Archive for November, 2010

Fencing Language In “I Love You, Man”

Posted in Fencing, Swordsmanship, Techniques, Videos, Weapons with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 30, 2010 by chencenter

In 2009, a movie came along that I found utterly hilarious.  What tickled me even more was that the main character fenced!  (Something we have in common).  And just like The Princess Bride, screenwriter and director John Hamburg decided to add some fencing dialogue… something that us fencing nerds soo relish to hear.  (Fencing Nerds, lets be honest!)  After the above pictured bout, in which Paul Rudd’s character Peter Klaven executes a mean In Quartata on his opponent Gil, (and Gil resorts to a mask throwing tantrum) they exchange these words:

Gil: Bro.  Really sorry I lost my #@$& out there.  I just did not see that In Quartata coming.

Peter: Hey man, don’t worry.  You know you came in with a pretty sweet glissade.

Eugene: Anybody seen my manchette?

Larry: Did you look under your plastron, #$&% wicker?

When I first heard this exchange, I (like Olympic silver medalist fencer, Tim Morehouse) didn’t even recognize some of those terms.  But after some research, I now have the answers that the both the fencing community (and possibly, the film-loving community) would love to hear.

An In quartata is an counter-offensive action made by an attackers attack to the high-inside line (only). You are moving your body ‘off-line’ a ‘quarter’ turn (watch clip above).

A glissade is actually not a sport fencing term per se, but rather a classical/historical sword-fighting term whereby you “glide/glissade” down the opponent’s blade in order to cause a parrying action.  The parry is swiftly met with a disengage to hit (with opposition).

A manchette is a special glove that is worn to protect the weapon hand.  Most fencers just call this “the glove,” however in fencing conversation (especially those that practice the saber/sabre) you might hear the term Coup de Manchette, which means “Cut to the arm.”

A plastron is a protective pad worn to protect the torso and side.  Most plastrons available cover 3/4 of the body, thus allowing your free arm to move with less restriction (and less protection).


* Paul Rudd : “I actually had fenced before this film.  In fact, the guy who oversaw the fencing in this film was my teacher 20 years ago.  Just kidding about that, but I have seen most of Errol Flynn’s movies.  That’s where I came up with ‘On guard that.'”


Coach Michael Joyce teaches classical foil fencing in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.  Mr. Joyce got his training at both the St. Louis University (1998, 1999) and University of NC-Greensboro (1999-2002) Fencing Clubs.  He has been teaching (fencing) professionally since 2005 and has a Foil Fencing Beginners Manual making its way to the shelves in December 2010.  Look for it here,ChenCenterStore.Com or at our Fencing Page –


10 Questions With Luke Holloway

Posted in 10 Questions, Self-Defense with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 25, 2010 by Combative Corner

The Combative Corner is proud to introduce you to a guy that is (and has been) making a big name for himself in the field of close quarter combatives, security, crisis response and risk management (Law Enforcement / Military / Special Forces).

The Combative Corner became aware of Mr. Holloway through his many channels on YouTube (TeamWuJin, RCI Japan, Raw LEO Combatives, and more!).  Luke Holloway is the founder of Raw Combat International and is now in 24 countries.  Find out more about this extraordinary teacher at his websites Luke-Holloway.Com and Raw-Combat.Com.

Now… for our exclusive interview!  Enjoy.


What brought you to teaching tactical self-prtotection?

I was simply sharing tactics based on my experience in my job (event/club security, protection, investigations and risk management consulting). I guess I just attracted a bunch of like minded people who saw it necessary to develop and maintain such skills. I never meant to create a ‘system’ or anything like that but people just started watching me on youtube (which was up for local students benefit in the beginning) and then I started to get asked to share things in many places (19 countries in the past couple of years).  As certified by the Australian Government in Risk Management, Security, Protection, Crisis Management, Sports Coaching and Work Place Training & Assessment (etc) I was able to structure things pretty easily.. things kinda just.. fell into place.

You’re currently in Shinjuku, Japan.  Where did you grow up and what brought you to Japan?

I’m in Japan because of a circumstance which I won’t go into for protection of my own privacy & personal security if that’s ok.  But I’d worked here before and spoke the language before I re-located here after doing a bit in Malaysia, Thailand, Hong Kong, China and Taiwan.  I am originally from Queensland, Australia and grew up hunting/shooting and doing not much-else then that and martial arts.. hahaha, a sheltered childhood maybe??  lol.. just wasn’t into football or anything like that really…

What’s the biggest obstacle for you as a self-defense instructor?

Training civilians with ‘too’ much experience.  I think every instructor knows what I mean.  Although I just see myself as sharing what I got, people need to understand that martial arts and tactical training are two COMPLETELY different things! I don’t care if you put the words ‘Tactical’ or ‘Commando’ or ‘Combat’ or ‘Extreme’ or whatevers goin’ on these days, you can take one look and know it’s shit! Most of our members or active operatives in Security, Law Enforcement/Customs or Military including Japans newest Special Forces Group (CRF). I know what backgrounds, what training they have and what training they need to be able to respond to incidents effectively in a professional manner and therefore it’s easier to ‘train’ them.. but civys with a chip on their shoulder about doing a krav maga seminar and 2 kickboxing lessons I don’t have much time for to be honest. Too many shit dribblers! Talking about how they do ‘military martial arts’ or some shit how they are a ‘bodyguard’ yet don’t know the first thing about personal security concepts as they just mentioned their wife’s name, their kids names, where they live and where they’re from.. (displaying the fact that they don’t have a clue about any of the BASICS of protection on a professional level) I got all I need now to find them if I need to, lol.. just a waste of my time!

