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Unbeatable™ Podcast

Tim Larkin and the psychology of self-protection

By August 16, 2017 November 15th, 2017 One Comment

“Whereas when a lot of people, when they buy the tool—be it a club, a knife or something like that—they don’t have possession of that? All of a sudden they think they are defenseless.”–Tim Larkin

Tim LarkinTim Larkin (@TFTTimLarkin)  is the founder of Target Focused Training and one of the world most experts in self-protection.  Tim and Mark go back a long way, and Tim was formerly an intelligence officer with the Navy. He’s trained various branches of the Spec Ops community on close combat. Tim is also the author of several books, including his book “When Violence Is the Answer: Learning How to Do What It Takes When Your Life Is at Stake,” coming out in September. Tim teaches that it helps to focus on the similarities that every human body shares, so that we can learn the ways that all people will be vulnerable. This podcast is both informative and very counter-intuitive.  Listen to this episode to get an insight into how we avoid thinking about violence instead of learning it and where it fits in.


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Surviving the Unthinkable

Folks, welcome back. This is Mark Divine with the Unbeatable Mind podcast. So great to see you again. Or hear you. Or actually, I’m not hearing you, you’re hearing me. Either way, super-great to have you on the other end of whatever medium you’re on.

We are filming this so if you go to the YouTube channel or you’ll be able to see the video of this podcast.

And I’ve got a really good friend of mine–someone I’ve known since I checked into BUD/S–Tim Larkin.

Tim Larkin: Good to see you man

Mark: Good to see you buddy. How things been?

Tim: Really good.

Mark: But…pause… before we get into this… because as soon as Tim and I start talking, all hell will break loose here.

Tim: (laughing) It’s gone.

Mark: (laughing) It’s long gone. I need to tell you that we have our Unbeatable Mind Summit coming up December 1 to 3. We have some amazing speakers lined up. This is really about projecting the Unbeatable Mind and accomplishments of others. And as well as doing some practice and coming together as a tribe. It’s an extraordinary event. We have a blast every year, and the feedback is phenomenal. We’re about halfway through the enrollment, so we’re over 50 percent filled.

Also, if you haven’t rated this podcast on iTunes and/or the other places that it exists, please do so and it helps others find it.


So Tim. Tim is the founder of Target Focused Training. And we’ll talk about that. Something that I have a bit of experience with.

He’s also the bestselling author of “Surviving the Unthinkable” which is basically self-protection manual.

And then author of the upcoming New York Times bestseller–I’m going to put that out there right now–called “When Violence is the Answer.” Published by Little Brown. That’s coming out… when?

Tim: That’ll be coming out September 5th.

Mark: September 5th. It’s pretty darn close. Okay, so we’re going to talk a little bit about your background, Target Focused Training and then I’d really like to dig into this, cause this is the “why” behind the “what.” Right?

So your first book was really how to go and defend yourself or protect your loved ones. This one is the “why.” And I think… like I said earlier… this is the one that you wanted to write first, but they wouldn’t let you.

Tim: Exactly.

Mark: So I’m going to put this down, but we’re going to come back to that.

So cool, so just kind of as a backdrop I had a podcast last week with a guy names Dean Karnazes, who’s a… he wrote the book “The Road to Sparta.” And he ran the route that the guy ran basically from Athens to Sparta to invite the Spartans up to fight the Persians. This was before Thermopylae. It was 100 miles. It was considered unthinkable at the time, but the Spartans had these unbelievable runners. Obviously, mentally tough, and they could get places faster than a horse. It was pretty cool.

Anyways, that’s a total aside. It has nothing to do with we’re going to talk about. Except that Dean told me… we were talking about travel and he said that it’s really interesting. You get a lot of perspective when you travel. And we think of the world as an extraordinarily violent place, because we watch the news cycle, and it’s like, “Holy Cow! Look at that!” Syria. Iraq. Afghanistan. The southeast India. All these places are just crazy violent compared to nice, comfortable United States.

And he said he was in Uzbekistan, and he had some people come up to him and say, “Hey, Dean, aren’t you really nervous living in the United States with all that violence?” And it really took him back. He’s like, “Wow. That’s an interesting perspective.”

And it made him think, yeah, the United States isn’t nearly as safe as we think it is. Because we look at violence elsewhere. We kind of ignore it at home.

What’s your thoughts on that?

Tim: It’s funny because in my business I’m constantly… and when I’m interviewed, people are always saying, “Hey, the murder rates lower than it’s ever been. We are quote-unquote the safest it’s ever been in the United States.”


Mark: Statistically though, right?

Tim: Statistically. And that’s the interesting part about it. It’s… what they don’t delve deeper into is–does that mean that we’re less violent, or does it mean that medical technology is that much better? And that’s what’s happening.

Mark: In saving people from violent encounters, yeah?

Tim: Yeah. So the statistics change. Something that would have been a murder, say, 5 years ago. Now the person–because of medical technology–was able to be saved. But the act that brought him to that point, is no less violent than it was before. So there… you have to kind of look below the surface of what the agenda is of the statistics. People understand that violence is a subject that is really controversial. And people want to quickly be able to dismiss it in some way, shape or form.

And that’s why a lot of people say that. But what’s interesting is what you said. An outside perspective looking in at us–they see us very differently. They see a lot of things that we kind of take for granted as normal. They see it as potentially really intimidating and potentially violent. Cause they don’t operate that way.

Mark: So generally speaking, a neighborhood in Uzbekistan is probably really peaceful and supportive and still living with some old tribal values. And so neighborly violence is almost unthinkable. But, as you mention, it’s okay for an entire political faction to off another faction. So they think that’s normal and we think that’s extreme.

Tim: Yeah, political violence–I’ve notice in a lot of the Asian countries that I go to–is very accepted and very normal. We were talking earlier about my experience in India. When I had that. They were focusing on–kind of like what happened to Dean–they were focusing, they were saying, “Oh Compton.” They were saying, “Detroit.” They were naming off all the areas that they know from the United States.

And they saw that… criminal violence is very different to them. They see it as being extremely violent.

Whereas political violence, which is incredibly bad and very violent… they see that as the norm. So killing your neighbor would be… in a domestic dispute… would be something that would really be looked down upon. Whereas if you’re from the wrong political party and you went over, it would be like… you know…

Mark: My brother-in-law just went down to Cabo. San Jose to Cabo. And he came back as fast as he could, cause he said they found 3 heads at the local grocery store. And there were over 18 murders. It’s the cartels have moved in now. And I said, “Wow! Is everyone leaving?”

And they’re like, “No. Everyone’s minding their own business. They’re not involved, then you’re pretty safe.” And they’re still building hotels, and the cartels wouldn’t be stupid enough… I don’t think… to muck with the tourism trade. It’s so interesting.

