I've always enjoyed writing and for the most part, like other writers I know, the purpose of writing was to share. The story might be beautiful, tragic, terrifying, or informative but the real goal was to share the wonder of it, the wonder of creation.


“Meditations on Violence” was different. In a single year, many, many things had happened. Too close to some ugly cases, caught between what I knew and what the media was presenting. The delivery of a baby addicted to crack and heroin. A crushed face and an empty skull and plumber's crack in death on a windy, cloudy day. Looking over sights and pulling the trigger and suddenly seeing a volcano of blood and meat erupting... and there was no one, really, to talk to about it.


I do have a good support network, people who love me and would listen, but they didn't really understand. The hardest were the martial artists. Most of my friends for most of my life have been involved in martial arts. Judo and jujutsu did much to form who I am. But for the first time I was seeing them as people who played at violence as a hobby and had never heard the screams or felt the bones break.


I felt very tired and very alone.


Meditations was never meant to be shared. Like the early entries on the blog, it was just an attempt to get things out of my head, to put them down on paper so that someone else could poke at them for a while. It is an attempt to take some memories that no one should have and shape something useful out of the sewage of a soul.

THE CRAFT of WRITING


Writing is like money. It's also like fighting. And like driving. It is one of those things where the people who deal with it professionally don't think of it the way that amateurs do. Raised as a poor kid, I assumed that money was a zero-sum game, that if you had more, someone else had less. Professionals see money as something that can be used, harnessed and managed and as inexhaustible as thought.


A tactical team doesn't look at confrontation or violence or fighting the way a martial artist or a martial sport competitor does. It is not a test or an adventure or an opportunity for personal growth. It is something to be avoided or ended as quickly, efficiently and safely as possible.


When my wife first introduced me to her writers group I was shocked to discover that professional writers approached it as a craft. It wasn't inspiration. It wasn't a gift from the gods. It was a skill that you spent hours of practice on. It was learning the tools to get a thought from your brain into others’ and having it be received with the effect that you intended.


Writing for yourself is fun. Putting the world in your head down on paper so that you can revisit it and enjoy it is good. But if you want to publish, it's not enough. You have to put it on paper so well that it creates the image in other people's heads. That's a skill, and it takes practice. It also takes a dedicated listening to your good first readers. If you have to explain your story it's not because they "didn't get it" it is because you failed to give it to them.


MARY ROSENBLUM

Mary was the one who taught me to see writing as a craft and is the best mechanics of the English written language that I know. She is very active with the Long Ridge Writer's Group.

Typing away in Baghdad, waiting for transport.

ON GETTING PUBLISHED



My advice will be particularly worthless here. In the field of nonfiction the way it is supposed to happen is that you research and write and polish (or at least get the idea down solid). Then you do exhaustive market research either looking for an agent or a publisher. You put together a killer cover letter; a tight, brilliant synopsis; your most fantastic example chapters and you mail them off...


I sent an early draft of Meditations out to a very small number of readers- friends who were either good martial artists and familiar with real violence or experienced at violence and familiar with martial arts. It was more of a fishing expedition than anything: "This is what I see, what am I missing? What have you seen?"


Kris Wilder called back the day he received it, "Oh, kiddo, by the way I was on the phone with my publisher when it came in. He said he'd like to see it. I sent it on to him. Hope you don't mind."


Don't mind? I can stand alone in a cell with a 300 pound inmate screaming threats without a trickle of adrenaline, but I felt a cold shot down my spine when Kris said that. It's good. Left to my own devices, Meditations probably would have been something that I just passed on to my students and martial colleagues. It would have never seen the light of day.

An e-book available from Smashwords. Click on it!

AND ON KINDLE

      Introduced the chapter on ‘Strategy’

Two Chapters on  infighting

An introduction by yours truly

OTHER BOOKS

E-BOOKS ON SMASHWORDS

DRILLS covers many of the things I do at seminars as well as some exercises that have been reserved for private students.

From a reader and friend:

Rory,

The title vastly undersells what you put together this time. It's not so much a drill book as a guide to re-engineering oneself...

One thing that surprised me (albeit only slightly) was the number of invitations for readers to come out and swim in deep, dark waters. Tremendous growth potential for folks who take those invitations seriously. Here's hoping they like, or at least can accept, what they find.

