Texan Bar Etiquette, Part II – Clint Overland

Part I

  1. Know your limitations. I have had to cut people off that wanted to argue that they are not drunk while piss runs down their leg. (Notice I said people not person, it happens regularly.) I watched as a young sorority girl who was dancing shit herself and just kept dancing till her friends grabbed her and took her out. I was headed that way but couldn’t stop laughing quick enough to get there on time. Drinking is fun, it relaxes you, it help’s deal with stress. I get it. I have been known to imbibe myself heavily at times, but I stay at home to get that fucked up. I won’t even go into the horror stories of watching another human being throw up in a glass then drink it because he was that far gone. If a bouncer, security/bar staff cuts you off, it is for a real good reason. You are a problem or are on your way to becoming a problem.  Also, you can and will be cut off for being an asshole. Don’t argue with the staff. You are there as a guest. You can and will be asked to leave. We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone and that includes you! Think about this, do you really want to make someone mad who is going to be serving you something to drink? The head bartender at a bar I worked at kept a vile of what he called Tijuana Tap water behind the bar for patrons that pissed him off. Not real sure what was in it, but two or three squirts in your drink and within fifteen minutes you’re running to the bathroom with the worst case of explosive diarrhea that you’ve ever known short of dysentery. Think about that next time you bitch at a waitress or bartender. Sure, it was illegal but that didn’t help you at the time and your night was ruined all because you were not nice.


  1.            Know where you are at.  In other words, if you decide to go “slumming” and step away from your socioeconomic level bar and go to a rougher establishment then know the rules that apply there. Every culture and subculture has its own rules that were never written down and posted for you to read but they are there as solid as any law passed by legislation. The joints that pay me my asking price do so because there is a reason for me to be there.  I am paid well to keep a lid on the rules and do my best not to let anyone get killed or maimed. If you go to a biker bar, don’t sit on someone’s motorcycle, touch someone’s patch or colors, do not hit on the women, mouth off or disrespect the waitresses. Bikers are territorial and you are the stranger in a strange land. Oh you’re a respected business man and pillar of the community, that’s sweet. See how far that gets you when 8 or 9 guys get mad at you and want to have fun playing field goal with your testicles for crossing a line you didn’t know was there.  Be nice, respectful, and polite. Manners do not cost anything and can save hundreds on your health insurance.  This goes for any bar or nightclub you might go into. A Hispanic bar is completely different from a club that caters to black or Asian people. Each one has its own rules. The regulars at any bar are protective of the staff. They may even consider them family or friends. My wife bartended in a pretty rough little joint, she was the only staff there during the day but if anyone got out of line with her there were 30 to 40 regulars there that would jump on the offender with no restraint. You are visiting another world when you go to a new bar, and most of the regulars don’t like you for coming into their territory without being asked.


  1. Bartending and waiting tables is a rough job. Long hours, standing on your feet all night, dealing with drunks, people thinking that because you work there they can put hands on you because that is just part of the deal.  Listening to crappy bands who mistake playing well for playing hard and loud. Listening to karaoke singers butcher the newest top 40 song or think they can croon like Sinatra. All for less than minimum wage. Hoping that by the end of the night your tips will be enough to cover the rent and electric bill due Monday morning. So please tip your bar staff. It is sad but when I have to interview people to work in a bar and the first thing I ask them is, “So, do you like people?” If they answer yes, then I know they have not been in the business for very long. If they answer, “I hate people!” I know this is someone that has some experience, and can probably do the job correctly. Do not holler at your waitress, or act like a bitch to them (LADIES)! Whistling, shouting and demanding is not a good thing to do. All they have to do is come and get me and your ass is out of here. I don’t care who you are, what you think or if you can have me fired (good luck on that). Don’t be an asshole! A good tipper can get away with a lot more than a shitty one. Waitresses are less prone to involve me in your life if you are taking care of them.


  1. Don’t prod the bear!!! I am talking to you young guys who by chance might read this. You’re young, full of life and testosterone. You think you are tough and can handle yourself. Probably not! There are individuals in every bar that it is best to leave the hell alone. They will hurt you as quick as a snake strikes for messing with them. Youthful exuberance is one thing. All that Martial Arts and BJJ/MMA you do at the dojo is great. None of it will stop a bullet from blasting through your heart or a broken beer bottle from ripping out your throat. Life is a marathon, not a 40 yard dash. Men and some women of a certain age got there by being tough, and/or smart, maybe even lucky. They do not have the time nor the patience to deal with you. Being older does not mean that they are any less of a man. It means they were smarter (or just luckier) than all the friends they had to bury along the way.  There is a reason that some people are referred to as OG (Original Gangster), Tusk Hogs, Bad Men and other terms. If you are going to be frequenting certain bars, you need to learn that respect and courtesy is a lot cheaper to give than paying for hospital visits or funerals.


One bar I worked at was frequented by an older gentleman that had lived a very interesting life. He was so mobbed up that people would still call him Don as a term of respect. He never got mad, he paid people like me to get mad for him. The guys in his employ did not care who you were, what you thought you knew or what Martial Art you trained in. One would beat you with a hammer while the other one tried to punch your kidney throw your torso.


  1. Leave the Bouncer/Security staff alone guys. They have a tough enough job to do. They are watching 300 plus drunken monkeys play grab ass with each other.  It’s not a fun and glorious job. It’s a nerve wracking headache every shift. You are hoping that no one gets stupid and puts a knife in your kidney. They don’t need you there asking questions or pestering them.


Now let me try and answer a few of the questions I get.


  • No, we don’t want your help. If you come up to the bouncer and tell him you have his back in a fight you have just red flagged yourself as a trouble maker. You are looking for a way to fight without getting into trouble.  The first thing I will do is from that point on is keep my eye on you and see what kind of bullshit you are up to.


  • No you don’t have to be big to be a bouncer, and no, just because you are big does not mean you can bounce. It is people skills and critical thinking that makes a good bouncer. 95% talk 5% ass puckering terror not knowing if you are going to go home that night.


  • Yes they are tougher than you. Most bouncers fight more than the average patrol cop. So trying to prove that you are tougher than them is a losing bet. Plus, with a bouncer it is not about social dominance it is just business and the quicker it is over the better for everyone. As Ron White said, “I don’t know how many it would have took but I knew how many they were going to use. All of them”.


  • You have to volunteer for the bouncer to get involved in your life. Your actions and behaviors at the bar are all signs, and believe me, they’re watching. Just like a poker game certain things you do, tell them what you are capable of or thinking of doing.


  • It’s not personal. Asking you to leave or cutting you off is just business. Don’t come after them when the night is over. Sure you may win but you will go to jail or, on another night you might meet a bouncer that remembers…and paybacks a bitch.


  • Leave your ego behind. Who you are, what you are, and what you can do are just red flags. WE DO NOT CARE!


  • Show your ID when asked, it’s the law, even if several people ask for it, the bar is simply covering their investment.


  • No you are not my friend. You are a patron and a customer. Friends are earned; not just because you drink where I work.


  • This is a business. Just like a grocery store or a Walmart, the bottom line is it’s about money. Don’t interrupt the flow of it. If you do be prepared to either pay the cost of a good old fashion ass whipping, being banned/barred from the club or going to jail.


  • If the bouncer or security staff are looking for a fight and are known to be quick to hurt a person, don’t frequent that place. Call and complain to the owner or the management. Tell your friends and family not to spend their money there. It can and will make a difference. A security staff that is prone to violence is usually an underpaid bunch of bullies looking to get their rocks off in a fight. Use your money to force the owners into bringing in a better quality of staff. Red Adair said it best, “If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional wait till you figure out the cost of hiring an amateur!” As a bouncer my number one job was being a conflict manager. It’s hard enough dealing with you shit slinging primates when you are sober, Add alcohol or drugs into the mix and WEEEEE you go from just an asshole to God I really want to skull fuck this twerp in his eye socket.  But I am there to protect the owner’s investment, so I am going to do my absolute best to treat you correctly and be nice to you till you choose the course of actions that it will take for you to either calm down or be thrown out. But I will get you out of the establishment one way or another. And chances are I know the cops on patrol and guess whose side they are going to take.


