts such as the Budo Shingikan implies much more than taking an ordinary course. A serious Budoka (martial art student or practitioner) should know the tradition of Japanese martial arts and specifically that of Bushin Ryu, our history and heritage, and especially, the goals, disciplines and expectations.

In classical Japan, learning a martial art was a sole privilege for the warrior class. Each martial art school not only kept its techniques, strategy, and knowledge jealously secret, but was also strict about accepting students. It was impossible for any student to be accepted into a Dojo unless s/he was strongly recommended as a serious and good-natured person, worthy of becoming a member of that school. Now days, almost any school of martial arts all over the world is open to anybody. Many of them became extremely commercialized, concentrating in the physical parts only, abandoning the tradition, neglecting the mental, moral, and spiritual training and hardly dealing with the education of the individual. The Budo Shingikan Dojo has not done this and none of the Bushin Ryu schools will. I mostly blame the Budo teachers, product of the present world, of the social and educational systems in which they have almost lost all ideals and values or have been willing to compromise those for financial gain. Even in Japan, only few classical schools still keep that tradition and the quality of Chu is slowly dying, hence why I am so adamant about keeping these traditions in our schools.Martial Arts Mesa AZ

There are many schools which have their regulations written and displayed on their walls at the Dojo, or printed on paper for newly arriving students to receive upon joining the school. But there is nothing more important than the instructor teaching and educating, and above all his teaching through personal example. If the teacher goes into this relationship giving, then the student must mirror and match this behavior.

I remember in my youth that among the most valued and respected profession was the teacher. Now-a-days, to become a teacher is not a profession young men or women desire. Very few idealists, good and dedicated teachers still continue today, swimming against the current to fulfill the important mission of teaching and educating. There is a lack of appreciation and respect by society which mostly bows to richness, but not to the true quality of the person or the importance the teacher has in bringing up the new generations. In martial arts it goes even further in which students make a very big mistake and that is they treat quality teachers as if there are no differences. As if their education and by extension their teacher is a commodity, and they can get what they want anywhere, in fact they can get it cheaper, with no attachment or relationship what-so-ever. These days are sad.

A real teacher of Budo is not a lecturer that passes information to his students. He teaches knowledge, passing long years of wisdom educating his students, strengthening and polishing them to become not only warriors but also better people which can confront the difficulties of life not only with strength but with wisdom which will enrich their life and also contribute to society.

The teacher gives himself and all his love to his students, treating them as if they were his own family, strictly, jealously, but also with proudness and love. Now the questions are do students understand what is expected from them? Do they return this relationship? Do they see the value in this sincere way of being?  In my opinion, very little value sincerity or a truthful relationship with a teacher.

When I was a younger teacher, I remember many times when other students of Budo came to visit and asked to join my Dojo, I would always ask them whether their teacher knew they had come and if they had permission to learn here. When the answer was no, it showed me how little respect they had for their teacher. My answer was always no, they could not train with me, after all if this is how you treat your teacher it is only a matter of time before you treat me the same. The student shouldn’t have even talked to me without the permission of his/her teacher as it put both him and I in an awkward position. Few students these days think before action. Even talking to another teacher, school or organization without explicit consent from your teacher is a big no-no and shows that you are not a true student of Budo or understand what Bushido represents.

awaseIt is unquestionable that a serious student of Budo will not act without his teacher’s approval in any matters that concern Budo. This is an unwritten rule which comes with the study of Budo and belongs to a serious Dojo and is based on the two basic principles of Bushido, (the ethical code of the Samurai), loyalty and honor.

I have never considered myself as an ideal person or perfect Budoka and I have probably made all the mistakes that can be made and will surely make more in the future. What I do know is that each time I have made a mistake, not only could I not sleep several nights, but I still continue to carry the burden of my actions. However the outcome of it was my growth, not repeating those mistakes and becoming a better person. And in turn using my position as a Sensei, a teacher to educate my students and show them the right path. In many western countries especially the United States, educating people is a rather difficult task. Each one is a small General, each one thinks s/he is cleverer and knows better than anybody else. Many of them are “rebels” who believe protocol and tradition are irrelevant in our modern world and what can be more difficult for a teacher is that they are not disciplined individuals and working with them is almost a daily fight.

