The Paragon of Excellence

By Roger Phillips, Owner of Fight Focused Concepts

“Never accept the limitations set down by another man. Only you know what you are really capable of and you will only discover your capabilities after you have obtained the knowledge and put in the work.”

I have been using that quote for a very long time. It is the epitome of striving for excellence! It is the paragon of how we should live our lives!

I have done very well in my career pointing out where people refuse to put in the time to gain the knowledge and the work to obtain the skills. There is nothing weaker that those that self impose their own limitations by repeatedly whining  “I can’t, I can’t, I can’t!” There is nothing more embarrassing than to read and hear how they try to justify their own failure by trying to convince others that it cannot be done.

I do not care what you cannot do. I do not like reading or hearing about weakness and negativity. I want to see effort, I want to see work…….I want to read and hear about what you can do. I want my students to bust through the imaginary walls of ignorant limitations imposed on us by people who do not know what they do not know. I want to see people striving for excellence and obtaining excellence.

“What am I really capable of?”

This is a question that I asked myself that was the very genesis of my career as the developer of the Fight Focused Concepts family of courses. This is a question that every true student of the art of violence needs to be asking themselves. This is boldness in action!

Fear is a killer! Fear of failure is the sign of weakness! Accepting fear in your lives will always hold you back from being the paragon of excellence.

“Never accept the limitations set down by another man. Only you know what you are really capable of and you will only discover your capabilities after you have obtained the knowledge and put in the work.”

Strive for the paragon of excellence!

The High Road and For Those Not in The Know

By Roger Phillips, Owner of Fight Focused Concepts

As a fighter, taking the high road is tough! Especially when people who have no idea what is going on except the lies that are being told and accepted as if they were the truth, with nothing more than hearing one side of the story being told by a proven liar. I was hoping to just be allowed to take my material, my knowledge, my philosophy, and my accomplishments and get on with my life. But it is clear that is not going to happen, due to all of the lies being spread about me being a thief, a liar, and a traitor.

After consulting with my attorney, we feel that the time is right to get some things out in the open that only a few people know.

First things first, for anyone that believes that I resigned because of new standards……….do not believe every ridiculous thing that you have heard! For those that have read “My Story” here is the continuation of those very facts.

All of the material from my Point Shooting Progressions Courses (PSP family of courses) is protected material inside of my contract. I have received financial compensation for every point shooting course taught by my former employer and his Instructors,  per my contract. My contract states that I certify the Instructors to teach my material, inside of the courses that I authorize. This is how it has been laid out for years. Paying me for my material is an admission that  the material is in fact mine.  For the dissemination of that material to be expanded past the contractual agreement requires my authorization, which I have not and will not give.

A decent man would have honored that contract. A decent man would have discussed his intentions to revise the contract. But there was no discussion. I was just informed that my courses were no longer offered and that my material was going to be integrated into all of the other courses, without my authorization. The Close Range Gunfighting (CRG) was now going to be taught as a new course that was to be, as the organization put it…….”PSP heavy.” When this scheme was announced, along with many other ridiculous schemes at the time, the Instructors were told “do not complain, if you do not like it, send in your resignation.”

Well, guess what? I did not like it and I did not need to work with an organization that would break a contract so easily, so I finished my courses and resigned. This treatment and behavior did not surprise me one bit, because I walked into this organization with my eyes wide open. There was never any doubt how this relationship was going to end, it was going to end the same way that all of the organizations relationships end…….badly. After Fuller, Housel, Swain, and Fricke, this is the exact behavior that I expected. No shock, no sense of betrayal……..just business as usual for the organization. You see, I am not so weak as to play the false “victim card” like my counterpart.

The fact is that the PSP courses were found to be a better courses than the CRG courses. This is a quote directly from the organization. “Many students would call and ask the front office, Which course should I take? I heard the PSP is better than the CRG.”

The fact is, I made a name for myself writing my own curriculum’s, teaching my own courses, and it did not sit well with the fragile little egos. This is especially true when I would out sell the name Instructor, head to head, in his own back yard. I knew as soon as that became common place, I was going to be made gone.

