Warrior Athlete Philosopher

World-Class Martial Arts with Joseph Simonet and Addy Hernandez.

The Reconciliation of Life and Death

sifu life death
The other day, I was playing at the park with my little boy Joey, and I saw a gentleman sitting in the sun reading what appeared to be a very interesting book on philosophy. I approached him and inquired about the material in which he was so studiously engaged. We struck up a conversation and I learned that the man was 85 years old, still seeming to be fully active and immersed in what brings him life and stimulation. A few weeks previous, I was having coffee with my neighbor who is 75 years old, a retired engineer, accomplished physicist and no less a family man. He confided in me that he could die tomorrow and be completely happy and content with what he had actualized in his life. These two encounters made me wonder increasingly about how I myself can achieve that level of acceptance, peace and vitality even when the longevity of my life is not assured. When I consider my goals and dreams, I am comforted by the idea that I likely have a few more decades in which I can realize my life’s potential and enjoy the comfort of my loved ones and treasured interests. But what concerns me is the inevitable point at which I can no longer gaze into the future with assuredness–when I am unable to rely upon the supply of years that are incumbent upon me. I wonder how I will reconcile my own death and will I ever reach the point where I no longer fear death but welcome its embrace?
This is a question that we all must face, and for this reason I share this struggle with my readers. Death is one of the few arenas in which all people have complete mutuality, and yet it is something that most of us in American culture avoid discussing or pondering. Overcoming the fear that accompanies uncertainty is an endeavor that we all must face. Yet so often, if one spends undue time thinking and conversing about death, he is labeled as “morbid” or “macabre”. How can we come to terms with the end of life if we don’t explore it with open-minded curiosity and fluid discussion?
One of the reasons why many of us fear death is because we know so little about the process. Even near death experiences are disputed by science as being the byproduct of chemical mechanisms, so we dismiss any spiritual meaning imparted by people who have come close to the abyss. Pursuant to our lack of empirical acumen on the topic, we often react to death with angst and unease, which is routine for humans throughout history. Just like in the 1400’s when most sailors wouldn’t venture past the known map for fear that the world would end in a cliff or an incursion of sea monsters would flounder their ship, so too is death terrifying partly because it is the great unknown.
The psychological process of dying is somewhat better understood. Erik Erickson describes phases of life ending in death, which to him involves negotiating Ego Integrity vs. Despair. Essentially, during our final years, a person slows down in productivity, comes to terms with what has been achieved and what will never be achieved, and is able to see life as well-lived even in the absence of the promise of future years. Erikson contends that if a person enters this phase of living with guilt and disappointment, then despair results. However, if a person achieves wisdom, a sense of acceptance and an embracing of life’s course and events, then a person has ego integrity without fear. This philosophy leads me to conclude that to reconcile death means reconciling life.
The question is, what is the process of this reconciliation and how do we pursue it with intentionality? Although I don’t fully know the answer to this question, I do know that it is never too early to start the journey of coming to terms with one’s mortality. The assurance of longevity is an illusion for all of us, and at any point our forthcoming timeline can be abruptly halted. We also need to consider the beliefs and perspectives that either expedite our stunt our acceptance of death. Many of us rely upon religious and spiritual beliefs to reassure ourselves that the soul is eternal. Nevertheless, no one believes in life everlasting, at least in the terrestrial sense that is the composite of all we know. No matter what we envision waits for us on the other side (or whether another side exists at all), death certainly means a complete redefining of one’s existence. In my experience, people naturally fear change and we most fear that which is unknown–death is both.
Perhaps the embracing of death means being more grateful for what one has and pining less after what one could have. It means letting go of the “somedays” and living in the now. It means seeing every day as a gift filled with opportunity and wonder, bypassing the frustrations, drudgery and resistances that prevent us from grasping our moments wholeheartedly. We must be honest with ourselves that more time is often not what is required to live well–what is required is more intentionality with which one lives. Only when we can reconcile the means by which life can be best lived is reconciling death a possibility. Coming to terms with life and letting go of all that blocks genuine living, to me, is the means by which we come to terms with all that living really means. Life is a fleeting and transient endowment that is too precious to give over to the caustic forces that erode living. In my journey, I realize with irony, that acceptance of death happens only when I can, agilely and willfully, prevent that which degrades my pursuit of meaningful and aligned living. From the cradle to the grave, life is but a succession of breaths. Be present and jealously defend each breath, and death will be reconciled with limber requital.

