Facebook Quote of the Month – Bradley Welsh

This UWCB (Ultra White Collar Boxing) mob are going to get someone killed….

16 hrs training in a hall, with no Boxing Coach is not enough to then throw someone into a boxing ring, add to that they don’t adhere to matching opponents by similar weights and levels of Experience, all combining to create the most dangerous life threatening EVENT…….. this money making model is a CIRCUS… a complete joke, masquerading as a Charity event…. CANCER RESEARCH is nothing more than a business paying its employees and CEOs millions of pounds yearly…. it’s been researching cancer for over 150 years FFS …… it’s greed knows no boundaries… allowing young men and woman to be thrust into danger on a weekly basis in pursuit of financial gain….. for the record UWCB does not pay 1 penny to Cancer Research….. nope it’s YOU the MUG taking part in this LIFE THREATENING CIRCUS that gets all your friends and family to donate the monies they claim to have donated……. they UWCB sit back and take the Ticket Money you gave them for themselves…. money from your friends and family as they cheer you on, baying for the blood of your likewise untrained unevenly matched , heavier or lighter opponent…. ???

Someone is going to die…. a brain clot incident earlier in the year…. hundreds of Knock-outs and concussions…. now this ( just for the record… in thousands of Amateur Boxing Contests up and down the country yearly… there is no such injuries… because it’s PROPER BOXING PEOPLE running it with codes of practices in place to facilitate it…. as we have done for decades under the stringent AIBA rules and regulations.

If you know someone in Scotland, taking part in one of these GLOSSY PROMOTED easy access ( it appears to be Free but costs all your family and friends money and you perhaps your life ) then it’s more than likely that even after you show them this …. they will still do it… ( that’s my Experience in the past on warning people ) they are caught by the cancer lie but in the most are deluding themselves and won’t pull out…. I have a message for anyone signed up or considering…

Boxing is not this easy… you are fooling nobody but yourself…. proper boxing people LAUGH at this UWCB and see it’s set up and designed for people, somewhat lacking… in what I’m not sure…. but if you want to box… there’s hundreds of proper boxing gyms in our communities…. GO DO IT PROPERLY and not make a fool of yourself…. sorry but that’s how it is…. it’s by calling out the people who do this as well as the UWCB CIRCUS that will eventually stop this, giving the government don’t care and while unscrupulous INSURANCE COMPANIES like BLUEFIN give them dubious insurance policies on the basis of self accredited details… it’s going to take a death to shine a bright enough light on this to unpick the lies and failures to adhere to basic boxing rules.

Now anyone who would wish to disagree with the above, please. You only qualify to comment here If you have at least 25 years of specific boxing Experience… I’m not interested in your opinion or defence of this because you had a jolly old time having your ego rubbed when you took part in your mis-matched spectacle.

Strong words for a Wednesday morning as the kids go back to school….. yup this summer I took Amateur boxing training to some 2600 Edinburgh kids…. I’m sure to have these Clowns destroy what I work hard to build.

Please take a moment to Tag in people who might be considering this and also our brothers and sisters in the REAL BOXING WORLD… it’s your duty to your sport to speak out against this Circus

In sport and community


Bradley Welsh
Former ABA Lightweight Champion ( 1993 )

40 years in Boxing

As Boxer / Coach / Promoter

Just finished kids initiative in Edinburgh delivering Free Boxing Classes in 12 communities for kids 2600 participated in partnership with Boxing Scotland Ltd .

Poem of the Month – Kevin O’Hagan

I was feeling in a poetic state of mind today, so I wrote this Ode to the Facebook Warrior.

‘I am a Martial Artist and my system is the best. It is fucking shit hot and better than all the rest.

No other Martial art is a patch on what I do. I am a super ninja killer coming after.

My art works on the street, of that make no mistake. One killer look from me can make a grown man quake.

Mine is the only opinion that matters, and everybody else’s is worth shit. I think I am a legend even though most people view me as a tit.

A bat, knife or gun I can handle with ease, just as long as you don’t resist me,then to take it off you is a breeze.

My inflated ego and opinion of myself clouds my judgement to anybody else’s art. I am so fucking deadly I could kill you with a fart.

My system is so lethal that is why I don’t compete. One touch of my finger will have you collapsing at my feet.

I can punch, kick, throw and grapple. I know I’m fucking great, I can destroy all my opponents that’s if they are under 8.

I can show how to choke out an old age pensioner for daring to take your parking space. I can teach how to stomp and kick the old bastard all over the fucking place.

If you follow my methods, you know they just can’t fail, although you will probably end up practising in jail.

You will always find me on the seminars that matter for a photo and a chat, but God forgive you’ll never actually see me on the mat.

So, I live in my little fantasy world where I never will be tested or found out. My deluded students will lick my ass and jump to my every shout.

I am a self -confessed Grandmaster with a 1Oth dan belt around my belly, the truth is most of my fighting techniques I have learnt from watching the telly.

I am Bruce Lee, Chuck Norris and Van Damme all rolled into one. Mc Gregor, Rickson Gracie and Mike Tyson I could beat just for fun.

So, don’t fuck with me Face-bookers, because I am a deadly man. I suggest you view my video’s and comments as often as you can.

Anything to do with fighting then I am your man. If you want to come and challenge me then please send down your Nan.

I will hide behind my keyboard and prey I won’t be found.
If I don’t live in the real world then I’ll be safe and sound.’

Internet Warriors – David Melker, Avi and Ishai Nardia

The Backfire Effect: Why Facts Do Not Win Arguments

What should be evident from the studies on the backfire effect is you can never win an argument online. When you start to pull out facts and figures, hyperlinks and quotes, you are making the opponent feel as though they are even more sure of their position than before you started the debate. As they match your fervor, the same thing happens in your skull. The backfire effect pushes both of you deeper into your original beliefs.

Many Martial artist claim I am not an internet warrior, but in the modern era internet wars are common. Unfortunately, the internet warrior uses the safety of distance to slander. People with big egos and flexible morals who like to criticise others whilst simultaneously stand on their shoulders just to appear a little taller.

