The King and I – My week with the Crazy Monkeys by Tilda Vaughan

The King and I!

As most of you active on the Trainer’s Group would know Tilda Vaughan joined up with the Crazy Monkey Defense program last year as a Trainer in Training. In the recently concluded spate of workshops that Rodney held over Europe, he has promoted her to Trainer! Here is her version of the events :)

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Real People Love Crazy Monkey

Awesome testimonial from the CIO Level 1 course held in Germany

Mirco Wendt from Germany

Mirco Wendt from Germany

Within my 11 years on duty I have participated in many defensive tactics and officer survival seminars from various systems and concepts. Lots of them covered techniques that only worked if attacked static and with low level of resistance – but none of them dealt with dynamic multiple attacks as it is presented in a real assault.

The “Combat Intelligent Officer Program” utilizes gross motor movements which are based on the primal reflexes of the human body and work effectively under pressure. The methodology of the CIO training allows officers to progress quick in a safe way and to develop the skills that will work under stress too.

Mirco Wendt

Correctional Officer and Defensive Tactics Trainer, Germany

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Why the Mind and Body Needs to Work as One – Lindy Siu


Rodney King’s Mental Game Primer workshop was conducted at CMD Malaysia on 16 March. Here is a write  on the workshop by Md. Lindy Siu who is a client of  coach Vince Choo. It described the concepts so clearly that I felt it deserved a post of its own.

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Trainer Spotlight : Ryan Walsh (Australia)

Rodney and Ryan Feb 2012

This month we focus our trainer spotlight on Core Trainer Ryan Walsh from Australia. Ryan is one of the more active and enthusiastic members of the Crazy Monkey family and here we get to know more about him, his love for the Crazy Monkey game and his relationship with other senior trainers from the CMD family.
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SUCCESS STORY : Collette learns from a gifted CMD warrior


Matt Hunter asked a client who has been training for just about 3 months now for a short testimonial. Here’s what he got:

The gifted warrior is one who is proud enough to know humility, wise enough to realize he doesn’t know everything, and strong enough to be gentle in his ways.
Collette Marie

ColletteIn training with Matt at Crazy Monkey, Fresno I have grown so much in more ways than I expected. I began taking classes, initially, to strengthen my skills in the event of an attack. What I received was an undeniable shot of bravery as Matt firmly, but gently, taught me the basic philosophy of martial arts combined with its elegant and forceful moves. I feel a definitive increase in the core strength within myself as a result. Not that I would go looking for an altercation, but I know now that if one came to me, I could defend myself against it.

Matt’s depth and breath of knowledge allows him to meet you where you are, whether you are a novice, like me, or a seasoned professional fighter. Even if the foundation of a program is good, it can fail when the teacher and his teaching style are not. Matt takes the Crazy Monkey theories, and adds to that his wit and wisdom to make it a fun and pleasurable experience to train from him. He embodies the quote above.

I’m proud to be a Crazy Monkey!”

Definitely more than I could have even hoped for.” says Matt. With the CMD backing a talented trainer we not only hope for such experiences but also expect them!

TRAINER SPOTLIGHT: Chris Bishop (Australia)

Chris Bishop with Rodney King

Continuing with our meet the trainers series we introduce to you Chris Bishop from Australia. Chris is an Advanced Core Coach with the Crazy Monkey Defense program. Lets get to know him better.

* Which center of Crazy Monkey are you associated with? How long has it been?

Crazy Monkey Sunshine Coast is my current studio which I run part time, I work full time as a registered nurse.  The studio has been running since my return to Australia from the UK in mid 2011 and I am currently the only trainer/coach.  Prior to that I founded Crazy Monkey on the Isle of Man when I joined the Trainers Program back in 2005.


Top Trainers of Crazy Monkey Defense

 My association with CM began when I encountered one of Rodney’s early DVD’s – Sparring 101.  I had just inherited a kickboxing club due to my trainer having to stop due to family commitments.  I was wanting material I could ‘instruct’ the class and instead found exactly what I needed.

