Intentions, motivations, etc

Maybe it's just a combination of little sleep, working 83 hours a week (summer camp and gym), being injured, and moving or then again maybe the tough guy with amazing posture, hulk hand shake and desire to mention his 4 black belts as he introduced himself and talked me senseless yesterday but wouldn't set foot on the mat....but I have decided to vent a bit here on all this post apocalyptic velcro man versus team neanderthal man as of late. Long post ahead so please ignore unless you want t to pretend you are working on the PC while at your corporate gig. ;)

Intentions, motivations and other assorted alternatives to being still. Or...are you moved or pushed?

It's unfortunate (no "wealth" gained) that the root causes of the debates on street vs. sport and mma vs combatives are seldom sought out. Too often these debates are emotionally charged in the negative do to the ignore-ance to one another's intentions, motivations, and other "reasons" for doing what they do.

Thing is, the problems and the solutions are both contained across the lines and readily available within the very span and depth of each of the opposing "ideas"...if taken far enough through sincere exploration. After all, sincere and genuine exploration of one's self is too easy to be it...right? Better to take sides on the outside than know no sides (My best attempt at sarcasm)

Ask why someone trains and initially you will get a series of social reasons ranging from fun to fitness to self-defense to survival to job definition to cultural and historical hobbies and interest. Look past those initial social intentions and you will arrive at deeper personal reasons ranging from past psychological traumas through abuse to positive experiences through play to ritualized patterns that have instilled such fraternity.

Yet ask why someone trains using the street or sport paradigms or with an emphasis on athletics or combatives and the responses are usually defined by a language and lingo that does through by defining the other...not themselves. It's us against them or better stated we as they are not.

It seems as if everyone in the combatives sector of the ma and their long lost samurai or blue painted Celtic genetic ancestor says a 'true warrior" should be prepared for anything and everything. On the other hand if you look through the UG it looks like everyone just has to train Muay Thai, Boxing, Wrestling, BJJ etc and buy a gun, period. Says who? Again, who does and will and for that matter wants to or really and sincerely needs to?

What civilian really needs to become a walking talking Special Ops Field Manual or actually trains two a days in real boxing and wrestling gyms? Isn't so much of this hero worship and modeling? Rambo or the UFC/ Pride Champ of the day?

Witness thy self in others and know thy



Are you a professional combat athlete, soldier, cop, fighter? If so, are you actively so or retired and just sharing. If not, why do YOU train as if your life or check depended on it? How much is passion and when is it just pathology? Let's face it, while all boys talk about warriors and living the warrior way, actual men make their living as such. It is work. Period. All else is play. Tough guys and criminals don't play that game either. They live in their violence and learn how best to impose it upon others and build it further in themselves.

If you truly enjoy firearms and explosives to the point that you are taking course after course, buying gun after gun, and are actually speaking on the ramifications of life and death and teaching them...should you be in a field where you actually may have to use them and deal with such ramifications? If all you do and will most likely ever do is scenario training, fire blanks or at range targets and watch action flicks, doesn't that eventually ring of an actor's life? Isn't this just play?

If in turn you are indeed training two a days and spending all your time sparring and conditioning your body into hand to hand perfection at the expense of all else, shouldn't you at least be getting paid and build a career out of it? And if you do indeed plan on getting paid to fight should you not consider how much and for how long since it is all you do or talk about? If all you do is purchase tapes and gear, pay coaches, and practice fighting, doesn't that eventually ring of an actor's life? Isn't this just play?

Are any of these two extremes really any of us here? What then is all this noise about courage or the right way to live, define, or witness the world outside your self. Is there such a thing? When and where does it begin and end?

To make matters all the more flat and two dimensional, the new face that has now entered the scene to save and cure our little adolescent dilemma is that of flatland generalities. Again, unfortunately not one born of opposing views and the synchronicity of something now united, integrated and risen but instead the same old....just do it all. It sounds just fine after all, just do it all, but who does and will and for that matter wants to or really and sincerely needs to?