Bridging The Gap Between Aspiration and Actualization

Sifu Krukri
If you know many kids, you also know many would-be scientists, rock stars, screen-guild actors, inventors, presidents and superheroes. The majority of people age 10 and younger have supreme aspirations and dreams of greatness that seem borne of action movies and fairytales. After all, dreaming is fun, it is experiential and a welcome divergence from the confines of everyday reality. As the ego forms, we are naturally beckoned and captivated by the fantasy stories in which we all play a starring role. Who among us has not wanted to save the world or go down in the annals of history? The self-concept that is free from the parameters of finite capacity and resource is able to frolic in the joy of aggrandizement. Nonetheless, the youthful mind can only stave off the inevitable clash between the shadows of personality and objective reality for so long, and we all eventually must reconcile aspiration with actualization. From my standpoint, aspiration is what one values independent of commitment or effort. Actualization, on the other hand, involves the true mobilization of ability, means, effort and perseverance toward a desired end. Although the vast majority of us start out with big dreams, those visions often fail to translate into the intentional immersion that results in realizing one’s hopes, which is why the world is not overrun with prodigy. Slowly but surely, most of us can’t sustain the effective and focused effort that is the path to greatness.
How sad it is, this losing of youth’s lustrous ideals, our insidious gravitation toward mediocrity that so marks maturation. I believe further examination can propel us more toward our potential, however. In my view, we must learn to more jealously and carefully guard against the caustic forces that erode our dreams. In order to do that, we have to understand what we battle against in our journey. To me, the most significant barrier to self-actualization is, ironically, the need to be right. We seek confirmation, reinforcement, propagation and validation of things that align with our existing view of reality. The pre-set ways in which we perceive the world become an anchor on natural curiosity and therefore staunch the acquisition of new understanding. It is only through seeking out creative and challenging paradigms that we grow, and when we stop growing, we arrest the pathway to greatness.
I often implore people to embrace the spirit of the white belt. This is not because of my intolerance of experts or superiority, it is because as a teacher, I am nurtured by the pursuit of higher levels of achievement in my students. These advances can only happen if one is willing to take the stance of “not knowing”. Just like climbing a ladder, the next rung cannot be reached until the grip on the previous rung is released. In this fashion, we must let go of expertise as soon as it is gained, and once again restore a position of open-minded discovery and learning anew in order to flourish in true wisdom.
In our pursuit of self-advancement, we concentrate our efforts and focus on the building of skill and potential, and thereby may be conquered by the forces that stealthily erode what we build. Undoubtedly you yourself are the harbinger of your own success, but may you also be the vessel of your own demise? In quantum physics, certain particles are capable of getting in their own way–and I believe people, too, have the capacity to be the impediment of their own progress. Every personality has both constructive and destructive forces, and the great man is one who is as vigilant about what propagates him as he defends against what erodes him. For instance, we choose to surround ourselves by people who invite us away from ascension, we give energy to frustrations, conflicts and lax activities that don’t matter, or we marinade in self-doubt. Just like a yin yang, the darkness and light reside and coalesce within every individual, and the pursuit of excellence requires constant self-discipline, to repel that which annuls our prosperity.
The question is, do you understand the ways that you hold yourself back, the ways that you counteract your ambitions, and do you continuously work to keep those impulses in check? If not, you have probably already succumbed to an abbreviated and circumscribed version of your greatest self. Take a moment to reflect on the aspirations of your earliest years. I implore you to please, with honesty, consider whether the child inside you would feel disappointed by the adult you have become. For many of us, the answer is “yes”, but as a teacher, I am a stalwart believer in the enduring strength of the human spirit at any age. I have had pupils who are in their 80’s. I have had the uplifting joy of working with people who never stop learning and ceaselessly persist in self-improvement. With conscientious and intentional life navigation, I believe it is never too late to engineer your potential and bridge the gap between aspiration and actualization.

