No styles, no systems, no rituals, no lineages, no masters, no labels, no belts, no katas, no uniforms, no dogmas;
Only the process of self actualization & personal expression of truth through functional combative movement and fitness.
As the mind navigates the body; by challenging personal self defense dogmas and individual & core belief systems, personal growth and evolution occurs.
On a human level, we learn about the ripple effect and the moral, legal, and ethical consequences of our chosen actions while self examining our darkest emotions. We are encouraged to question everything, to learn to think for ourselves, to be more accountable and research everything we learn and to be open and responsive to life without judgment.
On a personal level, the training can make you face and slay your own demons.
Monday, June 29, 2009
Friday, June 26, 2009
My dog Punchy and I last winter in front of Leriken in downtown Montreal.
I’m walking through the park as I frequently do with my dog, usually at hours where people are either working or having dinner or long lost in the slumbering dream world, suffice it to say, it’s pretty empty when we stroll.
Today however, there was what seemed to be a young father (could have been older brother but by the tone he was taking, it was most likely his dad) ‘coaching’ his little boy in soccer (football for our European friends) in what sounded like Russian .
As I was taking my stroll, I could hear him coaching the kid pretty loudly and what some would perceive as a curt, (cuRt folks), and possibly even rough and condescending tone to others. As I watched the child play, he didn’t seem to mind, he didn’t look stressed about it, as a matter of fact, he honestly looked like he was having the time of his life kicking the ball with his dad, so I personally paid no attention to it and continued my walk.
As we got further, towards almost a different section of the park, I could now hear other voices getting louder as well, these were English Canadian voices I heard and the louder they got, the more I could make them out. “Listen to this man talk to his kid! Hey, why don’t you learn how to communicate you cantankerous sonofabitch!!!!”
I’m thinking to myself, “Cantankerous?” who the hell uses “Cantankerous?” when their picking a fight and more importantly, what the hell does it mean??? But what the hell, I digress… at this point, I began walking towards the 3, which later turned into 5, but read on, thinking to myself “Mind your business brother, this isn’t your business, just turn around and let it be…” and before I could finish that thought, I was within a few yards from them.
So the coach dad replies in English and with a heavy (we’ll call it Russian) accent, “Mind your business, this is my boy.” To which the other dude, who looked Hispanic but I could be wrong yells back, “Go the fuck back to your country!” as he turns and walks away with incredibly condescending and dismissive body language. The dad coach yells back “This is my country you stupid fu…” to which he all of a sudden realizes his son is right there watching so he stops himself from continuing his sentence but finishes with “…why don’t you go back to yours!”
It’s funny to watch what began as apparent concern for a child’s well-being turn into a political, cultural and racial situation unfolding right in front of me. And what’s even funnier, is that here we have two individual’s clearly of differing nationalities to that of the country they are living in which is not even a 150 years old as Canada was established as a self governing country on July 1st, 1867 and was inhabited by Native American Indians. The irony of this incredibly ignorant confrontation unfolding in front of me for absolutely nothing substantial was about to turn into a nightmare for what looked like to be the 7 or 8 year old boy.
So as I’m getting closer, the Hispanic fellow turns back, chest puffed out & yelling “What did you just say to me mother fucker?!?!” It was like someone had turned the on switch man… he went from passive aggressive and walking away to instantly turning around and streamlining towards the coach dad AND…. right behind him coming out of a nearby backyard where he must have originated from himself, 2 other Hispanic looking fellas bee lining behind him.
Well, my heart raced… I ran with my dog, who seemed ecstatic at this point, probably thinking we’re playing or chasing something, towards the guys yelling "Yo! Yo!" to get everyone’s attention thinking what the hell do I say now? As I got there, everyone looked at me and I directly addressed the first individual saying “Hey man, take a look at his little boys face” were the first words that came out of my mouth as I exhaled from my run and nerves going haywire, to which everyone there stopped and looked, and there was this kid in his soccer outfit standing there, not exactly crying, but looking like he’s been on the verge for the last hour or so but biting his tongue with perseverance and determination to hold it back and look strong.
The brother stopped, looked at me and then said, “Some people oughta know when to keep their mouth shut.” And again began walking away with his 2 friend. The coach dad, still trying to save face yells back “That is right!” as he grabs his kid by the hand but the Hispanic fella turns right back around saying “That’s it!” and storms in only to find me right in front of his face stopping him in a dead halt. I smiled at him and said, “It’s a pretty nice Friday evening brother, and initially, it was his kid you were concerned about right? Try not to lose sight of that dude… if you beat his dad down in front of him, you’ll do a thousand times more damage to that kid than his dad ever could coaching him through a thousand games…” hoping, praying it would end and it wouldn’t get violent….
