Cobra Kai Was Always Right!

I have a confession to make! It’s my dirty little secret only my wife knows… well up until today, at least…

…I binge watch series on the internet!

I know, shock horror, you’re disgusted and want nothing to do with me ever again (read sarcasm if it wasn’t obvious).

Chances are you probably do it too, apparently, it’s become an epidemic with the advent of services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Youtube Red. Although Youtube Red hasn’t got much worth watching… up until recently, that is.

A few days ago, the brand new Youtube Red series was released called, Cobra Kai. After waiting eagerly for months, the excitement for me had reached an almost fever pitch. And once I watched the first episode, it was like a container of Pringles, I couldn’t stop… or I didn’t want to (I’m going with this option, as it makes me sound more in control).

If you don’t know my story, I started training in my first martial art  (traditional karate) at 13 years of age. I had seen the original Karate Kid movie, released in 1982 and I was hooked. Much to my frustration, after pestering my parents for over a year they still wouldn’t let me join a karate club.

Eventually, they relented at the suggestion of my school principal. It was the first year of high school and I was up to my old tricks of misbehaving in class, being rude to my teachers, fighting in the schoolyard… and basically anything else I could think of. Or maybe NOT thinking was the key with all that! So the principal had said my parents should put me into karate, to learn some self-discipline.

Needless to say, I was elated. For me, it was like getting rewarded for being a total $h!t of a kid!

Anyway back to the Karate Kid and Cobra Kai. If you’re around my age (44 at the time of writing this), it’s almost definite that you’ve seen the original karate Kid film at least once and know the general gist of the story.  If you haven’t seen it, what’s bloody wrong with you? It’s a classic must see… at least once.

Like you, I always saw Johnny Lawrence as a bad guy and Cobra Kai as the ‘evil’ karate or bad guys. The Cobra Kai series shed new light on this perspective for me in two chief ways.

Firstly, the series shows another side of Johnny Lawrence; that as a kid, he was psychologically bullied by his step-dad – no wonder he became a bully himself…

Secondly, and my motivation for writing this article; it emphasised that Cobra Kai was a far superior system for real-world street defence. I’m not saying it’s perfect (no system is) and it is still just choreographed fight scenes, but in its main 3 tenents Cobra Kai is 100 percent correct for dealing with a life or death violent situation. Let’s take a look:

  1. Strike First – Striking your attacker pre-emptively (before they have a chance to strike you) can be a critical tactic to use; especially if your aggressor is much bigger than you, it is apparent they are high on certain types of drugs (e.g. crystal meth) or you are facing multiple attackers.

    In any of these scenarios, you cannot afford to give even a split moment of opportunity to your potential threat. As soon as you are confident of their intent to harm you (i.e. their body positioning, they ball their fist and move their arm back, specific verbal threats, a hand reaches for a perceived weapon etc) you must use the element of surprise and strike first.

  2. Strike Hard – Whether you do strike first or second (after a defensive reaction of some kind), your strike(s) need to be effective. Ideally, you want to knock your attacker out – if they’re unconscious, it’s pretty difficult for them to continue assailing you.

    Ensuring you strike hard is reliant on the amount of power you can generate. According to physics, Issac Newton’s second law of motion says Force (power) = Mass x Acceleration.  In layman’s terms, you need good body mechanics of putting your bodyweight behind your strike and you need to train your strike to the point of adequate speed. Being big does not guarantee you can hit hard, nor does having speed. One without the other will not get the job done as well as having both – F = ma

  3. No Mercy – I see this one as a sliding scale; a drunk relative or mate trying to fight you (or someone else) may need to be restrained but also given mercy; unless of course, they are literally trying to kill you. Likewise, a person much less apt than you at violence (e.g. a 50kg female vs a 120kg combat trained male) should be given mercy. Restained yes but there is usually no need to knock them out – if they have a weapon, this changes things completely.

    At the more dangerous end of the scale, a guy determined to harm you, multiple attackers, anybody with a knife or gun (yes there are things you can do – in close quarters), mercy is not highly applicable. These and others are situations are where you want to knock your attacker out, seek to break something, maim or possibly have to kill them.

    The Use Of Force Continuum is a more complicated way to look at this, but that is a discussion for another post. For now, I encourage you to use your common sense, in the context of the examples above.

Although these 3 Cobra Kai tenents are pertinent for real world personal safety, No Mercy does NOT apply to a combative sporting competition.