Tempering the Illusion of Expertise

Sifu knife Darkness
By Sifu Joseph Simonet
We need only look at the rapid advancement of knife technology and innovation to see that there is a demand for better, more efficient and effective weapons. In answer to this continuing call for inventive hardware, companies like Spyderco, Cold Steel, Emerson, Benchmade, Gerber, Ka-Bar, Kershaw and SOG are all diligently competing for the attention of the increasingly tech-savvy consumer. Just like all circular causalities, the more these companies invent, the more we seek the latest and greatest contraptions, and the more we buy, the more they invent. After awhile, this cycle takes on a life of its own, and may in fact derail self-defense practitioners from focusing on a much more important element to their combat preparedness–the need to develop personal skill and movement mastery.
Upon reflection, we can see that all technology, no matter how impressive and efficient, is limited by the skills of the person wielding it. Let me be clear, I am in full support of any and all advancements that make knife and edged weaponry more user-friendly. However, let us not lose sight of the need to educate and train ourselves in the fighting arts. There is no replacement for a thorough understanding of movement and systems that is committed to muscle memory, able to be instinctively tapped into when an emergency unexpectedly arises.
Unfortunately, it is often in our nature to seek out the easiest and most convenient pathways to our goals. People want to have self-confidence and assuredness that a dangerous scenario can be handled with graceful bad-assery. However, many cannot sustain the time and effort it takes to humbly and steadfastly pursue learning martial arts skills. The dream of combat preparedness doesn’t die, but its outlet transforms away from training and learning and into mere material purchasing. I believe knife and gun manufacturers are not really selling technology, they are selling the illusion of expertise, but can expertise really be purchased? In the meantime, the consumer may be developing a false sense of self-assurance that could result in harmful outcomes if the cognitive and physical movement skills aren’t also developed in tandem. Wouldn’t it be better to have mastery of both from within and from without?
I implore my students and followers to not be satisfied with merely owning the latest gadget. Certainly there are very cool and impressive knives and guns available for purchase, but there can be no substituting the quality of personal development on a cognitive, physical and spiritual level. Being an eager student who is continuously learning is a characteristic that can never be supplanted by a nifty tool. Only when one finds a balance between material expertise and internal expertise is one able to honestly claim to be combat-ready. Think about your own goals as a martial artist or self-defense practitioner, and conscientiously consume and pursue that which will get you closer to your ideals. In my perspective, when we attempt to supplant self-development with the latest gadget, we create gaping holes where enlightenment and skill should be endlessly growing.
It is this mastery that I intend to teach with the launching of my new martial arts system, Extreme Defensive Tactics, starting this October. X-Dtac is a unifying methodology that simplifies and streamlines your self-defense movements into one easily learned and cogent system. There are multiple frames and ranges, but all draw upon the same core skill sets with multi-varied applications. This is a blending of the most essential elements from a vast array of traditional martial arts, which coalesces the strengths of each system and discards the excess. At Ki Fighting Concepts we rely on motor skills, muscle memory, and tool development based on probabilities, tapping into instinct and trusting intuition. Stay tuned for the launching of X-Dtac and in the meantime, be sure to invest at least as much in your learning as you do in your material acquisitions.

We Don’t Follow Trends, We Set Trends

0116141028
KI Fighting Concepts is more than a martial arts training source, more than a collection of fighting tools and teaching viewpoints. We pride ourselves on being the source of innovation in today’s martial arts world–a wellspring of creativity that pushes this field past it’s archaic status quo and away from the regurgitated and antiquated technologies of decades or perhaps centuries past. As in any field, our knowledge, no matter how steadfastly and diligently it is acquired, will ultimately stagnate without constant refining and “out of the box” thinking. Unless we embrace the mentality that expertise is an illusion and progressive learning is the only truth, we will ultimately become dinosaurs, doomed to extinction.

In my timeline, I have had frequent conflicted interfaces with some of the “masters” of various disciplines–not because I was resistant to training or disrespectful, but rather because I was resistant to knowing. Let me explain. Since childhood, I was always the student who questioned the dominant paradigms that were accepted by mainstream culture. Being a contrarian, I embraced curiosity over confirmation, sought creativity over acumen, and above all, I wanted to understand. This means I wanted my teachers to lead me in that process of discovery, but so often they were unable or unwilling to take on that role because it meant relinquishing the status of “expert” and embracing the status of student themselves. As much as I have always had the most profound deference toward anyone I learned from, I have been forced out of systems time and time again because there was an inherent frustrated collision between my path and the prevalent and popular course. Although these experiences were deeply painful at the time (and still mark my heart with scar tissue), I have learned to accept that these contentions are part and parcel to the course of innovation.
Trendsetting is a way of thinking, it is a lifestyle, never a final endpoint. Once the trend is “set”, then one stops being a trendsetter, as the trend is always evolving. As many of you have seen in our online library, the material we continuously produce spans decades and reflects a tenacious commitment to the genesis of novel and improved perspectives. I built my first wooden dummy in 1982, and in 1993 I created the Slam Set, which at that time consisted of 108 movements. To reflect my ongoing course of system improvement, the Slam Set currently contains 180 movements, and is endlessly developing. I knew when I created this system that it was about 90% complete and today I can say that it is…90% complete. Such is the process of unfolding refinement, and it will be 90% complete on the day I die. I ceaselessly take out that which is non-essential and add that which is more expedient. My process is reducing complexity, both simplifying and expanding the system simultaneously. That is ultimately the trend I want to set with KI Fighting Concepts–an interminable pursuit of that which is more essential, more concise and also more expansive at the same time. I call this “simplexity”.
The trend we set is not just in our systems of martial arts, it is also in the type of martial artist that we seek to cultivate. I want all my students to learn not just WHAT to think, but HOW to think. Leo Tolstoy writes in “War and Peace” about the broader systems that yield the outcomes of history. It is a common tendency to attribute the happenings of our world to individuals–great leaders, dictators and tyrants alike. However, when one adopts a more enlightened and macroscopic lens, we can see that events emerge due to systems, not individuals. As martial artists, we look at our achievements and ultimately our fighting capabilities as being the result of idiosyncratic characteristics, without considering the broader systems under which we operate. If these systems are flawed, outdated, ineffective or limited in scope, then the potency of any one pupil will be confined to those same parameters. Trendsetting means expanding the potential of the paradigms under which we operate. KI Fighting Concepts is a broadening and distilling force and we intend to both widen and streamline the latitude of the martial arts world, so that you can achieve maximum impact potential.
To date, we have over 400,000 people following our martial arts movement. By reading our blogs, watching our clips and engaging in peer discussions, you are hopefully expanding your horizons as a fighter and a thinker. However, to fully benefit from our philosophy and methodologies, you must immerse beyond the onlooking stage and become a fully-engaged student of our methods and methodologies. Sign up for the online library today so that you can attain the velocity worthy of your potential. Click here for more information on our KI Online Library.

