Happy New Year! I wish you and yours a wonderful and interesting
2014 interesting in a good way, of course!
How was your 2013? Good I hope although many people, I know,
were challenged this past year. Gambatte!
My 2013 was a bit different from past
years. A year for introspection, perhaps. In 2012 I traveled
quite a bit, perhaps it was my mid-lifemusha
shugyo. I looked back over mytheme
was flabbergasted by the many things I did and places I visited.
Of course, I did do some travelling in 2013, but not as much
as that last few years. I really needed to stay at home more
and train on my own. As a musician, I know for every hour
I perform on stage, I must put in many, many more hours of practice
at home, "woodshedding" by myself. I think it is the
same with martial arts. I am flattered to be asked many places
to teach, but how can I continue to do that if I don't keep
improving myself? How can I teach something if I can't do it?
When I was much younger I spent a lot of time hanging around
Hatsumi Sensei. I saw him in the dojo, of course, but after
everyone went home, I would go back to his house to "help"
him with this or that. Invariably he would grab his three dogs
(and me) and head out for long walks. Sometimes it would be
bitterly cold, so we would wrap our faces and put on warm clothes.
Once Sensei was hit by a car; from then on he would wear a flashlight
on his head that looked like something a coal miner would wear.
But regardless, hot or cold, rain or shine, he would walk. And
train. He would practice ninja walking, performshutoagainst
trees and lampposts, judo throw the dogs, blend in with the
shadows, search the trees for places "enemies" might
hide. Many things that you would never see in a dojo. Hmmm,
I remember those days very well...
Anyway, as I said, Ididdo
a bit of traveling in 2013.
Our group enjoyed theBuyῡ Camp
West in San Francisco under
the Golden Gate Bridge on the Pacific Ocean. As has become custom,
the event was in honor ofMark
We had training seminars in NJ and California. I visited Paul
Fisher, Ed Figueroa and the guys and gals in Florida twice.
Post West Palm Beach Training libation in November with Ed,
Claudia, Gary and Ken. Second from left is Carson Cox, one
of the original 1980 San Diego training guys!
I was in Chicago withJim
his group. I also visited Bogotá, Colombia with David Palau
and his group. And then Atlanta with my old friend Bud Malmstrom.
Bud & Jack
I went to Japan to celebrate Hatsumi Sensei's birthday and get
in some more training especially bojutsu with Noguchi Sensei
(more about that later).
The age of the big Daikomyosai training extravaganzas appears
to be over, but Hatsumi Sensei is still training and had some
very interesting things to say. I had a chance to train with
my friends Doug Wilson and Shawn Gray. Shawn captured the points
that Sensei was making in a recent post.
"Don't think - thinking fogs your brain,"
Soke said, specifically addressing the 15th dans.
Lower ranks can go ahead and think, he clarified. Use
the body for everything. Even if the feet don't move,
the body moves. Learn to move all parts of your body
independently. Don't lead with your head. If you do,
the attack will "come to your head" ('Atama
ni kuru', also a euphemism for 'losing your cool' in
Japanese). Don't struggle against a resisting opponent
- wrap them up instead. Use the image-making faculties
of the mind against the opponent and to your own advantage
- create impressions of things that aren't there, and
use the opponent's response to have them put the technique
Here's some fun photos from the trip.
Sensei's Birthday party.
My role model!
A little post training lunch and talk.
Pedro & I enjoying the Buyῡ feeling. Pedro will be
in NJ in June!
Enjoy yourself and keep going!!
I've been in Japan for the last thirty-three years in a row
for Sensei's birthday. Time flies! And it just doesn't feel
as if the Christmas Season has truly started
until I get to Tokyo. This Mama-san has it going on!
