In-Fight Micro Movement – Darren Friesen

People who’ve sparred a lot in combat sports or in their weapons training become good at things I call “micro-movements”, which are rarely taught and legitimately hard-to-teach. Why they’re not taught, predominantly, is because they’re different for every person and experience-driven. (Other contributing factors: the club doesn’t spar or spar often, and the instructor doesn’t know how to impart that particular info due to the previous sentence) Whatever the reason, they are instinctive and good fighters do them innately/experientially They’re things you figure out on your own (learned, not “taught”) that are subtle and minute but can change the outcome – instinctive and innate. They’re NOT skills like “evading”, “trapping”, or “countering” but the minutiae that facilitate those skillsets. For example – foot placement/replacement, subtle weight shifts, fades, angling, feinting/feigned body commitment or vulnerability, pulls/pushes, pivots, small barely-seen body movements, all the way to feinting and baiting.

They’re NOT techniques but things learned WHILE fighting, the small elements that we discover repeatedly over time during the honing of those “tools” during testing and application against active and dynamic resistance. People who just do relatively static TMA, I’ve found personally, don’t have these and often aren’t even aware of them. Boxers, grapplers, fencers, all have them as they seldom do anything other than pound fundamentals and train pressure, AND how to fine-tune those fundamentals under pressure. Small nuances that exceptional and experienced fighters do, is what sets them apart. (We see it repeatedly in combat sports with those who excel) And when something is innate and instinctive, it’s immediately more “recallable” and accessible.

Bullying in Germany, Part I – Rory Miller

Had a nice conversation with a young mother in Germany. From her perspective, primary schools and kindergartens are becoming more violent and the teachers do nothing. If a victim reports an act of bullying, the victim either gets in trouble or is called a tattletale and shamed for reporting.

Are schools actually more violent?

Two reasons why what you hear may not be what is there:

The first is that reporting on violence does not equal violence. The first time I tracked this, there was a period (and, sorry, can’t be more specific. I’m an old man who’s had a lot of concussions, so it’s better not to trust my memory) anyway, during this period, violent crime dropped by 10%, while reporting on violent crime rose 300%. So people experienced a 10% drop in violence but were exposed to a tripling in the violence they heard about. People felt that crime was skyrocketing and that contributed greatly to the tough-on-crime legislation that followed.

Same with bullying. My kids experienced significantly less physical (and I think verbal) violence and bullying than was common in my time. Bullying has always been endemic, but when reporting on bullying became a fad it sounded like the bullying itself had skyrocketed.

The second factor is that where we set the bar for violence has shifted. The mom I talked to said her son is attacked every other day. Bruises? No. Bloody noses? No. If a push or a threat is considered violence now and it wasn’t when I was a kid, it will look like violence is rising because we throw more things under the label. So caveat lector.

There is a third spoiler, and one that people who use government statistics have to be very wary of. Bureaucracies have become increasingly sophisticated. Many have learned that you can affect the statistics directly. The zero-tolerance policies in US schools mean that the victim who reports an act of violence is also punished for partaking in a violent act. Punish the reporters and the crime won’t get reported. Voila, reported acts of bullying have dropped to almost zero.

Want to eliminate reported rape? Send the victims to jail if they report. Then no one will report and, according to the bureaucracies’ paperwork, the crime will no longer exist.*

Bullying has always existed. It exists in animals. Bullying is not the strong preying on the weak, it is the strong showing their power by toying with the weak. The reason it always happens is because kids, as a rule, have very little power, so when they find some, they revel in it. Affecting the world and expressing power are the same thing. And it feels good. Creating art, or building a bookshelf or finishing an article all feel good and all affect the world. And the same with breaking things. When a kid learns that he can make another child cry, that is power. And it feels good. A lot of socialization is teaching kids not to use that power.

Fighting and bullying.

