"This brief message cannot fully capture the huge and heartfelt thanks I wish to express for an invaluable training experience this past weekend. As my introduction to Guided Chaos, the Combative Movement Immersion Seminar exceeded all expectations and was well worth the 10,000-mile round trip. I would absolutely make the trek again and look forward to the next opportunity to do so. And, if any Masters or Instructors plan on visiting the Hawaiian Islands, I would be eager to connect for further lessons. For now, I will be diving deep into the drills and keeping an eye out for suitable training partners. My journey in GC is just beginning, and I don't intend to squander the momentum gathered from the seminar. Utmost gratitude and respect to GM Perkins for creating and sharing this radically ingenious and powerfully effective art. Mahalo nui loa to the entire GC family for their hospitality, encouragement, and generosity with their expertise. Please do keep in touch. A hui hou (Until we meet again), Ken B."

group mayhem RHEM

"I thoroughly enjoyed the women’s self-defense class even though it was quite a workout. Lol. 
The instructors were knowledgeable, funny, patient and attentive, and when necessary, they pushed us out of our comfort zones. The techniques taught in the class were simple yet effective. They were easy to learn because they were in alignment with how we naturally move. 
The class helped me to get out of my head and to be more in my body. I also developed a deeper awareness of my body in relation to the surrounding environment. These gains are priceless for the more integrated I am at the mind-body level, the more powerful I can be.
Thanks for a great self-defense class!"



"Those of us who practice Tai Chi (Taiji) as a fighting art pursue concepts that represent a holy grail. They are written about in the classics, and spoken of in quotes by long-dead masters including Chen Wangting, who supposedly said:

"I know everyone, but no one knows me."

When I first became interested in the Kung Fu TV show back in the early Seventies, one of the interesting quotes from the show was:

"A Shaolin monk, when reached for, cannot be felt."

When I was 18 and watching that show, I thought that meant something mystical, as if a Shaolin monk vanished in front of you. But the quote resonated with me.

I have done push hands with some Chinese instructors, including Chen Bing and Chen Xiaoxing, who, when I pushed on them, they disappeared and very quickly I found myself off-balance (or on the floor). When I reached for them, they could not be felt.

In other words, I could not find their center, but they could find mine."

For a long time, I've been working to get better at maintaining my center while I control my opponent's center, setting him up for a counter. There are muscular ways of achieving this, and more subtle ways. And so, when my friend Evan Yeung introduced me to Guided Chaos, and its practice of "contact flow," I immediately saw the connection between this aspect of their art and the goal that eludes so many Tai Chi folks who end up using muscle to overpower their opponents, rather than relaxing, sensing, flowing, and controlling the opponent's center.

On September 17, 2016, I spent a day in Cincinnati working on contact flow with three talented Guided Chaos instructors: Lt. Col. Al Ridenhour, Kevin Harrell, and Joe Martarano. It was my second time working with Al and Kevin, and the first time I have met Joe. I hope it isn't the last. These guys are great martial artists.

Another important phrase that we often repeat in martial arts is from Bruce Lee, who borrowed from Taoist philosophy when he urged people to "be water." Pour it into a cup and it becomes the cup, Bruce said. Water can flow, and it can crash.

"Be water, my friend."

Contact flow, developed by the founder of Guided Chaos, John Perkins, teaches you to relax and flow around obstacles, redirecting incoming force, moving and maintaining your root, maintaining your center, and, as you flow and find your way, you knock the crap out of your opponent.

This is what Tai Chi is supposed to be. Tai Chi is about fighting, but it aims for more subtle principles and body mechanics than some arts do.

Chen Tai Chi push hands can be brutal. I know people who have gone to Chen Village and come back nursing broken bones. There are strikes, throws, joint locks and more. A good pluck can cause whiplash. If you aren't careful, or if you get a little aggressive, someone will need to heal up for a while. But in the beginning, you should develop sensitivity and be able to move from form to fighting. To do that well, you should develop subtle skills. At least that's what everyone talks about, but few seem to do it.

Practicing contact flow triggered insights and connected some of the dots of Tai Chi in an effective way. A year ago, after my first Guided Chaos workshop, it changed the way I thought about push hands, and this year, it has changed the way I practice push hands.

You should be able to learn some of these subtle skills, but it's not easy to find good push hands instructors, or experienced push hands partners. Another problem we face is that Americans simply do not grow up learning the concept of relaxing and flowing while maintaining the ground, peng, and using the spiraling movements of silk-reeling. Instead, we tense up and want to smash like the Hulk. It's funny to me now when I push hands with someone from outside the internal arts -- how tense they are. But that is how we all feel until we learn, and practice, practice, practice.

One time, around 1999, a Chinese gongfu "master" came to the Quad Cities to hold a workshop at my friend John Morrow's school. I attended, and at one point during the workshop, the interpreter walked over to me and said, "Master Wong says you have gongfu. He would like to visit your school and practice with you."

I was very flattered. When he visited my school a few days later, he had me put my hand on his chest, and he put his on mine. He wanted me to push him off-balance. That was the first time I ever pushed on someone whose center could not be found, and he wasn't nearly as skilled as the Chen family. It was eye-opening. But he had no idea how to explain it to me. So the concept remained like the Shaolin monk. I reached for it, but could not find it.

Guided Chaos has at least part of the answer, but as a combat art, it is about a lot more than contact flow. It is a no-nonsense fighting art and they will flat out kick your butt. I highly recommend any of their workshops.

I could only spend one day at this year's Cincinnati workshop because I had to return to teach my journalism class. Even one day was enough to inform me on some of the next steps in my own development. I am continuing to work on the relaxed strength, moving, centering, and spiraling that makes up good internal arts, but also allows you to flow like water, remain "out of reach" by your opponent, and then, as Bruce Lee also said, "I don't hit. IT hits by itself."

I can fight, but just fighting is no longer the goal for me, especially at my age. There is something else, skills that have been elusive.

I was working with Joe Martarano at one point during the workshop, and I realized that I was repeating some habits that have been part of my fighting but were not as efficient as I was trying to achieve.

