I am now officially certified to teach Guided Chaos seminars worldwide with full publicity support from headquarters. If you're interested in setting something up, please contact me directly. I have taught and can teach seminars on a variety of topics, from basic self-defense mindset and combative tactics to topic-specific and audience-specific courses. Examples includes: Introduction to Guided Chaos, Life-Saving Combatives for Law Enforcement, Guided Chaos Groundfighting, Hitting Clinic, Bare Hands to Handguns, weapon-specific seminars (cane, knife, tomahawk, more), Contact Flow Workshop, etc, plus the ever-popular "show up, see where your training group is, plug the gaps and take things to the next level". My seminars are very hands-on and action-packed, as that's the best way I know to effectively transmit the teachings of Guided Chaos. Let's discuss your group's/location's needs and make stuff happen! Thanks!
Want one of these in a T-shirt or hoodie? Should have them available for sale soon! Any color you want so long as it's black. If you're really eager, please contact me directly.
Last weekend, we made a "pilgrimage" to New York to spend some quality time with Guided Chaos creator John Perkins and friends, get some "humbling" training from John and the master instructors, have John evaluate my teaching and execution, and get the scoop on the latest Guided Chaos training methods and ideas. As usual, an awesome time was had by all! Currently taking inventory of and digesting the new information. Look for it to show up in class soon!
Check out our new YouTube channel! Please like, subscribe, share, and let me know what content you would like to see, if you are so inclined. Thanks!!! https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCj8eTFgbx_RBHS4CQxGNKfg
Three students review March 23, 2018 Guided Chaos Groundfighting seminar at Darsana Martial Arts in Tamarac, FL:
"Last night's ground defense seminar was great. It was super helpful to see so many options there are for damaging an attacker and protecting myself from the ground (even though we don't ever want it to get that far). Least effort on my part + maximum destruction of everything on my attacker = one great learning experience 😁😄. Thanks Ari Kandel!"
"I quite enjoyed it. I think it was one of the better workshops I’ve been too. I learned quite a bit. It sort of brought me back to when I was a kid and did this naturally. It was good to re-activate that."
"In March 2018 I attended a Guided Chaos ground fighting workshop with instructor Ari Kandel, ( Boca Raton, Florida ).
Instructor Kandel was very professional, knowledgeable and considerate.
Guided Chaos is the most practical and applicable self defense system
that I have been exposed to.
The workshop was very instructive and fun at the same time.
The flexibility to adapt Guided Chaos principles to a real street confrontation makes it a very effective system.
I would recommend Guided Chaos and their instructors to anyone broadening their martial arts training.
Guided Chaos will put concepts and techniques in your toolbox that can benefit and be used by anyone. Thank you again."
Thanks to all who attended and made the seminar exceptionally fun and educational for all involved!
This article about the Fright Reaction, one of the most fundamental and important ideas taught in Guided Chaos, originally appeared in the August 2008 issue of Black Belt Magazine. Enjoy!
Recently I posted on facebook.com/internalselfdefense a brief review of the new Combative Movement Immersion Seminar video, available for sale now at Attackproof.com. In the review, I wrote, “I feel that this video more than any can really help ADVANCE anyone's training.” Well, the next morning (Sunday), I proved myself right. (Don’t you love when that happens???)
After attending the seminar live, my main take-aways had been: How do we do contact flow better, for deeper and faster learning? 1) go slow, 2) zen out, 3) move like Tina.
This was all accurate (especially the “move like Tina” part, reinforced by my most recent visit to NY), but there was more that I had missed, either due to the sheer volume of information shared or my own tiredness and lack of focus.
Some things emphasized in the video that I kinda missed in person are:
1) The primary importance of being absolutely unavailable
2) The importance of the “descending parabola” in all stepping and shifting
3) The fact that John’s ability to move people comes from his sensitivity to angles where people aren’t balanced, NOT from applying a lot of pressure
4) If it requires effort, it’s bullshit (to quote John directly)
5) We have to be completely liquid and structure-free, except for the split second of the drop where the structure exists between the root point and the enemy like a flash of lightning and then vanishes
Regarding being unavailable:
In the “unavailable yet unavoidable” mantra, unavailable comes first. If you are available to the enemy’s strikes/pressure/manipulation, you give up control of your own body, preventing you from making your own attacks/pressure/manipulation unavoidable by the enemy.
