Category Archives: Inspiration

The Warrior’s Path, Systema Part 3

Philosophy and Psychology

When we left off in Part 2, we were talking about what holds people back from having a “Warrior Mindset”, and Joe was telling me about fears, and people not seeing their own possibilities. We continue from there.

Joe: Most people don’t want to get hurt.

S: Where is the switch between the head and the heart that prevents knowledge from the head from getting to the heart?

Joe: The challenge is in getting them to get their mind out of the dojo and in a dark house at 0200 where there are no rules. That is normalcy, that is how real life works. They have to let their minds go into those dark places and most people don’t want to do that.

I switched gears for a second and asked Joe how he came to work with Scott “Buzzkill the safety squirrel” Van Kirk who taught me about my “Systema happy place” which is where a person would need to be in that dark house at 0200.

Joe: Scott had heard about me through the grapevine. He showed up for a basic seminar about 6-7 years ago and we became good friends and now work on these projects together.

S: So, the warrior mindset, born with it or can you develop it?

Joe: It’s very individual. It depends on where a person comes from. It’s not just about picking up arms. It’s a whole mindset. It’s being able to fight for and defend things of value when it comes down to it. This can also be manifested by working extra to pay the utility bill, to buy good shoes or even to put food on the table. It’s not just physical. It’s about fighting the good fight, it’s bigger than any fight with your two fists. You pull into that, the warrior fights to protect everything they hold dear. It’s about being willing and able to do whatever is necessary to take care and protect those people and things of value.

S: So how prevalent is that mindset now?

Joe: It’s very diminished. People expect someone else to pick up the blade. You have parents that call 9-1-1 and say “My kid doesn’t want to go to school”. Physically, mentally, morally and spiritually no one wants to fight their own battles.

I admitted I was shocked about the parents part. If I had refused to go to school my parents wouldn’t have called the Police, they might have wound up calling an ambulance, but not the Police. Well, ok, they weren’t that strict, but I might have had trouble sitting for a spell.

S. In the book it talks about “Ten wounded is better than one dead”. That sounds very much in line with the Israeli code of “Purity of Arms”.

Except Joe was talking about our side, and I took it as the opposition side.

Joe: Well, if I’m wounded, I can still recover. I can still go on and have a life. For the opposition, you wound as much as you can without taking a life. But just because you are wounded doesn’t mean you are out of the fight.

Then I brought up a line from the book, The Systema Warrior Guidebook :

“An aggressor can only be overcome by one who is strong spiritually.”

I said that the spiritual component of Systema resonated strongly with me, it’s part of why Systema feels like it fits. What percentage of Systema would you say is made up of the spiritual component?

Joe: It comes down to this one thing. We don’t fear death because we are spiritually sound. When you’re good spiritually, you know whatever comes after is going to be good. You have to be one with your maker. You can be dangerous, but still be good, not evil.

Fear The One With No Fear

S: So let’s talk about acting vs. reacting. In the book it talks about different situations, from a fight to losing a job, these came from different sections in the book:

“Acting is what makes you happy. Reacting is what makes you miserable.”

“Acting is independent of the context; reacting is totally dependent on the context.”

“Acting is rewarding, reacting is frustrating.”

“Action creates results, reaction creates excuses.”

Acting vs. reacting. This applies to many things in life, But to me, it seems if you add in the spiritual component that they sometimes merge. The job example, let’s say you are due for a promotion or raise. In your mind you’ve thought it through. You like the job, but unless you advance you’ve hit the ceiling. So you decide based on the next review, if you are not promoted or given a raise, or whatever, you will leave to gain a better opportunity. If you are promoted, you have the opportunity where you are. Or it could be some decision you are unsure of, so you wait and be quiet until you feel G-d guides your step. Rabbi Lazer Brody in The Garden of Emuna says if you’ve prayed, and nothing in your circumstances has changed, it is time to be quiet and listen, guidance will come. Is that still reacting or is it choosing your path and acting?

The chapters on fear, pain control, and trusting our intuition, to me, make this book a good guide book for life, not only in Systema, but in all parts of our life. Was it written with that intent?

And yes, he stayed on the phone for the three minutes it took me to ask this one question.

Joe: It’s about the space between action and reaction, the longer you take for the action to start, if it is a violent encounter it will become more violent. We are either going to act or react. Acting is you digest the action of the other person and then act upon it. Action is always seeing the writing on the wall and being preemptive. The longer we sit there it is going to be a reaction. In situational awareness reaction takes time and thought, whereas action is instinctual. We react too much, acting is opening up to the environment. When you only react to situations you lose some of the options you would have had if you had chosen to act instead.

S: The part about “preemptive striking”, that’s tough for someone my age. I was always told by my Dad as a kid “Don’t you start anything, but if someone starts it, you finish it.” I can’t be the only one in my age group that grew up like that, do you find that mindset common?

Joe: Reacting is more common. Sometimes we must act on preemption, it’s better to apologize later than tell my family I messed up and I’m hurt and can’t work, or they get hurt. We struggle inside with denial and it prevents preemptive action, those are things that hold us back from making a correct decision in time.

S: I saw a video on Missouri’s concealed carry laws where an attorney named Kevin Jamison was talking about when you were justified to use deadly force and it stuck with me because he used the acronym J.A.M. Is your life in jeopardy, do they have the ability and the means? He said those elements needed to be present for justification, will the same apply?

Joe: It still applies if you are using preemptive strike. In some situations if you do not utilize a preemptive strike you are not going to get another chance. It’s about how you are before and after the event. How you are before, during and after the event is key. It can’t become emotional. It’s all over and done with if we become emotional. Remember, professional, we just do the job, breathing smoothly is key.

S: If people haven’t added something like martial arts or blade work to their bag of tricks, how would you advise them to get started?

Joe: If they are not doing anything martial arts related they should know that awareness is paramount, 95% of crimes could be prevented if people were more aware. People put their awareness down, they lower the standards of awareness. When you walk to your car do you carry your bags in your dominant or non-dominant hand? If you stop at Wal-Mart late at night, when you leave the store to go to your car you see that the parking lot is mostly empty, but parked right next to your car is a van, what do you do?