"I need to empty my cup," I said, scolding myself. But Joe disagreed.

"Empty your cup?" he asked. "You already emptied your cup or you wouldn't be here today."

Good point.

You never know when you will taste someone else's art and learn something that contributes to your own art."

--Sifu Ken Gullette is certified as an instructor with the U.S. Chen Family Chen Jiajou Taiji Quan Federation, connected directly to the Chen Village tai chi school through Grandmaster Chen Xiaoxing. Ken has students all over the world, studying with him through his Online Internal Arts school and Internal Fighting Arts blog.

"Before attending the seminar, to compare and to better enhance my martial arts knowledge, I visited other non-East Asian (CJK) martial arts classes in the Columbus and even in the Dayton area. Out of all the martial arts styles and programs available to public and searchable online, GC is no doubt the one and only school that has the most comprehensive material on self-defense and on articulating the key scientific principles underlying all non-weapons martial skills. I'm certainly blown away by the dedication, work ethic, and long hours that each GC instructors put in to make Guided Chaos a unique martial brand that no other competitors can surpass or even successfully duplicate."
--Jau-Yon Chen, 2016 Cincinnati GC Seminar attendee

"We had an awesome time, the venue was great [Five White Tigers], and even though we are novices we learned a ton of practical tips.  Places like downtown Cincinnati are getting more and more unpredictable and sketchy every day... this stuff will definitely come in handy!
--Wayne Bothe, 2016 Cincinnati GC Seminar attendee
"After experiencing Contact Flow hands-on with the experts,
I consider it to be the 'piece de resistance' of martial arts."
By Dr. Jan Bloem

[Bolded emphasis added by Matt Kovsky]


This past weekend (November 13th - 15th 2015) Guided Chaos masters Al, Joe and Kevin came over to conduct the first Guided Chaos (GC) seminar in the Netherlands.

Being a human movement scientist specializing in motor learning and training professionals to act professionally under duress, a life-long student of the martial arts, experiencing GC was something that has been on my bucket list since I first read the book 'Attackproof' in 2000. Not directly based on rational arguments, but on a strong feeling nevertheless.

And now there was this opportunity, organized by Learn From The Masters and the Guided Chaos Study Group Netherlands.

So, was my intuition right?

The Seminar

The seminar lasted three days covering all the basic aspects more or less of the GC system from contact flow to groundfighting and combat boxing.

What struck me the most was that the teachers (Al, Joe and Kevin) are very genuine when it comes to their art and teaching. They worked with all the participants personally. So in this seminar I had several exchanges with Al, Joe and Kevin, who were not holding back on information. When they thought you were ready for it, they just offered it. So, no: You don't have to wait for this until you are a 5th degree black belt. None of that: you're ready, try it! If not, then they tried to coach you up to the limits of your understanding and skill. In my opinion the way anything has to be taught.

Force vs. Power

Newton's Third Law of Motion states that for every action there is a reaction. For me this means that no matter how strong or fast I am compared with my attacker, when I use force I always get something back. So, from this point of view I have two choices:

1. I have to take care to be the biggest, strongest etc out there. So even when something is coming back, well, who gives a sh..!

However, for me that's not a realistic option. I'm not big and not heavy. And one of the things Al said over and over again: You need to know the possibilities and limits of your body. Well, I'm never going to be 8 feet tall and 300 pounds.

So, if not force, what then? After this weekend it became very clear to me what I've been searching for all the time: True power. And true power doesn't mean strength. No, for me it's the subtle combination of sensitivity, looseness, balance and body unity. If I can create that, then making the added combat skills work is a piece of cake.

Contact Flow

After experiencing Contact Flow hands on with the experts, I consider it to be the 'piece de resistance' of martial arts. If it was up to me, we could have done it the whole seminar. Contact Flow is simple but not easy. With that I mean, the exercise is really not difficult to understand. But once you know a bit where 'to look', especially working with Al, it becomes an in-depth study of inner and outer processes while interacting with another human being. Very interesting!

Teaching Method of GC

Methods of teaching, especially related to combat, is my core business. So, of course I look at how different teachers teach their art.

Also from this point of view GC is very interesting. To me GC is a very principles-based system. Already something I like. But more often than not I see systems claiming to be 'principles-based' using a teaching methodology which is more suitable for techniques-based, which in the end is also what these system are.

GC is different in that perspective. The teachers sincerely try to create conditions which enable the participants to explore their interpretation of the principles. So, the learning process is truly focused on identifying the possibilities and limitations of the student at that specific moment and how that relates to using the principles effectively.


Although I've been practicing martial arts and combat systems now for almost 40 years, GC definitely is very worthwhile to explore more.

Next to that it was really nice to meet with Al, Joe and Kevin, who are very involved with their 'art' and trying to represent it in the best possible way.

See you next time guys!!

--Dr. Jan Bloem (1971) is a human movement and behavioral scientist specializing in how to train professionals to act professionally under pressure. Practicing martial arts and self defense since 1975, he is now one of Europe's leading authorities on martial arts and self defense instruction, teaching special operation units from both police and military. He is also a forensic expert on physical violence.

And more from Jan:

"...For me violence is something which is totally non-linear. This means, it does not follow linear rules. The fact that this non-linear phenomena has identifiable critical points, might lead to the misconception that violence is linear. Again, to me this is far from the truth.

So, if violence is a non-linear problem, we cannot provide a linear solution. To me this is the problem with most self-defense issues: They offer a linear solution to a non-linear problem.

In my humble opinion the Guided Chaos system founded by John Perkins is as non-linear as it gets. Analyzing it from a linear point of view, as most people will do, will not give this system the credit it deserves. To me it's one of the very view systems actually addressing the true problem, that violence is chaotic as hell and therefore the method preparing you for it should be as well..."

Stepping Out of My Comfort Zone at a Guided Chaos Seminar
By Sifu Ken Gullette*
*[Bolded emphasis added by Matt Kovsky]

"There are some people who can flat out kick your ass.
I met a couple of them this weekend.