In a modern contest of combat, there is a winner and a loser; you are not fighting for your life. Yes, you may seek to knock your opponent out (depending on the competition rules), but trying to kill them or give a permanent injury (both of which you may need to apply to survive real world violence) is unsportsmanlike at best and criminal at worst.

It should also go without saying that my above interpretation is not exactly the way Johnny Lawrence was taught by his Sensei, John Kreese. Nor does it fit with the bullying attitude displayed by Johnny and the other Cobra Kai students in the first Karate Kid movie. As with many things (e.g. religion) the concept may be good but the application leaves many opportunities for subversion; we humans are far from perfect – not to mention, the scriptwriters needed to create an exciting story for the movie.

I hope you’ve found my perspective on the 3 main tenets of Cobra Kai beneficial. I certainly didn’t see it this way as a 13 year old or as a teenager, training and competing in sports karate. Now, as a 44 year old, and many years of dealing with violent people (mostly in various security roles) and teaching my own street realistic defence system, it’s clear as day that Cobra Kai was always right – sort of!

Be aware, be prepared, be safe,

John

P.S. There are a number of other Cobra Kai philosophies that also ring true for being properly equipped for handling real world violence, but we’ll leave them for another time.

I’m Not Going To Lose

Mindset is a crucial and often overlooked element in your personal safety. It’s a topic we focus on a lot in RWC training. You can have a high skill level but without the right mindset for real world violence, you will get your arse kicked… or worse!

I’ve seen more than one fellow bouncer get ‘owned’ by somebody because they had a weak mindset. I’m talking about guys who are over 6 foot tall and had extensive martial arts or ‘combatives‘ type training. They were fine when things were going fine. However, when things went wrong and they actually copped a hit, they froze and didn’t react at all – this behavioural tendency is extremely dangerous.

Now there’s a lot to be said for learning to take a punch in your training, but even boxers, kickboxers and mma fighters can fall apart when overwhelmed… if they haven’t adopted a strong mindset. Mind you, a combat sports athlete usually has months to prepare for a fight.

Real world violence almost always happens when you least expect it. That’s how predatorial behaviour works; they don’t want a fair fight. They want to get you by suprise and ensure a ‘win.’ That’s one reason why UFC is not real fighting.
(Click on that link to read my article that talks more about this)

I’M NOT GOING TO LOSE – is my personal mindset in a violent encounter and is also my mindset for life in general. And yes the statement is all in capitals on purpose because the thought in my head is loud… to the point of shouting. You could say, it is my personal battle cry.

You should absolutely have a plan but things almost never go according to plan; whether it’s your career, business, marriage, and especially in a real world violent encounter. To have no preparation or plan is foolish, but what happens when things do not go according to plan?

What are you going to do when things go pear shaped? 

How can you be prepared to act when things go wrong, if you don’t know what will go wrong?

One important aspect is developing multiple skill sets applicable to various scenarios that may arise. For personal safety and dealing with real world violence, honing your various RWC skills (e.g. strikes, restraints, takedowns, breaks, ground defence) is vital.

In our more advanced RWC levels, you learn unarmed defence against weapons and how to effectively use certain weapons to protect yourself (e.g. blades, bats, guns). If you are legally permitted to carry a gun for self protection where you live, it is also a MUST for you to undertake proper tactical firearm training – normal range time is not sufficient.

The other aspect, which is most often overlooked, you need to prepare your mindset for the unexpected. Real world violence is messy, brutal and dirty. It is chaos! It doesn’t look pretty and things almost always go ‘wrong.’ How do you prepare for this? – you build resilience into your character; the ability to adapt and overcome in any scenario. For some, it can be a lot easier said than done to accomplish this.

Depending on your upbringing and life experiences, you may already have a good degree of general resilience. The exciting news is, even if you currently see yourself with low resilience – with the right approach, anybody can develop a strong mindset. I spend a good amount of time on this in our RWC curriculumn.

Set The Right Framework For Your Mind To Succeed.

Although it may require more direct effort for you to develop a strong mindset for real world violence, for now, I encourage you to take on my personal battle cry as your own – “I’M NOT GOING TO LOSE.” I love it because it sets the right framework for my mind to operate in any situation. If you prefer, invent your own variation of this, but in the same spirit of not accepting defeat or failure.