I wanted to say “Shoot the hostage in the knee” but thought I might be pushing my luck, since I hope to attend another seminar some day.

S: Your book, how did that happen? What was the impetus?

Joe: It started as a manual for the students. I started it 7 years ago and I just kept adding things to it. I kept adding things as people kept asking questions. The more questions they asked, the more information it stimulated. A lot of the same questions kept coming up, so I wrote out the answers to the most common questions. Then 2-3 years ago people started asking me to publish it. It was something I wanted to tell people and what I wanted to do, was tell people it’s about living life as a person of dignity, honor and courage.

S: You have a new book coming out in May of 17, what the title and what will it cover?

Joe: The Bodyguard Enchiridion It goes deeper into the aspects of bodyguarding, a bit like what we did at the end of your last class.

The Bodyguard Enchiridion- Coming in 2017

S: There is a whole chapter on “Fear” in the book, and it covers a lot more of life than physical fights. It is absolutely excellent.

Tidbits from the book:

Fear is a very powerful emotion. It has a very strong effect on the mind and body because it is one of our natural survival responses. It tells you what to do in an emergency, like a fire or if you are being attacked.

We can also feel fears when faced with less dangerous situations, like exams, public speaking, a new job, a date, or even a social situation. It is a natural response to something that a person feels are a threat.

In this chapter he goes through things that can help you deal with your fears, such as the segment on knowing yourself, and that faith and spirituality can help you cope. But there’s more in it than these two things, though these stuck with me. He talks a lot more about fears, their genesis, their impact and practical ways to deal with them and choose empowering beliefs instead. Now you see why I said it is much more a book for living life?

And this ladies and gentlemen is where we will end up for this section. I have one more section to come and I can about 99.9% guarantee you that you that it will be coming from a completely different direction than you expect, and it is absolutely heart-warming. So hang on to the horn.

So for your movie clip this portion, I took one of those name quizzes on Facebook. Turns out I’m Eowyn of Rohan. Huh. Well, the name does mean “horse lover or horse friend”. According to the youtube clip, I think I should probably ask for a class in defense against the mace and other medieval weapons of war. Maybe he could do one this summer?


The Warrior’s Path, Systema Part 2

The Background on my experience and reasons for learning about Systema in Part 1

The Background, on Joe and Systema.

First, a little bit about Systema, from the ever popular Wikipedia.

Systema (Система, literally meaning The System) is a Russian martial art. Training includes, but is not limited to: hand-to-hand combat, grappling, knife fighting, and firearms training. Training involves drills and sparring without set kata. In Systema, the body has to be free of tensions, filled with endurance, flexibility, effortless movement, and explosive potential; the “spirit” or psychological state has to be calm, free of anger, irritation, fear, self-pity, delusion, and pride.

Systema focuses on breathing, relaxation, and fluidity of movement, as well as utilizing an attacker’s momentum against him and controlling the six body levers (elbows, neck, knees, waist, ankles, and shoulders) through pressure point application, striking, and weapon applications.

From Systema St. Louis:

Our training philosophy is not to be confused with any traditional fighting arts and/or combat sports fighting systems. We are not in the business of taking years to teach a client how to incapacitate or eliminate even the most basic fighter, but rather months, comparable to the time a special ops soldier has to prepare for an operation.

There are just too many aspects of traditional fighting arts and sports-based fighting systems that are life-threateningly impractical and inefficient for the street and actual brutal violence.

Okay, so we’re good on what Systema’s purpose is? It is not about fighting for sport, it is not about scoring points. It’s about surviving, it’s about respect for life, even that of your attacker. This is something you might not be aware of, in the 1960s and 1970s if you were attacked and handed over your wallet or car keys, there was a 65-70% chance they would take the money and go away. Now, the odds are flipped in that if you hand over your wallet or your car keys there is a 65-70% chance they will assault you anyway. There is a huge lack of consideration for life these days. And that nugget my friends, came straight from a St. Louis police detective I know. A good guy, a warrior, you should get to know him. Let me see what I can do about that. He’s a United States Marine, State Department Diplomatic Security, St. Louis Police Department, and also owner of Systema St. Louis, who travels to teach and lecture. I think he has a pretty cool dog too.

I didn’t ask him, but I’m guessing he once in a while sleeps and eats. He will tell you that you don’t let fear dictate the outcome. What? You had in mind more detail than that? Well, I’m your girl, pick me, let me see what I can find out.

S: How did you come to be in the Marines? Was this a goal growing up, did you always feel the need to protect people?

Joe: I come from a family of proudly serving in the military. My Grandfather was in WWII, in the first wave to storm the beaches that had to clear the mess, and my father proudly served his country in the Marines in Viet Nam in the early 1960s. After his time in Viet Nam he continued to serve his country by training the young men going over, teaching them the valuable skills they would need to come home, alive.

It seems preserving life runs in the Mayberry family genes.

After the military, my Dad became a welder. I was blessed when I was still young by being able to spend a lot of time with Dad.

It sounds like a Dad he admired, was proud of and was close to. I can relate to that, I felt the same about mine.

S: So, you were that kid on the playground always protecting the kid that was getting picked on?

Joe: Yes.

S: You were stationed in Israel at the Embassy for three years. You really don’t speak ANY Hebrew? You just forgot? I admitted my astonishment, I’m always trying to learn more Hebrew and get better at it. LIVING there for three years? I’d have been eating that up with my falafel and Israeli salad.

Joe: Well, I might remember a few words, I knew a little back then.

S: Did you ever feel you were in danger while you were there?

Joe: Yes, I did. But I learned to deal with it in a way so that it didn’t affect me negatively. I was there in the late 1980s and it was about protecting good from evil. I saw first hand that if nothing opposes evil it will absolutely succeed. I saw it, up close and personal. While I was in Israel I got to know some Israelis and I had the opportunity to train with the IDF who use Krav Maga. I trained 6 days a week with them, including in the desert. That was real Krav Maga, not Krav Maga for sport or fitness.

