At the start of 2018, one of my goals was to ensure I put out one blog every 2 weeks, which is output that I’ve been able to fairly steadily maintain in 2017. If you are a regular reader, then you may have noticed this has certainly not been the case over the past 6 months.
I’ve always found this hard to talk about, but a close friend and mentor has suggested I put this stuff out and hopefully it will help me sort some stuff out in my brain. I thought I’d share with you some of the reasons I haven’t been writing, and hopefully this will help me get some stuff off my chest and maybe help shed some light one how this also relates to training. This also leads to important questions about self defence and the survival mindset.
Let’s start at the beginning.
In the first three parts of this series, we looked at some interesting characters you might train with (here are parts one, two and three). In part four (read it here), we looked at some fo the interesting teachers you might come across when training in the martial arts.
Let’s look at a few more grandiose grandmasters, tapped teachers and lunatic leaders in the martial arts!
My usual disclaimer: This is not directed at you. Yeah, you. This is stuff that I’ve seen and experienced and, at times, have also been. Enjoy!
In The Many Faces of the Dojo series (here are the links to parts one, two and three) we got to meet some of the interesting people who we train with. They are the people we train with each week. They enrich our experiences, make us laugh and sometimes also get on our nerves, all of which are parts of training!
But what about the people who actually teach the classes?
Today we are going to meet some of the insane instructors, surreal senseis and crazy coaches you may encounter on your martial arts journey.
General schedule (open to everyone) limited spaces (40 Max)
Seminars + Grading - $375
- Women’s Self Defence Course Add-on or stand alone $75.
- with Instructor Course Add On $495
Friday - Day 1
17h30 meet and greet
6-9PM Workshops Session 1:
• Grappling Skills
• Standup Skills
• Krav Maga Ground Skills
Saturday - Day 2
9AM-12PM Workshops Session 2:
• Warmups and Stretches
• Striking Skills
• Joint Locks
• Throws & Takedowns
• Krav Maga Integration
45 minute Lunch Break
12:45 - 3:45PM Workshops Session 3:
• Weapons Defences
• Weapons Use
• Realistic Scenario Training
Sunday - Day 3:
• 8:30AM-12PM Gendai Krav Maga Grading
• 12-1:30PM Donn Draeger history review with Prof Michael Belzer (lunch during the presentation)
• 2PM Rank Presentations & Closing Ceremony
Monday - Day 4:
• Optional Women’s Self Defence Workshop with GM Meredith Gold 5:30-8:30pm - $75 (only 12 spaces available)
Michael Belzer is one of the 2018 Modern Warrior Alliance Instructors that will be attending in November in both Brisbane and Perth.
Michael Belzer is a lifelong martial artist who began his training at the age of nine. Focusing predominantly on Danzan Ryu jujutsu (currently 9th degree black belt), kali/escrima and Shindo Muso Ryu Jojutsu, he’s trained in Japan, Malaysia and the Philippines and had the good fortune to study with the “best of the best”, including Sensei Donn F. Draeger, Prof. Wally Jay and Guro Dan Inosanto.
When Mike was introduced to the ASST method in 1989, he the felt that the realistic scenarios and full force striking provided the “missing link” in traditional martial arts training. He’s been wearing the armored assailant gear ever since, having worked with Impact Personal Safety, RMCAT and Project Blind Ambition. Mike has also served as a consultant to the Los Angeles Police Department’s Arrest and Control Unit as part of their Civilian Martial Arts Advisory Panel (CMAAP).
Meredith Gold has been teaching Adrenal Stress Scenario Training (ASST) programs since 1992, having worked with the Impact Personal Safety organization in Los Angeles, as well as Peyton Quinn’s Rocky Mountain Combat Applications Training (RMCAT) in Colorado. Since 2000 Meredith and her husband Michael Belzer have been teaching their R-A-W Power program.
Meredith’s primary focus has always been teaching self defense and empowerment skills to previously untrained women, teens and kids, but she has also been instrumental in bringing awareness of this training method to the martial arts community. A contributing editor for Black Belt Magazine for 5 years, Meredith was inducted into their Hall of Fame in 2003, naming her their “Woman of the Year”.