I’m compiling the blogs by year.  You can get most of the stuff free on line at http://chirontraining.blogspot.com/  But now it is mostly in order and I added some material to make it worth the price.  More volumes will follow.

“Facing Violence” grew out of a mini-seminar I did at Kris Wilder’s Martial University.  Martial artists tend to equate self-defense with fighting and it is much, much more than that.  But what?

“Facing Violence” breaks that issue down to seven subjects you MUST cover if you teach self-defense and you’d damn well better understand BEFORE you ever have to defend yourself:


  1. 1)The ethics and legalities of using force.  You must know yourself well enough to know what you can and can’t do, your personal and sometimes subconscious ethics.  And you’d better know the law or you can actually train to go to prison.

  2. 2)Violence Dynamics.  If you don’t know how bad guys attack, how can you possibly know what to train for?

  3. 3)Avoidance, Escape and Evasion and De-Escalation.  Saying it’s better not to fight is just talk.  You have to practice not-fighting, which means you have to know what to practice.

  4. 4)Counter-assault:  What do you do for the ambush or the sucker punch?  How do you train for it?

  5. 5)The Freeze.  People freeze.  What exactly does that mean and what can you do about it?

  6. 6)The fight itself.  Most practitioners concentrate right here,and that’s fine.  But even at the core, you have to train with respect to the ways fights actually happen- with compromised structure and speed and movement and obstacles.

  7. 7)The Aftermath.  There are medical, legal and social/psychological consequences of using force.  Too many people are unprepared, even for winning and risk prison, civil suits or even suicide.

SOME KINDLE CHOICES

THE NEW ONES

In retrospect, 2012 was a pretty big year for writing...

FORCE DECISIONS

Officers are authority figures in a society where challenging authority is a right.  I made my peace with that a long time ago.  But it always infuriated me that people were protesting and complaining based on how they feel.  They didn’t know the rules.  They didn’t know the job... but they were damn sure swift to judge.  I wanted a book out there that introduced civilians to the rules.  I don’t care if they complain, I just want any complaints to be based on real issues, not feelings.


I wrote most of this in Iraq, and really hesitated to publish.  This debate is so fractious and tribal that I doubt anyone wants to hear the rules or the facts.  Give it a read and judge for yourself.

CAMPFIRE TALES FROM HELL

This was a blast.  My first editing job and all proceeds go to help a friend with medical bills, so I don’t feel self-conscious about bragging.  Editing was a kick, but the primary difference between editing and herding cats is that cats are way less neurotic and insecure than writers.


Some of the stories blew me away, especially the ones by first time writers.  How to survive as a patient in a secure mental ward.  How a good bouncer reads people.  Explosive violence.  How to talk to police after a violent encounter.  There is some powerful information here not available anywhere else.

Scaling Force

Once upon a time, Lawrence Kane called me up and said he had an idea for a book: “Most martial arts only cover a very narrow range of force options.  Want to do a book on the whole scale?”


And I was reluctant, but Lawrence is a nice guy and his skills as a writer (basically a form of OCD) exactly balance my deficits as a writer (terse to the point of obscurity) so...


It turned out good.  I think the sections on Presence and Verbal skills are the best I’ve ever written, but brain storming with Lawrence on some of the other concepts brought me some new understanding.

FACING VIOLENCE: THE VIDEO

Damn.  A video.  I have no acting ability.  Don’t know how to look at a camera like it’s a person, yadda yadda yadda.  David Silver basically filmed a seminar...and it’s cool.  Some of the drills that are easier to visualize than to read.  Coolest of all, we captured a game called “Articulation Wars”.  If you teach (or study) self defense, you need to include that concept in your training.  The physical fight is not the end.

Playing in Germany

NEW E-BOOKS

Starting in 2005 I taught and designed classes for the MCSO Mental Health Team.  This is the book.

Two more years of the blog compilations.  Kami does beautiful covers.  BTW, if you need a cover for an e-book contact her.

Yes, I’m writing under a pseudonym here.  Didn’t feel comfortable using my kid’s real names.  I was a bad dad.

AND THE STAND-BYS. 

Nothing is changed below this line.