A problem is that many students, in their misplaced desire to skip to the “unavoidable” in contact flow by landing strikes and taking balance, cheat and deceive themselves on unavailability. They’ll accept pressure and obstacles to press forward with their own attacks, erroneously thinking they sufficiently “absorbed” or “mostly avoided” the training partners’ movements, or their balance was “good enough,” or some other justification for allowing themselves to be available. Unfortunately this is setting them up for failure. Under real conditions against bigger/stronger/faster enemies, being too available can be fatal as movement, impact and penetration are magnified. As with other Guided Chaos ideas like balance and looseness, it behooves us to “overtrain” unavailability so that it’s most likely to be maximally available to us under duress.
I recall Tim saying back in the day, “The board doesn’t lie!” He was referring to the GC wobble board used to challenge students’ balance. His point was that the challenging balance situation created by the board made it difficult for students to lie to themselves about their availability and balance. If a student allowed herself to be available to pressure/striking/leverage during contact flow on the wobble board, she’d fall off the board. Nothing nebulous about that! A similar effect can be achieved by practicing contact flow on one leg.
So on Sunday morning, with two private students, I did just about all my contact flow standing on one leg (and encouraged the students to do the same, short of overly fatiguing their legs), focusing on unavailability. Guess what? It worked! Not only was I able to be far less available, but it seemed my unavailability was infectious. Both students for the most part were far less available than usual, even when they stood on both feet. Cool.
The power of integrating the descending parabolic movement into all movement cannot be overemphasized. I felt it first hand Sunday morning each time I briefly switched from flowing on one leg to flowing on two, while being mindful to use the descending parabolic path in each weight shift and step. It enhances unavoidability and penetration while also enhancing unavailability as better balance and looseness are maintained, reducing available structure. Rather than move the whole skeleton directly into the enemy with a straight weight shift or step, using the descending parabolic movement allows the body to “melt” into the enemy without structuring—or so it feels on each end. Need to play with this a lot more until it becomes the norm, as it is for John.
As with unavailability, we need to be far harsher on ourselves to move each other via sensitivity rather than via effort and pressure. It’s too tempting at times to apply JUST A LITTLE MORE pressure to take a training partner’s balance. Unfortunately, that temptation sets back our training. Adding pressure reduces unavailability and unavoidability, increases structure and commitment, reduces sensitivity and generally increases our vulnerability while conditioning our mind to accept that more muscular effort is a good thing. Bad news all around! Having the patience to move slowly and experiment with low-effort angles and changes may not produce as much instant gratification in terms of immediately affecting our training partners, but it will pay off big-time as we gradually learn to feel how we can disrupt things with minimal effort and pressure. Using the wobble board and/or standing on one leg can help with this as well, because use of excessive pressure/structure/effort is immediately punished by loss of balance.
There is WAY more to unpack from the 4-hour-plus video, and way more that I’ll have to overhaul in my own training and movement habits beyond a single successful morning to get on a better path. Hopefully though I’ve communicated how valuable it can be to have some of John’s deepest lessons and demonstrations available to you on video. No, I don’t think you can easily “learn Guided Chaos” from scratch exclusively via video. Hands-on contact with experienced teachers is invaluable to ensure you and your training partners are on the right track. That being said, careful study of video lessons, especially one so dense and deep as the Combative Movement Immersion Seminar video, can most definitely supercharge and advance the training of any dedicated practitioner.
My recommendation is redoubled: save up and GET IT!
Lots of videos, photos and information being shared on our new Facebook page:
Please check it out, like and follow! Thanks!!!
And, starting this week, classes are now Tuesdays and Thursdays at 8p! See you there!!!
I had some recent success with a couple students revisiting the meaning and application of The Root That Can't Be Found, one of the basic ideas discussed in the book Attack Proof.