Meredith also became a certified holistic health and nutrition coach in 2008, receiving her training at The Institute for Integrative Nutrition in NYC. The more she learned about eating for health and longevity, the more Meredith recognized the similarities between nutrition and self defense skills. She was determined to find a way to combine these two areas she was so passionate about into one idea that would approach nutrition from a proactive and, at times, even defensive point of view. In 2012 Meredith expanded her services to include her self defense-based nutrition program called “The Kung Food Way” - www.thekungfoodway.com
Master Gavriel Schneider began his martial arts training in the early 1980s beginning with Shotokan and then Goju Ryu Karate. In the late 1980s he was introduced to Sensei Vernon Rosenberg and began training under him in Koga Ryu Ninjitsu. When the migration to the Gendai Ryu style happened in the early 1990s Gavriel received his first black belt in the system in 1992 and began teaching the system. Whilst teaching under the Gendai system, Gavriel began training in Taekwondo under Master James Lee (8th Dan). Under Master Lee, Gavriel became a member of the South African Taekwondo team, fighting in numerous regional events as well as representing South Africa in the Taekwondo World Cup in 1997. During 1993-94 Gavriel also cross trained with a wide variety of other martial arts practitioners including Grandmaster Mickey Davidow.
In 1996, Gavriel then travelled to Israel and received the great privilege of becoming a live-in student of Hisardut Grandmaster Soke Dennis Hanover. Gavriel trained and taught in the main school in Herzliya full time (between 6-12 hours a day) during most of 1996 and was graded 1st Dan in DSJJ / Hisardut in the middle of 1996 and 2nd Dan at the end of the same year. During this time Gavriel also spent time at the main Israeli army physical fitness and self-defence training base at Wingate and was exposed to Military Krav Maga and also underwent intensive firearm training with pistol and submachine gun and received certification as an international practical shooter from the Israel Shooting Association. He has trained numerous military, policing, specialise security, royalty and mayoral protection teams over the years in both security skills and Defensive Tactics. Gavriel began deploying operationally as a Bodyguard/Close Protection Officer in 1997 and to date has protected Presidents, other senior level government officials and numerous celebrities and senior corporate executives. He continued to train under Dr Dennis Hanover during Dr Hanover’s numerous trips back to South Africa and made almost annual trips back to Israel.
Gavriel was awarded a 6th Dan from Dr Hanover in 2005 as well as being awarded a 6th Dan in Ninjitsu from GM Ashida Kim. He has also been a black belt full contact champion in the DSJJ championships and silver medal winner in the masters (above 5th Dan) open division. Gavriel was inducted into the South African Martial arts hall of fame in 2004 and received the ultimate honour of being included and inducted into the Israeli museum of martial arts history in 2010.
Noah Greenstone began martial arts in Los Angeles in 1973, training Danzan Ryu Jujitsu and Judo. After receiving a black belt in 1985 he trained at the Inosanto Academy in Los Angeles. His instructors include notable US martial artists like Professor Michael Belzer, Cliff Stewart, Larry Hartsell, Hawkins Cheung, Professor Wally Jay, Shihan Sig Kufferath and others.
Noah spent the 1990s in Japan, training under the 11th and 12th headmasters of an ancient Japanese Samurai system where he extensively trained Jujutsu, Kenjutsu, Iaijutsu, Bojutsu and Naginata. During this time he also trained in Judo. He has participated seven times in the Zen Nippon Kobudo Renmei Embu Taikai sponsored by the Japanese government at the Dai Nippon Budokan and other key Japanese martial arts venues.
His experience also includes Filipino stick / knife / empty hand training with multiple masters, Indonesian Pencak Silat as well as Archery under the teachings of the late great Francis Peeler. In 2016 he was presented with a 6th Dan by UKMF Headmaster Yaron Hanover 9th Dan and Gendai Ryu Soke Dr Gavriel Schneider.
Oliver 'The Outlaw' Olsen has been training in Muay Thai for most of his life, and comes from a family of fighters - with his cousins all having fought for national Muay Thai championship titles. Oli trained extensively in Thailand, and is well known for his long and successful career as a Muay Thai fighter, which includes 6 state titles, 2 Australian titles and a World Championship title. He also has extensive experience as a top level coach and personal trainer, and has coached many state and Australian National champions.
In the previous three posts I discussed some important issues concerning situational awareness and its importance. The first article discussed the importance of developing situational awareness as a key to the prevention of violence. The second article discussed why some people don’t listen to their gut instinct, with some entertaining and amazing stories to show both terrible awareness and excellent, literally life-saving awareness. The third article gave you some tips to help you know what danger might look like so you can identify it in time.