Who really wants or has to train it all? Mad Max? Blade? Ridick? Batman? Hell, it really seems to have worked for Mel Gibson, Wesley Snipes, Vin Diesel and assorted other leading men willing to sell themselves to a sponsor. They are loaded and secure financially and each were indeed well trained and prepared to take out the future, the undead, the alien, and the super villainous all within 90 to 120 minutes.

I am a gym owner and enjoy the martial arts as a social activity and personal practice. Why am I then involved in the MA? That is easy; the necessity of supporting my family, remaining healthy for them and the fortune of friendship and fraternity that it continues to bring me. I am no tough guy nor athlete, no expert nor example, hold no secrets or share no special tactics, and am so absent of such things simply because I can not hold, own, or share them as my own. I am no cop, no soldier, no professional fighter or athlete, no prisoner, no criminal, no political exile or persecuted minority, culture or nation. I instead am comfortable where I live, wealthy in friends and family, rich in health and fortunate by birth. I can vote, speak my mind, make a living, pay taxes, walk away from a challenge, run away from a threat and can call 911 in an emergency. I can also beyond any shadow of any doubt give you all I am if you even ponder taking any of this away from me. Nothing taught me this. It is who I am. It's that simple.



How am I so sure that I am not anything or anyone else? I am humbled and reminded all the time of and by who the real warriors are.

When I get a call late at night from a dear friend who needs to let me know to take care of his kids in case he doesn't make it tomorrow morning as point man (SWAT) when they raid some huge biker gang's meth operation, or have to visit a father at the hospital because his heart almost failed the stress of not talking or knowing of his son's whereabouts for months since he was deployed to the middle east (special ops) or say goodbye to one of our coaches getting deployed to Iraq or listen to any cops day to day horror story...When I negotiate a fighter's bout for a penny more on the penny, when I watch them prepare for weeks at the expense of relationships, when I watch them fight doubt, anxiety, fatigue, time and themselves. When I walk them to the ring and see the cage door close. When I see them win or lose and then wonder what next and what for.

And then I wonder and I post...

What are the intentions and motivations behind each of us who posts and or lurks on these forums? What is speaking and what is being sold and bought? What is being done and undone by such exchanges?

How often have you fought physically? How often do you fight emotionally or spiritually? How often do you shoot? How often have you been or will ever be shot at? How often do you use a knife? How often have you been attacked with one? Are you a civilian, cop, soldier, criminal, rich, poor, hungry, bored, lonely, scared, need a gut check? Shouldn't these percentages be looked at in order to establish what time you put in?

For those of you who made it this far and are still asking what if and just in case and you never know and it's always a possibility and just around the corner....

Preparing for the unknown behind an unknown door may be time well spent. Entering the only way to know.

Death is wasted on the dead. Those that live near it or closest to it best know its worth. Live fully and freely NOW!

Otherwise the works of those before us and among us who put it on the line daily goes wasted and we are living dead already.

Enough of this fear and tough guy bullshit!


Great context when seen from a different space.


Thanks for the thought provoking post. I also have a "gym", teach full time, and am not a fighter, tough guy, cop, soldier, or anything along those lines. I'm not an aggressive person, don't want to fight with anyone, etc. I enjoy practicing and teaching martial arts for a variety of reasons. Most of all, I can make my own schedule, take vacations whenever I like, take a walk with my wife and dog on the lakefront in the middle of the day... I take a nap nearly every day, read, eat cookies, and often times browse forums like this one.

I teach because at the moment there is nothing I would rather do more. I don't want to sit at a desk all day, have someone else tell me when and how much time I can take off, etc. Who knows, maybe in a year, three years, or one month, I'll be doing something else. It doesn't matter.

Is anyone really a tough guy? Is anyone really a cop? A soldier? A fighter? If I am in a war zone with a gun, I'm a soldier. If I'm in a police outfit with a badge and gun, I'm a cop. If I'm in a fight, I'm a fighter. Really? I don't think so. I think I've seen some of you guys say in the past, the word is not the thing, or something along those lines. Is a cop really a cop? Is there not more to a person than what they do from 8-5, 7-7, whatever?

