Lessons from My Masters 8

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There are no small movements with regard to the end result.

-Grandmaster John Perkins



Fighting in the future…

This is brilliant stuff!

Arguably one of the most brilliant concepts Grandmaster Perkins has ever come up with because it, in my mind, is the essence of what happens when you train in the principles of Guided Chaos. Think of this phenomenon as a byproduct of principle development.

Like I said this is brilliant stuff and so while the Grandmaster won’t say it, I will!

It is concepts like this that in my mind makes Guided Chaos the most well developed and dare I say, greatest “reality based fighting system” ever devised. It is probably the first major innovation in martial arts in 500 years. And it is at least 15 to 20 years ahead of where everyone else is in terms of martial development and methodology.

Everyone else is training people in tools or techniques which are important, but the enemy gets a vote, so what they cannot show you is how to make it work, when you need to make it work, when the enemy is trying to cancel out your vote. So unless you have a lot of natural physical talent it’s probably not going to happen for you.

Guided Chaos is the only system that focuses on training people solely through principles and what they can do within the body that God gave them, and has a proven modality of training to achieve this.

Think about this, Guided Chaos is the only system, the only system where people get better with age. Think about that!

When you have students in their 60’s and 70’s moving like people in their 20’s and 30’s and asking questions on how to deal with multiple attackers or questions about the most effective way to use certain weapons, you know we’re on to something. They’re not thinking about losing to the bad guys, they’re all about dying a Viking Warrior’s Death.

I mean who wouldn’t want some of that?


“Let all of the blood be on the front of you”

-Old Welsh Saying


I’ll give you an example, I have this one student Art, great guy and very skilled. Anyway, it was not uncommon for a time for him when working with me to unnecessarily speed up when I was going slow. So every time he would do it and catch himself doing it he would apologize for it.

So finally I said to him, “Art, how old are you”

He said, “I’m 70 I’ll be 71 this year.”

So I said, “Listen, now God willing I’ll make it to 70, and I have to tell you if at the age of 70 the biggest problem I have is moving too fast, that’s a good problem to have!”

He laughed but he got the point. I was like, “Really? At your age is that what you’re worried about? If I was your age, I’d be all about it so stop apologizing and let me worry about that.”

What is that expression…

“Beware of an Old Man in a profession where men usually die young…”

Here, here!

Most people avoid harm’s way, the Guided Chaos practitioner over time becomes harm’s way.


I’m returning to this because it will set up the next installment that I promised to discuss. The reason this is tough is because I’m going to try and explain a concept and that’s all it is–a concept–that can only be seen or felt for the most part with your mind.

In previous Blog Posts, Your Journey Into Fluid Power – PART II, as well as Striking from the Void and Unplugging From the Matrix, I alluded to the concept of what Grandmaster Perkins refers to as “Fighting in the Future” or as I like to sometimes describe it as the “Dimensional Aspects of Combat.”

As I explained in a previous Blog Post on this subject I went into detail about how this aspect or understanding or time affects movement during combat. So I’m going to begin discussing this from this point.

But first…


Because It Needs to Be Said


Truth is not what you want it to be; it is what it is, and you must bend to its power or live a lie.

–Miyamoto Musashi


The future is a real thing–it is not just some fancy phrase. We occupy 3-Dimensional space so when we move, Time becomes a critical factor. Only those who know how to move in a fashion where they can get ahead of another person’s movement can appreciate this skill to get to the higher levels.

However, because there is also a mental aspect to this, I also understand that for some this is a skill they will never be able to use effectively. Until their minds can get there and they get rid of the mental adhesions that make them stuck they will never get there. It’s just a fact: some will some won’t. It’s that simple.

Not my problem…

For those who are confused or in disbelief on this point let me help you. This is the way it works because this is a function of how time works, because this is the way of nature. More importantly this is the way the damn universe works. So get over it.

Sorry for the anger, but you have no idea how many times I have to correct this understanding because some screwball poo-pooed the idea to some student. Or screwed up explaining it because they really didn’t understand it themselves. All they had to do was ask. It’s not like the Grandmaster isn’t around.

My philosophy on these matters is simple, if it’s important enough for me to do it, and it’s a principle or concept built on the principles of the art then it’s important enough for me to teach it. Whether they fully develop it is not up to me, I can only lead them to the water. But what they will not do is end up cursing me out and pissing on my grave after I’ve returned to the dust because I didn’t teach them something.

That will not happen!

For example, I was working with one of our instructors one day and one thing he said to me is that he notices that with some people he works with he said, “There are like these Guided Chaos Moves.”