We can easily pre-frame the context of education as a Budoka simply by asking this question, “What is really important here as a student?” Having a genuine relationship with your teacher and gaining the respect of your teacher by showing fidelity and doing the right thing. After all if you have a sincere teacher he or she deserves that level of respect anyway. The alternative is that of rebelling and losing that respect and relationship forever. This is a two way street and must be reciprocated on both sides to be genuine.

The meaning of Chugi has universal importance not only among the traditional Japanese martial arts, but also to any person that wants the world to become a better place to live in, a healthier society, and to personally walk high, with dignity and self-respect with the knowledge of acting righteously. Acting right and paying respect should be done in the right measurement. The student-teacher relationship may be defined as the one who gives and the one who receives. Respect is the very fundamental basic rule in any martial art as well as in any kind of relation in society. It is, maybe, the highest and the most important principle in human life.

Today you are the child, but tomorrow you will be the parent. Right now you are a student of Budo, but later on you will be the teacher. Respecting others is respecting yourself. Doing the right thing is walking all your life with proudness and not with shame. Being a noble person with high self-esteem and admired by all.

In Oneness,



Arizona Martial Arts

Arizona Martial Arts

When I first wrote this article it was based on several questions I had received over many years of teaching martial arts by a wide variety of people. So, you can look at this as sort of an FAQ. Now keep in mind this was written about Bushin Ryu which is a Japanese Martial System that we teach here at our Headquarters Dojo located in Arizona. This means that while some questions may be relevant to you or schools in your area you may wish to speak to the instructor of any school you’re looking at and ask these questions. This will help you define the many different types of martial arts and martial arts schools out there.arizona martial arts

Learning a martial art is a wonderful experience. And, like any new thing, deciding to take the first step (and not just thinking about doing it) is the hardest. In martial arts, especially, I have found that many people like a certain art, but instead of actually learning it, they are content just watching and reading about it. Why is this so? I believe it is such a wasted opportunity when a person finds something they are really interested in, and then choose to be contented with watching and appreciating instead of actually trying it out.

I will list some very common misconceptions of the martial arts per our system. It is with great hope that dispelling these myths will help you choose to consider joining a martial art class and actually step on the mat and try it out.

1)      “I have to be in good shape to do martial arts.” You don’t have to be an athlete to start training in a martial art. It is the job of the sensei, or instructor, to factor in your physical condition and fitness level in teaching you. A competent instructor customizes his approach to each of his students, thereby optimizing learning in his dojo. A word of caution: People with prior medical conditions should consult with their doctor first before joining. Prudence is always a good practice and your sensei is not a doctor.


2)      “Will I lose weight doing martial arts?” Losing weight is the responsibility of the individual and not the art! In whatever martial art, even if you train for the entire day, this won’t matter at all if you don’t control your diet. Always remember that weight management is a balance of calorie input vs calorie output. Like other martial arts, Bushin Ryu is a way to exercise (calorie output); but it won’t really help unless you learn to control what you eat (calorie input). Please see the “ask the trainer” section of this website as this is a great resource on such material.


3)      “It will take many, many years before I can defend myself.” This is difficult to estimate. In the case of martial proficiency, however, the length of time to achieve this varies from student-to-student. There is a process in the road to learning. There are no shortcuts in getting good at anything. You really have to dedicate time and effort, and most especially, to persevere and never give up.


4)      “I’ll have to break boards and bricks.” No. the only things we “break” in Bushin Ryu is balance and aggressive intent.


5)       “I will have to bow to everybody.” Yes. We bow to the shomen (front of the dojo) at the beginning and end of each session. We also bow at the Sensei after he presents a technique for us to practice. We also bow to each other at the beginning and at the end of partnered training. Bowing is a sign of respect, not worship. Bowing to each other symbolizes goodwill, gratitude and humility. In Bushin Ryu, we value our training partners, they are essential in learning the art. And bowing is our way of showing how much they mean to us.


6)      “I am too old (or too young!) to start doing Bushin Ryu.” Most competent instructors individualize the training regimen of their students. We are reminded to “train at our own pace”. In Bushin Ryu, one should find their own way to achieve their goals. For as long as you can follow instructions, I see no reason why you cannot enjoy experiencing this wonderful system.