I have sat back and been called a thief, a traitor, and a liar all because I would not stand for being treated with such “in your face disrespect.” I resigned due to my contract being broken and more moves being made to break my contracts even further more. I resigned because my work and my material was being handed over to the rest of the Instructors, without compensation, who have either not received the training  or not received the authorization to teach anything past “Introduction to Point Shooting” or “Point Shooting Gunfight Skills.” There has only been one other Instructor authorized the teach the PSP material and that was my very close friend, Corinna Coplin inside of her Women’s Only courses. That was done because Corinna may just get one single chance to give the female protectors, the very best material that we can find.

As far as the “Non Compete” contract……….”THE LAW IS THE LAW” and unless you know the laws for non competes in Arizona regarding subcontractors, you may want to hold your opinions until the courts make their decision. I am absolutely confident that the contract is unenforceable.

There is only two standards that I could not meet. One, is that I would not stick around and be treated with such absolute disrespect.  The second one, I refused to be disrespectful to my students and friends, I refused to accept doing just about anything for money, I refused to have no honor or integrity.

So, for those not in the know, be very careful who you trust for your information. They could be screaming from the roof tops in order to cover up a truth that they do not want brought into the light of day.

When people talk about liar, thief, and traitor, they may want to actually know what the contracts look like, what they cover, how they read, and how they have been broken. I will fight this and I will win! I will also remember every unkind word spoken and by whom.

Please spread this truth far and wide through likes, shares, and comments.

My one post to address the things being said………

By Don Robison

Over the last couple of days I’ve had well over 200 messages from students, online friends and even people I don’t know and have never met. All of them were asking if what Gabe Suarez was saying was true.  In one word, no. I would like to leave it at one word, but I can’t abide by a grown man lying to try to minimize the damage to his wallet so to address one lie. Gabe knows exactly why I left his organization. Here is a copy of the reply I sent him on 14 November when he emailed and asked if he and I “had an issue”

Read more from Don Robison here

The Mantra

By Roger Phillips, Owner of Fight Focused Concepts

We have heard it over and over “front sight, front sight……press.” Then guys like me come along and teach you a new mantra “focal point, focal point………drive the gun to the focal point”

But who is right? What is the best mantra? Does one cover it all to the highest levels possible?

The best mantra is actually a combination of the two. The very best mantra would go like this. “Focal point, focal point……drive the gun to the focal point……front sight, press”

It is the combination of eye/hand coordination and perfect body mechanics that get you on target in the most efficient and effective manner as possible. The sights are nothing more than  a 2-5% verification of an already accurate aim. If you can nail down this mantra and combine it with a very nice focal point transition during the draw stroke…… are at the starting point to hit the highest of levels.

Think like a point shooter before you ever even touch  your gun. Nail done the perfect body mechanics that come out of the your eye/hand coordination draw stroke. Get to your sights if you can or if they are needed. Find the perfect balance of speed and control  so there is no disruption at the end of your draw. Make sure there is no wasted movement, economy of motion is key.

This is the optimal draw stroke, the paragon of draw strokes! This is the foundation for everything that follows.

“For the Children”

By Roger Phillips, Owner of Fight Focused Concepts

Last December 7th, 2012 was the 25th anniversary of my first date with my wife, yes Pearl Harbor Day. For years I have  jokingly told my wife that “she threw herself at me like a Kamikaze.” On this special night, I planned a trip to the local aquarium with my wife and my 19 month old Granddaughter, Zoey. I thought that it would be nice if we celebrated the day, where it all started,  with the most precious little person in our lives and one of the very best things that we had ever helped make happen. I also selfishly wanted to be the first person to bring Zoey to the aquarium…….it’s a Grandfather thing!

As I dressed for the night I thought through the risk level of the area, the obligation that I would have as the protectors for my two special girls, and geared up accordingly while reminding myself of my absolute commitment to their safety. This is something that I normally do, but on this night there was a bit more inherent risk than usual. I was not positive it the aquarium was a non-permissive environment, but I made the decision that “If I see no signs, there are no signs” if you know what I mean. Luckily I live in a state where it is not a crime unless I refuse to leave.