The fact is professionals, as in cops/military don’t need to know the style’s master, a bunch of foreign terms and how to wear pajamas and act as ‘in character (asian dress up party) as possible to learn how to survive the streets! They don’t need Jurus/Katas they need drills to become skills that they can employ immediately! Don’t get me wrong, I love martial arts, but I accept it for what it is and even though I live in Japan, I got no interest in trying to become the last Samurai! lol, but on the other hand I’m not one of these guys that loves to sit there and talk about how shitty martial arts techniques are but have no real answers myself..Trying to ‘prove techniques wrong’ is a waste of time I think, especially if you haven’t learned the foundational elements nor had to adapt and employ it in the field… other than that, yeah I got no time to talk about shit cos I’m too busy training! Feel me?

What would your reason for the “Streetfighter”/RBSD practitioner to learn a softer art such as Tai Ji Quan?

I don’t see myself as a ‘street fighter’ or this or that, my name’s Luke, I’m from the land down under and I don’t cop shit from anyone! That’s how it is, in my world; Respect is the only currency! I give everyone a dollar in the beginning, they sit there and expect the world and don’t show any real appreciation, gratitude or consideration but when it comes time for them to ask me for that dollar back I say ‘Sorry mate, but you only got 10 cents left in your account’.. and leave it at that!

I’ve dealt with armed attacks on myself and clients/patrons in public and also in private and I am training tactics that rely on assertiveness with committed, controlled aggressiveness and intimidation! That’s how I am, I made up my mind in the beginning that I refuse to be the victim!

As for Taiji, if you train push hands you learn to move/deal with any line of force/tension and or ‘energy’ (without being cosmic about it, let’s just say ‘gravity’).. So the expression of the ‘technique’ is irrelevant if you are truly ‘listening’.. not waiting but LISTENING (what you technicians like to refer to as ‘ting-jing’) which is making use of your hightened sense of awareness to expand that awareness through your own structure and into your opponents.. Now, I know I’m probably loosing more than half the people reading this by now so I can go back to being gutter mouthed sharp shootin’ Aussie! It’s simple: Control yourself and you can control your opponent (if you TRAIN how to).. knowing how is one thing but maintaining your skills and awareness levels is another thing! In short Taiji has helped me BIG TIME in shooting, grappling and restraining, contain & removal in the field; Simply because you train to deal with anything in an instinctive, natural/fluent and appropriate manner! The biggest misconception about taiji is that it’s some sort of spiritual cosmic bull shit and that you need to try and be more asian then the next fella to be able to do it/teach it. I stopped wearing the pajamas (guilty but I admit I once did, come on.. we were all brain washed at one point lol) once I started push hands and found that it saved my arse more than a few times in the field wearing gear and all!

What is one of the hardest things to teach (in your opinion)?

Kids classes!

hahaha, I’m a parent my self so I’m very passionate about kids becoming self reliant and making the right choices in life and of courses making their personal security a priority a long with training self protection (self defense is just not being pro-active enough as they train to wait for the attacks). I started teaching in the year 2000 and I’ve found that doing kids classes is very rewarding and enjoyable but hard to maintain your personal life/space as parents try and get involved or try and get you involved in their shit fights etc.. it’s quite hard to maintain a balance sometimes..

The other hardest thing to share with people is Taiji, it really just takes patience and commitment like no other art, but the mental, emotional and of course physical benefits are like no other.

What are some of the things you’d want every woman to know about personal self-protection?

As I work a lot as a security consultant advising corporations and most recently even regiments on risk management/crisis responses and prevention planning it is quite easy to give advice to women because most of them don’t know to start.. You can see it when they walk.. put yourself in a stalkers shoes, does she walk with intent? Does she look like she’s off with the fairies (day dreaming)?  Any other indications of being an easy target such as: Ipod, mobile phone being used, dark street she has chosen to take, etc?

The main thing is not setting a pattern and preventing stalkers (who have the potential to become kidnappers/rapists and other scum that just haven’t stepped over the line yet but are heading towards it with intent). Making privacy protection a priority ie – not adding people you don’t know on facebook (etc) when you put up your whole life on there including where you are at what time (like anyone gives a shit).. actually it’s funny cos a lot of these dudes who are ‘Tacti-coool’ trainers don’t obey basic principals of privacy protection/personal security either.. again, jokes in my book! But yeah, it’s not about learning mad martial arts skills it’s about using your head! Martial arts requires maintenance where as personal protection requires simple common sense, sometimes you just gotta show them how to develop that.. Can I leave that one there for now?  I think it’ll go on way too long! hahaha, sorry..

We’ve noticed from your videos that you enjoy knifeplay.  What is the draw?  And do you feel that knife drills are important for every “serious” self-protection student?

It’s like this, people in the UK ask my why I bother with it and people in the US ask my why don’t I show more of the ‘tactical stuff’ on youtube (free)?   Well, it’s the situation and the impacting factors (as always!) but think about this, even if you aren’t carrying a knife and you do disarm it/one and you don’t have a clue about survival tactics (with the knife, I’m not talking about martial arts – screw that for the time being)/ Weapon Retention it’s probably more dangerous to you than it is the assailant. Plus, our knife work is adapted to house hold utensils, pens, screwdrivers you name it, we’ll use it when necessary! Don’t get me wrong, again, I love martial arts but I’m a big white guy in the line of work who needs urban survival skills for myself AND others! I’m not a little asian guy and I don’t try to be! I don’t play dress ups anymore, I live in the real world and have had to deal with real shit.  Anyone else seeing what I see has woken up to them selves!