Lt. Col. Al Ridenhour and Kevin Harrell held a Guided Chaos workshop in Cincinnati this weekend. Guided Chaos was developed by John Perkins as a no-nonsense method of dealing with the chaos of real world violence.

I enjoy getting out of my comfort zone and training with people that make me feel like a child, like someone who has never been in a martial arts class. When you meet someone who can get inside your defenses at will, you have met someone with a valuable art.

Guided Chaos should be required training for anyone interested in push hands and the self-defense aspects of the internal arts. I took a lot of notes and have plenty to practice."
"Have you ever emptied your cup and attended a workshop that is outside your comfort zone -- outside the art that you typically practice?

Some of the most valuable instruction I have ever received has been from people who made me feel like a complete beginner. I feel this way when I study with any of the Chen family, and I felt that way when I worked with my best teachers. I also felt that way when I attended a "Guided Chaos" workshop in Cincinnati last weekend and worked with Lt. Col. Al Ridenhour and Kevin Harrell.

I was introduced to Guided Chaos through my friend, Evan Yeung, a few years ago.

How can I best describe this art? There are no forms. It is a no-nonsense method of handling the chaos that can happen when you are face-to-face with real-life violence. It is a fighting art.

When I first heard of it, I was skeptical. The world is full of people who "created" their own martial art. Very often, that means they were not willing to put in the work to master a real martial art. During the past few years, when Evan worked with me on Guided Chaos (at the same time I worked with him on Chen Taiji, Xingyi and Bagua)--he showed me an exercise they call Contact Flow.

I immediately saw the connection with push hands, but it was more than just a connection. Through Contact Flow, I was recognizing skills that all internal artists -- especially those who practice push hands and close-up fighting skills -- should develop, but many of them don't.

I have seen Al Ridenhour in the Guided Chaos DVDs. The videos do not do him justice. When I read about him and Kevin on their website, both had the title "Master." Naturally, I rolled my eyes. But after I worked with them for a weekend, I realized the titles are deserved.

Contact Flow is one of the skills they practice that resembles push hands although there is no "pattern." You start very slowly and match the speed of your partner. Each of you tries to strike and defend, but by starting slowly, you learn just how out-of-balance you can become and how inefficient your movement can be. As you get better, you speed up, but as in any quality art, it takes a while to get better as you overcome bad habits.
In person, both Al and Kevin could get through my defenses at will. And as I worked on it with other partners, they would offer coaching that was spot on. I took a lot of notes and have plenty to practice -- and plenty to apply to my push hands.

I used to drive a couple of hours to Rockford, Illinois, to study with my teachers Jim and Angela Criscimagna. In the car on the way home, I would always feel like bouncing around because I was excited at what I had learned. I felt the same way driving the 7 1/2 hours from Cincinnati back to the Quad Cities on Sunday night.

I have attended workshops by a lot of great martial artists -- from Bill Wallace to Kathy Long and the Chen family, plus some workshops I have forgotten. The Guided Chaos workshop was one of the best and most practical that I have attended. I can't say enough about Al and Kevin. They are great teachers.

The founder of Guided Chaos, John Perkins, doesn't really have a lineage in Taiji. To look at him, you certainly wouldn't guess he is a martial artist. And yet, he apparently is one of those people who comes along once in a while and possesses a gift. There are no forms in his art. It is designed for use in real-life self-defense.

And yet, he [John Perkins] has captured the essence of something that has eluded many internal artists. It should be required training for anyone in the internal arts. Hell, it should be part of any martial artist's training.

Most people never get to a level in push hands that approaches what I would expect from a good Contact Flow practitioner. And while in push hands we work hard to maintain a centered stance at all times, in Guided Chaos they work to strike from their root even when they find themselves in an off-balance or awkward position. It is a very complementary concept to what good internal arts should be.
And we didn't even get into the Guided Chaos ground-fighting or other aspects of their training. But you can check it out on their website.

I enjoy the "art" part of martial arts. I love the precision of the forms and enjoy working on my body mechanics and movement. I have not been in a "real" fight since I was 18, and I try to avoid situations where I would need to use my martial skills. So at 62 years of age, I would not be satisfied to study an art that does not include what I get from Chen Taiji, Xingyi and Bagua, which are great fighting arts if studied and practiced properly. And when it comes to real self-defense, there is NO one-size fits all. For every attack that is raining chaos on you, I can show you two YouTube videos where one punch ends the fight. So you can put down one glass of Kool-Aid and replace it with another if you aren't careful. I try not to drink the Kool-Aid, remaining open to the truth in different styles.

There is truth to discover in Guided Chaos, and it fits perfectly into whatever internal or external martial art you are studying.

My thanks to R.J. Trusty for hosting the workshop at his Five White Tigers Martial Arts school. I will be at the next one, too."

--Sifu Ken Gullette is certified as an instructor with the U.S. Chen Family Chen Jiajou Taiji Quan Federation, connected directly to the Chen Village tai chi school through Grandmaster Chen Xiaoxing. Ken has students all over the world, studying with him through his Online Internal Arts school and Internal Fighting Arts blog.
Was it any good?

"F#ck Yeah!!!"

"I really appreciated the absence of ego and macho BS I've seen in so many other Martial Art venues...Amazing to learn how little I actually know! "
--Jesse Lewis, 2014 SF Seminar participant

"What a seminar!"

