Awareness “Fail” – Texting Man Walks Up To A Bear!

In A.C.W.A. Combatives, we often say: “when we lack awareness, all attacks will be an ambush.” That is, when we are not paying attention to others around us or the environment we are in, then anything in that environment (a bear in this case) will be a complete surprise to us. Terms like “it came out of no where” are often used by people when they are in this “white” or blank mindset. This is a fully internalized state of attention that allows for the world to sneak up on you without you knowing.  This prey mentality almost did in the guy in the video below, who was texting and then suddenly realized there was a BEAR in front of him….he “did not see it coming” and it “came out of no where” as you can see from his reaction when he finally notices the creature. Luckily for him he noticed just in time and the bear did not pursue him, take a look:

This man was lucky, he got away, but luck is not dependable enough, we want to be actively aware of the world around us so that we don’t get caught out one day when our luck runs out!  It does not matter what it is, bears, or others who are looking to do us harm, the more we can notice things before they become a problem, the less of an ambush we face.  This happens all the time (not the bear thing, the distracted thing) as life is busy and it’s easy to get side tracked with daily life. The key is in balance and good judgement. Do things when they make sense to do them, when your out and about in the open world, DON’T BE TEXTING, be paying attending to others and to the environment.  At a minimum that will keep you from twisting your ankle from tipping over a curb or broken piece of concert that “came out of no where.” At a max it communicates to people looking for an easy mark that  your less of a target to be taken advantage of and that’s the type of communication we want to give off.

Intelligent self protection is about taking measures to prevent negative issues in your life from ever occurring in the first place. If a measure of awareness  makes you less of a potential victim and more of a harder target (and it does), then we need to adopt that habit as our new best friend.

Train Hard & Stay Safe,
Justin J. Everman
Founder A.C.W.A. Combatives


NEW – 1 Day Extreme Combatives Camp!


We know your LIFE IS BUSY and you might not have time for ongoing training, but you still want to know you can handle yourself and protect your loved ones. You need something that’s not only functional, but is something that you can do with very little practice and that can stop a threat dead in its tracks. You’ve realized that you need layers of protection, psychological, hand to hand andecc weapons because otherwise you’d be leaving some massive gaps in your armor! But how to accomplish this?


No time to train, we got you covered!  For the first time ever we have distilled our combatives curriculum down into a one day camp that will give you the one up on any situation. Simple to learn, easy to apply instinctual skills all in just 1 day. YES it’s possible, we’ve done it for years for private clients and now we have opened it to the general public. This is an investment that will stick with you the rest of your life, not many investments are as solid these days ;-) .  

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Why You Should Fight Like Pinky the Cat

We can learn a lot from nature if we pay attention and know what to look for. Watch the You Tube clip below and you will see an excellent example of how a cat can teach us what Self Defense actually looks like.  In this clip, the officer tries to restrain and control a cat named “Pinky”. Pinky tries, but cannot simply pull free or run away. With no recourse, Pinky counter attacks with claws and teeth into the officers leg and SHUTS DOWN HIS WILL TO CONTINUE.  Once that happened, the officer let go, the animal was free and ran off.  Notice the officer did not even think about chasing after it. This is exactly the methodology YOU need in a self defense situation.  Until you have changed the “predator/prey” relationship in an attack situation, the person attacking you is unlikely to stop until you “motivate” them to do so just like the officer did not let go until he became the prey for the fuzzy animal.

In the moment of Pinky’s defensive/offensive actions, all the skills the officer had were worthless, his gun was worthless,  all he could do was stop and try to push/pull the cat off him.  If an 8lb cat can stop and get away from a 250lb man, think of what you can do, with the RIGHT TRAINING.  This is why I tell people we will turn them into a “pissed off cat”, a wild animal is really something few want to have to deal with and most just leave alone….

As the saying goes: “It’s not the size of the man in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the man” or in this case fight in the “cat”.  If this concept interests you,  I invite you to take a journey with us and learn to fight like Pinky, that is, to learn the skills you need to shut down a larger opponent.  Skills that are easy to learn, instinct based and get you out a situation and home safe, nothing more, nothing less.

Please share this on any of your favorite social media sites or feel free to forward to a friend!