What has your experience (thusfar) as a full time trainer taught you?

Shit, I don’t know where to begin, off the top of my head (like the rest of these answers) I guess just being able to deal with different people..

I have taught security, law enforcement, customs and military/SF in more countries then I ever imagined visiting and when you look at different people in different jobs from different countries you get a pretty good variety. A lot of positive things have come of it; Patience, Tolerance, Flexibility and I guess another big thing is not giving a shit anymore.. by that I mean I used to care what people think about me/my material and now I’ve got bigger things in my life to be concerned with. Kids talking shit on the internet doesn’t mean much to me, they’re the one’s loosing sleep over it all! hahaha

What are your thoughts regarding Traditional Martial Art form work?  In your opinion, do they help or hinder a practitioner’s ability to react spontaneously with the proper intent?  If so, do you feel there should be a short, CQC (close quarter combat) form or kata?


I do not believe that Kata/Jurus helps you with that at all! Not only is there no-one in-front of you, there’s no situation/incident which is spontaneous/random/intimidating/un-fair etc.. However, it’s like pad work.. it just develops a certain skill. In Chinese arts we do forms (Taolu) and in my southern training a lot of it was based on developing intrinsic energies within the body which create explosive power, in Japanese arts it’s kata and all about basics being reliable (however in my jujutsu training here in Japan there was never kata) in SE Asian (Malaysian/Indonesian/Filipino) we have Jurus and to me they are much more realistic (as they are more savage when the Buah ‘application’ is trained) but still are limiting.  And this is why we do a lot of scenario based simulation training with no rules/limitations (mind you I’ve lost the same tooth twice doing it recently haha) but it’s worth it, well worth it! I sometimes still train my tonglong forms/drills cos they rip the shit out of you and develop and insane amount of energy but I don’t bother with Jurus much anymore, I’m not a muslim nor an asian so I don’t pretend to understand the ‘cultural benefits’, when I’m in SE Asia training Silat I simply follow and of course appreciate whatever is shared with me, weather it be ‘the deep dark secrets of jungle blade arts or a nice meal and tea, but my own personal training has a different objective. Today, I’m still training taiji, regardless of what anyone says – it’s the real deal.. unfortunately it will take most people until they are in there 50s (no longer to do what they can now and have to look at an alternative) to realize/appreciate that.

Where does Luke Holloway see himself 10 years from now?

Everyday brings new things/beings and situations into your life that will effect you, I try and make the best out of every situation.

So I’m just crusin’ along seein’ what’s goin’ on… make sense? As long as I have the health and safety of me and my family, I’m not too bothered about what I’m doing. Of course I’m passionate about it, but I’d be just as happy to be doing other things that are positive and productive for me – it’s not about leaving a ‘legacy’ or ‘being remembered as this or that.’ I couldn’t care less! I’ve have met wonderful people and had a wonderful time appreciating everyday and making the most of it, if it ended tomorrow I’m still content, if I’m still doing it in 10 years and we are still happy and healthy we are blessed.

Bonus Questions: We just recently had a Roundtable Discussion.  The question was “What’s your favorite (martial art/inspirational) book that you OWN, and why?”

I collected martial arts books in high-school/college and realized they were all B.S. when I started in my profession, that was even further supported when I saw a lot of those clowns on youtube. In a book, you can say what you want and show what you want in slow motion and make yourself out to be anyone, from anywhere doing anything… same in MA mags which are total B.S. these days, they have ‘Halls of fame’ Bwhahahaha, what a joke! The ‘famous’ guys are the ones who have spent over 10 grand on advertising with them. I advertised in a magazine once and before then no matter how much I tried they wouldn’t put my material in their news or do a story or anything.  If it’s not profitable, they are not interested, which is fair enough. But I went home earlier this year and I don’t have any idea why but I brought a magazine (MA) and it’s still got the same fat guys in pajamas talking the same shit about how ‘samurai’ they are or how their lineage is more ‘correct’ or how ‘scientific’ their techniques are.  It’s all a big joke to me and so are books in most cases! I would rather read someone’s story and get into the guy’s head if I wanted to learn from him.  A recent book I have is called ‘The Art of Deception.’ It is full of case stories about one of the worlds best hackers and manipulators of the human element of security through social engineering.  It re-enforced that I am on the right path as a consultant & active operative but also gave me the chance to see it from another point of view, the criminals.

I’m sorry mate, that’s probably not really what you wanted to hear and I know a lot of people may be offended by some of the things I’ve said.  In my experience it usually means I’ve hit the nail on the head and that nail was on their weak spot!  But nothing is mean to be in vain or offensive, you asked my opinion on things and I gave it, I hate preachers and shit dribblers so I refuse to be/act like one.

Anyhow, I’d like to say thank you and the Combative Corner for giving me the chance to be heard.

Bless you all.


Roundtable Discussion 006: Life

Posted in Martial Arts, Roundtable Discussion with tags , , , , , , on November 22, 2010 by Combative Corner

Six martial artists, from six different disciplines were asked,

“How did the study of the martial arts impact your Life?”