"The amount of knowledge and updates to my ability that was experienced is truly appreciated. You know I’m a full convert anyway, but I’m really blown away by what I learned and the depth of subtlety and skill that is shared. Just the idea of moving in such a way that does not set off or ’tricks' the other person's flight and fight response is a concept that I will enjoy for years… So many extraordinary distinctions around movement and body dynamics. I’ve spent my working life around so called ‘models of excellence’ in brain and body and the only ‘frustrating’ thing I find with Guided Chaos is that the genius, thinking, time and application put into it’s development is not appreciated on a far larger scale."
--Alistair Horscroft, Optimal Human Performance and Behavior


"It's amazing how Al, Joe & Kevin managed to get all levels of students, even the few newcomers, to improve their defense skills."
--Hristo Genev, 2014 SF Seminar participant

"Awesome...Brilliant...GC meets all my criteria, and much more…"

"Many thanks for your continued support…. and for setting up this awesome GC workshop with Al, Joe, and Kevin. Going into this workshop not knowing anything about GC, or any other martial art for that matter, was an eye opener. Like I explained during the workshop I was turned on to GC by my friend who lives in New Jersey. He is currently taking private lessons with John Perkins, and is very impressed with John and the entire GC system…. and this guy has been taking martial arts, of various styles, for forty years. I did preview most of the GC YouTube videos before the weekend course, but that’s like reading about flying an airplane and actually flying an airplane. I have been looking for some type of ‘martial art’ training, for self-defense, for some time, and could not find anything that fit my specific criteria...And, then along came GC… I was never interested in the “stylized” forms of martial arts whether it be Chinese, Japanese, Philippine, etc... Just too formalized and in my mind not ’street’ practical. GC meets all my criteria, and much more… As for the workshop itself…. it was brilliant! Al is a fantastic ’teacher’, and Joe and Kevin were very helpful, knowledgeable, and supportive. The material was well explained and demonstrated. I left that two day workshop feeling like I had a much better chance of defending myself from an unprovoked attack. For me it was the perfect introduction to GC. Of course, I realize there is a lot to learn… and I am looking forward to the learning process. I have purchased the Attack Proof book and accompanying On-Demand videos, #’s 1,2,& 3, and the ebook “How to Fight for Your Life”. I have also signed up for the GC Forum …. so I am officially on the path."

--Gerald Alves, 2014 SF Seminar participant

"Wow.  f**king awesome."

"Game changing for sure. 
Reading your book and then the Col. breaking down the steps into bite size chunks helped cement it for me.  I totally got what was being conveyed by the end of the day."

--Hina Khodiyara

"...I really don't think we could have asked for much more.  Obviously a lot of thought has gone into the schedule of the weekend as the progression of the concepts and time spent on each topic left us with the keys to a new set of skills that, given time and effort, we will hopefully be able to use to take our abilities' to the next level.

A massive thank you to Col. Al who was, as always, a fantastic teacher. The ability to be able to communicate such subtle concepts as well as they can should not be underestimated.

My only criticism is that we can't train with you guys more often!"

--Chris, UK

All our heads are blown up with all this. It will take us at least a year to let it shrink to normal proportions. But we are happy with that :)"
--JB, Netherlands

The UK Seminar had participants from 5 countries and 3 different European Training Groups.

"I want to thank the whole Guided Chaos organization for organizing such an awesome boot camp.

The learning opportunities were amazing! It was a really well-organized event and it definitely exceeded expectations.

I have talked with two guys I know that both regret not going...folks, you need to jump on these type of training opportunities as you never know if and when they will happen again!"

--Steve P., San Francisco

"Ditto what Steve shared. It is inspiring to work with such a great bunch of folks that are incredibly inspired and passionate about the art and willing to share with others tirelessly."
--Brent A., Kansas City

Luciano Imoto"We had a safe flight back to São Paulo today. And we brought more than powerful self-protection principles and a cool Slambag with us: we had the honor of getting your friendship and support!

We learned a lot with you and all the GC instructors and students! And especially with GM Perkins, besides an amazing human being I suspect he is the most dangerous man in NY!

Really the best part of the martial arts is meeting with all the sincere people like you guys involved in its training.

We trained just that last day [of the Boot Camp--GC Groundfighting] but it was enough to recognize the power of the human body freed from memorized techniques.

And our other classes with Mr. Perkins and Ridenhour on Thursday opened new ways to think and move towards a chaotic situation (and life has a lot of these all the time...).

No words to express our gratitude and good fortune in learning, training and being hosted by all of you! Now it's time to digest all the information, advices, hints, strikes, principles, drills, improvisations and freedom of movement showed and shared with us."

--Luciano Imoto, 
owner and head instructor of the first Guided Chaos school in South America



"It's been a week since my daughter and her friend attended your Anti-Abduction seminar and they have not stopped taking about it!

My thanks to you, Grand Master Perkins and Lt.Col. Ridenhour. As you know I have "dabbled" for a lot of years in wing chun and tai chi...In the fall my daughter starts to go to grad school in NYC and starts an internship for social work in the south Bronx. As you can imagine I was very nervous about the situation.

With all my contacts in tai chi and wing chun I still knew the right thing to do to set my mind at ease and give my daughter an introduction to a self defense style that might just save her life someday.
I went right to your website, saw the ad for the seminar and signed her right up...No wasting time--just getting down to the simple direct path to knowledge of self defense that works in the real world. That's what she was introduced to because that's what you guys do best.

Thank you all from a martial arts student and more importantly from a father..."

All the best,
Chuck V.




 " was a fantastic seminar...we all learned a lot and really enjoyed
the teachings of you [Matt Kovsky] and Lt. Col Al.
You two were totally professional, extremely knowledgeable,
great teachers, and really seemed concerned about
the development of each and every one of the seminar students.
Thanks again for coming out here."

--Steve, San Francisco

"What a great seminar last weekend.  I really want to step up my game
so I have been following the instructor’s indicators to the best of my
ability, and good things are happening.    Monday we had the first
meeting of Steve’s new study group in South SF.  Since the seminar I
notice that when I can slow down and get into what is happening, then
respond using the principles, I find myself in more advantageous
positions.  The contact flow is becoming more of a chess game where
you know for example, you should be moving behind a guard, and then
it’s easier to see when someone else is not.  It’s just like a Xmas
present.  There is no point in speeding up to capitalize on that,
cause that wouldn’t be realistic.  Better to keep on smooth and give
him some feedback on that, and also learn how to apply the CQ strikes
with better balance/unity etc.  If I find myself in a bad spot, I
don’t want to speed up to get out of it unrealistically, but look to
see how to improve my principles, and see how he got through the
structure [ “unnecessary movement”] without taking it personal.  So
much more calm and professional, like the instructors showed us in the
hands on...  Only they took the training wheels off!