Sheila provided links

Chronology of Terrorist Attacks in Israel Part III: 1978-1985

Chronology of Terrorist Attacks in Israel Part IV: 1986-1992

S: So after you were out of the Marine Corp and back in the states, what did you do?

Joe: The State Department, in Diplomat Security. You got to see more of the world while protecting people and their secrets. You might be standing in the hall by a doorway for 8-12 hours at a time. And while you were standing at that doorway, you are protecting whomever is behind that door. It was after the wall came down, and we began to see people down the hall who had been behind the wall. The Russians began showing up in front of doors in the hall as well. When you’re in those hallways for 8-12 hours you begin to talk to each other. You talk about common interests, things you both know.

(I figured this meant horses of course, apparently, to my shock, no).

Joe: We began talking about martial arts, I had been involved in the martial arts since 1974, long before my Krav Maga education. We discussed each others forms of martial arts and that’s when I began hearing about Vladimir Vasiliev. That would have been around 1994, 1995. Shortly after that I got out of the service. I was very interested in what I had heard about Vladimir, but I couldn’t find anything about him really. Then I picked up a copy of Black Belt magazine and in the back there was an ad for his school in Toronto. I called and talked to Valerie, his wife, and made an appointment to go. The first class with him was very humbling. He just mopped the floor with me. I have been in martial arts since 1974, trained with the IDF and he mopped the floor with me. It was a turning point. And I learned don’t forget the past, utilize it. Begin to think conceptual. There will always be chaos, and your best advantage is to be prepared. My role as an instructor is to help someone develop a useful, workable response to the chaos.

S: How good of shape do people have to be in to learn and do Systema? This had been one of my fears when I went to the first class, that I wouldn’t be in good enough shape.

Joe: Nobody has to be “fit” to be able to defend themselves. When I came back to the US after several years I saw Krav Maga really take off. It had turned into a fitness ploy. It had gone from being military training into martial arts fitness. It was attractive to those not in shape that wanted to learn to be safe. I really didn’t like that fad. They were telling people that if they weren’t in shape they couldn’t defend themselves. They made levels and added a fitness routine giving an illusion. It’s a sport now and not practical. I’m telling you no matter your age and shape you have a G-d given right to live, and to defend yourself.

S: When Scott (Van Kirk) worked with me he taught me about my “Systema happy place”. This involved keeping my energy low and a very neutral demeanor. It’s kind of what you use when working with horses, but does this just come with time and effort?

Joe: Energy, that happy place, has got to be professional to work. It’s about it becoming an ingrained, routine. Like when you get up of a morning, you go to the bathroom, brush your teeth, have some coffee. You can do these things calmly, without great thought and a minimum of effort, it just flows. When you are working Systema it needs to be 100% professional for it to become a smooth pattern with an economy of motion and thought, so much that it almost happens without awareness. Our subconscious takes over with the awareness of patterns. Systema strives to become the smooth pattern of economy of thought and a large part of instincts. The concepts of usage are universal.

S: What do you think is the biggest impediment to that is?

Joe: Internally people have fear. They don’t see their own possibilities. They allow their limitations to stop them. With conceptual martial arts it’s all within the person. If they realize what fears hold them back, they are free to do what they want.

Part 3 will pick up with more on the warrior mindset. Stay tuned, same bat time, same bat channel.

Early weapons of opportunity training, but no cape required.



The Warrior’s Path, Systema Part 1

Let me give you a hypothetical situation. Let’s say for example you were going to a foreign country. A foreign country, so you are not allowed to carry concealed, can’t carry your beautiful TZP Custom Kershaw folding knife , but a knife quite possibly could be used against you. In fact, there was a epidemic of people being attacked in that county, often by women and children. A tactical pen is a possibility. Maybe. What do you do? What do YOU do?

The answer to this will likely be different for everyone. For me, this was not a hypothetical situation last spring. It was exactly what I was facing, and I was feeling very vulnerable about the whole thing. I hate that feeling, vulnerable is rotten. I also hate inadequate, it’s right up there too, as is ancient. When I was younger I had perhaps capabilities I no longer have. So, what do you do? What do you do?

I think G-d stepped in on this one. A post by a buddy from the Second amendment arena, Scott Van Kirk, showed up in my Facebook time line. It was about a class that was coming up, a class on knife fighting, blade work if you will. I thought, hmm, perhaps? I asked when and where? The class was going to be close enough I could drive there, but it would be too late to help with the trip. The conversation came off Facebook and became emails. Scott talked to his instructor Joe, and explained the situation, he asked if Joe thought there was anything he could do to help me out. Scott said Joe told him to teach me, that Scott was certainly capable of helping me. So this good man offered to come help to help me learn enough to perhaps keep me alive should such a thing happen. There were a few things we talked about, there were considerations. One is I wasn’t traveling alone, the same girlfriend I had been in Israel with the last two years and I were traveling together again. And yes, I believe something I would try, was to ensure both of our safety. He also had a very honest talk with me about if this happens. Meaning if I’m attacked, I’m going to get cut, I’m going to get hurt, and I’m going to lose blood and quite possibly, likely will not look the same again. Sobering, very sobering thoughts. He stressed my goal, my objective is to live, to survive. That’s it. I will have scars? Ok, scars are tattoos with more interesting stories, but I am to come back, and come back in one piece (pretty much) and alive. And then we worked on tactics and techniques. With knives, pens, magazines (printed) and what I would call a kick pad. I finished up with some bruises and feeling awesome. Not bullet proof, not like I was Chuck Norris, but at least I had a few operating options. Bless that man, bless that man!!

Fast forward to fall of last year.

The blade work class was offered again, and it was in a place I considered close enough to drive. I bought a ticket. I had a lot of concerns.  I was too old perhaps, and my physical condition was certainly not what it had been when I was younger. But I was still game, I still wanted to give myself that chance, so ticket it would be. Besides, it gave me a chance to deliver to my erstwhile mentor the only thing he had requested besides me returning alive. A nice big fat magazine that I was going to carry in my purse with me everywhere.

