brian-stein's Archive:

The Power of Randori

RANDORI is a term used in the Japanese Martial Arts (JMA) to describe free fighting training. The term literally means “Choas Taking” or “Grasping Freedom,” implying a freedom from the structured practice of KIHON WAZA “Essential Techniques” or KATA “Two person self defense patterns.” Randori may be contrasted with Kihon Waza and Kata, as three potentially complementary types of training.

Enter the Year of the Dragon

Today, January 23rd 2012 is the first day of the Chinese New Year. It is the Year of the Yang Water DRAGON.

According to mythology, the beginning of Chinese New Year started with the fight against a mythical beast called the NIAN. Nian would come on the first day of New Year to eat livestock, crops, and even villagers, especially children. To protect themselves, the villagers would put food in front of their doors at the beginning of every year. It was believed that after the Nian ate the food they prepared, it wouldn’t attack any more people. One time, people saw that the Nian was scared away by a little child wearing red. The villagers then understood that the Nian was afraid of the color red. Hence, every time when the New Year was about to come, the villagers would hang red lanterns and red spring scrolls on windows and doors. People also used firecrackers to frighten away the Nian. From then on, Nian never came to the village again.

Arm Yourself With the Ultimate Weapon

I’m often asked “What protection tool should I arm myself with?” After a few qualifying questions I might answer: a Kubotan key chain, a Comtech Stinger II, a Tanto folding knife, OC Spray, a Glock 21, Saiga 12 or Ak-​​47. What I really want to say, even though many people are not open to it is; You should always arm yourself with the ultimate weapon: AWARENESS.


The Ninja families of feudal Japan developed what is perhaps the ultimate survival strategy, INVISIBILITY. Invisibility is the most proactive of all the survival strategies available to us. If your enemy does not perceive you as being either a threat or a target, he will never attack you. What more effective way to protect yourself than to simply be invisible to those that would harm you. Yes, it’s important to have viable personal protection skills and to have pre-​​emptive strike ability, but  truly the most skillful way to protect ourselves is simple not being where the danger is or not appearing to be a threat or target to our enemies.

What Is Comprehensive Personal Protection?

I’ve recently had a Gestalt like epiphany. Most martial artists have no idea what I’m talking about when I say “Reality Based Self Defense” or “Complete Martial Arts.” I base this new found understanding on numerous emails from my readers. I decided to make a list of the major components of what a truly comprehensive big picture real life personal protection program must include.

Here it is…

Sigung Paul Vunak’s Contemporary JKD

I’ve been a fan of Sigung Paul Vunak ever since I watched his first Panther JKD/​FMA Videos that were released  in 1986. I distinctly remember watching his now often imitated knife cutting demonstration. Sigung Vunak hung a big chunk of meat from a line and cut it with a knife. It demonstrated quite viscerally how dangerous a single knife cut could be, as well as how important it is to have viable edged weapon survival skills. A very important lesson for everyone to learn.

The U.S. Marine Mindfulness Meditation Program

It thrills me to no end to find out things like that the U.S. Army has a full time Acupuncture clinic at one of their hospitals, or the the U.S. Marine Corps is studying the effects of mindfulness meditation on Marines being deployed into combat.

What’s even more fascinating is that VIPASSANA BHAVANA “Insight Meditation” also known as Mindfulness Meditation is the system devised by The Buddha himself to help humanity transcend suffering. There’s definitely no question of religious conversion though, The Buddha didn’t found a religion, but instead taught a way out of suffering by the skillful use of our minds through meditative awareness.

Full Contact?

I received several emails about my recent blog post entitled “FULL CONTACT!” I would like to clarify my thoughts on making contact with your training partner so as to condition yourself to actually hit your attacker in a real life fight.

Several readers were concerned that if they trained “Full Contact,” their students would be injured and they would lose business because of this. I’m most definitely NOT saying that you should turn your training sessions, classes or seminars into an all out MMA steel cage match. What I am saying is that if you want to develop functional personal protection skills you have to train yourself and your students to ‘stick to and blast through’ your target by using slamming like dynamics.

Dr. John M. Landry Joins Full Contact

One of my long time avid readers, Dr.John M. Landry, just joined the staff of authors at FULL CONTACT,’s Self Defense blog. His first post entitled “How To Be A Samurai Cop: The Bushido Code On America’s Streets” is great. I highly recommend that you read it.

Dr.Landry has been training in the martial arts since 1974, is a Law Enforcement Officer and Trainer, a senior member of the U.S. Air Force Auxiliary Civil Air Patrol and has also has earned a Doctorate degree in Education and a Master of Science degree in Criminal Justice Administration.

Be a No Preference Warrior

Adaptability and Flow are two of the most important psychological attributes of a warrior. To be truly adaptable we need to have no preferences. And how do we have no preferences? Accept everything that comes your way.

If someone is verbally assailing you, stay in the moment and don’t prefer to be any where else. Don’t take anything he says personally. If he kicks you, he kicks you, don’t be for or against it. Go with it, flow with it and do what you need to do to be safe. If he punches you relax, go with it. Move in an appropriate way where you can counter strike from a position of power. If he shoots in for a take down stay calm, accept it and counter it with equanimity. If the fight goes to the ground embrace it, go with it not just with your body but in your mind as well. Allow your mind to be like a mirror reflecting everything, yet untouched by anything. 

Full Contact!