Robert Lara ::.. The study of Martial Arts positively impacts my life more and more each day. I started my studies in the arts to learn to be able to control attackers. But as the years have went by I now train to learn to control myself. To master the self is the true battle.

I do my best each day of my life to better myself through the study Martial Arts. I deal with Fibromyalgia and other health issues. Without the Martial Arts I would not have the tools to deal with my health issues. I wish you all the best on your paths in the study of Martial Arts.


Brandon Vaughn ::.. That’s easy.  My martial arts training greatly increased my confidence and improved my self discipline.

I first started training for the same reason a lot of kids did because I wanted to be able to beat up all the bullies that were tormenting me at the time. As so often happens in martial arts, by the time you learn how to “fight” you realize that you no longer need to. Through Martial Arts I gained the confidence to stand up for myself but also the discipline to not let people provoke me into fighting over nothing. I went from walking looking down at my shoes to walking with my chin held high.

Martial Arts also helped me deal with some anger issues when I was younger and still helps me manage my temper to this day. Martial Arts gave me a healthy outlet for expressing my anger and according to my wife has calmed me down a lot since high school. One of the main reasons I enjoy teaching so much is because I get to help kids dealing with the same issues that I dealt with as a child. Nothing compares to watching a student’s confidence grow before your eyes.


Freddie Lee ::.. Martial Arts holds great significance in my life. Before practicing Martial Art, all I knew of was sport, nothing about art. When I started training, it was a physical discipline, something that was nothing new to me. It was not until 2 years later did I begin to look deeper into it. It first started with being inspired by Bruce Lee. Practicing Martial Arts for the first time made me proud of my own culture and race. I was no longer ashamed. For the first time I went to seek out information about my original Chinese culture.

I first started reading “The Artist of Life.” That lead me to many other books related to Eastern Philosophy. Martial Arts sparked my thirst for knowledge and wisdom. Ever since then, my life was never the same. Ultimately it lead me towards enlightenment. Now I see the world from a whole different level. It has awakened me. I see very clearly now. And it began with Martial Arts; I have much appreciation towards Bruce Lee who had shared his wisdom with the world through his writings.


Johnny Kuo ::.. The martial arts have impacted my life in several ways, but the primary effect has been on personal development. To understand an art, you need to focus your mental energies to perceive its essence. That sort of mental focus is not easy, especially in our modern day barrage of constant and varied distractions. The mental training has paid dividends in different aspects of my life. It helps me stay focused and calm when life’s pressures start mounting.

The other major effect of studying martial arts I’ve noticed has been more social. Training martial arts has given me the opportunity to interact with people who I would probably not run into otherwise. In my experience, the martial arts have been both a vehicle of physical struggle as well as a common bond which forms friendships and community.


Coach Michael Joyce ::.. All people are different (especially children) and as I began to sprout upwards in this world, I played a variety of sports.  My father had always encouraged me to play football and I ended up becoming a fairly decent wide receiver.  In middle school, I could literally feel a strange “shifting” at work.  Running patterns on the football field and catching an oval shaped ball just didn’t cut it for me anymore.  Besides, I wanted something that could help to develop the image of what I had always hoped to become.  The martial arts, whether it was my earlier kungfu training, my college days spent studying fencing (mainly) or, later, my focus on self-defense and taiji… gave me an inner sense of fulfillment that I couldn’t get by being a team player.

In this world, it is important to do things on your own… or at least, have the capacity and confidence to do things on your own.  Although we all need people to guide us, nothing improves one’s confidence and sense of achievement when you know it was your strength, your courage, and your determination that produced the result.  Moreso, the result becomes even greater to see as one continues down the martial art path, whereby the result isn’t a championship ring, but something deep and profound that you wake up to every morning and something absolutely no one can take away.




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10 Questions with Philip Sahagun

Posted in 10 Questions, Kungfu with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 14, 2010 by Combative Corner

7-Time National Champion of the Open Martial Arts Circuit

3-Time International Level Weapons Champion (2003-2005)

Member US Traditional Wushu Team (USAKWF) 2006 & 2008


1) How did you know that you wanted to become a professional martial artist?

When I was young I didn’t know what I would do as a profession. My father and mother were both in the martial arts and I began training in Kenpo Karate and kickboxing from an early age. However despite the fact I was born into it, I didn’t seem to have any physical talent. If I fought I lost, if I jumped I wasn’t the highest, and if I ran I certainly wasn’t the fastest. Basically I had no prospects for the martial arts until my latter teens. During that time something clicked. It was like I discovered how to use a key that I had carried all along. I started to excel in physical training and eventually my personal life. Twelve years of training had passed and I began to consider martial arts a possible career.

(2) What are some top martial artists/athletes/coaches that made an impression on you?

My family played the largest role in my development, they opened the school South Coast Martial Arts when I was 5 and introduced me to training. Also my current Wushu Coach Wei Jin Lin or (Wei Wei) has helped me greatly with body mechanics and performance, while my martial arts mentor Shi Yan Xu (former teacher to Shaolin Temple’s Warrior Monks) has greatly improved my understanding of traditional arts and the martial mindset. Other than that, various Kick boxers, Wushu players, Monks, Lawyers, and even singers have all helped me in my practice.

(3) Wushu seems to be your “big passion.” Is it, and what set Wushu apart?