So that kind of lives kind of side-by-side. But most people just ignore it. Because, “Hey, if you’re not involved with a cartel, they’re not going to bother you.” But if you cross paths with them, or they got something you want, stand by.

Tim: Right. You get caught… the random thing where you get caught in a crossfire or something like that.

yeah, the Mexican government’s really very protective of Cabo, because it’s one of the last places for a vacation spot that people are still going to on a regular basis. But my wife and I went down 2 years ago, and the really wealthy shopping center… It was pinned down. They had the marines in there. They had everybody pinning down 35 cartel guys. That were hiding. They were actually hiding from another cartel guy. They just wanted them out. So they just came in and it was a really violent takedown of these guys. And it really affected..

The only reason I knew that though, was because I flew down with a guy who runs like a tourist pirate ship. Kind of a tall ship that he runs. And he was telling us the whole thing. He goes, “Yeah, it’s really affecting my business. I gotta be careful. Don’t know where I can moor my boats anymore,” type of thing.

Mark: Yeah, so this general theme that I’m kind of opening the show with is that in your opinion, is the world becoming more violent. Because it sure appears that way to me and to most people. With terrorism and ISIS and the… It’s the age of the warlords, basically. In certain circles you’ll hear that term. That we’ve entered the “Age of the Warlords.”

And so a lot of people, including many listening, are starting to really pay attention to their own surroundings, and investing in security systems that they wouldn’t normally have. And locking their doors.

You know, I never locked my door back… even here, in California. But now we do. My wife insists on it.

And they’re seeking knowledge on mental toughness. That’s why our business is growing. And on personal protection. Which is why you’re business is growing.

So it sure seems like violence is on the rise. Is that accurate, or is it just media?

Tim: I think it’s a combination of the economic disruption that’s going on… people are really affected…

Mark: Since 2008.

Tim: Since 2008 it’s been crazy. Gun sales… another part of my business. A separate business. Firearms business. Incredible what’s happened in that business. And gun sales.

People that… friends of mine that literally would never think of buying a gun. That I’ve known for well over 20 years. Were calling me up and just saying, “I need a gun.”

And not thinking about training or anything else, just the idea… it’s almost like a physical pacifier for them, you know? “I feel better now that I have my gun.”

Mark: By the way, a gun without training is not such a great idea.

Tim: Oh, it’s a nightmare. It’s a nightmare.

I think what we’re seeing though… What we’re seeing is, as you said, the warlords. This goes back to basically you and I, we saw it happen during our careers. The transfer happened from the old Soviet model, to this tribal decentralization. Going back.

And it was really funny… After I was injured… for those of you that don’t know, I was going through SEAL training, I got injured, and I got into the Intel community. I was assigned to SPECWARCOM with the Admiral. Those guys were actually looking at that. When the wall came down, their first thing was, “Hey, we’re going back to these tribal things.”They predicted what was going to happen in Yugoslavia. They were looking at that early on. And what we called it then was “low-intensity conflict.”

What we didn’t anticipate was how it was going to affect us here in the US. And you’re seeing that. You’re seeing it in the UK. You’re seeing it in Europe. You’re seeing violence on a level that was unthinkable… the things that are happening.

The Answer


And people don’t have an answer for it. Because… and it’s good. Western society for the most part doesn’t have an answer for it, because we were so good at violence for so long. Meaning we were so overwhelmingly… our militaries were so overwhelmingly in charge…

Mark: We suppressed it all. With our military and police force.

Tim: We gave the illusion to our population that, “Hey, there’s no need. The only people that look at the subject of violence are criminals. And therefore you…”

Whereas a hundred years ago, anybody in our position, anybody’d have to know how to take care of themselves.

Mark: And that’s the general Liberal position or, you know, Democratic Party position I’ll say. Is that “You don’t need a gun because the government’s going to take care of your protection, your safety. That’s what a local police force is, the National Guard and all that. So why would we need a gun? A gun can only be used for illegal action.”

Tim: Absolutely. Yeah. And that’s the perception because… there’s knee jerk reaction every time that “violence is never the answer.” That it’s never right. There’s always an alternative.

Or it’s only for the professionals. And that’s something that we saw… We’ve seen it in the UK for years. They took that approach. And we see the results of that. They came out 2006, Metropolitan police over in the UK. Said, “Hey, we are no longer first responders. We can respond after the fact, but don’t depend on us to be there as first responders.”

Most major police departments now are saying the same thing. So we are our… whether we want to or not… we are our own first responders. And very few people have anything in the tool box to deal with that. Because they’ve associated that “If I go there… If I start looking at this and learn how to deal with this subject, it somehow will make me a criminal.” Because we have associated this with criminal activity. And/or… on the other side… first responders. True first responders. Those are the 2 groups that are allowed to look at violence.

And the people that get left alone, the people who are most unprepared for it. Yet have the most to lose are civilians.

Mark: Individuals, yeah.

Tim: And so that’s kind of the idea behind…

Mark: I’m gonna make a bold statement for anyone who owns a gun, or who’s thinking about buying a gun. The gun isn’t going to save you. And it’s much more effective to learn the psychology of offensive fighting, how to avoid threats, and then how to take care of business with the tools at your disposal. And I’m not going to discount a gun there.

But my gun is locked in my garage. My wife will not allow me to have it in my house, and for good reason. So if someone comes barging into my house, am I going to say, “Hey, no, wait. Stay right there. Let me run to the garage, get my gun and bring it back and then we’ll start over. (laughing) No. Not going to happen. So it’s these, it’s my hands, it’s my head and it’s the tools that I have readily available. Might be a pencil, like James Bond, you know what I mean? I just happen to grab.

Tim: Well the whole approach to this idea that I love. That I responded to right away when I saw this approach to it, that you got exposed to, was the idea that your brain is your primary weapon. Your body is your secondary weapon, meaning all your tools are there. And everything else is ancillary. It’s a luxury.

Mark: It’s nice to have, not a need to have.

Tim: But we don’t… Whereas a lot of people, when they buy the tool… will be a club, or knife or something like that. If they don’t have possession of that, all of a sudden they think they are defenseless. And that’s the problem. And…

Mark: They become a slave to the tool.

Tim: Absolutely.

Mark: First train the human and then you use the tool.

Tim: My buddy actually came up with a really good… One of my trainers came up with a really good analogy. He said, “The firearm has become the remote control of self-protection.” Meaning, most people, if they lost their remote control right now, would probably have a hard time figuring out how to turn their TV on or get their system going. Because we’re so used to it.

And it’s easy. It’s an easy device that you can just point and you don’t have to really think about it.

And then the illusion with the firearm is that. That it somehow mystically protects you. And I tell people all the time, “If you have that firearm and you’re driving at 50 miles an hour, holding your firearm up. And you’re heading right toward that concrete pylon, this things not going to protect you. It’s not going to do anything. It’s only a tool and it’s only good if you know how to use it correctly.”