That was not so much travelling, was
it? Well, maybe a few more stops next year, including Switzerland,
Germany, Colombia, Chicago, California, Florida and who knows
where else? Checkherefor
upcoming seminars. And there are many more pictures on our Buyῡ
An old California Buyῡ friend of mine, Kenny Feld (aka
Yisrael Feldsott; aka Logan Wolf) had an exciting art exhibition
in 2013 that I was privileged to help produce. It was called "My
Enemy." "My Enemy" is a challenge to all of us
to see how others we are tempted to call enemy are actually
much like us. He travelled cross country engaging people on
the subject and then had an exhibition in a New York City gallery
and at the Tibet House.
My book "The Ethical Warrior," is doing very well.
It even was reviewed in the Marine's Leatherneck Magazine. Click
it if you want to read it.
If you haven't read the book and are
interested you can get more infohereor
it's even available forKindle.
And by the way, you can now start calling me Professor Hoban.
Only kidding! But Iwasasked
by the J. Mack Robinson College of Business at the University
of Georgia to be an adjunct professor of their
for Ethics and Corporate Responsibility. The Director, Dr.
Steven Olson has been working with my company, Resolution Group
International, on applying the Ethical Warrior principles and
Dr. Humphrey's Dual Life Value theory of human nature to business
leadership and ethics. This is very exciting work (and a little
controversial) as it runs quite counter to what is being taught
presently in business schools.
Hoban at the The Center for Ethics and Corporate Responsibility
I went to Georgia and did several presentations and classes
on ethics and leadership at Steve Olson's invitation. We have
big plans for 2014. Maybe even a business book based on the
Ethical Warrior concepts!
As you may know, RGI is made up of military and law enforcement
professionals who teach how to resolve conflict under stress.
The RGI curriculum extrapolates on the work I have done with
Robert L. Humphrey and the Marines in the areas of ethics, conflict
communication and physical protection skills. We had two more
RGI Conflict Resolution Courses in 2013 with participants from
the NYPD, NJ State Police, the Park Service, Marines, Fortune
500 and many more.
The infamous RGI beach workout!
Craig Gray leading some verbal defense and influence coursework
Joe Shusko giving one of his patented "tie ins"
Another fine group of Ethical Protectors!
If you are interested in learning how to apply the Ethical Protector
training as a law enforcement or military professional or
just want to explore the concept with the top-notch RGI instructors
in a hands-on setting as a civilian warrior check out RGI
Events. To see more training photos,
you can "like us" on Facebookhere.
As a representative of RGI, I had the honor of sharing the Ethical
Warrior concept with many law enforcement professionals at the
International Law Enforcement Education & Training Association
trade show in Chicago for the third time last April and it looks
like I will be on the agenda again in 2014. See you in Chicago!
I was also asked to be the keynote speaker at the "Beyond
conference in Milwaukee last November. It was billed as "The
Must-Attend Event for Anyone Who Deals with Conflict."
This was very exciting because I had the opportunity to deal
with conflict resolution professionals of many walks of life
from all over the country. Thanks to Gary Klugiewicz fromVerbal
Defense and Influenceand
all the folks atVistelarfor
inviting me to this great event. Next year I think it will be
if you are interested.
I had the privilege of speaking to
some great police officers inOttawa,
the Ethical Warrior concept. Read about my adventureshere.
Thank you Sgt. Pete Danyluk and all of the ethical protectors
of the OPS!
I also gave a presentation on how to write fight scenes at "ThrillerFest,"
a writers' convention in NYC thank you
and Kimberley Howe!
Book signing the "Ethical Warrior" at ThrillerFest
And don't forget Joe Shusko's book, "Tie-Ins For Life."
Resolution Group International is
in it's fourth year and continues to flourish and make an impact.
Lot's planned for 2014. And, as I said, you can see many more
This past year I was again privileged to work with the Marine
Corps Martial Arts Program (MCMAP)
in Quantico, Virginia. This important program is led ably by
LtCol Hank Weede and my good friend Joe Shusko (LtCol USMC ret.).
It covers armed and unarmed martial arts techniques, combat
conditioning, mental training and character development.