 After being super impressed with the CM defense and no longer blocking punches with my face and having similar success with my then ‘students’,  I started to search out Rodney and found he was putting together a Trainers Program.  This is what I was after.  How to be a Trainer, not just a regurgitator of information.  I had missed Rodney’s initial visit to the UK by a matter of weeks, but I was able to spend a weekend with UK/Europe Head Coach Phil Wright where he did his best efforts to teach me the ways of the monkey ‘Matrix download’ fashion.  Needless to say my head was fried with new connections being made and paradigms shifting and I’ve been hooked ever since.

* What’s the best thing about being a Crazy Monkey Coach? And the worst?

The best – The light bulb moments your clients have, knowing exactly how they feel as we’ve had them ourselves.  Developing confidence in people where it didn’t exist before.  Making them realise what they are capable of amazing things with good coaching and an appropriate training environment to work things through.  Seeing solid game develop in a short amount of time and being able to consistently replicate this in each and every client.

The worst – … that’s a tough one, as there’s nothing bad about being a CM Trainer as it were.  Some people may see the high standards Rodney has, the level of engagement required and having to pay an annual license fee as a bad thing, but I see them as something that makes being a CM Trainer exclusive, and clients should know they when they step into a CM Gym or Studio that something special is about to happen.

* Do you have any specific client story that motivated you? Any success story that went beyond the usual?

One big happy family!

One big happy family!

I am very proud of all my clients.  Past and Present.

From mentoring 3 trainers on the Isle of Man, 2 of which took over the studio when I relocated back to Oz, made it there own and have now made it better than it once was.

To my existing group of clients achieving their goals on and off the mats.  But I think ultimately, it the clients who have traveled further from their starting point that make you proudest.

It’s great when you have someone with natural abilities or they already have good game come in and you make them better, but when you take someone who may not be physically gifted and lack confidence, and have them kicking butt on the mats and in life that’s an awesome feeling.


* How do you set your goals for desired outcomes for this work? What methods do you follow to make them happen?

Every client fills out an initial personal focus profile, I also assess them with a 1 on 1 to gauge where they are at.  And from this starting point, you can plan on how to get there together.  Knowing your clients goals is probably the most important thing a trainer can do.  This enables you to cue in certain things and direct them to specific clients as not everyone on the mat has the same goals.  It also helps you identify if prospective clients will fit in with a certain group or not if their attitude, goals and motivation is not similar.  It’s also important to follow up with further needs analysis’s to ensure your delivering what your clients are after.  I also ask for verbal feedback a lot, whether it by asking ‘how did that session feel?’ to ‘what sort of music would you like played?’

* Who is your ideal client? What is their general motivation and commitment level? What marketing methods help you find them?

My ideal client is more about attitude than demographics such as age, education, employment, etc.  While I only coach adults currently, they range in age from early 20’s to 60 and have a range of profession from student, to mechanic, teacher to self employed business persons.  Ultimately I like coaching people who are engaged while on the mat and consistent with their training, are level headed and mature in mindset with respect for their fellow monkeys.  They are committed to training once or twice a week and want to achieve their goals through the vehicle of martial arts.

Chris Bishop with Rodney King

Chris Bishop with Rodney King

* Describe your personal experience with Rodney King and CMD.

Rodney… where do I begin.  I have immense respect for the man, but not just for his abilities on the mat, or is abilities as a coach, but rather who he is, his integrity, loyalty, and compassion.  He’s helped me out when the chips are down or when things haven’t gone as planned he’s been understanding.  He continues to assist me with my ‘business game’ as well as my personal and coaching game.  If you are prepared to put in the work and meet him half way, he’s prepare to also put the work into you and meet you in the middle.  He’s not the type of guy to only be there when your successful, he’ll get help you get there what ever you goal.  When a person aids you through your struggle when they don’t need to… that says a lot about a person.

When he’s not being a mentor to me, I really enjoy hanging out with him.  Rodney’s got a good sense of humour and he’s down to earth and you can talk about about Dad stuff, Star wars, movies and food.