Internet wars are often between open minded teachers that will try any idea and closed minded teachers. The latter will shut themselves, and more sadly their students, from opening their mind as its scare them that their students may find that there is more than one solution to a problem. An open mind is a mind that is receptive to new ideas and information as opposed to a closed mind that will reject ideas and is stuck in ‘my way is the only way’ mode.

Many martial artist that believe that what they do is best and only way, sometimes this comes from arrogance but it can also be caused by an inferiority complex. This is where cognitive dissonance kicks in and to observers manifests itself as what is called the Dunning-Kruger effect.

The Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias wherein people of low ability suffer from illusory superiority as they mistakenly, (deliberately), assess their cognitive and physical ability as greater than it is.

It occurs where people fail to adequately assess their level of competency, or more specifically, their incompetency at a task and thus consider themselves much more competent than everyone else. This lack of awareness is attributed to their lower level of competence robbing them of the ability to critically analyze their performance, leading to a significant overestimation of themselves.

In simple words it’s ‘people who are too stupid to know how stupid they are’.

The reverse also applies. Competent people tend to underestimate their ability compared to others and this can lead to experiencing impostor syndrome.

With the above cocktail of factors lead to a fertile ground for internet wars and many times I heard friends say I am not an internet warrior. However, a warrior is a warrior no matter what or where the battlefield is, a physical place or cyber space.

Take for example Socrates the Soldier – Most people think of Socrates (470-399 BC) as a, old philosopher. People are often surprised to learn that Socrates was in fact, also a decorated military hero. Renowned among army veterans for his courage on the battlefield and for his extraordinary endurance and self-discipline. Some scholars believe that it was actually Socrates’ heroism at the Battle of Delium that catapulted him to fame in Athens.

In the Book the Republic he set the first solider or warrior problem.

Solider thinking; if we assault and win we can do it even without me any way, as some will lose life even when we win, if we lose why should I risk myself? I better stay behind and we call this moral issue ” fix your shoe ” as one droop and tell his friend I will just fix my shoe and join you.

The moral and warrior code did not start today on the internet but for sure the internet can be a platform for discussions that are legitimate and helpful The sad reality is that most internet warriors are only their to slanders and criticise others and if they get an answer they they do not like they run hide behind backfire effect.

Some people take pleasure when others fall or fail, the Germans have a word for this, Schadenfreude; is the experience of pleasure, joy, or self-satisfaction that comes from learning of or witnessing the troubles, failures, or humiliation of another.

Some martial arts will have Based their skills on statistics (not necessarily facts) and statistics are like bikinis, what they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.

Internet warriors can go as far as character assassination using the power Google as a weapon to try take someone better than them out of the game.

Quite often these internet wars are witnessed by many bystanders, many of who are simply voyeurs enjoying the spectacle, whilst others are scared to get involved.

Let’s keep open mind and good attitude on the internet and educate our self as that is the value of having an open mind.

It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” Aristotle.

Observations on Brazilian Jiujutsu (from a Pragmatist’s Perspective) – Peter Jones

As I type this, I’ve committed to the decision to cease training in Brazilian Jiujutsu after three years. The reasons for this decision are varied and unimportant, but that I’ve made a conscious decision to draw a line has given me cause to stand back and reflect on the experience.

Some background: For as long as I can remember I’ve trained in multiple martial arts, feeling that no one art has all the answers. In my youth this was solely opportunistic; I attended the clubs that opened in my small rural home town. Aged 18 I moved to university and trained in the arts that were available. Some years later I opened my own club, but I also started training at a club that opened in the venue that I trained. In recent years I’ve looked at my weaknesses or deficits in skillset and taken up arts specifically to address them. And so I came to Brazilian Jiujutsu.

In truth I’d considered BJJ in the past but I’d been put off, ironically by a member of the club that I would subsequently train at. In extolling the benefits of training in the club, he bragged that someone ends up in A&E every week with a fracture! Eventually I reached a point where I needed a challenge and wasn’t getting in the mat time as a student that I wanted. In part I probably also ran out of excuses. And so I took up BJJ.

Of course the experiences and views that I present here are mine and mine alone and are of one BJJ school. However, I’d dabbled in BJJ and grappling before and have friends in other schools. I think there will be little to disagree with here. And so I present the observations that I made. The emphasis for me and my training these days is on pragmatism and so these are the eyes I look through.

Injuries are Common

Martial arts is a contact activity. Injuries happen. I love it when Rory Miller’s pre-seminar safety talks include “hands up who here gets out of bed in the morning without their body creaking,” knowing full well that maybe one arm will go up and that’ll belong to a teenager. But in all my years of training I’ve never seen such a bunch of broken people in one changing room. Right now I suspect I have a partial tear of my left medial meniscus, my left elbow doesn’t want to fully extend, my neck goes “clunk,” my back hurts from a spine hyperextension that was supposed to be a choke, both thighs scream when I walk and my right big toe doesn’t bend due to an untreated fracture that’s become fused. And I’m a typical example!

Former UFC fighter turned Osteopath Rosi Sexton says there are only two types of grappler; those with neck injuries and those about to have neck injuries. BJJ practitioners are experts in finger-taping and joint-supports. As a pragmatist this is hardly good self-preservation.

There are Styles, but they’re called “Teams”

These days we’re used to styles – Goju Ryu, Shotokan, Wado Ryu, Kyokushinkai and so on. Conversely we don’t have ryu or kan of BJJ. Actually we do. We have Gracie Barra, Checkmat, Atos and so on. And let’s not get started on Tenth Planet!

In my view this is an interesting similarity to the classical ryu of Japan. They all expect total loyalty and a degree of secrecy. They all have their trademark techniques and tactics. They often have their own terminology too, which can be cleverly mysterious. Consider the “redneck choke,” so called because it leaves the recipient with a red neck! And let’s not get started on Tenth Planet!

In my view their expectations for devotion to their instructors goes a little too far at times.

Human Chess

The analogy of “human chess” is fair. Strategies are innumerable. Sacrifices (of position, of a grip) allow for greater victories. No experience of play is ever too much. Everyone moves in different ways. Watch for being taken from behind!