Wushu is a big passion of mine, and although I was brought up in other art forms I always found myself fascinated by the world of Chinese Martial Arts and weaponry. For me Wushu is unique in many ways. I feel it places a higher emphasis on physical conditioning and mind body unity. Ankles, Hips Knees, Arms, Back, Quads etc it seems like there’s not one thing Wushu isn’t concerned about stretching, strengthening or making faster and I enjoy that challenge. Another thing that attracts me is the culture aspect of it. I feel the methods of performance art, self cultivation and spirit found within Wushu allows it to transcend a one level practice; and in the words of Jet Li allows it to be “an intricate, purposeful skill.”

(4) How does (Spirituality/Meditation) play a role in what you do? (Or does it)

I love discussing philosophy, religious beliefs and meditation within the martial arts, but unfortunately I feel that topic lacks interest amongst today’s practitioners. I feel that in our youth one can always be faster, stronger, and more flexible, but as time passes and we begin to turn old, how much of these physical skills can stay with us? I am a strong believer that scholarly practices and physical practices are complimentary; you should pursue both with equal respect if you want to be considered a true martial artist and have qualities that are everlasting. A quote often shared by Teijun-Soku Uekata and Gichen Funakoshi; “No matter how high your skills become in art or scholastics, nothing is more important than your behavior and humanity as observed in daily life.” I strongly agree with this.

(5) What are the biggest problems that you confront when you are preparing to compete/demo/fight/or spar?

When I was younger I would be worried about how tough my opponent was or what would happen if I made a mistake in executing certain movements. However right now I really don’t have any problems when sparring or performing. I’ve faced numerous challenges and made numerous mistakes throughout my practice. I am certainly not without loss, yet I still don’t doubt myself or my ability. In practice and competition, we should not detain ourselves with thoughts of wins or loses, nor in advancement or setback. Failure in the past can be redeemed by the present, and successes of the future will be determined by our awareness. In this sense when practicing martial arts we have to maintain a “No Mind” mentality and I follow that pretty seriously.

(6) What goes through your mind before you compete or prepare to demonstrate in front of an audience? (and is it the same routine/thought independent of the audience size?)

For me it doesn’t matter how large the audience, but it is nice to know what the audience is interested in. For instance I’ve performed at Anime Conventions, Basketball Shows, Buddhist Monasteries, Karate Tournaments etc. but despite my experience, I never really have a set idea of what to perform unless I know where I’m going or who I’m going to perform in front of. For instance, I love traditional Martial Arts. But If I were to walk into a basketball stadium and do a performance of Traditional MA I can guarantee that over 90% of people would not find interesting. So generally I think about what would interest my audience and then I plan accordingly.

(7) As a Traditional Martial Artist, what is your opinion of people entering the sport of “Mixed Martial Arts” (or do you even bother watching?)

I watch MMA from time to time and there are a handful of fighters who have good skill and maintain a set of values. Unfortunately I feel the current marketing behind MMA promotes a lot of negative imagery that doesn’t accurately represent its athletes nor the “martial arts” side of MMA, but such is the effects of media and promotion. I understand that most MMA athletes fight to make a living and I can’t criticize them for doing so.

(8) Out of all that you do, what are you most passionate about or what would you most like to accomplish with your skill?

I currently teach about five days a week and I am very passionate about it. It’s rewarding to see children and adults make progress in training and I sincerely hope to have greater opportunities to teach more in the future.

(9) Thinking back on your life, what are a couple of major, martial art highlights?

In 2006 I took part of a Chinese TV show co-sponsored by Shenzhen TV and the Shaolin Temple called Kungfu Star. For its time K-Star was China’s largest scale reality television program and reached an audience of around 300 Million. I am very proud to have participated in that event and I still have many friends and found memories associated with it. Also in 2008 I took a group of students to compete in China’s Third Traditional Wushu Festival near Wudang Mountain. Although I personally didn’t do very well, it was a thrill to see my students compete and earn such high marks. We had four competitors and everyone took home a first, second, or third in their respective events.
(10) Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years?

In five to ten years I hope to have travelled more of the world studying different traditions and cultures. I also wish to make more friends through the martial arts and create events to promote the benefits of its study to the public. Hmm, what else? Basically I want to continue what I’m doing on a larger scale and regardless of where this life takes me, I know the only way for me to find happiness is to keep moving forward. I’m on a quest for self betterment and I don’t plan on giving that up anytime soon.

For More Information about Philip Sahagun:


Fencing Language in “The Princess Bride”

Posted in Fencing, Swordsmanship, Techniques, Videos, Weapons with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 11, 2010 by chencenter

The Princess Bride Duel 001

If you’re anything like me, you found the movie The Princess Bride (1987) by Rob Reiner, to be a very entertaining film.  In all honesty, this was the film that poured gasoline on my desire to wield a sword, and quote the lines (with accent), “Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya.  You killed my father.  Prepare to die.”  For others it may have been Errol Flynn or Douglas Fairbanks; but for me, it was the sword fight on “The Cliffs of Insanity” that sparked my early fascination with fencing.

Watch here:

In this particular scene, while dueling (then, a life-or-death affair), while at the same time showing overwhelming sportsmanship, Inigo Montoya and the Man-In-Black (Westley) casually (and most humorously) discuss complex fencing tactics.  It was this friendly exchange of historical references that I found completely intriguing.  For years, I would quote the lines, but it wasn’t until my first years of fencing (and quite a bit of research & inquiring) that I understood what they were talking about.