Zoey seemed to understand that we were doing something special and both of my girls were in the very best of spirits. I was on the top of the world, but as always my primary mission is never far from my mind. I remember thinking about how safe my girls were and even thought about how safe the other children that were present were because I was there……..doing what comes natural to me.

This was an absolutely perfect night. Zoey was simply awestruck by the aquarium and went through it three times running from window to window with the bewilderment of exploration that only a child can experience. I can remember very few times where I felt this level of joy and love. I thought about how odd it is that a person as absolutely as dangerous as me could  have such intense feeling.  It dawned on me that this was the reason that I was so dangerous.

One week later on December 14, 2012 evil struck again, this time in New Town, Connecticut

When I think of the love I have for Zoey, I cannot even imagine what those families are going through. Years ago, I lost my sister to violence but she was an adult and the innocence had been lost long before her death. But the children of New Town!

I wonder the number of people who would have been willing to risk their own lives for those children. I wonder the number of people who abhor violence that would have moved past that belief to have the opportunity to use violence to stop the evil that was unleashed on those children.

They say “A Democrat is a Republican that has just not been mugged yet.”

While we say these things in jest, there is still a lot of truth to it. I began my journey as an extremely dangerous person due to attacks on people who I loved. It was not evil that made me dangerous……it was love………and it made me more dangerous than my adversaries were willing to go up against. I was willing to die for those that I loved, but they were not willing to die for those that they hated.

I cannot even imagine being responsible for children and not being responsible enough to be able to protect them. To me, that would be a fate worse than death. Do people really have to be “mugged” before they can see this? Can’t people see the evil and see the loss of innocence, then make the necessary adjustments without having to personally experience it. “Just in case” and “for the children” would seem to me to be enough to equip oneself with the necessary knowledge and tools.

For the choir out there, I am not preaching to you. I am preaching to those that are responsible for the children, that may have realized since December 14, 2012, that they need to be more responsible for their protection. If you came to the realization that you would die for them like some of the adults did inside of that school, I would appreciate the opportunity to teach you to fight for them. Dying for them may not be enough! You may need to fight evil to the death to stop their evil intent.

You can put your head back in the sand and hope that evil does not pick “your kids” number, or you can use your love to make you more dangerous to evil than evil is to the precious children who look to you for their protection.

The High Road and Telling My Story

By Roger Phillips, Owner of Fight Focused Concepts

I have receive many inquires on “what is going on” and have only spoken to a select few friends on exactly what led to my resignation, my setting out on my own, and my joining the alliance of trainers under Paragon Pride. As a group, Paragon Pride has made the decision to take the high road and to not get into an internet war responding to each and every attack that is being launch against us. We feel that the vast majority of “good people” will see the attacks for what they are and will differentiate between the pathological and obvious lies/distortions/exaggerations and the actual truth.

I have waited patiently for the advice of my council to address the mountain of questions that I am being asked by my friends and students. I would like to take the time and address some of the main questions and then hopefully put this behind me and get on to doing what it is that I do…….training really good people in matters of life and death. Before I get into the meat of the issue, I would like to make one comment.

I use to be exactly where I was supposed to be, but things change. Right now, I have moved on to exactly where I am supposed to be. Change is inevitable, and one must strive to either enact necessary change or to positively respond to the changes that are happening around them. Change is good when it is addressed in the appropriate manner. I could not be happier with the changes that are going on right now. This is the time to stand up and show people exactly what I am made of.

There are two major issues/decisions that came up that made it impossible for me to not resign. It does not matter if the decisions were made to “shake the tree to see what falls out, or if it was a direct attempt to personally force me to move on. Either way, “it is what it is” and I do not take business decisions personally. If somebody makes a business decision that negatively affects me, I immediately begin weighing out my options and developing a plan of action. “Sitting back and taking it” has never been an option in my world. In my opinion, positively responding  to the business decisions is the only course of action.

