(photo: 1blessedmom)

Knowledge is potential power. Having this inside information about ourselves can make or break us. I like to take a look in the mental mirror on a regular basis. I am always in constant change mode, working to improve My-Self. I may not always like what I see (weaknesses), so I focus on the positive aspects of my character (strengths) and then plan out a strategy for improvement. I urge you to do the same.

In order to decrease our fear, we increase our skill level in the Mental Arts. Your survival or success is dependent upon your ability to do the best you can when protecting yourself or others.

Too often people confuse self-defense with the illusion of television action stunt scenes. In the movies, people are attached to wires and moved around like rag dolls. When you kick someone in real life, they do not fly across the room like a person in a Peter Pan play.

Your skills in combat will not be as amazing as you see in most martial art films. You will fall, stumble, or make errors that will cause pain or even injury. They don’t show that on TV! With that said, however, you need to train even harder if you expect to offer protection to yourself or your family.

In a recent film project I worked on as the Stunt Choreographer and Stuntman, there was a scene that had me flying onto a table and crashing onto the floor. I had a few days to set up the stunt so that (when called upon) I could do the following:

  • Repeat the steps and provide the same results consistently
  • Quickly set up to shoot the scene again (there are always retakes in the movies, something else you don’t get in real life)
  • Act, but make it look as real as possible
  • Have little risk of bodily harm

I didn’t just show up on set the day of shooting and say, “roll camera.” In real life, if you want to perform well, instantly and when it matters, you too need to prepare for the shot. And just as our time is limited on the set, your life will try to get in the way of taking time out for proper training. The people who diligently train behind the scenes are the ones who will ensure a good show.

When I travel with students to promote the Martial Science, we often get the opportunity to appear on television or on the radio. The students who trained harder (in advance and prior to an event) are the ones who always steal the show. If you don’t prepare, you just end up standing on the sidelines, and this applies to life as well as the Martial Science. This is a combination of being aware of the future (intuition) and having the discipline to sacrifice your time for important training.

If you want to be better prepared for the future and get to play in the game, you want to be at your best both on and off the court, playing field, or stage.

Remember, the four step process of learning and internalizing any new information using the break a SWET acronym – ends with Training, because training is the platform from which work our way to stand on – continuously.





Yes, there is math involved!

We use the same process when preparing for a situation that may require you to defend yourself. The more you train, the better you will perform. The more you train, the more instinctive your reactions will be. In the Martial Science, we have a saying: You will fight how you train.” This means that if your training is unrealistic, your fighting will follow suit and may leave you not just out in the cold, but out cold. So, if you want to be realistic about doing your best, then you will need to focus more attention on your training. In the previous chapter we talked about being honest with yourself; this is a prime example. Don’t kid yourself and think you can slack on the training and still perform at a high level.

I help students improve by teaching the Percentage Principle

You cannot plan (although you might want to expect) to be 100% effective all the time in combat or any other challenge life has to offer. The purpose of Winjitsu (among others) is to increase your chance of survival and improve your life. We can do this by increasing our percentage for success. The goal is to get as close to 100% as possible, and do it consistently.

For example, if you started training with a 10% chance of defending yourself against your mental demons, the skills you learn by reading this book alone may increase your ability to a 20% chance. This may not seem like much, but it is double what you started with. If you get attacked and beaten, just barely managing to escape, it does not necessarily mean that your training is ineffective; it simply means you would have suffered an even worse fate had you not trained at all.

Our goal is to increase our Personal Protection Percentage, or our base chance for achievement.

I remember a scrawny student from England named, “Ben” who joined one of our two-month programs. Ben looked like anything but a Ninja Warrior! After training at one of my camps he was satisfied with the experience, but still expressed that he didn’t feel very confident in combat. I explained it to him this way:

Ben, when you first arrived here, you were a different person. That person is no longer standing in front of me. You may not notice the differences from your current perspective, but I can tell you this: if I were to put the Ben that arrived before training and the Ben you are today, into a fight for survival, the new you would knock the old Ben to Kingdom Come.”