And make sure you are training smart

See that? I didn’t say, “train hard.” Although it goes without saying that you still need to train hard. The point is, practice doesn’t make perfect, practice makes permanent. So make sure you are practicing skills that are based on how real world violence works and not ancient traditions or sporting competition rules. Otherwise you may be in for a rude shock when you have to deal with a real violent attack.

An extended version of my opening statement is, “I don’t know how I’m going to win, I just know I’m not going to lose.” I was not the originator of this extended version (no idea who was) but it does add depth to my long-held mindset of “I’M NOT GOING TO LOSE.”

Now, go find yourself a mirror – Look into it and tell yourself, “I’M NOT GOING TO LOSE.” Keep telling yourself that, until you believe it.

Let’s refuse to lose, even when we have no idea how we’re going to win. 

Have an awesome day!
John

UFC IS NOT REAL Fighting!

For some people, this is a topic that will provoke many ill feelings towards myself. Not that I care if people like me or not however if you’re going to hate me, let’s make sure that you’re doing it for the “right” reasons and not because you think I’m saying something that I’m not.

Let me start by saying that I have the utmost respect for both professional and amateur competitors in any full contact sport. Whether it is MMA, boxing, kickboxing… To climb into a ring or cage, knowing full well that the other person has deliberate intention to knock you out is a daunting task and requires much bravery.

I boxed, kickboxed and competed in full contact Kyokushin in my younger years… and loved it. I know what it takes to compete and I know the grueling training it takes to prepare for such a sport. So let’s be clear, this post is not about denigrating or diminishing what MMA fighters do… not in the slightest.

What this is about, is giving some clarity to the layperson. The person who has probably never trained in any full contact combatives but loves watching UFC. The person who considers what is done in the cage as REAL fighting and maybe thinks to himself, “Next time someone mouths off at me, I’ll just do a double leg takedown on him, get into a mount and ground and pound him. Then I’ll finish him off with an armbar.”

So what’s wrong with that kind of thought, when it comes to a real world violent encounter?

There are a myriad of things we could discuss, including your legal standing if you attack someone for just ‘mouthing off’ and the fact that while UFC athletes may make it look easy, you are going to fail dismally if you’ve had no training. For this post, I’m going to focus purely on the physical technique aspects.

The Takedown
There are many awesome takedowns and throws used in MMA and other combative sports. Some of them are downright amazing and require significant athleticism in their execution. The problem for a street fight arises when the takedown used, also puts you on the ground with your attacker. Now, this may be advantageous in a one-on-one sports fight in a ring. Not so much if you are on a street sidewalk or some kind of rocky surface or worse still, there is broken glass etc.

In the REAL WORLD, you want to avoid being on the ground as much as possible. Unlike a ring or cage, where you know your fighting ground intimately, you know you only have one opponent to deal with. You also know that if things do get too bad and your life is in danger, there is a referee there to stop things and to keep both of you safe.

The Ground And Pound
Being in side control or a mount may be awesome positions to have in MMA but definitely not in the real world violent encounter. You may have the best positioning skills in the world but they won’t help you if somebody kicks you in the head while you’re holding that position. Don’t believe me or think that’s ridiculous? Watch the two videos below, then tell me what you think.

The Armbar
Armbars are obviously a very effective technique and done at a high velocity can break the elbow joint of your attacker. Making it a lot more difficult for them to continue being a threat to you. However, just like the mount or side control, executing an armbar from the classical ground position again puts you in a world of danger. Any time you remain on the ground with your attacker, you are at a lot more risk than standing.

Vulnerabilities Of “Ground Fighting”
1. Exposed to damaging ground surfaces, such as hard concrete, uneven surfaces, broken glass, rocks etc.
2. Very easy and common for a third party to attack you whilst you are in your control position or executing you fancy armbar.
3. Your attacker may be carrying a gun, knife or other weapon and you won’t even know you’ve been shot until you hear the gunfire. You won’t even know you’ve been stabbed until after it’s already happened.
4. You have a restricted vision of what is going on behind you.

There are many many rules for any MMA fight! You can check out the complete list of UFC Rules and Regulations here if you’d like. Below I’ve only listed what are currently considered fouls in UFC.

In a REAL fight, there are NO RULES! Anything goes!!

If somebody tries to carjack you, if a group of thugs invades your home, if someone attacks you on the street… you can be guaranteed they are not abiding by any rules and they are definitely not following any ancient honour system.