It’s Unforgiving

Right from the first class I was getting arm barred and choked. No let-up for the new guy. Most training partners won’t give a rat’s ass about your injuries. No gradual build-up to account for fitness. This isn’t wholly a bad thing. It teaches sheer determination and relentlessness. Where it is a bad thing is the number of students that fall quickly. And also how hard it is to train through injuries. I nearly quit early on. What kept me going was just sheer bloody-mindedness. I’m a black belt. I’m not going to quit!


Creonte. It’s a Brazilian Jiujutsu term for someone who has left a team and gone elsewhere. It can be likened to “traitor.” Early into training in BJJ I hosted a former UFC fighter in my dojo. That person happens to be a BJJ brown belt with another team. I’ve known them for years. I only latterly discovered that as I’d advertised the seminar as a “grappling” seminar, it was fine but if I’d advertised it as a BJJ seminar then I’d likely have found myself unwelcome in my team!


I think this is an American term but here it applies. It’s so frustrating. We know that size, weight and strength are significant advantages. That’s why there are weight classes. It takes significant skill to overcome that advantage. Add to that a lack of control of weight and you have someone frustratingly difficult to fight and that’s potentially quite dangerous.

So what do you do about it? Tell the instructor that you think they could be the cause of injuries? Hell, no. That makes you look weak or whiney. No, you protect yourself, learn how to defend to minimise injury risk. Someone will rise to the challenge of fighting the knucklehead. If you can beat them you can beat anyone. Some will do their best to avoid fighting the knucklehead as it’s just not worth it (see injuries are common.)

However, I am left with the confidence that I now have the skills in the domain of ground fighting to better an unskilled attacker bigger than I. Leaving aside all of the variables associated with real-life self protection such as weapons, multiple attackers and so on, if I can fight the heavier knucklehead, then I should fear no one.


I took up BJJ to learn new skills and address a hole in my game. I knew it was 90% sport and accepted that. Helio Gracie always intended BJJ to be a method of self-defence. YouTube shows us Rener and Ryron Gracie’s work on making BJJ applicable for civilian self-defence and for Police.

In three years I didn’t do ANY BJJ that wasn’t entirely sport-orientated. Not one lesson. Not even a nod towards it. Nothing. It would seem that this is normal. And I’m left frustrated, wanting more from my three-years training.

Time Outs

You can’t afford to take time out of training. With even just a few weeks off, your training partners will have become vastly better. Sure we get a little rusty with some time away from the dojo but in BJJ the effect is magnified.

It’s Demoralising

We have great sessions where everything goes well. That baiting to set up the submission that we’ve been working on goes amazingly well. We flow. No-one can touch us. We’re the hammer.

Then the next lesson we’re the anvil. The newbie nearly submits us. We get the knucklehead. Nothing works.

Another scenario is that we’re up against a higher grade with “slick” transitions. They just seem to do nothing with any effort but they negate everything we have with ease. Their Jiujutsu is to be admired, but we just wish they weren’t so good.

Grading” is a Dirty Word

Grades / grading / belts / promotions. Don’t talk about it. Just “trust the process.” Well after three years my conclusion is that actually I don’t trust the process. The process involves unquestioning devotion to the instructor (see There are styles…) and no idea of what you’re actually supposed to be learning or what your standard is.

Personally I like clearly defined objectives, be it a coursework deadline, a competition, a project or a grading. But we mustn’t ever say that. Oh no. A lot of students of BJJ are very happy with this and that’s great. A lot actually come to BJJ because they don’t like the traditional approach of regular grading.

But if you ask your instructor, your professor, about it, then expect to go down in their estimation. Even asking what you should work on in order to earn promotion will likely give you the raised eyebrows.

You Don’t Know What You Know

In any other art I could clearly state the kata that I’ve learned and been graded on. I could list the throws that I knew and been graded on. I could list drills that I’d practiced. I knew what I knew. On leaving BJJ it feels like I know nothing.

This clearly isn’t true. In various times of practice I’ve found myself pulling off techniques only learned in the BJJ dojo. In pragmatic free drills where I’ve found myself on the floor I’ve suddenly discovered that actually I did learn the double-leg x-guard sweep and can effectively execute it to bring my attacker down and also get to my feet. It’s just there’s no published syllabus or specific measured objectives.

It’s Rewarding

Interestingly, much of my observation has been negative but those comments can be seen very positively too. Physically, it provides an incredibly good workout. Psychologically, the difficulty in finding success means success gives a greater high. Socially, the team belonging can be a great moral boost. For all of the issues that I’ve cited I actually do miss training for the reasons I give here.

They Don’t (Typically) Respect the Concept of Pragmatism

I ruffled quite a few feathers over this. Several members of my club believed beyond doubt that BJJ was the only real martial art of value and it was undeniably the best for self-protection. I never doubted the benefits of it. Physical fitness, determination, technique, live practice and solid principles were massively beneficial. However when I cited realities of violence such as weapons, multiple attackers, furnished surroundings, surprise attacks and so on I just met a barrier of denial and insults. When I suggested that rather than learning BJJ to defend yourself from the clichéd dark-alley attack, the student may be better off avoiding the dark alley, I might as well have grown a second head such was how radical my thinking was.

I know, there is much good pragmatic BJJ work out there. Sadly I’m yet to encounter it.

One prominent BJJ practitioner advised me that in their view the best art for physical self-protection was rugby. They have a good point and I admire their open-mindedness and honesty.

So, what conclusion can I draw from all of this? BJJ was something I came to both love and hate. Dragging myself to the club was always hard and took immense discipline. I got injured. My wife hated me doing it. And yet I miss it. There is no doubt that I got a lot from it, although probably not what I was expecting or seeking. Currently I’m starting to appreciate how BJJ fits into my own Jujitsu (note the spelling difference) syllabus and objectives. I’m finding the value but it’s taking lot of filtering to gather the bits that I want and can use. Is there value in the pragmatist learning BJJ? Well yes, but look closely at what the club offers. Be selective. Keep my words in mind.

I hope these observations are of interest to the prospective Jiujitero and I can imagine the BJJ veteran reading this and nodding with a wry smile.

Power by Proxy – Malcolm Rivers

Indoctrination in self-defense and martial arts can be pretty amazing. I’ve watched strong, skilled, well-trained grown men and women convince themselves some guy they’ve known an hour was an undefeatable titan of battle. This phenomenon is incredible and a huge component is the perception of significant experience with violence. This has led to the rise of that character ubiquitous in self-defense industry: Billy Badass.

