Tribes, Super-tribes, Uber-Tribes – Marc MacYoung

Something I am working on is explaining the human ‘wiring’ to be tribal and how modern society has pushed us out of our comfort zone when it comes to the ‘size’ of our tribe.

This is a simple concept with MASSIVE implications.
Starting with that we ‘owe’ obligations/sharing/support/concern to those INSIDE our tribe. The rules of how we treat those inside our tribe are very specific. We NEED the tribe for our survival. These reciprocal tribal obligations are what kept our species alive on a planet that was trying to kill us. Yes, this is a species level survival issue. Other species went extinct, we haven’t — because we are social primates. At the same time, when it comes to those outside our small tribe… well it ranges from not my problem to ‘fuck them’ to — and this is the source of my growing concern — “We’re going to get those evil rat bastards.” Changing tracks, I want you to understand something about an idea you take for granted. Nations are a VERY recent invention in terms of humanity. (250 years vs. 200,000 years.) Here’s another kick to the gut. The idea isn’t global yet either. But let’s look at what you were raised in in the West. We are told that as a nation we are a giant Uber-tribe. If you are a US citizen you have 324,000,000 fellow tribes people. You’ve been conditioned to accept this as ‘normal.’ Except there’s just one little glitch…

This is beyond most people’s functional ability — WAY beyond. Dunbar’s number postulates that we can only maintain between 100 to 250 stable relationships. That is our actual ‘tribe’ (or village if you will). With a little mental gymnastics most people can be comfortable with the idea of a Super-tribe (lots of people like them). We start gritting our teeth at the Uber-tribe. Where people really glitch is when someone tries to promote the idea that the ‘tribe’ is global. Ummmm I owe tribal obligations to 7 billion people? Totally over the sanity horizon, for anyone not espousing it, is saying animals, trees and Mother Earth are also your tribe — and you owe them the same obligations. Riiiiiiiiiiiigght.

Here’s the hitch. Uber-tribes are just too big. Going back to something I mentioned in passing we can sort of, kinda wrap our heads around Super-tribes. These are imaginary super groups that we both self-identify with and label others as. In the self-identity category, this reduces the ‘uber’ to a smaller, more intellectually manageable super-size. So now instead of 324,000,000 million your Super-tribe is a tens or hundreds of millions. The four main categories we use to separate ourselves from the Uber-tribe are politics, race, religion and socio-economic.
We’re more comfortable with drawing these lines between Super-tribes. But guess what? When we do that we fall into the “Us v.s. Them” mindset of tribalism. A mindset that historically had checks, balances, limits, consequences and most of all rules of behavior — especially when it came to getting along. Rules that if you broke, people you loved died.

This isn’t just internal rules that you followed. (Kosher and Halah food rules will keep your family from dying of food poisoning in the desert.) It’s very much keeping people you love from getting killed because of something you did to a member of another tribe. That’s tribal warfare out at the sharp end. And despite the bad rap it gets, way more time and effort is spent on trying to keep from having to try to slaughter each other than killing. This is people you know and love dying if you screwed that pooch.

Except now we’ve got a weird mix. A mix that can manifest in many different ways. One way is “Well I didn’t know the guy personally, but a member of my Super-tribe was killed by a member of a hated other Super-tribe, so that’s that.” Another version is “I want my Super-tribe controlling the Uber-tribe” (with no idea of what it takes to actually run things). Then there’s folks who seem hell bent on “We’re going to force you to do what we want.” This can — and often does — mix with “I’m relying on the rules of the Uber-tribe to keep me safe as I spit my hate at the other Super-tribes.”

This is a bit of a problem for a variety or reasons. One of which is you virtue signal inside your own tribe for status and conformity “Those rat bastards…” “Yeah!” Allowing for the “Jungle Book” aspect of dancing and chanting of ‘It’s so because we say it’s so!’ — this not a problem. This is acceptable behavior INSIDE your tribe’s territory. However the rules of different tribes are different. No big surprise, but what has been lost in the Uber and Super-tribe shuffle is the rules of how those of different — often hostile — tribes interact when they find themselves in proximity.
These are different still.

This loss is not a good thing. Starting with you don’t walk into a mixed environment and behave the same way you do among your own. This especially by calling out how stupid, wrong and evil that hated other group is. It doesn’t matter how much you believe it. It doesn’t matter how much you do it back home. You don’t do it outside your tribe because you’ve just insulted about six different people there who are from that Super-tribe. Oh yeah, and you ignored the effects of your word on the 12 others whose tribes are more closely aligned with the other than yours. (If you’re expecting those 12 to step in and save you, I have some bad news…)

Now as long as everyone has more invested in keeping the peace than responding, you can ‘get away with it.’ If by that you mean nobody throws your ass through a window (which in case you didn’t know, really slices you up.) The problem that I am seeing is that good will is waning. More than that, because people aren’t getting punched for bad behavior anymore, it’s escalating. People in certain Super-tribes are getting more emboldened about their words and behaviors, more self-righteous, more hostile. While those in other Super-tribes are getting pushed towards the point where ‘keeping the peace’ loses priority in light of the constant stream of insults, abuse and hostility.