A chance to train with a GC Master or black belt is an opportunity not
to be missed.   GC  is a well organized secret, hidden in plain view,
all cataloged and accessible.   The instructors were great.  They were
able to transmit “how to do it” to the group.  They always credit what
they got back to basics and working with John.   An unexpected benefit
after the intensive was increased strength, energy and calmness under
pressure. Thank you!"
--Paul, NorCal


Also, for anyone that wants to join the SF Bay Area Guided Chaos
training group, just email Steve at bacctg@gmailDOTcom 
and register on our Training Groups Page.
I am trying to set it up so there are two, weekly sessions of 90-120 minutes
and once a month, a much longer, half day training session of 3-4 hours.
(The monthly longer session is to make it worthwhile for people out of the
area to drive to it. In the interim, they will hopefully train on
their own, or with other local partners). Once a month though they'd
be able to train with a wider variety of partners, get a second
opinion on what they are doing, etc.

  3/26-27 2011 AUSTRALIA SEMINAR



"Let me start by saying I thought I'd seen all that the world of 'reality-based self defence' had to offer, so for the easily bored out there, I'll cut to the chase.

What I witnessed on the weekend of 26 and 27 March is the closest thing I've come across that resembles a modern-day, reality-based martial art and not just another 'combatives system'. Does it work? Hell, yeah! I got my arse well and truly kicked and at times felt like I was in the middle of a Jason Bourne fight scene."

-Clive Girdham, former Senshido and Geoff Thompson instructor.

"It was brilliant. Both Al and Michael incredibly generous with their time and it was far more than everyone had hoped for and I'm sure we all had high expectations." 
Read Full Review 
--Alistair Horscroft, over 20 years MA experience
"Just finished at the Australian Seminar, body feels shattered but what an awesome event!"
  --Damian Heffernan


  2/26-27 2011 LOS ANGELES SEMINAR


" guys are off the charts scary good, and are also just great people all around."
--David H., Los Angeles

"I've taken many seminars involving weapons, tactics, and combatives and I just want to say the Attack Proof seminar was probably the best I have ever been to!...I don't know what it is about all you guys being very, very cool hombres but I have a feeling it has something to do with the Grand Master [John Perkins].
--Kelvin, Orange County [30 years in Martial Arts; 2nd Degree Black belt Kung Fu San Soo; JKD - 10 years; Brown belt Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu; Boxing - 13 years; trained in multiple weapons platforms as well as firearms Executive Protection and Personal Security details both Domestic and International]

"...there were so many frank moments in the training, side conversations etc., that essentially it was two five-hour private training sessions. I got to train with everyone one-on-one for some time, and they all had valuable feedback that was easy to understand and work on. They all were very friendly and helpful, and delivered criticism in a positive way (i.e., conducive to learning and improving). John really has surrounded himself with a great group of people, from what I can see, and in no time there was a clear family atmosphere. The whole time was even made easier by the banter between the GC teachers and the hyperbolic humor of Lt. Col. Al.

The seminar sent me into hyperdrive, so to speak.
Not that I am something special, but I just know now that I am committed to this. So the money was well spent. I came out Sunday evening better prepared, and better equipped to adapt and survive a violent encounter. I came out with a better understanding of the principles of GC. I came out with a better appreciation of the art, and a stronger desire to want to scale the heights of it."
--Sean Whittle

"...I have to say it was the best self-defense training I've ever had.  These guys are the real deal.  They are also super friendly..."You're amongst friends now," is the quote I'll probably always remember from this seminar.  That feels good coming from people who could incapacitate me or even kill me so easily.  And yes they beat you up a little bit just to show you the strikes are serious.

...Basically it brings the book to action.  Stuff in there I didn't understand now came clear...They make you switch partners so you constantly learn more and more cause
everybody's different.  The instructors come work with you one on one for a few minutes and help you improve on whatever you need...
John, thank you for showing me how devastating this stuff is.  I want to hit and kick with dead accurate precision and power like you someday."
--Joey Bailey 

  12/4-5/10 2010 AUSTIN TEXAS SEMINAR

"I am very grateful that you have found the way through to the simple yet profound truth of how to deal with the chaos of true violence and, even more importantly, that you have figured out a way to pass this on so effectively to others.
Thank you so much for coming out to Austin. This was such a great opportunity for our training group to grow and be energized. This will have a
profound effect on the continued development of our training group."

--Excerpted from an email to GC Grandmaster John Perkins from Derick Miller, Austin Texas Guided Chaos training group.



"As with every experience I've had with GC classes and seminars, I got WAY more than my money's worth."

"This was my fourth seminar and I'm grateful that I live close enough to be able to take advantage of such training opportunities. I've been impressed each time by the variety of people at each seminar. Men and women, civilians and soldiers/police officers, younger guys/gals and older ones: everyone's ego and martial arts backgrounds always seem to be checked at the door in order to learn and absorb the skills and mindset being taught. Everyone is there for the same reason. I liked the exercise where we retreated and escaped from a simulated knife attack the best.

I had the hardest time with the simulated knife v. knife exercise because I wasn't entirely clear on the parameters of the exercise. The obvious answer is that there are no parameters. At the time, for the purpose of the exercise I  wasn't sure whether to go slow or balls-out and I'm not sure if I absorbed what was being conveyed. This is something I'd like to work on and revisit at the next weapons seminar. I continue to find that looseness is something that I need to keep training into my body. I was told during the stick fighting Gauntlet that, "less is more" and this is something that I need to apply to every aspect of my practice to avoid tightness and overcommitment. In addition to GM Perkins and Col. Al there were many high-level practitioners of CG circulating around to teach, correct and run each smaller practice group. We were exposed to a variety of teaching styles throughout the afternoon. This was also great.

As with every experience I've had with GC classes and seminars, I got WAY more than my money's worth. A big thank you to all the instructors who gave of their time.
--Reese Madigan, black belt San Ken Ryu



"The frustrating part is explaining how flawless the system is."

