ON Cool Guy Shit....

I love to go to new classes.

I am not going to even try to act like I know everything. In fact, I will make it a point to leave my biases and opinions at the door when I am in a class with another instructor.

I take it all in, If I don't think that the information is good or the techniques or stuff he is teaching is outdated or wrong, the LAST thing I will ever do is argue about it. I am definitely not going to put an instructor on blast and try to think that I know what the hell I am talking about more then he does.

So I take in everything I am getting from every instructor I can.

And I take the stuff that I think is useful and pass it on.

And if I find stuff that is not, I just dump it.

But the key is to determine what is actually useful and what is not. And that can be a damn hard lesson.

Sometimes this non-useful but time consuming and awesome looking "Cool Guy Shit" is easy to spot....

When I was coming up, for example, I learned a technique called a "Basic Block".

Somebody throws a straight punch at you, you step to the outside of his arm, put your hands up and basically karate chop at his wrist and elbow. Then you pause, while he stands there with his fist in the air out in front of him like an idiot and go into some awesome wrist lock technique. This is generally stupid. I have never seen it work real world in any type of fight. Hell to be perfectly honest, I have never seen it attempt to be USED in any type of real fight.

But that is what I was taught.


But even my young, lily white, non fighting, punk ass knew that one was bullshit.

But there were other techniques that I learned that I thought were going to work great.

Pressure points, as an example.

The first time I had somebody shove their thumb behind my jaw line and under my ear I went "OW! What the Hell! That crap hurt like crazy!"

I learned how to do it. I worked at it. I wanted to do it as soon as I got the chance.

A few years later my chance came.

Ground fight, bad guy laying on his belly, holding his hands under him with stuff in his hands in the center of his chest. Officers all around giving verbal commands. Trying to get his arms out from underneath him by pulling on them. His arms that looked like a professional wrestlers, covered in black prison tattoos,

My brain went to "Pressure point! That will fix him!"

I Shoved my thumb behind his jaw where it met his ear and pushed.

Nothing. Not a goddamned thing. No reaction at all, just a ball of resistance, still holding his arms and now trying to push us all off of him with those body-builder level arms, his lower half starting to get his knees under him.


Push HARDER! TAKE YOUR other hand and push into the point under his other ear! I reached my other had around and got to the other side of the head. I shoved both thumbs in HARD as hell, I swear I was up the knuckle of my thumb joints on both sides, as he continued to try to push up.

Guess what, still nothing. Not a goddamned thing.


Do you know what I did?

I just kept doing what I was doing. Because it had worked on me, the typical suburban chubby white kid who's only non-work related fight to that point was with a kid in the seventh grade that I punched in the cheek and got two detentions for and cried about later.

It had worked in a training environment when I had it done to me. The only thing I was interested in at the time was seeing how bad it hurt and thinking how cool it was that there was the equivalent of a quasi Vulcan death grip that I could master and stop a fight instantly.

Bad Guy, on the other hand, didn't want to give up until he had swallowed the stuff that he had in his hands. He was a body building convict who worked out every day and grew up fighting, way harder then this, for way less reason. He had been exposed to violence, injury and death more times then I had dreamed of let alone seen first hand.

My heroes were on the silver screen, my dad (who was a trucking executive and drove a K-car) and my 3rd grade teacher who was into poetry. His heroes where his crazy uncle Larry who killed a hobo with a hammer for disrespecting him and his uncle Javon who shot five dudes before they finally got him. They were pen pals now.

He was BETTER at this then me.

And I had got taught my first technique that was verified "Cool Guy Shit."

It worked great in a training room, it made my instructor look like a ninja master, it worked on me amazingly well.

But this dude did not get that memo, he was too busy having his drunken mom's boyfriend point a 9mm at him when he was 12. He wasn't a big Star Trek fan, I doubt he knew what a fucking Vulcan was.

I give you this story so that you realize that some of the stuff you know, some of the gear you have, may be Cool Guy Shit.

It looks awesome on Instagram.

It looks and works awesome in competition with rules and nothing but good guys around.

When it is taught it makes the instructor look like a cool guy.

But the guy you go up against, the guy who has a whole separate mindset, the guy I was fighting with, didn't get that memo.

So what do we do?

Focus on stuff that WORKS based on reality. Then try it under pressure to test it.

Focus on training that is from guys with exposure to the violence you are likely to encounter. The ones who have been there know Cool Guy Shit when they see it.

KEEP IT SIMPLE. Nothing fancy, ever. If you cant "get it" quickly without a bunch of practice, or you don't know why you are doing it, dump it.

So if you are wondering on how this little story turned out, more guys showed up we dog piled him and eventually just wore him down. After what seemed like forever, we got him to give up his hands. He was cuffed. I was still digging my thumbs into him like a fucking idiot until he gave up. It still had no effect on him.

I have that technique down. I never used it again. I still even teach it, but I tell all the students this story. And I add a talk about Cool Guy Shit.

Take an honest look at your skills and gear, often.

Are you full of Cool Guy Shit?

Ignore this at your own peril.