I recently suffered a "verbal" (written) attack, on another group's forum a few days ago. I am unsure as to why, or what the man's agenda is, but it was both disturbing, insulting, and unprofessional in the extreme, to say the least.

This guy is a seemingly respected black belt in an art I don't study, and operates a very small program in another town in Vermont. For a short time, I ran some BJJ classes out of the same facility he uses, and was gearing up for a sizable group of women who had expressed interest in the PDR training. Ultimately, I chose to give up the classes, however, due to my elbow surgery, the inconvenience of the distance involved in getting there, and that all too common Vermont cry of "I want to train, but I can't really afford it." (Usually said right after a trip to the local shopping center). In the end, I decided to focus on my school here in Lyndonville, instead.

Anyway, this guy is now bad-mouthing me, saying that I was trying to undermine the entire organization that he belongs to, and is spewing out more lies than a politician does on the day before elections!! I had a hearty laugh when he commented that I had left before he had to awaken his "inner beast." Nearly as hard as I laughed when he spoke of one of his students calling our BJJ class "lame" after attending a single session - a session in which this "advanced" student was unable to escape a beginner's level holddown on the ground. Perhaps the student's ego was hurt, and he told falsehoods to his instructor, to make himself feel better. Perhaps his instructor felt threatened that an instructor with far more extensive qualifications than himself had "intruded" into his area (some people are very possessive like that). I have a strong suspicion, based on this man's other comments, that perhaps I am simply the "instrument" by which he is protesting his organization's recent interest in Tony Blauer's PDR and SPEAR programs. He seems adamantly opposed to incorporating any outside training within his current curriculum, and seems to point a finger at me as the reason for his hostility. I think perhaps he is a fanatically-traditional martial artist whose mind is simply closed to the idea that the world changes, things evolve, and better ways are discovered. At this point, I am not sure, nor do I really even care.

I wanted to share this with you for a couple of reasons, though.
First off, I wanted to show that conflict does not always take the form of a physical altercation. In my experience, situations like these are actually far more common. Yet, without a single blow being struck physically - they can often take us off-guard as suredly as the most viscious of sucker-punches ever could. The lesson here, of course, is to not FEAR it, not succumb to ANGER over it - but to simply take it in stride, deflect it, analyze it, and then allow it to pass. I was pleased to see that his associates chimed in to chastise him for his libelous statements, and my "readiness quotient" will now be on full alert in any future dealings I have with this individual and his group.

Secondly, I wanted to point out something I have witnessed time and time again. It is something I have seen happen to both Tony Blauer and Roy Harris - my primary instructors - time and time again. It seems that as a person reaches a certain level of success and respect, there are those out there who are so jealous over that success, and so insecure about themselves, that they have nothing better to do than try to undermine the successful person in order to feel some degree of control or power. It is a pathetically sad example of human behavior, yet I'm sure you can all think of someone you know who acts in this manner on some level. The importance of this, is that we understand that not everyone in the world WANTS us to succeed, and that there may be times when even little things we take pride in may create an unsuspecting conflict with someone else. Again, this all just comes back to awareness and confrontation management, two things that are fundamental pillars within Tony Blauer's Personal Defense Readiness system. Whether the attack is directly against ourselves, or against an associate, it is important to not get too bogged down emotionally in the details, as it is a fight that is often impossible to win - especially when the "war" is waged via a keyboard and the internet.

Train hard, and be safe.

Adam LaClair