Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Crossing The Pond - Podcasts 7 to 11/11

Crossing The Pond
Round Table - Podcast
7 to 11 of 11

Welcome to the remaining parts 7 to 11 of the X-PO Podcast, recorded in August in Seattle.

Around the table were
Kris Wilder, Rory Miller, Marc MacYoung, Iain Abernethy, Nicholas Yang and me (Al Peasland).

I've been posting the podcast installments as they were made available by Kris and I have posted links below for those who have only just started to follow this blog so that you can catch up and listen from the beginning.

Once again, a massive thanks to Kris for making this happen and to all the instructors present on this podcast for sharing a great couple of weekends with me.

If you missed and of the previous parts, they are linked here:-

Part 1/11

Crossing The Pond - 7/11

Crossing The Pond - 8/11

Crossing The Pond - 9/11

Crossing The Pond - 10/11

Crossing The Pond - 11/11

Monday, 20 December 2010

Practice Makes Perfect

Even when you are born to do something.

Even when that very thing is handed down genetically, over the centuries of evolution.

You still need to Practice!

As a martial artist, even when you think you have a move perfected. Even when you can make that technique work against every opponent, time and time again......... You still need to Practice!

So, lets take a little tip from nature and learn to drill techniques over and over again - even if we're training on our own.

On the other hand of course - this could be simply because the "wise old owl" actually has a very small brain due to the space that their large eyes take up in their skull.......

Nah - I still like to think he is practicing to get closer to perfection.

Stay Safe and Keep Practicing

Al x

Thursday, 9 December 2010

10 Ways to Stay Safe at Christmas

Understanding that this is the time of year that our threat levels increase, from risks of accidents and personal injury through to the dangers of physical assault, and from burglary of your home to the more serious street theft and robbery, it’s crucial that we apply the correct levels of personal security and have a safe and fun Christmas.

So, to give you some help, I’ve decided to give you my own Top Ten tips on how to have a Safe Christmas.

I hope you enjoy the article and feel free to share it with your friends and loved ones.

Read the Article HERE

Merry Christmas from all at Complete Self Protection

Here's to a fantastic 2011

Stay Safe and Have Lots of Fun

Al x

Monday, 6 December 2010

Merry Christmas Message from CSP

From myself (Al Peasland), Mick Tully and my wonderful wife Louise, we'd like to send a very special Thank You to everyone who has worked with us this year to make 2010 such a year to remember.

Thank you for your support and friendship.

Merry Christmas

Here's to a fantastic 2011

Stay Safe and Have Lots of Fun

Al x

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Multiple Assailants

A few months ago I wrote this article for Bleeding Edge Magazine and thought I'd now share it with you all.

Before I start this article I want to emphasise a point.
If you ever find yourself in a situation where you are faced with a group or gang of aggressive individuals, then you are already in a very bad position.
I would go one step further and suggest you need to look back and ask yourself, what it was that you did wrong, what opportunities that you missed and what warning signs did you fail to notice, that has lead you to this position.

The first and most vital part of good self protection is to avoid confrontation wherever possible. This rule is even more important when we begin to consider the scenarios of facing multiple assailants.

Faced with overwhelming odds and being completely outnumbered means you are already on the back foot and now having to make the best of a bad situation.

With that in mind, it’s important for me to highlight that there are no magic pills, no silver bullets and no Jason Bourne techniques that are guaranteed to get you out of this situation unscathed.

What I aim to do with this article, is offer you some insight into how groups typically operate, drawn from my own experience and that of my close peers who have all been in situations where we’ve faced large numbers of violent individuals.

Standard Factors

Ok, here is a gross generalisation, but one which does apply to lots of groups.
For simplicity I’ve offered the proportions for each type of group member assuming a total of 10 in the gang

Leaders – 1 or 2
Most gangs will have one or two key players who are the ones who are prepared to instigate the violence and commence the proceedings. Like most organistations, these individuals are the leaders of the group and are often perceived to be the more capable fighters, the stronger and the most experienced members of the pack. They are the leaders because the followers in the group look up to them, often through a fear of their abilities or reputation.

Followers – 3 or 4
After the key leaders of the group you will then find a good percentage of followers who will jump in and fight once it has been kicked off. These individuals will often not have the courage or ability to start proceedings but are prepared to wade in as soon as it commences.

Back Markers 4 or 5
Often you will find a similar percentage in the group who will only jump in to the melee when they think it is safe to do so.
In doing so they know they can be part of the gang but without having to have the risk of leading the fight or exposing themselves to any dangers.
Back Markers are also known to avoid the conflict altogether, but will make all the right noises and appear to be involved, when in fact they simply don’t want anything to do with the fight.

As I said, this is a gross generalisation, and will not apply to all groups in such a clinical way. However, knowing these assumptions, this helps to dictate some standard responses that we can apply to help offer us better chances of success.


So, here are some of my own strategies for dealing with aggressive groups.

Don’t Be There
To reiterate the point of avoidance, my first suggestion is simply for you not to be there in the first place.
Whether this means totally avoiding a location or a situation that you know may occur, or running away at the first opportunity. By not putting yourself in front of this group, it’s fair to say that you have the best chance of not being hurt as a result.
The key with running away is making the decision to do this early and not leaving it to the last minute.
What often gets us into trouble is our ego or our lack of concise decision making to Act Now rather than later. Telling ourselves it will be ok rather than not taking any chances, we often let situations progress for far too long, due to our inaction and indecision.

If you want an analogy for facing life’s problems and not just gangs of chav hoodies, this is it….. take action Now – not later.