Fighting first. Being raised rural and blue-collar, fighting was just something boys did. We learned it was fun, we learned that it hurt. It also had consequences. Every family was a little different but there were types of fights you would be praised for (defending your younger sibling from being picked on) and others you would get in trouble for (being a bully and losing***.)

So you learned, over time, what was worth fighting for and how to regulate damage.

Bullying. The strong pick on the weak. But the strongest up through high school were always the adults, the teachers. Stronger, bigger, more experienced (because most of my instructors had also been raised in an environment where fighting was an acceptable, normal skill) the teachers would win. If they saw a fight going too far, they would grab whoever was winning by the scruff of the neck and throw him (usually a him) across the room.

It was a rare expression of adult power, but it had a message: No matter how big or tough you were, there was someone bigger and tougher. Anything you did to your victims could be done to you.

And in that was a huge lesson. Maturity, being adult, was about having power and not using it. At least not using it to dominate others. And there was a smaller lesson as well: There are times when it is fully appropriate to use force, like when stopping people from victimizing others.

This process eventually, for most, grew into a healthy socialization about power and violence. It wasn’t perfect, of course. Diversity means that a one-size-fits-all answer will always be wrong. But this approach had evolved over millennia and worked pretty well

Two expressions from this era: “Why don’t you pick on someone your own size?” “How do you think you would feel if I did to you what you did to him?” Encapsulated that socialization process. This system actually builds empathy.

Peter Jones

Peter Jones has been training for over twenty-seven years, starting at aged eleven. He has amassed a number of grades including six dan grades and was instructor of the year for an international organisation in 2007.

He now heads the Kajuen Ryu, the Orchard School of Martial arts which is based in Worcestershire, England, and has a strong pragmatic focus.

Pete was able to continue training through university and finds his professional role as a specialist emergency nurse mutually complimentary with pragmatic martial arts (although not so much the shifts!)


Angela Meyer

Angela is a seasoned teacher of Yoga, Budokon and Self Defense. Her vision is to utilize movement as a modality for lasting change, healing and transformation. As a leader in the Women’s Self Defense Movement, she inspires women to be physically strong and safe, while also creating paradigm shifts in how we see ourselves in the world. She believes in pushing students out of their comfort zone in order to mirror back their resilience to rise.

She leads Yoga Teacher Trainings, Yoga classes, Women’s Self Defense workshops, corporate events, privates and kids training throughout the DMV area. Aside from her Movement background, she has a Masters of Divinity, is a certified End of Life Care Counselor, studied Buddhist chaplaincy through the New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care, and worked for 12 years at Joseph’s House AIDS hospice. She is a competitive Martial Artist in Muay Thai, Jiu Jitsu and MMA. She also knows every 80s Monster Ballad and loves craft beer. ​​

Angela’s website

Bill Kipp

The Founder of the Best in Industry Award Winning FAST Defense System, Bill Kipp is one of the most experienced instructors on the planet in adrenal stress self defense training. A former US Marine Recon Team Leader, Bill has earned a 5th degree black belt in his 40 years of studying a wide array of martial arts. In 2012 he was voted the 2012 Black Belt Hall of Fame Self Defense Instructor of the Year, He has personally logged well over 50,000 adrenal stress scenarios including empty hand self defense, armed and multiple attacker defense, combat ground-fighting and defensive use of weapons. He and his International Team of Certified Instructors have conducted literally hundreds of thousands of live scenarios to people ranging from children and teens, soccer moms to law enforcement officers, military security forces operatives, martial arts masters and professional fighters.

Companies including Lucent Technology, Lockheed Martin, MCI, the US Department of Fish & Wildlife, US Air Force and many others have contracted with FAST Bill for the FAST Defense technologies for conflict resolution, team building, assertive communication, and personal protection.


Malcolm Rivers

Malcolm Rivers began his self-defense journey early in life as the quiet son of a reformed gang banger in a violent neighborhood. Since then he’s spent years studying, formally and otherwise, the role of predatory violence in urban environments. He wrestled in high school, found Krav Maga in college and, upon moving to the Washington D.C. area, fell into an on again off again romance with Danzan Ryu Jujutsu.

