|Tribute to Grandmaster Tim Carron|
[photo below by Chris Murray]
Thanksgiving morning, 2014, Tim Carron passed away near his studio in
Cold Spring NY. He was 66 years old. The Guided Chaos family lost a
superlative practitioner, teacher and friend. The world lost one of its
greatest artists, martial and otherwise. Guided Chaos creator John
Perkins lost a very close friend and student of nearly 35 years. I
personally lost a unique role model, teacher and friend of 8 years,
whose influence far exceeded the fairly limited frequency of our
Many of my early lessons from Tim are chronicled in the first few years' posts of the Attack Proof blog, http://attackproof.blogspot.com/.
I had to stop writing about my lessons with Tim when they started to
get too deep and amazing to do justice to in words. After I learned to
relax, flow with and observe what was going on, without speeding up,
judging or trying to accomplish anything in particular (especially
trying to impress Tim), the learning floodgates opened up. I was more
and more amazed in each session by the effortless precision, attention
to detail and limitless lethal elegance of Tim's movement. As I improved
in Guided Chaos (ever so slightly, by Tim's uncompromising standards), I
was able to perceive more and more of what Tim was doing to render me
helpless, right up until my last lesson with him in November of 2014.
The tiniest details of his movement (placement of a finger,
synchronization of his body with my hand, and much more), when broken
down in explanation, were so simple and logical, yet so powerful and
seamless in execution. In each and every lesson, Tim exposed me to a new
level of effortless simplicity and sensitivity.
is an apt word to describe Tim. He was uncompromising in his learning,
execution and teaching of Guided Chaos, as well as in his other major
area of artistic expression, photography. His devotion to John and his
teachings was absolute, and he pursued excellence in Guided Chaos with a
single-minded passion that cost him dearly in other areas of his life
but resulted in unmatched speed of progress and depth of knowledge, even
though John was just starting to figure out how best to teach Guided
Chaos when Tim first started working with him. Indeed, while training
with John and practicing John's recommended exercises helped Tim learn
Guided Chaos, working with Tim helped John learn how to teach it. Once
John started to force Tim to teach as well (Tim was quite reluctant at
first, being naturally shy of the limelight), the gifts spread even
faster to the Guided Chaos family. Tim never strayed from unforgiving
REALITY in his teaching, making sure to impart the importance of
mastering the Guided Chaos principles in efficient movement, lest the
student risk death in combat. I did not know Tim well enough to write
with any authority about his combative experiences in Vietnam and
elsewhere, but suffice to say that those experiences certainly informed
the seriousness he brought to his learning, practice and teaching of
Guided Chaos, and his lack of patience for anything that he felt moved
the practice of the art away from combative reality.
uncompromising not only in his martial and photographic arts (as well as
other arts such as gunsmithing, metalwork, Chinese medicine and
calligraphy), but in his friendship as well. Forthright and honest in
his thoughts, teachings and assessments, a friend could always count on
Tim for REAL advice and help. Tim's extreme sensitivity extended far
beyond his hands into his listening and all his interactions with
people. Tim's advice could often be subtle, a product of its nuanced
truth and Tim's efficiency with words as with physical effort. The long
and short conversations on a variety of topics that usually accompanied
his Guided Chaos lessons imparted at least as much wisdom as his hands
Tim's passing leaves a gaping hole in the hearts
and training of many Guided Chaos practitioners. Those who never got to
train with him will never understand the experience of those who did.
They'll never feel the baffled, helpless, confused feeling in themselves
that accompanied the sometimes amused, sometimes concerned, always
caring, penetrating stare of Tim's pale blue eyes. It can be frustrating
for his friends to realize that Tim's unique abilities, personality and
generosity will never be widely known or appreciated, as Tim eschewed
the spotlight (it took John's insistence to convince him to be filmed
for the Guided Chaos Contact Flow Workshop DVD) and never sought fame or
fortune from his art. Indeed, this was one aspect of his refusal to
compromise its purity and reality. All we can do is simply our best to
ensure that his and John's teachings get passed along. We may not be
able to replicate what he could do physically and psychologically, but
we can try to recall and transmit his lessons as precisely as possible.
In the classes I teach, I don't believe a class goes by in which I don't
mention at least one thing Tim said or did to me once upon a time.