7)      “Martial Arts will make my children violent.” There are many contemporary studies that question this very stereotype. Just type benefits of martial arts training on Google! For the most part, martial arts actually teach self-respect and respect for others. Now, obviously, if you choose a school which focuses on competition and sport then the student is taught to be aggressive. Conversely, if you choose a school based on tradition and self-defense the student is taught to be balanced in such matters. In Bushin Ryu, cooperation and the study of harmony are regarded as the most basic learning tools of the system. (see Masakatsu Agatsu).


8)       “Martial Arts are not for women and girls.” Bushin Ryu, in particular, is not about brute strength. Bushin Ryu is actually enjoyed by more women than you think! This is one of the best qualities of Bushin Ryu; by not relying on strength, but rather on the technique and the physical applications of martial principles, anyone can learn it regardless of gender, build, or age.


9)      “There is a relatively high risk of injury.” Injuring each other is the last thing we would want in our dojo. Before even letting you join, a dojo usually asks you to first observe or participate in a trial class to see what you are getting yourself into. The basics of safety (see ukemi) are generally the first thing taught to beginners in order to prevent injury. Again, the intention of Bushin Ryu is not to harm each other but to live in harmony with each other. This sentiment also applies to how we train in the dojo.


10)   “Receiving my black belt means I am an expert.” Being a black belt is only the beginning in your martial arts journey. It signifies that you have a good grasp of the basics. Think of it as an intermediate level. In Bushin Ryu, we generally do not think of ourselves as an expert (this is why we do not use terms like “Master” or “Grandmaster”). We are all students in martial arts.

It is my hope that people start to actively seek their interests and goals. If you find that trying Bushin Ryu is something you are interested in, I suggest that instead of just thinking about doing Bushin Ryu (or any martial art), why not visit the Dojo, ask, observe, and try it out for yourself! To live a life without regrets, we must not give up before we have even started.

For more information please visit us at:

In Oneness,




Self-Defense | Training | Commitment

The most important cornerstone for building a foundation in your own personal protection is understanding the importance of training and the commitment level with which you chose to subscribe.

Until one is committed, there is hesitancy and the chance to draw back. That always leads to ineffectiveness. Think about this statement. Today I want us to look at commitment in a new, more definitive light.

I think there are many historical lessons we can look at to gain insight on current objectives. For this lesson I believe the story of Hernando Cortes would be quite appropriate. Hernando Cortes was a Conquistador who was tasked with conquering the central corridor of Mexico. He went to the new world with a handful of ships which had a compliment of roughly 300 men. Now keep in mind that the Mayan and Aztec cultures were already in place with millions of inhabitants at this time. Doesn’t sound like a very fun job with odds like that, now does it?

The interesting thing was that, at one point, after several engagements with the native people his troops’ commitment to their job started to deteriorate.  His men wanted to mutiny and head back home. So before yet another battle Cortes sank his ships.

Why do you think Hernando Cortes sank his own boats? After all this was the only means of returning to safety. The Conquistadors were shocked that Hernando Cortes had ruined their only way to escape. But let’s pre-frame this from his standpoint. He personally was committed to the task at hand. Without any way of escape – how do you think the Conquistadors fought? Why?

Once you are fully committed, a whole stream of events is put in motion. Things you probably wouldn’t have even considered prior are now on the table. And when you are fully committed, your creativity and perseverance are at their peaks. How does this apply to your martial arts training? What area or areas within your training or within your life have you been hesitating, holding back, or avoiding?

If you do not fully dedicate yourself there is a lack of sincerity in your actions. Indecisiveness and hesitation are roadblocks that will hinder you from reaching your full potential. Don’t be that person who has one foot in and one foot out so if things don’t go according to plan you have an escape route. Commit yourself to those you love, and to yourself, and to living your fullest life possible. Make sure you do not have the means of escape built into your mind as this will cause you to stumble.

Sometimes we don’t know what the outcome will be. As long as we hold back, we will never know what it COULD be – therefore, dream big dreams and make a commitment. Eliminate the possibility of retreat or failure and begin with boldness!

I dare you to be GREAT!

In Oneness,



Act Now or Forever Hold Your Peace

“Instead of explaining why you’re complaining, change your reality altogether.”


