For Greater Success-Not Just in Martial Arts and Self-Defense - Learn to Think Outside the Box

Jeffrey Miller

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I, like many, have some videos up on YouTube. If you are one of the remaining few who haven't heard of this oasis of information on tons of topics in video format, including martial arts and self-defense, you really owe it to yourself to check it out. It's kind of like a giant blog, but where the posts are video uploads instead of text articles.

Just as with conventional blogs, viewers may comment on the videos they watch. And, mine are no different. But, I digress. This article is not about, but about. . .

. . . perspective, and the way we look at things.

One of the primary comments left behind by self-proclaimed experts, especially regarding my traditional ninjutsu techniques, is that. . .

. . the technique is somehow wrong.

It can be wrong for any number of reasons, but the common implication that comes screaming through their post is that. . .

. . . it's not the way they were taught.

The sad part here is that, most of these gurus have little-to-no actual self-defense experience under their belts (pun intended!). And those who do, are almost exlusively limited to one or more of the following:

  • School-yard scuffles (where it's more a show of “cool" than it is about saving life and limb),

  • Bar room brawls (which are almost identical to the school yard incidents with alcohol), and. . .

  • Martial arts tournaments (where the rules and referee intervention makes it nearly impossible to experience real fight pressure)

Nope. For most martial arts students and those enrolled into self-defense classes, the realities inherent and existing within a violent attack when facing an enraged assailant is as foreign as the feeling of weightlessness in the near-zero gravity one would be required to experience when walking on the moon!

This ignorance of what is to be dealt with in a fight leads most students (and teachers, by the way) to confuse the conceptual models, known as "kata" in the martial arts of Japan, with a fight itself. So, they do what most “children" do when they are taught something. . .

. . . they make it an unbreakable “rule. "

We have many of these “rules, " or conventions in our society. They effect our lives each and every moment of every day. Included are things like:

  • how we hold our eating utensils

  • how, and with whom, we shake hands or hug

  • who we see as responsible for household chores

  • and so much more.

In most martial arts and self-defense classes, this mindset is simply perpetuated to include the skills, models, and lessons originally designed to save one's life on the battlefield. But, where most of the conventions adopted in everyday life merely cause a bit of confusion when we see someone doing a thing differently. . .

. . . falling prey to this mindless trap in our self-protection training can literally get us killed in the real-world.

So, just what are some of the limiting habits and views that keep students at the “beginner" level, regardless of their rank in the martial arts? To be honest, there are tons of them. But, let's take a look at just a couple to give you an idea of how deep the proverbial rabbit-hole goes.

As I said, the primary one that I deal with from the “masters" who comment on my videos is. . .

It's not being done correctly. Ignoring the fact that the technique is being offered as an example of the training, and in a world (YouTube) where beginners run rampant, they offer less-than-constructive comments like. . . "Too slow, " or "the opponent's attack was wrong, " etc.

Can you imagine! Actually believing that you have some sense of control of how an assailant will attack you?!

I'm not talking about whether he throws a punch or kick based on a controlled opening that you leave for him. I'm talking about getting him to throw a kick from your “style" when his past experience was with Tae kwon do, Jujitsu, Western boxing, or just picked up instictively off the street.

Can you imagine?

And yet, there are hundreds of thousands of martial arts students and teachers who will absolutely, with every breath of their being, resist practicing or acknowledging a technique that does not look like the way “their" teacher performed it.

I only hope that these folks carry their notebook or portable DVD player with them so they can show the “right" attack to the assailant who's about to change their view of reality!

But, I digress again.

Some other examples of “boxed" thinking, or “conventional" mindtraps, that routinely cripple otherwise well-meaning students attempting to master the ancient warrior skills are. . .

Always holding a weapon the same way. Things like always holding a knife with the edge down as if you're about to cut steak is one example of this. Reverse grip aside, some people actually experience a physical discomfort when they see a Ninja stab with a knife. . .

. . with the edge UP!

Now, if you know what's going on, and this kind of thing causes you to stop and think. . .

. . can you imagine what a thing like that will do to YOUR ATTACKER?!

And finally. . .

Restricting your training to your “style" or brand of martial arts. Most students fall into the ego-generated belief that. . .

". . . if this thing I'm doing weren't right and best, I wouldn't be doing it. "

Of course, what they're really saying is. . .

". . . I have chosen this thing, and because “I" CAN'T be wrong, it HAS to be right!"

As a result, they refuse to even look at other styles or methods. And if they do, they usually look through a filtered perception that would prevent them from learning anything new or useful.

I'm not saying that they have to practice the new thing. But, knowing what other people are capable and, more importantly, “willing" to do to you, will allow you to get outside the box that somehow has you convinced that you'll be attacked by a 21st century mugger in a method that was developed for a 16th century Japanese Samurai wearing his own body weight in armor!

The point here is simple. It was summed up by one of my Sargeants when I was in the Army, who said. . .

". . . flexibility is the key to longevity. "

Anyone with real-world experience knows this. They also know that you can have tons of information and academic knowledge, but without experience you may find that all you have is empty theory.

No. To truly be effective, you must be able to apply the “principles and concepts" of success in any realm to get the results that you need. The kata, or “forms" of any martial art style are merely vehicles for presenting those key elements needed for survival. Just like the lessons we received in childhood were guides until we could comprehend things from a more mature, worldly view, they're not the lesson itself. So. . .

. . for greater success, not just in your ability to survive, but in every area of your life. . .

. . . Learn to think outside the box.

Jeffrey M. Miller is the founder and director of Warrior Concepts International , an expert in the realms of real world self-protection tactics, and a master teacher in the art of Ninjutsu - the art of the Ninja. He is highly sought-after for his direct, often politically-incorrect approach to helping people get what they need. Through his classes, seminars, book and video products, and corporate training events, he empowers individuals with the time-tested and proven concepts, principles, and closely guarded secrets of the warrior in a way that makes them highly effective in Today's world. Get more information about reality-based self-defense and other related topics by subscribing to his newsletter at This article may be freely distributed and used provided that it remains as-is, with the author's byline intact and all links active.


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