Though our sessions and conversations were far less frequent than I
would have liked, the body of lessons and knowledge I amassed from Tim
is vast and deep, as it is for all of Tim's students and friends.
miss you terribly, our friend and teacher, and will do our inadequate
best to pass along your wisdom. Your positive influence on countless
lives will echo far into the future. Thank you, thank you, thank you for
your lessons and friendship.
not possible to truly appreciate how phenomenal Tim's skills were
unless you experienced it firsthand. My few private lessons with him
left me awestruck, having sensed the lethality that he could have
unleashed at any moment had he chosen to. His passing is a great loss
for the art."
with Tim at "teaching speed" was like being moved around by
butterflies; really powerful, scary, prehistoric butterflies. Any other
speed (or if you stopped paying attention or started injecting your ego
into the exchange) felt like being thrown into a cement mixer full of
hammers and baseball bats. You rarely realized how much you were
learning until you were back training with the rest of the group. Most
folks who had trained for a while could tell when you had come back from
a lesson with Tim."
"...John reminded me of the story of when I went to
get a sonogram for my gallbladder the tech ask me if I was in a car
accident due to her finding internal blunt trauma. Three days before I
was in a class with Tim and happen to go
a little too fast. Which you and many know is a big mistake when moving
with GM Tim. The car accident I was in was Tim 's light tap to my side
to slow down. The Tech didn't believe my story..I told her could you
imagine if he didn't like me..lol..I will always miss him he introduced
me to the art and I will always be grateful."
| Tribute to Mary Ann Piscionere Carron...|
was a 3rd degree black belt..She had a zest in life that always showed
in her eyes...A great cook who shared many meals on many occasions with
all of us...She cooked along with Tim and was the perfect hostess...She
could flow effortlessly when training and was a patient teacher...Deep
thinker who could talk about any subject...A true hearted and loyal
friend...She is missed..."
| Tribute to Greg Madison...|
Gregory Joseph Madison (1961 - 2013)
Joseph Madison, age 52, of Hastings-on-Hudson died Tuesday, July 2,
2013. Gregory was born February 14, 1961 in Yonkers, NY the son of Roger
and Josephine (Otivich) Madison. He was employed as an Electrician for
Local 3. He is survived by his beloved companion Sharon Wilson, his
loving children Kevin Daniel Madison and Kristyn Madison. He was the
brother of Christopher Madison and Stephen Madison.
Greg was a
gifted and devoted student of John Perkins and Guided Chaos, attaining
the rank of 3rd degree black belt on top of his already formidable
training in Close Quarters Combat under the legendary Charles Nelson.
Greg was also instrumental in helping find the old Hastings American
Legion Hall Guided Chaos dojo location.
relentlessly dedicated and happy warrior, Greg was always ready for an
impromptu workout outside of regular class, either in his home-built gym
in his basement or in the parks around Hastings. Many of us had some of
our best workouts doing Contact Flow with Greg outside along the Saw
Mill River just off the Parkway.
His training paid off. He once was attacked on the street by a gang of thugs and he wrecked them all like a human tornado.
Greg was taken from us way too soon and will be sorely missed.
| Tribute to Stathis Kaperonis...|
Stathis Kaperonis was one of our best. He was taken from us far too early in a tragic freak accident.
I remember the first day of training with him. He was a young man of 12 years. He had
strong charisma and was a natural athlete. Stathis was big for his age and had shoulders that were nearly as wide as my own.
was large enough in fact that he trained with full grown men. He was so
skilled that within a year of training he was able to work with many of
our most advanced instructors. His appetite for KCD was voracious. At
first when he would move with the adults I thought that he was being
foolhardy and had a lack of understanding of the danger of training with
the amount of speed and force he would use. Later I found that he
actually was just plain brave. He fought like a young lion.
He was adept at all forms of training from Eleftheri Pali to advanced weapons training.
Whatever he was presented with he worked out to the maximum at all times.
were a couple of years where as a teen he traveled in Greece and Europe
and fought with quite a few high level martial artists. There was one
particular man in Athens who was a top full contact karate champion who
fought in Europe who fell to Stathis within a few seconds of their
engagement. The only comment made by the champion was that Stathis had
no recognizable style and tried again only to fall even faster.
with Mike Tyson's sparring partners at full contact for many months
gave him a higher level of confidence. I remember him striking at
breakneck speed with punches that would take down even the largest
fighters. At that rate of speed it was only the fact that myself, Tim
Carron and Thomas Barnett were able to absorb at a high level that kept
us from serious injury.