Get Aggressive
As I discussed with my Fence Concepts book and DVD, using an aggressive Fence is a great strategy against groups and gangs.
If you have not been able to avoid the confrontation, then getting aggressive can buy you those vital few seconds to make your escape.
This is what I call Psychological Barriers.
Becoming aggressive works on many fronts, and is a great tool for shocking your attackers into a momentary Freeze state. The fact that your response is not the usual response this group would get from their potential prey, it interrupts their normal operational procedure and causes confusion and shock.
I have also made a point of calling the members of the group Individuals, and this is an important factor. Most, and I say most with a hint of generalisation again, members of a group will take aggressive behaviour, threats and psychological attacks on an individual level. Even when they rationalise your behaviour and remind themselves that they are part of a group who will easily defeat any individual, for a moment they take your aggression personally and that creates doubt and fear within them.
This is your chance to escape and revert back to plan A, which is to run away.

Physical Barriers

Your next strategy should be to start creating physical barriers between you and then.
Personally I would like a 10 mile bus ride as the physical barrier between myself and any violent group, but assuming you’re not able to do that, the next best thing is to use your environment.

Having a good awareness of your surroundings, ideally should have prevented you from being in the situation in the first place, but at least will have given you some appreciation for what objects are around that you can use as a barrier.
Consider using parked cars, walls, fences, bins, trees, as physical barriers that you can position between you and the group.

At this stage, before we consider the worst case scenarios of having to get physical, we want to make sure we aren’t penned in and cornered, so be careful when using objects as a barrier that you don’t inadvertently block your own escape route.

Physical Barriers alone may not do the job so this should still be used along with an Aggressive Fence, with lots of posturing and ballooning.

If you’re not able to find objects within your environment to act as a barrier then another option is for you to use one of the gang as a human shield or human barrier.
In my Multiple Assailants DVD I show some options for doing this, but it basically boils down to either grabbing one of the group and working some good vertical grappling clinch to position them in front of you, whilst still being extremely aggressive and demonstrative towards each of the group, or, it means knocking out one of the group and getting yourself on the opposite side of their unconscious heap on the floor.

By taking this physical action you start to change the dynamic of the group.
The fact that you’ve knocked out or are in control of one of their group means you are now prepared to fight, something that probably doesn’t normally happen when they attack their prey.
If you choose wisely, you will have probably also beaten one of the group whom they all look up to and are probably afraid of, which now puts doubt in their minds.
In addition, if they now have to step over their friend to get to you, this will create a fight or flight state as it will take a big effort for one of the followers to step forward and instigate the physical.

In addition to all of that, you have also slightly evened up the odds as they are now a man down.

Mentioned briefly above, your final option is to use your pre-emptive strikes to take out the biggest threat.
My instructor Geoff Thompson talks about the Red Letter Strategy. This is where you attack the one that is the biggest threat, just as the first utility bill you pay, is the one most likely to cut off your supply.
So this is where you need good peripheral vision and good all round awareness, something which will be a struggle as you will most definitely be full of adrenalin and fighting tunnel vision amongst many other negatives.

In my dvd I show lots of options for scenario and pad drills that will help develop the skills for these types of situation.

The primary strategy here though is to hit each target once and then move on to the next, regardless of the result of your strike. If you get too focused on one individual, it will give the rest of the group the opportunity to swarm you and overwhelm you.
So the general rule is to hit anything and everything that moves.

Fight to Escape
The final strategy is more of a basic rule that needs to be followed.
This rule is something I teach everyone when I deliver personal security training courses, and that is, never fight to win or fight to perform a citizens arrest. Fight to escape.

The purpose of all of the aforementioned strategies is to create an opportunity to escape and revert back to your plan A of Not Being There.

A Final Thought
As I said at the start of this article.
If you find yourself in a situation where you are faced with an angry mob, you need to ask yourself what did you do wrong or what did you miss that has resulted in you being there.
The strategies I have listed are not comprehensive by any means, nor are they a guarantee of success.
You are outnumbered, you are outgunned and you are in a world of trouble.

Regardless of the strategy you choose, one of the main things that will get you through an event such as this is massive determination, massive aggression and massive intention.
Do not stop and do not go to the floor and the moment you get an opportunity to escape, you take it.

My Multiple Assailants DVD contains lots more information on dealing with multiple assailants, including lots of training drills and scenario drills that can improve your skills and chances. Most importantly, they can also be a lot of fun.

Thank you for reading

Stay Safe and Have Fun

Al x

Multiple Assailants DVD - Buy It HERE

Monday, 8 November 2010

Crossing The Pond - Podcast 4 to 6/11

Crossing The Pond
Round Table - Podcast
4 - 6/11

Welcome to parts 4, 5 & 6 of the X-PO Podcast, recorded in August in Seattle.

Around the table were
Kris Wilder, Rory Miller, Marc MacYoung, Iain Abernethy, Nicholas Yang and me (Al Peasland).

I will be posting all 11 parts of this podcast as they become available.

Thanks to Kris for making this happen.

If you missed and of the previous parts, they are linked here:-

Part 1/11
Part 2/11
rt 3/11

Crossing the Pond 4/11

Crossing the Pond 5/11
Cross the Pond 6/11

KIAI - It's Worth Shouting About

A few months ago I wrote this article for Martial Arts Illustrated and thought I'd now share it with you all.

As, what I would call, a “traditional” martial artists of some 25 years experience, I have spent many years, taking from my arts, techniques and principals that would work for me outside on the street.

I worked on nightclub doors for many years, which also helped me to confirm and verify what worked and what didn’t, what could be modified and adapted and what could not.

One thing that has stood out for me as, arguably the most effective and directly applicable technique, is the Kiai. The “loud shout” you often hear in most Katas and most point scoring attacks on the competitive mat.

It’s a technique that needs very little adaptation, if any, for the street.
Whilst most other physical techniques have to be modified, if only as minimally as to be practiced from a smaller, more natural stance, or a less obvious no-guard, hands down position, the Kiai can be delivered in exactly the same way as it’s been practiced countless times in the dojo.

Those from a Karate background will recognise the Kiai points in your Kata. The two or, sometimes, three places in your Kata where you deliver the technique with added ferocity, Kimae and focus, whilst simultaneously releasing a loud, aggressive shout.