And your statement early on, is… you know, nobody could be more pro-firearms than me. I have licenses up the yin-yang. We can build Class 3 weapons, we can do all this. So I’m very pro- that way.

But I’m surprised–and a lot of people are gonna not like what I’m about to say–I really think it’s a responsibility that you definitely before you own one, you should have training.

Mark: Yeah. I agree. So when we talk about gun control, why not require training? First? As a prerequisite?

And I’d be all for that. Both in ethics and moral use, as well as controlled used in a violent encounter. Train the person and make it something a little bit painful to get. And then, if you get that certificate that you’ve been to whatever… Target Focused Training or Machine Guns Las Vegas for your training, then you can go buy a gun.

Tim: Yeah. And I don’t think it’s ridiculous. And every responsible gun owner I know does that. They do that with their family, they do it with everything. It’s the number one thing. Their children are aware right away. They’re introduced to it early on. They understand…

Mark: In fact, you should be terrified to touch a weapon without training. Without someone who’s competent to hold that and to maneuver it, and to load it and fire.

Tim: Yeah. And it’s not a magical… people have the idea… I think it’s funny, like I told you early on, people have this idea which you touched on that we are… people inherently know… it’s not… I don’t feel as safe as I used to. And therefore what do I do? The default is, “I’m going to buy a gun.”

And then they do that and it’s the magic paladin…

Mark: Buy it and put it in the garage…

Tim: Yeah. And don’t ever train with. Don’t ever do anything with it. And wouldn’t know what to do should they have to use it. Nor do they understand what it’s like to deploy something like that. There’s a lot to it, when it gets to that point. And…

Mark: It’s almost the same psychology as a prepper buying food that’ll last them a month, as opposed to learning how to garden. And storing seeds. Which is actually a much better approach for long-term survival.

Tim: And you have people, I think, with very unrealistic ideas. I think a lot of it… I talked to a very wealthy guy early on. He’s very well known. And he has safe house. He bought a new house in Las Vegas and it’s there.

He was coming up with all these scenarios. And basically what I realized was this guy didn’t really want to have an effective plan. He wanted to basically create a reality kind of experience for him and his family. To play “safe house.” And he had all these ideas. He had some crazy ideas.

And I came up to him and went into his… one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in Las Vegas. And he said, “Okay, so I got this, this,” and he showed me. And he literally had millions of dollars worth of equipment that he bought in security. And he said, “So what do you think? Where should we start?”

And I said, “Let’s start here.” And I held up the ticket that they gave me when I came through the gate. It had his name on it–this is a very famous guy. Had his name and address on it. And I told him… my kids play with his kids… and I said, “I’m giving you this because I caught this right before I took my car to go get car washed at the carwash. Which I know probably has about 5 or 6 ex-felons. I would have just left this in the car. They would have had your address and known right where you’re at.”

I said, “Can we start with the basics? Maybe let’s make sure your name is not being given out on everything like that.” And he just looked at me. You saw the blood drain from his face, cause he didn’t think it out.

But people aren’t doing the basic stuff. They want to do all the Jason Bourne type things. But they don’t want to do the basic, situational awareness stuff that can just keep that extra layer…

Mark: Yeah, and in scenarios like that. Cause I was brought down to Texas to work with a wealthy hedge-fund guy named Kyle Bass. Remember Kyle? He’s a neat guy. Not the Bass Brothers that you’re thinking of. He’s the guy that made like 300,000,000 dollars in the sub-prime crisis by betting against the market. And he was pretty famous, and a book was written about that kind of trade. And he’s a very successful money manager. And he bets long-term against currencies. Like he had a long-bet against the Yen, just brainy stuff. Like, he’s super-smart.

But he wanted… And I hooked him up with Chris Kyle. And he hired Chris Kyle to become his security guard. And he’s the guy who set Chris Kyle up with his long gun range. And he became his business partner. So that’s who we’re talking about.

But anyways. Similar story. He had this really expensive safe house in his house. And I forget what they called the escape room, you know? But they had, like, secret doors to get to it and all the kids could get from their room to this safe room without going out of their rooms. They were linked through this secret passageway. And then once you’re in the room, the thing was like, locked down. And they had a generator and they had food and water and weapons. And electronics. And they could hunker down there to survive the zombie apocalypse.

And I said to him, I said, “This is really cool.” This is before Chris Kyle came into the equation. I said, “This is really cool. But what are the chances that you’re going to be home when you encounter some scenario like that? Maybe, like, 1%. And then getting home might not be the best course of action in some sort of scenario, right? It may be the worst place to go.”

“So you’re investing in the wrong…” I said a similar thing. “You’re investing in the wrong place. Invest in here.” So he came to training. That was my sales pitch. Came up, spent a week with us training. And then, course that’s a different story…

Tim: That changes so many things. Once you take a smart individual like that and they get exposed to something like on your process. And people are going in there actually engaging their mind. And they’re thinking about these things. And they’re creating a mindset that can actually not only deal with personal security, but they can think outwardly that way. Once you give them the tools, people are really good.

Because probably the dirty secret that most of us don’t realize if you haven’t been in this world–is we’re already really good at this stuff. We are predators.

Mark: We’re kind of built for it.

Tim: We’re built for it.

Mark: People don’t realize that.

Tim: Yeah. And all we have to do is if we can tap it back in. Probably the uncomfortable aspect of it for you is it’s going to feel natural.

Mark: Here’s a statement. The irony is that we’re built to both be victims and predators. Because there are so many vulnerabilities on the human body, that it’s easy to be a victim to a predator if you have a victim mentality. And most people have a victim–or at least a “sheep” mentality where they don’t want to be a victim, they’re not playing victim, but they’re going to be a victim because they haven’t learned how to use the tools that turns them into a predator.

And maybe we don’t always use those terms. But we use the term “sheepdog.” Sheepdog’s better than a predator. Predator essentially is an “asocial”–to use your term–an asocial violent person. Whereas a sheepdog is an individual who’s controlled and has the capacity to deliver violence for a very specific purpose. And that’s in defense of something that’s important.

Tim: And people are uncomfortable with those terms.

Mark: Those terms make people squirm a little bit, yeah.

Tim: Dave Grossman, he actually gave me a very nice blurb on my book. I was talking with him about that…

Mark: He’s the author of “On Killing.”

Tim: Yes. “On Killing.” Lieutenant-Colonel. Great book.

He said it was interesting. When he first started going around speaking, he was amazed at how many people were… they were more uncomfortable with the Sheepdog aspect than the Predator. Meaning, “Oh, I don’t know if I feel comfortable being somebody that… Now I don’t have an excuse. Now I know how to use the tool of violence,” basically, is what was going on.

And it was because we’ve stigmatized it. We’ve said that this isn’t something… well-meaning. Very well-meaning over the years. Especially since the ’60s. Of really trying to make sure that there’s never a time where violence is acceptable.


