Are You Going To Be My Friend Or Theirs?

by | Jul 31, 2023

self defence

Are You Going To Be My Friend Or Theirs?

As I pointed out in my last post, throughout my extensive career of teaching violence prevention and self defence for over three decades, three distinct incidents made me reflect upon my position within this industry. This is the second incident. If you missed my first post, you can check it out by visiting my blog at

This second story also involves a self-defence certification I participated in many years ago. Even though I was already teaching violence prevention and self-defence full-time, I constantly sought further education to find valuable content I could bring to my clients.

I participated in the certification, which I found valuable, in contrast to the one I mentioned in my previous post. In the following months, the person who certified me became aware of my friendship with a few colleagues in the industry who he was not fond of, lol. Shortly after that, I received an email telling me I had to choose to remain friends with either him or them.

I thought, “Did he really tell me I had to decide if I would be his friend or theirs?” Instantly, I was taken back to my fourth-grade days in the schoolyard, feeling pressured to pick my friends.

I politely replied, “Thanks, but I believe as an adult, I can be friends with whoever I choose.” Even typing this, I feel ridiculous having been told to choose.

Sadly, this is common in the violence prevention and self-defence industry. I could never imagine suggesting to those I have certified or trained that they should have some unending loyalty to me. I have encouraged people to train with anyone they want to, whether I am friends with the person or not. One can develop their philosophy by training with a wide array of others. Now, I will be completely transparent: if someone wishes to introduce teachings I disagree with, they may do so, but they should cite the source rather than attribute them to me.

Violence Prevention & Self Defence should have nothing to do with loyalty or allegiance to an instructor, style, or system. My only commitment is to my clients and teaching them what I feel gives them the best chance of keeping safe.

Click Violence Prevention & Self Defence Certification if you are curious about our certification programs.

In closing, be friends with anyone you want to, lol.

Stay tuned for part 3.