Entries by Chris Ranck-Buhr

Make Peace

  Note:  Though I originally wrote this in 2012, it’s turned out to be a timeless reminder that is even more appropriate today.   I was walking toward a store, thinking the everyday thoughts we immerse ourselves in when we tread familiar ground, blindly, when I suddenly became aware of the person in front of […]

“You know it ain’t cool to kill on Christmas.”

(Title quote from the inestimable Johnny Cash.) One of the truths about studying violence is that it makes you really uninterested in being involved in it.  Dramatic ass-kicking, on the other hand, is attractive—mainly because of your perception of increased social standing.  “Teaching someone a lesson” makes you a badass… and who doesn’t want that? […]

That New Victim Smell

If you have the nose for it, it’s more obvious than cartoon stink lines. One of our Master Instructors, Dave S., went on vacation to San Francisco.  A great thing about that city is that unlike most west coast cities, it is almost entirely walkable.  He spent a week there with his wife, sans car […]

Be the Problem

“What did you do today to prevent being sexually assaulted?” Jackson Katz, a social researcher, asked the men in the room that question; they laughed.  Then he asked the women. Image credit: Jennifer Wright The data is telling:  Women live in a very different world than men, and, on balance, already know the preventative measures.  […]

As we head into our 30th year…

…the work continues without pause, unabated. We train and teach violence as a survival tool constantly, never off the mats for more than two days in a row. We are in classes three days a week, with six-hour Saturdays every month (seventeen in a row so far).  We continue to hold multi-day seminars, both public […]

It’s Not About You

Unless you’re a jerk, and then it’s your own fault you just made it personal… The unfortunate thing about the experience of consciousness is that we are, each of us, the star of our very own movie. The story is all about you, it happens to you, and you have screenwriter and director credit. (Of […]

Tactical Cruelty

“Violence is the race for the eye.” — Master Derrick Farwell   When he was a young Marine, Derrick sought effective hand-to-hand combat training, going where stories of ass-kicking and dread reputation led.  One night he ended up in a dingy Karate studio; the instructor was a Vietnam-era Marine from Okinawa, a compact, no-nonsense man […]

Who Needs It Next?

That’s the question that has kept me sweating, bleeding, training — teaching — for 28 years. Whenever I’ve considered hanging it all up, I just thought of the last person who used it, who needed it, who would’ve been found by a corpse-sniffing dog in a ditch if they hadn’t known how to turn the […]


You are a mid-tier predator; your ancestors ate everything below them in the food chain, and were eaten by everything above.  Big brains and fire dramatically altered that equation; we picked up a rock, then put an edge on it, then put that sharp rock on the end of a stick — and as that […]