For an instant, it could have gone either way… my entire body, physiology, biology and everything that ends with an ‘ogy’ was preparing to drop him where he stood if he even so much as flinched the wrong way, I knew exactly where his friends were, how close he was and which direction to go if it was to go down…
He walked away dismissing me, signalling his buddies to go with him yelling, “You’re lucky this guy was here to save your ass in front of your boy!” As I turned to face the dad, praying he keeps his mouth shut, which he finally did, I approached him and got nicely told off. “Next time you mind your business!” and he picks up his kid and storms off…
Ahhh… an early evening walk at the park in the suburbs of the south shore Montreal.
This just happened, moments before I wrote this up, I figured I’d get home right away and type it out, as it is still fresh in my mind. This had a nasty potential. And thankfully, it ended well and without anyone getting hurt or anyone having to pre-empt anyone.
I have to say, it crossed my mind taking the guy out on my way running there, as he was determined at this point, both times actually, to seriously hurt the coach dad. I also kept thinking about that kid and witnessing any kind of violence at this stage in his life would serve him, he sincerely didn’t need that. Then there was my dog. Though once the situation remained verbal after I got there it became easier to deal with, had I had to strike earlier, she would have been much harder to deal with.
The predominant factor in this entire confrontation had nothing to do with the kid, nothing to even do with loyalty to any country. It was 2 human beings suffering from the worldwide epidemic of the “anger” virus, which plagues so much of humanity. No, it wasn’t even personal as we probably all met for the first time today and it wasn’t cultural either. It was the side effect of personal, sometimes ancestral anger we all bottle inside. This was 2 individual’s demons clashing, blinded by their egos, completely neglectful to the innocent child standing amongst them, about the possible consequences of what was to become, irreversible actions. We are indeed our own worst enemies.
I was able to reach this guy thru his anger somehow with my words. Maybe this guy had a little brother; maybe something triggered a past memory. Maybe he didn’t want to do it at all and needed a reason and he hoped one of his friends would do it but found himself too egotistically invested in the matter to back down, who knows? But it stopped him in his track twice & no one got hurt.
Hey Rich,Its been a long time mate, how you been? Was really good to read your interview in Blitz mag this month, particularly the parts covering the progression of Senshido and the direction that the system & you are heading in the future. I totally agree with the message that we are our own worst enemies, but people rarely realise that. Ive only started to understand that recently, after losing my dad at the start of last year. I dealt with the whole situation badly, turned heavy to drinking, partying, making bad choices, losing friends... all leading me no-where positive in life and not making me happy.I'm now making changes and stopped drinking altogether, getting back on track, reconnecting with friends etc. so your interview came at the perfect time. Your work does effect alot of people, me included, as it is more than self defense, it's giving people the power to change their own lives for the better. Also just wanted to mention that I wont be able to attend the Aus seminars this year, though I really wanted to attend, particularly the new Walk the Talk seminar. Hopefully next year...Hope this finds you well.
All the best,Eli.
Compliments of Ian Stone, a friend and one of Craig's good friends from... you guessed it, Sheffield :`) Demoing with me through out is my bro Rod from Belgium who, along with Adam as well, have travelled all over Europe to assist me with our seminars. Team effort indeed.
I see now why Ad always refers to me as a Muppet... catchy tune though, it's the kind that makes you want to rip the veins, tendons and ligaments out of your own body and with your bare hands at first but after a while it grows on you and you find yourself watching the damn vid just for the tune and my muppet like antics.... :`)
Explaining when to pre-empt and the moral, legal and ethical aspects as well as a human being's social responsibility to his communities.
Standing by me and demoing through out is Phil (seen with me there) who came along with Athena to Sydney from New Zealand to chill, hang and assist me with the seminars.
