Friday, December 21, 2007

Martial Arts and Real Life: Learning From The Agony of Defeat

Success at home, work or on the mat is what drives all of us. Sooner or later, you’re going to want something more. It’s in our very nature to succeed. It is a primary survival instinct. The benefits of success are obvious. Sense of accomplishment, self worth and self-actualization are a few. Other, less obvious by-products are confidence and attitude.
While these feelings help to drive us and are our eventual goals and reasons to be successful, they do little in helping us become successful. They are psychological effects of accomplishment. The real technical growth, the real “nuts and bolts” lay in every setback and every failure.

Vince Lombardi said, “Show me a good loser and I’ll show you a loser” why correct in it’s spirit. There is far more to be gained from our losses than our triumphs. Every loss is a tool for improvement. Because it’s only when you fail, that you look inside yourself to determine what went wrong and how to correct it. With each failure you are forced to rally your courage and rise to the occasion.

After you win, you concentrate on the achievement of your goal rather than the mistakes you made. Your very nature allows you to enjoy the accomplishment and gain confidence and attitude. Which are extremely powerful tools, because BELIEVEING you can be successful is a lot more powerful than THINKNG you can be successful. But these don’t help you improve technically or spiritually.

Every loss, every injury, every defeat is an opportunity for growth. It’s easy to have fun when everything goes smoothly, but when does that ever happen? We think everyone has it easier than we do. This is obviously not the case. EVERYONE has the same issues that you do. It’s all relative to everyone: a hangnail seems like a big deal to someone who has never broken a finger. The difference is, some people deal with them and move forward, others rationalize their decision and go home.

Dealing with a setback forces you to be honest and critical with yourself. This isn’t an easy thing to do. But once you’ve abandoned the excuses and stopped pointing the finger, only then will you really grow and improve.

All natural ability aside, what separates the good from the not so good and the God-awful, is the ability to take a real long and hard look in the mirror and take stock. You will always hear excuses, we all have them. If you chose to stop at the excuse, you will remain there.; technically, mentally and physically. You will be forced to repeat the same failure over and over again. It’s a cycle of habit. Because if it’s not this, it will be something else and you will spend the rest of your life wondering “why they get all the brakes” or “why are they so lucky”. Remember, “Those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it”. This habit of quitting when things get difficult is one you don’t want to develop.

Every career, every life, is replete with failure and setbacks. It’s up to you to work through them and force yourself to develop the habit of getting up again and again and again.

Everything that happens in the Dojo is symbolic of life. That’s way Dojo literally means “WAY PLACE”. It’s the place to study THE WAY. Simply put, the way of everything, the way of life. When you miss a technique or have difficulty learning a skill, you train to improve and become competent at that skill. When you are injured you train yourself to work with your injury.

What’s the difference between an injured shoulder, a bad back or a broken hand than someone who is short, slow and slight of build? Should those people not even try? Maybe we should tell everyone under 5’5” and 120 pounds, “Don’t Bother”.

Last week we concluded a five-week training course with a group of people with a wide variety of disabilities from slight learning problems to severe physical issues. All of these people, everyday learned to adapt and over come themselves and their environment. They developed the skill of overcoming obstacles. They came to the same conclusion that this is my life and like the man says, “Get busy living or get busy dying”. This is the real reason you study bushido.

Skills are habits, habits, and both good and bad are learned behaviors. On the mat you learn how to overcome set backs and adversity. Listen, you will never be 100%. You will never be perfect. There will always be something wrong. It’s how you handle your setbacks and obstacles that make you who you are. Martial arts are about overcoming adversity. It allows you to practice these habits in a “controlled” environment. It teaches you to develop these habits. These habits are imprinted on you and become a part of your behavior. These behaviors are what make the difference between a life lived and living a life.

The more and more I study; the more I realize what a genius Kano was. He developed Judo to articulate the real benefits of bushido. He developed a way to train life’s most important skills: appreciation and respect of one another, efficiency or best use of resources, and purpose.

Enjoy your setbacks, learn from them, because after you accomplish your goal, they are what you will remember and they will matter most.

