“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.

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.