Which again, ‘those rat bastards…’IS perfectly acceptable to say INSIDE your Super- tribe, but not in mixed company. You conduct yourself differently when you are dealing with folks from other tribes — or, and this is something people tend to forget, in neutral territory. That may be acceptable behavior where you’re from, but in this area you don’t know how many of the people you just pissed off are armed.

Another problem that I am seeing is that punching someone for lipping off has been banned. This low-level consequence used to teach people there were lines you didn’t cross unless you were willing to pay the price. Two relevant points. There are all kinds of levels of striking and reason for striking. I tell you this so you can understand the first point, a hit is the level you use for people inside your tribe whom you don’t want to hurt. The second point: Violence between different tribes often involves weapons. That’s because the intent IS to hurt. Stop and consider the implications of what I’m about to say.

Lower levels of physical violence can indeed escalate. However, they more commonly serve as a safety valve. A pressure relief that would go before the boiler blows up. That safety valve has been wired shut … and pressure is growing. Worse, it seems there are some folks out there intent on stoking the boiler. I’m going to leave you with this thought. You have a whole lot of people who are out there with no idea about the nature of intra and inter-tribal violence. Many of who are apparently pushing for conflict against other Super-tribes. Do they recognize what they are doing? Are they thinking that they are under the protection of the rules of the very Uber-tribe they are rejecting and holding themselves apart from? Are they thinking that the rules of their Super-tribe are the only rules that count? (Translated to: I have the right to do ____, but you don’t have the right to react except according to my standards.

Solid example: I can scream my hate at you, but you can’t strike me for my words.) Are they willfully abusing people? This by relying on other’s preference to keep the peace instead of reacting to their goading? Are they giving themselves more and more permission to act because they’ve moved into a Super-tribe echo chamber? An environment that not only encourages, but demands they loudly ‘virtue signal’ whatever ultra-orthodoxy is in fashion at the moment? Is this a fight they think they can start and then walk away from if it gets too intense?

How to Deal with a Stalker – Clint Overland

Friend of mine is having trouble with a stalker/ex and isn’t getting any help from the police or the DA’s office. This is common among anyone that is not wealthy enough to warrant certain protections from the government. It is all about the money folks sorry to bust your bubbles. If you are not wealthy enough to cause trouble for the upper management of the local, state or federal government you are not worth them spending the money on. That is as simple as it can get. If your family isn’t spending money on reelection contributions and fund raising you will not get the same protection or help as you would if you lived in the Lake Ridge area. So what can you do.

1st if you have already talked to the police then start keeping a journal of what you have been going through. Don’t embellish simply state facts of time, date and what occurred. Include any exchanges by text, Private message, email, phone calls whatever, Include time date and a copy or screenshot of what was said.

2nd Hire a lawyer, it is worth the money to protect yourself from any legal repercussions and harassment by certain parties. Have them file the paperwork for a Restraining order or Protective order. Does this protect you from harm? NO absolutely not but if you have to kill the individual to protect yourself from legal and civil problems later. Your lawyer will guide you through this process. That protective/restraining order is a hunting license

3rd Do not get mad at the police they really don’t have a say in the way the laws are written and enforced. BUT list every time you talk to an officer, their name and badge number in your file. This again is evidence in case you have to take protective measures to defend your life or the lives of your children.

4th. USE SOCIAL MEDIA to tell your story, write it out, video your side of things and let people know what is going on. Also if you have to contact the local media and tell them what you are going through and that you are not getting any help from the police and the DA, remember the ones in charge are POLITICAL ANIMALS and when its time for the votes to be counted every one they lose because of you is one they will never get back.

5. Learn to either use a gun to defend your self or at the very least learn to use pepper spray and a knife.Folks you life is worthless to anyone else but you and it is on you to learn how to protect it.


“They’re just words.” Words and their symbolic meaning can have a profound effect on the receiver, one that may not at all be intended by the messenger. We all have our own individual life experience and frames of reference and those uniquely individual experiences can change the way we take in meaning, unique from others. Words like ‘defense’, ‘defend’ or ‘self-defense’, ‘counter’, ‘reaction’  and ‘block’ when turned into ‘greater aggression’ or ‘overwhelming response’, ‘pre-emption’, ‘action’/’counter-action’ and ‘destruction’ can change the entire context of how one may need to utilize violence as a counter-violence measure. Simple changes in vernacular like women’s self-defense to women’s empowerment, self-defense to counter-violence, tactical response to tactical solution can drastically alter perception and therefore the mentality of how it’s absorbed and put into play.