There are two very distinct strategies in scheduling  your courses. One is to schedule very few courses in order to limit the supply and therefore create a demand for the courses. This is done to maximize the amount of money that you make, for each and every day on the range. This is something that I absolutely disagree with. It is a shortsighted strategy that does not take a number of things into consideration. The other strategy is to put up a moderate number of courses, stay busy, keep your name out there, establish yourself as a force to be reckoned with, and not worry about how much money you can make in each and every day of instructing. This is a strategy that is all about creating your future, it is one that takes the focus off of the short money, and puts the focus on the long money. This has been the strategy that I have successfully used for the last five or six years. This strategy does two very distinct things, it helps establish the Instructors reputation and it affords the students the opportunity to have a good number of choices and options, to find the best training opportunity for themselves. Are there times that my strategy leads to a course that has low enrollments? Yes it does. But the benefits far outweigh the negatives, because it is not just about the short money. In my opinion, low enrollment courses are essential to the advancement of the art and the advancement of the student/Instructor relationship.

Sure, I do enjoy big paychecks……who doesn’t? But on the other hand, I also enjoy small courses where The Pride can workshop skill sets and concepts in the advancement of the art. This is where the future is forged, this is where the personal connections are cemented, and this is an essential part of any successful  Instructor. Do not moan and complain about your low numbers, go into the course with the positive attitude that today is the day that the advancement of the art is going to take another kick in the pants.

Notice that only one of these strategies actually benefits the student in any way.

Notice that only one of these strategies can actually be used by an Instructor that wants to make a name for himself.

For 2014, I was told that I was only going to be allowed to teach four local courses and four traveling courses. But when you look at the way the traveling course program was set up, it became very clear that all of the traveling courses were being decimated, due to a financial punishment of any person that wanted to host a course.  If you want to host a course, you have to give up one of your allocated courses. I roughly teach between twelve and eighteen courses a year and now I was being told that I can only teach four local courses, because the other four traveling courses are not even possible due to this business decisions to punish people for wanting to host traveling Instructors.

With only being allocated four realistic courses, it became crystal clear that I would have to run a lot more courses than I usually do under my business, Fight Focused Concepts. No big deal I could make that adjustment.

Little did I know that it was not just “how many courses I was teaching, it was much more about “how successful I had become.”

The second business decision, and the one that absolutely forced my hand to resign, was the official dumping of all of my “Specialist” courses.  It became perfectly clear that the five to six years that was  told to “stand up, stand out, do whatever you feel you should do to become a name Instructor” was now being replaced with “sit down, shut up, and get in line as a good little (insert franchise name) worker.” It would seem that the positive act of doing exactly what I was told to do was now being seen as negative act of creating a sub-culture. The positive act of making a name for myself was now seen as negative act of creating a fiefdom.

One has to ask themselves, why would somebody dump an extremely lucrative portion of their business? The answer is clear when you understand that, in reality, they never wanted for you to become a “name” Instructor because that takes away from the attempted branding of the company. So, instead of embracing my accomplishment, they decided to try to erase my accomplishments.

I have put my heart and soul into my specialty and I have created my own training philosophy. The idea of letting somebody attempt to erase that work is absolutely unacceptable to me. They can attack me from whatever angle they want, but my friends and students know who I am, what I have accomplished, and who I am going to be as I move toward the future.

I stuck around to fulfill my contract and to teach the last few courses out of respect for my students. The lack of respect, integrity, and honor that I have witnessed during this same time period further solidifies the soundness of my decision. I want to once again, have pride in what I do, pride in who I am associated with, and pride in how my customers are treated. I have learned much over the last year about the paragon of customer service in my other job, the contrasts that I see between my two respective jobs is something that I could not accept. I will be bringing the same level of customer service to both of my jobs and the only way to do that is cutting out the absolute disrespect that I have witnessed in the past.

I am proud to announce my moving forward by the official scheduling of my first local course.  This is just the start! I will also be looking to travel to a few select venues in 2014 and now is the time to contact me to lock those plans down.