Some people may play cop, play soldier, play fighter, etc. The person who mistakes themselves for a cop, fighter, soldier, martial arts instructor, coach, sifu, dad, mom, etc. is missing A LOT. Is a soldier braver than a kindergarten teacher? A job is a job.?. It can be more than a job. It can also be less than a job. And, a job can also not be a job, in my case, and probably yours too.

We can talk all day about a job not being a job, and a soldier not being a soldier, but if we're going to take that to the extreme, we're not going to be able to talk. Are "we" we? What's the point? If we're going to talk, we've got to use these words. If you're going to run a "gym", you've got to have some way of communicating what you have to offer. What's your spiel? You might advertise as a "sports" gym. I might advertise as a "self-defense" school. Who cares? We both use the same delivery systems; we're both interested in just enjoying ourselves. Life's too short not to.

NOW, it's silly to play the fighter. That's too limiting. NOW, it's silly to play the soldier. That's too limiting. We've got to make a living. Do what you enjoy! I've got another class in five minutes, and although I don't feel like getting pounded on, I prefer it to working at the bank. I'm going to the beach tomorrow to hang out with my parents, brother and sisters, and I'm leaving at 2PM. You guys have a great weekend,



I hear you and agree. I in no way posted above on the value or worth of a person measured through their profession but instead on their merits as professionals in fields better suited to speak or better stated, able to function under the stressors that allow them to serve as more qualified experts in their particular fields. I.E. (Firearms, counter terrorists, "streetfighting" etc)

I posted in regards to posts insisting on the merits of post 911 changes in training for civilians in the MA and others on the UG putting down other approaches to the MA simply because they are not those of someone 22 in body, mind, or responsibility.

Judgments are made daily on those who do not train for terrorists or train 5 times a week. As a coach and gym owner I know that the variables in-between are many and the majority who need what we have to offer are yet even more than that.

I spoke as gym owner and coach. yes, yet another job title as you have stated and one that does not define me as a person but does give my statement some weight in that I work with men and women, athletes, bouncers, LE, kids ages 4 through 17 and adults of all ages and know that the MA and the intentions of motivations of people therein are not as black and white as often debated.

And yes in-deed, those job titles above do place those individuals in the line of fire more often than those not within them and yes in-deed they hold more weight when they speak on firearms and use of deadly force because they experience many more opportunities daily for them to come into play.

And so yes, it does bug me when the voices of those professionals in the military, policing and the top of combat sports seldom post in the negative or in the us versus them tone are seldom heard or represented in these discussions nor are the voices of the kids, parents, teachers, lawyers, doctors etc etc who attend gyms daily for reasons far greater to me than being attacked by terror or beating someone's ass because they train a superior style(s).

Is this perhaps clearer?


great post Louis as usual.

personally for me why i train is because i wanted to. i've always like ma and i had time and money at the time, now i have less money and sometime but i make time for training. i work part time as an instructor but i'm working on doing other things but still training.

i've never been a fighter nor will i ever be unless my life personally is in danger. i doubt i'll ever own a gun, i don't think they provide me with any more protection than my fists will, tho personally i prefer a sword. nor will i join the army or be a cop but i respect what they do.

i was picked on as a kid cause i'm a bit different, probly more bright for my age than the rest and i was always the "new kid". however that was never a reason why i started ma. i only started ma because it rounded me out as a person. i have an intellectual and spiritual side but i really needed a warrior side, don't know what else to call it.

tho as i take ma i do find myself in more of a spiritual persuit as well as intellectual pursuit. i'm becoming more of a renisance man as time goes on. i try and always learn something from everything, sometimes i do and sometimes i don't but when i don't i really do.

personally i don't think people think things through, they just do it. they don't pay attention to things around them, they just react. if we did think a bit the world would be a better place but we are taught go go go not sit and think.

Luis you are a great writer! Matt talked about this last week in Huntsville and I have been thinking about it ever since. Its really hard to define the reason I still train. Martial Arts definitely have its own emotional highs and lows. Sometimes the lows make me want to quit, but I don't and at this point I don't know why. Maybe it's the Friendships that I have made the Places I have been, or the physical challenge.It gets to the point where its part of your character.
I have been in Martial Arts since I was 12 and I am now 31 and have no desire to ever quit.