People are innately and unconsciously affected and influenced by the term one gives them. Think of it as neurological conditioning. If, for instance, they believe it’s a strategy, they will act accordingly, that it’s neutral and effective as strategies are perceived as something with contextual positivity, an element that helps their cause. The term submission has an entirely different psychic definition to the vast majority.

For example, utilizing ‘submissive postures’ in the interview phase of conflict may and can be a great tool to either de-escalate or to deliver a pre-emptive attack, context-dependent, but the issue isn’t with the concept itself, but in the terminology. Submission may indeed be a form of negotiation but it is widely perceived as a negative by the vast majority in the public. If your goal is to teach someone to utilize it as a tool for mutual benefit or for persuasion purposes, your approach may be entirely correct but if it’s subliminally absorbed as something relating to weakness, loss of advantage or cowardice, it may have the exact opposite impact on them when utilizing or attempting to utilize it. It may also transfer to other areas outside of the given circumstance like a domino effect.

The point isn’t that it’s a conflict with the methodology (whatever that may be), only the importance of the title you give it as it absolutely changes the mindset and implementation of the skillset to the receiver. Inevitably, it’s not the message but the delivery of said message. The meaning is very often in the receiver’s interpretation of it, not the sender’s desired intent and that, my friend, means everything as they are the one putting the skill into play and, in our industry, it could be a high price to pay.

Take the word ‘fuck’, for instance. Adding it to “What do you want?” can turn the meaning into a far more powerful one for the purpose of creating space, both psychological and physical. How the person on the receiving end understands the intent of the question is irrevocably change and may even create a momentary shock as to the audacity. A means to an end. (and preferably not when Mom shows up at your door with a pie and 2 cups of coffee) Swearing can be a useful tool to provide an exclamation mark on intended meaning.

The reverse can be true regarding the name of your brand new shiny tactical folder, dubbed by the maker the “Headscalper 3000.” If ever actually needing to use this tool in an actual self-defense scenario (although I realize many simply do this a hobby or pastime and rarely even think of the consequences during their training of what it is they actually do) I’m sure your plea of self-protection may fall on somewhat more deaf ears with judge, jury and LE when explaining why your pet is titled so aggressively. (“Killer” the pitbull, anyone?) This goes towards all logos, school names and techniques as well. They represent you and your intent, your mission statement, if you will.

Graphic, aggressive and macho terms, for instance…what you call them may put you in legal hot water later on. Mantras can have the opposite effect in the form of empowerment if utilized correctly and with achievable aims. I see discussions end in hostility, threats and challenges to agreed-upon “violence” on Facebook almost daily now as one word’s meaning can change the entire context of digital graphology. Factor in different cultures, machismo and pride and you have a powderkeg. (Facebook is not a self-defense scenario, by the way, but don’t tell anyone)

Next time you’re unwinding and watching TV or surfing the net, pay attention to commercials and ads. Notice the subliminal words, phrases and images they utilize to manipulate (another word that CAN be beneficial to move someone toward a positive mutual outcome but that has staunchly negative connotation) you into buying their product or service. Political and social propaganda is driven by this same methodology.

For Americans, this is the perfect time for you to be aware of this: political rhetoric, subtle media manipulation, negative campaign ads, partial journalistic storytelling without context…they toy with your perception to push you towards another thought process. It is truly everywhere and it has a profound impact on how we think, what we do, our reactions to stimuli and, in this case, our ability to manage conflict or deal with violence once/if that avenue has past. Words have heavy neurological impact based on experience, emotion, trauma, euphoria, societal dictates and a host of other triggers. It truly pays to be cautious in the words you use.


The Biomechanics of Motion Part II – Jari Peuhkurinen



I have surmised that there are 5 different ways to create mass motion in order to create force/momentum;

1. Shifting weight to the desired direction where we want to deliver force.
2. Taking a step that moves our mass to the desired direction where we want to deliver force.
3. Moving our mass with a linear jump to the desired direction where we want to deliver force.
4. Rotational movement of the body. (this will be explained later).
5. Combination of these.