Brian, Stathis' brother in law, wrote:
was a wonderful, big hearted person who loved life and all people and
always, always respected the art that John taught him…he surely is
| Tribute to Ron Hoffman...|
|Master Ronald Anton Hoffmann (1948 - 2014)|
Founder: House of TaiJi
"Sifu Ron Hoffman was a true natural in martial arts...Recognized highly by Grand Master Yamashita and the renowned Wayson Liao...
Ron was a most formidable fighter and teacher of Tai Chi Chuan and was a true warrior in the best sense all of his life...
I met him in 1971 I had a very small idea of how to do Tai Chi
Chuan...Master Drew Miller introduced me to Ron at that time...
bounced me with a true one hand push/punch from seemingly nowhere...I
flew up and back about 12 feet into a closet door and my hand broke the
wooden molding at the top...I felt nothing until I hit...
another day I asked Ron how would it be possible for me to fight with
my short reach...He said that I should just use my whole body as a
weapon...A light went on in my head and with what Ron said along with
what I learned from Master Miller and advice from Grand Master Liao some
primary elements of KCD/GC were born....
Ron was generous and tireless in his teaching...
He will be sorely missed..."
| Tribute to Carl Cestari...|
|Carl P. Cestari (1958-2007)|
close combat scholar, master, and instructor Carl Cestari died at his
home on July 23. Carl was undoubtedly the world’s foremost authority on
the WWII-era close combat methods pioneered by Fairbairn, Sykes,
O’Neill, Applegate and others.
I first met Carl long ago when we
were both close combat students of WWII Marine Charlie Nelson in New
York City. Carl would come to Charlie’s with his training partner (Bob
Kasper, RIP), and when they weren’t picking Charlie’s brain they would
practice combat judo throws, driving each other hard into the threadbare
carpet, making the old brownstone tremble. Charlie would just shake
his head and smile.
But I really met Carl a decade later when I
and some close friends (several of whom are now respected instructors of
Carl’s methods) were invited to join him in his basement (also known as
“the dungeon”) for some intensive close combat training. We trained
hard, once or twice a week, for years. The training was simple, direct,
no-frills close combat—just what worked. (Don’t even think about not
wearing a cup!) No self-defense or martial topic was out of bounds;
Carl would dissect and analyze any technique, situation, or experience
we’d bring up—stripping it down to its essentials, cutting out the BS,
showing how to make it work under stress. Beyond mere technique, Carl
opened my eyes to the attitude, intensity, and level of commitment
required to defend oneself for real.
The dungeon itself was a
sight to behold, containing all manner of unusual and specialized
training devices: from unique spring-mounted targets for practicing
tiger claws, chin jabs, axe hands, and foot stomps, to suspended dummies
for recreating Fairbairn’s “mad minute,” to homemade “Simunitions”
(non-lethal marking bullets) for close-range point shooting in
strobe-lit darkness. If Carl thought it might possibly give him a
training edge, he’d try it.
Carl believed that any part of the
body could be a weapon, if you trained it—and he did. Once, when asked
about the viability of a finger jab, he simply stepped out into the hall
and drove his fingers through the wood paneling. That’s how he was.
Though an irrepressible story teller and always quick with a joke, he
had little patience for those who talked the talk but didn’t train.
Getting hit by any part of Carl felt like getting slammed by a steel
bar—yet he had the control and precision of a surgeon.
Carl was a
world-class authority on all aspects of hand-to-hand combat and
self-defense. His personal library was jammed with thousands of books,
tapes, obscure military and civilian manuals and reports—many quite
rare. An indefatigable researcher, he would spare no effort in tracking
down an elusive book or seeking out anyone alive with old-school
training or experience. In turn, he was sought out by people the world
over for his expertise and willingness to share and teach what he had
learned the hard way. (The late close combat scion Col. Rex Applegate
himself was very impressed by Carl’s abilities and knowledge. One of
the many “road trips” I took with Carl was to meet with Applegate.)
gifted instructor, Carl knew how to reach and inspire. He knew just
what to do to make sure every student got it. He came alive when he
taught. Few realized the intense physical pain that he often battled.
