Monday, March 22, 2010

Some (Bad) Guys Have all the Luck!!!!!!

When it comes to violent encounters, we (The Police) start at a disadvantage. That’s right…We are the “underdog”, the “short stack at the table”, the “Cinderella.” The bad guy always has the jump on us….Why??

First, a guy who assaults a cop is wired entirely different than you or me. He most likely spent the majority of his life getting over on people and has no concept or concern about consequences. He feels neither guilt nor pity and is completely void of sympathy. The only thing that matters in his life is himself and “feeling good.” On the other hand, the least of our concerns are ourselves. We focus on our families and colleagues. We are professionals that have a lot vested in our career. The odds always favor the guy with nothing to lose. We have everything to lose!!! And unfortunately that can severely affect our mindset.

Second, the bad guy has more experience. A quick question; Who has been in more real fights? A) A Police Officer who grew up in a great home, in suburbia, and whose prior experiences with violence was limited to the frat house push matches and Steven Seagal movies (this is me) or B) A career criminal (I hear they fight sometimes in prison). These guys are more comfortable and better at violence than we are.

Last, is “intent.” The bad guy has in his mind a plan of action. This plan often includes an assault option that he has already approved in his mind. Therefore, his starting point is combat mode. In contrast, we spend the majority of our time serving the community and dealing with good people who need our help (this is especially true in small town departments). So, we need to throw that switch from our starting point of community service to true enforcement. This can result in costly hesitation.

So, how do we level the playing field??

Mental rehearsal is one option. Going through scenarios helps your mind prepare for the fight, thus limiting reaction lag time.

Have a commanding presence. In these situations, being a “nice guy” is way overrated. Be “no-nonsense” when dealing with individuals who make you the least bit uncomfortable. You can always go up the kindness ladder if necessary. Set parameters for their behavior in your mind. If they break them, act decisively, act first, and act aggressively.

Control the environment. Dictate their actions small and large. Their inability to comply with the simplest order may tip you off to future noncompliance. And again, always have the bigger team. Keep the ratio at least 2-1 in favor of the Blue Team. If you are the least bit uncomfortable, 3-1 is better.

Good Luck.

Det. Ed Kane
Ed Kane is an Upper Saddle River, NJ Detective, Defensive Tactics instructor and a Self Defense Company Guardian Instructor

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Damian Ross

When you exhaust all other options, then what?

The following was inspired and borrowed liberally from the Gun Rights Roundup
by Buckeye Firearms Association

In Toledo Ohio, a thug has gone on an ugly and violent crime spree.

His technique is to prowl parking lots looking for an unlocked car he knows to be owned by a woman. He hides in the car then pounces when the woman gets in, robbing or threatening to rape the victim at gunpoint.

The advice from police? Lock your car doors.

That's sensible advice, but it doesn't address the central issue. What happens if the thug jumps you in the parking lot? Or what if he pulls out a gun while you're in a fast food store? This particular thug has done both.

The real message from Toledo police is that they can't protect you or prevent a crime. Your personal security is up to you.

Security experts will tell you to be aware of your surroundings and listen to your gut. If you see someone who appears out of place or threatening, you should take evasive action. That's fine as far as it goes, but if you're serious about security, you have to ask yourself an important question: "Then what?"

If you're aware of your surroundings, see a threat, and do everything you can to avoid a confrontation but can't, then what? If you lock your doors and turn on your security system and a bad guy breaks in anyway, then what? If you dial 911 and the operator tells you police will arrive within 10 minutes, but a criminal is threatening you now, then what?

Even if you own or carry a firearm, you must still get to your weapon. And if it's not in your hand, then what?

The don't ask, don't care mentality.

Police, government and corporations will NEVER advise you to use force to defend yourself. READ: NEVER. The last thing these organizations want is the liability of advising citizens to use force of any kind. Because of one simple reason: they don't want to get sued. Even if they're right, they will spend $495 per hour on lawyers to defend even the mere suggestion of taking a self defense course. In the end your safety is compromised because of their potential exposure for a law suit.