"Last month I had the honor of hosting Guided Chaos' first seminar in Salem, OR, and it was unbelievable. I say this because if I was not already familiar with the system, and heard about a seminar that improved the participants moving and hitting so drastically that after two days, they were literally unrecognizable; I wouldn't believe it. I have been training people in self defense for over twenty years, and I have never witnessed anything like this. Al Ridenhour is a 10+. His articulation and demonstration of the system practically made it impossible not to understand. Not only have my guys not stopped talking about the training, but they have a whole new level of desire to work on the drills and get better. 
The only frustrating part is explaining, in my opinion, how flawless the system is. I remember shortly after the seminar, I was reflecting on the training with my wife, who is also a martial artist, and summed it up by saying, "If God ever needed a martial art, then Guided Chaos would be His only choice."

Daryl Tate, Defensive Tactics instructor
Lt. Daryl Tate

Defensive Tactics Coordinator
Department of Public Safety Standards and Training (DPSST)
Salem, OR




"The seminar was everything I'd hoped it would be...I'm new to GC but not new to martial arts. I found that a good deal of what was taught today involved using basic a whole new (horizontal) way...The principle of using one's legs, when attacked on the ground to transform oneself into a garbage disposal that an attacker reaches into at his peril was new to me, but it made a big impression...I feel today, that I learned a few skills to bridge the gap in a strictly life-or-death scenario. Being on the ground and getting stomped and kicked by multiple attackers is a terrifying experience, no matter how versed you are in fighting. I'm glad that I have these new skills to work on. I eagerly await the next seminar, whatever it may cover. I feel lucky to be living close enough to all that's happening here." --Reese Madigan, black belt San Ken Ryu


"The Groundfighting/Hellavator seminar was the best day of martial arts I've ever spent. I've got a lot of work to do, but the skills you and the others shared with me will help a lot."

--Tom, Peabody MA

Endorsement from Oregon Defensive Tactics Coordinator Lt. Daryl Tate
"When Grandmaster Perkins and Joe M closed the door to the Hellevator, my first thoughts were "OH SHIT!!!" The Hellevator seminar was great. It's really nice to be around people who want to see us improve. If you can make it to a seminar or Saturday class please do. It is well worth the time and money."
"I attended the seminar on Saturday, it was a fantastic, hands on learning experience for me. As a long distance learner from Chicago, I was blown away at how everyone, starting with Grand Master Perkins on down (too many names to list) were extremely generous with there patience, knowledge and willingness to share their skills with me, an outsider! I was also lucky enough to meet a great bunch of people at the Monday evening and Tuesday morning classes. Thank you all for making me feel at home! Touching hands with many of the Grand Masters, and so many skilled practitioners was a long distance learners dream come true. Thanks again to ALL in the Guided Chaos community in New York, you guys (and gals) are truly a CLASS ACT!"
--Mike S. Chicago


"I would like to thank you all for organizing the 2 day seminar in South Florida. Can you say, "Spiritual Experience"?

It was such a breath of fresh air to finally meet you guys in person. My knowledge and understanding of Guided Chaos/Close Combat has increased incredibly. I had not taken a class for approx. 3 years (my instructor moved out of state) and I felt like I was slowly losing my skill set that I had previously acquired. Thanks for the new spark of energy and the motivation to continue learning and practicing on my own.

I would like to thank Marlon and the crew at Evolution Martial Arts in Parkland. It was great to meet you all. I hope that you guys take Guided Chaos/Close Combat to a whole new level.

Once again....thanks Al and Ari. Your knowledge and expertise is greatly appreciated. I would also like to say this to anyone contemplating or considering learning Guided Chaos. GO FOR IT! I believe that it is the most worthwhile investment that you'll ever make. Personally, this has transformed my life. I'm literally a different (read: better, more confident,more aware) person and I thank Guided Chaos (Master Perkins/Michael Brown)  for that."

Your Brother-in-Combat,
Vernon Worthy II (aka GhostfistAtlanta)


"Dear Grand Master Perkins,

Thank you again for coming to the UK and sharing your time and expertise over the week end. It has been a great opportunity for me to have a chance to train with you, as well as with your top instructors. This confirmed to me the unique value of KCD, which I had got an initial idea from the book and the Conditioning DVD  i.e., this is a style which combines ruthless techniques for survival, as well as internal aspects for lifelong personal improvement, into a coherent, compelling format. This is something I had been looking for in all the arts I practiced, without really finding it. I felt most arts I tried over time at least as they are positioned today, separated the internal and the deadly combat aspects; not only were these not part of the same art, it was almost as if they were not compatible. Thank you for getting these back together!

I'll do my best to practice what I was shown, until such time that I may get the opportunity to train with you again.

With my deepest respect, Sylvain Fabre"

"The Grease That Makes All Your Other Training Work Better"

--Mark, Devon UK, seminar attendee

We had fantastic feedback from those that attended and deep regret from those who didn't !! The next seminar can't come quick enough for ALL of those involved.

The power and technique's can not be totally appreciated when watching the DVD's, although, upon initial viewing it seems KCD MUST be more complicated than it looks but it really is that simple ! The only way of truly appreciating how talented these guys are was to come along over the two days and feel it in the flesh. Their looseness, sensitivity and balance is un-questionably the best I have EVER witnessed.

The teaching skills you exhibited were relaxed, informal and fun. One of the students had never practised any kind of Martial Art before and he was amazed at how much he learnt and how easily he retained it. This is a testament to how well Grand Master Perkins has trained his instructors over the years.

Those two days have introduced me personally to the path I have been searching for in Martial Arts (although, my first DVD purchase was some two years ago) and I will endeavour to introduce as many students as I can to this great and effective system in time for your next instalment........????