I always thought that if you train like an athlete and are in the condition of an athlete you *are* an athlete--whether or not you get paid for it.

Not everyone can make a living as an athlete or a special op guy.

I dont see anything wrong with living the life of an athlete--or whatever--as long as it doesnt interfere with you earning a living and taking care of and spending quality time with your family and friends.

Likewise I dont see a problem with owning a Glock of every color or a pair of shoes for each day of the year as long as it doesnt interfere with your normal life and functioning.

What we see here online is just a small part of people that is reflected by their common interest that brings them here. It would be a mistake to assume that what little we see online is their entirety.

This is why I read this forum.

Thanks guys.


I misunderstood the direction of your post. I hadn't read the "Civilian First Responders Program" thread, but reading it somewhat changes the direction of your last post. Also, I did not mean to imply that you were measuring anyone based on their profession. From reading your posts in the past, I don't think you would. When I first read your post, I thought you were writing about extreme practitioners who may be OBSESSED with combatives OR NHB and their motivations or lack thereof. In either extreme case, it doesn't make sense to argue one versus another, or in any case for that matter. As you and others have pointed out on many occasions in the past, realistic training, whether it be for sport or combatives, will generally look the same. Training methods can be reasonably and beneficially discussed, but putting down one or the other doesn't do much good. Furthermore, as you said, what's the point of becoming Rambo or the next champ of the day?

I totally agree with you regarding different people training for different reasons, motivations, etc. And, you're right, the majority of people that I train at least, are not represented on these forums. They do it because it's fun. And, they don't have much reason, and many don't have the time, to read these forums, post, etc. They just come by to de-stress, relax, get some exercise, etc.

I don't know Demi. I've never spoken to him, seen his videos, or his training methods. I do get a bit, disturbed maybe, when I hear anyone talk about good and evil, evildoers, a strong moral compass, and things along those lines. A good passage from the Tao Te Ching says something like, "when the great way is forgotten, morality appears". If it's real and genuine, it's don't need to name it. Anyway, on the flip side, I can't judge Demi's motivations, as I don't know anything about him. As far as I'm concerned, he could just as well have very good intentions. I don't know.

I do think people in particular fields are generally better suited to talk about those fields. HOWEVER, I have had clients that were police, FBI, various branches of the military, and INS (or whatever it's now called), that were absolutely clueless regarding the use of their guns, batons, pepper spray, and especially empty hands. A couple of months ago, an INS enforcement agent came to my place with all her gear. She had an expandable baton. I asked her if she had trained with it, and she said, yeah, we go through training about once a year. I said, how would you use it on me. She pulled it out, failed on her first attempt to open it, and flung it to the floor on the second attempt. She then told me she was escorting a guy to Pakistan the next week, and could I show her a "move" to force the guy to sit down if he wouldn't. This is no joke! Her gun was about double the size it should have been, considering how small her hands were. It was standard issue. I've had cops, and guys in the military that were equally appallingly unable.

Therefore, I don't necessarily think that someone who trains in some form of "fighting" is any less qualified to teach civilians, first responders, or LE's how to be more effective. I think it's possible, but not probable, that training will help in a "terrorist" situation. But, what is the likelihood of being involved in a terrorist attack? It's next to 0 in my opinion. If someone wants to save people, you'd save more by focusing on drunk driving, health care, gun control, etc. Those things are far more likely to kill you than a terrorist is. But, I don't think that LE or even "soldiers" are necessarily more qualified to teach civilian response to whatever attacks, at least not in my experience. A "civilian" can obtain just as much knowledge on the subject, and can provide just as realistic training...I think. A boxing coach doesn't have to be a prize fighter, although it might help.


"How am I so sure that I am not anything or anyone else? I am humbled and reminded all the time of and by who the real warriors are.