I recently watched a highlight video clip of a seminar done by a famous martial arts instructor and his senior students. At one one point, two of the instructors did a “fighting” demonstration. They started with sticks, posturing and dancing around using a lot of broken rhythm techniques. At first it looked very impressive but then I realized that they weren’t actually making contact with each other, just twirling the sticks around in the air. Then they dropped the sticks and each pulled out training knives. More of the same dancing around with NO CONTACT! They then dropped their knives and started Kickboxing but again no contact, just two guys shadow boxing near each other! They went into trapping/​clinch range and finally made contact but it just didn’t seem genuine. Lastly they went to the ground but didn’t blend their striking and grappling techniques. Overall very weak!

Reality Based Integrative Firearms Training

I borrowed the word “Integrative” to describe my approach to firearms training from “Integrative Medicine.” True Integrative Medicine uses FUNCTIONAL healing methods from all over the world, be they ancient or modern, eastern or western. They only thing that matters is if it really works. Likewise, in my Integrative Firearms Training Program we use methods that are both ancient and modern, eastern and western and most importantly fully functional. What I mean by functional techniques is that they have been pressure tested in an alive manner through force on force adrenaline stress conditioning. The way to do that is through Scenario Based Training.

BJJ For RBSD Part 2

In my blog post entitled “BJJ For RBSD” I covered several modifications that we needed to make to turn Brazilian Jujutsu into a viable Reality Based Self Defense method. There are two other important considerations that we need to be aware of as well.

The first is that in a real life ground fight, we’re not going to “submit” anybody. Let’s think this through, you’re attacked, the fight goes to the ground, you catch the bad guy in an arm bar, he taps and you let him go. NO! That’s ridiculous! All of the submission techniques taught in BJJ have to be taken to the point where you hyper-​​extend the joint so that it can no longer be used as a weapon against you. There’s no referee that’s going to stop the fight due to a submission. Be your own referee and tear your attacker up like a buzz saw.

Burton Richardson’s FOR THE STREET Martial Arts

“If you want to learn how to fight, you must practice fighting against someone who is fighting back!” Burton Richardson

I’ve been a fan of Guro Burton Richardson for nearly two decades. My recent blog post “BJJ For RBSD” had at it’s core Guro Richardson’s STREET RULES, namely the Weapon Rule, the Multiple Opponent Rule, the Slam Rule and the Bite Rule. These are very well laid out in his JKD Unlimited For The Street Association October 2011 E-​​Newsletter.

I invite you to explore Guro Richardson’s Reality Based Self Defense “For The Street” approaches to Jun Fan Jeet Kune Do, Kali, Silat, Brazilian Jujutsu and Mixed Martial Arts.


Brazilian Jujutsu (BJJ) has a lot to offer the practitioner of Reality Based Self Defense (RBSD), however there are several key modifications that we have to make in order to turn a sport submission grappling system into a functional personal protection ground fighting method.

If you’ve only practiced BJJ as a sport, than you’ve ben conditioned to leave your groin open to attack, as well as not seeing your attacker’s groin as a viable target. We have to protect our groin against both striking and grabbing attacks, while at the same time aggressively targeting our attacker’s groin.

Protect Your Treasure

It’s always fascinated me how the Chinese Martial Arts, particularly the internal arts of Taiji Quan, Xingyi Quan and Bagua Zhang are inextricably entwined with Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). The interface between the martial arts and the healing arts were taken to the highest level in ancient China. TCM includes QIGONG longevity exercises, Acupuncture, Acupressure, Herbalogy and Nutrition. Many truly formidable martial arts masters were also powerful healers.

Comprehensive Combatives

For a combatives system to be truly comprehensive it has to include these four broad categories in it’s training:

1. The use of AND defense against the FOUR RANGES OF UNARMED COMBAT, namely Kicking, Punching, Clinching and Ground Fighting.

2. The use of AND defense against the FIVE PROTECTION TOOL CATEGORIES, namely Impact, Edged, Flexible, Projectile and Combinations of these.

Listen To My Interview

Jeff Anderson, Combatives and Fitness Master Instructor as well as the Founder and President of the International Society of Close Quarter Combatants; The World’s Premier Reality-​​Based Self Defense Resource, will be interviewing me tomorrow night, Thursday, October 13th at 9:00 PM EST. The theme will be “Modern Day Ninjutsu.”

To listen in, allow yourself to go to the ISCQC website at:  http://​iscqc​.org/.


BJJ Professor Extraordinaire

Professor Pedro Sauer, a certified 8th Degree Red/​Black Belt under Rickson Gracie, was born and raised in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where from an early age, he began training in the martial arts. At age five, he began Western Boxing and later took up Judo and Tae Kwon Do. At age fifteen, however, his friend, Rickson Gracie, invited him to train in Jujutsu with his younger brother, Royler, who at the time was only nine years old. The outcome of this experience convinced him that Jujutsu was the most effective of all the martial arts for him, and he began training the very next day.

Watch “Conan The Barbarian”

“Conan The Barbarian” is a 1982 fantasy-​​action-​​adventure film. It’s based on the stories by Robert E. Howard (1906–1936), about the adventures of the character in a fictional prehistoric world of dark magic and savagery. Written by John Milius (Red Dawn, Flight of the Intruder) and Oliver Stone (Platoon, Born on the Fourth of July) and directed by Milius. Basil Poledouris provided the rousing music. Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, James Earl Jones and Max Von Sydow, the film tells the story of a young barbarian who seeks vengeance for the death of his parents. The target of his hatred is Thulsa Doom (Jones), the leader of a snake cult. In the course of his adventures, Conan befriends a wizard, played by Mako, Subotai, a thief, played by Hawaiian surfing legend Gerry Lopez and falls in love with Valeria, a female brigand, played by Sandahl Bergman.