Kind regards and deepest respect"


 Contact flow self defense fight drill 1   Contact flow self defense fight drill 2
  Contact flow self defense fight drill 3  Anti grappling submission technique
  Contact flow self defense fight drill 3

"...I have been dragged by Mike to many seminars and been bored to death but last weekend was great ! Although I didn't take to the mat ( lunch and video/photography duties called) I picked up loads of really useful tips on how to defend myself against an attacker....I pity the fool who messes with me !! and will most certainly be learning more in future...

" What a smashing bunch of blokes..."

Love Lisa xxxxxx

"Hi Everyone,

I was at the U.K. seminar, along with my two colleagues from [Old]
Jersey (Richard and Andy).  We had a fantastic time and it convinced
us that Guided Chaos is definitely the way to go for us (as if we
didn't already know!).

AllanR: you asked about everyone's previous training. We three, from
Jersey, had previously trained in American Kenpo (from the late 1970s
through the 1980s) and have all been graded to black-belt grades by
the late Ed Parker. Prior to that, as a child and teenager, I had been
an amateur boxer. I was in London in the early 1990s during which time
I studied some Wing Chun as well as Shito-Ryu Karate. For the past
five years I have been learning Tai Chi Chuan and a soft-style Kung Fu
(Lee style).

It was through Tai Chi and soft-style Kung Fu that I first became
interested in concepts such as sensitivity and yielding in combative
situations. During my years of practicing American Kenpo I had often
had doubts about whether the techniques would work for me, against a
stronger, more powerful opponent because it seemed to rely on strength
against strength most of the time. I also had long harboured doubts
about whether it was really possible to convert the pre-arranged,
choreographed techniques into spontaneous fighting moves whilst under

It was only when I read the "Attack Proof" book in 2005 that I felt
the problem had been completely resolved by Grandmaster Perkins. Since
that time I have practiced the solo exercises and used Tai Chi mainly
to practice the sensitivity attribute with KCD in mind. Since February
of this year, my two colleagues and myself have been meeting once per
week in order to practice Guided Chaos concepts - working from the
book and from the three companion DVDs (which we purchased last year).

Anyway, since the U.K. seminar all three of us have decided to drop
Kenpo and Tai Chi, from our training curriculum, and to concentrate on
Guided Chaos from now on.

Both Mick and Mark, from the U.K., have
expressed a desire to eventually qualify as Guided Chaos instructors
and to establish the Guided Chaos system in England. We feel the same
way in respect of the Island of Jersey. Other styles, such as Kenpo
Karate, Judo, Aikido and Tai Chi have been established here for many
years and we hope that we will be able, over time, to do the same with
Guided Chaos. With this in mind, we are looking forward to many more
visits to Mick's excellent martial-arts gym in the future...

Also, I'd just like to say that all of the guys from New York were
fantastic instructors and great people.

I can honestly say that it was
the best martial-art seminar that I have ever attended (and I've
attended quite a few over the years - believe you me!)."


by Ari Kandel, GC 3rd degree

This past Saturday was an excellent seminar about Guided Chaos Combat Knife methods. Far from being a "knife fighting" seminar where everyone would learn techniques for dueling, the seminar was focused on the real-world use of and defense against knives and similar weapons.

The seminar began with an introduction by John. He discussed different types of commonly carried knives (small straight blades, folders, push daggers, etc.), their advantages and disadvantages, carry and concealment methods and accessibility issues. Emphasis was placed on the carrier's ability to bring the knife into play amidst the chaos of physical violence. John also demonstrated various ways of using a closed folding knife in those cases where you may be able to unclip the knife from your pocket but don't have the time/space/stability to open it. This is very important information, as real-world fights involving knives rarely begin along the lines of the "West Side Story" dueling paradigm (he pulls a knife and shows it to you, you pull yours, then you circle and fight with graceful movements as people snap and dance around you).

John and Lt. Col. Al then covered the use of the Dog-Dig motion (described in the book "Attackproof") to gain distance and run when someone is attempting to stab you up at close range, or even if you've already been stabbed. This presentation began with a demonstration of why most martial arts methods advocated for use against dynamic knife attacks (e.g. X-blocks, wrist locks and throws, grabbing the knife-wielding limb and other grappling methods) fail miserably when attempted against real attacks with knives. When an attacker is moving unpredictably to cut and stab you up at maximum adrenaline speed, using all weapons at his disposal, it becomes almost impossible to man up and control his movement to the point of avoiding getting stabbed and cut in vital areas. The Dog-Dig method is intended to keep the knife away from your most vital organs long enough to allow you to build distance and momentum to escape. My right (knife-holding) arm got severely abused while helping Al and John demonstrate this, as their "dog-digs" pack a hefty wallop thanks to internal dropping and hand conditioning with the slam bag! It was demonstrated that attempting to simply run from a close-range knife attack is a recipe for failure. Everyone got to practice Dog-Digging and running from close-range attacks with foam rubber knives. John also touched on the importance of kicking if you have more distance but can't immediately escape. Despite the advocacy of kicking as an unarmed method of defending against a knife attack by such close combat experts as Fairbairn, Applegate and others, many martial artists seem to doubt its effectiveness (often while supporting clearly ineffective methods). John pointed out that in order to have any chance of success, you have to be able to thrust kick HARD and FAST while maintaining good balance, and footwear can make the difference.

The next drill involved using a knife to survive an attack by multiple people. The drill began with the participant, foam rubber knife already in hand, standing on a crash mat surrounded by three hanging man dummies controlled by big guys standing behind them. On John's cue, the guys controlling the dummies would make them "attack," closing in and swinging to crush and hit the student in the middle. The student had to keep moving, spinning and striking with the knife and anatomical weapons to maintain space and balance and destroy the attackers as quickly as possible, minimizing damage to himself. The crash mat forced the student to lift his knees and stomp to protect his groin and maintain balance. Rapid, full-body movement and dropping power were necessary to avoid being crushed and immobilized between the dummies. John emphasized effective, powerful, gross-motor use of all parts of the knife (point, edge, butt) in the melee, and the need to BUTCHER the attackers (rather than merely stabbing or cutting) in order to achieve adequate stopping power with the knife. This was an extremely chaotic, exhausting, screaming wild drill. The lesson was not lost on the students that the skills needed to survive such an attack are NOT necessarily those developed for dueling, and are in fact similar to those needed to survive such a situation unarmed (e.g. balance, dropping power, efficient mobility, looseness, and the ability to adapt to chaotic motion) plus the coordination and knowledge to effectively employ the knife (and not stab yourself in the process!).