The sprinter theory is involved when we are producing linear forward / upwards motion. Start by thinking about the way we walk, run or jump forward. Think about the way sprinter aligns himself before explosive start or think about American football player ready to tackle and takedown his opponent. By looking our normal way of moving; walking, running and jumping reveals a lot about the economic way for creating forward motion. If we look sprinters or long jumpers accelerate their body mass to maximum speed, one could say that it reveals the way to accelerate your body mass most effectively. All movements like running, sprinting, tackling and so on, produce the kind of momentum we want to create in self-defense also. There is acceleration and velocity of mass, which give us the force and momentum.

Acceleration and velocity are most effectively developed in linear forward motion. It can be directed in straight line movements like sprinting or straight punch. Upwards movements like long jump or stepping-in uppercut. How are legs and body positioned for optimal motion development? In my opinion body alignment for the optimal motion is crucial;

1. The skeletal structure of our legs and upper body should be aligned towards desired direction of the motion. This means that head, shoulders, hips and knees are aligned. If it would be more efficient to align skeletal and muscle structure for example sideways, we would see Usain Bolt doing sideways explosive starts in the Olympics.

2. Feet-knee-hip alignment is crucial for the engine to be able to work in its maximum capacity. Muscles and joints and ligaments of the legs produce the motion. Joint alignment should support the mass we are trying to accelerate and the direction the mass is accelerated to. calf

3. Joints and muscles have certain angles which enable optimal muscle force production. Think about sprinting again. Would you be able to do explosive start from squat position? Or could you do it if your knee joints where locked to extension? From those positions your start would probably not be the best possible. Optimal angle for a muscle to produce force in its range of motion is in middle of that range.

In example when moving forearm in its full range from extension to flexion, its range of motion is about 145 degrees. This doesn’t put the middle of the range in 90 degrees as taught in many systems, but instead the optimal angle is less than 90 degrees. This same principle applies to knee joint also. So when we want that explosive acceleration the angles must be less than 90 degrees and most certainly the joint can’t be locked, like taught in many traditional systems.

This alignment of the legs and body and optimal joint/muscle angles enable the explosive acceleration and creation of force/momentum we need to be able to produce and deliver to our opponent. We can develop acceleration and velocity to other directions too, like sideways and backwards, but not as effectively. This doesn´t mean that those motions should not be practiced.


But there is more to take into the account when we are talking about self-defense. This sprinter theory only describes the optimal way to produce acceleration. If you want to examine the chain further up, and think about how the force continues towards you opponent you need to take into the account things like, maintaining balanced position, spinal alignment and angle, shoulder-elbow alignment, motion-contact timing, short/long impulse and so on.

I was already talking about linear forward / upwards motion, but let´s look upwards motion more closely. Let’s examine the way to produce upwards force from standing still position, which in self-defense can be used in lifting, takedowns and throws but also in striking techniques and pushing movements. The movement can be just weight moving upwards without losing the contact on the ground or a take-off, it can involve also rotational motion.

Think about weightlifter doing a squat, or yourself picking up something heavy from the ground, or just making a jump straight up in the air, any type of movement that involves creating force upwards straight against gravity. You can find that once more that, if you want to be able put into use all of that muscle force you have and produce explosive movement those alignments need to be in order.

Joints in your legs need to be aligned properly with your upper body. Balanced position ensures that you center of mass is located between points of balance and so on mass is aligned with feet-knee-hip line. Muscle/joint angle works the same way as in forward linear motion, middle of the range of movement. So again there is the same principle involved, how you align your whole body to get the maximum force out from your system and keep that alignment so that you can deliver that force and momentum to your target.


Motion downwards introduces a new physical concept into the picture; potential energy. In physics, potential energy is energy possessed by a body by virtue of its position relative to others. So basically if we lying on the ground, on our backs, we don’t have potential energy stored to our body. When we stand we have the potential to use gravity and drop our weight down. So because position of our body relative to ground we can use potential energy to produce

Every time we have the possibility to use gravity as “an assistance” we can also utilize potential energy. If we raise our body upwards, or have the possibility to drop ourselves to the opponent the force will be greater.
Some arts, like ITF Taekwondo uses this in a principle called Sin-Wawe movement. It basically teaches you to raise your body straight upwards as much as you can and when you start to deliver the punch at the same time you go forward and downwards. I’m not sure about the effectiveness of this particular motion, but the principle is sound. If you can, always create motion of your body mass to the direction where you are executing your movement, be it linearly forward, upwards or downwards.



Rotational motion occurs around axis, that can be internal, like body parts rotating around a joint(s) or rotational motion of whole body, when spine acts as an axis. In here I’m taking a look into the concept of rotational motion in whole.
There are few physics terms that need to be explained. When taking about rotational motion we are talking about moment of force and rotational momentum to differentiate them from linear force and momentum. Same difference is with terms of speed; angular acceleration and angular velocity.
Rotational motion is used in several types of movements in martial arts. Most commonly rotational motion can be observed together with linear motion. This combination was called general motion; in forward linear motion body is also rotated strongly to cover more distance and produce that extra moment of force. The motion of body mass, shifting of weight or stepping in can be combined to rotational movement in all directions; forward, sideways or backwards, also to up/downwards. Only types of movements where rotational motion is not utilized are simultaneous movements with both hands in the same direction. Example when you are reaching forward with both hands.

To understand the production of moment of force and angular momentum you need to understand the relationship between axis and lever. Make a short test; stand straight, with hands relaxed at your sides. Now imagine that there is an axis running through the top of your head straight down to the ground. Now when you rotate your body around that imaginary axis the lever is the length of your clavicle to you shoulder. If you raise your elbow to the side, the levers length increases. If you straighten your whole arm, you have the maximum length of the lever you are able to use with your hands if there is no impact weapon included.

The moment of force is a simple concept; the lever arm travels certain distance depending how much you rotate your axis. If you rotate your body so that your hand moves from side to front, that’s 90 degrees, it is called rotational displacement of π2 rad. Distance the lever travels is shorter towards the point of axis and longer towards the end of the lever. Since it takes the same amount of time to the lever (arm) to travel different distances along the lever arm, this means that there has to be a difference in velocity. In the end of the lever the angular velocity is the greatest, so the conclusion is that because mass x velocity is momentum, the rotational momentum has to be greater in the end of the lever because the velocity is greater. That’s the magic of lever.

You can probably already see the numerous ways this can be used in self-defense and martial arts. To make matter at least little bit more complicated let’s think about how we can still produce great force with shorter lever arm. Think about for example short range body shots. The lever is not so long and still we can produce much moment force. The answer lies in the other variable; mass. When striking with straight arm, the mass of the arm is not that much (mass x velocity). Now when the lever is shorter our it is easier to utilize the weight of the body. Other variable also increases when the lever arm shortens; acceleration. It is easier to accelerate shorter lever than it is to accelerate long lever and as you remember mass x acceleration is force. In the case of rotational motion; mass x angular acceleration is moment of force.

How do we produce explosive rotational motion? Again because we want to get acceleration and develop velocity, we need to be able to utilize proper mechanics into the movement. If you take a look at athletics performances where powerful rotation is used, such as javelin throw or baseball strike, they use wide range of motion to create velocity. That is not a good mechanics for in martial arts. We need to be able to create rotation with shorter range of motion and not load our strikes or kicks. The degree of rotation is between 90 to 140 degrees, put even a shorter rotation does the trick of adding force. Note that I´m excluding the spinning type of movements that can be effectively used in sport martial arts, but are not recommended for self-defense.

Powerful rotation comes from the core muscles and is combined with weight shifting in the direction of target. Explosive hip movement functions as the engine for this motion.

So what can we do with rotational motion:
1. Increase force, by adding moment force in linear movement.
2. Increase reach by rotating body.
3. Produce moment force in ranges where linear movement is not possible.
4. We can also cause motion in our opponent by rotation, same as pushing. Rotation motion is usually combined with pulling, as in Thai clinch work for example.



From the point of view of physics if there is no motion, no work is being done. Still in self-defense pinning someone against a wall or ground, is work being done by muscles and bodyweight. I call this static motion. This is very useful form of producing effect in many situations.

Closely related to static motion is another principle that I call the power of locked joint, these two work together very well. If you think back about what I have explained earlier, you can see that muscles, joints and ligaments are the engine that we use to create motion. Let´s take an example; if you lock your knee joint your muscles in your thigh are in full extension. So there is no possibility for you to produce more movement forward or upwards with that leg, until you bend the knee joint and the muscles are in flexion. So the muscles are weak when in full extension and can´t produce motion, but here lies the power of the locked joint. When the joint is locked, it is strong and this can be used in various situation to our advantage. For example, when pinning opponent against stationary object we can lock the knee joint so that it remains strong and does not give in even when there is pressure directed back at us. Same goes when trying to maintain distance between bodies or opponents arm and your body. Even when opponent is significantly stronger, the locked elbow provides a strong mechanism to maintain distance.

It is easy to see that understanding our basic body motion is crucial in learning martial arts and self-defense. Everything develops around motion. Every technique, no matter what style or system involves motion. How effective motion is produced in those systems or arts varies, but what doesn’t vary are the laws of physics and physiology behind human motion. Like I said there are limited number of ways we can create motion what is limited by how our body is designed and there are limited ways to produce force, because of that design.


Beware the Backlash of Over-enforcement – Erik Kondo

Just as Under-enforcement breeds contempt, so does Over-enforcement (or the perception of over-enforcement) lead to a Backlash.