Inigo Montoya: You are using Bonetti’s Defense against me, ah?
Man in Black: I thought it fitting considering the rocky terrain.
Inigo: Naturally, you must suspect me to attack with Capa Ferro?
Man in Black: Naturally, but I find that Thibault cancels out Capa Ferro. Don’t you?
Inigo: Unless the enemy has studied his Agrippa… which I have.


The quotation begins with Inigo, pushing Wesley (The Man in Black) back in retreat with his consistent attacks.  “Bonetti’s Defense” refers to the Italian swordmaster Rocco Bonetti, who established a “School of Arms” in London in 1576.  An unusual reference, as Bonetti was much hated by English fencing masters of the time (i.e. critically bashed by George Silver in his Paradoxes of Defence [1599]) and was killed in a duel against a man named Austen Bagger (who, during the duel, was “quite drunk” and “easily defeated” Bonetti*).

[*Source: The Encyclopedia of the Sword. Evangelista, Nick.]

Unfortunately we have no idea how Bonetti fenced.  What is of popular opinion (as to the reference in the film) is that “Waterman’s Story” whereby Bonetti once drew his sword and was quickly belted with the oar of the waterman (per: Guy Windsor’s demonstration in the video below) and lost the fight.  By cautiously stepping back and relying on defense, it helps to ensure that he doesn’t make a fatal blunder by attacking from an uneven, unpredictable surface (ie. “rocky terrain”).

Capo Ferro drawingInigo’s second question to Wesley is, “…You must suspect me to attack with Capa Ferro?”  This, is a misspelling first off.  Both the International Movie Database (IMDB.Com) and the movie’s subtitles say “Capa Ferro”, when instead, it’s actually “Capo Ferro.”  In this instance, “Capa (Capo) Ferro” is a term given to the powerful attack known as “The Lunge,” obviously after Italian swordmaster, Ridolfo Capo Ferro, who taught a linear style of fencing.  (a good analysis of Capo Ferro can be located (here: click)

Thibault drawingWesley’s retort was of, “…but I find that Thibault cancels out Capa Ferro. Don’t you?”  This speaks of Gérard (Girard) Thibault d’Anvers (1574-1627), a Dutch fencing master and author of the rapier manual, Academie de l’Espée (1630).  Thibault brilliantly utilized both logic and geometry to aid in his swordfighting defense.  Therefore, Wesley felt that his Thibaultian studies in using such tactics as (for example) “higher ground” and angulation on attack, gave him added measure when defending against linear thrusts such as “The Lunge.”

Camillo AgrippaTo this, Inigo concludes, “Unless the enemy has studied his Agrippa…”  – a term named after Italian short sword master, Camillo Agrippa who wrote, Treatise on the Science of Arms with Philosophical Dialogue (1553).  Historically, Agrippa simplified fencing techniques (i.e. Shortened Marozzo’s eleven guards, to a “fundamental four”), emphasizing defensive tactics,  & logic above techniques that he deemed over-stylized.  One can imagine that since he was a master of the short sword, he would be quite knowledgeable in “closing distance” (because in closer proximity, the short sword rules!).  In the picture to the left, the drawing shows a fencer as he raises his primary weapon arm in a prime-like position, which is effective counter to the mid & low-line of the body on high-line thrusts.

And there you have it…a breakdown of the famous movie duel from The Princess Bride.

Continue to study, practice and duel… in a valiant attempt at making a victory over you, “Inconceivable!”

Coach Michael Joyce

[CombativeCorner Profile]



Coach Michael Joyce teaches classical foil fencing in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.  Mr. Joyce got his training at both the St. Louis University (1998, 1999) and University of NC-Greensboro (1999-2002) Fencing Clubs.  He has been teaching (fencing) professionally since 2005.


Joyce’s Fencing Page -Click-


One-On-One with Freddie Lee: Competition

Posted in Martial Arts, Philosophy with tags , , , , , , , , on November 9, 2010 by Sifu Freddie Lee

Competition fighting is all about egos.  Without an ego you would not be in competition. That is the fostering of the opposite of what the spiritual side of martial arts should really be about, which is to destroy the ego, not foster it in which to make it stronger.  Competition fighters are extremely dedicated athletes; they are great athletes likened to football players, basketball players, gymnasts, etc.  They have come close to perfection of the physical aspect of the martial arts, but have denied the mental and spiritual aspects which are just as important if not more important.  There are great people in all fields of study, great psychologists, doctors, teachers, etc.  Educators are contributing something that is much more valuable to the society than a brute that can be put in the ring like an animal for a crowd to watch in a fight.  How in any way is that to benefit the society other then to motivate more humans to do the same?

As for basketball, baseball, and various other sports, it’s a game and people are not playing it to hurt one another.  But in competition fighting, people are doing whatever they can to hurt one another.  The more they hurt one another the better.  What is the sense in that?  If people really want to hurt one another then why not just go to war?  But yet war and gun violence is discouraged but yet televised public displays of individuals bashing one another with fists and feet is somehow accepted.

Competition tournament fighting just serves to reinforce and develop the ego in man that should be eliminated.  Being drawn into competition fighting is basically going backwards rather than forwards in the progression to spirituality.  If some great fighter can beat up another man, what does that really prove?  One man is just proving his physical excellence over someone else, but why is that important?  Does an adult male need to prove his excellence over a toddler by putting the toddler in the hospital?  Does an adult male need to prove his excellence over a woman and rape her against her will?