Mark: And someone who uses violence to defend is just as culpable or guilty. Especially if he inflicts injury as the perpetrator.

Tim: Well we see it low-level at the schools. If you have a conflict now, you know… If you have a conflict now where there’s any physical altercation, regardless of whether it’s the bully who started it… both kids get punished.

And what message is that sending. When I talk to my son, he was getting pushed around by an older kid. And I basically said, “I’ll always back you up. Don’t let anybody do that to you.” Cause he knows how to take care of himself.

But he goes, “Dad, I’ll get in trouble.”

I go, “No you won’t. You’ll probably get in trouble at school, but I’ll go there and I’ll talk about it. As long as you don’t start it. As long as you’re not the reason it’s happening.”

And it’s crazy. I never felt like that as a kid. I grew up in a time where it was allowed… you were allowed to protect yourself. And teachers knew.

Now, the teachers are absolutely ham-strung. We have a completely different world right now. But the problem is, it’s creating victims. It’s creating just a predator’s ball, basically, for these guys.

And the good news is if we just do a little bit of training and tap into this, we can quickly switch the idea.

Now that doesn’t mean turning you into a super-ninja, or anything else. It’s just an awareness that you don’t have. You’re not as vulnerable as you think you are. We all have the same vulnerabilities, and that’s the dirty secret.

Target Focused Training


Mark: That’s what I love about your Target Focused Training. When I first met you, you were with Jerry Peterson and one of the instructors for SCARS–Special Combat Aggressive Reactionary System combat fighting course. Designed specifically for the SEALs.

And it had just started when I showed up for class 170. I think you’d… maybe 2 or 3 classes into it, right?

Now we trained for 6 months, 2 or 3 times a week on the beach. Later on at SEAL team 3, I did 3 of the 5 day classes. And then I did the 30 day, 300 hours class. And I felt like, by the end of that, I could finally take care of myself. I was pretty damn good.

And you’re teaching this stuff in 2 days. And you’re finding it to be equally as effective. Maybe not Navy SEAL level going into Fallujah, but there’s moms and there’s people who are not in great shape, and not athletes and not warriors. Who are taking the training and finding it extremely effective. How did you do that? What’s the science behind 2 days versus 2 years?

Tim: It mainly is an improvement in the methods. So the principles are always the same. The principles are that you and I came up with…

Mark: Yeah. WE train it here at SEALFIT and they’re the same. It’s just a lot slower and a lot more precise with the targeting.

Tim: Right. And that’s the hard thing for people to wrap their heads around is the idea of slowing things down. There’s a lot of great data about slow training and fast execution. And people misunderstand the idea of slow training. They think it’s slow meaning weak.

But really what you’re looking at is to go into vulnerable areas of the human body, you have a choice. You have to take something away. And most people choose to take away targets…

Mark: Mm-hmm. To go fast. They just hit whatever they hit.

Tim: Yeah. So I can hit non-specific areas of the body that aren’t going to produce a real injury. Meaning, they’re going to create pain and discomfort. But, you know, hitting somebody in the middle of the chest or any of the approved areas in, say, a combat sport. That’s more of a “gut it out” type of thing.

Whereas, when we go in these areas of the human body that we’re talking about you’re going to cause irreparable damage. And therefore the one thing that you need to take out of that equation is the body weight. Is the actual transfer…

Oh, I’m sorry… the velocity. You wanna keep your body weight. But you take speed out. And when you think about it, speed’s the last thing you add to anything. You know?

Mark: Right. It’s the crawl, walk, run principle. So if you add speed when you need to… speed’s easy to add. But precision is hard.

Tim: And that’s… guys that understand shooting, guys that understand golf. Tennis. Anybody that’s there… if you have a problem with your golf swing or your tennis or shooting, you don’t go faster. You slow it down.

And it’s the same thing here. It’s the one skill set that people don’t put a lot of time into because what I need my clients to understand…

Mark: Well, because it’s not that much fun.

Tim: No.

Mark: When I was training SCARS, we were just really ripping it up. Tearing it down. Just breaking a great sweat. And it was a blast, because we knew what we were doing.

And then we tried to do these 2 day seminars. We did them for a number of years, and maybe some of the listeners actually came to our combat defense program which was with Tony Burke. Tony was another one of your instructors. What a funny guy.

But it was game on. It was SCARS under a different name. And we didn’t get anyone injured, but there was this perception that, “Holy Shit. We’re right on the edge.”

And we were doing it in the water. And we were holding people underwater to give them that kind of like, fear test. Just a crazy, fun training.

But we did end up scrapping it and replacing it with Target Focused because I realized that people would come out of that training and they still didn’t know how to fight. They felt a little bit more confident, but they didn’t even remember the principles. Because they were so wrought in fear about getting hurt.

And so when I then… I’ll get off my soapbox in a second… but then when I started working here with Matt and Taylor and the team. Which are your Target Focused instructors. Local guys. And they said, “Mark, just… you gotta start slowing it down. Slowing it down. Your skills are really good, but your opponents here are beginners.”

And so we got down to almost like Tai Chi speed. And I started to see how important it was for a beginner to train. And even for me to like back down to the basics and train at that level for the targeting, right?

Tim: Yeah, well back when we were doing all the SCARS training and stuff, the badge of honor was pulling your shirt up and showing all your cracked ribs. And black and blue and stuff. We went hard.

It doesn’t necessarily get you the best results. And that’s something that we found. Contrary to belief.

I’ve had the most unlikely physical specimens go through our training at this rate that we’re talking about, in the first 2 days. There’s a kinesthetic link that happens. You hit every aspect of the training where we did 2 things. WE went from technique based thing, which you and I learned early on. Where we would have a set technique of “Kick here, punch here, boom, boom, boom.”

And we switched everything up to sight fixtures and assembly. So we would take an area of the human body, and we’d switch it up. We’d give you different site pictures. And then quickly, you started making your own decisions. And so that was probably the biggest, rapid improvement that we’ve come up with, with people.

But what we found is by slowing it down. Getting deliberate. The results were just undeniable. We were looking at people… and, real world results. Meaning, unlikely people using this information and saying, “Oh, I remember what to do.” And they just knew.

At the time, I said, “I know exactly where to go, and I’m gonna go as hard as I can.”

Mark: And we’re talking years after the training, too.

Tim: Yeah. Oh, we’ve had people that literally had some people… I think the last one I got was 7 years ago the guy went through our training. And the idea is because we’re linking in areas of the human body that everybody has. And so we’re not going into things that you’re going to forget about. Everybody knows where their throat is. Everybody knows where, you know, the lower margin of the rib-cage is. Everybody knows where the kidneys are.

Once you’ve got all this stuff pointed out to you, you know where you are. And we put you in situations where you orient your body from wherever you find yourself. And so that’s the other great thing.