When he stepped onto the floor or the mat he would just shake it off and
smile. He was one tough SOB. His blend of good humor, charisma,
intelligence, and hard-core toughness bred a fierce loyalty among his
There’s no way to repay the debt one owes an instructor
and friend such as Carl. For the hard training, the expert
instruction, the stories, the road trips, the days spent searching for
rare books, the seminars, the good times, all I can say is thanks. Rest
in Peace, brother.
- Al Tino
Note: Clint Sporman, one of
Carl’s most dedicated students and instructors, has put together a
memorial site containing some of Carl’s web writings and a few video
clips (you might even recognize a few faces): www.carlcestari.com.
was introduced to Carl Cestari by my first close combat teacher, Al
Tino. I have little to add to what Al has said, beyond pointing out
that to have known and trained with Carl, even just intermittently for a
few short years, was a unique, cherished, life-changing experience.
What always struck me most about Carl (yes, even more than his iron
hands) was the man’s warmth. In stark contrast to his reputation as a
master of armed and unarmed mayhem, Carl was an extremely kind, open,
passionate and compassionate human being. Despite the cold, efficient,
merciless pragmatism of the combat methods he taught, he managed to get
across extremely deep lessons about honesty, righteousness and simply
being a good man. Anyone who would attempt to judge his total
personality based on his aggressive, in-your-face written and video
instructions of close combat would be WAY off the mark. He truly taught
others both to kill and to love. Thanks for the lessons, Carl.
- Ari Kandel
|Tribute to Bill Dempsey...|
regret to inform you of the sudden passing of martial arts master Bill
Dempsey who was a friend to many of us here in John Perkins' school. He
was a humble and gentle man that always had a kind word of advice or
inspiration the many times he came to one of our seminars. He will be
The following is courtesy of Steven Permuy:
9/27/1949 – 9/21/2005
"Of all the properties which belong to honorable men, not one is so highly prized as that of character."
always a story…and my introduction to Bill was by way of one. I was a
lowly student at a North Jersey Jujitsu dojo (or school), and I was one
evening practicing technique for an exam I was taking for my "green"
belt. Then I heard someone, like an old uncle, comment on an aspect of
what I was practicing. Rather than plainly tell me exactly what I was
not doing optimally he went into a story where HE was the student
practicing the same technique, but this time we hear the foreign
sounding voice of his teacher's teacher (a diminutive Japanese man) who
despite having his head turned away was able to hear what was not being
You see, Bill was a great story teller. And
telling a story was his device for including you in one of his many
diverse and exotic life experiences-whether it was the martial arts,
photography, the Air force, secret service, his two girls,
counterintelligence equipment, his travels to far-away places, fast
cars, computers, people he knew, and those he loved and called his
friends and wife.
Talking about Bill [here today] reminds me of
the movie "Big Fish" with Albert Finney. It's a story about a son who
is trying to learn more about his father by piecing together the stories
he has gathered over the years.
You asked Bill a simple question
and rather than provide you with a pithy statement, he would take you
on a journey through one of his many anecdotes and life lessons, replete
with a prologue, dossier on the protagonists and antagonists, climax,
outcome, but most of all, he would lead you into a world laden with
conspiracy and intrigue that would somehow tie back to your initial
question. By the time he was done, though, you may have forgotten the
question you asked, but he left you with many mental snapshots,
postcards, and restaurant match books for your collection.
enjoyed sharing what he had, and apart from material things, he wanted
you to experience the bliss and achievements he lived and sometimes,
serving as a lesson, to be one step ahead of his regrets.
He always wanted to put you "there."
it was about the Fire that occurred in the study of Nixon's San
Clemente home in 1970 when he was on detail with the Secret Service, you
If it was about the first Cuban MiG to defect to
the United States and be clandestinely secured at Homestead Air Force
Base, you were there;
If it was about how Bill saved Lloyd's of
London millions of dollars in executive kidnapping claims in the 1980s
through his technical security consulting services, you were there;
it was about how in 1977 he founded a satellite Jujitsu club in Florida
that became the largest membership base for the International
Federation of Ju-Jitsuans; you were there;
When Bill brought one
of his daughters to London and as a piece d' resistance had her taken by
chauffeured-driven Rolls to a local fast food restaurant; you were
When Bill described how he serendipitously discovered, his
dovetail and soul mate, his soon-to-be wife, Agnes, who was
experiencing most of what he was going through in that moment of his
life, he made sure you were there.