A backlash (overreaction, retaliation, revenge, retribution, reprisal) is the natural response that arises when someone feels that he or she has been over-enforced upon. This response is produced by emotions such as:

resentment, anger, outrage, bitterness, antagonism, indignation, spite, vengefulness, vindictiveness, rancor, and more.

A backlash can be thought of as an emotionally driven response. Therefore, it may or may not be justified. The important point is that a backlash stems from emotion. It is created when someone feels that he or she (or his or her tribe) have been unjustly treated regardless of whether it is true.

Many people realize that under-enforcement breeds contempt. Therefore, in an effort to not under-enforce, they place no upper limits on the magnitude of enforcement they use or advocate. These people tend to over-enforce. They don’t consider the destructive power of the associated backlash against them or their cause. Societal over-enforcement comes in many different forms. Here are a few examples;

  • Blaming all members of a tribe for the actions of part of the tribe is an over-enforcement.
  • Holding all members of a group “culturally” responsible for the actions of an individual member of the group is over-enforcement.
  • Shaming by making all members of a gender, race, religion, or occupation feel guilty about the action of members within that gender, race, religion, or occupation is an over-enforcement.

The shaming slippery slope argument comes into play here too.  Someone decides that A leads to B and that B leads to C and then C leads to D. Therefore, following this argument, if anyone engages in A, B, or C, he or she is also guilty of engaging in D.

The problem is that people who have only engaged in A, B, and C, haven’t engaged in D. And shaming them for engaging in D is likely to lead to a backlash, especially from those people who have just engaged in A or B.

It is common for people who feel judged by others to feel resentment. When entire groups of people feel judged, their combined resentment can create a powerful backlash.

Nobody likes to be judged. Entire movements have been spawned by people who have felt judged by others.

There are many socially motivated organizations on both sides of the political spectrum whose social campaigns consists of creating “awareness” about perceived problems in society. To attract attention, these organizations paint many problems as “cultural” issues that are caused by everyone in a tribe. While this method is effective for gaining support from members outside the accused tribe, it inevitably creates a backlash.

If the accused tribe is small and relatively powerless, the backlash may be manageable. But many times, some social advocacy organizations take on entire races, genders, religions, occupations, etc. in their quest to expose what they consider to be “cultural” bad behavior. The result can be a powerful backlash that threatens their cause. Even if their cause is morally just, their methodology of widespread blaming and accusation against entire groups is flawed. They win the short-term battle of recruiting supporters while losing the war that is overall acceptance of their cause.

Over-enforcement is worse than just over-shooting a target. If you over-shoot to not under-shoot, you only miss. But you throw a ball too hard against a backstop, it may rebound harshly and hit you in the eye.

It is easy to talk tough when you don’t acknowledge or realize the possibility of a backlash. If it were not for the backlash, over-enforcement would most likely be an effective solution to many of the world’s problems. But the backlash exists.

But just as the sun rises in the East and sets in the West, so does under-enforcement breed contempt and over-enforcement lead to a backlash.

Opposite reactionary backlashes also create a destructive feedback cycle where each backlash creates a larger backlash against it.

For a visual example, a skateboarder who goes too fast for his ability may get the Speed Wobbles. Maybe he hit a bump or something to set them off. What happens is the skateboard turns to slightly one side and the rider overcorrects. The board now turns to the other side. The rider is literally behind the curve; he corrects too late and too much. Each correction (backlash) results in a greater, faster, and more violent turn. What the rider needs to do is to relax and stop reacting. He needs to calm down and let the board settle itself. If he doesn’t do so, he is likely to crash.

The Speed Wobbles create fear. It takes courage to ride them out. This fear must be contained and reactions must be controlled for the Speed Wobbles to subside.

Another visual example of this destructive cycle is the harmonic feedback as seen in this video of the failure of the Tacoma Narrows bridge.

In conclusion, all enforcement actions need to take into consideration the possibility and danger of the backlash and particularly creating a feedback backlash cycle that spirals out of control.



I CAN’T DO THAT! – Terry Trahan

One of the biggest problems in self protection and teaching is a practitioner either doubting themselves, or not giving themselves permission to do what is necessary to survive an incident. Some of this is to be expected, especially when you start training, and as you progress, you start shedding the doubts and other things that hold you back just through changing mindset due to familiarity.

However, sometimes these things remain, or are encouraged, by the instructor. It can be due to the training model, or done because of the ego of the teacher. This last one is particularly insidious, as it sets you up to be subservient to the instructor, and worse, to fail in a real life encounter.

I have a simple thing I think, and tell my students, to overcome this.