Billy Badass sells the DVD’s with the skulls and scary music with a history of violence as extensive as it is unverifiable. He’s got it all figured out while the rest of these SD/MA (self-defense and martial arts) pussies are doing stuff that would never work in The Streets™. Quick reminder of the obvious: experience matters. Always. But, metaphorically, having a heart and brain doesn’t mean legs aren’t useful; having been there and done that isn’t the only qualification for empowering others. Thankfully, there are experienced, skilled instructors out here doing incredible work, many of them writing for this publication. But there are also folk doing…other things. In all things and with all people: caveat emptor.

Let’s start with one crucial understanding: whatever alleged history your instructor has, you weren’t there. The power he derived from surviving isn’t yours to use. Moreover, all you know, often, is who he markets himself to be. Beyond the flat-out hoaxes lies the natural predisposition toward embellishment, especially when coupled with the temptation of fiduciary gain. And, to be fair, we, as consumers, support all of this because instructors are only human. The cults of personality we build around them exacerbate the problem.

Students need someone to believe in. Two central premises of the industry read: ‘someone else knows the dark world of violence and can teach you its ways’ and ‘we don’t know enough to teach ourselves.’ Thus, we turn to people with long, bloody resumes; reasonably assuming that experience is crucial but ignoring the symbiotic dynamics of seeking power by proxy. Students laud an instructor’s history and presumed capacities, as if, somehow, we could attain his strength osmotically. We can’t. We turn to hero worship and create a backward power dynamic that enhances instructors over students. We give them the limitless authority of ‘unimpeachable experience’, ignoring the responsibility to question or challenge. In doing so we make violent people special, further exacerbating the power imbalance. How can I expect to avoid, deter, or defeat current predators when I can’t even disagree with my instructor, a former predator? This level of indoctrination is tacitly or overtly encouraged by many instructors as their egos swell. Because, apparently, someone has found a monopoly on violence.

The cults of personality are problems; instructors aren’t the point of self-defense or martial arts training. Decent instruction is about the students and therein lies the rub: when building up students isn’t the focus, egotistical nonsense is much easier to get lost in. If our friend Billy survived hundreds of violent incidents…as a 6’3 290-pound professional in his mid-20’s, what he was able to do in his heyday shouldn’t mean much to the 5’3 115-pound 50-year-old woman he’s teaching. Even when an instructor’s experience is verifiable, the plural of anecdote isn’t “proof.” If he’s handled 20 attempted stabbings, he certainly knows more than most. But that may not be enough to create a model that applies to different people from other backgrounds with varying frames of mind, skillsets, and target profiles. And, beyond the difficulties of calculating experience’s value, other considerations remain.

Many experienced and effective SD/MA instructors have very little experience doing what they teach: defending themselves from predatory criminals as civilians. That distinction is important because having been a cop, crook, or bouncer carries over…sorta. If your instructor was a pro, his legal and ethical machinations were likely appropriate for his context…not yours. If he’s smart, he’ll encourage you to think for yourself and do your own research. If not, he’ll try to directly apply whatever lessons he’s learned in a (likely) much more extreme circumstance directly to your life. It won’t end well. Moreover, having a history of violence has nothing to do with teaching.

Good SD instruction is, at its core, emotionally engineering people to empower themselves. It’s creating stronger people. There is a lot of complexity to that and capacity for violence is only one piece. Thus, a violent resume is far from enough. In some cases, whatever made an instructor able to survive his heyday was natural, or part of his upbringing, or so deeply ingrained that he wouldn’t even know how to explain it. There are plenty of people who can teach but can’t do. There are also people who can do but can’t teach. This is not a rejection of experiential knowledge or expertise, it’s a reminder that choosing an instructor with a “history” as your idol does not preclude the capacity for being wrong or ineffective at transmitting ideas. And worshipping at the altar of experiences you didn’t have; and, often, can’t even verify he had; isn’t always the best way to make yourself safer and stronger.

Ultimately, a healthy dose of skepticism wouldn’t hurt any of us. Instructors, consider the power dynamic you exhibit with your students and whether you’re empowering them or more focused on you. Students, remember that your instructor is a person. If he’s experienced and not an idiot, he knows that he’s got a lot to offer but needs more than a history to help you become more effective. Most importantly, remember that training is about you gaining power, not basking in the power of someone else, no matter how cool their background sounds.

Caveat emptor and all that.

CRGI, the Origin Story – Garry Smith

In mythology there are many narratives of how the world began, how creatures and plants came into existence, and why certain things in the cosmos have certain yet distinct qualities. Most origin stories are simply that, stories full of the thing Marc MacYoung calls lies we tell to children.

There are many origin stories and most cultures have them and many have become major religions, some were invented by religions, all have true believers and are deeply entwined with our social and cultural practices, they influence almost every aspect of our life. Some exist as they did thousands of years ago, some were adapted and absorbed into newer forms of religion such as Christianity which appropriated then claimed as their own many of the Roman and Norse traditions for example.

The thing is they are all stories, not facts, they only exist because people choose, not always freely, to believe them, they have no objective reality. To one group the origin story of the other group may be seen as nonsense, heretical even, and we know where this leads.

So whilst I know there are many origin stories, as an Englishman I have mine, it starts with the arrival in post Roman Britain of two Germanic brothers, Hengest (Stallion) and Horsa (Horse), they were mercenaries who for a time served the weak Vortigern, King of the Britons, then they sent for their own and the rest is Anglo Saxon history.

Of course there is an origin story for Hengest and Horsa, who’ actual existence has never been definitively proven but long argued over. There are many legends of horse associated brothers which stem originally in proto Indi-European religions. Its a good story and may be based on some truths but there is little evidence Hengest and Horsa existed but it provides a heroic back story for those who choose to believe it.

So there are many origin stories, this is CRGI’s and it is not a myth.

“How did CRGI come to be? A few years ago, Garry Smith (the man who is now editor of Conflict Manager) asked, “If we were to do a full blown, accredited, bachelor’s degree program in self-defense instruction, what would be in the curriculum?”

I said I didn’t know exactly what would be in it, but I had some definite ideas who I would tap to help design the curriculum. That list, with Garry’s insight and experience, became the board of CRGI.