The Enduring Flame of Innovation

SIFU KNIFE
When I was in High School I was an avid weightlifter, I trained in Martial Arts, I had a black Labrador named Rocky and my dream was to build a log cabin on 5 acres. Now I am 62 years old and I still lift weights, I am still training martial arts, I have a black Labrador named Rocky and I live on 5 acres and have an Earth berm home. I clearly knew what I valued as a teenager and I value the things I hold dearly to my heart. Although there have been ongoing changes in my life–children grown and raised, friends come and go, the swift transition of our technological and political world–there are some things that endure in perpetuity. I pride myself in my ability to hold onto what I value, to cultivate the rich soils of my creative, emotional and experiential world, and that process reveals the essence of my core self. I am curious if you do the same in your own life, steadfastly and patiently matriculating whatever brings you the most meaning.
Recently, my martial arts teaching career has rapidly changed not in the content or manner of my pedagogy, but rather in the opportunity to spread and proliferate my message to hundreds of thousands of people all over the world, through our online platform. Already, our martial arts library has subscribers in 25 states in the US and in over 23 countries, on every continent except Antarctica. Although I always knew that I would forever be a creator and instructor of martial arts systems, I never dreamed that I would have the opportunity to reach such a diversity of people, and for that I am humbly grateful.
As with everything I truly value in life, I am committed to the enduring propagation of our KI Fighting Concepts message for as long as I hold breath. We are in it for the long haul and we plan to continue building new content, new systems and innovative methodologies indefinitely. Our online library will be the everlasting platform upon which we present all of our new training material, and as we speak, our newest training video is being produced. However, the library is just the start, as our vision is to build an online empire for our students. For instance, we will be launching programs that enable you, our subscribers, to achieve rank and attend live seminars where you can test with me personally and earn your Black belt. I am also building a library exclusively for X-Dtac (Extreme Defensive Tactics). This is a system of my own creation that I have been developing for the past 8 years, and one that I believe to be the most efficient and effective fighting technology to date.
If you peruse our Facebook, you will find a wealth of information, clips, blogs, and training tips. All of this is provided to you, our viewers, free of charge, and we hope this material inspires you to learn more, train more, and develop your martial arts perspective. However, this content is not intended to be your sole learning modality. In order to successfully execute the movements we demonstrate in these clips, you will need much more depth and breadth, training guidance and practice. This is why it is so important for those who are serious about learning our material to actually sign up for the library, review these videos in their entirety, and steadfastly train these skills. Without the full picture of instruction, you will not be prepared to mimic or replicate these movements in a survival scenario. So please, make the commitment to meaningfully developing yourself into a martial artist who is capable and well-trained. We want to create trained fighters out of those who are currently only spectators and fans of martial arts, and in order to do that you have to take your training seriously and make the commitment to studying in the online library.
There are always going to be struggles in life. You have yours. I certainly have mine. What makes the difference is when you can find someone you want to struggle with. Learning martial arts is a struggle–if you are not struggling, you are not learning. In my experience, many people think they already know all they need to know, and are happy and secure in their own zone of expertise and comfort. However, I am fond of saying that I am doing my best work when everyone in the room is a little uncomfortable. That means we only truly grow and progress when we are pushed away from what we regularly do with assured self-confidence. Most fans who like us on Facebook conceive of themselves on some level as being martial artists, which is fantastic! However, to become a serious martial artist, you must embrace discomfort, reach for a higher state of learning, work your weaknesses, be humbled, give up premature accolades and embrace the spirit of the white belt. My hope is that those who value the fighting arts will push themselves to the next level–from fan to serious student, from a bystander seeking entertainment, to an actively training athlete who is steadfastly developing motor skills and muscle memory.
For myself, martial arts is one of the permanent fixtures of my life, and I want my teaching to become part of the enduring features of your life as well. Until my last gasping breath, I will be a creative and high level teacher of the fighting arts, this is what I do and it is who I am. We are what we experience–so who are you?