Simply put, I train and work at this to save my ass. I don’t need anybody’s permission other than my own to survive. I don’t care what other students, teachers,or anyone else thinks, this is about my survival, not about tradition, ego, nothing else. I give myself permission to do anything and everything I need to do in order to survive and win. This includes in my training. I will listen to the instructions, and perform them the best I can, but I will do it with my goal of survival in mind, take advantage of how my body works, even if it ‘violates’ the form or way being taught. You should do the same, if your goal is surviving a conflict, and not just perpetuating a system.

Sometimes this is a case of not being confident in the material being taught, and sometimes it is a case of your subconscious knowing that what you are learning is not effective for meeting your goals. This is a case where you have to personally look at it, and probably get outside input from people that know personal survival. We happen to have a wide base of knowledge here on CRGI, and across the rest of the internet, so this has become easier over the years, but it still requires being honest with yourself, and what your goal truly is with your training.

Another way this comes out is questions about morality or legality in an actual confrontation.

Firstly we will discuss morality. In a bone breaking, widow making, survival fight, there is no morality beyond surviving. If you have gone through all the pre fight steps, tried to de-escalate, E&E, negotiate, and all the rest, and it is still being brought to you, your only morality is being the one that goes home to your family or tribe. This is NOT carte blanche to go overboard and be a murder ape on the guy, but it is a form of permission to do what you need to do to be the survivor and “winner” of the fight. Unless you are a stone psycho, you already have a moral compass that you have been exercising since you were a child. You, more likely than not are a decent person. This doesn’t automatically get flushed down the toilet when the adrenaline ramps up. If I accept someone into our tribe and start training them, that means that person has met the standards for our group. That means that I have faith that this person has a good head on his shoulders, and can make proper decisions, and not go Ted Bundy on somebody just because a fight happens.

Secondly, it always seems to happen, a question comes up about legality, whether it is a technique, or if it is a tool used. First, everything is illegal somewhere, the more effective a tool is, the more likely it is to be either illegal or heavily regulated.

This is something that you are going to have to make your decision about ahead of time, give yourself the permission to either use something or not beforehand. If you wait til the time is at hand, you will needlessly double clutch yourself. As with all things related to fighting, in the middle of a fight is never the time to make a decision about fighting. Nobody else can answer this question for you, and you need to figure out what you are willing to do too make sure you make it home if that moment happens. My personal choice may or may not fit for you. As I have stated before, my number one rule is I don’t give a fuck, I’m going home. That should tell you where I fall down on the question of legality. I will do whatever I can to avoid, escape, de-escalate, negotiate, whatever it takes, but once that switch is flipped, I will be the one sleeping in my bed with my wife that night. No matter what, how, or with what.

That is my decision, I am comfortable with it, and I am not a lawyer or legal professional, so I am not offering any advice here, I am just opening your eyes to this, and encouraging you to study and make your own.

Just remember, this boils down to our desire to make it home. You are already a good decent person seeking more information to educate yourself better. You have permission to win and go home, and you have the wisdom to decide what you will do to affect that.

Think about it, figure it out, and then go on with life, and don’t worry about it.


Hidden in Plain Sight? – Mark Hatmaker

Let’s see if we can pull off a thought through-line that moves from a concept in zoology called cryptozoicism to an incident in the history of Scottish warfare, to a passage from Shakespeare’s Macbeth, to Tap-Out T-shirts and NRA stickers, and finally to some speculations on personal protection.


Basically it is the technical term for evasive movement or deceptive covering as in camouflage or bio-mimicry, in which a species has evolved or adapted/adopted a strategy of blending in with its environment or taking on the guise of a creature deadlier than the self in hopes of deterring attackers. We have the chameleon or octopus at one end of the spectrum blending with its environment almost instantaneously and at the other end the venomous and vibrant coral snake and the sneaky but similarly colored [and harmless] scarlet king snake and the need of the rhyme “Red and yellow kill a fellow.”

The following passage from The Outline of Science, Vol. 1: A Plain Story Simply Told by J. Arthur Thomson is probably all the explanation needed for the concept.

“For every animal one discovers while observing carefully, there must be ten unseen. This is partly because many animals burrow in the ground or get in underneath things and dip into dark corners, being what is called cryptozoic or elusive. But it is partly because many animals put on disguise or have in some ways acquired a garment of invisibility.”

Modern hunters and indigenous peoples for ages have adopted cryptozoic tactics to stalk prey, from modern camouflaged duck blinds to American Indians swimming submerged under a bundle of cattails attached to the head to snatch water-fowl from below.

It is no stretch to assume that mankind also adopted cryptozoic strategies when facing other men in battle. Despite the long period of vibrantly colored military uniforms and attacking in formation, we see cryptozoicism in modern Battle-Dress Uniforms (BDUs) and have countless tales of “stealth by disguise” being used as a battle tactic. Let’s look to one for illumination.

