In my 2012 planning session, 2011 is called ‘The Accidental Year.’
First, we have to look at where it started: Pramek was not on my mind.
Coming off of managing artists that had been thus far unsuccessful, I spent the first few months of the year simply treading water, figuring out where to go. I was teaching privately at my gym, working out in between hang overs and day job projects. Recouping my losses from investments, I was always falling back on training and teaching. I had been on a 3 year bender of alcohol and other things that had left me in a very separated state:
I was separated from myself.
But I always came back to training and researching. And in an accident, I was searching a hard drive for a contract for a musician I managed…and I came upon some writings from 2003, when I was in a library desperately trying to figure out a component of neurology. I read it, over and over. It was a complete accident…the title of this document, ‘contract with neurology.doc’. Like a wreck in a car that makes one suddenly treasure their loved ones…I suddenly, in February of 2011, had an accident.
Then I realized…Mike Martin had told me once, ‘You’re never too old to change – you change every minute, you skin cells flake off and people’s interactions change you. But the core – your core shouldn’t change.
And sometimes that core can be something that is simply a passion and an idea.
Considering I had taken a few years off to simply finish development on Pramek, I began to formulate an idea.
I partnered with an old friend who redid the website which at one point I went a year and a half not even checking email…we began to get things moving. I didn’t plan it, we just did it. We released the website as a tester to see how things would go…and I was surprised by the massive response it got. I realized people were hungry for more information and a different point of view on combatives and Russian style.
Then we shot Equilibrium. This was a great instructional shot in the worst way. We later took it down because it’s quality was simply lackluster…ok, lackluster may be an overstatement.
How about shitty?
But, it was selling…and one of my oldest friends, and student, Craig bought a nice camera and he began studying and learning to do film.
We used Pramek as a learning tool for him…
The Wedge was born.
Things haven’t been the same since.
The blog was alive. Seminar requests began to pour in – I taught in Vancouver, Ontario, Cleveland, LA…all top notch amazing seminars that came out of no where. We were averaging about 1000 hits a week on the website. I developed the DLP, which had a rough launch but our staunchest advocates jumped on it and then I decided to step back and look at the plan of how to release the system.
We were overzealous, over promised and under delivered. And I apologize – for the DVD errors, shipment problems. Technical problems, a website that wasn’t functioning – we had 26 videos planned and suddenly hit some road blocks. Growing pains in a 1990’s model, so we switched it up and went digital.
Like any venture that one begins, we were treading water while growing…I stepped back and decided to work my plan, plan my work.
We partnered with HeroesTactical.com to develop our first distribution outlet that would function properly. Then I decided it was best to film three conceptual videos: The Helix, &, The Gear – our movement basis. I knew that with these videos would slow sell and we’d have a lull, but along with The Wedge and Human Equilbrium – students would have a basis for when I came to do a seminar and got them going.
Partnering with FlexedMedia.com, we developed the new website, and then released The Lever, which is a massive success. Craig built a good production team and created Key Intel Media for shooting videos, movies, commercials…and we have partnered to create better and better instructionals.
And who can forget our new sister (or brother) company – SpetzGear. The Spikes, Holsters – we got off to a great start with them and pushed products. 2012 is going to be amazing with this relationship that is built on trust and friendship.
Seminar requests keep pouring in. People want the manual, the seminars, the fresh air of no longer being held to some teacher or some system. They simply want simplicity that comes with a dose of science.
And we couldn’t have done 2011 without everyone who’s been involved that stuck with us, befriended us. People who had been around for years, like Dave Dempsey, Mike Elk, Aaron Cowan, Avery Mitchell. And we added a new breed of Pramek supporters all over the world.
The point is not to say, ‘Wow, look what we’ve done.’
The point is to say, ‘Look how much we did, what we didn’t, and what we persevered through.’ As a group, Pramek grew strong this year and began to turn heads because of one thing:
When people said, ‘Oh, we’ve been doing that for years’ I said show me..they couldn’t. I would have listened to them years ago – now I just took it in stride and laughed, and told the truth.
When people said, ‘Why are you trying to be some revolutionary?’ I said if giving people the truth is revolutionary, I am.
When people said, ‘This is just a fad’ we all showed them through dedication: it’s not a fad.
We have something special.
We stayed at it and won fans in the intellectual battlefield, not in the mudslinging forums and pits of the interwebs where good ideas go to die as people begin to turn off to the crap and not recognize the diamonds in the rough.
Pramek is my dream realized, to do something that betters other people…from growing up middle class in rough schools and neighborhoods, to training with the master and his school, contracting and body guarding and the long nights that tested my soul.
To learning from so many sources, and finding great mentors over 14 years…Mike Martin, Scott Sonnon, Avery Mitchell, Dr. Sergey Shvets, Victor Zavogorndij, Drew Jackson, Alexei Kadochnikov, John Cornetta, Alexei Ovtchinnikov, Victor Block, God…the names go on of people who have touched me at my core, taught me lessons, and helped Pramek as it developed whether they knew it or didn’t.
And in the end, I found that the greatest mentor we have is success and failure.
Only we, as individuals, succeed or fail.
As Dr. Shvets once told me, ‘Only you look in the mirror when you wake up and go to bed…no one else, just you.’ I learned in 2011 that I was my greatest mentor…and my greatest obstacle.
When you sit down, focus, put your mind to something, and listen to those around you – great things are achieved in ways you didn’t think possible. When I started 2011, I was broken in a lot of ways…when I end 2011, I have a plan, I have my friends, I have my dream: Pramek.
This is the one of the last blog posts of the year – what started many moons ago as a way for me to communicate to others has grown into thousands of hits a week, videos sold, seminars taught, errors made, meals with people I’ve never met who touched my life…and it ends with a planning session that is taking up a room in my house: the walls, a desk, laptop, hundreds of pages strewn here and there to make sense of, the emails from around the globe with compliments, and late night calls of encouragement from people like Steve and Shaun and Walther who nip at my heels to keep me motivated when I’m starting to drift.
I want 2012 to be something the martial art world hasn’t experienced in a long time…a paradigm shift. A paradigm shift brought on by the hard work of people who have a thought that becomes an idea, that becomes a dream, that becomes a day dream called reality. It will be.
And in our small corner of the Internet – I hope you will join us, cheer us on, challenge us, or simply leave us alone if you don’t like us…so we, at Pramek, can be free to create something that touches lives beyond 2012, but for a long time to come.
As I look around me at a room of organized chaos, I can only say thank you, what you did for Pramek in 2011 to give us a foothold on the beach…it meant a lot.
I call it the ‘accidental year’ because it was – it was the fitting end to years of treading water and the most unlikely of motivators – what I had learned in 14 years – suddenly took it’s place in my mind as I figured it all out. It was an accident.
I’ll see you in 2012 – and trust me, it’s gonna be a fun ride.