As you read through the list below, think about how you would react to these being done to you. Think about how they even the playing field, where a smaller person or a female can cause massive damage to the largest and strongest of men. Consider the many things that are possible in a REAL fight, that are not possible in sports combat.

I don’t actually believe in fighting, by the way but that’s a topic for another time.

The following acts constitute fouls in a contest or exhibition of mixed martial arts and may result in penalties, at the discretion of the referee, if committed:
1. Butting with the head
2. Eye gouging of any kind
3. Biting
4. Spitting at an opponent
5. Hair pulling
6. Fish hooking
7. Groin attacks of any kind
8. Putting a finger into any orifice or any cut or laceration of an opponent
9. Small joint manipulation
10. Striking downward using the point of the elbow
11. Striking to the spine or the back of the head
12. Kicking to the kidney with a heel
13. Throat strikes of any kind, including, without limitation, grabbing the trachea
14. Clawing, pinching or twisting the flesh
15. Grabbing the clavicle
16. Kicking the head of a grounded opponent
17.Kneeing the head of a grounded opponent
18. Stomping a grounded opponent
19. Holding the fence
20. Holding the shorts or gloves of an opponent
21. Using abusive language in fenced ring/fighting area
22. Engaging in any unsportsmanlike conduct that causes injury to an opponent
23. Attacking an opponent on or during the break
24. Attacking an opponent who is under the care of the referee
25. Attacking an opponent after the bell has sounded the end of the round
26. Timidity, including, without limitation, avoiding contact with an opponent, intentionally or consistently dropping the mouthpiece or faking an injury
27. Throwing opponent out of ring/fighting area
28. Flagrantly disregarding the instructions of the referee
29. Spiking an opponent to the canvas on his head or neck
30. Interference by the corner
31. Applying any foreign substance to the hair or body to gain an advantage

That should give you some things to consider in regards to how UFC or any sports combat differs from REAL WORLD violence. If you have training in MMA, you’ve got invaluable skills and perhaps you can take a moment to consider how you could adjust them for the REAL WORLD.

Until every decent person is equipped…

John Wayne Legg

Local Church Pastor Defends Against Drug Addicts

We live in a dangerous world where the unexpected can and does happen. As I always say, “learning self-defence is like paying for insurance, you hope you’ll never need it but you’re glad you’ve got it when something happens.” My hope and prayer for all my students is that you’ll never need to use the physical skills I teach. The prevention and avoidance strategies I equip you with do go a long way to ensuring this is the case.

Unfortunately, I know that sometimes no matter how much you do the right thing and try to avoid it, violence will happen to you or those you care for.  This fact and the success stories of our students who have been attacked and been able to protect themselves is the key motivator in why I continue try and reach more people, to equip them to protect against the scumbags…

Local Church Pastor Defends Against Drug Addicts

Let me share with you just one of many stories; A few years ago, John (another John) is was the pastor/minister of a small local church. John spent many late evenings counseling people and other various tasks from the church office, located in what some might consider a less than safe area.

On one of these evenings, there is a loud knock at the office door. He is there by himself so he opens it, only to be accosted with a barrage of punches. John immediately takes action with a technique I had taught him only a few days beforehand. He easily controls and subdues his attacker to the ground, with his attackers accompanying girlfriend screaming, “stop hurting him, please stop.”

It turns out that Pastor John’s attacker and his girlfriend were local drug addicts looking to get some quick cash, so they could buy their next score. They obviously didn’t get any cash but Pastor John did let the guy up after he agreed to stop being violent. He then gave both of them some hot coffee and food; a reasonably happy ending!

Now I’m not saying that all scenarios end this well for those who have attacked our students. In fact, some of my students have been forced to cause serious injury to their attackers, to stop them being a threat and ensure their own safety.

If someone is hell-bent on causing you harm, you will need to use a greater level of violence than they are, to stop them! Those movie scenes you may have seen, where the ‘hero’ peacefully subdues his attacker without even hurting them, are just that, movie scenes. Real life works a lot different than the movies!

Even police and security will regularly require multiple officers to subdue a truly violent person. I’m not talking about someone who is compliant and just does as asked or negotiated with. An individual who is genuinely violent towards you, will require extreme levels of force to control. Just watch an episode of COPS!

Here Real World Combat International, we prepare and equip you for all possible self-defence situations. From the violent psychopath to the drunk and disorderly relative at your family BBQ. We obviously don’t want to hurt our relative, if we can avoid it and they are most likely not genuinely wanting to harm you. There is a massive difference between the two!

