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Rethink Training Hard

Better tools for building inner strength in martial arts, self defense, and beyond!

Design a healthy, supportive training environment that actually gets results. Fear is the Mind Killer: How to Build a Training Culture that Fosters Strength and Resilience includes tools you can start using today:

  • a primer on the science of motor learning and motivation
  • policy-writing and classroom management strategies
  • a safe and effective approach to stress testing
  • keys to serving under-represented student populations, including women and survivors of violence
  • sample drills built around play and exploration
A row of 5 stars, 4 and a half of which are filled in with gold

Rated 4.7 out of 5 with over 50 Amazon reviews

“Once a decade, or less often, a book comes along that changes the game. This is that book.

In it, Sadowski lays out the theory and practice of creating training environments that nurture student growth by building an emotionally safe environment for practising physically dangerous things, and a physically safe environment for practising emotionally dangerous things. How to push them, how to let them fail usefully, and how to make sure that every student gets the support they need to handle the stresses of effective training.

Drawing on their experience of running a martial arts school, and helping train police officers, they lay out the foundations for truly effective practice: how to put your students under realistic levels of combat stress without breaking them, and without the instructor turning into a caricature of a drill sergeant.

It is perhaps the most important martial arts book of the 21st century so far. If there is one book I wish I’d read before founding my school, it’s Sadowski’s Fear is the Mind Killer. There is no better resource for creating effective and ethical training environments.”

— Guy Windsor, Consulting Swordsman
Portrait of Guy Windsor

“We are at the beginning of a renaissance in self-defense and martial arts training. The focus is shifting, and must shift, away from egotistical instructors and received wisdom or dogma.

Teaching is about the student, and all of us instructors have to focus on that simple fact. We need to learn how to reach each individual student, regardless of how much or how little they resemble us. We need to help them find and refine the tools that they need for their problems. We need to be facilitators in growing each student’s strength, understanding and resilience.

Kaja Sadowski’s Fear is the Mind Killer is the best manual available on how to do that, in particular on creating an environment where the people who most need the skills (and are least likely to seek out instruction) can feel comfortable enough to grow into their natural strength.”

— Rory Miller, Chiron Training

“If you’re a teacher of any kind of martial art, self-defence, or risk-inherent physical skill, you might already have this book. If you’re any kind of serious martial arts or self-defence student, there is a LOT of invaluable stuff here”.

— Carrie Patrick, student, Rocky Mountain Swordplay Guild

For Teachers

in-depth explanations of key ideas in pedagogy, psychology, and culture

practical exercises to help you build a new school culture, or assess and improve an existing one

concrete examples of how I approach common challenges

over a dozen proven drills you can take straight from my classroom to yours

For Students

core skills for getting the most out of your training and helping your classmates do the same

clear descriptions of healthy training practices, so you know what to look for in a school

flexible processes for building a study group or solo practice that works for you

a common language for talking about your needs with your teachers

DRM-free eBook

A mockup of the paperback version of Fear is the Mind Killer


A mockup of the hardcover version of Fear is the Mind Killer

First anniversary hardcover