                Look folks it’s really easy to die or get hurt in this world. In the long run you and your safety are up to you. You can be the greatest conflict manager in the world and act like an ass-hat one time and wind up with your guts on a dance floor. Nobody ever wanted that but I will be dammed if I haven’t seen guys volunteer for it.


Matrix Download Syndrome, Part I – Marc MacYoung

“Don’t think that your book learning is the same as my experience.”
Terry Trahan

Someone recently asked me how to keep calm when someone is in his face (threatening him). My response was:  Start with the fact that your ability to do it is developed BEFORE you need to do it. Without previous work, there is NO way to succeed on the spot. You asking “How do I do it in the heat of the moment” is too late. You’re screwed.

Hold that thought, we’ll come back to it.

This is going to be a series of articles about what you can do to keep yourself from getting killed out in the streets. But I’m not going to talk about techniques, combat mindset or even legal details. That’s because being able to easily access that kind of information is part of the problem. Instead, I’m going to help keep you alive by addressing assumptions, modern thought, how you’ve been conditioned to learn/think, how changes in technology, how “internet intelligence” and easy access to excessive information is negatively impacting our ability to safely navigate dangerous circumstances.

Here’s the booger about that. You won’t even know this problem exists until you’re either laying on the ground bleeding or sitting in the back of a cop car in handcuffs. Even then while you recognize something went horribly wrong, you won’t know what.

Let me start out by pointing out that you cannot learn self-defense in the classroom, training hall, dojo or even at firing range. This is biggest misconception there is and it often shades into an outright lie. A lie we are told and worse yet, a lie we tell to ourselves to bolster our confidence. But it won’t be until a situation turns into bloodbath that this lie will reveal itself.

Simply stated we can’t see these inherent flaws with our approach to self-defense because it’s how we’ve been educated. I’m talking public schools here. University education is years down the line. Here’s a news flash: Learning how to effectively defend yourself is not the same as learning geography. Here are some bullet points about that.

  • Self-defense is not a fixed subject; it’s a reaction. On both mental and physical levels, it’s on-the-spot and high speed problem solving. That requires assessment and judgment abilities be in place before the situation requiring them.
  • Self-defense doesn’t have a fixed way it happens, there are many levels of danger and even more ways things develop. Unfortunately many people train for only one level of response and believe that will cover ever possible scenario. Mostly these training scenarios are imaginary. They train for their fear about how they believe violence happens, rather than how it occurs (or how to recognize its development).
  • Nor is self-defense a set of techniques, a formula, a ‘mindset’ or a just-do-this ‘strategy’ you can learn on the internet; it reaction to changing circumstances and conditions  you find yourself in. Circumstances that are going to be impossible to predict before. Conditions that are completely situational  and impossible to develop universal tactics to handle. Circumstances and conditions that will change depending on what you (and others) do.
  • Nor is it just physical skills (whether punching, kicking, stabbing or shooting), it’s assessment. It’s knowing when to use those physical skills, when not to, when to start and most importantly when to stop. Self-defense is way more than physical. It’s also knowing what is danger and how to asses its development and degree (including that danger exists outside of perception). It’s having an understanding of human behavior and how your actions are going to positively — or negatively — influence the other person. It’s understanding how adrenaline and emotions can distort both our perceptions and thinking — and overcoming that to still make appropriate calls.
  • Most of all, it’s self-control. That is not something one develops in a class room or from reading the internet. You need to understand what self-defense isn’t, because come that dark and lonely night, it’s not what style you know. It’s not the caliber of gun or ammo. It’s not who your teacher was. It’s not whether he was a bad ass, a cop or a soldier. It’s not about your past, your self-esteem or empowerment. It’s not about your fears, emotions or ‘what ifs’. It’s about your ability to function and make good decisions under pressure.

    If you can’t do that, you’re screwed.

Does this mean classroom training is useless for self-defense? No. Not at all. One of the foundations for making good assessments, is having a working knowledge of multiple topics and –stable –data about those subjects. There are many issues related to self-defense that can only be learned from quality classroom time (e.g., what are the legal parameters, limits and consequences of self-defense?) You can’t gain a full understanding from just reading. You need class time where you can ask qualified instructors questions about the subject.

Does this mean reading on your own isn’t important? Au contrarie mon frere. The reading you do on the widest spectrum possible of topics is critical. But do NOT get all your reading materials from one source. For example, martial arts sources are not the last word on self-defense. They certainly suck as a source of legal expertise — starting with what is self-defense.

Read up on boundary setting, psychology, law, anthropology, conflict resolution, negotiation, leadership, social graces and anything else on human behavior you can lay your hands on. The wider the range of your knowledge, the more options you will have and the better you’ll become at managing conflict before it escalates to physical self-defense. Nobody has a monopoly on this subject, reading show you this truth. The wider the scope of your reading, the more you’ll realize how limited certain perspectives are about this subject.  Better than that though, such knowledge helps you in relationships, career and just getting through life.

Does this mean physical skills aren’t important? Oh this is a can of worms question. It’s especially problematic when someone has Matrix Download Syndrome. Hey Neo learned kung fu and karate by downloading, why can’t I? Ummm. How about, because this is real life and real life is more complicated than movie tropes and sound bites?

So why, even without MDS are physical skills when it comes to self-defense a can of worms? Short answer is: They’re critical, just not in the way you think.

Physical skills are a complex chicken or the egg issue. You do need to have physical skills that work. Yet even that is a multifaceted issue. Starting with dividing two fundamental concerns  so we can see how they interrelate. One is: What does it take to ingrain physical skills so you can do them under pressure? Two is: Is what you are being taught actually effective?

Someone can be extremely well trained in a bad system. This is the basis for my detailed -car -without-an-engine analogy. If important parts are missing, no matter how shiny and polished it is, that car isn’t going anywhere. Another way of looking at it, is just because an instructor can make it work, doesn’t mean you can. This especially because how often an instructor can have internalized an element so well he doesn’t think to mention it. It is therefore missing from his instruction. That’s the happy version. The not-so-happy version is the only reason it works for him is because of his strength and speed. Without those, you have a snowball’s chance in hell of pulling it off.

So ask yourself. Are you being trained so you can do something or are you being trained in what the instructor can do? Does the instructor identify the components of movement that must be present in order for the move to work and then drill them until they are ingrained? (Literally, you can’t do the move without these because it feels wrong.) Or does he show you a move, have you do it a few times and then move onto more sexy stuff?  If that’s how you’re being trained, you won’t be able to make those moves work in a situation.

You also need to have physical skills so ingrained that you don’t have to think about doing them. By that I mean not wasting bandwidth to figure out what’s the best move or where you have to step to do it. When either circumstances are right, you recognize something bad is happening or you’ve given yourself the go order, the process is automatic. That’s the result of understanding the move so well that you know when (and how) to do it without conscious thought. This, no matter how stressed or emotional you are.

The third can of worms element of physical skills is what I call faith. This concept is best exemplified with a simple question: Are you willing to bet your life on that move working? Do you have faith in your physical skills to get the job done?

If the answer is no, not only will you freeze, but when you can move, you’ll do it half-heartedly and without commitment. You will not commit to something you do not trust to work. Which increases the odds of it failing.

The final element of good physical skills has nothing to do with the physical. More than that, it flies in the face of the old maxim about “If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.”  Good physical skills give you the confidence to try other options. Will those other options work? Well you can’t really say until you try them, but having the physical ability to handle it if they don’t gives you the confidence to try. That’s a confidence you won’t have if you don’t have the physical elements ingrained.

Going back to the “Does this mean…” line of questioning.

