Things that Rory says.

Rory talks so much sense.

As promised this blog will list some of the things that Rory has either said to me during conversations we've had or things that have resonated with me over the years since I was introduced to his books. As per the previous blog post, for the most part, I am paraphrasing him. Which means you need to remember any errors are mine. If you want to find him his website is   His suggested reading list is as interesting and thought provoking as you would expect. 


Little nuggets of awesome.

Rory is a serious guy. If you want to read his bio fill your boots. I'm not going to write about it here because quite frankly, if you're that interested you'll do some digging yourself. I hope you buy some of his books. Not because I have some sort of affiliate link but because I genuinely think there are lessons in them primarily for life, not just self-defence. An example of this is when I attended a KMG Instructor only event back in 2015 that introduced ConCom or Conflict Communications. In it, Rory discusses with how we are tribal creatures and we need to understand how to fit into our tribe. One thing I clearly remember was him asking the 100 or so people there how many wanted to write a book. As we all looked around and shuffled a little uncomfortably in our seats, he challenged us all to do it. What was holding us back? Fear. Fear of judgement, fear of failure. Bottom line we could write the book and send it off and never be published and there would be very little qualitative difference in our lives. 


It's not a massively profound challenge and yet it had a huge impact on me. Since that day I've cared less and less what people think of what I write about or what I have to say when I'm doing public speaking events. He just made me reframe what I felt about writing and sharing my work, my worldview, and my experiences. Ultimately as long as my nearest and dearest didn't think I was a total buffoon who cares about anyone else? 


See below for some of my favourite Rory Miller quotes and observations about life. For every one that I have included, there are probably 50 more that I have forgotten about or don't yet have the maturity or intelligence to really understand. 


“Why is a caterpillar wrapped in silk while it changes into a butterfly? So the other caterpillars can't hear the screams. Change hurts” 

“Here's a rule of life: You don't get to pick what bad things happen to you” 


"No one should be training for self-defence out of fear. You should train because you love training." 

“Develop the habit of doing unpleasant things quickly and without hesitation. If you are going to jump in the cold water, jump in the cold water. If you need to get up, get your ass out of bed. Do the dishes that need doing. Finish the hard jobs at work while everyone else is coming up with excuses to get out of them.” 

“It is better to avoid than to run, better to run than to de-escalate, better to de-escalate than to fight, better to fight than to die.”

“Know this: Your own brain will lie to you. It will backstab and sabotage you to prevent ANY change.” 

“If you deny reality, you cannot control reality.” 

“Modern life has fewer circumstances where panic is a bonus. Most of our perceived dangers (cancer, the ecological crisis du jour, international bad guy of the month) give us more than enough time to gather information and make conscious choices. But the Monkey sometimes finds panic far more satisfying.” 

“This inner critic, with its fear of imaginary censure, is one of the most powerful social controls that we have. It is solely responsible for you probably living at the same socio-economic level you were raised at, not being much more successful than your parents, never finishing that novel or getting your college degree or black belt. It exists to make sure that the group doesn’t have to adjust around you, to keep you within your tribe and keep you in your place in your tribe. Is that what you want?” 


Rory was the first person who brought my own biases and assumptions as a self-defence instructor and woman to the forefront of my mind. I discovered the following things.

1) I assumed that because I was a small, kind, friendly woman that no-one would want to hurt me!

2) Simultaneously I also assumed that because I was a small, kind, friendly woman that I would be a better target for bad guys! 

3) Until I started to explore my biases I didn't really contemplate arming myself with chairs, pens, handbags etc. Now when teaching krav maga I encourage people to look for things in their environment to use as weapons. You may feel like Bruce Lee but Bruce Lee + A Weapon = Better!  

4) I have always vehemently defended the right of women to wear what they want, when they want, how they want. To me, it was obvious that rape and sexual assault was not about sex and I despised those that tried to victim blame. One day Rory said the following. "You can't wear clothes to get attention and only get the attention of good guys." That one sentence just blew me away in its simplicity. Now when teaching young women krav maga I say this to them. I encourage them to risk assess what they are doing, where they are going, who they are with and what they are wearing. Not because I think it's their fault that sexual assaults occur but because it is common sense to do what you can to prevent them.  

5) I'm paraphrasing here but in Rory's book Principle Based Instruction he talks about maturity and comfort with ambiguity. Essentially what he is saying is that the more mature you become, the greater your comfort with ambiguity and the ability to cope with ideas and concepts that at first glance are in conflict with one another. This resonates with me because the older I get the more I recognise the dogmatic "black or white" approach just doesn't always fit with life. Maybe that means I've lost my idealistic youth to cynicism, or maybe like Rory says it is because I've matured. 

6) Ditch the ego. Oh my, this is a total gem that is so relevant for self-defence, martial arts and life. Ego can be drama and hassle and sometimes it's poison, yet we all have it. We need it to drive us forward so the key is to tame it and take control of it. One of my favourite examples Rory gives that is relevant to self-defence instructors is being aware that we must never ever punish success in our students. Last night I was training with the ladies at Focus Krav Maga Dorset and one of them nearly punched me in the face. She was mortified and I just laughed, told her she did well and that if I got punched in the face it was 100% my fault. I wish I could say that I have always been like that but it's not true. For making me see the light I thank Rory. 

I could go on....!

There is so much more I could say about Rory and his insights, however, I'd just really love it if you went out and explored his work yourself. He is a straight-talking guy who has an amazing collection of t-shirts. My current favourite remains the one that has the slogan emblazoned on the front "common sense is not that common"! In a world that sees Donald Trump as President of the United States and where houses stand empty yet more and more people live on the streets, I want that t-shirt! Please feel free to troll me in the comments section below! 

The one and only Rory Miller. 

The one and only Rory Miller. 

Tara ShaulComment