Now that you know why it's important and what you need to look for, I am going to give you some simple and effective tools that can help you develop and improve your situational awareness.
A little, but important, explanation first. The reason I refer to these as games is not to downplay their importance, but rather to emphasise the fact that this kind of training doesn't have to be scary, hard or cumbersome. It can be a lot of fun, and can challenge you in fun and interesting ways.
Here we go!
In the previous two posts I discussed some important issues concerning situational awareness and its importance.
The first article discussed the importance of developing situational awareness as a key to the prevention of violence.
The second article discussed why some people don’t listen to their gut instinct, with some entertaining and amazing stories to show both terrible awareness and excellent, literally life-saving awareness.
Before we get into how to develop better situational awareness, I think it’s important to stop and identify the situational awarness trap; we are often told we need to develop it, that it's important, that it can save your life... And that's all true. We may evn be given some tips on how to develop this (I'll discuss this int he next article). But even with all of this in mind, do you know what to look for?
We'll be holding demos and giving away free trials, great giveaways and heaps of special offers, and we'll have a couple of food trucks to make sure you can have a tasty, healthy bite too!
If you ever wanted to try a class, this is your chance! Free participation, cool demos, prizes and more.
Krav Maga practitioners love talking about pressure tests, and it is a staple of most self defence systems. We take a set of techniques or scenarios, and pressure test them to see if things really work. They are also an important part of regular training, whereas you are supposed to be put under a lot of pressure and perform when you are not in your optimum.
This is, without a doubt, very important in self-defence training. But it’s just as important in other martial arts training. A common thing to hear at CAIA during BJJ and Striking sessions is the instructors saying ‘pressure!’ over and over and over again.
But what does ‘pressure’ actually mean? Are there different ways of applying pressure? How much is too much or not enough?
There has been a lot of discussion recently on the effectiveness of and need for situational awareness. I believe that simply put, environmental and situational awareness are probably the most effective tools that we, as individuals, have for predicting violent attacks and keeping ourselves safe.
Yet this is not always a popular view. Here is an interesting article on this topic.
In this piece we’ll explore some of the common mistakes people make with regards to situational awareness, as well as why they make them. Before I go on, I’d like to ask you sit down and take 10 minutes and read this all the way through. If nothing else, there’s a cool story at the end.
A couple of weeks ago a young comedian by the name of Eurydice Dixon was raped and murdered walking home from a gig. The man who raped and murdered her followed her for nearly 7 kms from the gig until he found an opportunity to strike in a soccer field only several hundred meters from her home.
Police later issued a statement saying people should be aware of their surroundings.
This statement sparked a massive outcry from people labelling this statement as victim blaming.
Let’s talk about this a little bit. If you are on the overly sensitive side, you may not like what I have to say, so I advise you to close this web page and go look at pictures of fluffy bunnies or read some fairy tales about a perfect world. If, on the other hand, you are an open-minded adult and posses some common sense, read on.
Are your beliefs holding you back from achieving your goals in Business, Family, or Relationships? What if you could change those beliefs and achieve a different result?
Fighters and martial artists always talk about ‘heart’, or warrior spirit.
It is an unquantifiable quality. Natural for some people, and not natural for others.
It is the ability to keep fighting - to even fight more fiercely - even though you know the battle may have been lost. The ability to stare pain, or defeat, or fear right in the eye – which really means staring into the proverbial mirror – and say, sometimes quietly and sometimes in a loud voice, that you will not stop fighting.
Simply put, it is the strength of character to not give up even though you may want to.
This is a short, true story about heart. I hope it brings you some hope.
Sensei Gershon Ben Keren recently released this excellent blog on what Krav Maga can adopt from combat sports. I thought this was a particularly important piece (amongst his many excellent writings) as it highlights something that is often sorely lacking in Krav Maga, which I touched on here.
Too often martial arts and combat sports are dismissed in the purist self-defence circles (and no, those three things are not the same – more on this here). These criticisms range from painfully accurate to wildly fantastical, but at their core they are mostly the same: ‘that won’t work in the street’.
But there are many things that can be learned from martial arts and combat sports and applied in self defence. I’ve written about this extensively in the blogs above. This is what Sensei Ben Keren highlighted in the piece above as well.
But let’s look at the specifics. What specifically can we learn from combat and martial sports that can be applied in self defence?