When we think of what holds us back, we generally think of things outside of ourselves. It’s our rational mind’s way of finding a source for the “problem” and the ego’s way of shirking off responsibility and true independence. While the people, places, and situations around us may not be ideal, our reality is contingent upon the state of being we choose to create from within.

Many of us are familiar with those people in our lives who will seize any opportunity to complain about their current situations. Not only will they complain, but they’ll endlessly explain their justifications. When these people receive help, however, they typically reject it outright or don’t put enough faith and trust in the potential solution in order for it to make a significant change. This is because these types of people aren’t actually looking for their situations to change; they’re simply lost in their created cycle and refuse to make the necessary changes to get out. After all, doing the same thing over a long period of time can bring us to a nice sense of complacency, no matter what the situation is like.

The next time you feel the desire to complain or explain why you’re complaining, try using the same amount of effort to come up with creative solutions around the issue at hand. When we focus on the negative aspects of a situation, we will call more of that into our lives. Instead, focus on what it is that would make you feel happy, fulfilled, and abundant. Do this until you can feel it in a real, visceral way, and don’t be afraid to “dream big.” When you’ve captured that feeling, hold onto it and fuel that energy into all that you do, all that you feel, and all that you are.

Ironically, many of the times we face opposition or feel as though we’re dealing with a problematic situation, we’re not dealing with our own issues at all, but rather the issues we’ve taken on from others. For example, we all have met people who’ve said “I wish I could do ______ with my life.” Though what’s filled within the blank often seems farfetched, most times it’s quite achievable, albeit sometimes by being tweaked a bit. As beings living on this Earth and within the scrutiny of “society,” we tend to shoot ourselves down before we’ve had a chance to fly. We think, we feel, and we stop. What we should really be doing is thinking and feeling less about our current situations and instead take action to gain tracking on our future. Then, once we’ve made several real attempts, we can better gauge where we are and what we can put in place to get to where we want or need to be.

Your effort should always be indicative of what you desire. If you’re willing to complain about something 10 times a day, you should be just as willing to put the effort forth to usher change into your life 10 times a day. If these numbers don’t match, be honest with yourself. The goal is to reach a point in which you don’t feel it necessary to complain at all and naturally strive to change your life in positive, impactive ways. If you’re living solely in your mind rather than creating your physical reality, you’ll never be satisfied. Don’t be afraid to make what seem like mistakes, either. Be brave enough to step outside of your comfort zone and share yourself with others and with the world itself.


The body is an extraordinary vessel that gives us the opportunity to experience life here on Earth. It heals itself and asks for very little. Though our bodies are not who we are on a soul level, they must be respected. It’s important for us to treat them with the right care and consideration in order for us to optimize our Earthly experience. Know what you’re putting into your body. You wouldn’t blindly take up someone else’s belief system that’s thrown at you, and the same should be true for your body. This holds true on both a physical level and how you view your body.

When you’re choosing the foods you eat, research what they contain. Try your best to eat a healthy, well-rounded diet. So often we deem food and exercise as “things for other people,” but simple changes can have profound effects – not experienced or felt until they’re put into practice. The better we treat our bodies, the higher our energy will be, and the more adequately prepared we’ll be for the challenges we face and the things we’d like to accomplish.

Be sure to not let the opinions or lifestyles of other people overtake you. Though you should be receptive to science and information provided to you, it’s incredibly important to live life on your own terms. If people around you have a body image issue, don’t take their issue on yourself. Be comfortable in your body, listen to it, and work in concert with it. The more in sync you are with your body, the more you will be in all areas of your life. The best practice to put in place with the body is one with discipline. If you’re not a person who naturally thinks to exercise or eat properly, start making a list and follow it one task at a time without glossing over all of it and feeling overwhelmed. Some people have a hard time taking initiative on their own, so seek out community and try to get a friend or a group together to exercise or construct some meal plans together. Not only is it helpful to have people in your circle who are on the same page, but it’s fun and exciting and will help elongate the momentum you build.