You are left on your own to sift through the confusing world of martial arts and self defense an industry more concerned with enrollment and sport than defensive tactics.

This is one reason that the Self Defense Training System (SDTS) is such a vital piece of the security puzzle. Once you accept the fact that your security is up to you, not the police, and after you take ordinary precautions to lower your risk, you must ask yourself, "Then what?"

This is also why we decided to let you try the program FREE for 30 days!No matter where you are, in your home or a deserted parking lot and encounter a violent criminal, the Self Defense Training System (SDTS) offers you an immediate and effective answer to the question "Then what?" And it doesn't take years to master and it will allow you to channel your will to survive.

The powers that be want to prevent you from having a good answer to "THEN WHAT?" question. They assume we're trying to turn people into violent killers. That couldn't be farther from the truth. We just want to make sure you have all available options by giving you simple and effective answers to tough situations. Whether you choose to use them is up to you.

It's better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it. Let the decision to become a victim be your choice and not the person pointing a gun in your face at 3 a.m.

Damian Ross
The Self Defense Training System
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Martial Arts
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Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Japanse Inspection and The Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling

St. Patrick's Day 2010 marked my debut as a Co-Host on the Radio Show Rear Naked Choke with long time veteran Joe Rizzo. The show featured two fighters on the opposite ends of the fight spectrum.

The first was Jay Herion a 19 and 4 Strike Force Fighter who is entering a pivotal point in his career. At age 33 he has proved himself to be a top notch fighter and waits patiently to get his big break. The other is female upstart Zoila Frausto an undefeated (5-0) Strike Force fighter on the verge of making a name for herself in the growing sport of woman's MMA.

Jay is at a crossroads. He's in a position he's worked all of his life for: peaking at the right age with 19 wins and only 4 losses to big name UFC fighters in the heavily contested middle weight division, he's reached the elite level. Unfortunately he's forced to do something he's not trained to do, wait. Currently he is in contract negotiations with Strike Force. If an agreement can't be reached in the next 30 days, he will be released from his contract. One would assume he would pursue a more lucrative contract with the the BIG SHOW known s the UFC.

In the meantime he's training, living clean (hell he wasn't even going out for St. Pat's- oh the humanity!) and biding his time for his shot at the title.

As a fighter, you're main concern is well, fighting. Staying in shape, improving your skill set and winning bouts. But that's only part of the big picture. You still have to get booked for fights. Fighters like Jay who have been around the block know the deal and put their faith in management to get them the best deal possible.

The problem he faces, like all fighters, is time. The longer he's kept waiting, the lower his stock goes. It's like the fabled "Japanese Inspection" made famous in the 1990's film Days of Thunder.

"You see when you see, when the Japs get in a load of lettuce they're not sure they wanna let in the country, why they'll just let it sit there on the dock 'til they get good and ready to look at. But then of course, it's all gone rotten... ain't nothing left to inspect."

Lettuce is a perishable item, like fighters. The longer things drag out, the more a fighter is forgotten. He loses his cache and then eventually his skill. By not fighting reputable opponents, he doesn't get challenged and nothing can replace good ring experience. Add to that the cold hard fact that he's simply aging he may never get his shot. His career may end, never reaching it's full potential.

What amazed me the most about Jay were his wrestling accomplishments. He only began wrestling in 9th grade. In high school he became a 2 time county champ and state place winner in New York which is no small task. Across the country there are only a handful of states that consistently produce great wrestlers: New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Iowa, Oklahoma, Ohio and California to name a few.

In college he was a Junior College National Champion. While it might not sound like much, Junior College (Juco) is much harder than Division 2 and Division 3. The athletes in the Juco's are primarily there for academic reasons. Great wrestlers who fail to meet the college academic standards continue their careers in the Juco's until they get picked up by a Division 1 school. Being a Juco National Champ is no joke.