When I get a call late at night from a dear friend who needs to let me know to take care of his kids in case he doesn't make it tomorrow morning as point man (SWAT) when they raid some huge biker gang's meth operation, or have to visit a father at the hospital because his heart almost failed the stress of not talking or knowing of his son's whereabouts for months since he was deployed to the middle east (special ops) or say goodbye to one of our coaches getting deployed to Iraq or listen to any cops day to day horror story...When I negotiate a fighter's bout for a penny more on the penny, when I watch them prepare for weeks at the expense of relationships, when I watch them fight doubt, anxiety, fatigue, time and themselves. When I walk them to the ring and see the cage door close. When I see them win or lose and then wonder what next and what for."

I am not sure exactly why, but this excerpt nearly brought a tear to my eye.

Great great thread.

Too many times men get too caught up in being this penultimate man figure based on legend and film and fail to realize you can be a man by simply taking care of your family, raising your children, and keeping your partner happy.

Incredible post.

sometimes i get a bit depressed coming on forums and reading nonsense by non-FUNctional, image based, scared immature guys knowing how easy it would be for them to just 'let-go' of all that BS and how much benefit they would get from functional training

anyway thanks to luis for posting that and reminding me why i do come on forums :)

"Enough of this fear and tough guy bullshit!"

Thank God someone that everyone actually listens to on this forum actually said it.


Your post is really inspirational because, in part, it lays a groundwork
for a rethinking of the perspective of why many of us do MMA/MA etc,
in an individualistic, and more importantly, expressive, way.

Also because of injuries, I've been thinking a lot about the expense one
pays, physically, psychologically, and financially, from simply being
involved in training, mostly for my own justification and clarification
(validation?), and have come to a personal conclusion that it is simply
the love of the Art and a personal desire to reach a certain level of
individual perfection in the Art that keeps me going. A painter needs
paint. Not that the end is the goal, but the process. The Expression.

I think sometimes that so much of the focus has been shifted to the
"Martial" that the "Arts" is getting a bit (if not entirely) left behind.
Almost a bad wrap. Add to this: "fear" and "self preservation" and
"killer instinct warriors" and the focus becomes even more skewed,
creating an environment counter-productive for everyone else who is
involved for reasons different from their own. Someone already said it
in a previous thread, but "fear breeds fear."

It seems many people who are involved in these Arts have forgotten
that this is also another approach to why some people are involved and
oftentimes progress/expression (or call it "technique") plays a
secondary role to "survival".

I'm referring to Art, in this example, as a sensational arrangement of
movement; as an expression of "beauty". And without sounding too
peacenik about all of this, I'll expand to say simply that nearly any-
thing a person approaches "as Art" can (at least individually) "be Art".

I'm not talking about "Tradition" or the concepts that "traditionalists"
tout and hide behind at all. On the contrary, I strongly think that the
Functional approach to the Art lays a more accessible and readily
available groundwork for an appreciation and personalized perception
(expression) of the Art. Generally a blank canvas allows for more
possibilities than one already painted upon.

Of course "different strokes for different folks," but depending upon
the approach and expression, there is (es gibt) Art.

"Accordingly, every work of art really endeavors to show us life and
things as they are in reality; but these cannot be grasped directly by
everyone through the mist of objective and subjective contingencies.
Art takes away this mist." (Schopenhauer, "The World as Will and

Thankfully, a Functional approach has helped strip away much of the
mist. Now it's simply a matter of a productive environment and the
individual's approach and expression that determines what all of this
potential can Become.

I'm sure someone else has said it better.


I don't think that people should be labeled by what they do for a living in order to get their money. People should do what ever they love to do because they only live once and that life would be pointless if it was nothing but work, sleep, watch tv in a never ending cycle which would personally drive me crazy. Working long hours is not my kind of life, I do not want to be some living dead working just to survive but I do need some money in order to do what I love, which is to practice martial arts and train my butt off because I love it, its my passion. If I can, I would love to compete in MMA events out of love of the sport, I don't know if I'll make it to UFC or K-1 MAX or something but if I don't, as least I'll still try my best and put maximum effort in what I do. When I first practiced martial arts, I admit that I wanted to be tough because I was picked on and wanted respect but I am more mature now and now practice because I love what I do. Oh man, that was a whole lot I just said, and I don't really talk much. Nice stuff Luis, I like what you said, really makes a whole lot of sense.

Awesome post Luis--