And that is how I came to meet Joe, Joe Mayberry. Joe is the instructor of the blade work class and Scott’s instructor.

Class was unlike about anything I expected. I found I was perfectly capable of doing the things we were taught, if unable to do them perfectly. Yet. We learned about how to move in such as way as to be less likely to be perceived as a threat while sensing others that may be a threat to us. Fabulous class, I soaked up what I was given like a little sponge.

After class I got up my courage and asked Mr. Mayberry if he would consider doing a interview with me for The Zelman Partisans, because this system was so different from anything I had been exposed to. He listened, asked a couple of questions and then agreed.

And then there were riots in various and sundry cities around the U.S. that weekend. Honest to goodness, some people have no consideration! I had an interview scheduled and they riot. How rude! My interview went down the tubes and for various reasons didn’t get rescheduled.

Fast forward to late winter of this year. There is another class, a yummy class on “Weapons of Opportunity”. Who wouldn’t want to take that class? I did, very much. It was coming to a location close enough for me to drive, so ticket it was.

Another wonderful class. Everyone in class is amazingly nice! The other students I work with are wonderful. I perhaps have a slightly skewed view of people. For example, a comment I made to a girl friend after the class was “oh, and then this one super nice guy Lon, taught me how to do a sleeper hold to neutralize someone unless I needed to do more!” And then “I accidentally stabbed this one really nice guy in the web of his hand because I let my adrenaline get out too high. But he was really nice about it. Luckily he didn’t bleed, much, a lot”. I later apologized to Karel about that. He was very, very gracious about it. And one nice young man, Alex, taught me that there is likelihood that someone with a tattoo will be protective of that area. Hmm, good to know!

The other women I trained with were awesome, as we poked, prodded and stabbed each other with various weapons and learned what did and didn’t work well. They generously shared knowledge of things they knew with great kindness, many of these women I think train in Systema on a regular basis. Throughout the whole class we had Scott “Buzzkill the safety squirrel” circulating making sure we had safety goggles on, and utilized safe practices. Yes, as we stabbed and tried to attack each other. He and Mr. Mayberry moved amongst us offering advice and ways to improve. We were all trying our best to duplicate the damage Mr. Mayberry had demonstrated inflicting on his willing victim, his son Joseph. Tough kid!

Do you have a cellphone, a comb, car keys or better yet a Mayberry key? You have a weapon.

I tell you these stories so you know I’m not just telling you about something I read, but something I am experiencing, a path, a whole path. It encompasses more than just a method of self defense, although that certainly is a huge component. But the path is Systema, the Russian martial art of self defense, and a philosophy of living.

I survived class, again. This time with a slightly ripped shirt, some blood on it, mostly mine I think, and elated. I again asked Joe, who kindly remembered me, for a interview. He again agreed if I would give him a riot free weekend. We got the riot free weekend, and I got my interview.

Ready to meet Joe? Because there is a whole lot covered in the first book by author and teacher Joe Mayberry.

Systema Warrior Guidebook

Yep, it’s available on

The Systema Warrior Guidebook: A Systema Guide to Life


Cutting Calves

So in this weeks Torah teaching Mishpatim, I learned a lot of things when I listened to this weeks Temple Talk radio show. This is probably no news to those more learned than I, and that probably doesn’t take much. But here’s what really struck me.

After the Ten Commandments are given, G-d asks one thing. That an alter be built for him out of earth. Because Adam rishon, Adam the first man, was made out of earth. The alter represents man, made of earth, because man was made of earth. And then it talks about the sacrifices of animals. Now here is where my thinking got a big wake up call. I’m human, human foibles, and faults there is no denying. I’ve never easily understood why innocent animals had to die because I made a mess of things. So the next part really was a light bulb for me.

Man had been making alters to G-d since Adam. Cain and Abel הֶבֶל ,קַיִןQayin, Heḇel. Noach נח also made an alter. All these people, and this is not the whole list, made alters to G-d before Mt. Sinai, הר סיני, Har Sinai. What G-d was saying after he gave them the commandments, and the instructions on how to live good lives in a community was not some new thing. The people had already been building alters and sacrificing animals. Not because G-d had told them to, but because it was their attempt to reach up to G-d, their attempts to reach out to him. And it pleased him and basically he was saying “That thing ya’ll do? Yeah, I like that, you’re reaching up to me. Keep on doin’ that”. WOW. I’ve read that so many times, so many times and I’ve never put that together! I need to hear someone kind of put the pieces in place for me. It was there all along, and I just never thought of it like that.

Now, hang on to the saddle horn, the calf is fixin’ to cut to the right.

Not only in the movie, but in the topic. But it all fits together like the horse and rider.

How did the horse know the calf was going to cut to the right? It is part training and part instinct. The horse is reading the calf. You thought the rider was simply using the reins? Look how loose they are. Now I will be honest, I like cutting, it is as much fun as it looks to be. But it’s not my first choice of sport. But oh yes, it is a LOT of fun. You use your legs, but your horse is your partner, and they certainly do read the calf. As well as using their G-d given, man honed instincts. What can interfere with that? A rider holding too tightly too the reins, not a loose enough relaxed body, a rider who wants to micro-manage. A situation of not using the things already there, just waiting to be utilized. Horse, rider, calf and instinct. The calf’s to go back to the herd, and the horse and riders to cut it away from the herd.

Now, hang on to the horn, the calf is fixin’ to cut to the left.

It is the same with us. IF we have the chance to have someone lay out things we knew, but in a different way.

