Preparing For Violence


Preparing for violence is assault training.

Asocial Violence is predatory violence. The predator does not see the victim as a person, but as a resource. Asocial violence is the domain of the predator and the humanity of his victim does not enter into the equation.

- Exerpted from Meditations On Violence

Training consists of various drills specifically tailored toward learning how to physically and mentally deal with unexpected asocial violence. Its purpose is to develop conditioned reflexes within our students so they can respond automatically to predatory violence.  The primary goal is to help our students increase their awareness about violence, heighten their initiative to have the will to act instinctively when necessary, and to fully understand the basic premise that they have permission and the right to protect themselves.

Conditioned Reflexes & Habits

Conditioned reflexes are things we do automatically without thought.  Essentially, they are trained flinch responses.  If something comes at your eyes you will do something; perhaps block, move your head or at the minimum, blink.  The more we train, the more sophisticated the reflex can become. Our objective is learn how to instinctively act to a myriad of unexpected situations in order to survive.

Habits are other behaviors we also do automatically.  Ways of moving.  Ways of approaching problems, and even ways of thinking and seeing.  Once we develop a habit, we have the natural tendency to stop looking for other strategies.  Habits can be ways of thinking without thinking which can place us in precarious situations when we have to deal with predatory violence.

Goal of Assault Drills

Our aim is to help guide students to understand the difference between social conflicts and predatory violence and to help prepare them to face the harsh reality of an unexpected assault that normal martial arts instruction does not provide.

Assaults – Predatory Violence

Assaults are rare, but they are the most serious of attacks. A human predator wants something from you: your money and jewelry or just a few minutes of pleasure hurting you. He will get it as efficiently and safely as possible. We do not work ourselves up or get angry to slaughter a steer. An experienced criminal will not do so with you.

We do not take risks or even consider somehow ‘making it fair’ when we butcher a chicken. A predator will not make things fair for you. To make it safe and efficient for himself, the predator will make the attack close-range, hard, fast and a surprise for you. It will be nothing like sparring. Nothing like even the most extreme no-holds-barred match. This will be an assault and the things you need to train for, the things we share and explore together, are those little skills that may buy you some precious warning or a micro-second of time. The things that might give you a few percentage points of an edge.


You may not be able to avoid a violent physical assault but you certainly can alter the outcome. You don’t have to be a victim, it’s a choice.

- Unknown Quote

Fighting is inherently conservative and this shows in the majority of martial arts instruction. In truth, fighting is dangerous. People get hurt and killed. For everything that might work there are a hundred things that seem like a good idea that can lead to a severe injury or even death. We have kata and tradition NOT because people are stuck in tradition but because when people consistently lived at a time with uncertain survival it was considered imperative to remember how and model it. Unfortunately, a great deal has been lost in translation and by transmission over time, but most of the systems that survived have the bones. However, that may not be enough because these systems were built around specific individuals in specific times and places.  In many instances these systems became less effective because the focus shifted to the artistic expression of the art rather than the combative aspects of survival.

How you will fight to survive violence must be built around you. Your physicality (both in build and in how you naturally move) as well as your temperament. A certain amount of aggression is required, but if you really cannot injure another person, training to injure is wasted time.

Social Conflict Can Be Avoided

Most conflict is social and establishes membership, dominance, or enforces rules.   Social conflict has rituals. There is a lead-up. One or both of the people usually must be angry or make themselves angry. This is what we are used to. This is the default belief about violence. This is the place where ‘fighting’ with its implications of a contest with a winner and a loser is valid. These assumptions drive most of our martial arts training. From the lethal duels of bygone eras to sparring today, this is what we expect and this is what we train for. And almost every last incident of this kind of physical fight is 100% preventable. You can walk away from it all. All of your training works here and none of it is necessary.

Prior Martial Arts Training

If you already train martial arts, nothing that we do at Kenpo Richmond is intended to replace your training. Hopefully, you will find our approach will help open your eyes and put your training into real-world context. Things that will bring your mind to the pitch that hard training has brought your body. Things that will make skills a little easier to access under stress and ways to practice making the motions you have trained natural for you.

No Experience

If you have never studied martial arts before you will learn the difference between social violence and asocial violence.  There are numerous benefits to studying, practicing, and training in martial arts, yet WE want you to learn how to deal with and survive predatory violence.

Please note we are expanding the content of our site to include additional information relating to social confrontation and asocial violence.