Does this mean that scenario/adrenal stress training is the cat’s ass? No. It’s critical, for you to be able to apply your information, but like any other single topic approach to the subject it’s a failure waiting to happen.

Many people from traditional martial arts go into scenario-based training and fall apart — the first time. Much wailing and gnashing of teeth comes from this experience. In fact, many people use this as the basis of their claim that traditional martial arts are useless (and why this new, scientific and reality based training is superior). What these nimrods are overlooking is what happens when someone who has many years of training takes scenario training and finally learns how to function under adrenal stress.

There’s an entire mythology that has sprung up around scenario training. A mythology that often overlooks a simple truth. That’s in order for scenario training to work, you have to have ingrained skills beforehand. Skills that you’ve developed and ingrained over long practice.

Mix physical skills with class room knowledge and understanding and you end up with a process that can be understood akin to swimming. You learn how to swim in the current-less and shallowness of a pool. That’s where you master the component parts and refine your techniques. After that, you add another level of complexity to it by trying to swim in the ocean or river. The currents do not change what you already know, you learn to apply them under different and variable conditions. Scenario training can be best understood as “Okay, you know how to swim in a pool. Now it’s time to learn to swim in the ocean.” That’s a next level of issues affecting your swimming. And yet, when you’re playing in the surf, you’re still under the watchful eye of a lifeguard. This oversight is critical because, there’s a plethora of next level mistakes that a person can make.

Scenario training (or at least well run scenarios) can help you debug your reactions so you don’t make these common mistakes at the same time you develop faith in what you know working. But having said that, it’s still training. It’s not self-defense.

The final ‘does this mean…’ I’m going to leave you with is: Does this mean all training is bullshit?

No, but what it does mean that any training (no matter how good) is a simulation of reality. Training is not the same thing as doing. More importantly, training doesn’t mean you can do it. If we stick to the swimming analogy all that training, reading, classroom and scenario training isn’t the same as being swept overboard (an actual self-defense situation). But they will all contribute to you being able to swim to the life preserver (or to the shores of safety).

I liken training to building a bridge across a canyon. Many people believe if they find the ‘right’ system/approach/teacher, then it’s going to be like driving across the bridge. No problem at all, they just cruise right on over to the other side. When they end up falling off the end of an incomplete bridge they wonder what happened? Why didn’t it work? They’ve done everything right! It should have worked!

This is why I tell you you can’t learn self-defense in the classroom. The best training in the world will only partially complete the bridge, you have to make that final jump yourself. You have to reach inside yourself and pull that out of you to make the jump. Without this final component — and it can only be found in the situation — your training will not work.

At the same time, this is why the quality of the training is important. If the bridge is three quarters done, it’s a lot easier for you to complete the last quarter when you find yourself in a situation. But, if through bad training, the bridge is only one quarter done, then odds are strongly against you being able to make that leap. Some can, most fail.

The thing is, it’s entirely too easy for someone to decide that an instructor is offering them everything they need. This is a big part of why people buy into bad training. They have no frame of reference about how violence happens (and this includes someone who had one bad experience and decides to train). Instead they pick a training program based on their Hollywood based or imagination fueled beliefs about what violence is — and train for that.

In the rest of this series we’ll talk about other cognitive biases and misunderstandings that hinder your ability to act in self-defense. And how the belief that your training will do the work for you is a disaster waiting to happen.

Part II

Part III

How to Stay Safe in the Age of Terrorism – Avi Nardia & Tim Boehlert

This 10 Question interview originally appeared in Black Belt Magazine, but has been edited by Tim Boehlert at the request of CRGI staff.

Q: Should the average person be worried about lone-wolf terrorist attacks?

A: Terror cells, like the Boston Marathon bombers, that are not connected by anything other than ideology will become increasingly common. In some ways, lone cells are more dangerous than organized terrorism because lone cells are difficult to monitor, control or discover. The more we go after the larger terror organizations, the more they will split into smaller cells. This is exactly what has  happened with the drug cartels.

Q: Do you think the Internet is becoming the prime tool for terrorist organizations to recruit lone wolves in any part of the world?

A: Yes, the Internet is a major tool today for recruiting, teaching and spreading terrorist ideologies around the globe. The Internet can be used to traffic information and gather intelligence, and as a meeting place for finding others with the same ideas. It’s very easy to create fake accounts, use them while they are viable, then disappear – maybe completely. Terrorists are becoming increasingly tech-savvy.

Q: Are there any parallels between how terrorists recruit lone wolves and how gangs recruit members?

A: Terror groups share the same mentality as gangs — exploiting hate, spreading anger and practicing brutality. Terrorists also practice the same indoctrination techniques as gangs. Using ideology to ‘persuade’ others that are malleable has been highly effective.

Q: As high-profile targets get extra security, is there an increased likelihood that soft targets — and civilians — will be attacked by lone wolves?

A: Nowadays, we are seeing sick people understand that the more brutal their methods, the more media exposure they gain. As governments and sensitive targets continue to invest in more security, we will begin to see more and more independent terror attacks on soft targets such as bus stations, schools and any place that will instill fear into the public. Terror’s main goal is to create an atmosphere of fear, for control purposes.

Q: In light of all this, what measures can people take to stay safe?

A: Citizens need to push for government to be less tolerant of terrorist ideologies. We also need to educate the public and law enforcement on terrorists and terror culture. It seems to me that people have too much tolerance for terror — sometimes even the police are more strict on normal civilian criminals than on terrorists who walk free among us. One must study and understand what terrorism is before we decide how to fight it. People must understand how terror feeds from the media.

Q: Is increased awareness the most important precaution a person can take?

A: Awareness of who lives around us is important, but it is also important that we protect our freedom from pervasive surveillance and a society wherein anyone could frivolously call the police and have a person arrested. Security and surveillance must be approached in a measured manner. We are seeing instances of abuse as a result of increased surveillance daily it seems.

We should demand more security in schools for our children. In and around our homes, people need to take it upon themselves to study and train in counterterrorism. You are the first responder, not anyone else, and if you always rely on someone else to arrive, they might be too late. We need to take responsibility for our own safety – at hime, at work, on vacation even. Simple things can make a difference.

Q: Do you recommend that people consider lawfully carrying a firearm — assuming they have an interest and have had the proper training?

A: It’s easier to carry a gun in a bag than to carry a police officer. If most normal civilians carry firearms, it will reduce crime as well as terrorism. Switzerland is an example of a country where most civilians own guns, and it’s one of the safest places in the world. People need to take more than just the standard 8-hour course as prescribed in many states. They should know how to use it, how to clean it, how to clear jams. They should know how to shoot in low-light, how to re-load, with either hand.

In Israel, firearm owners must complete 50 hours of training every year to hold a permit. We have seen many situations wherein the first responders were normal civilians who defended and stopped terrorists before any police cars showed up. We also have civilian police volunteers who get training by the police and carry police identification cards. These volunteers patrol sensitive areas and help prevent crime and terrorism. In my system of Kapap, we teach firearms, CPR, surveillance and counter-surveillance as part of our Martial Arts. This training develops awareness and the ability to effectively respond in emergency situations.

Q: How useful could a knife be in the hands of a trained martial artist who’s facing a lone wolf terrorist?

A: Knives are effective weapons and very important to study. The only problem is that it’s hard for a person to use a knife in a real situation. The knife is not a simple weapon unless you are well trained, and overcoming the psychological barrier of fighting with a knife is difficult for most people. People need a lot of training to overcome training that they’ve had since childhood – “Be Nice!”, “Don’t hurt them!”, ” Don’t be rude!” etc. These are simple examples of how we are taught to be courteous and kind, even when facing violence. To overcome this pre-conditioning takes a lot of specialized training. We need to learn to give ourselves to BE RUDE, to strike first – preemptively.