The High Price of Free

_MG_1066
Flawed teaching is like a disease, passed along from teacher to student—not dissimilar to how STDs are spread. This is why we entrust our teachers to provide us with clean instruction– to hold themselves to the highest standard of academic acumen, practice and structured methodology, so that students don’t inherit the toxins of inadequacy. Sadly though, many teachers are unable to overcome the appeal of placing ego, applause and adulation over the realistic and humble assessment of one’s own skill. In my experience, most people believe they are experts, they succumb to the need to be right, and they regurgitate everything they are taught. However, the self-proclaimed status of expertise is accompanied by an overwhelming impulse to introduce one’s own “style” and “design” to the traditional drill, and these nuances weaken and dilute the system.
Today I looked up 3 drills on YouTube, which were Hubud, Heaven 6 and Wooden Dummy. I was appalled at what I was viewing, and lamented that people just don’t know what they don’t know. I was watching a Hubud “expert” and I counted about 5 or 6 fatal flaws that would probably get you beaten up or perhaps killed if you performed like he did. Honestly, everyone is an absolute expert. This Hubud teacher was probably about 38 years old, and he had an impressive gym, however he was teaching utter nonsense. The Heaven 6 expert was about 30-35 years old and again his instruction was, from my perspective, all wrong. The last clip I saw was wooden dummy, and their channel had 300k plus subscribers. I was disgusted at what he was teaching, and this expert was about 30 years old. REALLY, that in itself is absurd.
I am poignantly aware that YouTube is a free and convenient medium of learning and entertainment, and this appeals to many students wishing to expand their training and prepare themselves for combat. But I implore you, dear reader, to constrict your YouTube viewing to cat videos and “epic fail” montages, as most of the content you receive is worth every cent it costs. There are no minimal qualifications for posted material—literally anyone can proclaim their adroit insight and start “instructing”. Don’t endanger and delude yourself into believing that the cheapest instruction is the best—I assure you it is not. Further, you will fight how you train. If you train broken methodologies, this will be reflected in your fighting. I sincerely hope that you never have to test what you learn on these channels, but again, we don’t train martial arts because we have a false sense of security. We train martial arts because we realistically face the likelihood that violent situations do emerge and we don’t want our safety to be left up to chance. If you are of this mindset, then do yourself a favor and find the most qualified instruction available, even if it costs you a few bucks.
Please understand, it is not my intent to bring other martial artists down. I gain no pleasure from pointing the finger or highlighting flaws in others. However, I place the well-being of my students and followers above the ego preservation of counterfeit teachers. Particularly because I believe many students cannot see the errors in these teachings. After all, their demonstrations look cool, they seem convincing, and unless you actually test it in a real-life attack, the ways in which it falls apart will not readily reveal themselves. Unfortunately, by the time you have the chance to really see the cracks in the system, you may already be dead. Just like a boat that you test out for the first time in the middle of the ocean, you don’t see the holes until you are sinking under the waves.
Frankly, it angers me that anyone would masquerade themselves as an expert in a field wherein erroneous technique can lead to fatal outcomes. In my view, this is not any different than someone doing surgery with a 1-year certified nursing assistant-level training. You just don’t do it because it’s unethical and wrong. Unfortunately, the field of martial arts has no consumer protection, but fortunately, smart people take these things into consideration and healthy skepticism when making life and death decisions. Please, do your homework and research before you train any martial arts system, online or otherwise. You will fight just like you train, so train the best methods and methodologies possible. If you are training a broken system from an underqualified teacher, by all means, stop, before you commit these ineffective movements to your muscle memory.
Our KI Fighting Concepts Online martial arts library is a lifetime compilation of my work in multiple systems, with 40 plus DVDs offering the highest quality training material. My wife, Miss Addy Hernandez, and I have 67 years of Martial arts training and 32 degrees of various Black Belt rankings. Our martial arts library has subscribers from dozens of countries all over the world, and I am deeply honored by the opportunity to reach students who have the integrity and perseverance to master the best systems. At only $9.95 per month, it’s as close to free as you can get, without the fatal flaws inherent in other instruction that is out there for the taking. Don’t march like a zombie toward the “free training” sign without stopping to consider what it might REALLY cost you.
To enroll the KI Fighting Concepts Online Library, please visit KI Online Martial Library

KI Online Martial Library – Now Live!


KI Online Martial Library is officially Live! Expert Martial Artist Sifu Joseph Simonet and Addy Hernandez have created a brand new training platform just for you!
Available immediately: 37 full-length DVD projects with training manual transcripts and time stamped table of contents for easy use and reference and Q&A forum. Plus NEW MONTHLY TRAINING! Subscribe here:KI Online Martial Library

Technology Finally Caught Up–Come Train With Us!