With CMD, the program itself is awesome and I’m continuously developing and improving on my personal game.  The Trainers program has evolved since it’s inception and through it I’m happy to say I’ve been able to reach my original intention of being a ‘Trainer, not just a regurgitator or information’, it has surpassed all expectations.  I love coaching and the Trainers program has helped and is helping me to do this and helping me to do it better.  But ultimately the coolest thing about CM, is the wider community of clients and other Trainers.  When ever I have gone to a CM Gym for the first time and met new Trainers and their clients, it’s always an awesome time with fun on and off the mats.

* What would you do to make CMD even better?

I would love to see more people get on board with the Trainers Program and offer a real ‘lifestyle’ approach to martial arts, much like some people do with BJJ treating that middle group of ‘Function meets Philosophy‘ and enabling a great martial arts experience for everyone.

Thank you so much Chris for letting us know just what about the CMD program you appreciate. May your plans for the future come true.


Warrior Philosopher at Embodied Warrior Seminar – Jonathan Wild

Phil and Jonathan

The ‘Embodied Warrior Seminar‘ was held at Crazy Monkey PT in Darwen. Rodney King coached this as part of his Europe Crazy Monkey Trainers Conference. Here’s what Jonathan Wild, who attended the Embodied Warrior Seminar had to say about the experience.

If I’m honest it wasn’t quite what I’d expected but from the moment Rodney introduced the subject, I knew it would be something special. It was almost as if Rodney had read my mind (perhaps that’s a skill he’s archived through a higher level of embodiment), I say this as his chosen subject matter was exactly what I would have picked if asked what I wanted to cover.

Although I love the physical aspects of CM, I’ve always found the mental / mindful side fascinating and despite discussing regularly with my own coach Phill Holden, hearing it first hand from the head monkey was very special.

Johnathan Wild at the workshop

Jonathan Wild at the workshop

I could waffle on about so many individual areas covered (calmness through breathing, the importance of keeping in the present, the negative impact of emotions) but that could prove a quite lengthy read so I’m going to pick just one, its probably the one that had the biggest and certainly most immediate impact on me – its the subject of ‘focus’. To put things in context, the ‘focus’ being referred to is the visual focus when facing an opponent.

Rodney talked about a triangle of vision with the wider side representing a wide angle view taking in the entire room and its accompanying distractions: at the other end of the scale we have the triangles point which mapped back to an extremely narrow ‘laser’ view which by its nature misses key body language queues.

Clearly neither are ideal in a sparring situation and Rodney simply pointed out that the middle area of focus, represented by the central point of the triangle, ‘roughly in line with the outside of an opponents shoulders was the ideal area to concentrate on.

Its such a simple concept and once someone points it out makes so much sense but for me it was a real ‘Lightbulb’ moment and when put it into practice in the following practical session, the result, at least for me was dramatic: I’m convinced it will have an immediate positive impact on my game.

Rodney’s enthusiasm for the wider CM was apparent, it was also obvious from his chosen subject matter that his real passion is for the more mindful areas of the program (looks like we have something in common) and its clear that his understanding and knowledge of the subject go much deeper than pure facts, figures and techniques.

Rodney’s insight and ability to communicate what was in reality quite a challenging subject was amazing: he’s a natural speaker and interacted effortlessly with his audience in an extremely relaxed manner, his presence and ability to hold the room was phenomenal.

The entire event was inspiring, thought provoking and definitely sums up why Crazy Monkey, headed by Rodney, stands out on its own against other MA programs. It certainly confirmed and re-enforced my view that my original choice of CM was the the right one for me.

Phil and Jonathan

Phil and Jonathan

I would like to give special thanks to Phill Wright for organising the event, Phill Holden for providing the venue, Darren Horne for being a great partner in the practical sessions and of course Rodney for his insight into such a great subject which for me was perfect.”

Thank you for sharing this amazing experience with us Jonathan. The Crazy Monkey team is delighted that you gained so much from the seminar. CMD trains warriors who are also philosophers following the lead set by Head Coach Rodney King.