I would also recommend learning about the gun before learning about the knife. Nonetheless, knives are great weapons and are readily available — e.g. in the kitchen. Improvised edged weapons, such as a broken bottle, are also great for self-defense.

Q: How is fighting a person who’s willing to give his life for a cause different from fighting a mugger, a gang-banger or a rapist?

A: Most criminals are not ready to die. That simple fact makes self-defense easier because even rapists and other criminals are just looking for easy victims. Terrorists look for any victim, and therefore anyone is a potential target. Terrorists may fight to the death, which makes the fight very difficult to finish. This is why guns are better to carry than knives. A knife will also require one to be close to the threat, whereas a gun allows one to fight from behind cover. There’s a huge mindset difference. One’s goal is to get resources from you – cash, jewelry, sex. The goal of the terrorist is completely different.  Both may treat you as less than human, for different ‘needs’ to be fulfilled.

Q: Realistically, what chance does an unarmed martial artist stand against an armed terrorist?

A: The first rule is to never give up — regardless of whether you are unarmed and the attacker has a weapon. You should always maintain your awareness and carry your hand-to-hand skills, as well as your gun-disarm skills. Assuming that an attacker does not have a gun can be a deadly mistake.

Avi Nardia is a a former hand-to-hand combat instructor for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Reserve, the Israeli counter-terrorism unit YAMAM and the Israeli Operational Police Academy. He teaches the martial art of Kapap, as well as Judo, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Krav Maga. Kapap is also being taught around the globe through a network of affiliated schools. Avi has produced a series of DVD’s through multiple vendor sources such as BUDO.


In this article I write as a self-defense instructor about the mistakes in communications people make in dealing with a hostile person who are testing them verbally with insults etc. in order to see how they respond and if they are a safe victim to assault.

But what we are dealing with here really is human beings and the ‘Wild Kingdom’ we all really live in. I have lived in more than one world in that I was bouncer/cooler in the mid-seventies in a very large and fight prone bar in New Mexico. At the same time I was a High School Mathematics teacher in that desert community too. Later I left teaching in public schools and started a software company that was reasonably successful.

In that work I interfaced with IBM and Hewlett Packard at many different levels of authority and responsibility. I am not at all exaggerating when I say that working in that bar as bouncer, in terms of learning how to better communicate with hostile and aggressive patrons to avoid violence; well to be frank that skill served me well in the business world too.

I was actually surprised to see the extent to which there was so little shared goals by the people in both big firms. Mostly managers and such were first concerned with distancing themselves from any anticipated future problem or crisis. It was politics and self-interest that first motivated most managers and even some higher level executives.

This was real drag on productivity too. And at its root was failure in communications. Few managers wanted to be the one that fist announced a big problem coming up, as then they feared that they would ‘own the problem’. This was not a universal attitude, but any chain of communications is no better than its weakest link.

Remember that there are truly only three types of communications 1-Aggressive and Demanding 2-Passive and subservient and 3- Assertive and effective. But let’s look closer here. In ‘Aggressive and demanding then the person is ‘talking’ to a subordinate. Just as subordinate is receiving that communication or failure at same from a ‘Superior’.

This is similar to responding with FEAR or ANGER at an aggressive person, and that person could be the one assuming the role of the ‘superior’, as in a ‘bully in the bar’ or a ‘pushy’ middle manager. When we respond with either fear or anger we have not chosen our path, we are allowing our biochemistry that is a million years old do the choosing for us!

The only response that is our choice and our decision is to be assertive in the face of aggression.

Now please understand all of this exists on very long continuum.  For example, in a prison environment a convict may kill another convict for being ‘disrespected’ or ‘dissed’. In an office situation a manager my fire an ‘insolent’ or ‘disrespectful employee’.

It is mostly the consequences that are radically different in the two examples here, and not the nature of the communication. Both the manager and the ‘homicidal convict’ acted out of a communication that was received as being ‘disrespectful’.

Effective communications can make guy who intends to pound your face into raspberry jam and has articulated that intention to you into a person who decides he does not have to or want to do that. This is no ‘theory’ with me it is experience. And yes, not all such people can be verbally de-escalated but most in my experience can be.

Likewise middle manager or boss who is ‘chewing your ass out royally’ and maybe even in front of others in the office,  well if you handle it very well you can sometimes communicate with him or her in productive manner to. By ‘productive’ I mean in way that ‘solves’ or ‘begins to solve’ the problem the ‘Boss’ is chewing you out for. Neither anger nor fear can ever accomplish this. But measured assertiveness might.

So let’s get down to specifics here. Below is truncated version of my newsletter to subscribers whose main interest is self-defense, but true self-defense exists on very long continuum too, from the barroom to the boardroom as I have been in both places good people. I will also say that self-defense is subset of self-improvement and the most powerful form of same I am aware of too when done authentically.

Even martial arts, which is not really self-defense training at least in any comprehensive way, has some real self-improvement benefits too.

Hence below in italics I will give examples of the mistakes people make in dealing with a potentially assaultive bully, to the mistakes and consequences of dealing with the office and corporate environment. If you live in the same worlds I do then you surely know there are disagreeable people there too you must communicate with and yes, even bullies as well.

1- They fail to recognize the intent of the abusive person’s verbal attack behaviors.

The bully’s intent is to determine if a physical attack on you is safe for them or not. In short, you are being ‘interviewed ‘for safe victim potential. The verbal attack and insults and challenges are an ‘interview” of you

Same deal with overbearing manager, once they see they can abuse you one way or another they are encouraged to do so. EXAMPLE” The Boss tells a subordinate to have the Johnson report ready by Friday at 10 AM. The subordinate knows it can be done in that time and the software is not set up for the format he wants. SUBORDINATES FEAR RESPONSE: They say nothing and are not communicating the problem and thus they are worried and unproductive all the way to Friday and then the Boss discovers the people coming in from out of town he will be much less prepared to meet and sell. This could be the last straw for the boss and subordinate well catch Hell and may be terminated.

2- They are in Denial that the verbal assault is really happening  

The most common way this is done is just by ignoring the abuser as if he were not there. This means you pass his interview for ‘safe victim potential’ and it’s now much more likely he will get physical\ and attack you. The bully needs to inflate his self-esteem through abusing others with impunity. This is because of his actual weak self-image.

The Boss has not communicated that the situation properly. The subordinate does not realize the gravity of having the report being ready for the important Friday meeting. The subordinate knows that the Boss is always making near impossible demands and time frames and ‘he will just have to learn what is possible and isn’t possible’ Friday.

3- They get angry and return his insults

To the experienced ‘human predator’ this is very close to #3 above. He knows fear and anger are almost the same thing in such a situation. You are also helping him get his courage up to attack you. It is like throwing gasoline on fire to put it out. Showing anger is escalating the situation and shows him he is ‘getting to you’ which to some extent means he is succeeding in controlling you.

To the Boss this is insubordinate and disrespectful and he or she won’t have it. The Boss may terminate the subordinate and find someone in the department that can perform the job rather than complain.

 5- They verbally challenge the aggressor

How stupid is this? Both make themselves tactically open for attack. This is ‘Wild Kingdom’ stuff and neither person is really in control of themselves or they would not do this non-sense

Similar to getting angry, it isn’t a rational choice by the subordinate but an emotional response. The subordinate may seem calm but is saying “Boss we have been through this before. The software does not allow the information to be selected and printed out like that and certainly not by Friday you should be aware of these things by now”. In this communication the subordinate as far as the Boss is concerned is just telling him or her what the subordinate can’t do. This is not of interest as much as what the subordinate CAN DO in the time frame. Further the accusation that “you should be aware of these things by now” is insulting and challenging and may be seen easily as being disrespectful and the subordinate being person that is just too hard to deal with and him or she just does not need that.

