Victory through Failure

In one of my interviews I was asked “Avi Nardia, who are you?” I answered to the host’s surprise “I’m a big failure… I’ve failed so many times that I lost the fear of losing which most people carry. Each failure brought me into a new place and a new adventure to study and improve.   

It reminded me of my days monitoring new recruits in top Special Forces training around the world and from so many, only a few were selected.  Some didn’t even manage to get through the first stage, and I used to tell people that most took that failure so hard, carrying that feeling of inadequacy in a bad way. My exhortation has always been – some people make it to the unit, and some make it in LIFE. Many people don’t understand that the purpose of life is to live… as simple as it sounds, no one who is a Navy seal or special forces is a success in life. Rambo is a fictitious character in a movie, but it’s really true that many carry emotional burdens and post-traumatic stress. To be a hero is not normal… being human is normal and so many pay with mental trauma and damage to family relationships by taking it to the extreme. Many people who didn’t go into Special Forces will be lawyers, writers, IT professionals and so on. Most will make way more money than if they had been in a Special Forces unit without having risked each day of their lives, undergoing constant physical and mental stress. Success is finding the right thing that you really wanted and pursuing it. I can agree with Robin Williams when he says that people don’t fake depression… they fake being okay.

Most people put up a façade, acting like everything is good in their life, but inside they’re afraid to fail. We want to see heroes, we need champions and society motivates people to be the biggest and the best and that’s why many always live in a state of constant competition, comparing themself to others while the true secret is to compare yourself to yourself yesterday and see how you progress from day to day.

We see it in sports and martial arts as everyone gets to their first class and the first question is “how long will it take me to get my Black Belt?”  From the first class, they are already looking for victory and that’s where they are lost, and we see many that don’t understand the real reason you join class is to study. Their first mistake is that they didn’t come to study, they came to earn a medal or try and prove their worth, many times because they are missing something deep inside, something that even becoming a champion and black belt will never solve because the issue is deep inside themselves.

When we study to fail and accept that failure, we study to win and how to deal with victory. There is a great quote again by Robin Williams – “Cocaine is God’s way of telling you, you’re making too much money.”

Many times, when people win the lottery or get rich overnight, they never study how to deal with that and ultimately, it destroys their life. 

In martial arts, I’ve seen many great people who, after winning and becoming a champion, they turn into a different person, putting on a new mask that they may not like. In the words of Jean Jacques Machado – “It’s great to train hard and become a champion, but it is greater to become a good human being.”

Those who have lived a full life and who have reached old age can look back on their lives and see their mistakes and smile. Some mistakes may have led to a new discovery or could have even been the source of fun and enjoyment. Certainly, most will look back and think better to have been sorry for what mistakes I have made than sorry I didn’t make those mistakes when I could… As we get older, we begin to see life in different ways and take our experiences as one long study of a well lived life. We don’t take failure hard as in the example before of the Navy Seal recruit, we smile and say “wow, god loves me enough that I failed and still managed be successful in the corporate world!” We see that the same failure that we thought was a setback and bad, in reality took us to a new place, gave us new success and a new study. 

Pursuing martial arts is a life-long study and not just a study for competition.

Not all people can be champions or Special Forces, but everyone can be his or her own family hero and success… many of us have been Special Forces or hero but failed when it came to the most important things in life. 

We fail, we study and when we get older and look back we see we collected so many failures that they become our greatest victory to win and manage to live life and stand up after each time we fall and that’s the real measure of a champion.

People come and go in your life, but the person in the mirror will always be there, so be good to yourself because if you’re friends with yourself, you will never be alone. Understand the Zen mindset and concepts for life and they will server as a tool in your martial arts journey. 

THE touchable and the untouchable

The art of defense when observing the touchable and the untouchable

All around the globe, we share the same anatomy yet are divided by religion, location, skin tone, the cultures and subcultures that guide our day to day activities and deeper. In this column, I would like to split humanity at large into two: the touchable and untouchable.

An armored knight in battles of old was as untouchable as can be and their opponents had to seek the opening in their armor to gain any leverage. So must we do.

A line can be drawn in the sand, dividing these two concerning almost everything, taxes, laws and how society casts it’s vote on their actions and words.

For the touchable, the law always apply and they are required to abide by all rules and regulations. At the same time, the untouchable is protected by the law and is unfettered by the responsibilities and consequences of their actions, protected by the same bodies that formulate and apply the laws.

These untouchables are politicians, governmental authorities, and judges, even actors, religious leaders and the wealthy are able to dodge the consequences of the law, purchasing their way to freedom and happily exempt the penalties of their crime and the consequences of their actions.

Can we defend ourselves in this untouchable society and how? At day’s end, we are all human no matter if we are a part of the clergy, born to royalty or lower on the totem pole. In the last few months, I have had to entertain this issue as to how can a regular citizen protect themselves against these forces and defend one’s self.

Years back, I found myself up against a very well known judge armed with high-profile lawyers, all dedicated to bringing me down. While others were afraid to stand by my side and gave up, I smiled, God didn’t grant all the wisdom and intelligence to just these people who were coming to get me. This brought me back to the concepts of self-defense. In Krav Maga, they looks for the weakest part of your opponent, “No groin, no Krav Maga”, whereas in KAPAP we look at the strongest part, that’s why the concept is “No brain, no KAPAP”.

In the cyber realm, we are all equal the moment you have access to Wi-Fi, you’re a top Instagram model and I’m an elite Call of Duty soldier…Have you noticed the growing demand to POLICE the free internet, the last vestige of actual journalistic freedom?

Since the media is already on the side of the highest bidder, they are constantly heralding on behalf of the politicians and the wealthy. You already see this on social networks censoring the “wrong” opinions and attempting to control our minds by curating what everyone sees. Once a blog gains some popularity, there is already someone waiting to get their hands on it and control the message. It’s hard to trust the news as we all know CNN works for the CIA for example and many times certain opinions are blacked out or censored by the army of editors and producers when it goes against their narrative.

The first thing to understand in self defense is to never give up. While everyone else got a case of cold feet when they saw I was up against a established judge, the key was to understand that you never give up and you utilize all the tools you have at your disposal, but first and foremost your brain.

We can take twins and teach one of them how to move her body and the difference in a self defense situation will be start and primal. We can do the same within out minds.

The majority can be equated to a sleeping giant, able to regain control at any time when it wakes and takes charge. OTPOR and Serbian organization counting less than a hundred was a major factor to take down a dictator. OTPOR stands for resistance in Serbian. A reminder of the strength and power values such as truth and freedom can have.

Should we not as a community be strong by taking care of each other as the phalanx is strong by covering each other’s flanks in battle and in life and the same as we can do today as people by not letting each other fall to the pull of the regarded classes.

How do we defend ourselves against those who rise to deprive us of our liberty and evade the consequences of their crimes? There is a situation where a well-known Bishop assaulted my wife and struck her. Thankfully, she was able to employ some self-defense moves to protect herself and survive. Presently, the police are involved in the case and begin to act against those who think they are untouchable and as grassroots groups of martial artists, actors and women emerge from the US  beginning with Professor Machado BJJ and his well-known pupil Keanu Reeves, and around the world to show their support and join us in the fight so we can finally see some progress. Join us in the fight against those who think they can commit crimes and face no justice because of their connections with the powers at be and wealth. Stand up and say “NiSiSAMA” — NO MORE (in Serbian)! — no more exemptions from the law and consequences.Violence against the young and helpless cannot be met with silence. 

Welcome to the battle versus the untouchables.