At the end of the day, you would hope that the best fighters get to fight, but that's not always the case. I hope Jay gets his much deserved shot at glory.

Zoila Frausto is jumping up a weight to fight Miesha Tate at the March 26th Strike Force event. There's a lot of "trash talking" around this fight and it's shaping up to be the most watched under card event.

Zoila was extremely easy to talk to and almost gave us the goods on her "Girls Night Out" in Vegas, Entourage Style. I asked my co-host Joe if we could get a remote camera on that, of course I volunteered to cover the shoot...the things we do for you people.

One of the issues surrounding woman's MMA is the beauty and the beast controversy. It seems promoters are opting for Beauty over Brawn when it comes to pairing fights. The obvious angle is the GLOW (Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling) model where attractive women beat themselves up in the ring. The question is do MMA fans want to see quality fights or good looking fighters? In the end it will be the fans who decide when the powers that be tally the receipts at the box office. Of course Zoila, wasn't concerned with any of that shit, she just wants to fight anyone she can get her gloves on!

In the end she was a good sport. Joe put her up to calling me "Fresh Meat" since it was my first time behind the mic. But hell, I didn't see it that way. Anytime a 26 year old woman calls a 42 year man "Fresh Meat" its a compliment.

To check out the full interview visit the link below.

RNC Radio live: Zoila Frausto and Jay Hieron

Posted using ShareThis

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Damian Ross
The Self Defense Training System

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Lament for the REAL MAN?

What the Hell Happened to Real Men?

When I was young it was stand up for the girl, stand up for what is right, don't back down from bullies and never hit a guy with glasses. Real men always did the right thing. They took care of their families and put food on the table.

We had role models like Mike Brady of the Brady Bunch, James Evans of Goodtimes, Steve Douglas of My Three Sons and good old Ward Cleaver of Leave it to Beaver. On the big screen there was Stallone, Eastwood, Lee Marvin, Robert Mitchum, and of course the Duke "John Wayne". They represented the man of the time:
they worked, they fought, they were faithful and honorable. They took responsibility and had accountability.

The dads I knew went to work and loved mom. He dispensed kindness and discipline with the wisdom of Solomon. He showed you how to take responsibility, treat a woman with respect, showed compassion and kindness and was willing to fight for his beliefs.

Unfortunately, somewhere along the line those ideals became outdated and antiquated to caveman proportions. Men have been force fed their feminine side. Ideals have have been replaced with "reality". "Reality" is code for shifting focus from the good to the bad. Let's face it, you watch reality shows for the train wrecks, not the triumphs.

"Reality" has become the new truth and it's perverted. Our effort to show this new "truth" men has destroyed the image of REAL MEN. We are taught that real men are narrow-minded Neanderthals incapable of being humane. They are 2 dimension throwbacks that objectify women and are prone to violence.

Real men have been taught that all violence is bad. That violence doesn't solve anything. Well, it may not solve anything, but it sure stops a lot of shit. Violence is a SOLUTION, not an ANSWER.

Real men have been forced into social sensitivity training. We have been told it's OK to cry. Listen, real men only cry at funerals, Old Yeller and when they retire from professional sports. They can shed an occasional tear, but no more than two.

In the media men are unfaithful, cheat are deadbeat and nonexistent. They have been portrayed as buffoons an inept providers. Cliff Huckstable has been replaced by Homer Simpson and Peter Griffin. The new series Modern Family portrays the DADS like this: One is like an impetuous child, another is an antiquated tough guy with the proverbial wife who is 25 years younger and finally the homosexual couple who have my gay friends saying "they're a little over the top." Hell, even Spider-man and Superman developed "issues".

If left to use the mass media example of a what a real man is, my son will have 3 kids with 3 different mothers, no job and be living in my basement for the next 30 years eating nothing but peanut butter and crackers, smoking pot and playing Gears of War 15.