6-They display an Ignorance of what is happening. If you show fear, indecision and ignorance of the situation then you might say something like: “Hey leave me alone I haven’t done anything to you”. Of course he knows all that already, you have just told him “I am afraid and I do not understand why your acting this way to me as never have dealt with this before and so you can be sure I do not know how to handle it now if you go physical with me”  

Here the subordinate is taken off balance by the Boss’s demand. This is partly both parties fault too at that point. The subordinate then will be asking ‘what ifs’ or “are you saying that we have too” or “look it’s not my responsibility to be able to do something the system isn’t programmed to do”. Again the subordinate is communicating to the Boss that it is ‘His problem’ not theirs and what once again simply what ‘can’t be done’. The boss needs a replacement that accepts responsibility and knows there job, this person is headed for potential unemployment.

7- They care what people around them will think about them and let that fear determine their   actions.

Suppose you are with friends or your girlfriend or wife when you are confronted by a bully in restaurant. If you are worried or concerned that IF you don’t meet this hostility with ‘manly action’ you will be seen as a coward then you are not in control of yourself, someone else is! If this passes through your mind then you are afraid that you are ‘not really a man’ in the first place and that is the real problem. You are acting like an adolescent boy not a man. Either you are in control of yourself or someone else is. Of course showing fear and freezing up is no good either, it encourages the bully.

The Boss chooses to ‘chew the subordinate out’ in front of other co-workers. This is very seldom by anything but the Boss’s design and purpose so as to amplify the castigation of the subordinate. It is basically the same dynamic communication wise as the dealing with the Bully in the restaurant. The assertive response is best as it discourages the Boss from doing this as it does not met his result does not meet his expectation. An assertive but not insubordinate response might be “Mr. Boss I realize the importance of this problem and we need to go to your office to discuss some sensitive elements of this problem”. If this continues do you really want to work there anyway? WE spend a great really enormous a lot of our life at work. What kind of life do y6ou want? All endings are always also the start of new beginning.

8-They allow themselves to become triggered by ‘Name Calling’. This one is both the more challenging to explain physiologically and for many the most challenging response to disengage from.  Being ‘triggered’ exists on a continuum. The trigger for a Black Person might be being called the “N” word.  Yet the trigger for another person might be something as simple as being called “Sport”. When “triggered’ a person can respond automatically and immediately and thus not under their own self-aware will and rational control.

The OODA loop: concept:

Observation, Orientation, Decision, Action.  This is a very key concept to understand.  Decision-making occurs in a recurring cycle of observe-orient-decide-act. An entity (whether an individual or an organization) that can process this cycle quickly, observing and reacting to unfolding events more rapidly than an opponent, can thereby “get inside” the opponent’s decision cycle and gain the advantage.

AN Example:  Again I am just having a beer on a Harley bike trip through Colorado and New Mexico when I am aware that a guy at a table by himself has the ‘hard eyes’ on me. I judge him to be a ‘regular’ there .I am of course just passing through. I had an unusually strong sense of malice about this guy and possible mental problems. I decided to pre-empt. I smiled at him and sat down at his table and said in a friendly manner  “Don’t I know you form “D Block in La Tuna?” La tuna was a prison in New Mexico the State I was now in.  He was derailed. His OODA loop was broken.

In the example by asking him this questions about ‘was he not someone I saw in prison’, I interrupted his decision loop and derailed it. He was surprised and told me he had been in jail before but never prison.

I replied he had been ‘smart then’ and wished him well and went back to the bar to have lunch. This was one of those rare incidents where pre-preemption was best and so I went with my gut feeling there.

OK, how does this idea of the OODA Loop apply to business? The short answer is “in every possible aspect of business”. This is because business is about people and commutations and sales in particular is about anticipating and being able to preemptively engage objections to the sale. Now do not say to yourself “But I am not in sales”. Yes you are in sales every human being on the planet is in sales one way or another really regardless of what they do for a living.

One way to grasp this is this idea: A Doctor sells medical services a Lawyer legal service a Plumber fixing your leaking pipes and overflowing toilet services, a politician sells himself in nearly every conceivable way imaginable, a would be lover of another is selling him or herself to that significant other, or would be significant other or spouse as a suitable mate. The list is of course endless.

To the management or CEO you are selling him or her the idea that you are valuable asset to the enterprise.  Ok we don’t necessarily think of it those terms or idioms, but isn’t this idea about ‘sales’ a reality?

That is where the OODA Lop and mastering its intricacies with people and prospects becomes paramount. Sales of any kind is mainly the business of educating the prospect to the sale the ‘how and why’ he or she needs your service or product. Of course that ‘prospect’ may be your boss, the CEO, the manager that can promote you or even the person you are hoping to sell a piece of real estate too).

So you want to anticipate objections so you can resolve them in the mind of your sales prospect. Yet the objections to any sale are always one of these three

1-NO NEED, I do not have the problem you solve so I do not need you or you or service or

2-NO HELP, I realize I have a problem but you dot really understand what that problem is so your solution does not apply to me, it is no help.

3- NO HURRY: Hum, I have the problem, your solution seems to fit, but we have gotten along this far without it so there is no hurry to make a decision right now.

You should be prepared to get inside the mind of your prospect OODA Loop wise. This means you know the problem the prospect has as well or better than he or she does. It means you know thus exactly what the benefit you or your solution provide. And for objection number three, NO HURRY, you should be able to meaningfully project to the prospect what it is costing them daily or monthly or yearly just what it is costing them not to have you or your service or product right now.



Taking Control – Jari Peuhkurinen

It’s almost dawn and you have been out with your friends celebrating. Your friends took a taxi, but you decided to walk because it’s just a short way home. You are walking down a quiet road. It’s kind of dark still, since the sun hasn’t come up yet. During the night you didn’t drink too much, but you can feel that you are little bit intoxicated, but most of all you are tired. You just want to get home to sleep.

You are just about to cross a road to your home, when you see two men hanging out in front of your apartment building. They are not doing anything, just standing there, but obviously checking you out. You feel how your stress hormones start raging through your bloodstream, those little buggers that make your mind and body wake up… you are feeling fear.

Luckily you had been aware of your surroundings and you spotted the possible threat in time and you have a chance to affect what happens and avoid possible encounter by simply not entering a situation. Perhaps you change a direction or grab your phone and make a call. Maybe you go and get help from somewhere or someone.
When you are able to perceive a threat early it gives you time to react and plan. Time gives you a possibility to control your emotions better if you have the tools for it. This because the stimulus that causes fear, in this case observation of those two guys, is still somehow controllable.

On the other hand the stress hormones can be slowly paralyzing and draining your energy down. This can happen when you have the knowledge of future conflict and you know it cannot be avoided and you have to wait for it. The tools to control your thoughts and affect your emotions in these situations are very practical; concentrate your thoughts and energy on observation and planning.

When you exit the scene and get distance to the threat you can feel that stress is decreasing, since you feel you are going to be safe. You are coping through by your decisions and actions and take charge of the situation at an early stage.

Same thing happens during a physical conflict; stress starts to decrease and you can get some of your cognitive functions back the moment you feel that you are in control of the situation.

Let’s take the scenario further…

You have spotted those two suspicious guys standing in front of your home and you’ve decided to head back the way you came from, to get away from them. As you turn around to head back you see a third guy who’s been following you, but you hadn’t noticed him before. Seems they are all part of the same group and working together.

Situation has developed to a point where you cannot avoid by simply exiting the situation. There is nowhere to escape, not at least without some form of action towards the threats. Some form of encounter with them is unavoidable. You can make a conscious choice and start adapting to the situation.

Firstly you need to assess the situation again with this new information. Make a quick threat analysis; map your options and form a plan of action, make the goal clear for yourself. This is a conscious decision not to let your feelings of fear guide your thinking. You are coping with the situation and your actions will be goal oriented.

Threat analysis gives you information to plan your action. Forming a threat analysis is a skill you can practise everyday and it really helps to take charge of your thoughts and emotions.  