Malcolm now teaches self protection skills with Nova Self Defense and District Combatives. He also manages rooms full of drunken belligerents for extra money. In his free time he enjoys cooking, video games, and doing what his girlfriend tells him.

You can reach Malcolm via

The Angela Meyer Interview, Part I – Erik Kondo

Who is Angela Meyer? —————————————————- 2

Pushing Your Students and Red Lines —————————- 5

The Effects of Female Socialization ——————————– 7

Running and Personal Safety —————————————— 10

Female Interest in Women’s Self-Defense ———————– 14

Understanding Risk vs. Reward ————————————— 16

Boundary Setting: Communication and Enforcement —– 19

Fear and Anger —————————————————————— 21

Emotional State and Mental Images ———————————- 24


Erik: Please tell me a little about yourself. I am interested in hearing about your background and current activities.

Angela: Ha ha…these days if someone were to ask me that question, my answer off the bat would be to laugh and say, “it’s complicated, but I’m actually always working on the act of balance to make it ‘more simple’.

I was a collegiate soccer player, did not speak as a little girl, to the point of therapist wondering if some sort of “trauma” was involved in my “muteness.”  Found voice through tapping into deeper currents through the team mentality of soccer and spirituality.  After graduating college, I lived in Brazil favelas with a family for a year because I felt drawn to the “edges.”  I got a Masters of Theological Studies from the Iliff School of Theology in Denver, CO and volunteered/ lived/ worked for over 10 years at an AIDS hospice in DC for homeless men and women called Josephs House. In this time span I also started teaching Yoga, and became an End of Life Counselor through the Metta Institute in San Fran.  I left DC to live in NYC and study as a Buddhist Chaplain through the New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care.  Working in the “liminal” space between life and death has been one of the most life-giving spaces for me, as it is “real”, and there is no “bull-shit.”

While I was in NYC I found, a practice called Budokon through a Yoga studio where I taught.  That was my first introduction into Martial Arts.  I had had therapist for years telling me I should do Martial Arts, and my response was always, “I don’t have time for another thing.” After my first taste of Martial Arts, I had visions of being Million Dollar Baby and trained seriously in all aspects since then.

Upon moving back to DC a year later, I trained very seriously in Krav Maga and MMA, Muay Thai, Jiu Jitsu, wrestling.  From the beginning, I had a desire to compete, but I also suffer from anxiety which kept getting in the way.  I also had to do a lot of internal work, around my identity of being a “caregiver.”  All the work I had done professionally, was in an intense caregiving role.  I had to work out internally what it meant to be a “caregiver” and also what it means to be “violent”.  I wanted to fight so bad in a ring or cage, but didn’t think I’d be able to hit someone in the face, ground and pound and make them bleed. I had to work through my own inner violence, and integrate the feelings and meaning attached to it.

In the last year and a half…I finally stepped into a Muay Thai ring four times and am currently training for a fight at the end of April.  Although the fear and anxiety is there every time, I’m learning more and more about my “limbic threshold” and through great coaching being able to access more than I thought was there.

I’ve trained in self-defense for the past six years through Fit to Fight, an organization that recently broke away from Krav Maga, but focuses on both Self-defense and training students to fight. I will be testing for my Black Belt this August in San Antonio.

Currently I teach Yoga, lead Yoga Teacher Trainings, teach a lot of Women’s Self-defense, travel and teach workshops with my partner who is also my coach. I normally train 3 hours a day and am always looking for balance which I’ve accepted is not a destination but a continual act.  I am fascinated between the similarities in Yoga, Fighting (Martial Arts/Self Defense) and working with Death, breathing is the common thread.

I’ll stop there and we can continue.

Erik:  Well, I had a suspicion that you had an interesting background and you definitely do.