My daughter will learn to accept any substandard behavior because her expectations will be lowered to the point of ZERO. She will be mistreated and abused while moving from one failed relationship to another. Doesn't it bother anybody that the rate of divorce is 50%.

We have been told that marriage is unnatural and outdated. That animals are not monogamous, so how can you expect humans to be? Really, have we put our intellect on the level of the rest of the animal kingdom? People cheat and there's a high rate of divorce because the men you created are little whining maggots too concerned with their fulfillment. You have made them so sensitive that they question EVERY ASPECT OF THEIR LIVES. They are insecure, congratulations on your new inner child!

Listen, there are some people who shouldn't be together. But growing apart is....BULLSHIT!!! How can you grow apart when you live together. What happens is you get too distracted by your own world and FORGOT what you promised each the hell did I wind up here?

Back on track.

The media will not help you. Time to turn off the TV and teach our kids to hold themselves to a higher standard. To be accountable and assume responsibility.

So far I have created a list of rules I am going to instill in my kids. The list is a work in progress but here goes.
For starters my son will:
1. Hold the door open for a woman
2. Pick up the check
3. Know how to protect himself
4. Stand up for what he thinks is right
5. Know that NO means NO.
6. To treat women with respect and kindness
7. To own his mistakes
8. To never kiss on the first date
9. To help the little guy in trouble
10.To play hard and by the rules
11. To know that steroids are not an acceptable performance enhancer
12. To be honest and loyal to his friends and family until given sufficient reason otherwise.
13. Never send a digital image of any body part, whatsoever.
14. Always be polite

My daughter will:
1. Never wait for a boy
2. Never do anything just because it's time or for the sake of doing it
3. Know how to protect herself
4. Know how she should be treated
5. To never pick up a check
6. To be honest and loyal to friends and family until given sufficient reason otherwise
Stand up for what he thinks is right
7. Know that NO means NO.
8. To treat men with respect and honesty
9. To own his mistakes
10. To never kiss on the first date
11. To help the little guy in trouble
12.To play hard and by the rules
13. Never send a digital image of any body part, whatsoever
14. Always be polite

The bar for behavior has been set so low that I don't think it even exists. Other than murder and rape, most everything is fair game. Like LtCol Slade in Scent of a Woman said "Grow up! [Today]It's fuck your buddy, cheat on your wife, call your mother on Mother's Day!"

Well not on my watch. I will not accept the "anything is good enough standard" that is set. I will not let myself or my family settle. We will strive to be a better son, daughter, friend, sister, brother and coworker. They will expect more of themselves and not at the expense of losing themselves. They will understand the virtues of a REAL MAN.

Damian Ross
The Self Defense Company
Family Safe Program
The Self Defense Training System

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Self defense is not Spiritual

Self defense is not spiritual, it's tactical. It's not a style, it's a purpose. From self preservation and survival, to complete devastation of your enemy, it's whatever works. A closed fist or a firearm, it is the method that is most expedient and most convenient.

The question is not why you defend yourself but how. How to defeat the enemy as quickly as possible. How to use any means necessary. How to survive an assault or a rape. How to channel your will to survive in the most efficient and effective means possible. How to inflict as much damage and injury while sustaining as little as possible. How to survive in any possible environment and situation. How to perform correctly when conscious thought and the power to speak is gone. How to react effectively when you're incapable of reason. How to survive when you're only able to perform a single action.

The question is never why. Why is this person doing this to me? Why can't I just live my life in peace? Why would I ever want to harm another human being? These are questions of morality and reason. These are the questions to ask before and after, but never during.

Self defense knows no morality. It knows no right from wrong, only the living and the dead. It does not reason, it just acts swiftly and ruthlessly. Self defense is a cold hard tool to be used with extreme discretion, but when deployed must be done so with 100% conviction until the threat is stopped. Anything less is a gross miscalculation.

You live your life with ethics, morals and laws. You let your heart and your conscious guide your decisions. But when it's time to act, the samurai used to say "only think of the cut" and the commando's used to say "do your worst, fast and first". Once the switch is flipped morality takes a back seat and you must be prepared to do what ever it takes.

If you live your live correctly. If you are a moral and a good person, your actions, no matter how brutal, will be justified. Do not think twice about why, just focus on the how because when you are actually put in a position to defend yourself when properly prepared, you will not ask WHY.

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Damian Ross

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The two Big Lies Martial Artists Like to Tell

Martial Artist's Big Lie #1. I train 7 days a week, 8 hours a day for 25 years

Sure you do and I suppose those are magic beans as well?

When it comes to training, no one can lie like a martial artist. If they did it once, they did it all the time if they did it twice, they did it forever. If they trained once in January 2000 and again in 2005...that's 5 years of training! Listen, here's the truth about training: you can only do it in intense spurts for so long because your body and your mind can't endure prolonged intensive training. Let's take a step outside the wonderful world of martial arts and look at professional and elite athletes.

Athletes target their training for a competition or season. There is an off season, a preseason and an in season. An athlete wants to be a peak physical an mental condition at the time of competition. An athlete also wants to recover before preparing for the next event. Elite athletes, including college competition, have about 8 years. After that time your body will break down. The infamous Dan Gable Olympic Champ wrestler and former Iowa Hawkeye head coach stopped at the age of 23 because his body couldn't take the punishment of training. Now in his seventies he is held together by fake joints.

When someone tells me they train full contact or high intensity for a few hours a day seven days a week, I have to call bullshit. Either we have different definitions of full contact or your lying. Any work out of high intensity will tear you up over extended period of time. To tell you the truth, when I was putting myself through those types of work outs, the last thing I want to do is to post about it on the net. I did everything I could to forget them. It's only now that I can look back at them with the "those were the good old days" attitude. But I'm not going to lie, the only good part about training was when it was over.

Martial Artist's Big Lie#2. You must always train and practice

For the rest of your life? Doesn't there come a time where you've acquired enough skill. Hey, maybe you're not Bruce Lee yet, but maybe you don't want to be Bruce Lee, maybe you just want to be Brandon Lee. Ask a martial arts instructor if you need to keep training, the answer will always be YES (never ask a barber if you need a haircut either). But let me ask you, how is it that boxers still have a punch in their 60s and baseball players can still throw and catch. Not as good as when they were young, but it's still better than the majority of the population. The reason is simple: core motor skills like throwing or kicking a ball and swinging a bat or a club will stay with you for the rest of your life. The more simple the action, the less muscle memory needs to be created. Simple movements stay, complex movements deteriorate.

I know I can go out right now and kick a ball half way across a football field and I haven't done it in years. I also know that I can knock a dude's head clean off with an edge of hand and I do not practice everyday. Heck it's been months since I actually practiced an edge of hand! Simple movements become instinctive, complex movements do not.

Techniques in the Self Defense Training System like the edge of hand, chin jab, hammer fist, elbows, knees and stomps are all core strength and gross motor movements. I won't be able to do a jump spinning kick when I'm 60, but I will be able to knock someone out with a chin jab.

The fact is, you don't need 1/8 as much as training as you think you need so feel free to call BULLSHIT on the next keyboard ninja who blogs about how many years he's done something or another. Believe me when I tell you, the guys who actually go through that type of training are in no mood to talk about it.

Damian Ross
The Self Defense Company
The Self Defense Training System

Monday, March 8, 2010

Rules of Self Defense

The Rules of Self Defense

The rules define the game. Judo rules, create the judo sport, MMA rules create the MMA sport and martial arts have a style and etiquette all their own, based on their culture of origin. These rules are designed to balance entertainment with participant safety. While technically, when it comes self defense there are "no rules in the street", there does exist a specific set of tactical factors you must abide by in order to maximize your chance of survival.