This should not only be an explosion of aggression and intention through the voice but also through the physical Kimae, the muscle tension, your facial expression, even the glare and emotion in your eyes.

Most of us learn this to begin with as a simple “shout loud”.
I can recall beginners in my early Karate days asking what a Kiai is – and after being told, “it means to shout loud” would then proceed to scream the words “SHOUT LOUD” at the top of their voice when practicing their Kata.

It’s quite rare in fact that you see Karate practitioners actually express genuine emotive aggression when performing a Kiai, usually it is just a loud shout, from the tops of their lungs.

To quote Myomoto Musashi, he said there are 3 shouts. The pre-fight shout, the in-fight shout and the post-fight shout.
For self defence, I would suggest the pre-fight shout is the most important. The purpose of this would be to scare off an attacker, making them feel that they have just picked on the wrong person, mistaking their initial victim selection process as having accidentally chosen a wild animal and not an easy prey.

For self protection, this is often known as the Aggressive Fence, where you use your voice, your body language, your posture and your predatory style actions to display massive aggression and rage at your potential attackers. It works against individuals and can also be extremely effective against multiple assailants.

However, this only works well, when the Kiai is be delivered with total commitment, one hundred percent emotive aggression and venom. For it to work effectively, for the attacker to genuinely feel this aggression, and for these shouts to trigger their own adrenal response, the person delivering the Kiai needs to believe it themselves.

For you to make anyone else believe it, you first need to believe it yourself.

I can recall a good friend Alec performing Ippon Kumite (one-step sparring) many years ago.
It has to be said, everything we did back in those days at Geoff Thompson’s Shotokan Karate Club, was aggressive. We loved it and lived for aggression training, heavy sparring, and full on testosterone inducing fighting.
So even one-step sparring was made as real and as deliberate as possible. It was quite simple, if you didn’t block you got hit.

For those not familiar, one step sparring requires both practitioners to stand in a Yoi (ready) position facing each other.
The first person then steps back into a downward block (Gedan Barai) and names the area of the body they are going to attack. Either Jodan (head) or Chudan (body). This would then be followed by a step forward with a straight punch to that target area, with the second person stepping back and delivering a block to prevent the strike from making contact.
However, Alec was well known for stepping back in the most aggressive of manners, and then literally punching you with his scream of “JODAN”. Even when you knew this was coming, the shock of this auditory explosion and the feeling of venom and pure hatred in his voice and body language would almost always cause you to wobble and stagger backwards a half step, in a vain attempt to stop yourself jumping out of your own skin and running for the door.
This was exactly the response Alec wanted because, no sooner were you gaining your composure and getting back to your ready position, was he charging forwards with a technique that contained the same level of ferocity and intention of making contact with it’s chosen target. You quickly learned how to block these attacks, either with a solid technique or, often, with your nose or jaw, which I found worked very effectively, albeit not very pleasantly.

This was a perfect example of pure aggression delivered with a voice backed up by total commitment and belief.
Even when you knew it was coming, it still shocked you and for a moment, you honestly believed this person, this friend and training partner, hated you and was about to set about destroying you.
What’s even more important was that, if you were to ask Alec, he would say that Yes, for that split second, he actually did hate me and did want to destroy me, even though we were best of friends.

And that there is the key. The secret to delivering a committed and effective Kiai. You have to deliver it with emotive aggression that you genuinely believe for that moment in time.

Take this Kiai onto the street in a self defence situation and the effects are the same.
This explosion of aggression and ferocity at a would-be attacker can often be enough to trigger their adrenal response and put them into a flight or fight state, or more importantly, momentarily place them in a Freeze state, whilst their conscious mind tries to rationalise the situation and make a decision on which of the fight or flight options to take.

In addition, this animalistic scream can be enough to raise alarm bells with passers-by, draw attention to your confrontation and dissuade an attacker from continuing. I would add, never to expect people to come to your aid, for that puts your safety and chances of a successful outcome in someone else’s hands. If they don’t come, you are still in trouble. What it will do thought, is draw attention and most attackers don’t want witnesses.

However, that is all a by-product, the primary purpose of your Kiai is to show your attacker that you are not to be messed with. That you are the wolf in sheep’s clothing that they did not spot and now they are in a world of trouble. Turn the tables, if only for a few fleeting seconds, because these are now extra seconds that you didn’t have before.

There are other types of Kiai point in a real-life attack. Myomoto Musashi mentions these as well, such as the in-fight Kiai, where you are now already engaged in physical conflict and use your Kiai as a way of increasing your own aggression levels, adding more purpose and intention to your attack.
It could even be as subtle as talking calmly and confidently as you choke your assailant in a very composed and controlled manner. This is in-fight dialogue that can make you appear to be totally at ease with the situation and a master of the street fight.
This all helps again to trigger fight or flight responses within your assailant, all helping your worthy “self defence” cause.

The final is the post-fight Kiai, which some may mistake for a celebratory or victorious shout for joy. Often this is used to scare on-lookers, send home a final message that discourages anyone else from taking the same foolish action of attacking you in the future.

All of which are highly tested and highly effective tricks of the trade of doormen and street fighters alike.

And, all of this is an extremely useful strategy, but not the main reason for my article.

The one, often overlooked aspect of the Kiai is the fact that you are practicing your ability to switch on and off your emotive aggression in an instant.
YOU are the one in total control of your emotion. You decide when to Kiai and with practice, are able to summon up pure hatred and rage in a split second, with total self control.

For me, the importance of taking control in a real life situation is crucial. If you are to stand any chance of winning or even just surviving a real attack, you must take charge and be the one in control.
We all know this is vital if you are to deliver a pre-emptive strike, as we always talk about not waiting to be hit first, but it is also imperative when we look at accessing the right mindset and attitude.