The members of the board are very different in some ways. Some were bad guys, some very bad. Some were good guys. Some are physical monsters, some were monsters in the day— and a few have physical concerns that affect every decision they make. One has been dead, and many have been close. Most are martial artists, but not all.” Rory Miller, ‘Conflict Manager Magazine’, July 2016.

That is how CRGI got started, a question was asked and that question sparked the creation of the first board. Then, as in most good origin stories we wandered in the wilderness for a few years whilst we debated and discussed what our purpose and mission were, we built our nascent infrastructure in cyberspace and began to communicate what we were trying to do and not very effectively either, we reformed the board and brought in new blood and fresh ideas, we gathered followers, but here is where we differ from other origin stories, we discouraged the true believers.

CRGI is not a quasi religion or a social organization promoting a vision of how the world should be, we have no ambition to create an inward looking entity, CRGI exists to promote discussion, polite disagreement included, a space where people can share and learn, a place where people can do sets sapiens above all other organisms on this planet, co-operate.

Being part of CRGI means people are welcome to be members of their own tribe with their own totems, talisman and beliefs but can come to CRGI to meet, to talk and treat with other tribes without resorting to trolling and name calling and questioning their origin stories and the totems, talisman and beliefs of other tribes.

CRGI is about creating a place where tribes can gather together instead of the alternative world where the ‘my tribe is better than your tribe’ mentality persists. As Marc MacYoung says:

“Now if you have people who don’t know how to behave at tribal gathering, how well do you think they’re going to be doing dealing with people of other tribes?

Here’s a hint. Not well. Especially if you consider them stupid, wrong, inferior — if not evil — for thinking differently than you do.

One of the lost aspects that smearing the lines between tribes to create an uber-tribes is how to treat with different tribes. If we’re one big uber-tribe why would we need that? Well, simple, we’re not. People are trying to revert to super-tribes without understanding tribalism. We self-identify ourselves with a tribe and feel we must hate this other tribe — even though we’re technically all one big happy uber-tribe.” Conflict Manager Magazine, December 2016.

CRGI is not some safe place for precious snowflakes it is a space where interesting, challenging and robust discussions can take place between mature adults and this is reflected in our mission statement.

CRGI is dedicated to creating an unimpeachable source for pertinent, accurate information on all aspects of conflict management.

Our mission statement shows our focus.

  • Unimpeachable’ means we vet our contributors.
  • ‘Pertinent’ because we seek actionable information over trivia or speculation.
  • ‘Accurate’ speaks for itself, but we understand we live in a world full of ambiguity.
  • ‘All aspects’ refers to the fact that we are not just about martial arts, we reach out to the self defence practitioner, the firearms community, the survival community, LEO’s, the armed forces, friends in academia and all those who share our thirst for knowledge and learning throughout life.

That is why we use Yggdrasil as our logo. Yggdrasil was, reputedly, a giant Ash tree with branches that reach out into the heavens and roots that went to the center of the earth. The thing is Yggdrasis is not just a tree it is a whole ecosystem rammed with complex conflicts with many gods, eagles, dragons, snakes, squirrels and deer together with no end of mythical characters, not least the highest of the Norse gods Odin himself

“The most satisfactory translation of the name Yggdrasil is ‘Odin’s Horse’. Ygg is another name for Odin, and drasill means ‘horse’.

When Odin hung, speared, for nine days on the Yggdrasil, he uttered the words that he had ‘sacrificed himself onto himself’. This stanza gives us a description of the unity existing between the Godhead and the Tree in the myths. To emphasise this connection, we find in old English the word treow, which means both tree and truth. Etymologically, then, truth and tree grow out of the same root. Subsequently, in the Norse creation myth, man and woman originated from trees. We are all the sons and daughters of the Ash and Elm tree: the first man was called Ask, born from the Ash, and the first woman Embla, born from the Elm. Their oxygen offers us the primordial conditions for life. Ask and Embla sprouted from Yggdrasil’s acorns, and so it is that every human being springs from the fruit of Yggdrasil, then to be collected by two storks, that bring them to their longing mothers-to-be.”

Yes we too like an origin myth but it is Yggdrasil symbolising the search for knowledge and truth that we relate to in an ecosystem, ours and real not mythological, full of conflict from wars to micro-aggressions.

CRGI seeks truth, we pursue and share knowledge and we seek to understand and to manage conflict, join us and one day you may find yourself at Mimir’s Well, and that is another story for another day my friend.

Stop Using Fear to Profit – Randy King

It has been an intense couple of  weeks since the largest mass shooting in modern U.S. history happened  in Las Vegas. Just one day earlier, here in my hometown of Edmonton, we had a “terrorist” attack.

Sadly, attacks like these are becoming more and more common.

A lot of people have weighed in on these recent events. I am not going to do that – I want to talk about something different. I want to talk about the after-effects.

It has been shown time and time again that when tragedy strikes, the scum seems to rise to the top. Whether that is people pushing political agendas, using tragedy to boost their own profile, or, in our industry, using this tragic time to make money.

Seconds after the mass shooting in Vegas, my Facebook feed was flooded with mentions of active shooter courses. A few minutes after the Edmonton attack, people here were promoting self-defense lessons.

Tragedy should never – I repeat – never be “good for business”. Anyone who is trying to make money off this situation does not deserve your money. Anyone that needs to use fear to fill their gym is shit at what they do.

No system on the planet has an answer for how to deal with a man with multiple high-powered weapons shooting from an elevated cover position … this would take out even the most well-trained and elite soldiers in the world. An ambush of this nature is survivable only if you are not among the first hit, and then by gaining as much distance as possible from the situation. Or, by not being there at all … which is of course just luck, and impossible to predict.

Anyone who is trying to sell you the snake oil that “their” training would have helped you is a liar, and is trying to profit from your fear.

This type of marketing has always made me sick, for two reasons.

Reason one – it is dangerous. You are selling a bullshit answer to a legitimate problem. A solution that, if people buy into your slick marketing campaign (which they do all the time), may actually get them killed.