I said,

“Yeah I know, that is their attempt to put the art in a box that makes sense to them. They want to cling to one or two major techniques and in essence create another art within the art. The problem is at some point or depending on who they’re working with it doesn’t work because if the person they’re dealing with is skilled enough to get ahead of their movement, they can cut it off before it happens because they know how to get ahead of it, neutralize it and use it against them.”

The reason some folks can’t take advantage of Fighting in the Future is because, while it’s a physical thing, your mind has to see it first. But your mind has to already be in the right place. When you disbelieve that such a thing even exits you can’t see it even if it’s staring you right in the face. The reality is until you get out of that way of thinking you’ll never get there. More importantly you’ll never learn how the more advanced practitioners are able to defeat your techniques so easily.


“If you can’t see it with your mind you can’t see it with your eyes.”


This is why, as Grandmaster Carron used to always say, Don’t let it happen in the first place. You see if you train to duel or spar you never get there. If you train to win in class, you never get there, if you’re locked into these Guided Chaos moves, you never get there. That’s why John tells people not to fall in love with technique because tomorrow he’s going to show you something based off of the same concept that seems 180° degrees out of synch with what you were told the day before.

When you train to fight for your life you have a different edge because you have a different mental focus. You bypass all the clutter and superfluous nonsense and cut right to the heart of the matter. So what needs to be done becomes as clear as day.

If you can see it with your mind you can then begin to learn how to move in such a manner that throws the monkey wrench in the other person’s movement way before they can get their stuff off.

One point I want to make about the future before I move on is this: understand, if a person gets to the future positon on you and they mean it there’s little to anything you can do. The reason is because whatever they’re going to do already happened. Get it in your head. If I get there before you there is no fight because it already happened. It is the same effect as someone getting the drop on you in a real confrontation.

Like I said, there are those who scoff at these concepts. Then again they’re the same ones I can punch a hole in at will. But the irony is I tell this sort of thing to students and instructors alike all-of-the-time. Meaning if they would get out of their own way they could have these things too.

Sorry once again for the anger.

Getting to the future is the way in all sports that athletes defeat their opponents. It is the way wars are won. The U.S. Military spends billions upon billions every year on reconnaissance and surveillance technology just to be able to discern the enemy’s intentions. Why? To get to the future position to destroy them.

In operational terms we call this strategy, operations, battle space geometry etc. In plain Grunt terms we call this an ambush. I am so all about the ambush! Why this is hard for some folks to understand is beyond me. But you know what? At the end of the day it’s not my problem… I only owe people the truth. What they do with it is on them. I just want to clarify this for those who truly want to learn.

A while back while doing some training with some students I had a student who wanted to understand this concept a little better. You see he was a guy who already had a lot of knowledge in this area and wanted to understand this from the perspective of how time relates to human movement and how it affects us. So I explained to him the following that I used in the previous blog post. I only reiterate it here just as a reference.


Using What is Known


Now, as I said in the previous post on this I’m going to discuss how the concept of time relates to fighting.

Now we know that we have mass therefore we occupy a physical 3-dimensional space. Once we are in motion because our movement requires time to do things this movement or time can be referred to as the 4th Dimensional Aspect of Combat.

As time proceeds, no matter what we do, the only thing that is set is the Past. The Present (or as the Grandmaster calls it The Now), is always constant. In other words, as you read this, now is the present, as is now, and you know what, now is also the present. You get the idea.

Like the OODA Loop (Observe, Orient, Decide, then Act) the past also informs on the present or current observation, which shapes the character of the future decisions and actions.

The key is to be able to get ahead of the other person’s movement in a way where they do not have enough time to react to your movement.

In truth if you can train your mind to respond in this fashion just by knowing where another person is, not only does it already start the clock but places you ahead of their movement because you’re already able to track them even if you are only doing this visually.

Anyway, The Future is what I call the “5th Dimensional Aspect of Combat.”

Once you arrive at The Future you are able to anticipate possibilities and probabilities of the other person’s actions which, I refer to this as the “6th Dimensional Aspect of Combat.”

Now, stay with me, since you are able to get ahead of another person’s movement (The Future), because they don’t have enough Time (4th Dimension) to react to your movements you are able to anticipate their actions to a high degree of probability (6th Dimension), which creates what I call multiple opportunities or possible futures for you in which each future option is generally the right answer. In addition, if you can get to the future your ability to predict possibilities and anticipate probabilities has an inverse effect where it significantly narrows their options while exponentially increasing yours.

Yeah I know, crazy right?

At some point if you are able to reach the degree of Creativity, where it doesn’t matter what they do because they can’t move fast enough, to get ahead of your movement, and ability to anticipate their motion, you will be in, as I refer to it, as the “7th Dimensional Aspect of Combat.”