Have a good one and stay safe,
Justin J. Everman
A.C.W.A. Founder

All About The A.C.W.A. – An Interview With The Founder


jjeThe following is an interview conducted with A.C.W.A. Combatives Founder and Chief Instructor Justin J. Everman.

Q:  Can you tell us what A.C.W.A. Combatives actually is?

A: Yes, A.C.W.A. Combatives is a non-sport, reality based, self defense system designed to answer the problems we face in today’s world. Its purpose is not for fighting, but to provide practical, intelligent solutions for dealing with and extricating from violent situations. Simple gross motor movements along with an understanding of human bio-mechanical motion make the system practical for anyone to use its concepts anywhere at any time, even in the dark.

We study the entire force continuum as we understand that the force we use, in any situation, must parallel the threat we face.  Awareness, psychology, verbal conflict de-escalation, counter grappling, hand-to-hand Combatives, improvised/practical weapons use and disarms are all part of the program of study.  That said, our ultimate goal is to provide our students with the skills and tools necessary to get them home safe.


Q: You mentioned the need for intelligent solutions in that description, can you please explain that a bit more?

A: It’s not enough to just be a great fighter, martial artist, self defense practitioner; you must also be an intelligent one. For example, you can be a great fighter and be sitting in jail because you did more than was needed in a situation. That’s not intelligent personal protection, that’s just exchanging one problem for another.  What we want are solutions, solutions where response parallels threat, solutions that get you home safe, solutions that are intelligent.  As we say “not every problem is a nail, not every solution is a hammer”, so use the right tool for the job.  You need to have the flexibility to do what you need to do and be who you need to be in any situation, no more, no less.


Q: Your motto is “Cover * Crash * Counter-Attack”, what does that mean?

A: This is much more than a motto; it’s an SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) for us. These terms dictate the steps we take if we are in a physical conflict and are working to resolve the problem in the most efficient and effective way possible. First we COVER our heads, which is a natural movement we make under stress anyway. From this position we seek to CRASH into our opponent, putting them in an off balance condition. Finally we proceed to COUNTER-ATTACK and shut down the threat. By first mitigating damage with a cover and taking the opponents space and balance our counter to their aggression becomes considerably easier to implement. There is much much more on this topic, but that’s the 10,000 ft overview.


Q: What’s the difference between “Combatives” and “Martial Arts”?

A: Martial arts is something you do with someone, Combatives is something you do to someone. This means that these two have a real different feel.  We are not here to submit someone; we are not here to score points. What we are here to do is stop the violence towards us and our family. No games, just easy to learn mechanics that anyone can do anytime anywhere. What you learn today in class you may have to be able to do tonight in a parking lot, so we are about immediate functionality (no more waiting years for “the good stuff”).


Q: There is not much about you personally on the website, why is that?

A:  It’s not about me; it’s about the student and what better way to show that than to lead by example. There is just too much EGO stroking going on in the martial arts community and I refuse to fuel that trend.  I don’t think it does any good to put an instructor or founder on a pedestal, cause he/she has this or that title, or did this or that.  It really does not matter how good someone is if they cannot communicate the learning to the student. Good fighters and martial artists do not necessarily make good Instructors.  Many people go looking for the wrong things when choosing a system or school due to this simple fact.  Remember you are not paying for what the Instructor can do; you are paying for what the Instructor can teach YOU to do.  My point is that someone who is teaching you to tempter your EGO should first show you they can temper theirs.  For many, this is a high mountain to climb indeed.


Q: Your methods are far from traditional, what would you say to those who train in traditional arts yet wish to apply them to real world personal defense situations?

A: Test your solutions. Do they work in the dark, against weapons, against multiple attackers? What about in confined spaces like hallways, cars, public transport. Do they function on grass, gravel or concrete? If the answer is no then you’re not training personal protection your training personal perfection and the two are vastly different. You can perfect any type of artistic movement, but that does not mean it’s practical to utilize to save your life or that of a loved one. So test your answers, don’t just trust what others tell you, then you can judge for yourself if your traditional solutions are valid, then fill in any gaps you find.


Q: You’re based out of Texas, a very pro gun state.  What would you say to those who feel they don’t need any “hand to hand” training as they “have a gun?”