The “Rules” of Self Defense

1. Your tactics must be simple, gross motor skills. When you experience FIGHT or FLIGHT stress, millions of years of evolution kick in and prepare you for battle. Among dozens of perceptual changes you will experience (from tunnel vision to loss of hearing) your heart rate increases and your blood flows from your extremities to your vital organs and major muscle groups. The result is that you will only to be able to perform gross movements of the legs and arms. Finite skills that involve subtle movement of the fingers, wrist, small precise movements and tactics that require cognitive planning and strategy will be impossible. You'll only be able to perform a handful (3 to 5) of simple skills. LtCol Grossman’s Book “On Combat” gives an excellent analysis of this physiological and psychological experience under combat conditions.

2. You will be attacked when you are injured, tired and older or appear weak and distracted. Criminals, like predators, choose targets of opportunity. If you appear weak, you will be a target. The most effective defensive tactics enable you to perform under any possible physical restriction. This includes the use of weapons. The rule is simple, if you can leave your home, you better be able to protect yourself.

3. Your assailant is armed.
Criminals will stack the odds in their favor. Career criminals who know that using a weapon carries a heavier sentence may try to strong arm you instead of using a weapon during the first contact. After you survive the first attack, he may then decide to use a weapon. According to the 2005 study by the Bureau of justice in approximately 70% of violent crime arrests there was a weapon present.

Another scenario is low light conditions. How can you tell if that punch isn't a stab? In order to increase your chances of survival, you must assume every attack is a weapon attack. Methods that require you to first identify the weapon and then shift gears and use a different set of techniques have an extremely low success rate. Hick’s Law proves this as fact. Hick’s Law describes the time it takes for a person to make a decision as a result of the possible choices he or she has. The more choices you have, the slower your reaction time.

4. Your attacker is larger and stronger than you.
In the street, intimidation is a big factor. Bigger people with bad intent will pick on smaller people. Nothing has changed since grammar school. Knowing this, methods that require you to overpower your enemy should be avoided.

5. Your assailant will have friends.
Criminals need an edge. It could be a weapon, it could be size and it could also be accomplices. Most times you won't even know it's a multiple attacker scenario until it's too late. Smart street fighters will have friends waiting in the background. The idea of having different tactics for single and multiple attackers is ludicrous for two reasons. First, every attack is a multiple attacker scenario regardless of what you see initially. Second, you can only fight what is directly in front of you. Once you engage, your mind will only allow you to focus on one act, one target and one direction. (See Rule number 1)

6. You must consider every environment.
Attacks happen where you work and live. Through the course of your day and depending on the season, your environment is constantly changing from icy parking lot, to carpeted floor. You can’t move 10 feet in any direction without running into a wall, a piece of furniture or a change of elevation. Sliding foot work that looks good in the gym or dojo is impractical under real world conditions. Even your footwork must be “pre-programmed” to handle any terrain.

7. You must use tactics that cause maximum injury to your attacker, minimum injury to you. This is the name of the game. The person who wins is the one with the least amount of injury. From weapons to empty hand, everything thing you do must cause more damage to your target at a faster rate than you are being injured.

8. Your attacker has intent on killing or injuring you. Anyone who is willing to threaten you or use force on you has no regard for your safety. In order to maximize your survivability you must assume this to be true and react accordingly. That means doing whatever you need to survive, without any regard for your attacker’s safety. Anything less will leave you vulnerable.

