I have spent over two decades honing the approach I want both myself, and my Team to take towards coaching our programs. I am proud of what we have accomplished. While our conclusions have often been in opposition to the status quo, I am confident we have developed an approach that honors the past as martial arts as a life performance system, while moving with the present keeping what we teach functional at all times. Below you will find 7 practices that direct how we coach, and how we show up in the modern martial arts world. All our Trainers and Academies around the world, regardless of which of our programs they teach honor these practices both on the mat, but equally in the world.



When I first began coaching almost 3-decades I ago, I naively believed that I had to be seen as a 'tough guy' to be taken seriously. In hindsight and knowing what I know now, showing up in that way creates the wrong environment for personal growth. Rather than the environment being one of personal transformation, it becomes one of fear, aggression, and toxic masculinity. Today we have a 'Zero-Meathead Policy', and will not allow anyone on our mats who simply wants to physical dominate another human being for their own personal enjoyment.


Growing up as I did being bullied daily and always feeling like an outcast, I have always been sensitive to environment. I have always said, environment informs behavior. This is why I encourage both community and acceptance of each individual on the mat. Regardless of who you are, your background, you are welcome on any of our mats. We have built an inclusive Tribe, where together we work to help each person achieve their best.


If you don't know much about the world of reality based self-defense (RBSD) count yourself lucky. Most RBSD instructors (or the various other names reality SD goes by) and the environments they create, is built on an extreme, perverted system of supposed self-defense training. These environments are mostly unhealthy, seeing everything as nail, so the only solution is to 'hammer' everything with the physical. Self-preservation is more than the day someone tries to hurt you. Self-preservation is about how you live, how you carry yourself in the world, and being instinctively aware of your surroundings to avoid danger to begin with. Winning a potential altercation without ever throwing a punch, takes far more skill than eye gouging someone. Call me a romantic, but I still believe that your fighting skills should only be used as a last resort.


Contrary to what most people have been taught being in a 'competitive' state isn't the optimal place to be if you want to learn. In fact, over the years as we have developed our Challenge-Play Model we have seen greater strides in peak performance by our students than any other mode of showing up on the mat. Challenge Play is equally a mindset of focusing on your own game, measuring your improvements against your own previous performances (not other people), while seeing your training partners as exactly that, 'partners' in your personal growth. Connect this to Rough & Tumble Play, focused on exploring the fullness of the martial arts game, without concerning oneself with ending the game, being free to make mistakes without game ending consequences, above all having fun and you have a recipe that invokes the best in each of us.


When I began coaching and promoting the Crazy Monkey Programs I didn't even have a high school diploma. Since that time I have educated myself, doing my undergraduate work in psychology, my Masters in leading innovation and change, and my Doctorate where my research was focused on mindfulness-in-action. While I continue to learn, I integrate all of my learning as a social scientist and researcher where I feel it is applicable to improving my Team's coaching ability and our student's games. I have always believed that being excellent at the fight game requires far more than the physical. Crucially the understanding of the inner game needs to be backed by current understanding in the necessary subjects that will lead to success, from neuroscience, to performance psychology.


The martial arts we train and learn on the mat, doesn't simply remain on the mat. Every experience you engage in, especially a novel experience like martial arts will rewire your brain. In other words, how you show up on the mat, or how you are asked to be on the mat, wont just remain there, but move into your life. If the training environment is built on aggression, hyper-competitiveness, ego, and in and out groups, what emerges is an unhealthy environment for the human animal. This is why we work really hard to ensure that what we create on the mat, and within ourselves is a positive force once we move into everyday world.


Today in the modern martial arts world their is a focus on hyper-competitiveness and extreme versions of reality based self defense. Both of which have opted for a focus on the best methods to dispense with the opponent, while turning their back on the Art. At Crazy Monkey we believe that martial and art should be balanced. Here we ask our students to acknowledge what holds them back in life, and through the experience on the mat with us to overcome those obstacles. If you for example are overly aggressive in the outside world and it is causing you problems in your personal life, then the mat should become a place where you learn to become calmer. Life informs the mat, as much as the mat informs life. Intentions for training are crucial: do you want to show up in life more angry, paranoid, and stressed out, or the opposite confident, focused, and calm? Either of these options are possible through the martial arts experience, but we want our students to embody the later.