He smiled and was comforted by my analogy, but he still needed more improvement. The trick is to not disparage your accomplishments because they are not “the whole enchilada” on your plate at once. Be happy with the appetizer, then tackle the big blue plate special.

Calculating Success

Ben’s percentage of combat skills may only have improved by 10% but that is a start. 20% is 100% better than where he started! So how do we go about improving our base percentage? We can start by listing our strengths and weaknesses, and then developing strategies based on what those two lists reveal. By improving, attracting, or making new strengths and knowing and eliminating our weaknesses, we can open our eyes with a new level of awareness and begin to develop a base percentage increase that will be significant.

Why should you know your weaknesses? “Can’t I just ignore them?”

You cannot just ignore your weaknesses, because your opponent will see them. Surely you don’t want to give your opponent an advantage over you by knowing things about you that you don’t know yourself. Remember the scales of balance and picture your strengths and weaknesses on opposite sides. You want to clearly see your weaknesses, so you can knock them off the scale.

Remember, as we discussed in the beginning of this journey, we are a combination of our split personalities. Visualize all of these personalities – all the people that we are – as people walking single file up to the top of a mountain. Imagine that you and all your personalities had to stick together and move forward as a team. Well, what happens if one of the personalities is falling behind? Suppose “Calvin Courage” decided to just stop dead in his tracks. This means the entire team (or all of YOU) will be forced to stick to the pace of the slowest personality. We are only as strong as our weakest link, or in this example, as fast as the slowest link. This slower pace might seem okay for many, but imagine that you had to get the team to the top of the mountain in a certain period of time or lose your meal for the day. What if we were to add a pack of wild dogs to the scenario or other challenges along the way? These challenges would require specific skills to overcome, and competence breeds confidence. Knowing your strengths is key to accomplishing your goals.

Seeing is Believing

Walk into any martial arts school, physical fitness center, or dance studio and what will you find on the walls? Mirrors. Mirrors allow people to see their reflections and to notice their movements. The mirror tells the absolute truth. It also notices improvements too. The reflection allows us to pay attention to even the smallest changes and recognize what we are doing correctly or incorrectly. It enables us to see our strengths and weaknesses.

If you are standing next to an advanced student, you can use the mirror to model the movements and actions of others. A mirror is the most effective training tool in the martial arts. It shows you where you are, and where you can go.

I believe one of the biggest challenges people have at my training camps is that they are forced to look at themselves in the mental mirror. They don’t always like what they see. In real life, we often are forced to stop listening to others and take a good look at who we really are.

From there, we can ignore our issue and move on (flight) or we can face these challenges and decide to change (fight). What will you do?

Winjitsu Work Out

Use the worksheet on the next page to write down your current strengths and weaknesses. Then write down a few NEW goal-oriented strengths while listing what weaknesses you could begin to eliminate.

If we do not pay attention to our strengths and weaknesses, we will not know if we are growing or shrinking – moving forward or sliding backward. Do not compare yourself with your surroundings or you could feel either inadequate or overconfident. Instead, compare your present with your past to notice what has changed and what you can do to improve the future.

Original Strengths and Weaknesses:





Current strategies:


New goal-oriented Strengths and Weaknesses





New strategies:


Percentage principle increase ______%. Congratulate yourself for any improvement or growth!

Note: This exercise is based on current self-evaluation by comparing where you are with where you want to be..

If we pay attention to our results, we can continuously improve our base percentage principle.

About the Author RICK TEW

I will do the splits for you too. I provide edutainment events that help you to be a Ninja in what you do. I offer Martial Arts Therapy Retreats on Samui Island in Thailand. My unique Winjitsu Mind-Body system of coaching inspires you to BE more fulfilled and to DO more to KickStart your ideas.

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