If we are familiar with Macbeth we will know the story of the Walking Woods of Birnam. If you’re not familiar, no worries.

Macbeth was based on an actual royal spat. Malcolm was gifted The Royal Forest upon his marriage to the Princess Ada in 1160. A portion of the Royal Forest is known as Birnam Hill. The treacherous Macbeth has designs on Malcolm and his property, and Malcolm is aware of Macbeth’s solid military skill so rather than meet him head-on he uses a strategy of camouflage to get close to Macbeth.

In Act V/scene iv Malcolm advises his men:

Let every soldier hew him down a bough

And bear’t before him; thereby shall we shadow

The numbers of our host and make discovery

Err in report of us.”

Spoiler Alert: This bit of poetic cryptozoicism is successful.

Camouflage, bio-mimicry, and cryptozoic tactics are and have been so successful for many species, including man, for so long it is a point of curiosity that it is largely abandoned in the civilian sphere in some quarters.

I call your attention to the proliferation of Tap-Out t-shirts and other like garments or tattoos that proclaim some affiliation with martial prowess.

I call your attention to the adoption of military clothing or law enforcement tactical clothing by members of the civilian population.

I have had remarked to me by many friends in the military or law enforcement that most of the folks you see in the mall who just so happen to be wearing tactical boots or some other such accoutrement more than likely are not currently on-duty with the local police or military personal on leave. Rather they are civilians who have adopted the costume of the life-style.

I use the word “costume” for three reasons.

The first, it is correct. Any clothing we don is and can be referred to as a costume.

I also use it in the “play-acting” sense as anyone who dons the clothing or gear of a particular lifestyle is signaling that they wish to be associated with the dressed-for occupation. After all when we see a child in a Spider-Man costume we don’t assume he’s thinking Wonder Woman thoughts.

Now, to be clear I am not mocking adopting costumes, we all do it to varying degrees. We see sports jerseys and baseball hats galore on any given day and yet how many of these folks do we think are actually actively engaged with playing the advertised sport? I do not think sports paraphernalia wearers are attempting to make me think “Hey is that guy in the #12 New England Patriots jersey Tom Brady?” I think I’m supposed to assume he’s a fan and likes football.

But when we see the guy in combat boots, slate-grey cargo pants, and a clip-knife showing are we to assume cop who just got off duty? Or big big fan of law enforcement fashion?

Again, no mocking going on here—stay with me.

What may actually be occurring here [wittingly or unwittingly] is one of two things: True Signaling or Decoy Signaling.

The True Signaling Combat adopter may indeed possess the military and/or LE background we are seeing in the costume and we are simply noting an expression of that background. It is also signals “Hey, I just don’t wear the jersey I play the game.”

The strategy of the Decoy Signaler is similar to that of the benign scarlet king snake being mistaken for the venomous coral snake: “I may not be a high-speed/low-drag Spec-Ops warrior, but I look like one so watch yourself.”

In either respect of signaling there is no real value judgment applied-yet.

 Here’s what we must ponder. Gang colors are also signals, often True Signals. To those unaffiliated with any gang, colors often let us know which part of town to avoid or when to cross a street. A sort of porcupine or skunk strategy.

To the affiliated, gang colors signal to members of other gangs “Ah, a target!”

Most gang members are killed by other gang members who recognize that they are gang members exactly because of conspicuous signaling.

A bit ironic and a seemingly unwise strategy.

Also ironic—military and LE tactical gear is designed to be cryptozoic, to blend in. Donning said gear outside of the environment they are meant to blend in with is the opposite of their intended purpose, which leads me to assume we’re back to decoy signaling as opposed to utilitarian adoption. A Desert Camouflage Uniform makes sense in many hot-spot war zones, but far less so while shopping at Target.

Again, I have no argument against such signaling, I myself have been gifted hundreds of t-shirts from fight gyms the world over.  I’ve had the honor of being in some of these gyms for only a single weekend and I wear them not because I am “affiliated” with that gym but rather because they were gifts from kind folks, because they are comfortable, and because they are convenient. I assume that is why many such conspicuous signalers wear their costumes as well.

But…we do have to ask ourselves when some predators have actively confessed that they see such costuming as targets of first choice in spree situations [as in gang colors] is this piece of apparel always the wisest choice?

It may be, it is merely a question to be asked.

With cryptozoicism in mind, for the next week each time you encounter any costuming ask yourself what signal am I seeing here? And more importantly, examine your own wardrobe choices and ask “What exactly am I signaling?” And are there any drawbacks to the signal I provide?”