Reason two – trading on fear makes the world seem worse, not better. If you bring people in who don’t want to be victims, and you try to retain them by constantly reminding them how scary the world is, they will stay victims. Or worse – they will become even weaker, and more likely to be victimized … all while you keep your clients scared in order to pay the bills.

I have personally been speaking out about this for a while … I have ranted about it on my YouTube page (KPCMartialArts). Being as vocal as I am, I have heard all the excuses! As you read this, bear in mind that I already know all your self-justifying tactics; the reasons why it is ok for you to do it (but no one else). So, let me squash those as well.

“Yeah, but … what I teach is important! It doesn’t matter how they get in the door!”

Wrong: It does matter. Our job in this field is to build up, not exploit. The ends do not justify the means here. If your stuff is really that good, don’t start advertising minutes after a tragedy – let your brand stand on its own and see what happens. If people call you, and you give them honest answers, and they come and train … then your stuff is good, and you didn’t have to be a slimeball to get new clients.

“I know it’s wrong, but it’s the best way to collect students.”

Wrong(ish): I will admit that capitalizing on fear is a great way to boost those numbers … but only temporarily. You then have two options to retain these fear-based leads: A. Make them confident and not afraid (which is your job) … but then you have solved their problem … and so they leave. Option B is to keep them scared so you keep them long-term, and if you are willing to do that … then please go back and reread this article from the beginning.

“What I have actually solves the problem though Randy!” / “My system is based in …“ / blah blah blah.

Wrong: You’re not special, and neither is your system. You are problem-solving the same way we all are. If you did your job, you’ve read the reports … and there was no way to stop that attack once it started. Same as the attack that happened here in Edmonton. I don’t care what mystical pseudo-religious figure founded your system – I guarantee that they don’t have a defense against getting hit by bullets or a large truck.

“Randy, you are wrong! The world is the worst it has ever been, and without Combat Krav Jitsu-do, we will all just be lambs for the slaughter!”

Wrong: Please consider figuring your own shit out before you counsel others. (Also, please remove me from your friends list.)

I’ve said it before, and I feel like I will keep saying it for as long as I have a platform to speak from. Stop. Using. Fear. To. Profit. We have enough problems in this world, so please don’t be one more.

Political Violence and the Hive Mentality Part III- Garry Smith

I agree with Hoffer on a second point that the individual’s existence is based on their feelings of dissatisfaction with themselves so the surrender their individual will to the freedom of being told what to do, who to love, who to hate, and this hate spreads through the mob when it forms. Once one member of the mob triggers the others then the hive mentality takes over and the desire to sting infects all. But it’s happening here too, we are not that far behind.

As I watch these groups ‘protest’ their behavours continue to amaze me, do these people ever see themselves afterwards?  People act but do not think, their emotionally driven violent outbursts are experienced outside of our ‘normal’ frames of reference, my wife Karen Moxon Smith wrote in an article for Conflict Manager magazine “I have seen grown men cry when the CCTV shows them repeatedly kicking someone in the head when they honestly thought they had only acted lawfully”.

When individuals lose control, and I have been there, they will commit acts they would be shocked at any other time, appalled even. I have been in mobs that once a victim goes down then the kicking starts and it goes on long after they are unconscious. Football violence is fuelled by many things, the desire of young men to fight, the consumption of alcohol, the intense tribal emotions and an othered enemy who are going to attack us. I have swarmed, I have attacked and I have hurt people and just because the supported a different team. Not politics or religion or race, football.

So I understand this from a subjective perspective as well as an objective one, I may be wrong, feel free to disagree, I welcome that but I have been there and done that. To non participants the shock of the hive attacking can be as frightening as for those actually attacked, especially when lives are being taken now. Once you upset the hive and the bees come out it is almost impossible to get them back in.

We are, post event, and from the comfort of our armchairs, unable to comprehend this behavour when we see it and one coping mechanism is to other those involved. They are not human, they cannot be, and from there it is one small step to de-humanising them, whoever they are. We, whoever we are, need to stop these people; we can only do so by banding together against them.

Can anyone hear a small buzzing sound or is it just me?

The thing I have not discussed and that really bothers me is that hives are really easily triggered. Social media today allows not just one hive to be triggered but multiple hives in multiple locations. Chaos can erupt real fast now and infection can be global in seconds. The massive threat is hate groups manipulating social media to trigger their own hives and this triggering the hives of opposing hate groups. They feed of one another. They feed of truths as much as they feed off lies and often nobody knows what is truth or lie.

The social infection can go viral incredibly quickly and there are many who, as Haidt shows very clearly, act instantaneously on emotion and then proceed to rationalise the emotion. As they say the first victim when war breaks out is the truth, for me the first victim when emotion breaks out is rationality.

Over here in the UK the electorate defied all the major political parties, all the major institutions, interfering foreign leaders and all the celebrities they wheeled out to tell us our future was better in the European Union, and we won. Brexit should become a reality in the next few years, those who supported Brexit were attacked mercilessly as bigots, little Englanders, ignorant, stupid and racist, and we were the undesirables. The hive mentality was triggered and the stinging went on for weeks led by a fearful political class and the comfortable middle classes, it is still going on now.

I mentioned hate groups from minorities earlier, well the biggest hate group is those who have the most invested in the system, the socio-economically comfortable and the people who do their bidding, they will drop their veneer of rationality and reasonableness when threatened and they will swarm. The hive mentality has a wider reach than we thought.

Does this remind anyone of Nazi Germany or Communist Russia or even the horrors of Pol Pot and the Khymer Rouge with their year zero and killing fields? You see people love a charismatic leader and they in turn only love their true believers.

Remember that in his novel 1984, Orwell described that “the two aims of the Party are to conquer the whole surface of the earth and to extinguish once and for all the possibility of independent thought.”

Welcome to our brave new world where freedom of thought and expression are feared and those of us who value that freedom have a fight on our hands. The virtue signalling identity politicos are  now fighting one another as allies who have even minor differences are transformed into enemies. Thought crime is now real and punishable by death, white men are terrorists and should be eliminated according to some.

In London a couple of weeks ago there was a political attack on a group of radical feminists at speakers corner, they were not attacked by chauvinistic men but transgender supporters and one very angry and possibly mentally unstable transgender person who had posted his intent to harm someone on social media earlier that day.