I was blessed recently by being able to attend a class. A class on weapons of opportunity. Let’s say you are in a situation where you are disarmed by law, or a bad person. You have to go to the hospital, or a doctor’s office. Yes, you can carry concealed. But if you have to don a gown and go for an x-ray, you have a problem. Or any other situation you care to come up with where you are attacked. What do you have on hand you could use to defend yourself? Can you think of anything? You probably have your car keys, a credit card? A comb? You probably wish you had a Mayberry key, if you know what that is. Could you defend yourself with a can of peas? Do you have the instinct to see a potential threat? Are they honed, have you trained yourself what to look for? Do you know the things that can interfere with your instincts? What part does fear play in dealing with these situations? Fear is always bad, right? No.

Does spirituality enter into the equation?

I heard a story recently in this class. The teacher related going to the store with his kids, he was looking at kitchen implements, like for a spatula. He was standing there regarding the choices and his son commented, “Dad is figuring out how to kill someone with that spatula”. And he was. It’s not about killing, it’s about being aware. It’s about being aware that if you needed to, you would have things available you could use to defend yourself and others you care about, and how you would go about that. What would you do if a bad person was holding someone you cared about by the neck with a knife to their throat? Could you intervene? Would you?

Curious? GOOD! Stay tuned because I plan to shed some light on these questions and the person who teaches the class, along with a whole lot more about an amazing system of defense. If we can have a riot free weekend!


Kindling the Eighth Light


It was December 31st.  A dark, cold, night.  Desperate and weary Jews gathered… hidden behind convent walls in the Vilnius Ghetto.

Their tormentors, their murderers, had been unrelenting.  Over sixty-thousand men, women, and children had been slaughtered.  This, at the hands of the Nazi’s and of the Jews’ own neighbors.

A young man named Abba; a poet, watched his sister and mother be lead away.   That cold, dark, December night he was with those assembled in the convent.

Death Is Not To Be Preferred

When leading a band of harried fighters
or standing face-to-face with the enemy,
holding out in the siege
and standing alone
on the ramparts,
he never said death is to be preferred,
that life is negotiable;
by severe privations
he never asked anything
of Almighty God
but to grant him favor
and ease his pain
when he leads the congregation
in communal prayer;
and forgive our sins
in love
and joy
and gladness
and peace
O God,
And Awesome.

And yet… And yet…

He rose, and spoke to his fellow fighters:

“Let us not go like sheep to the slaughter, Jewish youth! Do not believe those who are deceiving you. Out of 80,000 Jews of the Jerusalem of Lithuania (Vilna), only 20,000 remain. In front of your eyes our parents, our brothers and our sisters are being torn away from us. Where are the hundreds of men who were snatched away for labor by the Lithuanian kidnappers? Where are those naked women who were taken away on the horror-night of the provocation? Where are those Jews of the Day of Atonement? And where are our brothers of the second ghetto? Anyone who is taken out through the gates of the ghetto, will never return. All roads of the ghetto lead to Ponary, and Ponary means death. Oh, despairing people, – tear this deception away from your eyes. Your children, your husbands, your wives – are no longer alive – Ponary is not a labor camp. Everyone there is shot. Hitler aimed at destroying the Jews of Europe. It turned out to be the fate of the Jews of Lithuania to be the first. Let us not go like sheep to the slaughter. It is true that we are weak, lacking protection, but the only reply to a murderer is resistance. Brothers, it is better to die as free fighters than to live at the mercy of killers. Resist, resist, to our last breath.”


To all my fellow Partisans, I wish to sincerely thank you for your past and present support for our efforts, here at The Zelman Partisans.

As I go out to light the menorah for the eighth, and final time, this Chanukah, I wish each and every one of you bountiful Shalom, Chazak, Emuna, and Bitachon, for the coming year.





Happy Thanksgiving!

I want to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving, I know it’s kind of late, thanksgiving is winding down. I am very thankful for The Zelman Partisans that allow me the opportunity to write for them, and for the fantastic team I am allowed to work with. I am very grateful for the readers we have and those that have gone further and chosen to become members. I’m grateful for our readers that take the time to comment on our columns and topics making it a dialogue, sometimes a very spirited dialogue!

I’m thankful for the followers we have on Twitter and Facebook. Among our followers we have people from America, Israel, Iraq and I think a couple in Iran. TZP has appeal worldwide. I think it’s because the issues we cover apply to people all over the world. And we do cover a wide variety of topics! Some of them are state specific, pertaining to certain propose laws or situations such as the disgusting universal background checks misleadingly portrayed by Mikey (no 32 oz soda for you) Bloomberg, and Shaneen Allen who was arrested in PA and spent 40 days in jail. I’m grateful Chris Christie, Governor of N.J. isn’t our next President, or Mikey Bloomberg either for that matter. Some topics are of interests to the human soul and the human condition no matter where you live.

We cover history topics from freedom to gun control and everything in between. We cover things that the mainstream media doesn’t like to talk about, or doesn’t want you to know about. And we can do that because at this point in time, we still have a fairly free open internet.

But with the election of President elect Trump, there are those that have now had enough of that.

Some people blame social media for him being elected. So while Arab incitement to violence against Jews continues on Facebook and Twitter, some conservatives are banned. And Facebook has helpfully decided to create “filters” to block what they consider “fake news”. Not what I consider “fake news”, not what you consider “fake news”, what THEY consider “fake news”. Facebook Has Created A News Feed Censorship Tool For China While Fake News Still Runs Wild In The US Yes indeedy! Someday our internet will be open and free as China’s. Whoo hoo! Something to look forward to, no doubt.

Goodness knows Angela Merkel is hoping it will happen soon! Merkel warns against fake news driving populist gains So while many are aware of the large increase in the attacks against women especially, in Germany some are not. Today at Thanksgiving dinner I learned that Merkel is the best leader in the free world, taking in all the rapefugees (as some in Germany have taken to calling them) has been a great deal and made Germany and economic powerhouse. I also learned there have been no problems with taking in all those poor unvetted refugees. The ax and knife attack on a German train is a mere inconvenience (what with the blood and all to clean up) not a problem actually.

Debkafile raises some interesting questions.