If we have to wait to be attacked physically outside, in order to have the motivation to switch on our aggression and Kiai mindset, then it may be too late.
I cannot rely on a potential attacker to trigger my aggression, because that puts me in their hands and reliant on their actions, when I have to be the one in charge.

So for me, the most important aspect of learning to Kiai properly is the ability to switch this on for myself; at will; when I need to.
And if I am not able to do this in the dojo, amongst friends, where I am least likely to be self conscious or embarrassed, then I cannot expect it to work for me when I need it to outside.

What’s more, if you can switch this on, then you can also switch this back off just as quickly, gaining an emotional mastery, albeit of only one quite primitive “anger” emotion, that can be translated to any event or situation in your life.

When I access a Kiai state, for that fleeting second, my intention is pure and complete. I am “in the zone” and I am in a pure state of aggression and certainty.
Being able to access such a powerful mindset, at will, means I now have a tool that I can utilise whenever I need to, and not just to access anger or rage, but any emotion linked to any intention.
This ability to switch on and off intention means I can use this to accomplish anything.
100% pure commitment
100% pure focus
100% pure intention
100% pure enjoyment
100% pure love
All are accessible using the same self control and on/off switch

If you want to take from your art, a technique that is directly applicable to self defence, personal security and the bigger picture of Complete Self Protection, then I suggest you look long and hard at your Kiai – it’s worth shouting about.

Stay Safe and Have Fun

Al Peasland x

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Crossing The Pond - Podcast 3/11

Crossing The Pond
Round Table - Podcast

Welcome to part 2 of the X-PO Podcast, recorded in August in Seattle.

Around the table were Kris Wilder, Rory Miller, Marc MacYoung, Iain Abernethy, Nicholas Yang and me (Al Peasland).

I will be posting all 11 parts of this podcast as they become available.

Thanks to Kris for making this happen.

If you missed and of the previous parts, they are linked here:-

Part 1/11
Part 2/11

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Crossing The Pond - PodCast 2/11

Crossing The Pond
Round Table - Podcast

Welcome to part 2 of the X-PO Podcast, recorded in August in Seattle.

Around the table were Kris Wilder, Rory Miller, Marc MacYoung, Iain Abernethy, Nicholas Yang and me (Al Peasland).

I will be posting all 11 parts of this podcast as they become available.

Thanks to Kris for making this happen.

Monday, 18 October 2010

Crossing The Pond - PodCast 1/11

Crossing The Pond
Round Table - Podcast

In August 2011, I was lucky enough to be invited to join 5 other amazing martial arts instructors on a "one-of-a-kind" event.

Starting in Seattle (USA) and finishing in Coventry (UK)

The following is the first installment of a podcast we recorded covering many topics from our own Martial Arts backgrounds, our thoughts on modern martial arts and one or two jokes thrown in for good measure.

Sit back and enjoy the chat between.......
Kris Wilder, Marc "Animal" MacYoung, Iain Abernethy, Rory Miller, Nicholas Yang and me (Al Peasland)

Thursday, 30 September 2010

CSP Masterclass 2011

Complete Self Protection

Masterclass 2011

6 Month Series of Seminars entitled...


To find out more and to book your place visit our website at

To read what those who've already attended have had to say - check out the testimonials page

That Is Why

I have taken the inspiration of this article from a fable in the wonderful book “Soul of a Butterfly”, Muhammad Ali by Hana Yasmeen Ali

"Two peasants were travelling down a winding road on their way to see the king. When they approached the gates of the kingdom an army of foot soldiers bullied them and ran them off.

Then one peasant said to the other,
“That is why.”

The next day, the two peasants travelled down the winding road again with hopes to see the king. This time an army of horse soldiers rode up, threw stones at them and ran them off.

Then the peasant said to his friend,
“That is why.”

The two peasants would not give up, so they travelled the winding road again. This time the king’s carriage pulled up, and when the king saw the two peasants standing there in torn clothes, with cuts and bruises all over them, the king got out of his carriage, walked up to the two peasants, put his arm around them, and gave them each a gold coin.

As they walked back down the winding road, one peasant said to the other again,
“That is why.”

When they were both back home sitting in their little huts, the other peasant asked his friend what he meant when he said,
“That is why?”

The first peasant responded,

That is why they are foot soldiers, and that is all they will ever be.
That is why they are horse soldiers, and that is all they will ever be.

And that is why he is the king."

The reason I love this fable is because I think we all experience “That is Why” moments all of the time.
The story offers a very valid and sound justification for why we all lead the lives we lead and why we all have within those lives, that which is fitting for who we are.

I look back at some of my good times and some of my bad times and I then I compare the kind of person I was during those times and I come to one conclusion. “That is Why”
The things I was doing, the company I was surrounded by, my attitude to life, the list goes on, were all the factors that governed what was happening in my life.

I think this fable is a great tool for making us all stop and take a good look at ourselves.
Look within and not without and discover your own “That is Why”

The moment we realise that everything that happens to us is of our own doing and of our own control, is the moment we can make changes and effect different results.
What I love more about this story though, and the main reason for me posting it as this month’s article, is the attitude and the acceptance that the first peasant gains by telling himself and his friend, “That is Why”.

Instead of taking all the abuse personally, the first peasant simply affirms to himself that, this is happening only because that is who these soldiers are. They know nothing else and are not personally to blame. It’s not their fault, it is just how it is. For if they knew better, they would probably not be those foot soldiers in the first place.

Every man has enough power left to carry out that of which he is convinced.
Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
This quote is great because what it tells me is, for every single one of us, we can look at Who we are and What we do, and know That is Why we are where we are.

Stay Safe and Have Fun

Al Peasland x

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Your Best Shot

It was Nietzsche who said
“Imagine if we Really did do all we could”

For me this translates to when we often say
“Well, I tried my best”
“I gave it my best shot, it’s not my fault it failed”


Did we Really give it our best shot, or is that just what we’re telling everyone and ourselves in an attempt to forgive ourselves for the failure to commit and subsequently succeed?

