Q: Does any one system, style, or instructor have all the best answers for personal defense?

No, absolutely not. People have different physical capabilities, different values and beliefs, they are in different legal environments, and they face different personal defense threats. Personal defense is inherently a “custom” art. ALIVE!™ prioritizes developing students’ critical thinking skills and their ability to sort out what is actually going to work for them.

Q: Who is going to benefit the most from ALIVE!™ training?

ALIVE!™ is 100% focused on individual personal defense. Self-reliant civilians, solo law enforcement officers, and most military personnel who carry a pistol will find the training well suited to them.

Q: Why would someone spend money on ALIVE!™ training instead of with someone else? What is it about ALIVE!™ that really stands apart from the rest of the systems out there?"

ALIVE!™ is very different than most other training for three reasons.

First, ALIVE!™ asserts that in order to learn how to fight, one must fight. Students know the system works because they can make it work against a living opponent who is trying to win. Boxing has sparring, soccer has the scrimmage: when the task is to defeat another person, training for that task must include fully resistant opponents to be complete. Shooting paper targets, cooperative partner drills, and solo training are not enough.

Second, ALIVE!™ is a comprehensive personal defense system that uses one set of movements for all weapons, firearms, and empty hands. ALIVE!™ integrates the very best of traditional martial arts, combatives, and gunfighting with a unique context-driven training methodology that builds skill fast. Because ALIVE!™ is optimized for personal defense, sport-only techniques and traditional aspects are already sorted out. What is left is a coherent consistent system that effectively addresses all aspects of personal defense.

Third, ALIVE!™ training is fun and largely ego-free. When training is focused on prevailing against a living opponent, it requires personal interaction and trust, and builds camaraderie and community among those who train. The fact is that on the street anyone can be defeated, and we learn the most when we are defeated in training. ALIVE!™ presents students with extremely challenging training and in this environment, previous job titles, shooting trophies, war stories, and big egos mean nothing: the only thing that matters is what you can do right now. ALIVE!™ training also consistently proves the most expensive gun or latest tactical gear often has little impact on the outcome of a fight. ALIVE!™ delivers a training experience full of truth and clarity that will significantly increase your personal defense capability and understanding.

Q: “Context is everything.™” What does that mean?

Context is the circumstances that make up a personal defense situation, it’s how our training can be fully understood and assessed. Context must drive all training, it’s the “why we are training”. Training without context isn’t much more than “training for the sake of training”. When we seek results within limited time and resources, efficiency demands training be in context.

For example, if you wanted to learn to play American football, you wouldn’t seek out a rugby coach. Even though both sports appear similar, use footballs, pass the ball, and have endzones, experience and training in one sport means very little when playing the other. Likewise, when selecting personal defense training, one should stay focused on the threats one expects to actually encounter: this is the context. Commandos should train for commando threat situations, SWAT officers for police threat situations, and civilians should train for civilian threat situations. One should question the context of any training course and ensure it’s appropriate for them.

Another aspect of context is that within your training every sparring session. partner drill, individual task, and mental skill should be focused on prevailing against your specific personal defense threats. Without constant orientation to your context, training often devolves into an endless progression of skill drills and solo practice that give a false impression of competency. If your intention is to develop personal defense competency, you must train early and often in personal defense scenario work. Skill drills and solo practice are essential components of training, metrics track your progress, but achieving desired performance goals in drills is not the end-state objective.

The question “What is the context?” is the key to unlocking efficiency in training, as well as the ability to quickly identify dubious training when one sees it.

Q:Why does it maTTER that ALIVE™! is a Weapon-centric system?

Bottom line up front: because humans use tools. Other systems prioritize empty hands, ALIVE!™ is a weapon-centric system that teaches how to fight effectively with and against weapons. Criminals may use weapons to attack us, and we plan on using weapons to defend ourselves.

When you want to build a skillset that focuses on use of weapons, you need to start with a weapon-centric system as the foundation. Systems that are based on boxing or wrestling are fundamentally incompatible with weapon attacks. Core concepts like "absorbing strikes", "rolling with punches", "catching punches", "clinch game", and "slow your roll" extended ground grappling are disastrous when a weapon is involved, particularly a knife. These empty-hands focused systems must add additional tactics and moves to be able to deal with weapons at all, and even then they just offer a partial solution that only works in a very limited context.

ALIVE!™ is a weapons-focused system that has effective tactics and techniques for dealing with weapons built in from the start. There’s no need to change material when a deadly weapon is involved. Another stark contrast is that ALIVE!™ prioritizes getting your own weapon out and into the fight, a concept we call “Accessing”. Criminals don’t often choose a “fair fight”, even skilled empty-hands striking and grappling may not be enough to prevail when size, strength and numbers are not in your favor. When we are presented with the threat of severe bodily harm we may need to turn the tables on criminals with our own defensive weapon.

Q:: Why is it called "ALIVE!"?

First and foremost, the system is intended to keep you alive in a personal defense situation. If you were to take a close look at other systems, you might notice that their overall priority is something other than the well being of their practitioners. In the military, completing the mission is the number one goal. In law enforcement, apprehending the suspect without incurring legal liability to the government is the priority. In traditional martial arts, the priority might be historical accuracy or something else. Context matters, and in ALIVE! our overall goal is getting you home alive with as little physical, financial, and legal damage as possible.

Second, in ALIVE!™ we believe that to develop personal defense competency you have to train with alive resisting opponents. Bruce Lee said, "When you get down to it, real combat is not fixed and is very much alive." We agree, no amount of target shooting, board breaking, kata, nor crossfit alone can adequately prepare you for a fight. Just like boxers spar, soccer players scrimmage, and Navy pilots have "Top Gun" school, if you intend to defeat a living opponent you must train against a living opponent who is trying to defeat you.

Third, ALIVE!™ will never accept tactics and techniques that rely on your opponent being incompetent for you to survive. This is a very important distinction from other systems. You will never hear an ALIVE!™ instructor advise you "just plan on getting stabbed a few times", "you just have to shoot faster and more accurately than the other guy”, or similar dubious strategies.

Finally, the letters in ALIVE!™ are capitalized to make the name stand out in text, it's not an acronym.