At that point they’re just swinging because as they are getting hit they have no idea why you hit them the way you hit them, when you hit them, because they can’t see what you see because it’s your future not theirs. They can’t see the possibilities that you see because they cannot see it from their perspective.

One point I want to make about all of this is that this is not a linear process as I’ve laid it out, but all of these things are taking place simultaneously. Thus why I call them dimensions and not steps etc.

This by the way is what I’ve also dubbed as 5th Dimensional Chess (5D Chess), unlike 2D and 3D Chess in 5D Chess all of the pieces are moving at the same time. That’s why they cannot catch up, they have to move with their body in a way to stop everything. There are just too many monkey wrenches being thrown at them at the same time to deal with them all.

After that I gave him a demonstration of what I meant and went back over each of the concepts for him. I did some other stuff that blew their minds but that’s for maybe another post.

Anyway, after I explained and demonstrated the concept to him he said, “Of course…it makes perfect sense.”


I was being a little disingenuous here and I saved this part of the story for last. You see this guy doing some training with me in a previous life he used to work for the US Government and held a high level clearance, the whole works.

He told me that he was an astrophysicist working on some of our weapons programs. He only had to mention a few things for me to know he was legit because he couldn’t have known what he said to me otherwise. Nothing classified obviously just key terms about process that only a person who did that kind of work would know.

I won’t tell you what he worked on let’s just say it had to do with targeting systems. I merely point this out because to reiterate, there are folks who think that the concept of Fighting in the Future is just a bunch of hyperbole to sound cool.

Believe what you will but if you think you know more about how time works than a guy who used to work as an astrophysicist on targeting systems, I’ll say it here on the record, so there’s no doubt in what I’m saying, plus it’s my blog so I get to talk like this: You don’t know what the Hell you’re taking about…

For those who get it once you understand it and of course begin the process to train it correctly it will increase your abilities exponentially.

Anyway, as I’ve stated in the previous blog post on this, regardless of fighting system, for the most part what distinguishes the more skilled fighters from the lesser ones, is this ability to get ahead of the other person’s motion.

Whether it’s because they have greater reach, or are naturally faster more agile, more deceptive, get lucky etc. whatever it is, once they’re ahead of you it’s almost impossible to get back in the game so to speak.

In combat or sports we call this momentum and once the other guy or team gain the upper hand and pour on the momentum it’s almost impossible to get back into the fight. It is for this reason that people sucker punch people in fights. It’s simple: he who strikes first generally wins.

This is why students often hear me state when asked how to deal with a particular situation or strike I usually say, “Don’t let that shit happen in the first place!”

But how?


 When I’m moving with someone I get the ‘Shadow Impression’ of their body

–Grandmaster Perkins to the Senior Master Instructor



The Wisdom Tree


Ever since I was young, I’ve always tried to move in a way that made other people feel awkward when moving with me…

–Grandmaster John C. Perkins, in a lesson to the Senior Master Instructor


So along with my Master teaching me how he gets his body out of phase, one day we’re working and I ask him, how is it at close range he always seems to be just unavailable yet unavoidable yet feel so light I really can’t tell where he is or where he is going.

So he says,

“Well, if you watch what I’m doing as I’m moving with people, I not only make a little contact with them but I take the Shadow Impression of their body and I play off of it.”


So he says, “Don’t move.”

He then takes his hands and begins to lightly move them over the contour or my torso and explains something like,

“When I’m moving with people I can feel the shape, the outline of their body, the ‘Shadow Impression’ and I move off of that. I’m not waiting for people to do something before I make an adjustment. So as they move I can play off the structure of their movement but also feel the contours. Now this I’m just doing with my hands to give you an idea but understand I do this with my whole body. I’m always fighting with my whole body so this is not different.”

Or words to that effect. I can tell you right now there is no way I could have even begun to understand that if he hadn’t explained it to me and then demonstrated albeit at a rudimentary level what he was doing. This was (along with a lot of things) one of the coolest things he ever showed me and really opened my eyes to why his movement always seemed to have this weird dimensional feel to it.

When I move with someone as John taught me I’m looking to get that “Shadow Impression” of their body as best I can. “Impressions” as John would put is a great word to describe it and is what I look for rather than a pattern within their movement, because there is more to it than recognizing patterns due to the constant changes that take place.

You see, there is also the recognition of intent.


You Have to Mean It


When I first began training in the art, Grandmaster Carron used to at times admonish me for not always trying to hit as if I meant it. He says to me one day (my students will recognize this conversation),

“Look, when you’re working with me you have to try to hit. Don’t worry about it I’m going to move to not get hurt, but if you don’t try to hit me you never learn how to make it work on people while they’re moving and you never learn how to deal with them when they get out of the way.”