Bill was James Bond's
doppelganger AND the shopper at Lowes Home Improvement that made the
employees think twice about what they were recommending. (He was quite
fastidious and usually right.)
He was an ebullience of generosity
for those who were lucky enough to be called his friend (yep, he was
generous to a fault); and he was a champion of people's talents and a
gadfly to mediocrity.
In the martial arts Bill was a liaison and
impresario of many fellow teachers and systems, respectively, along the
east coast. And he didn't care what "style" you "played" so long as he
felt you were good enough to back him up in a dark alley with
two-by-four wielding maniacs.
He had about ten patented phrases
that he would use as conjunctions or connectors to his story-telling.
He would use them so colloquially and frequently in speech that I dubbed
them "Bill-isms" and Agnes would help with their cataloguing. However,
at this moment in time, and as much as I'm trying to think of all of
them, I can only think of one: "Back at the barn."
So, "back at the barn" I got my green belt and Bill became my mentor and friend all the way through my black belt and beyond.
rank and designation in Jujutsu was Shihan, which to many martial
artists is a revered title given for tenure and contribution to a
particular martial art.
Now I'm going to give you a brief Japanese lesson, but there's a point to it, so please bear with me.
"han" in Shihan means "an example, model or pattern." The "shi" in
Shihan means teacher or master. So Shihan denotes a master teacher, a
model for the art and student. Shihan Bill, as he was called by his
fellow martial artists, was a master teacher, not because of his gift of
technique or his famous stories that were used to quench a question but
because he was selfless with what he gave. And to what end? Well,
like the CEO of a company that proudly encourages his or her salespeople
to earn more than him or her as a barometer of the company's success,
Bill wanted those around him to be better than him, and that's the true
distinguishing character of a Shihan.
Bill gave me my first
hakama (a Japanese pleated skirt) and my first black belt. I will
always think of him. And when I'm called to instruct that technique
that served as Bill's introduction to me, I invariably find myself
repeating his anecdote with the same verve and vibrancy about his
teacher's teacher to a student rather than just plainly pointing out
that the back foot should be nailed to the floor when you pivot.
sent Bill an e-mail Thursday night as a final good-bye. I also thought
that if there was chance of him replying, he'd have one heck of a story
He was made Renshi Shihan (Shichidan-7th) by Mike DePasquale, Sr, in Yoshitsune Ju-Jitsu
started with Mike, Sr. in the late sixties when he was still in high
school, and as far as I know, Mike, Sr. was his primary Jujutsu teacher,
although he did interact with Saul Cohe-Mike Sr's, first black belt,
and Soke Sensei of Tsugiashi Do Jujitsu-and Dennis Palumbo of Hakkoryu
Yudansha ranking in Kodokan Judo via the USJA
Yudansha ranking in Shorin-Ryu Karate
Bill left high school he got a job as a photographer working for what
is now the Earth Observatory of Columbia University, Palisades, NY.
Unbeknownst to him at that time, he was given "government" clearance to
photograph field projects that were funded by the federal government.
As Vietnam reared its ugly head, he proactively enlisted in the Air
Force, but rather than going on with his enlisted class he was sent to
an Air Force base in Texas for two months where he waited for an
assignment. During that time, he was teaching Jujitsu to security
services, which was part of his dossier and a factor in his new
assignment. Due to his prior clearance and martial arts background he
was "loaned" to the Secret Service while being trained in various Air
Force support roles. (As he explained to me, he worked for the Secret
Service but was on the Air Force's payroll.) He was trained in Fire
& Emergency services, electronics, as a support pilot-the guy behind
the main pilot-on transcontinental flights (don't recall the jet type),
and as a physician's assistant, to name a few.
If he was on
detail in California, he would fly back via an Air Force jet to Florida
where he was based (usually taking controls over the Midwest to give the
primary pilot some rest time). After being discharged, around 1975, he
was able to parlay the contacts he made in the military and in Federal
government service into an enterprising business based in Miami that
offered Surveillance Counter Measures, Technical Security Consulting,
and Personal Protection. (He told me he did personal protection work
for Hall & Oates.)
As a hobby, Bill liked to refurbish
desktop and laptop computers, play with his home PBX system and the last
thing he was toying with was voice recognition polygraphy equipment.
Mark, Bill, and Steve P.
Mike Sr. and Bill
John and Bill