Thursday, June 25, 2009
This is why we do what we do and continue on doing:
"Hey man,I'm Shane Harper, I took your Fundamentals of Personal Protection seminar and am going into my second year of Police Technology. I'm sure you get a lot of fan mail and stuff but I still felt like an extra thumbs up couldn't hurt ;)I've been doing a lot of thinking lately about the field of work I've chosen and it's constant ups an downs, but I guess that's life. But now a couple of months after taking that seminar with you, I've realized how those five hours have really made a difference in the way I live my life. Honest, those were some of the wisest words I've heard and I thank you for what you do.As you said, even if you only reach a few, at least you did reach those people. There is one particular quote I'll never forget:"If someone gives you a bowl of shit and tells you it's cherries... please; don't eat it knowing damn well it's shit but saying oh ya, mmm, these are good cherries."Serioulsy, I'm carrying that one with me for as long as I am who I am. I can't remember a time apart from that seminar where I sat there and thought that these are the closest words to reality I've heard.Anyways bro, I'm going around in circles here but it's just that somehow, words don't quite fully explain what it is that your work has done for me in that short time, and surely for thousands of others. You're an icon of perseverance and there are not too many people I ''admire'', but I admire the brilliance of Senshido and the gift you have of passing on its assests.If it wasn't for the distance and the money, I for sure would have liked to go further with this. You should come back and have another seminar for us. It's not something that can get old. It changed me for the better. Anyways, hope all is well and that you're birthday was memorable. Take it easy and thanks for your time.Sincerely,Harp"
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
February 25 2009 at 7:09am
Hi Richard, thanks for a great course. Really enjoyed it and I've gained a lot from your practical, moral and humanistic approach.Rich, when I was explaining to my students the rational for your methods and philosophies that you shared with us on the course one of them reminded me of this attack that happened in England recently Headteacher-attacked . It is an excellent example of the grudges that people can hold for years after an incident. I have already revised some of my sylibus and removed some of the overkill techniques and will be incorporating many of your drills that you shared with us. Have a great trip down under.Best wishes,Steve
March 22 2009 at 4:54am
Hi Richard,I attended your Cutting Edge seminar on Saturday and was very impressed. I was particularly moved when you explained the fact that no one actually ever wins a fight and that although you walk away with nothing more than maybe some bruised knuckles as the survivor/'winner', it remains on your conscience that you may have created a negative ripple effect and the possibility that it manifests into someone beating their wife and kids in turn manifesting possible bullies etc. providing nothing truly positive in this world by these actions. You said to make sure that one always asks themselves prior to any action what kind of ripple effect that action is most likely going to have and to not become what it is we are tryingto defend against.It really struck home most things just aren't worth it. I haven't been able to get that part out of my head and I dearly hope that it always stays at the forefront of my mind and guides all my actions/reactions in ther future. Will definitely be attending your seminars again in the future and I will be bringing my wife and sister also.All the best.Regards Dom
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
A seminar participant from our Australian seminar tours writes in to share in my opinion, a very important lesson and message he recounts of a situation that could have easily unfolded very differently. There is a disturbing trend in our industry of pre-empting way to early without first determining the true nature of the confrontation which, unfortunately has proven time and time again, resulting in far worse and sometimes even fatal outcome.
Hope this message finds you well. I'd like to share a story with you about what happened to me and my mates last night in Sydney. At the moment the news here is full of stories about Indian students being targeted by groups of gangs etc.
Last night I was out with some friends. My best mate, his fiancé and myself are Indian. We got hassled by a group of drunken guys who asked us if we were Indian and then threatened to beat us up and stab us etc.
We walked away though, towards a nightclub 20 meters in the opposite direction we were heading in, because it had bouncers working outside. Anyway, the guy and his mates walk towards us yelled some more shit and walked away, but the thing is it had the potential to get out of hand and we didn't let it! AND IT WASN'T HARD!
I couldn't help but think to myself what could have happened if we started mouthing off at these guys. I gotta say it was a different feeling. I've trained in martial arts where someone mouthing off at you and threatening to hit you would have been enough to hit first. I just realized to myself that these guy didn’t want to hit us, unless we gave them a reason to. That's something that I learned from your seminars and your articles etc. If you take actions which don't command, challenge, threaten, or insinuate a person is wrong then you reduce the likelihood of violence. So once again man, thank you for your teachings and hopefully I can use them again to get out of trouble.
Thanks & GOD BLESS!
Another potentially violent confrontation avoided. The origins of every senseless act of violence committed, amongst other things are fostered in ego, insecurity and an enormous lack of love and belonging. Understanding this at the core helps one deal with such situations without the interference of ego and from an empathic perspective giving one a greater control in dealing with such situations.
Now I just gotta let Aye Jay know that he really shouldn’t look forward to applying this philosophy again... that would mean trouble found him again and he would have missed the first step of the equation.... avoidance through heightened awareness ;`)
Sunday, June 21, 2009
Eric and I working on attacks off the passive stance.
Check out several clips from Liege Belgium 2008 & 2009 seminars on youtube:
Youtube Senshido Belgium 08/09 Clips
No, for me, the problem was I simply couldn't resonate with that number. Though I don't feel 40, I find myself single, childless except for the one deeply rooted inside of me: `) yet having accomplished most of my dreams. I say most because, well… I’m nowhere near done yet. Got lots more dreams to fulfill and I aim on doing just that.