There are a myriad of reasons why we may fail at something. Our fear of success, our inability to handle the victory, our ill-preparedness for the resulting success, the list goes on.

It can also be a simple lack of commitment and intention placed upon a given task.

Again, this can be due to many things including, our lack of passion for the chosen task, our simple indifference to the subject matter, or even worse, our simple laziness.

To give something your best shot means to have committed every single fibre of your body, every single ounce of your strength, every inch of your courage, every morsel of your desire and willpower to the sole aim of a successful outcome.

It means to have had a steadfast resolve to not give in, not turn back, not be waivered and not be deterred.

This short and succinct statement of “Giving It Our Best” actually demands a vast amount from an individual and so it’s no surprise that we often throw this comment out there without really having the grounds or justification to back it up.

So, I challenge you all now, as I challenge myself.
Pick the next thing you want to achieve and then really really do Give It your Best Shot.

Do your absolute best. Give it everything you have. Don’t Try your best – DO your best.
And last of all – don’t wait to see what happens, because waiting to see what happens means you’ve taken your foot of the gas, stood still and handed over the outcome to fate. Sprint through the line, don’t pull up 10 metres short.

I liken this to the lesson to one that I give to my students when trying to generate more power from their kicks or punches.
The lesson is to kick THROUGH the target, not AT or TO the target, but to do that, you have to AIM through the target.

Rather than pull and snap the kick back at the point of impact, the point impact is assumed to be further through or past where the target actually is.
In fact, it is intended that hitting the target should come as almost a surprise in stopping the kick from progressing when we have expected it to carry on further.

The point here is that the kick is not set in motion and then all energy switched off once the leg is in flight – as though waiting to see what happens when it reaches the target.
No, the kick is continually powered all the way to and through the target.

The success of the kick landing is not something we have waited for after an initial blast of effort – it is something that happens almost before we had expected it to whilst we actually continued to work hard, driving towards our goal.

Whatever your target it, Financial wealth, Business success, Marital happiness, you should approach it in the same way.

Don’t start a business and then leave it running under it’s own steam, waiting for the successes to come rolling in.

Don’t kick-start your relationship with a few romantic endeavours and then sit back and wait for marital bliss to make an appearance.

Don’t eat well and train for a few days and then expect your health and your body to return your short-lived good deeds with a fighting fit humananoid vehicle suitable for a mens health front cover.
Continue to work, power through, and Do your very best. Whilst you’re busy doing these things you will suddenly notice the rewards have appeared along the way.

When you really really do do your best, you’ll be amazed at the results.

“When you reach the top, keep climbing”

Stay Safe and Have Fun

Al Peasland x

Friday, 16 July 2010

Have Fun

If you’re been around my website for some time, if you’ve read any of my previous articles, or if you’ve listened to any of my interviews or seminars, you’ll know there’s one theme that underlies everything I do and teach.

It has to be fun.

You may notice that I always finish my articles with the same line. And I write it with the utmost sincerity and wish that you all Stay Safe AND Have Fun.

For me, having fun is a huge part of complete self protection and personal security. After all, self defence really does start with the self, so before we consider learning techniques to beat up that “would-be” attacked, we need to start considering making the rest of our lives more rewarding and more fun.

In addition, good self protection is about giving you knowledge and skills that allow you to experience more of life, safely, with an understanding of the risks and balanced security measures you should take. It’s most certainly not about scaring you with all the bad things that can happen out there, so that you simply lock yourself away and never venture out into this wonderful world for fear of the potential risks.

"Self defence should open doors not lock them shut."
Al Peasland

And when you open doors, you start to have more fun.

What has prompted me more in writing this article though, is the constant stream of Reality Based Systems that seem to be totally focused on Aggressive, Angry, Adrenalin fuelled, scenario drills, questioning each and every technique’s ability to “take a guy out” more efficiently than the next.

Don’t get me wrong, I am totally in favour of having reality in your training, in fact, it’s my background in this type of training, and experiences on the door that I think allows me to offer skills and coaching in this world.
However, I think there is a real need for some balance with all of this training and also a “reality check” for some reality based systems.
After all, how much time and effort do you really need to focus on an event that may never happen.

What a lot more of those students will find is every day they will be doing jobs they don’t like, living lives that don’t fulfill them or make them happy, and doing lots of things which aren’t fun.

Personally, I’d rather focus on the fun bit and enhance the vast portion of my life that doesn’t involve being attacked on the street or getting into fisticuffs. Start working your pre-emptive strike and fence drills on the sticks and stones that life throws at you rather than just the fight outside the chip-shop that you could have probably avoided anyway.

And this brings me nicely to my point of having fun.

I say this in every seminar – Make It Fun.
The day I am not having fun, having a laugh or getting enjoyment from being on the mat, is the day I find something else to do.

The youtube clip I have linked here shows my case in point.

The escalator at a subway station is a far more appealing way of climbing up to street level than having to walk up those leg aching stairs.
But once you make it a fun activity, suddenly everyone is exercising without even realizing it, and not only that, having a lot of fun in the process.

This is something that is echoed by many many pioneers, sports men and women, business men and women.

"I never did a day's work in my life. It was all fun."
Thomas A. Edison

"People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing."
Dale Carnegie

"It's the game of life. Do I win or do I lose? One day they're gonna shut the game down. I gotta have as much fun and go around the board as many times as I can before it's my turn to leave."
Tupac Shakur

If your training feels like a chore, then you need to take the advice of Thomas Edison. Make it fun and it will no longer seem like hard work.
Anything you want to do – find ways to put a fun element into it, and you’ll find you’ll be able to do it for longer and get more success along the way.

And on that note, I’ll leave you with my usual and heartfelt tagline

Stay Safe and Have Fun

Al x

Saturday, 3 July 2010

Keep It Simple

Did you know the average reading age for the Sun newspaper is 5 years old?
I didn’t know that until I attended a report writing course several years ago.
We were discussing the benefits of keeping the language in our reports simple, clear, concise and straight to the point, when this fact was highlighted.As you move your way up through the more mature and professional journals, so the reading age increases, until you get up to documents such as legal journals, or terms and conditions for contracts, where the reading age can be anything over 21.