Screenshot (1)
I have spent decades building and creating martial arts systems, and I consider it to be an honor and a privilege to offer my training to students of all ages, ranks and abilities. However, I find myself frustrated at the limits of teaching one-on-one and group classes in a small community. I feel that KI Fighting Concepts curriculum has something to offer fighters and students all over the world, and yet it has been impossible for me to propagate my teaching the globe over–until now. I often have said that I am waiting for technology to catch up to me, and finally it has. For the first time ever, KI Fighting Concepts is now positioned to launch an online training course for those of you who are unable to come train with me personally.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with my body of work, I have created multiple systems of martial arts such as The Slam Set, Slam Set Evolutions, the Club Set, the Blade Set, Point/Counterpoint, Argument of Movement (Defend, Neutralize, Annihilate), the Skill Sets JKD, Extreme Combat Training, American Wing Chun Silat, 6 Seconds of Controlled Insanity…and I am poised to launch my new system that has been 8 years in the making, X-Dtac. The online library we are offering is a complete complication of all these works, and all my systems are derived by extracting essential elements from my 45 years of training in pre-eminent martial arts systems of the world, such as Kenpo Karate, Wing Chun Gung Fu, Pentjak Silat Serak, Tai Chi, Filipino weapons, Blade and Stick work.
I am aware that there has long been a need and a demand for a better system of training and we are heeding the call by offering this unique program. Many martial artists are looking for new, cutting edge martial arts information to grow their skills to the next level. Or perhaps you have never trained before but are looking to start your training, maybe you are confused about what resources are available. Often people are frustrated that there are no qualified or highly-skilled martial arts instructors in their geographic area, so they’re out of luck for training. Perhaps there is an instructor available, but he’s a prick or he’s not that good, he’s an egomaniac and thinks he knows everything. We frequently hear from instructors who are desperately seeking new material that can be taught in their own ongoing classes. Many prospective students are ready to commit to really pursue learning, but they find they can’t afford the monthly tuition at a gym. Maybe you don’t have time to get to the regularly-scheduled sessions but can’t afford hundreds of dollars per month for private lessons.
As a solution to this problem, we are offering a martial arts library 45-years in the making, a well full of knowledge that is affordable and can be conveniently accessed any time. We want to provide our audience with access to Hall of Fame practitioners with 67 years of experience, training multiple systems of martial arts and building their own systems. What if you had a mentor who is a career life coach to inspire you to stay committed and propel your training? What if this instruction and material were available from the convenience of your computer, tablet or smartphone?
With all these resources available, ultimately, you could move far beyond mere memorization of movements and techniques. Beyond regurgitation is understanding, wherein you no longer rely upon routinely executing movement, but actually can spontaneously incorporate your training into your muscle memory and ongoing perception. I want all my students to get to a level of understanding so profound, that they actually become capable of building and executing their own system, tailor-made that works for their own body and personal needs.
Let’s face it, most people who study martial arts don’t sustain it. They fail because they either have no system, or the system they are following is antiquated and based on things that don’t really work, it’s cluttered, it’s confusing, and ultimately it’s discouraging to find the instruction and systems falling short of their expectations. Sometimes people fail because their teachers teach them WHAT to think but they don’t teach HOW to think. They sometimes simply run out quality material to learn. They have instructors who are more interested in feeding their egos than actually giving their students what they need to succeed. They have no access to a leader, a mentor, someone who has the credentials and has actually put in the time to develop a good system. Most martial arts experts are broke, broken, fat, self-medicating, cynical, they are teaching antiquated systems of martial technologies. It’s hard to be very motivated to follow someone like that, and adhering to techniques that wouldn’t stand up to a life and death situation is, frankly, just silly.
I too have felt frustrated and discouraged in my training. In 1970, I went to a martial arts school in Eugene OR, I saw the instructor, he was ex-military, he had huge hands and he was a real man. I decided then and there that I wanted to be like him. So I began pursuing my first black belt, thinking that achieving that rank would make me finally feel strong, capable and self-confident. Sadly, when I was awarded my black belt, I felt incomplete, inadequate and still unable to really protect myself. From there I pursued multiple black belts, only to realize that every system I trained was flawed and there was always something missing. I realize now that traditional martial arts focus on memorization, but memorization without understanding will ultimately cause one to fall short. I always wanted to understand and I spent the next several decades of my life extracting the essential elements out of the systems I had mastered, so that I could pursue understanding. That understanding became a platform upon which I was able to create my own systems. Creation is the highest level of comprehension and I feel it is my responsibility to help others achieve this level, to save those I teach the decades of learning superfluous movements and unnecessary techniques that don’t work in the real world- fighting scenario. If I can save you this time, focus, training and energy, you will be able to reach for the highest level of martial arts mastery.
Real martial artists embrace the spirit of the white belt at every level of learning. I never wanted to be right, I always wanted to understand–that is the mindset of a winner. When winners are in doubt they TRAIN!! They don’t quit, they don’t whine, they don’t hold on to being right–instead, they roll with the punches, learn from mistakes, and realign to the pursuit of excellence.
Let me explain what we are offering. The KI Fighting Concepts Martial Library holds 37 full-length training DVDs produced by KI Fighting Concepts, and each DVD comes with its own transcript manual not available anywhere else. You will have immediate and unlimited access to this body of work 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. You will have exclusive access to a Q and A forum, hosted personally by myself and Addy Hernandez. We will answer as many questions as possible per month, and you will be able to collaborate with your fellow students from all over the world. We will have one lesson of new content produced by myself and Addy with new systems, demonstrations and conceptual paradigms every month. This will be never before seen material.
The material we offer is so dense in its conceptual analysis and application, that you need to break it down and practice it with perseverance and patience. Real masters don’t just get information and think they know it, like 2-dimensional thinkers do–they recognize that it takes experience and time to gain understanding wisdom in 4-dimensional way. If you really want to extract the full benefit of what we are offering you, you need to sustain it! The Q & A forum gives you a chance to discuss in-depth and detail the concepts you are learning, and in order to really master a martial art, you need ongoing dialogue with fellow students and your instructor. If you are going to pursue martial arts training, you owe it to yourself to open up every resource and avenue for growth, and we have it in our martial arts training library. In the past year, Addy and I have been thrilled to see the positive response we have received from our rapidly-growing number of followers. As a thank-you, we want to make a training system that average people with busy lives and experienced martial practitioners alike can conveniently make use of, without having to come train with me personally. AVAILABLE NOW: KI Online Martial Library