So here I am just a few weeks into my 40’s and low and behold I find myself saying, “If I only knew then what I know now”… indeed. I am definitely much, much richer from my experiences and have lived an uncanny life to date. Peaks and valleys for sure and when it peaked my friends…. It peaked at unbelievable altitudes and when I hit the valleys, well, to quote Guns & Roses, I was right next door to hell. But it seems I wouldn’t have it any other way, in my humble opinion, it is the only way to truly experience life, to live every moment at its maximum capacity cause we’ve only got 1 time around as ourselves. I much prefer to feel the exqusit intensities of the highs and lows of life than to numbingly live in the comfortable gray areas of life within a plateau of conditioned and manufactured emotions.
Truthfully, my health’s never been better. I have learned much in terms of clean eating, healthy choices (organics, alive foods etc.) and effortlessly maintaining a permanent dietary plan. (I used to go to McDonald’s and eat a Big Mac, a McChicken sandwich and a Filet o’ Fish 10 minutes before teaching a grueling workout. - If I did that today, I’d die and $h!t my spleen I swear, yes in that order).
Course, I am not as heavy as I once used to be (was nearly 190lbs at one point), I now weigh 165lbs but I have a size 30inch waist compared to my 32-34 I carried most of my 20’s and into my early 30’s. I sound like a woman :`) and I am at approx. 8% body fat. Compared to the usual 12 to 18% average I carried before.
My training has also dramatically changed in terms of fitness and strength training. I used to traditionally body build and I switched in 2001 when Team member Ian Hodgkinson introduced me to Functional Combative Strength training. I began learning Matt Furey’s core routines then through Ian who has personally worked with Furey.
From there I began researching various training methods using body-weight, as well as the old school “dinosaur or junkyard” training methods, Ross boxing, Origin of Energy and the like. My strength, my functional strength that is…. dramatically increased. Today, at 40, I could do things that bodybuilding friends of mine who outweigh me by literally 40 to 50 pounds can’t do. When we train together, it looks quite funny as there’s me at 165lbs literally lifting and using weights 50% to 60% heavier right next to these 2 massive dudes who are struggling with half my weights.
Of course, if it were a bench pressing competition they’d wipe the floor with me but my interest hasn’t been big, mirror muscles since I was 22 (though I still body built till my very late 20’s early 30’s, it was because I didn’t really know any better then in terms of differing training, I thought, like most everyone else back in the day and still some today actually, that if you cross trained body building with martial arts, you’d have a complete and complimenting training regimen.) No... I was interested in strength; real, useable functional strength along with explosiveness and speed.
Today my workouts are up to 5 days a week though I still get in a very light 15 to 20 minute sessions on the day I don’t work out intensely. My workouts vary greatly from day to day and week to week but generally encompass the following:
Mondays: Bodyweight day ghetto style: Using straps, rope, old T-shirts etc. for varying grips, chin up bars at various levels, parallel bars, monkey bars, and everything a child’s park can offer. This workout targets, as per Origin of Energy, a ‘push’-‘leg’-‘pull’ pattern. This workout consists of 3 sets of 9 differing exercises targeting a minimum of 3 body parts per exercise, super setting 3 exercises at a time, with a 3 minute break in between each completed set of 3 (got all that? :`). The reps work in pyramid format starting at 1, then 1,2, then 1,2,3 going to 10 for a total of 55 reps per exercise. Multiply that by 9 and by the end of the workout I’ve completed over 500 reps making this a highly aerobic and anaerobic workout.
Tuesdays: Heavy day Ross Enamait Training, same format as Monday in terms of sets, reps and amounts of actual exercises only (but very different exercises, rest between sets and workout all together) using slower movement, using heavy weights and targeting a minimum of 4 to 5 body parts per exercise.
Wednesdays: 15 minutes of bodyweight exercises followed by 30 min of cardio (variety of cardio exercises from bag work, light sparring, skip rope, running - running’s been the choice due to the weather lately).
Thursdays: I repeat Monday's routine with differing exercises.
Fridays: I repeat Tuesday’s routine, again with differing exercises.
Saturday and Sunday. Sometimes I rest and don’t workout at all. Depends on how the body feels and how hard the week was. Otherwise, I usually target all the muscles that didn’t work during the week and create a 15 to 20 minute intense, minimum breaks session or I go for a run.
This is where I’m at in my fitness & strength training today. It changes and varies frequently as I continue to research various ways to kick my own ass. So…. here I am at 40, stronger, faster, more agile, leaner and healthier AND STILL…. wearing black, thinking to myself damn man… if only I knew then what I know now. :`)
Sincerely, a little older n' a little wiser...
Rich "Throckmorton" Dimitri
Saturday, June 20, 2009
From left to right are Liege Belgium team member Rod Fiardi with Maurice the mascot of the ACDS, Rich, UK team members Adam "Muppet Man" Cooper and Craig "Walker" Welsh. This pic was taken at the last Sheffield (where it is impossible to defeuse), England Senshido seminar at Craig's Kapap Sheffield gym.