December 19, 2012

"The Ethical Warrior"

The new book by Jack Hoban
Full disclosure: I know Jack Hoban; known him for many years and am now privileged to work with him and the many other gifted colleagues at Resolution Group International (RGI).

I’ve also trained with Jack in martial arts - he’s arguably one of the best in the world. His background and experiences are of the (very) few, certainly not the many: US Marine Corps officer, MBA, successful businessman/owner, father, husband, president of RGI, and a sought-after speaker and leader for many within LE and military communities including the NYPD. And to boot, he’s a “Subject Matter Expert” for the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program, which takes him regularly to Camp Quantico, Virginia, to train active-duty Marines.  
All this stems from his mentorship under two men: A diplomat sage, who may have just figured out the meaning of life, and Japan’s last living Ninja. Yeah, Jack Hoban is that guy. Jack is also a mentor of mine. The reason is in this book.

“The Ethical Warrior” is the culmination of decades of hard-learning and moral failures by a stubborn young Marine trained to kill and judge others with contempt. It is the story of transformation and more importantly the exquisite activation of an “ethical warrior.” The work is both autobiographical and how-to guide; an instruction in “anti-intuitive” thinking to reach the “common sense,” so desperately needed in this age.

There is renewed focus on ethics within law enforcement and the military - keenly aware a ‘win the people’ philosophy is crucial, whether in the United States or around the world. Jack’s message is simple: Save lives - all lives - innocent, professional, and even perpetrator, if tactically possible.
To do this Jack’s developed a keen understanding of nothing less than the profound: A simple, practical theory of human nature providing directions to resolve individual conflict - even war, respect the equality of our fellow person, improve cross-cultural relations, reject dehumanization, and articulate a fundamental recipe for human happiness.

He examines becoming your best person, the root causes of conflict, and how to be certain personal values are, in fact, “valuable.” He also uncovers humanity’s core values and submits the possibility of the existence of a universal value - one so compelling it can qualify and adjudicate every other competing personal, societal value. Jack’s theory may also serve to better protect from the psycho-spiritual damage that occurs in having to contend with violence, and there is great hope it may even lower rates of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and suicide.

When our role within the human condition is clarified, we make ourselves aware of the natural rights and duties that exist toward each other, and can voluntarily choose to place ourselves at greater risk – spiritually, emotionally, and in some cases, even physically - to protect and defend the welfare and lives of those around us. But in order to do so, we need direction, instruction, and a guide, who knows the way.
As far as I'm concerned, "self-reliance" never goes out of style. By reading the book, we can grant activation of our own Ethical Warrior to be the guide for ourselves and others.


December 17, 2012

In the Wake of Tragedy, Train

This post was originally written and posted 12/17/12 after the Sandy Hook massacre, but it is apropos after what happened in Orlando this past weekend. 

How do I deal with gut-wrenching tragedies? Like the horrors of a Sandy Hook? I train.

I drag my questions, my doubts, and fears - specific and non - into the dojo and compound them, let them gang up on me, and even sometimes, let them win. Because in dissecting their victory, I can best plot a trajectory for their defeat.

Last Friday night, the echo of the massacre still loud, we addressed it, talked about it, trained about it. We broke out the Red Guns and worked through various scenarios using the Sanshin, the Kihon, and henka in our armed and unarmed answers. Most importantly, we group-trained to protect and defend others. 

Placing partners in seemingly no-win situations, we crafted viable options for their escape and defense. Bear in mind, when attempting to save someone else, do not count on them to assist - chances are they'll be too traumatized to do much. They may even unwittingly give you away in the process, so in the approach to disarm, one may need to conceal themselves not just from aggressor, but also the victim.

Could we reconcile the crime? Of course not. Some evil cannot be resolved as any tailored answer presupposes the initial question is somehow reasonably answerable. But this highlights the paradox of training itself: memorizing specific answers to questions, like techniques, is not useful when the nature of the question is to continually change. We must instead learn to shape the questions themselves to apply the answers our ability is most able to provide.

So, don't just contemplate horror; that brutal stripping of life often leaves us confounded and inert.

Do something. 

Give your thoughts to the physical: train and teach others to train to protect and defend life.


The post below is non-political and contains no direct solutions, but grants the gift of perspective on such an awful topic: