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  1. Having blown multi-hundreds and hundreds of pounds of explosives in my distant past, firecrackers and bottle rockets now hold little interest to me.

    So rather than spending time lighting fuses and counting fingers I spent the time working around the home and doing some reading and thinking. There have been seemingly a rash of deaths amongst entertainers and celebrities. Some of those lives I think are worth looking at.

    Ed McMahon for instance with his booming contagious laugh. We remember him from the late night television entertainment talk shows, but that was not all there was to this warrior. Source wikipedia*

    Military service

    Now, that might not seem all that remarkable considering today’s big screen action stars but take a little closer look. Fighter pilot in the United States Marine Corps that tells me he was a type A personality, a hard charging take the fight to the enemy and destroy them type of man. The Marine pilots are experts at not only ‘dog fighting’ but close ground support a foot soldiers angel. They were known to fly so low to the ground that they often landed after the mission with brush snagged to the bottom of their aircraft. He was a flight instructor, this tells me that he was not only a ‘type A’ personality but was also VERY skilled at both flying and instructing. It tells me more than just that. Placing myself in his shoes for a moment…our nation is at war. A pilot with the skills and drive to take the fight to the enemy but forced to train others to take that fight to enemy. Ed was awarded six medals but knowing warriors I am pretty sure that the knowing that his instruction saved lives and helped to shorten the war was all the satisfaction that he desired.

    These were little Cessna two and four seat prop airplanes. Ed flew 85 missions in his little bird. These planes flew low and slow to better observe the ground and to accomplish the missions. Spotting the enemy the aircraft would circle overhead and using radio call and adjust artillery fire onto the enemy. You can imagine that this did not please the enemy and they did what they could to discourage this behavior.

    Ed stayed in the Marine Corps not retiring until 1966 with the rank of Colonel after many years of loyal sacrificing service. He was then commissioned as a Brigadier General in the California Air National Guard continuing to give service to his country.
    Ed has since passed as so many quiet warriors that have happened later became celebrities or not. They build their families and serve their communities and do not make a fuss over their sacrifices.

    God bless them and those that are today serving our country.
  2. Another bunny trail, the link looked promising but panned out. I have spent several hours going down memory lane. Read a familiar story on line, some army officer reminiscing about his time in the Army. It was interesting as his time was before mine yet he was talking about events that had a major influence on my life. He was in Atomic Demolitions (Europe)in the beginning I was in Atomic Demolitions at the end. We walked some of the same trails used some of the same equipment and lived the same culture. The memories come back in bits and pieces which each leading to another search and additional memories. Wise and profitable use of time, I don’t know. Some of the updated news was not good, the barracks are gone now, nothing left. Some of the people are gone now but that was always expected. The barracks always seemed so stable. They survived war and were a part of history but nothing remains but memories and a few links and forum discussions here and there. Ah well it was a good means of growing up and I would not trade that time for anything, Germany in the early 80’s doing important work surrounded by great people (most of them anyway LOL) The accomplishments were worthwhile the spending time remembering…hit and miss yes and no, much like life in general.

    Thinking of you my brothers but just a little (grin).

    God Bless and thank you.
    Brian King
  3. Inhale exhale, it all sounds so simple. It is something that we have done since the first slap and yet I still have questions and need of practice and exploration. When I first started martial arts I found myself holding my breath often, this new awareness soon highlighted that I often unconsciously held my breath all thru the day and night. It wasn’t until I started training in Systema that I started to learn drills and exercises to further my understanding of breathing. I have since attended many different Systema breathing seminars and each and everyone has been different. The subject is so deep that each instructor has been able to cover their understanding of the basics and each has added their mark to my understanding. It is in my opinion the most difficult of all Systema training and as it should be it is also the most rewarding satisfying and crucial. Proper breathing is the base of our art and leads all and I am grateful and LOL often frustrated that it is and does.

    This last weekend was yet another breathing seminar.
    It was instructed by my friend Vali Madj

    It was a great two days of training. One of things I most came away with from this seminar was a better understanding of the benefit of proper breathing, the quality to our lives that proper breathing facilitates. I had a basic understanding of the biomechanics of breathing and that has been deepened by attending this seminar, but there is so much more to be offered by breathing properly. I was able to explore prepping and calming of the psyche even after panic and trauma using breathing during this seminar and this has given me much to work on. I am EXTREMLY grateful to Vali and my training partners for the work that this seminar has provided and the new understanding that work will build on. How lucky am I to have found my way on this path? No matter how much we work, sweat and bleed during these drills and exercises I always emerge rejuvenated and healthier. This seminar reinforced this phenomenon and helped me learn some of the many reasons for this.

    Highly recommend any opportunity to train with Vali be taken advantage of.

    Hope to see you on the floor soon
    Warmest regards
    Brian King
  5. I was reading a discussion on a firearms centric forum that I go to regarding a transition method vs. a slightly different transition method. While the thread was interesting for those that carry both long gun and hand gun, even more interesting to me was Sonny’s observation on reasoning approaches when it comes to training methodologies.

    His post below while commenting on a specific firearms training/technique discussion I think is also appropriate for other discussions and I will be rereading it often as I test and retest my own training methodologies and observe how I view my own training beliefs. I am posting it here so that I have a reminder and easy access to the motivation.

    Talking further over the phone with Sonny besides further insight he gave me permission to repost his post here in this blog, thanks brother for both the permission and taking the time to share your thoughts.

    His original post is located here for further reading
  6. Last Saturday it snowed and it has been below freezing ever since. No big deal for much of the country but we do not get to experience such weather that often. We had snow again today that has continued all day and is still going strong at 1am. This is my first winter in this house so the snow has been interesting to see what kind of wildlife visits my home. I have been going out to the feeders while filling them and putting out water and looking around at all the different tracks as well as my own tracks. My tracks have changed since last winter. I still walk a bit on the outside but it used to be much more pronounced on one side than the other. Now it is more even. Last Saturday as both the snow was just beginning and the Systema class was just ending we had a hawk visit. The have been by before doing flybys. This hawk stayed on my fence now and then facing the yard and now and then facing out towards the blackberry field. I was able to get with-in four feet of it and sit and watch it for over forty five minutes. I have raccoon tracks but only one set, some kind of rabbit tracks and some other small creatures tracks that I have not yet identified and all kinds of bird and squirrel tracks. I can’t wait to get out to the big field and see what has been out running bout. I have seen a buck out and once about 6 weeks ago caught some movement after feeling eyes on me. Not sure what it was just a flash of brownish in the bushes. The training this Saturday should be a blast. LOL hope the guys bring gloves and a hat it will be cold out.
  7. An early start to New Years Resolutions 2009
    Written December 7th 2009

    December 7th 2008. It is just another Sunday for many around the world and just another Sunday for many Americans. I spent a couple of hours today in prayer and contemplation remembering the attack on Pearl Harbor that signaled the start of WW2 for many in America. A day of Infamy that we as Americans promised would never be forgotten. But of course we did forget. Pearl Harbor was not the first time we had been attacked and unfortunately it was not the last. September 11, 2001 is yet one more attack that we swear will never be forgotten yet just a few years later I fear it is already a faded jaded memory.

    We here in America have been blessed to not have another major terrorist attack here on our soil. It can be argued whether it is just luck or if our fighting men and women have successfully engaged our enemies here and abroad. I have friends in the fight here and abroad so I know the answer. LOL Of course it is both.

    I have determined that remembering is not enough. Watching and reading the news on the latest terrorist attacks around the world, their tactics and their levels of commitment and comparing that commitment to our leaders commitments has lead me to the decision to modify my lifestyle. I have always thought that we will be attacked again and I believe it now more than ever. With the election over I had to look at what the results mean for me personally and for my country. My thoughts were even more crystallized with the recent bloody attacks in India. I had been forming these thoughts since before Beslan and the multiple rapes and killings perpetrated on those school children. Years ago I realized that the causes and effects of international conflicts are often much more complex than the sound bites our media feed to us, more complex than the shallow agenda driven history books I read in classes. Living thru and participating in the cold war taught me to look thru the chatter and see the bigger picture. It is often frightening and depressing. Our conflicts around the world are more than a shooting war over territory or ego or oil. In my opinion this conflict is a spiritual war. Before I get in a fight I have to decide if it is worth it and to try to figure out what the fight is truly about. I went into the Army in 1981 when I thought we were going to war in Iran during the embassy staff kidnappings and hostage takings. We had a German terrorist group plant a bomb close enough to our barracks that had it gone off on top of the in-ground fuel tanks I would not be writing right now. I had a close friend that had to bag the personal effects of the Marines slaughtered in Beirut. The enemy is not new or unknown to me. What is new is that I now have a better understanding of what this fight is really about. A few years ago I decided that it is not enough to protect yourself from those that want to injure you. It is important to kill them before they kill us and I train and train with many that take the fight to the enemy and I pray for their continued success and the success of all the others on the bloody end of this fight. By not enough I meant that for me this fight has become a spiritual fight. I did not start out understanding this but realized it as I researched faith especially my own. I am no saint but have found strength and wisdom in my belief of God and will be working hard to further the discoveries and joys that are sure to come. The enemy wants to destroy us because our faith is different than their own. Instead of destroying my faith they have driven me to do more research and learning and have strengthened my faith to be stronger than ever before. I thank them even as I pray for their failure and termination.

    I have been working on getting debt free for the last year and will be completely debt free by the end of February 2009 and will begin saving like mad to by a home (hopefully 2010-2011) doing the 100% down plan. It is easier to make calm decisions and it leads to better health if a person’s stress is reduced and one of the main stress inducers is debt and financial angst.

    I have been doing martial arts for years and years. I have been in many conflicts and have no fear for my personal safety in most any kind of conflict but I am currently not prepared to end an attack by a steroid and drug enhanced terrorist at more than the closest distance. So I have changed the focus of my personal training from traditional self defense to now also include efficiently ending threats at a distance. This will mean training and once again carrying firearms something I have avoided for nearly 20 years.

    I have had many different focuses in my life over the years but my health and fitness have not been top of the list. That is changing and my health and my fitness are now top of the list. This will mean many lifestyle changes as I retrain both my body and my mind. This will be a primary focus for 2009.

    My New Years resolution for 2008 was to simplify my life. It has not been easy and many things were much tougher than I thought that they would be. I have changed my work habits so that now I only work between 50 and 60 hours a week. That might sound like a lot of hours to some but it is a major change from the 80-100 hours that regularly worked for the 17 or so years. I have moved from renting a little apartment in a crappy part of town to renting a small home with property in a whole different town near the water. Instead of thugs playing their music too loud I now have squirrels and birds competing to wake me. The toughest thing I had to do this year was to close my commercial martial arts school in Bellevue after teaching there for four years. I have changed from teaching in my commercial school 3-5 days a week to teaching out of my home one day a week. This simplifying has been worth it but extremely difficult and I have not made as much progress as I would have liked to have made so I will be continuing the process during 2009.

    2009 the year I continue my journey in Christ.
    2009 the year of starting to work on my health and fitness changing my lifestyle decisions to a focused healthy direction.
    2009 the year I continue the process of simplifying my life.
    2009 the year of getting completely out of debt (and never getting into debt again) and saving for a home.
    2009 the year I once again train combative shooting skills including again getting my CCW.
    2009 the year I continue the process of simplifying my life LOL no matter how difficult and non simple it is to do so.