Mark: It’s not a sport. It’s not an athletic accomplishment either. It literally is understanding where the vulnerable target is, identify that target–that’s the site picture–and then apply something hard to it with good physical structure, meaning your body weight is deployed. And then you don’t need speed, really, for that to be really effective. Because these targets we’re talking about–such as the throat and the groin and the solar plexus and the eyes–are so vulnerable that you don’t need speed.

Tim: No. And that’s just it. When people understand the idea between injury… true injury is what we define it. We’ve probably all experienced it. If you’ve touched a hot surface and your hand whips off really quick… that was a willful act. That was an autonomic reaction. So you had an afferent-efferent nervous system response. Where the stimulus was so great it didn’t even make it to your brain and the body said, “Hey, pull it off.”

And so, during that time, you’ve disengaged the brain. You know, the body is reacting without the brain being aware of what’s going on.

That’s what you end up exploiting. That’s the type of level of injury that we need in somebody. We need to make sure that whatever you’re doing to this person, you’ve now taken the brain out of the equation. So they’re completely vulnerable…

Mark: And Jerry used to call that “capturing the mind.”

Tim: Absolutely. And then you could put serial injury on them. Until you’re safe, at that point. And our definition of safe is either the person is unconscious, they’re injured to a point where you literally feel you can turn your back on them, or they’re deceased. They’re dead.

And that’s really the idea behind this. But the whole…

Mark: Is there any concern that in 2 days you won’t be able to teach someone to be able to scale it to where…? Let’s say… I feel very confident, personally, that in a moment of choice. If an altercation finds me and I choose to have this altercation, then I can dial it back from death to something less than death. Cause I don’t want to kill another human being. It’s the last thing that I want to do.

And so I have enough training to where I can enter a conflict and feel pretty confident that I won’t have to. But there’s that 1% where it’ll be out of my control.

But can you teach that level of finesse in 2 days? Or is it just kind of like whatever happens, happens?

Tim: What… probably the biggest change is not even the physical part of the training. It is defining when you’d ever use the tool. And so once people understand that the only time that we say that what we’re about to teach is useful to you, is when you’re actually devoid of choice. Meaning…

Mark: You’ve been ambushed.

Tim: You’ve been ambushed. You’re in it. You’re facing grievous bodily harm. If you don’t do something, you’re basically participating in your own murder. And the idea would be… this really helps people clarify… It’s a situation that if you had a firearm, you would feel comfortable deploying it and emptying that firearm into the threat. And so that’s our threshold.

When we inculcate that into our students during the 2 days, they’ve never had a problem. What’s really interesting is we’ve had students that literally have taken people right to the brink. The next strike would have been the potentially lethal strike. And then they realize the person’s non-functional. They’re no longer a threat. Either they’re unconscious… And they’re able…

Now the reason they understand that is because of the way you’re trained. You’re trained to actually get understand and get feedback…

Mark: What that injury is accomplishing…

Tim: Yeah. And you understand what an injury looks like. There’s no surprise to you. You say, “Okay, yeah, I got the right reaction.” If you didn’t get the reaction, you know you missed your target.

Mark: And also, I would say you’re in control enough to be able to make those decisions in almost real-time. As opposed to being out of control and just flailing and ripping limbs off… (laughing) Like you see in the movies.

Tim: And that’s what the training methodology of going slow and deliberate at first really inculcates, because it gives time… it allows your partner. It’s essential for the person doing the striking that they understand this so that they get their targeting on. But the other side of the equation is, if I’m going to allow you to use my body, I need to trust you. And if I know you’re not going to jack me, and hit me harder than… I’m actually going to relax and I’m going to give you really good site pictures. I’m going to show you exactly what it should look like, should you have success. And that’s the key.

Mark: And you’re going to model the injury.



Tim: Yeah. The other thing that’s hard for people is this idea… my partner and I are cooperative. We’re not competing against each other. And that’s a different concept for most people. Because usually we’re pitting each other against each other in a combat sport environment.

Mark: You can’t really train this alone.

Tim: No.

Mark: I mean, that’s why the video thing… it’s almost like you need a partner. (laughing) You should sell them in pairs, right?

Tim: Yeah, we’ve been successful doing virtual training. But you absolutely have to have another human body. That’s just a…

There are some things you can train, but nothing moves like the human body. You know? People will use training bags and stuff like that, but the problem is, when you hit the human body, the human body moves. And you have to understand that, and model that.

That’s why you’ll see people… Like, you’ll see guys in combat sports. They do set motions. And all of a sudden they hit somebody. They hit in the right area. And the guy just goes and you see this surprised look…

Mark: But it also throws them off balance.

Tim: Yeah. Throws them way off. “What just happened?” And they get run over, cause they’re not used to seeing the bodies move. Cause they’re not really trying to go for injury injury.

Mark: That’s interesting. I have 2 thoughts that popped in my head. And they’re not really related, but the first was one of the results of this type of training in my life was that since I learned SCARS, I’ve never had even an inkling of an altercation come even close to me. There’s something about the psychology of knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt that you can take care of business. That you can defend yourself, your family. That violence seems to avoid you. And that’s almost a metaphysical thing. I have no idea how that would work. It could be… you’re shifting the Matrix somehow.

And I’d like to hear your thoughts on that.

And then the second is–not through direct experience–but my perception is that because you train slow, if the fight happens, the experience from the trained athlete or the trained individual is that the altercation goes slow.

But the perception from the victim… or not the “victim” but whoever’s on the other side of it. And probably a bystander would be, “Wow! That was lightening fast.”

Tim: Yeah. And that’s the dilemma that people when it’s been done to them… the shocked look on their faces. The predator goes from thinking he’s in control to all of a sudden feeling real injury in the human body and realizing it’s too late. And that look on the face that you see. And over the years, I’ve seen that a couple times. The look of shock when they realize what just happened and that they’re completely vulnerable at that point. Against somebody who they thought was not a threat to them. And they gave that person the opportunity…

See, that’s the real thing that we’re doing here. People oftentimes when they think about violence they imagine these set-up… everybody knows what’s going on type thing. And you’re squaring off. And it’s this..

Violence is very random. Really what we do is if the predator gives you an opportunity, we know how to exploit that opportunity.

And that’s why smaller person can easily do that. The mindset that you’re talking about too is interesting. When we go to… for this last book, I went to the prison systems. And so I got access to talk to a lot of the corrections officers that interview all the top guys from all the big gangs that run it.

And the way they look at violence is very similar. And they train slow, and they do all of this. And the reason they train this…

Mark: The prison guards do? Or the correctional officers?

Tim: No. This is the prisoners…

Mark: Oh, the prisoners

Tim: Yeah, so this is the Aryan Brotherhood. Mexican Mafia and the Black Guerilla Family. They all have similar training styles.

Mark: They’re allowed to train in prison? Or they just do it in their cells?

Tim: Their reading books are amazing. It looks just like a young officer’s… like JFK center stuff. So “The Prince” from Machiavelli is highly read. “The Forty-Eight Laws of Power.”