Taking action on a soul-level is the most important thing you can do for yourself. Your soul is who, what, where, how, and why you are. If you don’t connect to it, your foundation will be rocky at best. Because the soul is not a physical entity, people often make the mistake of thinking it’s wishy-washy and can be viewed and treated as such. That mentality can’t be farther from the truth, and should instead be approached with as much discipline and severity as any other part of your life. Grounding or centering yourself will help you cope with the stressors and drama of living life as a human being. If you’re sensitive, you’ll pick up on other people’s energies easily and sometimes it’s hard to tune these frequencies out. Most of us in our daily lives encounter a vast array of people, both online and off. Without noticing it, we’re picking up on the vibrations they emit – and usually, we’re taking them with us into our very private, sacred places within us without even noticing it. This is one of the root causes of having anxiety or feeling “off” without good reason. If you’re feeling this way, start to peel the layers off like an onion. Whenever an untoward thought or feeling creeps its way into your being, single it out and affirm that it is not a part of your life path or what you need to experience at this time. Keep repeating this until you’ve sent away all that no longer serves you.

When you experience thoughts or feelings that make you uncomfortable but are in fact lessons you need to experience, simply quiet the mind and step into your own private stillness. Then, ask what it is you need to learn from this lesson and how you can process it in an non-harmful, peaceful way. This method can be put in place in all areas of your life with all issues. Remember that the experience is not the same as how we interpret it; though Earth can be a very rigorous and grueling place to grow and evolve, we endure experiences because they’re for our higher good – or someone else’s. If you have a traumatic experience but process it in a healthy way, you can then go on to share the experience with others in a beneficial way which can help prevent pain and turmoil in their lives.

Another great way to connect to the soul is by means of breathing exercises and meditation. So many people write these two things off because they’ve been branded as something exclusive to monks or spiritual masters. On the contrary, these two processes are readily and easily accessible to all. When doing a breathing or meditation exercise, focus on quieting the body down. Get yourself into a comfortable position that won’t distract you in any way. This can mean lying down, sitting upright in a chair, sitting pretzel-style  on the floor, or any other position that resonates with you. There truly is no wrong way – it is your experience, and yours alone. When you’ve gotten comfortable, visualize a white light pouring in from the top of your head down through to your toes. This represents pure, cleansing energy that helps to wipe out all the debris within you in all forms. Once you’re filled with this light, take a deep breath in through the nose and visualize this air as being entirely pure, safe, clean, positive, and invigorating. Hold your breath for a few seconds and then exhale through the mouth. The exhale should represent the emptying out of anything negative or that which you wish to do away with. The meditation part generally happens quite naturally after the breathing exercise. Simply relax and enter a very serene, safe place within you that isn’t contingent upon anything Earthly or man-made. Most people find this to be a place of rejuvenation and will receive some of their best ideas for creative projects or future endeavors.

After you’ve connected with your soul, you won’t differentiate you and your soul as being apart from one another. You’ll simply feel connected, whole, and at one with the Universe. All of the best and most important work comes from this place within you, so trust in it and allow for it to grow into something magnificent.


“I am fully capable of taking charge of my life. I’m making the commitment in the present moment to use my energy for the betterment of my life as opposed to the destruction of it. I become the reality I allow for, and I choose the reality that serves my highest good and the highest good of those around me.”

Kaiden Blake

Kaiden Blake, recognized internet personality and artist, is currently anticipating the release of his forthcoming book. Kaiden’s incredibly strong bond with his fans, inspire personal empowerment across the globe.

Integrative Self-Defense

What is Integrative Self-Defense?

Integrated Self-Defense is the process by which self-defense, be it of your body, emotions, spirituality, mind, or other part of “you” is incorporated into your psyche, allowing you not only to know self-defense, but to believe 100% that you are worth defending.  I believe that for many women, self-defense is like receiving a compliment. You know you have received one, appreciate that you have, but somewhere on the inside, doubt our worthiness. Integrative self-defense is believing that you are worth defending, much the same way we would believe in other things without question.

You already possess this ability. You always have. When you were younger, you took things on face value. If someone you trusted told you something, like a parent or teacher, you simply believed them. End of story. It became your truth. Then you ventured out into the world and realized you had your own truth, some of your beliefs from childhood fit your truth some did not. That is how we differentiate from one and another.