What makes a good self defense system?
A good system of self defense only needs to consider the factors of distance, position, momentum and balance. Distance: where you are in relation to the target. Position: how you are situated in with your target; standing, one standing, the other on the ground, both on the ground, etc. Momentum: increase yours by injuring him and moving through him. Injuring him more and more with each attack until he can no longer counter attack. Finally, balance, maintain yours, and disrupt his. These criteria for self defense are purely tactical. There’s no mention of style or system. These are common denominator, common sense factors that must be adhered to whenever possible. Along with good fitness, the right system and an "assume the worst and hope for the best" attitude. You will be able to survive and win most any situation.
Train Honestly,

Damian Ross

The Self Defense Training System
The Self Defense Company

Friday, March 5, 2010

The Biggest Match of My Life

It's that time of year when the best of the best compete for a state wrestling title in New Jersey. Every year I recall my experience competing with the state's best.

It was my junior year and since I lost in the Region 2 final, I had to wrestle on Wednesday night in the preliminary bouts. Coincidentally, that was the same day I was to take my road test for my driver's license and I'll be damned if I was going to wait a whole other two weeks to taste the sweet freedom one can only experience behind the wheel. So when it came time to schedule my test, I took the first one I could. Coming from a family of over achievers (which is a euphemism for taking on way too much shit). It was this family trait that caused me to play 2 division 1 sports in college AND take 2 math classes my first semester which didn't exactly put me on the Dean's list...

Sucked out, beat up from the long season and a complete bundle of nerves, my mom and I took my Dad's 1984 Trans Am (screaming chicken on the hood and all) down to DMV.
I pull up and my mom exits the car leaving the seat in a position that fit her 5" tall frame. Enter the man that held my freedom of the road fate on his clipboard. All 5'6 and 235 pounds of him with a belly that would rival any sumo. The poor guy gets in the car and his knees were somewhere north of his ears, I swear to God he was gasping for air as he tried to locate the seat adjustment which of course was under the front of his seat. I only had a few seconds to help him adjust the seat before he passed out so I reached down, between his legs, trying to avoid any and all body contact, and pulled the seat adjustment. A wave of relief came over his face as he snapped back to position. After his complexion turned a normal color, he gathered himself and told me to proceed. My foot was literally shaking side to side while I went through my test. Needless to say, I passed. One down, one more to go.

The tournament was surreal, my first match was against a tough kid from High Point. After double overtime I was declared the winner. On Friday I had two tough bouts that I won by a score of 5 to 3. I was in the zone. Heading into the semi final, I was feeling pretty good.

That night I needed my rest and I had to make weight the next day so it was pretty low key. For some bizarre reason, I thought I could work on my application essay for Annapolis (remember that over achieving trait). I think I wrote a paragraph and set it on the dresser in the hotel room. Now, I'm sure this is the same all over the country, if you're not wrestling in the tournament, it is one big party. Coaches and wrestlers reunite in a bachelor party type atmosphere to drink, swap stories and get into the kind of trouble that should only be reserved for shore leave.

I was rooming with my 23 year old brother Phil and Paul, a life-long friend and our 108-pounder, who was knocked out of the tournament earlier. He, one of our assistant coaches and long time friend and former state champ, Guy, went out to partake in that nights debauchery.

I was alone, watched some TV and finally went to sleep. At some time in the night, Paul and Phil returned feeling the full effects of the evening. They settled into bed and I went back too sleep. Some time later I awoke to see one of them (you know who you are) prepare to relieve himself on the nightstand. The only thing I could get out was "NO!!". At first, it appeared that my warning worked as he staggered toward the bathroom. But that wasn't the case. He stopped half way and finished his business on the dresser, right on my Annapolis essay. Needless to say I considered that my rough draft and left it for dead. I should point out here that payback are a bitch when years later I got a little payback in what is known as the New Year's Eve incident of 1986.

The next day I still wrestled well, losing to the Outstanding Wrestler in the tournament and placing fourth after a double over time consolation bout. Little did I know that would be the last of my high school career since I would sustain a season ending injury during the state final football game. Suffice to say, I wouldn't trade it for the world, that time in the state tournament always brings a smile to my face and ff my kid ever makes it to the state tournament, I'm making damn sure I room with him.