Made sense to me but what really got my attention was what he said next because I never thought of it this way. He said,

“When you move to hit people your body literally changes to make the strike work. Here I’ll show you: just touch my shoulder with your hand only with your arm.”

So I did it and he said,

“See how your body moved? Like it didn’t give a shit now I want you to chop my arm in the same spot. You don’t have to go hard, but pay attention to what your body does.”

As soon as I almost made contact he said,

“See what your body just did? See how you turned? How you lined up? That’s what you do when you mean to hit, your body will automatically line up when you move for real. Now you understand why I got on how you were hitting people with the shield the other day during the drill and made you hit them a little. If you don’t give people something real to work with they’ll move like it’s a joke.”

He then said,

“Now when you’re moving with people if you know how to pick that up in them when they go to hit you, the moment they move you’ll just light them up.”

What Tim described to me was something that over the years I found to be very profound. It’s not that John hasn’t said it to me a million times, these things just take time to register.

When a person moves with intent they move differently. It really is that noticeable. As I feel their intention it allows me to get further ahead of their movement or to anticipate their movement in a way that makes them more predictable. This is what you want to pick up on, capture and use as a part of your movement. When you do this at a relative distance it’s the concept that I’ve talked about in the past as “Getting out of Phase” or as John has described it, “moving in another dimension.” I’m all about it.

I’m not going to rehash it all here I’ll just state what’s interesting to note is that when you get out of phase you need to understand that you have already stepped into the future. Getting out of phase is just a fancy was of saying unavailable so don’t get all crazy about it. I just like saying it because like I’ve said before it sounds all Stephen Hawking-like. When moving like this, in doing so you throw the other person off because you alter their perception of time. The same way as I’ve said before of how a running back or point guard fakes someone out.

As a side note: in order to really feel this, you have to either come to NY at our HQ or attend one of our seminars to gain a full appreciation of this.

Also, because it needs to be said: if you get the opportunity to train with the Grandmaster, when you work out with Grandmaster Perkins in general, if you want to learn these things that I talk about do yourself a favor–forget about trying to win.

Get it in your head, as students have heard me say numerous times, if John’s on his game and aware of your intention there is no fight. It’s over before it got started because he was already there, his timing is that good and his ability to fake you out makes no sense. He was already ahead of your movement even if you didn’t visually perceive his movement.

This is important to understand because all too often when people work with him they’re either trying to win or they’re trying to show him how good they are. Here’s the deal, in a learning environment he already knows the answer, it’s just training so he’s already set the conditions. This is what allows him to work with people without anyone getting injured (you never know what’s in a person’s head. I can tell you a few of my own stories about that…).

I know this is hard for some folks to grasp but so be it. When you’re working with the Grandmaster he’s moving in a way to guide you to the right conclusions so that you can learn. If you’re going to be a jerk and place him in a position where he feels he has to protect himself, well?  He will. Good luck with that!

Remember: he created this art, he went through the pain of figuring out what works, what doesn’t and why. He has tens of millions of impressions on all sorts of body types both as an instructor and as a police officer. So he knows things where there really is no logical way to explain them, you just have to feel what’s going on at times and just allow your body the opportunity to learn.

Understand that John is human like the rest of us and he will protect himself, he’s not a god as I’ve seen in other arts where the master places himself on a pedestal nor does he pretend to be one, and has a great sense of humor, he’s just the grandmaster at this game. And because he’s figured out the essence of how people move under dynamic conditions, he was able to develop a set of learnable principles to help you develop the attributes you need when fighting for your life or that of your loved ones which, is why his art works.

It is because the art he has created is based on principles of physics and what humans can do is why it is so learnable. But there are some things that cannot be learned unless you make yourself teachable otherwise he has to shut you down.

So, now that I’ve run my mouth on this. How do you do this consistently?

That will be in my next blog post…



LtCol Al Ridenhour

Senior Master Instructor


Al Ridenhour

Al Ridenhour is a retired Lieutenant Colonel in the Marine Corps with 28 years of active and reserve military service with multiple combat tours to Iraq and Afghanistan. Although he was an instructor in unarmed combat for his unit, Al Ridenhour knew he had found the right self-defense system in 1992 when people half his size from John Perkins' school could strike him at will with "penetrating force," yet remain elusive to his own strikes. Even though he'd traveled the globe with the U.S. Marines and trained with a variety of U.S. military and Asian martial arts instructors, Al's first thought was "if this works for them, it'll work for me." He resolved then and there to become a student of Perkins' unusual, free-flowing and highly adaptive art. In 2019, after rising to the rank of 7th degree master, Al Ridenhour left the Guided Chaos organization.

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