I can't say enough about these young Marines. They are physically
and mentally tough, yet respectful and ethical. Many are veterans
of both Iraq and Afghanistan. The methodology we use is simple
but vitally important: train a lot, talk a bit, train a lot,
talk a bit. The Marines relish the physical training, and then
are open to hear how to use their training and core values to
maintain their ethics and a "protector mindset" under
the adversity of war. In martial arts training, it is often
easy to focus on the physical part while giving mere lip service
to the mental and character elements. But all three parts must
- USMC photo courtesy of Homer Brett 2013
Ethical Warriorship" - USMC photo courtesy of Homer Brett
Ethical Warriors" - USMC photo courtesy of Homer Brett
My MCMAP inspirations: LtCol Joe Shusko USMC (ret.) and SgtMaj
Brian Pensak USMC (ret.)
I said I really wanted to play more music in 2013and
Our band "Rogues on the Run"
had a fun year and played quite a bit. We even did several gigs
with legendary drummerBernard
Franklin, James Brown, Steely Dan, Hall & Oates, Alan Jackson,
etc. etc. etc.).
Bernard "Pretty" Purdie on drums!
Jack & "Pretty" Purdie - always a privilege!
If you like contemporary blues with
a touch of jazz, check out ourwebpage.
And here's a video:
Whew! 2013 was a pretty action-packed year after all!! So, what
Our 2013 goal was to become stronger and more flexible. It evolved
into what we calledtraining
from the "inside out." It was inspired by an
observation. I was puzzling over why Hatsumi Sensei and Noguchi
Sensei seemed to be getting "stronger" while at the
same time moving ever more effortlessly and without exhibiting
any of the big muscles we normally associate with strength. One
clue was that Noguchi Sensei had been working very hard to earn
certification in bojutsu. A bo (6 foot staff), being of relatively
light weight, is a perfect tool for exercising (and strengthening)
the small muscles, connecting tissues, ligaments and tendons
in the hands, arms, shoulders and back. Effective bojutsu requires
the practitioner to "organize" himself, inside-out,
from the core. An organized body with strong connecting tissues
when employed through the trunk, legs, feet and toes using
proper taijutsu movement is a very powerful combination. If
you trained together with us in 2013, you know how seriously
we took this concept. I hope you got as much out of it as I
The other point that we extrapolated out of this was that it
is not only effectivemovementthat
comes from the inside-out, but ethicalbehavior.
There are uncountable laws, rules and regulations in our society
yet we still have so much criminal and unethical behavior.
The fact that so much of it comes from our so-called "leaders,"
is especially troubling. But here's the rub, laws are "outside-in"
controls; they may serve to regulate our behavior, but they
can't make us ethical. Ethics are inside-out.
It is a little bit like maintaining a proper body temperature:
it can be cold out, it can be hot out; we can turn up the heat,
turn up the AC; put on more clothes, take some off; but it is
endothermic process, that has the job of keeping us at a nice
98.6 degrees Fahrenheit.
One of my Buyῡ, a thoughtful fellow namedTony
this year, "You know, people appear to be nicer on the
outside these days, but inside they are becoming more unethical."
In other words, people talk politely and as if they are moral,
but when it comes down to it, they are not walking the talk.
As far as our budo is concerned, it is not enough that we look
good on the outside: that we have the rightdo-gi,
patch, rank, or have pictures with the coolest teachers or
even look good doing every waza and kata. We have to have true
internal strength physical, mental and moral strength that
can be focused into effective life-protecting action on behalf
of self and others. Thatis
the purpose of martial arts.
So, those of you who have been training with me on this inside-out
concept be forewarned. We are not done with it. In fact, we
are just getting warmed up!
In personal conversations with Hatsumi Sensei this year, he
used the termseigi(justice)over
and over. I think that it is his way of encouraging us to "keep
going," to see beyond the techniques and "outer trappings"
of martial arts to the core. I read recently that justice"is
a concept of moral rightness based ethics, rationality, law,
natural law, religion, equity and fairness, as well as the administration
of the law, taking into account the inalienable and inborn rights
of all human beings and citizens, the right of all people and
individuals to equal protection before the law of their civil
rights, without discrimination..."