After a short break, we moved onto demonstrations and drills in the Hellevator. Technically, this is the "Hellevator II," the portable second-generation version of the structure featured in a couple of the video clips on the website. The Hellevator II is slightly bigger and has three instead of four walls so that students can easily observe demonstrations performed inside it. (Big thanks to Wayne for designing, building, transporting and assembling the Hellevator II!) John, Al and Big Mike demonstrated how using the walls in a confined space to enhance your balance can increase the effectiveness of your kicks for keeping away and damaging a knifer. They also showed how confined space can hinder many grappling attacks, as there may not be sufficient space to allow the victim to fall or be overextended or driven off-balance. Each student had a go at keeping a knife-wielding Big Mike out of knife range in the Hellevator by kicking away at the kicking shield he was holding while balancing against the wall. An important point was to STAY against the wall, rather than allowing yourself to bounce off of it in between kicks.

Next, Lt. Col. Al demonstrated the usefulness of "knife sparring" with foam rubber knives simply as a reflex and movement exercise. He and John showed how Guided Chaos concepts such as drop-hitting, body unity and isolation can be applied to the blade. Everyone squared off and sparred for a little while, with John and Al going around to give advice and point out interesting situations. Al gave me an idea about how to integrate kicking with knife use. John pointed out the ultimate futility of standard "knife dueling" by making "clean" hits impossible simply by wiggling the knife around in a "silly" (albeit unpredictable) fashion and advancing. Several times, I ended up on the receiving end of Native American-style killing entries by Lt. Col. Al. Even with the foam rubber knives, these were VERY scary, as they involved Al's whole body diving in. They felt impossible to resist or escape.

We then drilled countering static knife threats from all different angles, using the method of simultaneously drop-hitting the knife arm, moving the body offline and attacking the attacker, all in one motion, while controlling the knife arm with sensitivity. John and Al were quick to point out, however, that the methods typically used by criminals to threaten with a knife made countering and escaping extremely difficult, if not impossible. For example, it's typically not a "static" threat at all, as the attacker will usually violently jerk the victim off-balance with a semi-choke from behind, and/or continuously move the knife unpredictably between different targets while shoving and/or pinning the victim from the front. Frequently, a second attacker severely complicates the situation.

This led into a discussion of the behavioral aspects of hold-up scenarios. Matt Kovsky wanted me to present this part because he'd seen me cover it fairly thoroughly before in class. I went through the possibilities of a real attacker's goals. An attacker who threatens you with a knife may want your property, in which case, give it to him and immediately run away. However, he may want to take you to a second location, in which case you're probably best off attacking him to get free and escape as soon as any possibility of success presents itself. With John's help, I went over how saying the right things and acting in certain ways can facilitate escape. This presentation went fine . . . except for the fact that my voice was still rather hoarse from all the screaming I'd done in the multiple attacker drill earlier. One attendee compared the sound of my voice to that of Peter Brady of the Brady Bunch when his voice started changing! Don't worry: for the DVD, we'll either re-shoot the scene or Matt will digitally modify my voice to be less distracting. This could be funny--Darth Vader teaching self-defense. . . .

Oh yeah, did I mention? Matt Kovsky filmed the whole seminar for a future DVD release. [Now on sale]

The last tactic covered in the seminar was going to the ground in a last-ditch effort to gain distance between your vital organs and the blade, as seen on the Guided Chaos Groundfighting DVD. Everyone got the chance to try this against a fast, close-range attack. The idea was to fend away the knife with your hands as you fell back, simultaneously kicking out the knifer's legs. As the "attacker" for this drill, I can say that a few people got this down very well, as my legs were saved only by virtue of the fact that I knew what was happening and yielded to all the kicks.

John showed how extremely high-level Guided Chaos skill--being able to stick and flow around anything with complete freedom of motion while maintaining perfect balance, moving in and taking the attacker's balance while striking with killing power--can help in dealing with a knife attack. However, he reiterated that there are certainly no guarantees, and the slightest mistake can get you killed. Further, stating explicitly what had been increasingly evident throughout the seminar, John pointed out that real knife attacks by committed criminals are rarely as predictable and easy to defend against as those demonstrated and trained against by even realistic-minded martial artists. The frequent cooperation of multiple armed attackers and the fact that recidivists practice specifically to allow victims no warning and no wherewithal nor opportunity to escape expand the already great advantage armed attackers always hold. As ever, awareness and acting to escape as early as possible are the keys to surviving such attacks. Also, as an aid to defending one's self, a knife can certainly be a useful weapon, but it is far from being a magic self-defense wand. Knife selection, carry method and training for deployment and use under any circumstances are key, and unarmed combat skill and the attributes involved are still paramount.

Al capped off the conclusion of the seminar by demonstrating some ideas regarding the integration of knife combat into contact flow. While he demonstrated, a group of students gradually bunched up on one side of the room, blocking John's view of the door. As John observed Al's demonstration, a big birthday cake, sodas and snacks were brought into the room and set up on a table behind the human screen that blocked John's view. Yes, it was John's birthday! As soon as everything was set up, Al ended his demonstration, the human screen parted, and the room broke out into just about the sorriest rendition of "Happy Birthday" I've ever heard. A great time was had by all! A few people took the opportunity to work with Big Mike. I would have beaten him up had I not just eaten, of course.

Incidentally, the party was NOT filmed for the DVD.

Overall, great seminar and party! Again, Happy Birthday John!!!

Kicking yourself for missing this seminar??? Get thyself to the next one! See the "Seminars, Events and Announcements" section of the website for details.

[Editor's Note: Some of the best GC training info around can be found on Ari's Training Blog.]
P.S. Very relevant info: