Redefining A "Win"

G&P that is Mr. Donvito from L.I.N.E. fame.


This is a great thread. It introduced me to a new line of thinking. I am always open to new ideas, but it is truely rare that I find one that I agree with so much.

Thanks to Lorenzo, everyone that offered their insight, and of course Mr. Blauer

Thanks for the comments. Please share this thread with your friends and other forum members.


Win\Victory (on the street) - in potential non-sporting confrontations of a physical nature a win is eliminating the risk of bloodborne pathogens like AIDS, Hep C (rampant) and tuberculosis as well as possible lawsuits resulting from one parties lawyer discovering you've had even a smidgen of martial arts training.

There's one possible definition!

BTW ... anybody with a tattoo is a risk factor for Hep C these days.


What a fantastic thread. It addresses so many aspects of our training and general approach to life. One thought that kept occurring to me in reading this thread was actually based on one of my favorite movie lines.

If you ever saw "Big Trouble in Little China" Kurt Russell is tied to a chair by the evil overlord. They are having the proverbial good guy – bad guy chat about why the bad guy is doing all of these evil things. Burton (Russell) looks at the bad guy and says "I don't get it." The reply from the bad guy, which I love, is, "Mr. Burton, you were not placed on this earth to Get It!" That was my immediate response to Lorenzo's initial question – sometimes, it's not in our power to be satisfied. Sometimes we just won't get it because reality will never meet up to our fantasy version of how life should be.

This has been one of Tony's greatest teachings for me, and he probably doesn't even realize that he showed me the way. When you deeply Study his material, this is one of the concepts that most abruptly slaps you in the face. The basic TCMS philosophy is "Show me, don't tell me." In the end this comes down to developing a deeper appreciation for the nature of reality and what effects you can have on it – from both a philosophical and a practical perspective.

At the very first PDR, Tony taught that one of the greatest threats that exists in learning real-world survival skills is the human's tremendous ability for self-deception. He said that "our brains are always trying to correct reality." Developing a truth-based reality filter, then, is of the greatest importance.

As you've stated Lorenzo, when you step back and really shine a spotlight on your questions, the "end" that you wanted (an apology and acknowledgement of his wrongdoing from the offender) doesn't typically match up with the reality of reality. So, what do you do? As Tony has said, you reframe. I refer to it sometimes as "setting up the rules so that you get to win." For me, when I walk in the door of the house and hear my kids shout Dad! and see my wife smile at me – then I win. Nothing else matters...

Thanks again for the excellent, thought-provoking questions. I look forward to more.


Youre welcome.

Lorenzo, you introduced a powerful question that while personal to you is personal to all of us.

And while you wrestle with your reality, the bottom -line is that you suffer from what most of the martial art population suffers with: unrealistic expectations based on myth, fantasy and misundestood kata-like training.

Myth & fantasy: Lore and fiction about how technical the masters were when they fought has created an impossible expectation [on an emotional level]for performance.

Remember technical proficiency 'can'& does have higher finesse standards than tactical proficiency. But there must be a balance.

kata-like training: All stylized training creates Pavlovian expectations of attack to counter to counter-attack to counter-attack....and so on. These moves are practiced with ritual precision [even in eclectic systems there is a kata-like ritual]. Again, this creates unrealistic expectations for physcial resolution of real world problems.

"When the SHIT is on, it doesnt matter who is RIGHT, only who is LEFT."

While this is a cute maxim, remember real fights are messy; all that matters is the result, but, at the end of the day the event must be balanced through 'your' moral and legal accounting system!

All of this, ironically is why my system is so bloody misunderstood, for I have never given anyone techniques to memorize, I have never told anyone 'and when you do this, this happens...', all our drills are 'alive' and every evolution is slightly different and we also spend an equal or greater effort developing the emotional & psychological arsenals which account for most of the battle in a real world confrontation.

Fixate on the physcial in training and you predispose yourself to fight or freeze, but since 97% of the time there is no fight, just verbal and psycholgical abuse, the result is non-closure. But, paradoxically, this is based on the learning model not on the fight itself!