Remember that a person can stop your motion, jam you up and off-balance you only if he has a direct line with his pressure to your center of gravity, no matter where he's pushing from or through.
If he can never find your center of gravity, he can never stop your motion, jam you up or off-balance you.
One way to lessen his ability to find your center of gravity is to keep it constantly moving--which you should usually do anyway in the name of body unity.
Let’s talk about “center of gravity” in this context as the point on the ground coinciding with the plumb line that falls from your physical center of gravity within your lower torso. We keep it constantly moving by pressing our feet against the ground such that the position of that point on the ground keeps changing relative to where our feet are on the ground. This can apply even if you are on one foot, as there are infinite points on the ground within the span of your foot on which that plumb line can fall, and infinite points on the bottom of that foot with which to push against the ground to shift that plumb line’s position. If you have two feet on the ground, of course, that range of possible “center of gravity points” greatly expands, but remember the ideal is to move things as subtly as possible, not as much as possible.
Here, try to push me off-balance. So long as I keep my center of gravity moving, I’ll be okay, and your attempts to push against my center of gravity will fail and slide harmlessly off my body as my center of gravity continues to subtly move, such that when you think you have a bead on it, it’s already moved somewhere else.
HOWEVER, people frequently mess this up due to allowing their conscious minds to fixate somewhere. Let’s say this time, when you go to push me off-balance, you do it a little more suddenly and violently, such that my mind registers the contact as a threat or something to worry about. As my mind fixates on that threat, my center of gravity stops moving and becomes vulnerable. Often I’ll also do something stiff, spastic, overcommitted and disunited in an attempt to evade or escape the perceived threat. That combination of catastrophes will spell my doom.
Hence we see that our survival in this case comes down to our ability to control our mind, or to not allow our conscious mind to control us.
The idea I drilled with my students was as follows:
No matter what happens, as we flow, concentrate only on the feeling of the feet pressing against the ground, ensuring constant change, ergo constant movement of the center of gravity, creating a Root That Can’t Be Found. Consciously ignore anything else that is going on, simply stay in contact and allow your body to move with everything while keeping your head suspended from a string (i.e. neutral, relaxed posture with no leaning). Focus on and visualize only the bottoms of your feet against the floor, feeling every tiny change as precisely as possible.
As long as you are able to maintain that mental focus, notice that nothing bad happens to you! Attempts to push you off balance slide harmlessly off your body. Attempted strikes drift harmlessly past you, as your moving center of gravity moves your head and body above it as well.
But notice what happens the instant you allow your mind to shift to what I may be doing to you:
You mentally register my attempt to push you, and rather than allowing your center of gravity to continue to move and obviate the potential problem with no effort, that movement STOPS as you focus on the hand on your body. Your body may attempt to pocket or twist out of the way, your hand my try to push my hand away, but because your mind became fixated, your center of gravity became stationary, your root is found, and all excess efforts are for naught.
Keeping your mind in the bottoms of your feet, you can move in, cutting off my movement and ability to stay on balance. Even as you step forward, you are not COMMITTED forward. Just as in the balance exercises, you place your foot and shift your center of gravity, keeping it free and movable in any direction at any time. Remember that feet cannot move any faster than the hands and the rest of the body.
Remember that the idea of keeping the mind focused on the bottoms of your feet is just a trick to prevent the as-yet-untrained mind from fixating on anything else. Eventually you want to train your mind to observe everything and fixate on nothing, staying open and present while freeing the subconscious to do what it does best, without having to resort to tricks or devices.
Generalizing from here, if you can keep your mind fluid, you can keep your body fluid, and have little to fear. As soon as your mind fixates, you are screwed. The better you can maintain this mental and physical fluidity under increasing amounts of pressure (speed/power/danger), the greater your mastery of Guided Chaos and the greater your potential combat effectiveness.
Spoiler alert: A moving center of gravity can still be found and taken advantage of by someone with a higher level of sensitivity. We then must get into deceptiveness, masking the movement of the center of gravity behind false surfaces and equal pressure, etc. LOTS more levels to this stuff!
See attackproof.com soon for purchase/download info. Very excited for this one!!!
Guided Chaos Instructor