In terms of women’s self-defense, what is the focus of your teaching? What is the primary message/take-away that you want your students to receive from your classes?

Angela: To stop waiting for prince charming or someone to come save them.  To learn to be your own hero.

To stop apologizing away their lives and instead say, “I wish a mother fucker would.”  To understand that it’s possible to still be fiercely compassionate and violent in the same moment.  To not fear their own violence, but to channel it, creating boundaries, not just in a self-defense scenario, but every relationship in their lives.  To say no when they want and yes when they want.  To understand that if someone chose to attack them, they must dehumanize them…they have become an object, therefore no one cares how you “feel”, or if you are tired or don’t want to right now.

I want students to become more intimate with their perceived “red line”…the place where physically they think they have nothing more to give. They can’t go on…where they are highly uncomfortable…and I coach them to see if they can access more…to realize that they may just a little bit more to give.  To understand that if someone crossed a line in the sand and they had to “fight”, no one would care if they were fucking tired, or uncomfortable, they just should go.

This comes full circle to the psychological work.  The “pre-emptive” self-defense.  Questions like What would you be willing to fight for?  What are you fighting for currently? (doesn’t have to be physical), Could you kill someone? What would you be willing to do?

I think it is very important to do the “inner” work of self-defense, as well as the physical.

Erik: Please expand on what you mean by “I wish a motherfucker would…”

Angela:  “I wish a mother fucker would” is of course used more for effect than a literal expression.

When I’m teaching, I make sure I clarify that I am not literally walking around the world, hoping someone will attack me. I am a small woman, and even though I “train” am under no assumption that size, terrain, surprise, weapons, etc, don’t matter, they do. I use this “phrase” to explain walking around as a woman with confidence. I explain to the women I teach, that after training in Self Defense/Fighting, I walk different on the streets of DC. I am still fully aware of my vulnerability, I just have a different awareness. If I am walking on the street and I hear someone sketchy coming behind me, I am more ready, more alert. I look if there are places I can run, are there other people around, is there anything I could use as a weapon? I want to show that I would not be an easy target. This is what I’m talking about when I say “ I wish a mother fucker would” mentality, like a game face on, even if inside my bones are shaking.

Erik:  Based on what you said about pushing your students and their Red Lines.

How do you deal with the fact that what you really want to do is push these women both physically and mentally, but there is always the very real possibility that due to past history with trauma (or something else) that one or more of them will have an emotional breakdown?

This creates a situation in group training where the students are effectively limited by the weakest member(s) of the group.

For example, you simulate a high-pressure assault and the student breaks under the pressure. The result is that she ends off being psychologically worse off than before. Her confidence is lowered, not raised.

On the other hand, the other women in the group would benefit from dealing with having their limits pushed, tested, and ultimately expanded.

Many instructors deal with this issue by creating “fantasy fights” where everyone “wins” regardless of the effectiveness of their actions.

The side effect being that the students leave the training with an unrealistic assessment of their ability and never really get “tested”.

How do you deal with this problem?

Angela: Wow, these are great questions and very real ones. I have had several students who have had a history of trauma from mild to very severe and I think the key word is TRUST.  I lead with a no bullshit approach, and I push students to their breaking points, but because of my background in Chaplaincy, hospice and counseling, I never do this without having first created a safe space.

I lead with ferocity but also a feminine energy (not meaning, because I’m a woman, just more circular).  I sit the women down in a circle before we start, I share a little bit about my fear and vulnerability, not in a sense of oversharing, or being “soft”, but so that they will trust me. I tell them that I am okay holding any of their “feelings” and that my job is not for them to like me, but to ruffle their feathers.

That said, because I am a trained professional in creating community, safe spaces and counseling…I feel able to not baby women who have had past experiences, but go at their speed.  Many of the women are also seeing therapist in conjunction with self-defense training.  I’ve had so many different experiences and deal with them each on an individual basis, through deep listening and a mutual trust relationship.  If I have not established trust or created a safe space, I would not be able to do this.  I think that is why it can be so healing to have a Woman teach all women’s self-defense.  In these environments, it can feel safe enough to break down, fall apart, get angry, and work through trauma.    Even though my goal is to explore their limbic threshold through pushing physically and psychologically, I am also a fierce nurturer, and energetically embody a safe presence.