Martial Art and Self Defense

Sunday, December 16, 2007

“How To Increase Your Chances of Survival By 300 % in 10 hours Or Less

with The Self Defense Company’s 10 Lesson Self Defense© Course”

Predators, criminals, will strike when you least expect it. Like any animal, they will take advantage and exploit your weakness. You see examples of this every day thousands of people like you are the victim of a violent crime that will leave your loved ones angry and frustrated. And if you’re lucky enough to survive the assault, you will do what you can to pick up the pieces and move on.

You may live in a nice house, work in a nice area and maybe stay in a nice hotel. But all it takes is one wrong turn, or one meeting to go late and you’re in for the fight of your life.

For years I have been instructing people like you, battlefield proven techniques and strategies, that weren’t dreamt up in a studio, or conjured up in a dojo. They come from over 70 years of hard learned life or death lessons from people in civilian, law enforcement, military and criminal life styles and occupations.

You may know me as Damian Ross, founder of the ZenShin Dojo in Pompton Lakes NJ ( and international competitor and coach, but I am also the president of The Self Defense Company ( and developer of the Professional Instructor Program. This organization was founded to teach people around the world the truth about self defense and martial arts, to help them protect themselves better and to put realism back into the martial arts. To do this, we created the 10 lesson self defense course. This course will take ANYONE regardless of age, experience, size and physical ability and teach them how to become a tough target in 10 hours of less.

How successful is The 10 lesson Self Defense Course taught by our accredited, Professional Instructors? Extremely! Every day we receive dozens of inquiries as to how to learn this method of self preservation and right now there are people all over the world who are becoming more confident, more self reliant through the 10 Lesson Self Defense Course. So much in fact, it is becoming the fastest growing self defense course in the world. Every month we are reaching new people and empowering those with the street smarts and the skills to come home safely. No secrets, no magic, no instant ninja - just what has been proven to work time and time again

How Can You Get More Information About Training In The Revolutionary 10 Lesson Self Defense Course Today?
Just go to to find and instructor in your area.

We know everybody can’t dedicate the time to a full martial arts program but every one does have the time and responsibility to learn how to identify hazardous and situations and escape from danger (and you don’t need a Black Belt to do this).

In the 10 Lesson Self Defense Course you won’t learn a handful of techniques like most seminars and courses teach you and send you on your way only to be forgotten over the next few days. The 10 Lesson Self Defense Course will teach you a systemized protocol beginning with non-lethal technologies like pepper spray and personal alarms and ending with combat proven World War II and Battlefield Jujutsu hand to hand techniques designed to give you maximum fire power, keep you mobile and aware and create avenues of escape a violent, determined assailant. The course is taught in a semi private format (10 students at a time). This will guarantee that you will get proper hands on training and attention that will make the most out of your training.

For more information just go to and request your free information kit.

More Martial Arts and Self Defense Articles

Monday, November 19, 2007

One of the Biggest Mistakes All Martial Artists Make

Damian Ross
The Self Defense Company

How many times do you practice techniques with your training partner and you stay in the same spot? Next time you are training, pay attention to how much you and your partner move. You’ll find you move very little or not at all. You see, when you are training, or doing ANYTHING for that matter, you always try to seek the path of least resistance. This is natural and can be viewed as a good thing (more on that later). Since you concentrate on the repetitions and the minutia of the technique, how hard you’re hitting, what you look like, you’re forgetting the big picture. And it’s easier to stand in the same spot. It saves time and energy. But I am constantly reminding my guys (and girls) to MOVE FORWARD!

If you don’t, you are neglecting a fundamental truth in the world of combat. I don’t care if your boxing, wrestling, playing football or engaging in combat- one thing is ALWAYS TRUE. Those who are winning are ALWAYS TAKING GROUND. Every time I look at a techniques demonstrated it is always two guys standing there with one guy doing the move and the other just guy standing there. This is good for demonstrations sake, but when you drill it you do it with movement. One of the mistakes I see Judo Players, Karate Practitioners and Wrestlers make is that they practice technique without any movement. Do you actually fight like that- NO. When you fight, you are constantly moving and adjusting. When you fight for real you are always moving forward. If you are moving backwards- you are loosing. But don’t worry, it will be over soon.

In the Self Defense series explains and demonstrates how to take ground in this simple explanation- Always be where your enemy is standing. You’re constantly moving forward and taking ground once you have started your assault. Think about any boxing match. Not when people are stalking and feeling each other out. I’m talking about when a guy gets a good shot and the blood is in the water and he just starts throwing bombs and running the guy over. If the ropes weren’t there, his opponent would be in the cheap seats!