Phill & Jonathan from Crazy Monkey PT in Darwen are running the Manchester 10K under team name ‘Two Very Crazy Monkeys’. As well as raising money for a really worthwhile charity, “Cancer Research” they’re also heavily promoting the Crazy Monkey Program. If you feel like supporting them and providing a bit of much needed motivation, a link to their charity page is given here. Two Crazy Monkeys.

TRAINER SPOTLIGHT : Phil Wright (United Kingdom)

Phil Wright at a workshop in the US

This month we look at the top man for Crazy Monkey Defense in Europe, Phil Wright. Phil has been associated with Rodney King for longer than the Crazy Monkey Defense program has been in existence. Let’s learn a bit more about the early days, and the day to day difference that CMD makes as per Phil.

Which center of Crazy Monkey are you associated with? How long has it been?

I coach out of Revolution Martial Arts near Manchester in the North West of England. We’ve been a Crazy Monkey gym since (I think) 2004 and were the first gym onboard in the UK.

How did this association begin? What were you doing before you began to coach Crazy Monkey Defense?

Phil Wright at a workshop in the US

Phil Wright explaining Tight, Economical Structure, Arizona 2007

I originally saw a couple of Rodney’s early videos – the Street boxing and Clinch boxing ones – having seen a trailer for them on The Underground. Watched them and headed to the gym to try out what was a nascent form of CMD and had a small epiphany moment.

I’d spent 10 years training up until then with no-one really giving me a good way to not take damage. One round of CMD convinced me I’d found something very, very effective. Not long after this Rodney was looking for someone to host him on the way through the UK while returning from the United States. I jumped at the chance and hosted Rodney for a truly eye-opening seminar.

This was long before the CMD trainers program was developed, while only a few places outside South Africa had seen the material. I’m pleased to say that when Rodney was looking to build the group, I was one of the trainers he invited onboard at the outset.

What’s the best thing about being a Crazy Monkey Coach? And the worst?

Having lightning in a bottle! Seeing people become comfortable fast, then good, then a real handful. But doing so in a really constructive way in a (martial arts) culture that is often destructive.

The worst thing? Seeing people miss the chance because they can’t see that CMD is a hidden gem and don’t stick around to make it click.

Do you have any specific client story that motivated you? Any success story that went beyond the usual?

I’ve got one long-term client, Steve, who has battled away at training despite health issues. He’s found the journey hard and has often struggled to match his performance to that of others, sometimes finding that hard to take. But despite that, he has trained consistently – partly, I suspect because its been challenging. (He’s as stubborn as a mule).

That challenge has led to real rewards for him, both physically with improved fitness, but really importantly with improved co-ordination and understanding of what he can do, and also mentally. Over the years we’ve looked at how he thinks and feels about things, how he approaches problems and what he believes he can achieve.

He has got more out of training with me than pretty much all the younger, fitter, more ‘able’ people who have trained with me… And he’s pretty much outlasted them all. He’s recently had to move to Glasgow (in Scotland) with work but is already plotting his return so he can pick up training again. A stalwart of the gym, he typifies the accessibility and the benefits of the program and I’m proud to have him as a client and friend.

How do you set your goals for desired outcomes for this work? What methods do you follow to make them happen?

Phil teaching intro to clinch, Singapore 2006

Phil teaching intro to clinch, Singapore 2006

I’ve always been a “fly by the seat of my pants” kind of guy when it comes to goal setting, having rough outlines of plans but tending to ‘crowd-source’ based on what my clients are wanting to do.

Does this hurt me from a business perspective, undoubtably, but between a very demanding day job and two even more demanding toddlers at home, my planning is deliberately low key at the moment.

Who is your ideal client?

My ideal client is professionals, closer to 30 than 20 (or closer to 40 in my case), committed to personal development and looking for a new challenge they can take seriously.

I know what it’s like to have a stressful, sedentary job. And I know the benefits of training for people who do. But I am also able to use myself as an example to mitigate the doubts and worries that people might have.

I have to go to work in the morning too, so I understand how to make training improve your work performance, not hinder it.

What is their general motivation and commitment level?