You know the sort of documents when you have to read each sentence several times before you can hope to begin to understand what on earth their gibbering on about with their “forthwith’s”, and “aforementioned’s”, and “hereinafter’s”.

What impressed me most though was the fact that, whilst reading something as kindergarten as the Red Top Newspapers is very simple and easy to do, the process of writing at this level is actually very difficult.

I mean, just copy and paste some of my own articles into the Flesch Kincaid scale and you’ll be shocked at how much I needlessly extend my sentences with more words and more syllables. (e.g. this paragraph was 13.2 – I still have much to learn)

To illustrate, here’s a story that I heard about.
The newspaper article was written by the reporter and submitted to his editor for final approval. It was a story about a bungled burglary where the criminals had climbed upon to a corrugated iron roof of a marmalade factory.

When the final draft was received back from the editor it read, “the burglars fell through the TIN roof of the JAM factory”

Little changes to shorten the words used and thus reduce the reading age of the story, making it easier for the end user to read and digest.

If we consider for a moment that the purpose of writing a low reading aged editorial is to deliver your message as efficiently, as deliberately and clearly as possible, then we can start to understand the importance of “Keeping it Simple”.
To be effective with your words, it helps to keep them short, direct and cut out all the unwanted, fluffy, elaborate and flashy grammar. This is particularly important when you want your words to be hard hitting.

I used that last phrase because it ties in nicely with my main interest of self protection.In my humble opinion, this rule translates into any form of physical self defence you wish to employ in the worst case scenario of having to deliver some whoop-ass to an attacker.

If you want your self defence techniques to be hard hitting, effective, direct, and get the message across as efficiently and powerfully as possible, then you need to keep it simple.

“People love chopping wood. In this simple activity, one immediately sees results”
Albert Einstein

I also want to have basic techniques that are going to be applicable to the majority of situations, that way I almost have a one-size-fits-all philosophy. When we compare back to the newspaper analogy, the easy to read Sun has over 3m readers per day whereas your Guardian only has 1 tenth of that.Quite a worrying thought in more ways than one but we’ll stick with my main theme for this article for now.

If you’re truly training with only the thought of fighting in real life situations in mind, then you need to keep your syllabus extremely small and simple. The moment you start to elaborate on your core basic techniques with fancy moves, flashy kicks, long drawn out combinations, and set sequences to fit the prescribed responses of your attacker, is the moment you are no longer training for reality.

A controversial comment to a lot of people who have built entire systems around real life self defence perhaps, but it is the truth.

Once you grow a system beyond the basics, if it’s only for self defence then you are starting guild the lily and create a system out of something that should remain very very simple.However, if you are training with far more in mind than just the fisticuffs on the street, then it all becomes totally relevant and applicable again.

What’s important to note is that, whilst delivering simple techniques may be the most effective option, learning and honing those simple techniques can be anything but simple.

It takes far more commitment and dedication to continue to focus on the basics.

It takes far more self analysis and self control to work on the finite details that turn those basics from being good to being great, and from being remembered to being instinctive.

And it takes far more patience and discipline to continue working on the basics when the temptation to introduce more exotic and outwardly impressive moves is ever present.

Therein lies the lesson. Face the difficult option of learning the basics, for, while it may be a challenge, you will guarantee yourself the best successes.As someone once said – don’t practice a thousand different techniques once, practice one technique a thousand times.

Now take this analogy, as I always suggest in every article, and apply it to everything else you wish to develop. Often the simplest option provides the best results.

A simple unselfish act of charity;
A simple caring gesture;
A simple “Yes or No”;
A simple “I Love You”

Stay Safe and Have Fun

Al x

Thursday, 17 June 2010


This weeks article is about Control, or more specifically, Self-Control.

Self control is the ability to control one's emotions, behaviour and desires in order to efficiently manage one's future. In psychology it is sometimes called self-regulation.
No truer is this than when faced with a tough sparring partner, who seems able to place his gloves on your face at any moment he so chooses.Whilst your deficiency in technical ability may have no answer for this barrage of attack, your own self control can determine how you respond and react to this unwelcome punishment.

Many will have heard the phrase, “Being able to take a shot” and most of the time this is centered around ones ability to receive a heavy blow and not buckle or slip into unconsciousness as a result.

I prefer to consider ones ability to be able to take a shot is someone who will not react emotionally or have their following course of action directed and governed by this temporary defeat.

"As strong as my legs are, it is my mind that has made me a champion."
- Michael Johnson

As a fighter, the best thing that can happen in a fight is for your opponent to allow your connecting punches and strikes to effect their emotions, enraging them or frustrating them, because, when this happens, they become even easier to hit.

When an opponent loses their temper or becomes annoyed with your ability to tag them, their technique becomes less important than evening up the score and so their form becomes more scrappy and more open.

It’s this simple lesson that we can all take and apply to all of our challenges, whether that be a more skilled and talented sparring partner, or life’s punches and kicks that never seem to end and always seem to find their target.

Developing the self-control to refrain from reacting, enables us to be able to think rationally and therefore Act rather than React. As a result, when we take conscious action, it will be more focused, decisive, functional and controlled.

When I think about control I only have to look at my other day-job to see just important this is.
As you know, I work for a formula 1 team.

The formula 1 car being the product this team design and then race. This vehicle is fantastically astonishing and impressive in many ways, none more so than the sheer power and performance it can generate.
With an ability to accelerate from 0 to 100mph in less than 3 seconds, and top speeds of nearly 200mph, it is an extremely powerful machine.

And so, with all of this power, it needs great control in order to harness is, direct it and not let it go spinning off the track.