Take the Greek Phalanx for example. The majority of the casualties didn’t happen when both sides were pressing against each other. It was only when one side broke and retreated that most of the deaths occurred. Even in modern combat- during the first contact, it is uncommon to incur a lot of casualties. Its only when the enemy tries to break contact and retreat, that most of the casualties occur.

When you train you must program yourself to take ground. When you’re practicing make sure your foot work is stomping and deliberate. This accomplishes 2 things.

1. It will allow you to compensate for a wide variety of terrain and

2. You will be delivering stomps and scrapes to your enemy’s shins and feet.

Simply start at one end of your training space and work across the floor- always take ground. If your partner doesn’t move… MOVE HIM! Deliver a smash with your shoulder (Check out the Self Defense Seires) and just keep driving. Like Carl talks about through out the series- you take bits and pieces until you start taking off larger chunks.

This happens rapidly and violently. You keep taking ground overwhelm and overrun your enemy. Remember- Keep moving forward. Like my college football coach said, “If you’re gonna go, go. If you’re not gonna go, don’t go!”

Read more martial arts articles at The Self Defense Company.

The Value Of Martial Arts Training

By Damian Ross
The Self Defense Company

I was talking to a parent recently and they told me that their son was not going to compete in wrestling because they were afraid he would get frustrated when he lost. The parent felt the child was far too sensitive to handle the frustration of failure and may get ‘burnt out’.

My response was, "What will they do when they get frustrated in life?" What happens when that kid has got to suck it up and go forward when it REALLY counts? Being a new parent, my daughter is only 2 and I have another on the way, I only want the best for my child. What parent doesn’t? It’s obvious this parent wants the same, but that’s not the issue. The issue is what’s best for everyone involved. What this child is being taught is to quit when things get tough. In an effort to protect the child, the parent winds up doing a disservice to the child. The result is undermining the ultimate goal- the training of the child. I’m clearly not saying throw them repeatedly until sink or swim, but there has to be an alternative to abstention.

Life is training

How does this pertain to you? Segue here: when you train, you want to look good. You want to hit hard and perfect every time. You want to throw for ippon every time. You want to score a knock out or submission every time. Every technique you throw must its mark. Just like that parent- you want everything to go smoothly with out any hiccups or mistakes. As in life: “what you want and what you got, aren’t exactly the same thing.”

If you are training and you never make a mistake, you are probably not pushing yourself or being pushed enough. If that’s not the case- give me your number, I want to train with you. If you’ve ever been in a situation where you had to survive, hardly anything goes smoothly- save the one punch knock out. A fight is frustrating, it doesn’t look aesthetically pleasing; it hurts, it’s moments of frustration highlighted by some good or bad luck. Please note: according to my Dad “luck” is where preparation meets opportunity. No doubt a sentiment echoed from his days in the Marines.

Like that parent I mentioned before- you treat your training like that child. You are worried about the minutia. Micro-managing your work out so you feel better every second without looking at the big picture. How will you deal with the frustration of a real knock down, drag out fight?

Unless you’re dealing with a push-over, you’ll have you’re your hands full. Where a lot of traditional type martial artists fail is that they expect that perfect reverse punch to hit its target EVERY TIME. This is a goal of training. An idea, like finding the perfect cherry blossom or the perfect cheese steak; the one shot, one kill can be translated any number of ways. Again, the Japanese language is comprised of a lot of synonyms. It could mean, you only get one opportunity- make it count!

In your training you need to replicate the frustration of the fight. If you are hitting your training dummy perfect every time- go harder and faster. If you are being too successful- push the people around you. Get them a little agitated (I’ll leave that to your imagination). If you don’t, you will be setting yourself up for a big let down. When it really counts- YOUR instincts will not be ready to fight through it.

Just like that child, you will look to back away and quit because that’s what you were taught. What do you do when you get frustrated? You train harder and fight through it.

Remember: Life is Training

Training enables you to handle what life hands you better. Experience is what you get after you deal with what life gives you. Your experience gets put back into your training.

You’re constantly training and teaching- whether you like it or not. No matter what you do you’re shaping your behavior and the behavior of people around you. People affect you the way you allow them to. But that’s a whole other discussion.

For more articles about Martial Arts and Self Defense, visit, The Self Defense Company.