Your Most Powerful Weapon!

 

weapons_weapons-s442x540-43675-580-externalSo many people spend years swapping from one martial art to the next, in search of, the “best” fighting techniques or system. I must confess, I did this for a number of years also. Until I came to the conclusion, it’s not physical techniques that are most important in a REAL fight.

Let me explain. You see, the techniques are actually secondary. Your common street thug who purposely goes out looking for a fight, does not have a black belt or years of experience training in some combat system. Their arrogance would not allow them to humble themselves and learn from someone else. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule, so I am generalising here.

This same thug who enjoys getting into street fights, and, in fact, starting them most often, actually has very little in his range of techniques available. What I mean is, he probably uses two or three forms of attack (i.e. sucker punch, head butt, football kick). There is nothing highly skillful about the way he executes them, but he still manages to make them work. Just talk to any security professional who works in bars or clubs, and they can tell you stories of “martial arts experts” getting their butts kicked by some “untrained thug.” Why is this so?

You see, although their physical skills are very limited. They are using their most powerful weapon to demolish and smash right through their victims. They are using their mind! Yep, you may have already guessed it, your most powerful weapon is your mind. Now there are obviously many ways you can use your mind in a combative situation. And the street thug is only really using it, once again, in a limited manner. But it works for him nonetheless.

How can you use your most powerful weapon to protect yourself and those your care for?

1) You can use it like the street thug; have a killer mentality. Now I don’t mean that you actually intend to kill your attacker, but you would if you had to to save yourself or others. What I mean is that you are not concerned with making a particular technique work on your attacker. You are just thinking, I am going to hurt them and cause them pain until they stop being a threat to me/those I care about.

You will do whatever it takes, which could mean ramming their head into a brick wall. It could mean picking up a rock and hitting them with it. It could mean ripping their ear off (level 1 technique in REAL WORLD Combat). You see we are not talking about a sporting event here. We are talking about your survival. Will you be able to go home to your family tonight?

athlete2) You can use it like the athlete; get the hell out of there. Running away as fast as you can, can be a very good way of ensuring your safety. Hang on a minute you say, “that isn’t using your mind.” Well of course it is. You are making a strategic withdrawal from battle. A very powerful tactic in any combat situation (war, street fight, attempted sexual assault). You have used your mind to decide you are better off not being there.

3) You can use it like the negotiator; try to reason with your attacker. Maybe buy them a drink if you were in a bar. Personally I don’t drink, but I’d do this if it meant avoiding a physical encounter. Once the action starts I have no idea what is going to happen, but I guarantee you one thing, I am going to do whatever it takes for me to survive. So I’d rather avoid the possibility of going to prison for crippling or killing a man.

magician4) You can use it like the magician; apply some deceit and misdirection. Magicians rely on getting you distracted/focused on something else while they perform their slight of hand or activate their trap door. On stage, they often use pretty girls, smoke or fire. For close up magic, interesting stories, jokes and a wave of the hand may come into play. A magician only needs to distract you for a split moment, to ensure you will not realise the method of his trick.

We can apply the same principle in two different ways; 1. Say something silly to occupy your potential assailants mind, giving you the opportunity change position or to execute a restraint, strike or takedown. An example of something silly might be, “pink elephants wear green socks.” It doesn’t matter really, as long as it’s silly and takes a moment to mentally process. 2. We can attempt to misdirect their mind off of us and onto someone or something else. This works particularly well will people who are drunk. Some examples of misdirection might be: “Hey mate, they guy over there is giving you a dirty look (misdirection).” “Is that your wallet on the ground there.” “Hey, don’t I know you from somewhere? Didn’t we go to school together?” Now they may sound like strange things to say to someone, but I’ve personally used all three in the process of talking my way out of a physical encounter.

Self defence5) You can use it like the poker player; put quite simply, bluff your way out of the threat. This is admittedly a more difficult tactic to use for some. It requires a good set of brass balls to make it work properly.

Whichever way you use your mind, you are still better off having some skills than none. But don’t fall into the trap of thinking that if you practice “XYZ” skill-set 5000 times that you will be able to protect yourself. You need to learn how to use your mind effectively, and under stress. Some find this easier than others. Either way, we can help you learn to use your most powerful weapon here at learnrealworldcombat.com

Contact me today to join the REAL WORLD.

Dedicated to your personal safety,

John