Hockey Beating-What would you do?

Amazing, absolutely amazing.

Class dismissed.


Hi Tony,
Forgive me if you have already answered this question (I searched and didn't see anything...)
There has been much discussion on the forum regarding the recent beating and subsequent death of the father of four at a hockey rink back east. I've read some of your general thoughts on the issue and have several of your tapes but I'm curious as to what *exactly* you might of done in this situation based on your understanding of the events leading to the death.
If I put myself in this exact scenario (I, too, have a young son) I'm not sure how I would handle this...Thanks again Tony -crash

I would have gotten the hell out of there the moment any confrontation began. Changed seats, gone to the restroom, went to get some food, etc. Disengaging from the situation is the hardest easy thing to do because then we often have to wrestle with our own self over feelings of guilt, fear, self-doubt, if we are unclear about what the goal is. What is our purpose as warriors? What is our "directive"? Were both men's directives to "Engage in Confrontation" at the hockey game? I can only be clear with myself.

Peace to both of those families.

This is important stuff.

Mike Galu

I should probably wait for Tony to answer this, as
his answers are always a classroom, but this
thread is really important. Personally, I would have
had someone watch my back. People forever talk
about how one guy can defend himself against
two. I have found two guys a useful way to deflect
one guy intent upon doing something harmful.

Marc Lepine walked into the University of Montreal's Engineering dept. about a decade ago armed with a hunting rifle and told the guys to leave. After they did, he shot and killed 12 women then himself.

As Montreal's resident martial art aficionado, I had the dubious honor of being paged and asked to do a live telephone interview in the immediate wake of the tragedy. The first question asked of me was : "Tony, you're trained, what would you have done in that situation?"

My answer which I still remember verbatim even today, was misunderstood then as it probably will be 10 years later and 10 years from now was: "I refuse to comment on this real life tragedy. What I think I would do cannot bring anyone back and makes no difference today. The great myth of training is that one never knows until it is happening. Now that we know the events its easy to 'armchair quarter back it all'; it's easy to be a genius when you watch it on TV. So I cannot nor will I tell you what I would do."

My blunt honesty cost me a relationship with that announcer who did not appreciate that I gave my real answer and not a Hollywood type answer. I consider anyone who has answered this questioned with some sort of tactics to be fantasizing. You don't know you weren't there. That's all. Real fights are not macho glory tales or fights where you are the predator. Being the hunted can be slightly unnerving.

So what's the point of training then? A lot.

Training creates presence. Confidence. It does provide strategies & tactics if the format is somewhat realistic.

Training, allows you to remain cooler, whereby your intuitive/cognitive system can observe and discern and quite possibly help you to avoid and de-escalate.

Maxim: "Never let fear, pride or ego dictate your next battle plan."

My students work on street realistic tactics first and always so that if or when a real-life moment happens during your real life you are closer to action.

To assist in this process my students have mandatory reading of the PERSONAL DEFENSE READINESS manual and the 90 minute CEREBRAL SELF-DEFENSE audio tape, before they even learn a Non-Violent posture during our BMF and role-playing drills.

We work on the LARD Principle: Live Action Response Drills. This is where we work through at least 4 levels of Response Selection to the very same attack.
In other words we'll work through a verbal response to a shove, but as well work 3 other responses that include defending oneself with extreme prejudice. That way the student is not locked into one counter for one attack and they select based on the scenario and the danger.


The biggest thing we do is work the SPEAR SYSTEM over & over. This is the conversion of the flinch mechanism into a tactical response. The survival system usually picks up danger prior to impact and starts to move away form it. But if you're hit [suckered] the tendency to go fetal is reactive [not cognitive] unless you train for this conversion.

[FYI: On a separate note, all those posts about how everyone does the SPEAR – those people looked at a physical move and decided they did it too. The essence of the SPEAR is not the hand or arm position, but the analysis of how the reactive mind overrides cognitive learning systems to return to its more pure primal state – fetal to get protected. This is not how martial arts are taught nor are they based on any principle like this.]

Here is reality guys, give yourself permission to think outside the box. If we are going to use this tragedy let's learn from it not further delude ourselves.]

Reality reframe: We have one guy pacing outside the arena maintaining his adrenal dump working himself into a rage, probably even muttering to himself that he'll kill that little bastard.

We have another Dad who thought the fight was over. He was self regulating, returning to poise for his kids, going for drinks to quench their thirst and facing a drink machine.

Go ask Royce for an autograph and while he's signing something hit him with a brick. Show Tyson a new watch and while he's trying it on smash his groin. Ask a guy to get you a drink from a Coke machine and slam him as he bends over to get the drink out.

What's the point? Gracie, Tyson, meet them in their arena when they are ready, when they are determined, when they want to fight and you've got a fight. Sucker them and your first shot ALWAYS gets in.

So what would I do in real life. Well, assuming I made a whole bunch of tactical errors and ignored my intuition, instincts and so on. Assuming I turned my back on the guy and thought it was over, well, at the moment my back was turned to get a drink I would've been hit.

Now here's where training comes in, both emotional and physical. Unless you recover emotionally and physically from the first shot, its gets worse from there. But that is where the SPEAR drills support my students. We do not train with an illusion. We train knowing, accepting that shit like this happens. So while people were busy working on the counter for the knee to the chest, my students were doing the same drills they did the week before: how to train for the 'holy-shit moment in a fight"

Sorry for the rant. Be safe y'all.


Hey Tony,
and anyone else (reading this far).

All I can say is this...No matter how many times I come to the "Mental Edge" I never stop having the feeling that I have been searching for treasure all my life, and I have just struck it rich beyond my wildest dreams!!

Thanks for every thing that you give to all of us Tony. It means a great deal to me, and I know to many others.



I hope that made sense, cause it came from the heart.


All I can say is "Thank You". I have to constantly remind myself to remember to remember. After attending the first PDR I thought I was really starting to "Get it." It's not that easy, however to overcome years and years of subtle and not so subtle brainwashing from media, masters of this and that and of course, the almighty Ego.

Waking up is turning out to be easier than staying awake. Thinking outside the box means being liberated from the box...

Thanks Coach, for yet another wake up call...



Ditto my Brother...

Tony, As alwaysyour words and principles inspire and enlighten me each and every time. Thanks again, Charlie