Sincerely,
Sifu Joseph

I Don’t Guess

IMG_0685 (2)
When it comes to Martial Arts or life itself, I really do not guess. I trust the machine which I have been building for decades. You have been hearing me say that 86 percent of people are right-handed. During an altercation, if your assailant has his left foot forward and is agitated, he will probably hit with a huge right hand blow. I then would proceed with a Supported Elbow Frame, move in as is safe for me and elbow his temple. Perhaps he has a wrestling background and is giving away his options, as all he really wants to do is shoot on me with a single leg takedown, fine, let him shoot. From the Slam Set I would simply jam his head back with double palms, perhaps following up with thumbs to the eyes or perhaps a knee. I am completely spontaneous when confronted with an attacker. I am not clairvoyant–I just pay attention. I certainly do not have mystic abilities, I am acutely aware of my distance between my attacker and myself. A heightened sense of awareness comes over me as I am tapping into instinct and trusting intuition as these are the qualities of properly trained martial artists. As I have expressed before, most martial artists in there 50’s and 60’s (I will be 62 in June) are either broke, or broken, fat, cynical, or medicating themselves with booze and pot or whatever. Alternatively, perhaps they are teaching antiquated martial systems just to make a buck, and that orientation could get you, the student, hurt or even killed. Creativity is the highest level of understanding. Honestly, I certainly do not aspire to adopt any of the previously mentioned states of being. I never want to be right; I just want to understand more.
Believe it or not, I am quite cautious with my body, both in how I train and what I put into my body. For instance, I hike my hills 3-4 times per week as I am strengthening my legs and working my cardiovascular wellbeing. I lift weights several times a week as I am seeking vitality and creating a balance with my life. I am constantly working on sustaining flexibility from my hips to my shoulders, legs and core. Although purchasing organic foods is a bit expensive, my wife Addy and I are adding more and more organic foods all the time. I read that every 7 years your body regenerates every cell within its vast system. It occurs to me that eating the healthiest foods (organic fruits and vegetables, lean meats) would aid in that process.
At KI Fighting Concepts, we are not a traditional school, an MMA school or a Reality-Based school. At KI Fighting we are all three. Everything I build is a derivation of traditional arts. Every aspect of our stand-up fighting arts we can take to the ground with a high probability of success, and we also train blade, stick, gun arts and improvised weapons. As I said in the first sentence, I do not guess. I believe in the old adage that chance favors the prepared mind. Pay attention to how and what you train. Pay attention to what you put into your body, after all, your body is your temple. If you are fat, lose weight. If you are a drunk, get sober. If you are cynical, appreciate all that you have and love. If you are teaching antiquated martial technologies, challenge your ego to embrace and learn new ideas and constructs. Life is a precious gift, and you owe it to yourself and the ones you love to not squander it through lack of discipline or misaligned mindsets. I have learned many things in my life, and many things I have learned the hard way. I too have been fat, drunk, and cynical and have taught bullshit technologies. I am not that now. I indeed have learned many things in my life and many things of which I have had to unlearn. Through trial and error, I have learned to let go of needing to be right, and seek understanding instead. This perspective has served me well, and I believe it can serve you well too. In every stage of your timeline and new moment you face, always embrace the spirit of the white belt!
By Sifu Joseph Simonet