That is the science behind my replication theory and model. If we train for what is we are likely to develop practical tools.

Lorenzo, in a perfect world, we could fly and my kung fu would be more powerful than your kung fu!! But if this were a perfect world we wouldnt need to fight. So if this were a perfect world, I wouldnt be writing this.

During my Zen studies I came across a great maxim:

"There is no such thing as perfection, only imperfect perfection and perfect imperfection" or something to that effect.

That you and I and others can benefit from this forum, makes this world somewhat perfect, no?

I love threads like these and miss them. I also appreciate when the poster returns and reflects and respects those who shared in the introspective process.

Be safe,


Donvito are you the real donvito? as in the LINE guy?

TKD fighter, you take a philosophy class or something? I have never read any post from you that uses the deductive method? Too much WoH on the OG?

Eric & Tony,

"Sometimes we just won't get it because reality will never meet up to our fantasy version of how life should be."

"our brains are always trying to correct reality"

"For me, when I walk in the door of the house and hear my kids shout Dad! and see my wife smile at me – then I win."

Guess what?

You guys GOT IT.

Thanks to all of you. You ARE inspiration. From that, we ALL win.

David Lepp

Eric Cobb,

Thank you for the post, "setting up the rules so you get to win"..., that is a great way of putting it, it really alters the perspective!

Sincerely, Lorenzo

G&P, this is the Mental Edge; so from time to time I have to make a post like that. =)

Hello Everyone,

Good to hear that this past weekend's PDR was excellent.

I've also found Mr. Blauer's material to be really unique and mind-altering, and the more you reflect on it the more you realize.

This is my first time posting and I wanted to discuss "lightbulb" moments, especially seeing as at this moment so many others are probably thinking along the same lines.

I was reminded of the greatest "lightbulb" moment I've had by a friend who works as a bouncer. We were discussing defusing irate customers and he mentioned that his focus in a confrontation in the bar is to make sure that this aggressor doesn't fight. He doesn't focus on whether he will have to be physical or not, or on "winning" or "losing" but simply on preventing this guy in front of him from fighting and doing whatever that demands. The aggressor doesn't get his fight, if he swings, he's subdued, if he talks then it's on the way to the door, but not passed the door to the parking lot. It really takes two people to exchange and "fight" and if you are not in that frame of mind, that "box", then it gets really difficult for your opponent to put you there, he mentioned.

When I was first introduced to Mr.Blauer's material I remember having a realization that personal (and even societal?) protection is really about more than the physical. A lot of times when I speak to people, and they talk about what they would do if someone did this or that, they often speak from a position of wounded pride, they see a physical confrontation as an assault on their belief in their own safety (sometimes egotistical superiority???)and are not as concerned with being hurt/killed but with what it means to them as a person to be someone who "got beat/was a pussy/etc." and it was really nice to see someone whose perspective differed and who didn't need to crush an antagonist to maintain their own sense of self-worth, and how that made them safer/stronger, how hard is it for a person to beat you in a fight if you don't fight?- and if things do become physical that you don't spar for ego chips but take the shortest route to de-escalating/ending it?

The result of this conversation was that I realized how much my ego still affects my judgement, despite my realization. There are periods when I mentally visualize scenarios that could be handled in other ways but still find myself imaging wild kick-ass confrontations, I still have that need to physically dominate. I guess Mr.Blauer's material really poses a question, not whether the material is good enough, but are you (am I?)?

I would really like help unravelling this, any comments at all related would totally be appreciated.

Thanks Team,


A very wise man once taught me that you don't win a real fight, you survive one. A thought to ponder.

Looks like I am the first guy up to bat after this weekend's session. So, without further ado,

I think we must first define what "win" means. According to Webster's a win is: a : to gain in or as if in battle or contest b : to be the victor in.

So now that we see "win" means to be the "victor" in a situation, we must now understand what we are the "victor" at. While most people will think of the victor as being the guy that won the physical struggle, this is a short sighted view. Anytime we engage a person in "conflicting" arguements (such as a bouncer trying to defuse a fight, a cop trying to talk reason into an irrate suspect, etc), they are seeking to be the "victor". For most of these people, a physical confrontation is the last thing they want or need.

For the most part, people that always seek a physical response to a confrontation are either lacking comprehensive training or simply see violence as an answer to life's problems. To them talking is seen as the weak person's resolution to a problem. If they can't beat the guy into seeing their point, then atleast they were "man" enough to "throw hands" in support of their side.

Personally, I see no problem with visualizing "kicking butt" in certain situations. As the most adept predators on the planet; we as humans will always have a certain portion of us that will lust after the potential violence of an encounter. It is only through our conscience and possibly emotional training, that we are able to put the feelings, for the most part, in the back of our minds and seek out peaceful means to ending a problem. Only if you are ending potential problems with violence should you worry about your "need to physically dominate".

Chris Clifton

"I still have that need to physically dominate. I guess Mr.Blauer's material really poses a question, not whether the material is good enough, but are you (am I?)? "

Very very interesting post Lorenzo. I will let some others reply then add my thoughts...


Hello Lorenzo,

Your question is very good and like all good questins there is no easy answer.

I'll start by asking you in what scenario do you see yourself when you wonder what "winning" is and whether you are good enough to take the high road and not resort to violence.

If you are ARGUING with somebody there is a literal struggle(read sparring match) for emotional ego-based energy going on.

On the other hand if you are being verbally assaulted because of your job or the particular SCENARIO you find yourself in. And you, following your pre-established directive, are honestly making attempts at difusing the situation. Then this is more like an emotional AMBUSH. Remember if this person is talking and not attacking you physically there is still opportunity to get them to walk.

If when you are confronted with a situation like this you remain in the PRESENT, your ego will find it hard to get in the way. Analize your antagonist's words and actions as an observer. Is he calming down? Is he more agitated? Do I see pre contact cues?

If you consider the above and practice applying it you will find that WIN and LOSE are ego words that move you out of the PRESENT. You either WILL WIN OR LOSE in the FUTURE or HAVE WON OR LOST in the PAST.

When faced with your scenario if you stay in the PRESENT then whatever is happening just HAPPENS.

Having a very clear directive( that allows you to walk away or kill and every level of force in between) and truly embracing it will go a long way to resolve a lot of this internal conflict also.

Hope this helps!

Tony Torres
Virginia Beach,VA

Lorenzo , Thanx for clarifying . What you're saying hits home , my friend . The lack of closure no matter the way things were handled , or the outcome ... what I found can ease the ego , and help closure is 'assertiveness' . Applying a clean , clear approach to your dealings with others . Being articulate , after all your words and thoughts will manifest themselves in action , so if your intent in pure , you will not second guess your actions . They will simply feel 'righteous' , and the results will be appropriate and clear . That sounds sappy , but hey , it's 4:21 AM !Cheers , Var

Lorenzo ,

3 D's : Detect , diffuse and Defend .

None of these work unless you have PRESENCE .( I am completely confident that Tony's material , once absorbed and worked thru , will work 100% of the time IF we have 'presence' !) Follow your intuition and recognize the threat . Then enter a diffuse stage , but don't be myopic on the verbal . Start to shift your focus from what he's saying to his body language and the pre-incident indicators .

Use this time also , as you mentioned , to 'visualize' . To do so is tactically sound as it does not preclude that the diffuse will be successful . Remembering your wish-list , start to focus on targets and weapons and eventually 'physical dominance' . Dominance is not about ego , so much as it is about survival , especially in a multi-assailant scenario .

Just remember not to tunnel in on your 'dominance' ; remember to re-initialize the 3-D's again and again as threats arise and are dispatched ...

Just my thoughts ,


PS : As far as real 'ego' goes , I'm a 'lil early in my evolution yet to have an honest dicussion on that ... so I'll leave it to the big guys here , who have a handle on it ! *G*

"I meant in my first post that after some confrontations sometimes the defuse doesn't hold closure for me..."

Very introspective.

The simplicity of it all is that success at any stage of the THREE D's should = a WIN.

Embrace WIN as W.I.N. the acronym [Lou Holtz]= WHATS IMPORTANT NOW.

Heres the formula for greater safety:

GPS+ = -A + -D + -V

Greater Personal Safety is the result of less anxiety + less doubt + less violence. [GPS is our new orientation acronym.]

If you follow a directive that embraces avoidence in a creative way then youre one step a head of the game.

If your defintion of the 'win' involves the need to 'overtly' dominate, then the 'ego' or an erroneous belief system is running part of the show...and that's a problem.

You may want to honestly work through the Cycle of Behavior [COB]using actual conflicts youve had that were resolved [by another's standards] but still left issues with you. This could prove cathartic if you discover that in the fear loop some of the wires were crossed or that the 'expectations' did not gel with the directive or GAR principle.

I'm giving you formulae to help you with structure, zen maxims and philosophy are great, when they force the realization, I surmise that you need to 'see' it with your own eyes, so work the COB and see what that turns up.

And after all is said and done, closure is the result of 'realistic expectations' meeting 'realistic results'.

If you thought the asshole in the street was going to throw you a party after you reprimanded him for road rage...well, you will not have closure on that.

Meditiate on that and on this:

1. If you thought that hitting would be more gratifying then talking then, likely, you WERENT in a real fight [its always easier to fantasize about what we coulda/shoulda/woulda done when we didnt have to...

2. When avoidence isnt enough, words come into to play, when words arent enough fists come into play, when those are not even enough, likely awareness [pre-avoidence radar] wasnt in play.

3. Desirable/Less Desirable. Sometimes SHIT HAPPENS. And when you step in shit it still stinks even when youre washing your shoe. It still stinks while youre looking for grass to wipe your foot on. It still stinks cause likely you are late for whatever you were walking to. Stepping in shit always sucks. All it is - on a metaphoric level - is a demonstration of how you apply our GOLDEN RULES:

1. Acceptance.

2. Get Challenged

3. DOnt stop thinking

If a day later youre still wondering, worrying, fretting over the SHIT from the day before then you need to not redefine the win but redefine confidence.

Food for thought.

Great posts by all. This IS the Mental Edge!


Great comments guys.

Donvito, I also was told something by a wise man.
" In a real street fight no one wins.
Even if you win, you lose and if you lose you lose".

Tony Torres put it well you must have that directive that allows you to do "whatever" it takes and is appropriate which causes the least amount of violence or damage to your opponent and yourself to resolve the issue at hand.

winning or losing is an "ego" based thought process.
Survival is not a choice or a win or lose proposition, it is the ONLY acceptable option in a real street confrontation. The level to which it must rise is dicated by your opponent.

Thanks for the opportunity to respond.
Stay Safe


I really think you have hit upon something important here with regards to the ego and expanding our definition of self defense/personal protection.

I think that it still comes down to F.E.A.R...

Fear of 'looking bad' of 'not being man enough' of 'being a wimp', etc. At some pint we need to define this F.E.A.R. and see exactly who it is that is calling us those names.

Could it be the fragile Ego, demanding satisfaction?

One of the reasons I became involved with Tony's PDR program is that I wanted to develope 'true confidence'. This means learning to except mistakes as part of learning. To evaluate instead of judge. To be challenged instead of threatened. To face my F.E.A.R. and expand as a human being.

I am sure you recognize all the terms from the above paragraph from Tony's lectures and PDR Manual. We all have the opportunity to redefine winning and progress not just as warriors but as human beings.

Of course, there will be times when we visualize inappropriate scenarios. But I think that we are all 'perfectly imperfect'.

And like Brandon Lee said, "For what level of imperfection will you settle?"

Keeping the Ego in check is critical. So is having a directive. So is training holistically.

I am anxiously awaitng another lesson from Tony after he read our responses.

Thank you Lorenzo for such a thought provoking thread.