With this said it is not always easy to control those thoughts and you may find yourself in situation where your cognitive thinking doesn’t work too well and you seem to be thinking that if I don’t say anything and just ignore them, don’t look them in the eye and just walk away, everything will be fine. “how did I end up here?” what’s going to happen to me?” If I don’t notice them, maybe they don’t notice me” etc. You are denying the reality of the situation.

Denying the situation is our internal defense mechanism. Our internal defense mechanisms can protect our mind, but they also chain our thoughts. Defenses are about denying and distorting the reality around us and adjusting and suppressing our internal reality. It can help to cope with the pressing feeling of fear. When you are submitting yourself into this cycle of denying, you are forcing yourself to just react to everything that happens and that will increase your feeling of fear and you become a victim. All that is left is coping with what has happened after the situation.

It is also possible that fear literally makes you freeze. Makes you incapable to act in anyway. The possibility for this is especially high if the stimulus (the situation) develops without any warning. There is no time for denial. The stress hormones rush to prepare your body to fight or flight so suddenly that you just freeze. Simply you are not coping in anyway. This is no better than previous stage, you become a victim. There are drills to practise braking the freeze, but firstly you need to be able to recognize when you are freezing and that’s not always easy to do under control circumstances.

This was an example of coping in threat of physical conflict, but the same model applies for conflict management in general. Put yourself in a situation where the threat, the factor causing stress, is an upcoming conflict with your boss. You have those same tools at your disposal to cope with the immediate stress; if you have time and tools to avoid, the stress will be decreased. If you cannot avoid, but have time to make a plan of action (how you handle the situation) it will affect the stress levels and your action in a positive way. If, however, you are denying the reality the internal defense mechanisms may kick in and will distort the internal or outside reality to relieve stress. Or you may just freeze, not being able to respond or defend yourself.

It all comes down to two things;

  1. how much you have time to prepare and how you use that time
  2. what tools of coping you have in your disposal.

Both are things that we need to train for and train our students for. If either one of these elements missing and your action and coping will be severely compromised, facing the threat of a physical conflict you need to get your mind working for you, not against you, remaining in control is key.

Texan Bar Etiquette, Part I – Clint Overland

After 26 years of dealing with drunks, drug addicts, Tusk Hogs (power drinkers who function at a higher level of intoxication and enjoy violence), and almost every other type of human refuse, I want to share with you ten simple things not to do in order to keep you as safe as you can be when confronted with a situation in a bar or night club. Is this a guarantee that you will be safe? No but it damn sure will not hurt.


  1. Don’t let your alligator mouth overload your jaybird ass. In other words, your ego will be the main impediment to your safety when dealing with a drunk or violent person in a bar. Smart ass comments are best saved for a time after you are safe and away from the threat. I have heard it said that you should never assume anything about a situation. I am calling bullshit on that. Always assume that this can go from a small ego, dick size contest to a straight out life and death scenario with the wrong thing being said at the wrong time.  Your safety is at stake. Remember that it’s not always what you say that gets your teeth and head knocked in, it’s in the tone and the delivery that people hear more so than words. Being sarcastic has led more people to the joys of broken noses than any other thing I have seen.


  1. I’ve overheard drunks time and time again telling each other what they’re going to do when it’s time to get down to business.  DO NOT DO THIS!!! You have just created a group of witnesses for any legal problems that may arise from the situation. If you tell another human being that you’re going to kill, injure, or hurt them in any way, you have just stepped on your own dick or your own tits ladies. It is no longer a self-defense issue, but one of consensual combat and disorderly conduct at the least. One episode I was a witness to involved ass hat 1 threatening to kill ass hat 2 if he ever saw him again. This was in front of 30 people. Ass hat 2 left and waited outside with a gun and later shot ass hat 1 when he went to his car. The police interviewed 12 or 13 of us and the DA didn’t prosecute due to the threat having been made earlier.

      That does not mean that you shouldn’t give warning when you feel that you are in danger, it means don’t brag or boast about what you are going to do.


  1.            For fucks sake, don’t tell someone who you are. They don’t care! Don’t warn them about the dangers of dealing with you. If things go south let it be a surprise. I have heard people, mostly men, but sometimes women, tell me, “DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM.” (My two standard replies are “No, don’t you?” and “Yea, my next victim!”) You are trying to use social pressure, fear, and intimidation as an ego/threat boost. 9 times out of 10 this will get you punched in the mouth quicker than a straight insult. You are trying to show that you are someone special, you are not. What you have done is throw down a challenge and an insult to the other person. “I am better than you and you need to bow down to that fact and accept your place as beneath me on the social hierarchy. “  That, my friend, is a great way to learn the joy of shitting your teeth out the next morning.


One other thing, don’t go around telling people who your daddy or husband is unless they are capable of backing up your statements. One of my pet peeves as a bouncer is when individuals throw that kind of statement into my face. If your father, husband, grandpa or whatever, is a real heavy hitter then you won’t need to let others know about it. It will be shared for you without you making a fool of yourself.


  1.            Don’t draw attention to yourself. Go in, have a good time, don’t be an idiot. Shouting, whistling, and raising hell are a great way to draw attention to yourself, not only from the bouncers/security staff, but also of the Great White sharks swimming in the waters with you. Despite what you believe (and most of that is wrong by the way), there are those that are looking forward to hurting you. Acting up and drawing attention to yourself is a great way to chum the waters. I watched one man take a beer bottle across his eye (he lost it) because he wouldn’t stop yelling at the band. The man in front of him finally had enough of it, turned around and smashed a bottle into his face, rupturing his eye. It happened without warning, but the signs were all there if you were aware enough to read them. Contrary to popular belief, it is possible to have a good time and enjoy life without being the center of attention for others to enjoy.


  1. I really would like to talk to you ladies who are reading this. You are ultimately responsible for your own safety. Just because you live a certain way during the day, do not mistake that the same rules apply to a bar or nightclub. You are swimming with sharks every time you go out for a good time. There is a certain segment of society that only looks at you as if you are prey and they do not care about you or your so called rights as a person. 


I have been amazed over and over again at the way some women choose to act. Yes you can dress any way you want to, yes you can choose to act like a drunken idiot for however many times you can get away with it.  I am not going to argue that point but when you have to reap the rewards of your actions do not bitch about it. And no I am not talking about rape. I am talking about you getting your ass handed to you for crossing the line with another woman a lot meaner and tougher than you are. I watched a middle class woman think it would be great to give a guy she didn’t know a lap dance right in front of his wife. The wife worked as a lineman for a power company climbing electric poles all day every day doing hard labor. The wannabe dancer was a clerk in a retail jewelry store who had never been in a real fight her entire life. By the time I and the rest of the staff got there, roughly 5 seconds, dancer girl had her teeth knocked out, eye socket broke and a coffee mug diameter size chunk of hair and scalp pulled out. You think 5 seconds is not a long time try being on the receiving end of an educational beat down.


Your actions will lead to certain results, maybe not the 1st time or the 100th time but there will be a cost. In addition, please stop acting like a stripper, save that for the bedroom or go get a job working the pole somewhere. I’m sorry if you need to find attention from a large group of people and think that is the way to do it. All you are doing is making a fool of yourself and like lesson number 4 you are drawing that attention from possibly the wrong crowd. Trust me, if we wanted to see that we would be at a strip club watching real strippers! It also cuts down on the attention that the real creepy guys want to pay you.  Also stop being a drunken cunt please. You’re at the bar as a customer and yes they are trying to bring you what you ordered. You being a snotty demanding bitch not only pisses off you server (notice I did not say servant or slave) but will go nothing but worse service or your drink being stirred with a dick, or finger that’s been up someone’s asshole.

 Part II 

Why “Textbook” Bystander Intervention Training Can Get You Beaten and Killed – Clint Overland and Erik Kondo

I recently came across a news story about a male college student in Iowa intervening when he perceived a group of men were sexually harassing a woman. Consequently, the man ended up in the hospital with multiple injuries when the group of men attacked him. According to an interviewed “expert” on Bystander Intervention training, the young man had acted in “textbook” fashion. He had done everything right.

