Interview #1: Peyton Quinn – His thoughts on self-defense and adrenal stress.

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At the age of sixty-five, Peyton Quinn has had no ordinary life. In his words, “Life is either the adventure we make of it or it is very little at all. It is then simply brief and fleeting as if we were half asleep in a movie theater watching someone else’s.”

As Peyton puts it, his current life goals are:

1-“Have one hell of good time riding my vintage Harley in the southwest and living free as I can before I check out, and providing for my wife’s happiness.

2-.Use what I learned to help others see themselves more clearly and, improve thus themselves as human beings and be happier people and yet not be burdened with the side effects of the life that gave me the understandings I carry.”


Erik: When most people think of self-defense, they think of someone skilled in martial arts fighting techniques, what are your thoughts on that?

Peyton: People need to stop thinking in terms of the martial arts being self-defense training as it is not. Also the martial arts are obsessed with techniques designed for competition and tournament play, not self-defense.

Even more important perhaps only a very few martial arts techniques have any use in an actual attack anyway. By the time it all gets physical your self-defense strategy has already totally failed anyway.

Physical technique is small part of self-defense training. In a real attack, as a bouncer/cooler/bodyguard etc., I have dealt with more of the real deal than I can even accurately recall.  You do not need more than a few techniques. The tournament mindset is not at related to the self-defense mindset that is needed in a real situation.

If a person has two or three black belts and/or won a bunch a tournaments that does not suggest he knows a damn thing about self-defense, much less prove he has the knowledge to teach it. I feel I can say this at 65, and having advanced rank in 3 different martial arts and being in the Black Belt Hall of Fame as well. Golly gee, whoop the do for me, that stuff does not make me qualified to teach self-defense either. OK, maybe it is an asset, but it is certainly not sufficient.

Erik: What has led you to this way of thinking?

Peyton: It was my combat experience, and later bouncer/cooler work that showed me what self-defense was all about. This why I left the martial arts world to create a self-defense school called RMCAT. There are boatloads of better martial art instructors and fighters than me.  But what I do best is creating a real world self-defense program and training methodology.  It is not technique based or martial arts based. For 10 years running now, Black Belt Magazine has wrote that it is the “best self-defense program existent”, not the best martial arts system!

I love the martial arts. It is great for anyone to study and has enriched my life beyond measure. But it should not be confused with self-defense training. People have come from all over the world to take the RMCAT program even from China, Israel’s top Krav Maga instructors, Eastern Europe’s best Sambo, and other styles. Nobody comes all this way for martial arts training. They can get that in or near every shopping mall.

Self-Defense training is something people might have to stake their lives on. It is not just something they just stake their winning some garish-ass martial arts tournament trophy on.

Erik: How would you describe the most effective real world fighter?

There is also no doubt in my mind that the most effective ‘real word fighter in the world’, is not simply a martial arts person. He changes daily. Further, almost nobody on the planet even knows his name.

He is sometimes an ‘untrained fighter’, a dock worker humping goods off San Pans or freighters on the pier in Macao. He may not have training. He has experience and nothing stands between him and killing most martial arts people on the planet in a second, if that is what he feels is needed in that second.

Tomorrow, the best real world fighter might be somebody else, but odds are he never has been in any prize ring. He has had to do his killing for real against one or more people trying to kill him.

Knowing an ocean load of techniques will get the people who get in a fight with that guy killed faster than if they only had mastered three effective techniques.

Erik: What has teaching RMCAT taught you?

Please understand that I have the observation of a few thousand people who have come to RMCAT from any style, no style, or any place in the world. Some have been noted MMA fighters too. Many are also untrained until they came here as well.

On their first time against the armored assailants, sometimes even good ring fighters are helpless. They know hundreds of techniques, but you see that is all they know and their adrenal rush makes them fight ineffectively. They have only been in prize rings or some stupid adolescent consensual ‘matches’ outside the bar. Hence, in this environment all those techniques are standing between them and using even one of them effectively. They always overcome this problem.  That is the objective of the program. But they would never have known it could happen to them before they had this experience.

Once it is totally understood on a deep level that nothing that ever happens in a ‘prize ring’ is self-defense, and hardly ever what we see in a prize ring can give us information about what might occur, or work, or not work in an actual fight either. Only then can we see what self-defense training really is, and we can begin to be understand why ‘technique’ is low on the list of deciding the outcome of a real fight.

Erik: What about street fighters?

Peyton: Some of these guys just use the street as their ‘prize ring’. But, yes not all of them do. Some of them do want to kill you. Well, some are ‘one trick ponies’. But you see that one trick is all they ever needed.

Erik: What about boxers?

Peyton: Correct training for the ring can develop very fast reflexes. The boxing training method is exceptionally good for this. The semi-pro boxer makes very short work of most black belts, not because of his ‘boxing techniques, but due to his boxing training methodology. But with no taped hands and no gloves, he breaks the bones in his hands.

Back in the day, I found boxers to be the most dangerous assailants. But my strategy was never to box with them, just cover up, get their rhythm, then catch their fists on my skull top and shatter the bones in their hands. Amazingly, they were sometimes so well trained they instantly struck again to my head with that shattered hand. It was so fast that I could not even stop them from doing this, sometimes creating a permanently disabling injury with a quick clinch/ grapple.

Erik: Thank you Peyton for your time and thoughts.

There idea that self-defense is all about martial arts fighting skills is ingrained in our culture. So too is the idea of Good Guys vs. Bad Guys. Fighting skills are seen as a coat of armor. Those who know them are safe from assaults from Bad Guys, and those who don’t are vulnerable.

This simplistic way of looking at the world is very appealing. But in the real world violence is much more complicated. You forget to put on your coat of armor. It is rusty and it falls apart.  You gain weight with age and it no longer fits like it did when you were young. It has huge gaps and vulnerable areas. Assailants use weapons that cut right through it. They push you into deep water and you drown. They set you on fire. The list goes on.

My take away from Peyton Quinn is that when it comes to self-defense, you need to learn to master the effects of fear and adrenaline before learning to “master” your next technique.

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