A: Personal safety and security is about layers. It’s about having the correct tool for the job, that said, in A.C.W.A. we study everything from verbal conflict to hand to hand and blade and gun use and disarms. There is no “one” solution to every situation, a gun is simply AN option, not THE option. Indeed we show this in the training we provide our students and we leave no doubt that you need to be well rounded in order to deal with real world violence.  We train to have options, not to create dependencies and limitations. At the end of the day you must realize you yourself are the only weapon, everything else is just a tool that helps with reach and force multiplication.


Q: We like how you train in T-shirts, jeans and shoes, can you elaborate on why that is.

A: We are here to solve the problems people face today, not ones in ancient times. Though the learning from those times is valid, we must bring it up to today’s standards. Part of this is the understanding that we need to train in clothes that are similar to what we would wear in today’s world. Most of us don’t walk around in Gi’s or robes so based on that we settled on black shirts, blue jeans and athletic shoes. It’s clean, simple and functional.  We also do this for safety. We tend to stomp and kick very low line in that we teach students to “walk violently”. Doing with shoes on saves your toes and in fact you would not even consider doing it without shoes, so shoes are great tools in their own right. Since we wear shoes normally, it just makes sense to train how you live. We also wear jeans to save our legs; grabbing denim is safer than grabbing leg skin. Jeans also do not rip or tear and no one gets “depanted” during training that way. If you can move in jeans you can move in shorts or other clothing.  Working from restriction like that shows you the range of motion as well as gives an understanding of how the clothes we wear are a variable we must take into consideration.


Q: You talk a lot about psychology and how it’s a very important, yet very underutilized, can you tell our readers more about this aspect of the training?

A: Mindset is key, without it you have nothing. The mind drives the body, without A there is no B.  Without tenacity and resolve you will give up. We say “all wars are first won or lost in the mind” meaning that you give up mentally far before you physically give in. With that understanding, we can now build our defense and offense based on destroying the opponent’s “will” to continue.  If I can induce fear & retraction in you, then your skills don’t matter, as you won’t have access to them.  Your heart rate goes up, your primal brain kicks in and your fine motor skills go out the window. Unless you train to operate in this condition, as we do, then you’re going to be much easier for me now to cope with. We can do this though various psychological tools that we tech here at the A.C.W.A. and this IS missing in many of today’s arts. Understanding how our brain’s function and affect the body is a major tool that everyone in the world of self protection SHOULD be using. Sadly, most never even know these tools and methods even exist!


Q: What advice can you give our readers as far as common sense practices to keep them safe?

A: Be aware, don’t walk around paranoid, but don’t have the blinders on either. Don’t do stupid things with stupid people in stupid areas to put yourself at risk. If you do find yourself in a situation make sure your really there acting in SELF protection not just in EGO protection. You will find fear and ego drives many conflicts and most can be avoided if you have the verbal tools to do so.  This is also something we teach here at the A.C.W.A. that many places either don’t know, or reserve for “elite ranks”. To me everyone needs these skills in today’s world.


Q: How can someone get a hold of you or one of your instructors?

A: The best way to contact us is via our website at, there you will find our programs, email and phone numbers.


Building on the Flinch Response

If you go onto and search for “BROKEN BAT FLIES INTO STANDS” you will be greeted with a host of images like the one shown here to the right.  In each case you will see people with their hands raised up and or covering their heads in reaction to the baseball bat that is flying in their general direction.  Now it’s not plausible that everyone there met ahead of time and agreed “if a bat flies up here today lets all put our hands up”, no, it was just a natural reaction to stress that we all have.

This protective mechanism is called the “Flinch Response” and it’s just that, an instantaneous raising of the hands to protect the head in a moment of duress. This happens quite automatically and is one of the fastest actions we can make.  That said, it seems only logical then that any personal defense system worth it’s salt should also incorporate this type of moment, though so few actually do. Why do you think that is?

Would it not be more efficient to INTEGRATE this natural response that body makes to stress into the training you do and into your self defense practices? To us this only made sense and is one of the key reasons our body mechanics, cover positions and motions are what they are. We always wish to utilize our bodies in a manner that is consistent with our instincts.  Work in harmony with natural motion/instinct and you will gain confidence in your ability to deal with stress. But if you choose to go the other direction……well all I can say is good luck.


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