Read or listen to the full story here:

While I applaud this man for his courage and willingness to step up to help a woman in distress, in my opinion, the man actually engaged in conflict mis-mangement.  In order to bring more knowledge to this issue, I turned to a true expert in the field of conflict management. One who deals regularly with drunk, belligerent, dangerous men and women on a nightly basis – Clint Overland.

Erik: “Regarding the incident as outlined in the news story, what is your interpretation of what happened?”

Clint: “As I read the news accounts and watched the videos from the news, the Victim seemed to want to do the right thing and stop the harassment of a young woman by a group of 8 or 9 men. But, he didn’t have a clue as to what he was doing, and who knows if it wasn’t a setup ambush. I have seen things like this occur in bars over and over again played out with different scenarios. Ambushes like this work because they play on peoples need to do the right thing.”

Erik:  “In your opinion what did the victim do wrong?”

Clint: “First of all, let’s start with the Victims size – tall and lanky. He probably hasn’t been in many altercations of extreme violence. His size has always been a factor used for intimidation. He has backed people down in the past because he was taller and possibly stronger than a lot of individuals.

Now, he interfered in a Group Monkey Dance with an unknown tribe of primates. I do not know or can’t say that he shouldn’t have stepped in, but there are damn sure smarter ways to do it. Also he trusted that the attackers would do the right thing according to His own (the Victims) socioeconomic back ground and raising. He used the wrong script for the right reasons.  Maybe he has been in a past situation similar to the one that got him beat and the previous script worked. This is a different group with different unknowns.”

Erik: “Specifically, what else could he have done?”

Clint: “The Victim should have called the police immediately. 911 is your friend in these situations. He could have saved himself an ass whipping by calling the cops, speaking clearly and point out what was going on. Give all the info he had at the time and the numbers of individuals involved. He needed to start yelling at the top of his lungs while the police were on the line, “I HAVE CALLED THE POLICE AND THEY ARE ON THEIR WAY”. Then he needed to start hollering for help from other individuals. He could have also enlisted the help of any friends at hand or any store owners close by to call the police. There is safety in numbers when it comes to dealing with predators. The more there are of you, the safer you become.”

Erik:  “How would you have handled the situation given the circumstances?”

Clint: “This is a hard question because I really don’t know all of the information. I have been in a few similar situations. One involved a group of frat rats and a girl who had passed out drunk at the bar. They wanted to take her and fuck her. I said, “No, they needed to leave”. Their response was that “there is one of you and 12 of us, so how you going to stop us?” I told them, “I would kill as many as I could before I went down”.

They didn’t want to play in that game. Also, I carry several guns, and other “things” most of the time, and I practice with them regularly. I am not afraid to use them. I also do understand the cost that using force can incur. I have a good lawyer, a bail bondsman, and several intimidating friends. I damn sure would not have walked in the midst of them trying to reason with them. That is being a lamb walking into its own slaughter. Much too many variables to understand and watch at one time. If at all possible, I would have called the police, and called out for help. If that didn’t work, shoot the first few.”

Erik: “Regarding the interview with Mentors in Violence, what is your opinion of the advice being given on Bystander Intervention for these types of situations?”

Clint: “These egghead feel good fellows are going to get someone seriously hurt or killed. They are trying to teach people how to cook a meal when changing the tire is what is required. Wrong tools and wrong skills for the job. Violence is neither good nor bad.  It is simply a tool, same as a gun or a knife. It has a specific use and it is the individual’s use of it that sets the theme.

A guy robbing a bank uses a gun to kill one of the customers is then shot and killed by another customer or police officer. Same tools, same results, different reasons. The information given in the interview is good IF and only If it is used in the correct settings. It will not work for every situation or scenarios. Different rules for different settings. Trying that upper class social pressure on certain groups of people will get your ass stomped flat like this kid found out. In my opinion, and again I am no doctor or scientist, just a beat up middle aged bouncer. The info that is being passes around as a godsend by these folks is pure bullshit. It won’t work in every situation and shouldn’t be taught that it will work.”

Erik: “What do you think is harmful about the advice?”

Clint: “Look guys, violence isn’t always the answer, but it damn sure needs to be included in the possible outcome. Don’t get all butt hurt when someone refuse to listen to reason. 90% of my job as a bouncer is listening to people and reading situations. People skills are an asset in any situation. Sympathy, logic and reason can be a great stabilizing force, but so is a framing hammer or a shotgun. These eggheads are trying to get people to be NON violent. Our very nature as human beings is violent. Civilization and all of its blessings are based upon the idea of law and order. How it is impressed on people is through the threat of violence in some form or fashion. Whether it is the police and legal system, or a military force. What we need to be focusing on is the idea that violence is just a tool.  We need to all become skilled in the use of that tool.

People are more afraid of making my wife mad than they are of pissing me off. Why? Because she is a calming influence on me. But they understand that if they offend or hurt her in any way, all she has to say is that it’s OK for me to follow my baser instincts. Which can include an old tire, a can of gasoline, and a lighter, if the situation needs it.

I am not afraid to say that we need to quit teaching women to be weaker, and teach them to be meaner and more dangerous. My daughter was accosted by a patron in a bar where she was working. She straight told the guy that “she would cut him from his balls to his brisket if he said one more word” and she meant it. Then, she told her regular customers. They expressed their anger outside, away from cameras. Violence was used and situation was solved.

Erik: “. How would you advise people differently?

Clint: “Folks, I am not, and never will be a proponent of VIOLENCE as the only answer that works. It’s not. Life is made up of skills and tools. Whether it is cooking a frittata or baking a cake, both take place in the kitchen, but use different methods and skills to do it correctly. You wouldn’t try and scramble the eggs with a tire iron, or cut the cake with a pistol. All tools and all skills have their place. To be a complete and rounded person, you need to have as many tools and skill available as possible. I tell my kids it’s great to have a big tool box with everything you need put away in its correct place and available to use.

Erik: “Anything else you would like to say?”

Clint: “There is, and always will be, a need to talk and negotiate with other people. But there will, and always will be, a need for the correct application of violence. I see too many people, who think that because they grew up, or become accustom to the way things are in their realm, that it is the same in every other place. Doesn’t work that way.  Each social and economic class, and subclass, has its own rules and own way of doing things. When you step outside the class that you are comfortable with, you find yourself playing a game where you do not know all the rules.  Here is where your tool box comes in very handy.”


When it comes to conflict management, there are number of considerations to keep in mind. When you, as an outsider to a Group, use certain words to “command” a Group, such as “Chill out”, it is likely that the Group will backlash against your command. This is particularly so, if the Group consists of young men from another tribe, late at night, in the presence of a female(s), alcohol has been consumed, and you have no backup.

Were the men wrong to harass the woman and attack the man? Yes, absolutely, they were to blame. But being blameless doesn’t make your injuries heal any faster. Being blameless, doesn’t bring you back from the dead. Being blameless, doesn’t help you handle situations differently in the future. Shaking hands with someone is not a de-escalation strategy if his plan is to suck you into an ambush.

If you intervene in a situation of harassment with the goal of teaching a social lesson about the importance of respect, you must understand that you subject yourself to being the recipient of a different social lesson. This lesson runs along the lines of “mind your own business”, and “don’t interfere with our Group affairs”. Therefore, as Clint mentioned, it is important to understand the dynamics of the situation. What are the rules that the Group lives by? What happens if you break their rules? Are you subjecting yourself to an Educational Beatdown combined with a Group Monkey Dance?

Safely teaching a social lesson requires that you to be backed up by some authority. Why else would the other party listen to your lesson when it directly interferes with what he or she wants to do? For a variety of reasons, intervening as one college boy to another is vastly different than intervening as a college boy to a group of “country” men.

Bystander Intervention training that does not include education on how violence is used and violence dynamics can easily morph into the teaching of conflict mis-management. It has the very real potential of leading to situations that end badly.



Thugs and Chess – Peter Consterdine

Every instructor at some time has said that the worst person to spar against is a beginner. They will always do something totally unexpected, punch incorrectly (sic), but hit you on the nose, block your shin with the point of their elbow, close down your kicks without ever planning to and generally cause chaos. The problem is they don’t know the rules. They don’t know we are supposed to be better at the game we’re playing and they don’t yet know enough to be impressed and let us score on them. They make the same mistake all beginners do – they aren’t yet conditioned by combative rules!

Also we find it difficult to read what they are going to do because, as yet, we haven’t programmed them to move in such a way that we can detect early on what they are about to strike with. That will come with time when we’ve moulded them into the rules. And rules we have – complex, complicated and sophisticated rules about combative engagement and how it should happen within the art we practice. This all may have a facetious ring about it but, unfortunately, there are also some unfortunate truths.

Fine so far until we extend the analogy of the beginner to the street, where the person who, having had umpteen pints of best ale or whatever, decides you’re a suitable case for treatment is also somebody who hasn’t gone through the tedious procedure of learning all the rules. He doesn’t wait for a signal to start, in fact, he probably won’t even convey to you anything is about to start, rather simply knock you out. He won’t exchange complex blows, blocks and counters, he’ll simply plow into you and before he does that he may have destroyed your resolve to fight with such violent language and display of aggression that you’re out of the game before you start. He’ll come in swinging so as not to present a target, be hard to hurt because, unlike your students in the Dojo, his pain threshold and fear threshold are both enhanced with alcohol and adrenalin

You see the problem is that ‘high level martial arts only works best against high level martial artists’ – it’s thugs and chess – you can’t play chess with someone to whom draughts is mentally taxing and who doesn’t know the rules. It’s this point that both Geoff Thompson (my partner in the BCA) and I try to get over time and again to people that, unless you are prepared to rethink the problem of how you adapt to the reality of violent street confrontations, simply relying on Dojo skills won’t work. Remember one thing, that the less a person knows the more dangerous they are, because the better they are at what it is they do. Also the less trained a person is in, say, a martial arts system, the more underhand they will be in trying to get close to strike. They will also be more violent and are prepared to cause you more damage than you would have done to them.

Try and put most martial arts systems into context and that is they come from cultures where display is paramount, the exchange of high level skills is required by the watching public and that everyone feels cheated if the fight ends on the first blow. Taken to extremes one can look at Mongolian Wrestling, part of the yearly National Games, or Naadam, in Ulaanbattar. People have waited a whole year, traveled maybe hundreds of miles, cooked food for the day and will not be cheated by means of short fights – one fight can last hours! Most Eastern martial arts have the same constraints, particularly the display of complexity and competence, whereas, by contrast a fight in a bar is never pretty, never takes time and never shows great martial skills which is counter to how martial artists believe it should happen. Do not take your Dojo model of combat into the bar – this simply becomes a case of martial arts in jeans and will get you seriously hurt.

They practice the two skills of ‘sucking you in’ or ‘psyching you out’. I used to do this to people when working on the door where, and if the distance was wrong I would feign fear or worry (usually not difficult) which made my opponent overly confident and would cause him to close the distance and come into my range. The other alternative was to ‘psych them out’ with either a display of aggression or a display of massive confidence (not actually felt, but well disguised). Both can work, but don’t try the ‘psyching out’ option if you look more like a concert pianist, or art school teacher, as the bluff can’t be carried off.

Be assured of one thing, though, and that is that the person who practices the low-key, suck you in deception is by far the most dangerous. The one who tries to psyche you out with the massive display of aggression, swearing, posturing and threats is simply practicing theatre. It doesn’t make him less dangerous but it does make him predictable and, providing you’ve armour-plated yourself against such displays, when he realises that it isn’t working he’ll have a big confidence dip. Also, he doesn’t expect to get a pre-emptive slap or strike when he’s halfway through his performance.

Both tactics can work for you and both can be used against you. I mentioned a display of confidence and this is probably the one most people should work on. It demands you display no emotion, display no physical capabilities and are able to talk without giving away how you actually feel. Watch doormen – this latter option is the one they cultivate the best. They have become skilled at not betraying emotions and this has been helped in no small way with the advent of CCTV which may monitor their every move and expression, particularly aggression.

What we can use and what people use against us are two sides of the same coin. In nearly all cases the person who is facing you down with a display of aggression and threats is no less nervous or frightened than you it’s just that he’s now working to his rules. You see the problem is that in the Dojo we don’t practice ‘verbal violence’! In fact, we do just the opposite, practicing politeness and control, with little if any displays of true aggression. However, when you face it for the first time, it may be enough to freeze you into immobility and make you the loser even before a blow is thrown.

All my teaching, either for the police or others is centered around not what techniques will work for us in the street, but what psychological, physiological and cognitive barriers will stop us handling and controlling the violent encounter as we would expect and hope to and are trained to. Very simply, this is to do with the body’s response to stress as it impacts the sympathetic nervous system and also the endocrine system. To this can be added a host of other very strange psychological and physiological symptoms that overwhelm us, and which all serve to negate any physical skills we have accumulated over the years. In a separate article I’ll detail the process of what happens and why, but for the moment believe me it doesn’t happen as you may think it does from the comfort of the Dojo.

In a separate concept I’ve developed called the ‘One Yard Rule and the Egg Timer’ I mention how we burden ourselves with too many techniques, whereas your attacker actually has the benefit of knowing very little and so can’t confuse himself about what he is going to do. Most critically, though, he will not be caught between the two stools of attack or defence – unlike you. He has one simple plan and that’s to strike and at a point he knows he can make it work. He wants the first strike to finish you so that he and probably his mates can then go to town on you. As trained martial artists we have choice, to pre-empt or wait and defend, but it doesn’t work to our advantage. Like our attacker we should have only one consideration and that’s to be first, whereas having the choice actually weakens our resolve and decision making powers.

There is a metaphor for life which I have always thought very apt for this particular issue and it’s the story of the Fiddler on The Roof, which is essentially to do with the lifelong battle for all of us to achieve the best we can in life making the most of our innate talents, set against our innate fear of the unknown and risk of failure which usually inhibit us. This is the fiddler who goes through life trying to fiddle the best tune he can whilst at the same time trying to keep a grip of the roof so as not to fall off. If he could be brave enough to be less concerned about his concern over keeping his balance on the roof his playing would be tremendous and he would reach his potential, but all the time this is set against the fear of falling off.

When we are faced with a violent aggressor we are just like the fiddler on the roof, caught between what we have been told we should do, which, probably, is to wait and defend, or pre-empt and strike before he attacks. At such times our real, deep seated confidence in our ability to hit hard is also brought into question – ‘will he go down or will I just annoy him and make matters worse, in other words, should I cling onto the chimney a bit longer and try and talk him out of it’?  I’ve been there myself and the price to be paid for an inappropriate mindset is too high, so believe me you need to let go of the chimney!

This is why such concepts as creating a ‘reactionary gap’ are inherently dangerous. A violent aggressor will always fill any gap you create if you try and step back. You’ve also created more confidence in him, less in yourself and, from a purely objective, tactical aspect you’ve stepped back into the unknown. As a concept it fails when you have nowhere to step back to i.e. if you have a wall, busy road or vehicle behind you, but more critically it develops a negative mindset. To upset an offender’s plan of action (POA) you need to do the opposite of what he expects and that’s to go in and to him.

You have to drastically reduce your options, so keep it simple, be first, be impactive, predetermine your ‘POA’ before you engage with the person by means of a structured assessment and forget you’re a 6th Dan or whatever. Let go of the roof and remember you can’t play chess with someone for whom draughts (Checkers in the U.S.) is the most complex game they are ever likely to tackle.