Masaaki Hatsumi - from author's personal collection.
Yes, I believe this is the purpose of martial arts: attaining
justice. But, again, I don't think we can rely only on outside
controls to "impose" justice on us. I think all of
us, particularly those called to the warrior vocations, must
use our moral, verbal and physical skills to manifest justice
in our lives, in the lives of others, in our communities, in
our countries. In the world. To the extent we can. That is the
role of an ethical warrior.
And this all has had me thinking. To attain justice requires
shin, of sorts. We have todesirejustice
for all (not just for ourselves), we have tospeakjustly,
and we have toactjustly.
Thought, word and deed.
I have worked to clarify the concept of an ethical warrior in
my own mind. Physically, I have strived to learn the skills
of an ethical warrior through constant practice and training.
My weak point, I think, is my verbal skills. Like most of us,
I am not as adept as I could be at resolving conflict with words.
In fact, most of the conflicts I am in are a result of something
I said or how I reacted to what someone else has said. I have
begun to think "peace-talking" is an important, yet
under-practiced, skill of the ethical protector. Sensei uses
this skill all the time. In fact, if you try to say something
negative to Sensei he often deflects it or changes the subject,
bringing the conversation back around to something positive.
At RGI we practice the verbal peace-talking skills of
Verbal Defense and Influence that I learned from George
Thompson, Gary Klugiewicz and elsewhere. There
is decades of research indicating that, in conflicts,
the right word or words can be the difference between
de-escalation into a peaceful resolution or escalation
into a violent and unfortunate result. And we now know
what those words are and have methods of learning how
to use them effectively.
Check this out.
One of our RGI mentors, Chief Jim Challender (Marine and retired
NJ State Police Commandant) likes to say "some guys can
coax a rabid dog off a meat truck, while others can go to a
baby shower and start a riot; just by the way they talk."
I am interested in studying how amoresynergistic
combination of thought, word and deed can be used effectively
to resolve conflict. Many people talk big, but don't follow
through; that's a big problem. But many of us so-called ethical
protectors, although we may have physical skills, are not all
that expert when it comes to resolving conflicts verbally. For
example, look at the "militarization" of the police.
Many departments seem to be forgoing verbal conflict resolution
for "outside-in" technologies more cameras, more
swat teams, more armored vehicles. This can't be good.
Even our personal lives often suffer from poor communication
skills. Petty arguments with spouses, co-workers, TEENAGERS,
strangers. Are we as adept as addressing these conflicts as,
say, a right punch to the face?
Let's say we are in a real physical conflict and we are required
to subdue an opponent in order to protect ourselves, othersand
even the attacker, if possible.What
might we say during the altercation? Do weknow
what we might say? Is what comes out of our mouths something
that will actually help the situation? Have we practiced talking
as part of the "technique?" Somehow I doubt that screaming"I'll
kill you M***** F*****!" when taking someone to the
ground will actually make truly violent people want to relax
and comply. So what couldwe
say that might make them more inclined to relax and comply?
And, when dealing with bad guys on the street looking for a
looking for a victim tactical communication skills can be
a literal life saver. The whole topic of conflict communication
is fascinating and I will be looking for ways to integrate it
into the actual physical training.
So here is the theme of our Buyῡ training this year: Thought,
WORD and deed. Let's explore how words can become a more effective
tool in our quest to become ethical warriors. No, we are not
going to relax our physical or mental training regimens. We
are going to try to bring our verbal skills up to the level
of our mental and physical skills. San
like a three-legged stool: all three legs kind of have to be
the same size, don't you think?
So where do we start? Here are my goals:
Be more positive and respectful in the way I communicate
especially under stress or when involved in a conflict.
Research speech patterns (waza?) that are proven
to be effective for de-escalating conflict.
Speak less crudely overall (curtail the cussing and swearing).
at within the physical training
when appropriate, of couse..
Explore how peace-talking can actually improve the physical
Interesting, neh? So, let's enjoy ourselves and do