Abnormal psychology book. The only consistency… I mean they all read that. The thing lacking in the military and law enforcement world on the reading list is they’re heavy… the other subject they heavily study is anatomy.

And that’s the only thing that our first responders don’t study. Which is interesting because they know that’s the Rosetta Stone. They know that’s the roadmap. That’s the thing.

And the idea is that they understand by focusing on the similarities of all humans rather than the differences. Meaning, “Oh, this guy’s really big, he’s really fast…” If I focus on his differences, I’m behind the power curve. If I say, “Oh, okay. I understand. There’s all these landmarks…”

Mark: “He’s got a neck just like I’ve got a neck.”

Tim: Exactly. And then you focus on that, it makes a whole difference. And it creates a mindset that’s very different.

Because the brain’ll go wherever you want it to go. If you tell the brain you’re a victim, you’re a victim. If you tell the brain, “Where are my opportunities?” it’ll start pointing them out to you. And that’s…

Mark: Absolutely. This is interesting. I’m not actively training. I stopped about a year ago. And I did it because every human being that I would encounter I would first see a bunch of targets. And with my yoga practice it was starting to conflict with the whole principle of non-violence, right? (laughing) I don’t want to walk around with everyone being a target.

It was kind of interesting. But it does get you… it does rewire your neurology or your neuro-anatomy to… basically you just see the target. It’s fascinating.

Tim: Yeah. And that’s what people say. The interesting part… you went back to…

Mark: But it doesn’t turn you into a violent human being…

Tim: No. That’s the key.

Mark: I listeners not to think that, “Hey, Mark, you’re not the guy I thought you were because, wow, I just learned that you looked at me as a target.”

It’s not true. I looked at you as a human being, but I saw targets. And I realized I didn’t need that dialogue in my head anymore.

Cause the skills are there if I need them. I’ve proven that…

Tim: And you can enjoy life.

Mark: I can enjoy life.

Tm: And that’s the key. I tell people all the time, “Okay, do you…?” People say, “Well, I think I’ll bring it into my life if I study this.”

And I said, “Okay, well do you have a… in your kitchen, don’t you have a fire extinguisher? A small fire extinguisher?”

“Oh, yeah, yeah. I got one of those.”

Yeah, cause code in most cities. So yeah, I said, “Does that mean you’re actively looking for a fire? You want to go out there and bring fire into your life?”

Mark: I guess that’s my point. Just doing this… learning this training in a seminar is the most effective way to do it. Doing it like a martial art, is also effective where you’re training day-in and day-out, but it’s really best for those who want to instruct. Otherwise your life becomes all about targeting and weapons. It gets a little bit narrow, I think.

Tim: Well, the other dirty secret, when I really started studying this. And we evolved through this. You find that the best people in the world at using violence against other humans have zero training in combat sports and martial arts. When you go into these prison systems and you see how these guys methodically use it, and what you twigged in on earlier about saying “Hey, since I’ve been doing my training I’ve never even had a potentiality of it. What the prisoners that I came into contact with–and these are the shock collars, these are the guys that are literally the assassins and everything. They say, “Oh yeah. You can tell which guy is which. You can tell this guy is going to be a problem. And you’re never looking for a challenge.”

That’s the other thing. A predator is never looking to get in a fair fight, or anything. And they can sense… we have so many non-verbal communication skills that we don’t recognize. Cause we’re not really in tune with them. But that you start to develop. And people just look. They go, “Nah, not him. I’m going to go to this guy. This guy’s much more unaware.”

And there’s that sense of confidence.

Mark: What are some of those cues in your opinion?

Tim: I think it’s…

Mark: Like, the cues of the guy or woman who knows who’s confident and knows how to defend versus someone who’s full of fear.

Tim: They walk with awareness. They walk with purpose. They’re not paranoid. The problem is, when you start talking about this, you think you’ve got some guy who’s in hyper-vigilance, where they start going with the code levels. “I’m always in code orange,” or whatever.

No, you’re not in code orange all the time. You’re aware. Those are great things to kind of describe levels. Lifestyle-wise it’s just more when you walk through a door, you’re there. You’re polite but aware is what I say. The idea too is… I go through life treating anybody that I don’t know. If I’m coming in contact with somebody for the first time my whole approach to somebody… it’s going to sound extreme, but “This person’s 6 seconds away from a shooting spree and I don’t want to trigger it. So how am I going to interact with this person?”

And what you find is the more comfortable you are with the subject of violence, the more peaceful you are.

I got a buddy… I don’t know if you know Charles Poliquin? Charles Poliquin’s a big strength trainer. And he trains world-class people all around the world. What he’ll do when he goes to a new city, though… usually one or two cops will come to some of his training. And he always asks the cop. If he doesn’t know where to work out, he says, “Hey, where do all the ex-felons workout?”

And the cop will look at him, “Well, they work out at this gym.” He goes, “Oh, okay, great.” And he always goes to those gyms. And people go, “Why does he do that? Cause he wants to be hardcore?”

He goes, “Oh, no, no, no. By far,” he goes, “I have the most polite people working out.” He goes, “No hassles. Nobody disrespects anybody during it. Nobody goes and grabs your weights or gets in front of you, or talks on their phone on the thing.” He said, “Because those guys come from an environment that they understand that the thing that backs everything up is… if you are not polite or you do something that’s disrespectful, it’s going to be backed up with violence. And therefore, knowing that, everybody goes out of their way not to go there.”

And so it’s really funny when you think about that. The more people are used to violence, the less likely they are to ever trigger it. M

My wife is a captain with Metro. And she recently was doing a deal where she ran into a Mexican Mafia guy. She just ran into on the strip randomly. He was drunk, and they picked him up. And she said, by far, this guy not only was super-polite, he knew exactly what to do to put all the officers at ease, and everything like that.

The guy’s record was incredible. What they had. But she said she’s found the more violent the individuals, oftentimes, the more calm they are. And now they’re definitely criminal.

But we can learn a lot from that. Meaning by learning the subject in something like a 2 day or something like that, you check that block. Our goal with teaching kids to swim… When my mom and dad taught me… made sure I knew how to swim. It wasn’t to become the next Michael Phelps. It was to make sure I don’t drown.

And so it’s a life skill. And I think violence is the same thing. It’s a tool that everybody should know how to use. You don’t have to focus on it. Like you said, if you want to be an instructor… Yeah, we can keep you busy for 20 years. But the skill set level that we teach you in that basic 2 days of injury is more than enough to take care of your survival. The only thing there, is there no such thing… I tell people all the time, there’s no such thing as “advanced” training. Meaning there’s nothing advanced. All there is is advanced coordination.

So I will show you master-level stuff right now. It’s just, do you have the coordination… the physical coordination to pull it off? But I can also show you 2 very basic moves that’ll get you the same result that you can do right now.

