I wanted to share a story of inspiration when it appears your life could be over, and you have few people to turn to, and those you are supposed to trust, like the doctors, also let you down. Some of it is my words, and some from Daniel himself.
This is the story of Daniel Guddat, a young man with whom I am honoured to know and have trained in self-defence. But unfortunately, his life took a 180-degree turn at the young age of 30, leaving him to face some harsh realities and decisions.
At the age of 30, Daniel had an excellent job in a management position, and his side job (teaching self-defence) was his passion. Daniel trained with a hunger and determination to be the best he could be as a student and teacher. His particular love was living the Combative Lifestyle, where he worked hard to convince others through performance and participation in his commitment.
Daniel felt he was bulletproof and embodied the “bad boy” lifestyle. He had money, girlfriends, and respect from others in the self-defence/combative community.
There is a brotherhood with many in the violence prevention world, for better or worse. Daniel trained hard, taught seminars, felt unstoppable and took life for granted.
If you ask Daniel, he would tell you he saw others who had depression or other problems as odd, even weird, who could not get a grip on life. He was the stereotypical “alpha male.” And he would not hesitate to show other alpha males how he was more formidable than they were.
He was and still is, lol 1.80m tall, well-trained mentally and physically. His mindset was even, come too close to me, and I will show you how tough I am. He could showcase his toughness, he thought, on social media through videos and pictures.
THEN IT ALL CHANGED!
Twenty-six months ago, Daniel went to a doctor because of a slight infection. The doctor prescribed him, through ignorance, a last resort antibiotic. Unfortunately, the doctor failed to inform him of all the devastating consequences of the genotoxicity, tendon toxicity, neurotoxicity and the toxicity itself of this antibiotic. The antibiotic even had a black box warning that it can cause permanent damage that brings life changes.
After the first two courses of treatment, Daniel lost 20 kg of muscle. He couldn’t walk overnight because every step hurt, like walking on nails. His body burned like fire as if acid was running over his bones.
In less than a month, the psychoses, panic attacks, suicidal thoughts and heavy depression began to hit. Daniel ran from doctor to doctor, and no one could help him. The doctors told him that all the side effects were in his head. He was told he had anywhere from burnout to suffering from schizophrenia. Again, no orthodox doctor could help.
Even more, what hurt was that not many people believed him.
He lost everything. His job, girlfriend, apartment, essentially his whole life.
He was now at a crossroads. He had a choice to make. Either fight or die!!!!! The options were euthanasia in Switzerland or praying that his heart would stop! Most of the time, he spent in bed with 1000 thoughts, not knowing who or what he was anymore.
He would ask himself, what have I done that I suddenly have to suffer so much? In conversation with Richard Dimitri at the time, Richard told him, “if your body is not working, sharpen your mind.”
During this dark time, a handful of people believed and supported him. Thorsten Bruchhauser, with whom he runs a self-defence school, to Thomas, who brought him from the bed to train sitting, to Andy, who visited him a short time later and encouraged Daniel again and again, to Nadine and his family, who were they to support him.
Since the option of exiting this world would never be a real option, he decided to fight. Finally, Daniel found Steffi someone who knew about the effects of these drugs and their ability to poison the body. She gave offered therapy and further recommendations that would turn his life around!
Is Daniel back to 100%? Not at all, but he is in a good place where life is making more sense than it had. It is a struggle every day, a fight he is prepared to take on and win! He sees a bright future, having found himself again and a new outlook on life.
So, what does this have to do with self-defence? EVERYTHING!
Self-defence is not about how hard you can hit, how tough you appear to be, but your inner attitude to life and its challenges. 90% of self-defence is internal.
As brutal as the last couple of years have been, there are some positives that Daniel now sees:
He now understands and has a new, honest empathy for what students or people who suffer from depression or post-traumatic stress disorder go through.
Daniel can put himself in their shoes with a deep understanding of how others might see shadows and no light.
He can listen and share his own story to help others.
Daniel started training with the knife because it was the only thing he could physically do while sitting. Of course, knife defence training is not where one would ever start, but only being able to sit and, with his vast experience, it was something he could focus on.
Daniel told me, “unless your name is Charles Xavier, and you are an X-man who can fling people through the air with his telepathic powers, work with the resources you have.”
When Daniel was gradually able to walk again, he started to train again, but no Combative Training because it was much too physically demanding. So instead, Daniel began with the SAFE Self Defence & Violence Prevention program, which enabled him to become more supple and defensive with the simplest means and movements.
In the meantime, he teaches and trains Combatives again but only for a particular group of people because it is not suitable for everyone!
For the average civilian, the SAFE course is where he puts his focus as it helps those deemed most vulnerable. And with Daniel’s experience of vulnerability, it makes so much more sense to him now.
With a newfound outlook, Daniel has re-evaluated his priorities looking at the whole scene of Krav Maga, Combatives and various systems from a different angle in the last two years.
Daniel concludes that he is indifferent to what others think or expect of him. He has witnessed how people drop you when you no longer generate sales or when the so-called Brotherhood is nothing more than a bunch of horny guys who are only convinced of themselves. He knows because he used to think that way.
Daniel told me, “I have learned that SAFE International is one of the few systems or the study of violence by Richard Dimitri that addresses people’s concerns. They don’t train the fighting machine that will go to war tomorrow, but they train people on mindset and trauma management.”
They show you that you don’t need years of tedious training, and you don’t need to look like Dwayne Johnson to be able to defend yourself effectively.
In the end, Daniel believes that the SAFE and Bladecraft organizations got him out of an enormous mess. As a result, he no longer teaches anything in workshops that the everyday citizen can’t manage in a high-stress situation.
Daniel’s final words to you are,
“Be the best version of yourself. Don’t give away your life to people who only want to pull you down or enrich themselves from you.
And true self-defence starts with yourself!!!!!”