Control comes from many elements, one of which being the steering wheel, which is estimated to cost around £30,000 to manufacture and over 1 week to assemble. A complex and obviously, important piece of equipment, essential to the control of the car.

It’s this analogy, the value placed upon the need for total control, that I relate back to my martial arts and those skills developed in sparring and other areas of training.

As we become more talented and gifted martial artists, we develop more power, and this power needs to be controlled. Not only when on the mat or in the ring but also when we are out and about in our everyday lives.We are learning to become fighters and with that comes great responsibility to control our emotions, our behaviour and not allow situations to dictate our reactions.

Self control can be developed in many ways, not just in sparring and being able to take shots without responding inappropriately.
How about taking yourself into the gym when you would rather be supping beer down the pub?
How about pushing yourself for another round on the bag when every inch of you wants to call it a day and hit the showers?

And if you can do that in the gym, then why not in every other aspect of your lives?
Sparring is not just teaching you how to avoid being hit – there are far greater things to be learned in this simple exercise.

Who’d have thought that being hit in the face could deliver such wonderful lessons?

“The happiness of a man in this life does not consist in the absence but in the mastery of his passions.”
- Tennyson

Stay safe, have fun


Thursday, 3 June 2010

What Are You Thinking?

Some recent events have prompted me to start this weeks’ article with a favourite poem of mine

State of Mind Poem

If you think you are beaten, you are;
If you think you dare not, you won’t;
If you like to win, but don’t think you can,
It’s almost a cinch you won’t.

If you think you’ll lose, you’re lost;
For out in the world you’ll find
Success begins with a fellow’s will
It’s all in a state of mind.

For many a game is lost
Ere even a play is run,
And many a coward fails
Ere even his work is begun.

Think big and your deeds will grow,
Think small and you’ll fall behind;
Think that you can and you will;
It’s all in a state of mind.

If you think you are out classed, you are;
You’ve got to think high to rise;
You’ve got to be sure of your self before
You can ever win a prize.

Life’s battles don’t always go
To the stronger or faster man,
But sooner or later, the man who wins
Is the fellow who thinks he can.


The biggest message from this poem is the fact that in order to achieve you first have to believe. (Thanks to Darren Checkley for this perfect phrase that is the basis for his own Personal Trainer business)Your mindset is probably the most important thing to get right first if you are to embark on any journey or any event that you wish to have a successful outcome.

If you don’t believe me, then let me give you a little description of a week I’ve just had to help illustrate this point.

It started with an event, that I won’t go into, but one which basically left me feeling very down, very upset and very angry. That’s as much as I will say about the matter, but quite simply, I was left with a week of sleepless nights while I ran thoughts and conversations around and around in my head, as I often do when in times of turmoil.

So, lets just say I was in a “not so positive” place when I embarked on my week-long journey of replacing a bathroom in one of my rental properties for a wonderful tenant who has been with me for many years and really did need a nice shiney new bathroom.

It started ok – the destruction of ripping out the old suite and smashing tiles off the walls was quite therapeutic. Sadly, however, even this day of bashing and physical exertion in this room, with only my self for company, was not enough to release all of the frustrations I was immersed in.

So when it came to the more delicate tasks of fitting the new suite, and all of the jobs I normally enjoy doing, it started to go a little downhill.Not to blow my own trumpet but I am actually quite a good DIYer, having done a fair bit of property development, so ordinarily, replacing a bathroom in the space of a week, with some extra help from my equally talented father, should not have been a problem. But immediately, things started to go wrong.

Without boring you further, a brief list of some of the hurdles I encountered included, fitting the bath only to have to remove it to fix a leaking pipe, several visits to a well known store to collect more fittings to complete the installation, re-siting the toilet as it didn’t fit, switching sinks due to incorrect sizes, fixing leaks, unblocking pipes, tiling the floor and then re-tiling it to fix broken tiles.And so the list goes on.

Most of these issues, as they arose were followed with many expletives and a few “why me’s”.It seemed nothing would go right with this job. Every task was a chore, made harder by one problem or another, set back on top of set back.

It most certainly was a stressful week and I was left pretty much wrecked by, not the physical exertion but the mental pressures I had struggled with all week.I complained that it was as if the bathroom was fighting me, which logically is a ridiculous thing to suggest.Lou hit the nail on the head when she said that, most of these problems were because I was in a bad place and nothing to do with the bathroom itself. Of course, she was totally right.

My negative mindset was the catalyst for the problems and acted like a magnet for DIY disasters, made worse my the frustrations that ensued after each additional set back.

So, if you want something to prove that thinking positive is a pre-requisite for having positive things happen, then look no further than my week of negativity to see just how many negative things happened when my mind was in the wrong frame.

The universe craves balance and so if my week of negative thinking gave way to negative results, then it is safe to assume that positive thinking will bring about positive results.
So I ask you to spare a moment to as yourself – “What are you thinking?”I’m now through it, over it and past it. The bathroom looks great, the tenant is extremely happy, and my following week was full of great training, great times with great friends and several pieces of great news that have given me renewed positivity again – just in case you were at all worried - ha ha
I would like to leave you with a little quote of my own based on my past two weeks of very opposite states of mind and paralleled results

Choose your thoughts wisely, for;
Whatever you Dream of you give power, and;
Whatever you fear you will also give power, and;
Whatever you give power to will be attracted to you

Gandhi said it far more eloquently

Keep your thoughts positive,
because your thoughts become your words.
Keep your words positive,
because your words become your behaviours.
Keep your behaviours positive,
because your behaviours become your habits.
Keep your habits positive,
because your habits become your values.
Keep your values positive,
because your values become your destiny.

And remember
“sooner or later, the man who wins
Is the man who THINKS he can.”

So, do your best to stay positive folks, you’ll be amazed what can happen when you do.