And so, again, 1) the reason guys like us do instruction, take it beyond, is because yeah, we want to challenge ourselves.

Mark: Because we can.

Tim: Yeah, and it’s fun. And we want to challenge our coordination, you know?

So it’s just how you look at it. Yeah, I don’t want to give people any idea that you have to spend years and years before you can use this stuff.

Mark: Right. I think that’s true.

“When Violence is the Answer”


Mark: So let me take a look at your book. “When Violence is the Answer.” The one that’s coming out in September. And we might have covered some of these, so you don’t have to go deep. But you got 4 kinds of core tenets that you kind of bring out. Probably more. But let’s talk about these 4. The first one is… I’ll read a little bit of this. Probably not all, but… violence is a tool. So learning violence is just like learning how to use a weapon. Right? Learning how to use a weapon is learning how to use a tool for violence. Learning how to use your body is no different than weapons training, right?

Tim: Right.

Mark: And so that’s a mindset. And you say, as a society we struggle between violence and the people who use it. Great point.

Tim: That’s the key.

Mark: That is the key. What you’re saying, though, is that as with any other tool, the proper object of our moral and ethical judgment isn’t the what. After all, you wouldn’t call a screwdriver or a toothbrush “evil.” But rather the why. The ends to which human being choose to direct violence. So let’s dig into that a little.

Tim: So the thing people have to wrap their head around is terms that we use… we say “violence” then we have all these ideas of what it is. When I say violence is a tool, I say meaning it’s something that’s available to everybody. So you have… one of the stories I always try to use is a young mom is at home at night. Her husband’s on a business trip. She just put her little infant to bed. She’d washing dishes–getting ready to go to bed–in the kitchen.

Guy comes crashing through the back door. Obviously a stalker who’s been there watching her for a while. Realizes she’s alone. Runs in and they get in an epic struggle in the kitchen. She’s thinking, “Oh my God. This guy’s bigger, he’s faster. He’s stronger.” She’s trying to reach out. Nothing seems to be working. She struggles. She reaches up and she scratches his eyes, really bad. Really deep into the skin. Scratching the skin.

Guy gets so enraged he looks around, he looks over. He looks at the butcher’s block. Sees the knife. Pulls the knife out. Stabs her in the side of the neck. Murders her.

We agree as a society, guy should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. There’s death penalty. Probably deserves it. Never should see the light of day at a minimum.

Now let’s do that same scenario, same thing. Guy comes crashing through the door. Young mom gets attacked. Again, he’s bigger, he’s faster, he’s stronger. He’s got the jump on her. She’s struggling. She looks around. Instead of scratching him, this time, she looks over. She sees that same butcher’s block. Grabs the knife. Plunges it in the side of his neck. Kills him.

We would probably all agree as a society that she should be protected to the full extent of the law. Lauded for protecting not only herself, but her family. And she should face no legal ramifications to what she did. Because it’s justified.

What I’m asking us to understand–everybody listening out there–is the knife to the side of the neck worked each time. It didn’t care if it was the good guy, or the bad guy. It’s a tool. How the tool was used, is how you’ll be judged on that. And that’s really it.

So getting people to change their mindset to look at it. Go, “Oh, it’s okay for me to look at this. Doesn’t make me one of them.”

And, yes, violence is… you are learning how to shut down the human body. But we’re doing it from a position of self-preservation. Not because we’re choosing to use violence as a hobby, basically.

Mark: Fascinating. And one thing that crossed my head is that I think a lot of people who are insecure about this think that the training is going to get them into more trouble. Because they’ll do something that won’t work, that’s going enrage the perpetrator and then get them into more trouble. And that’s a flawed mindset too. Big time.

Tim: I had a woman in Sydney that came up to me and she said, “Thank you very much. You guys really explained something. I took a self-defense class 7 years ago, and the only thing I can remember from it was the instructor told me, ‘Never kick a man in the groin. It’ll just make him mad.'”

And that’s the only thing she took away from the course, you know? Whereas we showed, “Hey, here’s how you get an injury.” Or something like that.

There’s a lot of well-meaning advice that’s out there. But it’s just dead wrong. And challenging. That’s why the book allows me to kind of get that message out and maybe change the way people look at the subject. I’m not even trying to train them right now. I’m trying to just say, “Hey, will you look at the subject? It’s all around us.” And it’s just one of those things that… it’s like the 800 pound gorilla. Nobody’s talking about it.

Mark: So let me talk about this 2nd point here. Social aggressive versus asocial. Again, I think we kind of touched on this, but… You say the majority of what we encounter day-to-day is social aggression. Here the aggressor’s is not deliberately trying to maim, cripple or kill.

But asocial violence on the other hand, is brutally streamlined. Social aggression is avoidable, and you should avoid it. But you can rarely, if ever, talk yourself out of asocial violence.

So what’s the difference between asocial and social violence?

Tim: So probably… I’m going to give a very… fairly extreme example. Young lawyer in London about 8 years ago. Walking home. Got dropped of the Subway, the Tube. Walking through a park in a nice part of London. Not a bad part of London. Followed by 2 criminals.

They jump him. They put a knife to his neck and they start demanding his watch, his wallet, his briefcase. He complies. He gives them everything they ask for and they leave. Everybody’s happy about that part of it. It’s exactly what all the police were telling him to do.

Problem is, they came back. When they came back the 2nd time, their heads were down, their knives were drawn, and they attacked him right away. Stabbed him multiple times and killed him. He was heard yelling, “I gave you everything. I gave you everything.”

I want any client of mine to understand the difference between those 2 situations. The first situation was anti-social aggression. Meaning there was communication going on. The individual chose to respond socially. He complied. And that was his choice. Whether or not that’s how all of us would respond, that’s neither here nor there. He had the opportunity to because it was still in a social setting. Where it was unpleasant but people were talking to each other.

The second situation is the one that the book’s really all about. The only thing that would have worked in that situation is you needed something in the toolbox. Because they weren’t coming back to talk. And, in fact, if you engage socially in an asocial environment, you’re helping your predator use violence against you.

Mark: Right. You just telegraph that you’re not trained.

Tim: And the cool thing about learning the difference is we quickly learn. People… I think one of the best compliments I ever got. I trained a guy from Dallas–big oil man. Good ol’ boy. You can tell he just liked to go to Honky-Tonks and just get in brawls all the time. He was in his mid-30s at the time, when he was there. Second day of training he came to me in the morning and said, “I just want to thank you.” I said, “What?” He said, “After yesterday, I called my wife and told me she didn’t have to worry about me anymore. Because I understand after all these years how lucky I was that a) I didn’t end up irreparably harming or killing somebody by accident. Or somebody doing the same to me.”

And he goes, “Over nothing. I chose to use violence. I chose to do that. I’m never doing that again.”