Generally there is a fairly even split between self defence, fitness and just to train as explicitly started motivatIONS. However, once people engage, they start to see the hidden motivatORS. Stress relief, team spirit, non-competitiveness, safety. Fun! So while they might not have been looking specifically for these things, they resonate. And when they do, you’re hooked.

Commitment levels vary. I have a core group who are there week in week out. I also have a bigger group of people who dip in and out due to external pressures. The beauty of CMD being based on solid fundamentals is that, even after a break, people can get on the mat and have a really positive experience.

Most of my clients have trained with me for years. I’ve got one woman who first trained with me 15 years ago. She gets what I’m trying to do – and has also seen much of the nonsense I used to train in previous lives.

What marketing methods help you find them?

Word of mouth and online marketing (which I do for a day job, but don’t actually spend as much time on as I could).

Describe your personal experience with Rodney King and CMD.

Rodney demoing CM3 on Phil, UK 2005. Just before the Trainers program officially launched

Rodney demoing CM3 on Phil, UK 2005. Just before the Trainers program officially launched

It has been eye-opening, and continues to be so, almost a decade down the line.

From the first time having my defence destroyed as a crash test dummy (still a critical ‘aha’ moment that everyone should feel) to the systematic integration of CM and CIA (self defence) material at the last trainers clinic, I continue to learn knew things and see the evolution of the system.

The things that hooked me in the first place: co-creation, non-competitive training, functional skills on an athletic base and the most robust coaching approach (physical and mental/emotional) are all still making this a joy to coach.

Watching Rodney ‘battle’ to deliver his baby kicking and screaming to the world has been an inspiring, and sometimes unpredictable, journey. But I think one that epitomises the hero’s journey. Rodney has fought dragons and brought back the gold for the rest of us. Thanks coach!

You were recently put in charge of Crazy Monkey Europe by Head Coach Rodney King. How does it feel and what does it involve?

It’s pretty cool.

I’ve been involved in breaking CMD in the UK, but the big difference for me will be taking that co-ordinator/mentor role and pushing it out Europe wide. I’m really pleased that Rodney thinks I can help the broader team in this way – and it gives me a huge boost in terms of helping me drive my own training/coaching and involvement with the CMD community.

First step is getting the Europe clinic to go off without a hitch – plans are coming together for this now and I think it will a blast.

From there, it ias about keeping the momentum going, helping answer people’s questions and provide support. Also looking to get some trainer collaboration going as a much more regular thing.

I will be getting input from the Europe team when we’re all together so we can move forward in a way that suits all the trainers.

 What would you do to make CMD even better?

I’m still waiting for the 17 breakthroughs that will surpass the human limit and bring us close to the pain with cohesion absorption technology. Remember guys YouTube is your friend, look for ‘fear no punch technology’ to see just where we could be.

Crazy Monkey is more than the physical MMA

Tara with her coach, James

As experienced and shared by Tara Bennetts from Crazy Monkey Australia.

As every good story starts once upon a time in a far away land, scrap that this is a hard core story!

After months and months and possibly a year of my MMA obsessed boyfriend begging me I agreed to check out this placed called Crazy Monkey. Being a lover not a fighter I agreed to nothing more than meeting James Woodfield-Jones and talking to him. On what must have been the hottest day of summer we arrived at what I would have described as a back shed in the middle of an industrial area. I pretty much had to be coaxed into the building to meet James and for those of you who don’t know James he has a shaved head, is covered in tattoo’s and has the thickest neck of anyone I have ever met. I should have started this with I am a registered nurse and paramedic who has worked in emergency for years and seen a variety of people types. I took one look at James and a 40 degree Celsius empty shed with red and blue floor mats and wanted to run.

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SUCCESS STORY: Now its “Full Contact Living” for Pieter


Every once in a while we need to be reminded about how a Crazy Monkey Coach can influence the life of a client. In this case it was a really positive influence that saved Jacques Wagner’s client Pieter from a coronary and got him to develop a better bond with his family. Here’s an extremely honest and upfront client testimonial from him.

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