Stay Safe and Have Fun

Al x

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Work Harder

As always, my articles are usually inspired by things that have happened to me, and to those around me.
This week is no exception and it is with the great news that my brother Mick Tully has received his certificate to confirm his recognition and well deserved place on the Dan Inosanto Apprentice Instructor program, that I write this weeks article.
For those not aware, to be awarded such a position not only requires the proposal of a senior instructor within the Dan Inosanto program, it also requires a lengthy, if not life long study of the arts.

Mick has done just that, and was so highly regarded that not one, but two of his instructors, a couple of the most respected men in their field, both proposed Mick for this achievement.

But these things don’t come easy. Certainly not on the back of one or two sessions a week for a few years, and most definitely not on the back of a week-end or 6 month series of seminars. No, this type of award is the result of many many years hard work, dedication and commitment to the arts.
It is this dedication, this focus and faith, this self belief and continual strive for self improvement, that gives me this weeks’ inspiration.

Those who know me know I’m no stranger to hard work. I am a firm believer that it’s not just about working “Smart Not Hard”, it’s actually about Working “Smarter AND Harder”.

The only thing you get by being lazy is Fat, so as well as learning smarter and more efficient ways to work, you still need to put in some time, commit some energy and some sweat, if you want to make real progress.

Ask Thomas Edison who reportedly took over 12 years to invent the lightbulb

He himself said “There is no substitute for hard work”

Ask Alexander Bell who reportedly took over 6 years to invent the telephone.

Both achievements took incredible commitment and dedication, they took tenacity and unwavering staying power when things got difficult or looked to be making no progress, and they took faith and belief that one day the hard work would pay off.
Once you have that belief and understanding that your efforts will eventually be rewarded, then you have the reason to keep driving forwards. Without that belief then you will stop at the first hurdle and never reach your full potential.

As Mick is quoted to say a lot on our classes, if you’re going to paint, do you want to be a painter and decorator or do you want to be a Michael Angelo. And lets not forget that Michael Angelo took over 4 years to paint the Sistine chapel.
He could have just slapped a coat of magnolia over that ceiling and been done with it within the week, but he wanted more, and he had faith that when it was done the rewards would be magnificent. But those rewards didn’t happen overnight, nor did they happen with a couple of hours work a day and plenty of coffee breaks in between. He was smart with his ideas and methods of painting that ceiling but he also worked dam hard too.

Everything that’s worth doing is probably going to take a lot of effort, but the rewards will be ever present once you commit to putting in the hours and giving it your all.

Sir Isaac Newton is quoted as saying
“If I am anything, which I highly doubt, I have made myself so by hard work.”

And I have a little quote of my own that I think sums up this whole article

“Most people expect Everything but give only Something
Only when you’re prepared to give Everything can you start to expect Anything”

Al Peasland

And without fear of making this article a long collection of quotes and motivational phrases I’d like to leave you with something that I heard the amazing Randy Pausch say in one of his lectures

“If you want the secret to my success, call me in my office on a Friday night at 10pm and I’ll tell you”

So start working hard. Know what you want, commit yourself to it, have some faith that you will get there and be prepared to make an effort.

Work Smarter AND Harder.

Congratulations to Mick Tully on his fantastic achievement. I know how pleased he is with this prestigious accolade and I am thoroughly excited for him. Not only for the recognition he has received but also for where he will take this in the future.

Oh, and a final footnote. I just told you all that working hard will bring the rewards. The beauty is that sometimes you get even more than you had bargained for, which I see as a Brucie Bonus for making the effort in the first place.

Well Mick not only received the certificate he was proposed for in the Jun Fan and JKD arts, he also received another accreditation to teach the Filipino arts too. Totally unexpected but totally deserved.
Sometimes you just have to put in the hard work and trust that the rewards will be there.

Thanks for reading

Stay Safe and Have Fun

AL x

Thursday, 29 April 2010

Al's 25 Questions

A good friend of mine Kris Wilder has a great blogspot where he invites senior martial artists to share their thoughs via the forum of only 25 questions/statements/quotes, etc

Here's what I had to offer - you can see the full blog from the link at the top

25.Sometimes, 25 questions just aren’t enough.

24.I love animals more than I love a great deal of people.

23.Love your family, Love your friends, Love your partner, but most importantly, Love yourself. You are the only one who is guaranteed to be with you your entire life.

22. With a beginners mentality the world of opportunity opens up, but with a masters mind the choices are few. The moment you think of yourself as being “in the room”, is the moment the door is firmly closed in front of you.

21.If you want to be a tall tree, don’t chop all the others around you down – just grow taller. My brother Mick Tully

20.You know you have to make things change when you find yourself sleeping on a sofa with a gun under your pillow.

19.Some days all you need is a cuddle, other days you just need to toughen the hell up.

18.My Animal Days are many. Some are ongoing battles that feel like they’re never going to end. Some are over in a flash with instant rewards.
What’s your Animal Day?

17.Embrace the ones you love with open arms.

16. We may want to achieve great things, but sometimes we do that by helping others to achieve great things.

15.We make a living through what we get but a life through what we give. Sir Winston Churchill

14.You can’t learn to swim without getting wet and you can’t learn to fight without getting hit.

13.When you are balanced you are more difficult to knock over. That applies to the attacks from your training partner and the kicks and punches that life will throw at you.

12.You can be a Jack of All Trades AND a Master of One.

11.Work smarter AND work harder.

10.The tallest branch is never the safest roost, but it certainly gives you the best vantage point.

9.Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are busy living our fears.

8.Integrity is precious and fragile. You work your life to build it up but it can all be lost in one moment’s action.

7.You’ll find out who your real friends are the moment it becomes uncomfortable for them to be your friend.

6.Self Protection begins with the “Self”.

5.The day I am not laughing and having fun on the mat – is the day I find something else to do.

4.Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take – but the number of moments that take our breath away.

3.Reputation is what others think of you – but character is what you actually are. Work more on your character and be concerned less about your rep.

2.If it was easy – everyone would be good.

1.You cannot have Courage without having Fear.