Until now, the freedom of speech advocated by the news organizations, Facebook, Google, Whatsapp, Microsoft and others has allowed the posting of almost any political content to social networks without censorship. Now, following Trump’s election as the 45th American president, that content faces editorial review. Its classification as true or fake news is put in the hands of faceless “censors,” who may be guided by their political, religious or personal worldview when deciding that a news story or opinion are fit for publication. Who’s to know?

Some folks are beginning to realize what some other folks have known for a long time, that most of the mainstream media has an agenda other than reporting the news. They instead prefer to shape the news.

App Store Users Torch CNN with One Star Reviews over Liberal Bias Folks are just getting tired of not having news “reported” rather than “purported”.

One of the ways people can express their dissatisfaction with a product or service is a review. And that’s what happened with the fraudulent news channel known as CNN. Apparently apple and google haven’t decided to buff things up for them, yet.

Unlike Amazon, who has decided that readers obviously don’t know what they are talking about when in comes to reviewing books. Megyn Kelly recently wrote a book. People bought the book. People read the book. People took time and wrote reviews of the book on Amazon, like people write reviews of everything on Amazon, including scouring sponges from Israel. They are awesome! The never scratch my new ceramic non-stick skillet.

But back to the review of Ms. Kelly’s book. It seems some didn’t like the book. Those that didn’t like the book were therefore deemed to be Trump trolls. And many of the one star reviews were removed. Which prompted a bit of outrage from the people that took time to write a review in the first place.

Some commenters picked up on the removal of the negative reviews. “Tim from MD.,” for example, wrote a post titled “Over 120 1 star reviews have been deleted. Are we living in a free country anymore?”

“Trump is president, but she wrote the book certain Clinton would win,” Tim from MD. wrote. “Now the book and her shows advertisers are getting boycotted. So apparently her attorneys have called to get negative reviews deleted. And they succeeded. I’m shocked.”

Brianna wrote, “I have written many thoughtful reviews as to why this book is horrible! They have all been removed even though I am a reputable Amazon customer/reviewer which is why originally Megyn had the true rating of one and a half stars and now four and a half FIXED STARS!”

I would hazard a guess people usually buy a book based on what it said it was about and what other readers said about it. Then when they were disappointed in the book, they wrote why. Isn’t that how taking time to write a review is suppose to work?

So today, even though I live in a country where college students are taught to pitch a hissy fit if they don’t get what they want and some news media outlets portray rioters as peaceful protesters and law abiding armed citizens as crazed guns nuts just looking for the chance to kill someone, that there are options to new sources. That we have an internet where people can search for news sources and reports of events that may carry the unpopular conservative view. Although, that view may not be as unpopular as some of the elitists thought. There may be a lot of people out there that are interested in what we at TZP have to say. And I’m grateful we have the platform to say it.

I can’t imagine anyone wanting to censor the fantastic news that eating ice cream for breakfast makes you smarter, but you just never know! Make mine chocolate coffee please!

News sources! Need News sources, must get to TZP!
News sources! Need News sources, must get to TZP!


The things we learn from our friends at TZP. I sent a screen shot not long ago to my teammates of some of the followers we have picked up. To my great shock they are from….wait for it, no not the DNC, but rather, Iraq. Well color me baffled. As he does from time to time, and it’s always gratefully appreciated, Y.B. helped clear things up for me. He sent me a link to the following documentary. It’s excellent. Not only is it in Hebrew, which is good practice for me, but it has English subtitles, because I’m just not that good. Yet. I’d urge you to watch it. It’s about 45 minutes long and contains a wealth of information, and to me inspiration.

A small bit of background. Peshmerga means “those who stand in front of death.” The head of the Peshmerga is the President of Iraqi Kurdistan. The Kurdistan Region is located in the north of Iraq and constitutes the country’s only autonomous region. Often referred to as Southern Kurdistan, since the Kurds consider it to be one of the four parts of a Greater Kurdistan. Southeastern Turkey is Northern Kurdistan, northern Syria is Rojava (as it is called in the video) or Western Kurdistan, and northwestern Iran is Eastern Kurdistan. The Peshmerga were said to have been instrumental in the capture of Saddam Hussein. I’m guessing the Kurds are still miffed about the 3,200 to 5,000 Kurds killed and 7,000 to 10,000 more injured, most of which were civilians, in the Halabja chemical attack on March 16, 1988 by Saddam. Stuff like that tends to make one hold a grudge. In Syria under Assad, the clothes, language, dances, songs, basically the culture of Kurdistan was forbidden to them. If you can erase a culture, it’s easier to dominate or erase a people.

There are different branches of Kurdish fighters. There is a handy cut out and save guide to the who’s who of the different units at Who are the Kurds? A user’s guide to Kurdish politics. Some are Pro-Western and capitalist, some more communist. What they are all doing though is fighting ISIS. Or as barry calls it, the JV team. And barry has once again demonstrated what happens when people are incapable of seeing evil for what it is. Or seeing the wrong thing as evil, for example, law-abiding gun owners, police, Christmas Trees and Bakeries. But I digress.

Back to Iraq. The “JV” team has decimated several Yazidi villages. Some Yazidis have managed to flee through routes the Kurds who crossed the border from Syria managed to make for them. The Yazidis are told they will convert to Sunni Islam or die. Then they are given a “deadline”. If they do convert, the men are forced to fight with isis and the women are taken. Another small digression here, isis has said they are infiltrating fighters with the “refugees” to America, and if a people needed refuge, it would be the Yazidi or Christians fleeing. Yet, the door to refuge in America is shut to them.

The Kurds have a rough row to hoe. Turkey threatens them if they perform operations near the Turkish border and the PKK is involved because Turkey blames the PKK for the “attempted Coup”. Their weapons are outdated and in short supply and help from the rest of the world has been in quite short supply. The Christian militia in Syria does fight with them though in some places. Despite all this, the Kurdish fighters have been amazingly effective against isis.

In case you didn’t watch the video, here’s a interesting “Cliff Notes” part for you. Some of the units are made up of women. Much like the IDF, these women are fighters, and fight alongside their male brothers-in-arms. Some of the unit leaders are women. In the video one of the male PKK fighters says the women are excellent leaders, better than some of the men, they are good teachers. And some of these leaders have been at it for a long time.