If person A is a better fighter than person B and overpowers person B in a ring fight, what has person A really proved?   Person A was able to beat person B on the Monday night fight, but what about Tuesday, Wednesday, and every other following day?  If person B was smart and knew that person A had an advantage over him physically, person B would not have even gotten in that ring fight and would have devised a more tactical way to destroy person A.  Person B could gather a couple of his friends sneak up behind person A and beat him to submission.  Person B could get a gun, knife, or any weapon and batter person A when person A is not paying attention.  But if person B did any of these acts it would be discouraged by the society and it would land him in jail.  But what is so different than that and competition fighting?

Violence is violence, organized or not, no matter if both parties agree to participate in the violence it still is violence that the society would be better off without.  If competition fighters are admired by the society then street gangs and thugs should be admired as well.  Gangs and thugs on the streets have basically an agreed organized form of violence of which many times involve gun violence, but yet this is discouraged by the society.  But say they did not use guns and they all just got together in the streets and started fist fighting one another, what difference is that compared to competition fighting?  On the streets they would all be put in jail for disorderly conduct but yet when televised to the nation, not only are they free from being arrested put they are given money and social approval.  There are laws against organized animal fighting but yet there are no laws against organized human fighting.

It does not matter how much of a great fighter one single person is.  One person with a gun no matter how weak or small can take the life of a competition fighter.  One person with a hidden knife can take the competition fighters life when his head is turned.  One competition fighter cannot overcome a gang of 50 people who are going to take advantage of him and do whatever they want to him.  In the prisons, in the streets, and in modern times, it’s about affiliation, numbers, acceptance, groups, weapons, etc.  One person’s physical ability can never compete against a crowd of adults that are willing to take this person’s life.

Admiring competition fighters is really not too different than admiring a street thug who has no care or worry for his life.  He is willing to do whatever it takes to protect his pride and respect because that is all he lives for.  If someone disrespects him in anyway, this thug will not hesitate to take another person’s life.  Competition fighters are not people that are tough and fearful compared to the people affiliated to the mafia like in the movie “Godfather”.  That is the modern representation of coercive power, not some individual that can just punch and kick effectively.

Some people practice competition fighting to intimidate others.  But a person who has a firearm and is not afraid to use it is more intimidating than a competition fighter.  One who is affiliated with a mafia or a powerful gang is more intimidating than a competition fighter.  An enemy disguised as a friend that is waiting for the right time to batter you is more intimidating than a competition fighter.

Competition based fighting is closer to Martial Sport than Martial Art.  Competition sport fighters have definitely already lost the understanding of being an artist because if they had attained proper mental and spiritual awareness they would not be entering in such competitions in the first place.

One can travel around the nation and win as many tournaments as possible, but what does that prove?  That one is the greatest fighter?  Surely this cannot be true as it is literally impossible to fight a world of billions of civilians.  So really what is the purpose of this brutal journey?

Competition sport fighters have great skill in the ring but what they do is far from reality. In real life, there is a high likelihood there will be multiple offenders. In real life, all sorts of weapons can be used, such as a knife, gun, beer bottle, bat, etc. In real life, there is no judge to stop the fight, in real life, people go to the hospital, people get arrested and charged, and people even die. In real life, you may be fighting for your life spontaneously with no preparation or knowledge of who you will be fighting or when. There are many factors that completely change the priorities of proper training for survival opposed to competition fighting.

A true martial artist is an artist who has destroyed the inner ego from within in which to foster peace and love.  The goal of Martial Art is to develop oneself into a more peaceful individual.  Not a competitive and violent individual that wishes to boast of the effectiveness of his technique by violently destroying a weaker individual.  Becoming extremely proficient in the Martial Arts is likened to being in possession of a firearm or dangerous weapon.  A lethal weapon in the wrong hands is devastating to society.  A lethal weapon in the right hands can be used to protect those that need protection.

Therefore the most practical aspect of Martial Art in modern society is not the perfection of fighting techniques but rather the perfection of the inner spirit that fosters love, compassion, and peace.  Examples of individuals that have achieved the elite development of the spirit are Jesus, Martin Luther King Jr., Gandhi, Dali-Lama, Confucius, Osho, Buddha, and Lao-tzu.  Martial Art should simply be used as a means into achieving true peace of mind.  If one was to ever achieve true peace of mind, a true Martial Artist would never compete with another in order to assert himself.  If one ceases to be competitive and if one ceases to be violent; he will attract peace within his life.  And he would rarely if ever have to result in utilizing his physical ability to defend himself from violent encounters.

Sifu Freddie Lee


[CombativeCorner Profile]

10 Questions with T.J. Kennedy

Posted in 10 Questions with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on November 2, 2010 by Combative Corner

The Combative Corner is proud to introduce to you (if you didn’t already know), Mr. T.J. Kennedy…a martial artist with an array of talents, such as: Krav Maga, Irish Stick Fighting and Muay Thai.   T.J. Kennedy is the chief instructor and founder of the Hybrid Fighting Method™ (HFM).  Apart from teaching this unique system, he also serves the public as a self-defense instructor through SAFE International™, an organization that teaches youngsters (from high school up), private groups, and corporations, valuable lessons in personal self-protection.  T.J. lives and teaches in Ontario, Canada.  For more info on T.J., visit his website [here], his blog [here] and/or his YouTube channel [here].  Those who want to be updated by email on his newest articles/posts, workshop dates, etc., should also sign up for his newsletter (located on his blog).

Now… let the interview begin!


(1)   What’s your martial art background?