You can register for my course here

You can request a traveling course by contacting me here . Those that have already broached the subject with me are at the top of the list.

I am also putting out a public call for CQB venues. If you have a venue contact me at my E-mail address above.

The date for the Extreme Night Fighter course  will need to change due to the legal wrangling that have stalled our attempts. I want at least a three-month window to get this course scheduled and will announce it as soon as I work out the logistics.

Please spread this word far and wide through shares, likes, and follows.

Why We Do What We do

FRS Reno 078

By Roger Phillips, Owner of Fight Focused Concepts

The holidays are here and I want to wish everyone the very best of times. As always, the Phillips Clan gathers as often as possible and never misses out on the family get-togethers over the holidays. I often find myself just sitting back and watching the family enjoy themselves and the company of those that they love. I am often amazed at the group of people who I helped bring together and the absolute happiness that runs through the entire group. As usual, I think about where I came from and how far I have come. This naturally leads into the ever-present reminder of why I do what I do and who I am to my very core.

I have written about being “A Dad” before and it seemed to resonate with many Dads, that see things very much as I see things. I strongly believe that the article carved me out a niche as a Self Defense Instructor, but that niche could and should be much larger than a niche of just Dads. What I am talking about is the very large group of people out there that see themselves as the protectors of those that they love.IMG_2939

As an Instructor I have traveled the country and met the most amazing people, people from all walks of life. Meeting and training these people is the ultimate of honors, because the one over-riding trait, that the vast majority them possess is the fact that they are the self-appointed protectors of those that they love. When you feel and live at such a level of dedication and resolve, seeing it in others, just as strong as you see it in yourself, is the ultimate of honors. Such an honor can only be met with the highest levels of respect, integrity,and pride.

I have told my story on why I teach. The undeniable honor of teaching people, the very best material that I can find, is something that can never be taken lightly. Matters of “life and death” are one thing, matters of “life and death” for those that you love is a whole other thing. When the protectors among us come to be taught the skills that they need, to be as deadly as they can be for their loved ones, there can be no compromises. There can be nothing given, but the very best effort put forth by the Instructor. The protectors came for a reason and nothing should get in the way from the Instructor teaching the very best course that they can.

In all of my years as a student, nothing disgusts me more than an Instructor that obviously holds back information for business or money-making reasons. The reason that so many protectors/students state that taking a class from me is “like drinking from a fire hose” is because I feel that I have a moral obligation to give as much quality information to the student/protector as I can fit into the purchased amount of time.

Is this not the way that it should be?FRS Reno 085

We all know the answer to that question as the student. We want as much information as the Instructor can teach, within the purchased amount of time, because we are looking at this from the perspective of the self-appointed protector of those that we love. We have dedicated the time and the money and we want to feel as if the Instructor cares about the value that we received for our sacrifices.

Unfortunately, just as it is with many of the Martial Arts, information and knowledge is dealt out in small increments to assure that the student has to come back for more. But, there is a big difference between training in a typical Martial Art Dojo and taking a Firearms course………and that difference comes down to the cost of the courses.

I may not be the smartest business man in the world, but it would seem to me that giving a protector/student a very good value would increase their customer loyalty. Call me stupid, but it would seem that an Instructor that is, first and foremost, loyal to the protector/student would receive loyalty in return, due to his obvious understanding of the paramount importance of training the best protectors that he can possibly train.

This is about “life and death,” this is about “family”, this is about “loved ones”, this is about “the protectors” among us being as ready as they can possibly be, just in case they are called on to use their hard-earned knowledge and skills to do the most important thing that they can possibly do.IMG_3088

“It’s who we are, it’s what we do!”

If it is “who we are”, then it is the Instructors moral obligation to try to make “who we are” as deadly as we can possibly be. If it is “what we do” then it is the Instructors moral obligation to make the “what we do” as high quality as he possibly can.

The day this becomes more about money, than about the importance of teaching the protectors among us, is the day that you should close up shop and move on to another line of work.