Members of Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminists had gathered at Speakers’ Corner, Hyde Park, central London ahead of a talk on gender issues. They moved the discussion from another venue in London after threats were made by rivals Trans Activists. But the protesters discovered the 50 TERFs were meeting in Hyde Park and confronted them.

“Members of Action for Trans Health (ATH) have issued a series of incendiary statements on social media since its supporters were involved in an attack on a 60-year-old woman in London’s Hyde Park on September 13.

The victim, Maria MacLachlan, suffered bruising after being punched by an activist widely identified on social media as Tara Flik Wood, 28, a courier who lives in London. MacLachlan was with a group of feminists who were planning to hold a meeting about gender identity.

Unlike MacLachlan and her group, ATH believes that anyone who self-identifies as a woman — without having undergone transition surgery — should be allowed to use women-only spaces such as changing rooms. The ATH extremists refer to MacLachlan and women who hold similar views as “trans-exclusionary radical feminists”, or Terfs.”

So who are these evil TERF’s? We according to Action for Trans Health Terf’s are, yes you guessed it, NAZIS.

“After the attack ATH’s Edinburgh branch sent out a series of tweets defending the use of violence: “punching Terfs is the same as punching Nazis. Fascism must be smashed with the greatest violence to ensure our collective liberation from it”, and “violence against Terfs is always self defense”.

Yes you read it correctly attacking a Terf is always self defence. What disgraceful crime were these Terf’s committing, well they were peacefully standing around at Speakers Corner whilst one of them sang a little song she had written, the ATH activists arrive and begin chanting, “when Terf’s attack we fight back’ on and on until Tara Flik Wood actually attacked a woman taking pictures.

Nobody was attacking anybody, it was a group of women enjoying their democratic right to spot their views, I have been to speakers corner a few times, I have heckled good naturedly, I have heard things I agreed with and things I did not agree with. Somebody saying things you do not like is not an attack, at least not in the physical sense. The hysterical ATH, BLM, Alr-Right activists do not understand this, once the hive mentality is triggered its time to use violence against words.

The Terf’s said things ATH did not like, they deserve to die, let’s build the camps now. Fuck me sideways but once again we have people using Nazi tactics claiming their victims are Nazis because they hold a different opinion.

I am off to colour my hair purple, chop off my manhood and put on my jackboots, there must be a human face somewhere that needs stamping on, forever.


Political Violence and the Hive Mentality Part II – Garry Smith

Traditionally the political left accuses the political right of doing this and vice versa, but the centrist parties do it too, in fact all the political class do it and all religions have been doing it far longer.

In his book ‘The Righteous Mind, Jonathan Haidt revives the work of several theorists who were also sacrificed at the stake of political correctness and shows how resulting evidence almost conclusively provides the evidence they lacked which allowed the ‘PC mob to grab their pitchforks and light their torches.

I am not claiming that much for Le Bon but he sure saw something the others did not want to see. 
There is another parallel I want to draw with Haidt’s work that also prompted me to go back to Le Bon, Le Bon was here first and Haidt never heard of him, or if he did he never recognised him. 
Maybe because Le Bon was lost in some pseudo academic backwater is what I would think, forgotten and unloved. However, I suggest you go get your free copy from Kindle now, read it, read it in the full and tell me that it does not describe how the world is today.

As I reread it I saw all the arguments, and candidates, in the recent presidential election in the USA, the BREXIT vote and our recent snap election in the UK, it frames the rise of Islamic State, I will not prime you too much but this is a really interesting read. There are bits that lack intellectual rigour, it is more polemic than analysis and his biases are obvious, BUT, that is not a reason to ignore it. Go get a copy and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

“Man is not a rational animal, man is a rationalizing animal”, Marc MacYoung.

We know people make decisions with the emotional part of the brain first then rationalise those decisions. In the introduction to his classic book ‘Emotional Intelligence’, Daniel Golemen states.

“Our journey begins in part one with new discoveries about the brain’s emotional architecture that offer an explanation of those most baffling moments in our lives when feeling overwhelms all rationality. Understanding the interplay of brain structures that rule our moments of rage and fear – passion and joy – reveals much about how we learn the emotional habits that can undermine our best intentions, as well as what we can do to subdue our more destructive or self-defeating impulses.”

So back to 2016 and 120 years after Le Bon put forward his theory we saw mobs rampaging in the USA as the presidential election certainly divided good people, we saw racial tensions thrown into this mix too with black and white supremacists making capital from these divisions. We saw the Alt-Right on the streets and Antifa using the iconography and tactics of the fascists, WOW. Hate spewed forth as emotions ran incredibly high. Why are we surprised when the violence comes? Now in 2017 people are attacking statues, not just statues of Confederate soldiers but any old statue that triggers their ‘I am offended’ button. Just like the religious lunatics that are ISIS history can be attacked if it does not fit in with your righteous world view.

When Hitler and Stalin did this it was accompanied by industrial scale imprisonment, torture and murder of millions of people.

When manipulated by charismatic leaders groups of true believers form behind the new movement that promises a better future. Eric Hoffer describes these people and we can see them daily, our sweet Corbynistas and Britain First in the UK, the alt-right and Antifa in the USA.

First they join the group and gain acceptance, then they subscribe then ingest the groupthink 1984 style until their vision is all that matters, not whether it is rational, not whether it is possible, there is no consideration of a down side to the better future vision because it is incomprehensible that there could be one. So with fixed and totally ideologically armed warriors can pursue total control and the driving before them of their enemies and their eventual liquidation.

Their emotions are hijacked and emotional flooding is explained brilliantly by Goleman:

“The technical description of flooding is in terms of heart rate rise from calm levels. At rest, women’s heart rates are about 82 beats per minute, men’s about 72 (the specific heart rate varies according to a person’s body size. Flooding begins at about 10 beats a minute above a person’s resting rate; if the heart rate reaches 100 beats per minute (asit easily can do during moments of rage or tears), then the body is pumping adrenaline and other hormones that keep the distress high for some time. The moment of emotional hijacking is apparent from the heart rate: it can jump 10, 20 or even as many as 30 beats per minute within the space of a single heartbeat.”

