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  • Pamela Armitage

The Butterfly Effect: Our Legacy Project

In 2019, Rich and I returned to a high school in Montreal that we had taught at the year prior. The 11th graders had us the year before and at the end of day one of a particular class, a 16 year old girl came to us to share that taking the course the year before not only changed her life, but effectively saved it. She went on to explain that through our course she realized both of her parents were displaying multiple traits of narcissistic behaviour. Before our course, things had gotten to the point where her self esteem was affected, she was experiencing anxiety and she thought she “hated” her parents. She even had a vision of leaving home and never speaking to them again…


Before I continue, let me ask you this: after she said our course saved her life, how many of you were expecting a story about a physical altercation that she found herself in and fought off an attacker?


When Rich and I teach under our terms, we do not do much physical training. We cover pre-emptive striking (and the moral, ethical, and legal guidelines surrounding that), we explain the 5 principles of physical retaliation and tool and target development. We don’t spend 90% of the time on physical. The majority of what we cover is prevention. Prevention is the mother of self defense.


So, when we were covering anti-social behaviour, abuse and going over the narcissist portion, the lightbulbs went off in this girl’s head; “omg that’s my mom! omg that’s my dad!” When we went on to explain trauma, its long-term effects, and the importance of therapy, she made the decision to seek it out. She found a therapist, told them everything she had experienced over the years with her parents and came to discover that while neither had 5 or more of the 9 traits that would effectively label them with “Narcissistic Personality Disorder”, the traits they had were narcissistic and absolutely damaging. She not only received tools to take care of her mental health, but tools to manage interactions and communication with her parents. When she told us this in year 2, she was so grateful! She said her anxiety had improved significantly, her relationship with her parents had improved and she was able to put together a plan for her future once she graduated.


The chances of this girl ending up in an abusive relationship are much lower with not only learning what we teach but taking our advice and seeking expert support. She knows the red flags, the green flags, and she knows herself better than before. This is called out-birthing violence. BREAKING CYCLES!



This is what our work is about. Prevention as far reaching as possible. Don’t kid yourselves, because we don’t; we know that violence will exist as long as humans do. However, we can educate to prevent, break cycles and self-reflect. And yes, for those of you having a hard time moving away from the physical side of self defense, we still teach physical and support going there if needed. But it is a last resort! It’s not fun to fight someone off! Even if you come out of a situation unscathed, it is traumatizing to go through. Honestly speaking, if you are looking to expel anger and looking to punish, we have no interest in teaching you until you deal with that. However, we hope one day (if you aren’t an anti-social personality type), you will recognize the unresolved, misplaced anger you hold and move through and past it. The best way out is always through.


These are just a few testimonials we have received from participants of our Masterclasses:


“It has improved my relationship with myself.”


“Your work inspired me and gave me the courage to seek therapy. It saved my marriage and improved my relationship with my stepsons and family.”


“I realized I was stuck in a victim mentality and that was the wall I needed to climb over. Everything changed once I made that realization and started working on it.”


When Rich and I finished a 3-hour Shedder workshop in Great Yarmouth, England in 2022, we had three combatives trained men go home and apologize to their wives and children for their road and home rage they had put them through over the years. They had never considered the negative effects it can have on the people around them, regardless of the fact they aren’t the subject or focus of the rage. The realization of putting them through that was unintentional abuse and can potentially create future victims was enough for them to snap out of it and self-analyze. Coming back to Great Yarmouth in 2023, one of them came to us to say he went into therapy, and he has never felt better or slept better. How is that to bring peace to communities? Imagine that butterfly effect. Imagine if this information was mandatory in schools and workplaces? Education and self-awareness can transform communities and that butterfly effect extends outwardly.


This isn’t to say we will never feel anger, triggered, sadness, grief and so on. Quite the contrary! Life is going to keep moving onward and throwing things our way. C’est la vie! However, when we gain tools to deal, heal and grow, the handling of such things becomes easier. We become more resilient, stronger. And isn’t that what “self defense” is about? Empowerment, self-preservation, self-protection? Nobody is going to hurt you more than you hurt yourself. Be kind to your future self. Wow is that a far-reaching statement! From diet, exercise, mental health, and stress management to boundaries etc., seeing past our hand into what the potential outcome of every choice we make could be is so important.


Furthermore, if you can’t de-escalate or manage yourself, how well do you think you’re going to manage it in a social violent situation (good person having a bad day) or when facing anti-social violence whether predatorial or due to mental illness?


Our safety and well-being, both as individuals and as a society, relies on what our work is all about: preventative education on recognizing our trauma, misplaced anger, working through it to take care of ourselves and our loved ones. And yes, once again for the brutes stuck in physical, lol, how to defend physical rooted in instincts and gross motor skills. That’s the nutshell’s nutshell version anyways, lol. Anyone who has taken our Masterclasses or worked with us on a regular basis knows what I mean by that!


The butterfly effect is what we are all about and seeing it continuously unfold and prove it’s impact is just pouring fuel on our fire. Keep watching and I encourage you to take the time to invest in taking our course. The testimonials and impact speaks for themselves! You can find more information here:





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