"Guided Chaos Combative Striking"

Listen to the Modern Combat & Survival Podcast #208*

with host Jeff Anderson and GC Master Lt Col Al Ridenhour


Real "street fights" aren't the pretty, choreographed scenes you see in the blockbuster action movies. They're chaos! Without training, that chaos leads to wild punches hoping and praying for a lucky knockout blow that will end the fight quickly. I don't like relying on "luck". I'm guessing you don't either, eh?

Well, in this week's podcast episode, LTC. Al Ridenhour, reveals how to generate (and control!) explosive, fight-ending striking power - even in extreme close-quarters environments! 

Here's What You'll Discover In This Week's Episode:

  • Why you already possess all the power you need to take down an attacker even twice your size... and how to tap into it at-will!
  • How to FEEL and ANTICIPATE your attacker's next move so you can strike him where he's open and most vulnerable! (This is going to almost seem like "magic"... but it's easier than you think!)
  • Why "movement" is so critical in a real street fight... and what to do if mobility is a real problem for you.
  • Smaller? Older? Weaker? Yes, that makes you more likely to be targeted... but LTC. Al will show you how to launch a surprise counterstrike your attacker will never see coming!
  • A simple "guided chaos" training drill to begin tapping into your built-in hand-to-hand superpowers! Yes, you're more of a badass than you even realize!

And this week you'll be one step closer to walking down any street without fear! can grab a free "cheat sheet" inside this week's Show Notes at!

*Scroll down to Podcast #208 to listen.

The case of Angela Mischelle Lawless, a murdered 19-year-old whose story was told on 48 Hours | Mystery has focused attention on the potential dangers of strangers on the road and how to defend against them.

John Perkins provided some analysis on the CBS News/48 HOURS website Click here to watch the promo for the show and read the shortened version.

"48 Hours: The Girl Who Knew Too Much"
Authorities believe Lawless was murdered in 1992, in Benton, Mo., after she pulled her car to the side of the road, possibly having recognized her pursuers, and got out of the vehicle, as an argument or fight began.



"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....over the period of about 15 minutes I noticed a massive change in the ability of the attendees to deliver a wide variety of combative style-strikes."


"...The focus on the first 3 principles [Balance, Looseness, Sensitivity] is what differentiates Guided Chaos from everything else I have seen or practiced... Guided chaos teaches the development and use of balance beyond anything I've seen outside of gymnastics."


--Clive Girdham, former Senshido and Geoff Thompson instructor. 



"The term 'Native American groundfighting' might raise a few eyebrows among martial artists. Many mistakenly think such tribal cultures had no organised forms of combative arts, while others may be skeptical that any true teachers of such skills have survived the centuries of cultural destruction that Native American nations have endured. And yet, one American group of hardcore realists — including a lieutenant colonel of the US Marines — is teaching a modified form of the Native Americans' method as part of the Guided Chaos reality-based defence system. Here, GC instructors Ari Kandel (4th Degree), Matt Kovsky (6th Degree) and Lt. Col. Al Ridenhour USMC (7th Degree) explain why they believe Native Americans had the right stuff for when things go wrong in a fight."

JULY 2009



A practitioner of the reality-based system known as Guided Chaos teaches drills that will prepare you to react spontaneously in a fight...



"The Fright Reaction: How to Use the Startle Response to Your Advantage for Self-Defense"


The worst-case scenario for students of personal protection is the surprise attack, aka the ambush. It happens when you get little, if any, advanced warning prior to an assault—because of a lapse in your awareness, the cunning of the attacker(s) or both...


"How to Adapt to Any Critical Survival Situation"


The ability to adapt to any critical survival situation has been a goal of martial artists since the dawn of time...



"Guided Chaos"


In This Martial Art,
Jack Benny Becomes a Sponge With Spikes


Published: October 7, 2006

Watch the video


I STEPPED into a simulated sidewalk mugging between nasty-looking guys, each of whom outweighed me by over 40 pounds. The only way I knew how to defend myself was by mimicking the comedian Jack Benny. I placed the palm of my left hand on my chin, and cupped my right hand underneath my left elbow, affecting a look of meekness.

Then the lights went out. The guy on the left went for me, and I went wild. I stabbed my left hand at his throat, karate-chop style. I jabbed my right hand at his face, palm open, fingers clawing for his eyes. I jerked my right knee toward his groin, screaming at the top of my lungs.

I turned and lunged at the guy on the right, delivering the same chop-palm-knee combination. A score of bystanders encircled us, cheering. Then the lights came back on, and I heard the operatic voice of an ex-cop.

''Stop!'' he commanded.

I pulled up, panting, and surveyed my surroundings. I was in a second-floor room at a fitness club in South Nanuet, N.Y. The sidewalk was actually an exercise mat. My attackers were martial arts experts: an Army drill sergeant and a guard at a psychiatric center, both equipped with foam-padded shields. The ex-cop was John Perkins, 55, the master of a discipline called ki chuan do, and the cheering bystanders were my fellow students.

''Looks like we have a ringer,'' Master Perkins said, chuckling, as I stepped off the mat.

I was more startled by my performance than anyone else in the room. I had come to the ki chuan do class in executive pursuit of a self-defense method that suited a New York state of mind and a post-9/11 state of menace. I don't have exceptional physical strength. I don't have the time or the patience to learn complex disciplines like tae kwan do or karate. I wanted something relatively simple that I could use right away if need be, something that would work in a real life-or-death confrontation.

In ki chuan do, I found what I was after -- and then some. As Master Perkins noted, the meekest of people will fight furiously against an assailant who threatens a child or loved one. But even otherwise macho males are surprisingly reluctant to defend themselves. ''Most people come to martial arts looking for a sport,'' he said. ''Ki chuan do is not about sport. It's about unleashing your basic animal instincts in order to survive.''

Master Perkins had taught me the Jack Benny moves and inspired me to unleash my inner animal in less than half an hour. A pasta-loving 285-pounder with a gray beard, he looks more like Luciano Pavarotti than a martial arts guru. In fact, he's a part-time opera singer who served 22 years in law enforcement, including 6 years of street duty in Yonkers. He said he had participated in over 700 arrests and survived over 100 violent confrontations.

Master Perkins's students include police officers, armed services personnel, bouncers, bodyguards, bartenders, corporate executives and homemakers. He does not train them to become bullies. His primary motto is ''Confront No One.'' His first and foremost advice is to run away. ''The best defense for any type of strike is not to be there when the strike arrives,'' he notes in ''Attack Proof,'' a self-defense manual he wrote with Lt. Col. Al Ridenhour of the Marines and a ki chuan do expert, Matt Kovsky.

That said, Master Perkins unabashedly urges pupils to attack their attackers if caught in an unavoidable confrontation. His secondary motto is ''Anything Goes,'' including scratching, pinching, ripping, strangling, stomping and biting. ''There are lots of evil monsters out there, terrorists, drug addicts, psychopaths,'' he reminds. ''You never know who you're dealing with, and you never want to spar with them. You want to disable or kill them as quickly as possible, and then get away.''

Born and raised in upstate New York, Master Perkins has been training in martial arts since the age of 5. His father taught him the so-called close combat fighting system developed during World War II for American soldiers to use against Japanese soldiers schooled in jujitsu and karate. The elder Perkins, who was part Cherokee, also taught his son the nearly forgotten art of Native American ground fighting, which incorporates leg kicks along with knives, tomahawks, sticks and spears.

In 1978 Master Perkins starting teaching what he would call ki chuan do, which means ''the way of the spirit fist.'' Based on principles of balance and tactile sensitivity, it combines elements of hapkido, jujitsu, karate, tai chi, Native American ground fighting and cutthroat barroom brawling. He plans to rename the discipline ''Guided Chaos'' to reflect its home-grown American origins. Private lessons start at $200 an hour; group classes in Manhattan and Rockland County are $20 a person ( He says it takes about 12 hours of training for an average person to become reasonably proficient in self-defense.

What really distinguishes ki chuan do from other martial arts is its emphasis on constant motion and improvisation rather than on ritualized tactics and formal poses. Master Perkins says that the violent confrontations he dealt with on the job seldom lasted more than a few seconds, and almost all of them were chaotic hell storms. ''The bad guys don't follow a pre-choreographed script,'' he notes. ''Neither should you. The conscious mind is not fast enough to deal with a life-or-death fight. You have to let your subconscious take over.''

During the class, Master Perkins demonstrated why he refers to ki chuan do training as ''guided chaos.'' The guided aspects consisted mainly of bellicose yin-yang variations, receiving energy and delivering energy, yielding and striking. With the help of various warm-up exercises, he showed me how to make my body emulate water, alternately hardening like ice and softening like vapor. He told me to pretend I was a ''sponge with spikes,'' absorbing strikes by twisting and bending, then delivering strikes with precisely aimed force.

One of the most important guiding principles called for accompanying chops and punches with a move known as dropping. According to Master Perkins, dropping harnesses the forces of gravity and the big muscles of the legs through a rapid-fire flexing of the knees. He compared the feel of dropping to a spasmodic sneeze. ''We want you to deliver every strike as if you were sneezing through the strike,'' he said.

I saw these principles in chaotic action when Killeen Good, a 110-pound fitness trainer who has practiced ki chuan do for over 15 years, went up against the 225-pound drill sergeant who had earlier posed as one of my attackers. Ms. Good used a flurry of chops and kicks to batter her much bigger adversary's foam-padded shields, and send him staggering off the mat. ''I was attacked when I was in college, and I fell apart,'' she recalled. ''I said, 'This will never happen to me again.' When I get out on the mat I turn into a little Tasmanian devil.''

By the end of the class, the only reservations I had about ki chuan do concerned mistaking an innocent passer-by for an attacker. Once you unleash your animal instincts, your human target will probably suffer serious injury or worse. Master Perkins offered no resolution of this quandary other than common sense and caution. ''I have to be careful because it's possible to kill with a single blow,'' he said.

''Remember, the pen is mightier than the sword,'' I muttered half-jokingly.

''You're right,'' he replied. ''A sword's not as good in close combat fighting because you need to draw it back to use it effectively.''

With that, Master Perkins asked to borrow the pen I was holding. Then he jabbed the point toward my heart with a one-inch punch accompanied by a dropping move that resounded through the exercise room. Thank God he deliberately stopped short of contact, or I would not be here to tell this tale.




Segment with Chuck Scarborough on in-flight anti-terrorist defensive techniques using bare hands and common objects.

"The other martial arts are about beautiful choreography. There's nothing dance-like about this."

--Eric Haney

Command Sergeant Major
Founding member Delta Force

Endorsement from "SPYMASTER" on The Learning Channel




A reality TV series where candidates were trained, assessed and eliminated to come up with a top "Spymaster." A team of Navy SEAL and Delta Force professionals conduct the training and evaluation in evasion, survival, spycraft and combat methods. John Perkins was specifically contacted by the show to provide hand-to-hand combat training for the contestants.

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