Yes it is that quick, this all happens in a single heart beat, less than a second, makes the 2 minute hate in 1984 look quaint doesn’t it? The thing is this massive flood has rapid physiological effects as Goleman explains that when flooding happens:

“Muscles tense; it can seem hard to breathe. There is a swamp of toxic feelings, an unpleasant wash of fear and anger that seems inescapable and, subjectively, takes “forever” to get over. At this point – full hijacking – a person’s emotions are so intense, their perspective so narrow, and their thinking so confused that there is no hope of taking the other’s viewpoint or settling things in a reasonable way.”

Once incited when time for action comes the mob mentality takes over, here the work of Le Bon seems as good an explanation as any other. Actual attacks on communities, even suspected attacks, in the currently overcharged atmosphere cause people to swarm and to sting their real or perceived enemies.

The mob was feared by Le Bon, he was frightened of the mob and its riots, but those riots were underpinned by revolutionary ideas that threatened the existing order. He was frightened by social change and in a time where execution by guillotine was in overdrive who can blame him.

I think we now have a phenomena worse than the mob as there appears to be little rationale behind most of these hate groups other than fear, misconceptions and misunderstandings, be they the KKK, Westborough Baptists, Islamists throwing gays off roofs or Black Lives Matter screaming for the slaughter of white babies, my observation from the much calmer side of the pond, is that they had rhetoric, now they are mostly spewing out hate and some of it is vile.

Political Violence and the Hive Mentality – Garry Smith

This article in its subsequent parts is a complete redraft of a previous article but brought up to date after reflecting on the recent political violence particularly in the USA. I am a firm supporter of people having the right to speak freely, however obnoxious I feel their views are. I hope it touches on points others fear to write about or discuss in case they are screamed at and attacked. So here goes, feel free to comment at the end, I will take any comments that I have not already included and weave them into the article, so it could be our first interactive article.

Regards, Garry.

I will start with a confession. Sometime ago before we had Bertie, our cute little Puggle, we had a Border Collie cross called Guinness. He was a lovely dog too and like Bertie used to like his walks. On one nice sunny day we were walking along a path in the Mayfield Valley and I noticed a large number of wasps coming in and out of a cavity in a tree. I am not sure why but I threw a stone into the cavity hitting the nest, guess what happened? Yes, out came the wasps and I made a run for it. The problem was Guinness did not.

The wasps caught up with Guinness, I tried swatting them off him with my hands but they, and there were a lot of them, began to crawl into his coat. I did what I could by getting him to a part of the nearby river that was deep enough and pushing him in. Hoping this would kill the wasps. They had already been on him for a couple of minutes and I had no clue as to whether they were stinging him. There were no signs that they were but he did slow down as we walked home.

I felt real guilt as my stupid actions had caused my dog possible suffering. The good part is after a nap on the lawn Guinness went about the rest of the day as normal.

The thing is I know about wasps, I know that like bees in a hive, they will swarm if they feel the hive is under attack let alone under actual attack. If you have seen bees swarm it is a pretty impressive sight and not something you want to provoke. Stings hurt and multiple stings hurt more. Insects, bees and wasps in this case, have no intellect, if attacked or if they think they are being attacked,

Swarming can also be the result of overcrowding in a successful hive so the hive splits and reproduces itself. This is different; these bees are looking for a new home. Our previous bees and wasps were looking to defend theirs, and for the insect mass attack is the best form of defence.

There are a number of different things that can trigger a swarm, overcrowding, lack of space, reducing pheromone levels in the queen, reducing pheromone levels in the population, increasing daylight are just a few, plus some species of bee are more prone to swarming than others.

Whatever signal that triggers the attack these insect will sacrifice themselves in the process. Take a look at this video.

Frightening stuff. The thing is people behave this way too. I am now going to reprint a book review I wrote for the February 2016 Conflict Manager on ‘The Crowd, A Study of the Popular Mind‘ by Gustav Le Bon 1896.

I first came across this book in my studies at the University of Warwick in a class called Social and Political Movements taught by Professor Jim Beckford. Jim was a great tutor and a really nice guy to boot; his classes were always looked forward to although his rigorous analysis of ideas may upset some of today’s precious petals.

The first class looked at the work of Le Bon and his study of the psychological nature of crowds. I remember liking it at the time but feeling that it was just too much guess work and overtly influenced by the authors experience of a turbulent and frightening, for him,  period of French history.

That was back in September 1990, much water has passed under the bridge since then, so why come back to it now?

Well it all comes back to a conversation I had with Rory Miller early in 2015 about ConCom and the triune brain when I mentioned Le Bon and his theory. Le Bon’s analysis is that once subsumed in a crowd an individual surrenders their individuality and a psychological mind is formed through contagion, emotions spread throughout the crowd and freed from individual responsibility the baser instincts take over. The individual ceases to think about the consequences of their actions as emotions take over and acts of both barbarity and heroism are possible.

Le Bon describes the ‘spinal cord’ as being in control and not the intellectually reasoning brain. 
 Ring any bells? Well it rang mine.

The thing is in the PC days of the 90’s this became a bit of an Aunt Sally, by the students that is, to be fair Jim used it in its historical context to begin a much wider and deeper exploration of the subject at hand. For the students, fresh out of some of the top schools in the UK, it was to be belittled, corny, out of date, lacking in evidence etc.

I was 31, I had been involved in a lot of crowd violence involving a full on riot with flaming barriers, thousands of people mobilised and hand to hand fighting with specially trained units of riot police, plus the occasional football riot, I thought differently.

Though written in a voice from a different age and though the criticisms raised were in part valid, it was not enough to write it off as a whole, I thought all along there was something of value here.

Like our friends the bees there are many different triggers that can cause the hive mind to kick in and for humans to swarm. Politics and religion are the big no go areas for most polite social intercourse because this is where families and friends can fall out. In a world where social media is helping people to inhabit their own echo chambers where the harmful and dangerous, people forget different, ideas, however horrible they are to you, cannot actually hurt you. Well the echo chamber is an increasing trend and it lends itself as an actual too to those who will benefit from influencing then manipulating others, the radicalisers.

Traditionally the political left accuses the political right of doing this and vice versa, but the centrist parties do it too, in fact all the political class do it, end of and religion have been doing it far longer..

Part II will follow next week.


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