Last weekend I had the opportunity to train with my instructor, Richard Bustillo, who flew in from Los Angeles, California for a martial arts seminar in Cincinnati. I am one of a handful of people in the world who can call themselves an instructor under him, and am proud of the fact that I continue to teach, modify and adapt his teachings for my students today.
I was, however, disappointed in the turnout at the seminar. There was a good showing of the regular martial artists in the area, and some who may have traveled a longer distance to attend, but I really didn’t see anyone outside of the martial arts realm showing up for what I consider to be first class personal defense training.
People need this now more than ever. They are recognizing the world / THEIR world is becoming more violent. Statistics back up that statement. Since this was an Ohio seminar, I looked up what’s happened over the past year regarding violent crime in our state. According to The Office Of Criminal Justice Services through The Ohio Department Of Public Safety,violent crime increased 2.8% (comparing the three-month window of 3rd quarter 2014 and 3rd quarter 2015, which were the most recent comparisons on their site). They used four categories for comparison: Robbery, Aggravated Assault, Forcible Rape and Murder. Broken down by major cities, the numbers are much higher than the statewide average. Columbus: Robbery up 7.3%, Aggravated Assault down 14.9%, Forcible Rape up 21.2% and Murder up 10.5%. Cleveland’s murder rate increased 135%, and Toledo’s murder rate increased 100%. (For additional report details click here: Ohio Violent Crime Statistics).
So what does that tell us? Violent crime (in Ohio but most likely nationwide) is on the rise. We are our own first responder, and we must take responsibility for our own personal safety until we can get to a safe place and call for help. If you are not equipping yourself with the necessary information to do so, you are only setting yourself up for failure.
If you are reading this and didn’t attend this past weekend (which is most of you), let me describe what you missed:
1) Long-Range Personal Defense Training – Learning how to defend from outside of one arm’s reach; punching, kicking, and the importance of footwork and movement during an attack.
2) Mid-Range Personal Defense Training – Learning how to defend from inside your arm’s length; knee and elbow striking, blocking and countering using the movements of your attacker as opposed to working against them.
3) Personal Defense Training From The Ground – Offensive techniques to defend from your back, countering movements that would either put or keep you in a vulnerable position on the ground, understanding how you can leverage your body weight in a counter movement to defend against larger attackers.
4) Weapons Training – Learn how to best use your body to leverage power when striking with a weapons of opportunity, angles of attack, strikes and counter strikes.
And lastly, you would have learned how all of these ranges of attack work together to form a well-rounded personal defense plan. One range of defense is not enough. A gun is not enough. A knife is not enough. Expansion of thought and acceptance of new concepts in order to give yourself the advantage if you ever have to defend against an attacker is best.
That’s an incredible amount of information over one weekend. And what if I told you that it was taught by one of the original critical thinkers when it comes to personal defense? Because don’t we (in the personal defense world) put a lot of credence behind the validity of the instructor and their training concepts? Of course we do. And if you could train with the developer of a certain concept as opposed to a student of theirs, wouldn’t you? Of course you would.
Age is not a factor to the attacker, and age was certainly not a factor in training this weekend, either. There were students ranging from ages 18 to 60, all learning the same techniques, and all making them work regardless of physical limitations. Remember, every technique can be modified for the individual. Richard Bustillo instilled that in us very early on in our training, and he continues to teach adhering to that principle.
Two days, six hours each day of physical training, discussion of mental preparation necessary for defending yourself, making connections with great trainers and students, increasing your skills and your confidence in executing those skills; that’s what this past weekend was all about. And believe it or not, it cost less than the price of taking your family to dinner.
I’ll end by tossing this thought out to my fellow martial artists: We have a responsibility to let people know what we teach, why we teach it, and how it is relevant to them. We are not a secret society. We want to train everyone who wants to learn. We say that all the time. But what if people don’t know what is available to them? Perhaps we need to do a better job at explaining what we have to offer and how it is relevant in everyday personal defense as opposed to resting on our laurels and buying into the idea that our sacred art is reason enough for people to sign up for classes. We should all have the ability to condense information (not water it down) for a weekend of training new students. Everything we teach was at one point used for personal defense in different countries around the world. If we adhere to the fact that we are a fighting family (especially my IMB Ohana), then it’s time to welcome more into the fold.