I also am not an advocate of protecting or babying women, but I don’t think it is black and white, especially when dealing with real trauma. This is where I think self-defense is such a personal journey and there are no “right and wrong” answers.

I do not change the intensity or ferocity of my teaching, but I am highly aware and sensitive, to those who have had prior experiences.

Sometimes I’ll have them work with specific people, like my assistants.  I always provide techniques for self-care after.  I also make sure to let these women know that they are in charge.  I do not force anyone to go where they are not ready to go, but I work with them in an intimate way to take their power back…again, for each woman I’ve worked with, it’s been a personal journey.

So, I guess, my “circular answer” to your great question is…I could not do the work I do, I could not ask women to go to the places that scare them the most, if I did not first create trust and a safe space.  This is one reason I think it is helpful to have female teachers of Self Defense.  It’s hard to fully understand what it’s like to walk around the world as a woman if you are not one.  Just like as a white woman, I can never understand fully what it means to walk around as a person of color.

End of Part I.


Marcus Linde

I am Marcus Linde and since 2001 deepened a form from the Cheng Man Ching line of Yang style Tai Chi Chuan under Master Detlef Klossow from Düsseldorf. In addition, I continue to form the sword, walking stick and longstock in the pushing hands of the Taiji (Tui Shou) and the weapon forms.

Since 2012, I have been working on aspects of self-protection and violence prevention. Here I regularly attend courses for pioneers of reality-based self-defense such as the American author Rory Miller , or the Canadian “enfant terrible” of the scene, Richard Dimitri . My knowledge and skills in this area are being looked at in the training of health care and nursing, social services and educational institutions.


Matt Beecroft

Matt Beecroft is the Director and Head Coach of Reality Self Defence and Conditioning with over 12 years experience working within both the self defence and fitness industries.

I have a list of current and previous clients including the world aerobics champion, government departments, members of Adelaide STAR group, Adelaide Remand Centre Correctional Services Officers and various personnel of SAPOL, the Army, Navy, Air Force and security, professional athletes, personal trainers, amateur fighters and everyday people wanting to reach their full potential in the areas of health, fitness and personal safety.


Mirav Tarkka

Israeli-born Mirav is a world-renowned self-defense expert, specializing in Krav Maga (Israeli Contact Combat).  With over seventeen years of  experience as a trainer, Mirav founded Defense Tactics™ (International Combat Training) and Recharge™ (Alternative Functional Fitness) and has now set a goal to inspire, train and help empower individuals and groups at all levels, focusing on the mindset and mental training (as well as the physical aspect) and creating  online courses especially for women all around the world, regardless of their physical abilities, age or culture.  

Mirav studied, trained and served with the IDF (Israeli Defense Forces) at the Wingate Institute (Israel), then completed and instructed many international training courses.  She holds university degrees in Psychology and Criminology and a diploma in Physical Education.  With appearances on television, features in magazines and newspapers throughout Europe, Mirav is often invited to demonstrate her work at many international workshops and seminars covering self-defense related topics.

Recently Mirav became a mother of two and says:

“Having my daughters has emphasized even more, for me, how important my role in life is. I need to be able to protect them, at all times, I can’t trust anyone to do that ‘for me’. I need to be strong, extra-assertive, powerful, to be capable of defending them and myself, and to set an example of the independent women I want them both to be. The love of a mother for her children is the greatest force  that exists – that is my underlying drive and that will be what protects them, combined with my knowledge and experience. I would truly wish for all women in the world (and men) to realize their true power, whether they are mothers or not, their true responsibility to themselves and their loved ones, and to take full control of their lives. No one should have power over you.”