And when you expose people to real violence, and you show them what real violence looks like. And what it would take. And what it takes to survive a situation like that. They quickly understand, “Oh, this isn’t anything I want to flip a coin on. I don’t want to have to participate in this if I don’t have to.” And it changes your mindset. It changes how you respond to things. Things that normally would get you aggressive, and you’d aggressively respond because you’re under the assumption that, “Hey, we’re both on the same page here. We’re both civilized and we’re not going to take it to the next level.” And all of a sudden you get run off the road and you got a guy coming at you with a tire iron. And you’re going, “Wait a minute. I didn’t sign up for this.”

You know, well, there’s these disproportionate responses. Because we know nothing about that person.

There’s a famous Muay Thai, kickboxer, Alex Gong. And he was killed outside of the Golden Gate bridge where his training center was. Guy came in to his parking lot. Turned around real quick. Side-swiped his car. 2 of the kids were outside from the gym. Ran in and told Alex, “Hey, this guy just side-swiped your car, and we can still see him.”Cause he got stuck in the traffic getting back to the Golden Gate.

Alex jumps out of the ring. Runs in all his gear… runs up to the car. Starts pounding on the car. “Hey,” just telling the guy, “You’re going to pay for my car! Blah, blah, blah, blah.”

This guy takes one look–looks at him–pulls out a forty-five. Blasts him twice in the chest. Ex-felon. Took his girlfriend’s car. Was a 3 strikes guy. Knew if he got caught, he was not coming back. Looks up. Sees this guy in full regalia just hitting… Just goes, “Nah, I’m not going to deal with this.”

Again, disproportionate responses and the whole idea that I point out in that situation is I get it. Nobody likes having their car hit and run or anything like that. But why do you have insurance? Did that response really make it? And we lost a great competitor over nothing at that time. By a guy who just didn’t care.

So we make assumptions that we think we know what we’re dealing with. And when we get socially aggressive. And so the behavior modification that you get from actually learning how to use the tool of violence.

Again… I absolutely tell you, you’ll get a more peaceful life.

Mark; Yeah, I agree with that. You know, and one of the things that I teach is that first learn to move your body, and then to control your mind. Unbeatable Mind training is to develop absolute control over the thinking process, so that you’re making exceptional decisions moment-to-moment. And until you develop that control, you should never even consider entering an altercation. Because you’re going to react in some sort of automatic way, or through some fear-based response.

And so if someone’s saying, “Okay, I’ve done physical… I’ve done the SEALFIT physical training, or I’ve done Crossfit. I feel pretty confident, physically. And I’ve been practicing Unbeatable Mind, so I feel like I’m in control. I’m not going to leap into some kind of rage-based reaction. Now I’m ready for Target Focused Training.”

That’s the tip of the spear. But don’t wait. If you haven’t developed physical and mental control, the training is still very good. Because it is physical-mental training done at Tai Chi speed that’s going to give you the solid tools. So that’s kind of a neat effect.

Tim: And I just wanna tell people–cause you know this–if people choose to go beyond a 2 day experience, you can ramp your velocity up. Velocity can be added.

But again, it’s done at a rate where you never want to sacrifice accuracy and correctness. So, yeah, and that’s how we’re able to have all ages participate, you know.

But you’re right. I mean, the mind is so… even thinking about the subject is so taboo, that if you can just get people to start wrapping their minds around the idea of, “Okay, this is just like swimming. This is something I should look at. It’s a life skill. And what challenges are there?”

And I think people mostly will be very surprised at how comfortable they are with the subject. And I don’t mean “comfortable” in the idea that you want to become a violent person. But you’re comfortable with, “Oh, I understand how this tool works now. And I get it. And I understand what it’s for.” And I don’t have irrational fear.

Mark: Right.

Art versus Science


We gotta wrap up soon, but I wanna just address the difference between a martial art and this science of self-defense. In my own words. So when I got to BUD/S… and I wrote about this, actually. Jerry told me, he goes, “Mark, you gotta unlearn that Karate shit.”

I didn’t tell him I was a karate guy, but he could see that I was a karate guy. And it took me a while to figure out what he meant. But he was talking about, really, the defensive patterning that the karate had put me in. The defensive mindset that the karate had put me in. The mindset of “block, wait for the strike to come, block.”

And that’ll get you killed, because you’re always one step behind your attacker. So then I thought, “Okay, I don’t need karate. I don’t need a martial art.” So I just trained in SCARS, thinking it was a martial art. And I did that for a while and it was fun. But then I realized, Well, there were a lot of elements of a martial art that are really beneficial but learning how to defend yourself isn’t actually one of them. Isn’t that interesting?

It really is. And people mistake sport fighting or a martial art like Karate as being really effective at a violent encounter. They’re not actually. You’re probably be better off than if you’re completely untrained. But at the same time, maybe not. Because of the patterns that you’ve developed. And a violent guy is never going to Karate chop a Karate guy, you know what I mean? Or leg chop a Muay Thai guy. They’re going to do something completely unexpected. So anyone out there who’s like, “Yeah, I’ve done martial arts. I don’t really need to do any training like this.” I would say that’s not true. The training and the science and the mindset of encountering a violent individual and disposing of that situation so that you walk away compliments sport fighting and martial arts.

Tim: Absolutely. And that’s just it. We never… I’m based out of Vegas and so I’ve got some of the top guys in the world that have trained with us and gone through it. And they absolutely understand the difference between what we do.

It enhances what you already have. It doesn’t take away. Meaning, it’s not an either/or situation. It’s really just a… it’s principle that are super-useful and will add to whatever you already have. The only thing we end up doing is you will absolutely be able to know whatever move you were doing before? Whether or not that would get a true injury. When your life’s on the line, would that actually be something that you would use? Or would you alter it a little bit maybe in targeting or something like that.

And so that’s where all the combat sport guys love it. Cause they find it as just a really good additional aspect of training.

Mark: Right. Hooyah. Awesome.

All right, so. “When Violence is the Answer.” Thank you very much for my pre-release copy. By the time this podcast publishes, but if it goes before–it’s coming out early September. I’m sure probably the simplest way to find it. And then if anyone wants to reach out to you, they can find you where? What’s the best way?

Tim: Probably best is Either one of those will get you…

Mark: Just Google “Tim Larkin.”

Tim: Yeah. Google me and good luck. (laughing)

Mark: Exactly. Awesome Tim. Thanks very much. I appreciate your time here.

All right, folks. Thanks for your time today. Super-interesting subject. Not in our normal realm of discussion, but something that it’s really important in our day and age to learn how to take care of yourself and your family and your tribe.

And it’s not as complicated as you think. So Tim Larkin’s Target Focused Training is an excellent place to start, as well as his new book, “When Violence is the Answer.” Or your initial book…

Tim:Surviving the Unthinkable.”

Mark: Awesome. Okay.


Til next time, train hard, stay focused and develop that Unbeatable Mind.

Coach Divine out.

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