Media-Leader of a PKK group
Media-Leader of a PKK group

Therefore isis has put large bounties on them. Like Media, shown above.

Unlike barry’s JV team isis, the Kurds do not kill the captured isis fighters. They go to prisons. The isis fighters? They enjoy killing the Kurds, or Jew, or Christians as it says in the video. Also Journalists. They enjoy killing them as well. They will tell you. The interviewer asked, he had personally known some of the journalists they killed.

And he's proud.
And he’s proud.

They also asked the captured isis fighters about their recruits that came from other countries. They explained the got in easily across the Turkish border. They just claim to be something they aren’t.

No, we aren’t jihadist. We’re refug, er um, free Army.

But back to the Kurdish women

An all-female Kurdish militia has launched a military campaign against the Islamic State in Iraq with the aim of avenging and liberating the Yazidi women who’ve been raped, assaulted and killed by the terror group in Northern Iraq’s Sinjar region.

And the Yazidi women

An all-female Yazidi militia has vowed to be part of the operation to attack and drive out the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) from northern Iraq. The Sinjar Women’s Units (YJS) announced Saturday that they have “not forgotten those Yazidi women sold in [the slave] markets of Mosul or burned alive.”

If you aren’t aware of the issues I’m talking about this should get you up to speed pretty quick.

‘Yazidi women dragged by their hair, sold into sex slavery by ISIS for $25’

The isis fighters if given a choice, as you saw in the video, will usually choose to run from the Kurdish women. They hear their battle cry and choose to beat feet, and are often instructed to do so. Why? Because if they are killed by a “lowly woman”, it’s no 72 virgins and heaven for them. Is that sweet or what?

So, what brought all this on about the female fighters in Peshmerga? Well, it seems we recently had an election in the US. A woman labeled a “strong woman” a “fighter” by the media and the left was defeated. I, me, personally, believe many have confused “strong” with evil. As a result of these elections it seems countless people have been “triggered”. I’m not sure if they’ve been “triggered” by their winning trophies for “participating” most of their lives, if it’s indoctrination by the preponderance of left wing loons that indoctrinate in schools, their parents outrage that the appointed person didn’t win, or if their left wing coffee shop messed up their coffee. Or, they may have been “triggered” by $1500 a week pay. Non-profit? Interesting, would this fall under the auspices of the clintoon foundation or just another one of soros’s charity organizations? I dunno.

Pretty good pay, eh?
Pretty good pay, eh?

But when you have crowds blocking ambulances from getting through, idiots punching innocent police horses, and you have a pregnant woman trapped in her car as “peaceful protestors” hit the windows with bats, it’s too much. If they want to make a difference, if they want to work for a strong woman, and fight for womens rights? Then I think they need to turn in their diaper pins , say some prayers for the fighters that have been most effective against isis, perhaps speak to their legislative representatives about sending the Kurds some weaponry and supply help, and if they feel the need to be part of a group helping make the world a better place? I’m sure the Peshmerga would be glad to welcome them.

The amazing Media
The amazing Media

Ask for Media. They could use the help and these are strong women, fighting to free other women who have, and are living and dying in the hell of isis captivity. Who knows, maybe when the women of Peshmerga are done liberating the women in this war, they will go to Germany and help the women there.

One of these things is not like the other. That’s one of the female YPG fighters jumping over the fire.

Babies vs. Brass
Babies vs. Brass

Have at it. #RealFeminists


Larry Correia: A Handy Guide For Liberals Who Are Suddenly Interested In Gun Ownership

When I saw this, I automatically grabbed the link for next Monday’s Alert Newsletter. But… whew. This shouldn’t wait for another week (for those of you not yet familiar with Larry Correia, and his great books).

A Handy Guide For Liberals Who Are Suddenly Interested In Gun Ownership
That title isn’t joking. This post is aimed at my liberal readers. I’m a libertarian leaning Republican and gun expert, who thinks you are wrong about a lot of stuff, but I’m not writing this to gloat about your loss. For the record, I disliked all the presidential candidates.

Judging by your social media over the last few days many liberals have been utterly terrified that your government might turn tyrannical or that evil people will now be emboldened to hurt you. I’m going to let you in on a little thing the other half of the country is familiar with to keep those unlikely, yet catastrophic, events from happening.


Many of you have been sharing every second hand account, rumor, and urban legend about some random doofus in Somnambulant, Wisconsin or Bumfight, Louisiana, shouting an ethnic slur or spray painting a swastika on a wall. Newsflash, in a country with a third of a billion people, some percentage of them are going to be assholes. I hate to break it to you, but the assholes were there before, and they will be there forever. Just right now the news has a self-serving incentive to report about these assholes in particular.


Calling the cops is awesome. If they get there in time they will be happy to save your ass, but that’s assuming they get there in time. Violent encounters usually happen very quickly. Good police response time is measured in minutes. You can be dead in seconds. Plus, your side is the one that doesn’t trust the cops anyway. It isn’t Republicans out there protesting the police. So why is it you expect agents of the state to risk their lives to save you? Gratitude?


So no, you can’t just shoot somebody walking down the street in a Trump hat. That would be Murder. Or considering most liberals don’t understand basic marksmanship, more likely Attempted Murder. However, if somebody dressed entirely in Confederate flags walks up, screams DIE GAY ABORTION VEGAN and tries to stab you with his commemorative Heinrich Himmler SS dagger, it’s game on (don’t blame me, I’m basing this hypothetical scenario on what most of your facebook feeds sound like).


Contrary to what Barack Obama told you, Glocks are not easier to get than books. Hell, I’ll trade an autographed copy of each of my published novels for a Glock if you’ve got any spares lying around.