Many of our “truths” have come from places that have ulterior motives for us believing in them. They may come from media, societies, peer pressure, family pressure, men, other women, or even people who have not come to their own truths and tinker with yours in the process. We may feel wounded, hollowed out in our stomachs. We respond by putting up our defenses, but often these defenses come out in ways that make matters worse.

Integrative defense is simply identifying when someone or something has crossed our boundaries and believing that we have the right to respond to it in a way that minimizes or eliminates our exposure. We do not have to be uncomfortable at the hands of others, only at the hands of ourselves when we are looking to grow.

Wouldn’t it be a different world, if we believed we are worth defending every time we hear a put down, or face an unfounded insecurity, experience peer pressure, consider our body image, or the myriad of other doubts that we face on an almost every day basis? Certainly we do feel these ways, whether we realize it or not, and we do respond.

The goal of Integrated Self-Defense, therefore, is to create an unconscious internal, cellular belief system that responds appropriately in the face of personal boundary infringement. We all have the right to develop in a positive environment, and to believe that we deserve to.  After all, how can we be accountable for our own actions if we are dictated by others?


To Believe or Not to Believe?

f04212ff17e710eac8030a8aaf583713It all comes down to what you believe.  Don’t you think? Some people believe the following so they don’t act today:

  • I’m young, I’ll quit smoking when I’m older
  • Someone else will do it
  • I don’t need health insurance, I’m healthy
  • I live in a good neighborhood, I’m not worried about crime
  • The Red Sox will never win a World Series at Fenway
Well, we know what happened with the Red Sox, and look how unlikely THAT was! (sorry Bosox fans)!
The fact is that what we believe becomes our truth, but that is not necessarily “the world’s truth”.
The world is full of marvelous, beautiful, inspiring truths, however, that is not always the case. There are plenty of ugly truths out there in the world. I am quite sure everyone is aware that rapes, kidnappings, domestic violence, murder and the like happen every day, in far away lands, and our own, and in every country around the world. I am far to believe that anyone is in denial about this. However, if you took a poll and asked how many of those same people who believe this have learned personal self-defense, I think the number of “no” answers would be alarming. Why?
I think there are several reasons, carrying some validity. Here are my thoughts:
  1. I have taken precautions, I lock my doors, have an alarm system and have created a barrier environment around my place of residence.Great! But that won’t help you if barriers are broken. If that were enough, there would be no breaking and entering, rape, murder etc..People break the barriers others set for themselves every single day in a myriad of ways. It is just a matter of how far one will go once they are broken, and one never knows.
  2. I live in a safe neighborhood and crime is virtually non-existent here.  Crime is everywhere. You may live in a neighborhood, where the likelihood is less, and that’s great, but there is no neighborhood in the world where there is no crime. There is no such thing as a SAFE neighborhood, only SAFER neighborhoods.  There are victims in every neighborhood and if you or a loved one are the victim, you will no longer believe that you live in a safe place. 
  3. I know how to protect myself/my family. Really? Doing something is better than doing nothing, but unless you have fought off an attacker(s) successfully while in a state of panic, in a systematic way that can be repeated, the truth is you only “think” you know the answer to that question. The truth is you need practice, you need to be trained and you need to be attacked in a high adrenaline scenario to know if you can be effective. And even that is no guarantee because you will know that is part of your training, but it is a heck of a way to give yourself some leverage in the event of a real attack!
  4. I am smart, alert to my surroundings and make good decisions. Wonderful! That’s half the battle, however, does anyone really believe that the only victims of crime are stupid, unaware and make poor decisions? I do not want to compromise the importance of being alert and making good decisions as this is crucial to one’s safety, but the sad truth is that bad things happen to smart, alert and good decision makers every day.

I am not a doom sayer. Those who know me know I believe in beauty. I do my best to accept world reality and I will guard against attack.

Please go get the training you need to defend yourself! Teach your children to defend themselves. This is not teaching your children to fight, it is about teaching your children to protect themselves. Do you look both ways before you cross the street, even though you may live in a less trafficked neighborhood? Do you teach your children to do the same? Of course you do, because getting hit by a car is not worth the effort it takes to look both ways and prevent from being hit. It is no different with personal protection. Being a victim of an attack is not worth the effort it takes to learn skills to protect yourself. Don’t believe me? Ask any attack victim if they could go back in time and learn more skills, that is if you now one who has survived.