A Walk with My Selves

A My Selves
By Sifu Joseph Simonet
In my adult life, I have always lived in extraordinary and beautiful settings. I once resided on the banks of a woodland river, in a stone cottage surrounded by several hundred-year-old cedar trees. Every morning I would walk along the waterway, listening to the voices in the current and immersed in the wind sifting through the rocks and woods around me. I have lived on the shores of the Puget Sound on Vashon Island. We had a stretch of beach immediately in front of our home, as I spent countless hours curiously seeking whatever interested me particularly crabs and sea life. For the past quarter century, I have dwelled in the snow-capped peaks above lake Chelan, surrounded by the majesty of the mountain ranges that ensconce the sparkling waters below. We have a very unusual dwelling as it is an Earth Berm home as there are wildflowers blossoming on my sod roof this time of year. As is my custom, every day I hike along the trails of this serene and somewhat challenging landscape. I find solace and illumination from my environment, I value the quality of my separate sphere in the world, and in every spare moment I take time to be physically present, intellectually engaged and emotionally immersed as is my way of being.
Over the many years of my life, as I walk, I contemplate my selves. Most of us think of self as a singularity residing in the present, but that view is but a spoke of the wheel in which to confine something so vast. After all, how long does the present actually last? The “now” is a fraction of a moment–most of our real essence actually resides in the past or the future. How can we trap all that we are and all that we will be into a mere breath and moment in time? I view myself as no exception, so I endeavor to assimilate the selves of the past and the selves of the future into my ever changing timeline. My personality, and I believe yours too, exists and is defined by timeline, by the phases of life and experience that we encounter. I clearly can remember back to how I was in every stage of my life. Sometimes when I hike at the Wind and Rock training facility, I have several Josephs, Joeys and Joes, who walk with me and I recognize that those people make up who I am and who I am becoming. Through all the trials, joys, triumphs and obstacles I have lived through, my self is formed, refined, defined and renewed–the conglomeration is all me and it has always been me.
I often visualize that I can see the 5-year old Joey scampering off, caring little for sticking to the confines of the trail. He is chasing butterflies, finding snakes and wrestling with his black lab, Rocky, totally absorbed in the moment of pure boy ecstasy. Then I see the 15-year-old Joe–he is kind of sulking, absorbed in the angst as well as basking in the glory of youth, looking for his place in the world yet at the same time thinking he knows everything. After all, it’s every teenager’s job to have everything all figured out! The 21 year-old passes him on the path with a quickened gait, as he is eager to try his hand at everything the day has to offer. Yet, he understands that he has a lot to learn and therefore proceeds with accumulating curiosity. This other Joe is about 25 years old, seeking stimulation and is rather impatient, easily frustrated and even angered at the encumbrances that inevitably cross his path. The 28 year-old is Joe is more assured, just now starting to predict and know the terrain ahead. However, he is often exhausted and diffused by the overbearing burden that comes with wanting to please everyone and wanting to be liked by all. The 40 something year-old Joseph walks up the hill with a more confident and driven stride, his thoughts are busily formulating how he is going to get to the apex of the mountain. He watches 15-year old Joe with a whimsical gaze and a knowing, empathic smile. Lagging somewhat behind is the 50-year-old Joseph, of whom is finally figuring life out, so he thinks. Increasingly aware of the toll that Father Time takes on all of us the 60 year-old Sifu Joseph sometimes has back and knee pain, but is still able to move like a warrior and thankful for every day of health and vitality. He lost his physical peak 30 years ago, however his mental acuity is at its zenith and he is only now realizing the potential of what he can create with his experiential and philosophical acumen. More than pleasing others and seeking approval, he now values genuineness and understanding from himself and others. This Sifu is continuously working on cardio training and development when hiking the trails, as it adds to his strength and creativity. More than ever, he is profoundly grateful for his children and career success such as it is, appreciating every day he can still move and think and feel, to share his work with those who would follow him.
At the end of the procession lumbers the 80 year-old Sifu. He uses a cane and steps with caution, taking his time without rush to enjoy the last vestiges of the twilight. My 80 year-old Sifu Joseph is rapidly declining and longs for a few more years, diminished but grateful, at peace. I often search for counsel from this aged sage, as he knows more than I and is wiser and more patient then the present me. He understands me more than anyone. Oh what a gift to be understood and sometimes it is the gift that one can only give oneself.
We often look back on our “old selves” as if they are separate from our being. We are perhaps embarrassed or ashamed of our mistakes, or we discount and dismiss the values we held before. Many of us look to our future selves with the dread and fear of becoming old, with trepidation that we will never truly arrive at our potential. Or, we simply don’t consider tomorrow’s self at all, and instead move forward transfixed by the transient and cluttered noise of the present. For me, my ability to enfold my present self with the selves of my past and future is a guiding light and wellspring of enlightened wisdom. When I find myself bogged down with work, embittered or stymied in my creativity and joy, I seek out the Joey who is off playing in the woods with his dog and I realign myself to the jubilance of living. When I lose sight of all that I am grateful for and become cemented in frustrations, I seek the counsel of the older Sifu, who is beholden to the offerings of his loved ones, friends and the universe of which he is truly a part. Every self in your timeline has particular gifts to give your present being, and tapping into those riches of insight, perspective and temporal life states can propel you toward a more fulfilling and complete existence. The self is many, it is a timeless sphere and embracing it as such is the quiescent ingredient of living fully in the now.

« Older posts