That’s the real meaning of the 2nd Amendment. So don’t screw around with it. If you do you’re no better than the fat wannabes running around the woods in their surplus camo and airsoft plate carriers… You don’t get that, but all my gun culture readers know exactly who I’m talking about. They are the morons CNN trots out whenever they need to paint all gun owners as irresponsible inbred redneck violent dupes for your benefit.



Seriously; read the whole thing. Forget TL;DR. He’s right, and entertaining. Forward his piece to all your lib friends huddling with crayons and play dough in their safety-pinned safe spaces.



“One – two – three… eight feet long
Two strides across, the rest is dark…
Life is a fleeting question mark
One – two – three… maybe another week.
Or the next month may still find me here,
But death, I feel is very near.
I could have been 23 next July
I gambled on what mattered most, the dice were cast. I lost.”


On November 7th 1944 a valiant young Jewsess stared down her Nazi executioners and returned to Heaven. Hannah Senesh was born in Hungary, and despite being raised in an assimilated household, felt compelled to ‘make aliya’ to the Land of Israel in 1939.  She worked in an agricultural settlement, rebuilding the dream of two-thousand years.

“My God, my God
May there be no end
To the sea, to the sand,
The splash of the water,
The glow of the sky,
The prayer of man”

When the extent of the Shoah of the Jews of Europe became evident, she volunteered to fight with the British Army, against the Axis. Soon, she volunteered again, to join other commandos and parachute back into Nazi-occupied Europe, in order to aid the underground in Hungary.

She fought for three months with Tito’s partisans, and then made her way to Hungary, only to be caught by the enemy.

Hannah was brutally, and repeatedly, tortured. Despite their best efforts, the Nazis failed to get any information from her.

“Blessed is the match, consumed in kindling flame.
Blessed is the flame that burns in the heart’s secret places.
Blessed is the heart that knows, for honors sake, to stop its beating.
Blessed is the match, consumed in kindling flame.”

When they put her before a firing squad, she refused a blindfold. A gifted poet, diarist, and writer… a brave and determined warrior against evil, lived, and resisted them, to the end.


“There are stars whose radiance is visible on Earth though they have long been extinct. There are people whose brilliance continues to light the world even though they are no longer among the living. These lights are particularly bright when the night is dark. They light the way for humankind.”


Single-Handed, but with Angels at his side

On the 30th & 31’s of October, 1950, Tibor “Ted” Rubin was having a particularly crappy couple of days at work.

Having recently become a “GI Joe” for his new country,  Tibor found out that Jew Hatred was not merely a European phenomenon.  Sent as a rifleman to Korea, his sergeant simply delighted in “volunteering” “that Jew” repeatedly for the most dangerous of missions.

Now, Tibor was tasked with single-handedly covering the other soldiers’ retreat in the face of a massive enemy advance.


But, armed with not a small helping internal strength, remarkable bravery, and the help of Heaven, Tibor prevailed again and again.  On those two days, and on many other occasions both before and since, he not only survived, but heroically aided his fellow soldiers, with resolve, ingenuity, and good humor.

Tibor Rubin was born to a middle-class family in Paszto, Hungary, in 1929.  When the Nazi’s came, his parents tried to smuggle him to the relative safety of Switzerland.  He was caught in Italy and sent to Mauthausen.  His sister and stepmother were murdered in Auschwicz, and his father in Buchenwald.

When American troops liberated the prisoners at Mauthausen, Tibor sought a new live in America. He was determined to repay this “debt”, by joining the U.S. Army.  Due to his difficulty with English, it took three tries to be accepted.

In 2005, he receive the Medal of Honor from President George W. Bush.

“For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty: Corporal Tibor Rubin distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism during the period from July 23, 1950, to April 20, 1953, while serving as a rifleman with Company I, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division in the Republic of Korea. While his unit was retreating to the Pusan Perimeter, Corporal Rubin was assigned to stay behind to keep open the vital Taegu-Pusan Road link used by his withdrawing unit. During the ensuing battle, overwhelming numbers of North Korean troops assaulted a hill defended solely by Corporal Rubin. He inflicted a staggering number of casualties on the attacking force during his personal 24-hour battle, single-handedly slowing the enemy advance and allowing the 8th Cavalry Regiment to complete its withdrawal successfully. Following the breakout from the Pusan Perimeter, the 8th Cavalry Regiment proceeded northward and advanced into North Korea. During the advance, he helped capture several hundred North Korean soldiers. On October 30, 1950, Chinese forces attacked his unit at Unsan, North Korea, during a massive nighttime assault. That night and throughout the next day, he manned a .30 caliber machine gun at the south end of the unit’s line after three previous gunners became casualties. He continued to man his machine gun until his ammunition was exhausted. His determined stand slowed the pace of the enemy advance in his sector, permitting the remnants of his unit to retreat southward. As the battle raged, Corporal Rubin was severely wounded and captured by the Chinese. Choosing to remain in the prison camp despite offers from the Chinese to return him to his native Hungary, Corporal Rubin disregarded his own personal safety and immediately began sneaking out of the camp at night in search of food for his comrades. Breaking into enemy food storehouses and gardens, he risked certain torture or death if caught. Corporal Rubin provided not only food to the starving Soldiers, but also desperately needed medical care and moral support for the sick and wounded of the POW camp. His brave, selfless efforts were directly attributed to saving the lives of as many as forty of his fellow prisoners. Corporal Rubin’s gallant actions in close contact with the enemy and unyielding courage and bravery while a prisoner of war are in the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Army.”

FILE -In this Sept. 23, 2005 file photo, President Bush presents the Medal of Honor to Cpl. Tibor Rubin, in the East Room at the White House. Rubin, a Hungarian-born Holocaust survivor who joined the U.S. Army after his liberation from the Nazis and earned the Medal of Honor for heroism in the Korean War, has died in California. He was 86. (AP Photo/Lawrence Jackson, File)
 (AP Photo/Lawrence Jackson, File)

A new book on his story; Single Handed, by Daniel M. Cohen, came out this past summer

Here, also, is a brief oral history from the late Mr. Rubin himself, who passed away this past December.  May his memory be a blessing.