I started with Tae Kwon Do in high school.  For the entire duration of my childhood, I so badly wanted to take martial arts, that after years of pestering my parents, they finally signed me up at a local school.  I spent just over 2 years there.

After that, I learned Krav Maga, the self-defense system used by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF).  I have also trained in Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Boxing, Karate, Bujinkan Ninjutsu, some Jeet Kune Do, and various pressure point systems.

If I were to boil it down even further, I would say that a majority of my background is Krav Maga, with significant Muay Thai elements – peppered with the rest.

(2)   Did you know always know that you wanted to teach self-defense professionally? If not, what was your direction/job and what got you onto the path you’re on now?

Well, for years I was a devout Pentecostal Christian (I am now an atheist…and much happier), and I went away to college to study for my Bachelor of Arts in Theology.  I spent 3 years in this 4 year program, with an intercultural focus, and travelling to and from Southeast China and Hong Kong teaching English to all ages.  My goal was to travel/move to China and become a Christian missionary.

In my third year, I got engaged to be married, and decided to take a year off of school to work and save money for the costs associated with my engagement.  My fiancée was a Chinese national, and we had plans of getting her a Canadian citizenship.  So our process was to first bring her to Canada and get married, work and live here in Canada until we were able to secure her a Canadian citizenship (in this time I would finish my final year of school), and then move back to China and work as missionaries to the Chinese people.

It was soon after my return from China to Canada in 2002, alone, that I gave my head a shake.  I realized that at only 21 years of age, I was nowhere near ready for marriage.

To make a long story short, I broke off the engagement, and got a job as a security guard to pay the bills.  During this time, I was looking to start training again in some kind of martial art (I had just over 2 years of Tae Kwon Do in high school).

I had discovered a martial arts school local to me that taught Krav Maga.  I booked a trial class, and on a fateful Saturday morning, on a mere 3 hours of sleep, I laced up my shoes and stepped onto the mats with 3 other guys and our instructor for the day.

I felt like a fish out of water.  I accidentally poked one of these guys in the eye…twice I think.  I also quit halfway through, running to the bathroom to puke from the amount of knee strikes I was absorbing through the kicking shield.  I was about to dip out the door when the instructor encouraged me to get back on the mats and finish the last 20-25 minutes of class.

I did, and ultimately decided that if that 60 minute class could do to me what it did, but all these other guys could handle it – then it was something I needed to invest my time and money in.  I signed up immediately.

Fast forward 6 months of training 3-5 days a week, and I knew I was in love with self-defense.  I knew in my mind that this is what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.  I told my instructor this, and a year later I was in my first instructor certification course in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The more knowledge I attained and the more I trained, the deeper in love I fell with self-defense and martial arts as a lifestyle.

I took a part-time job as a bouncer in January of 2004 to help pay my bills, as I was at the time not working as a security guard, but as a self-defense instructor.

I got “the itch”, wanting to try my hand at combat sports, so I started training in Muay Thai, Boxing, and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.  In 2007 I had 2 Muay Thai fights.  The first one I got knocked out cold at about 1m30s into the first round.  My second fight, 3 months later, I won by split decision after a hard fought 3 rounds.

At this point in time, I was passionate about fighting, and passionate about self-defense.  I sat down one day and challenged myself to be excellent at whatever I set my hands to.  I realized that for me, I could be fantastic at fighting, or fantastic at self-defense (and the teaching of it) – but I would have to dedicate 100% of myself to one or the other if I was to be the best I could be at it.

So, on that day, in that very moment, I chose to pursue my dream of teaching self-defense with unwavering focus – and I haven’t looked back since.

(3)   What is the biggest obstacle for you as a self-defense instructor?

For me, the single biggest obstacle as an instructor of self-defense is getting people to be proactive about their own safety and the safety of those close to them.  Some puny percentage of the general population takes any kind of self-defense training, but the need for this kind of training is undeniable.

I think people never really think about what would happen if they were attacked violently.  It’s always something they hear on the news, but not something they think about happening to them.

However, the frequency of violence doesn’t really matter, because all it takes is once.  To be sexually assaulted once, shot once, mugged once, stabbed once, kidnapped once – is enough to scar someone for life (both emotionally and physically).

(4)   Is there a style of martial art that you haven’t gotten an opportunity to study yet, but would like to (and why that style)?

There are many arts or systems that I am aware of that I have not formally studied yet that I would love to.  Capoeira, just for the fitness aspect of it.  Kino Mutai, the Filipino art of biting, gouging, and pinching.  Sayoc Kali for its vicious use of knives.  Tom Patire’s Last Resort Tactics (LRT) and Hom Do (his lethal force system).

As the creator of the Hybrid Fighting Method (HFM), I always have my eyes and ears open for new ideas, and old ideas that I haven’t heard yet.  If there is something of value in them, I like to take what is of value and incorporate it into my system.  For this reason, I will always be a student of many arts and systems.

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said that “In my walks, every man I meet is my superior in some way, and in that I learn from him.” I think our learning as people and as self-defense instructors should never stop.  The very moment we think we’ve “arrived”…we haven’t.

(5)   I know from your bio that you do Irish Stick Fighting. Probably one of the lesser known arts from your list. Can you explain to us what it is and why it appeals to you?

Rince an Bhata Uisce Beatha (pronounced: rinkan batta ishka vahaa, which translates to: Dance of the Whiskey Stick) is a Doyle (Dubhghaill) family style of traditional Irish stick fighting which was common place in the faction fights of the 18th & 19th centuries. While most Irish styles used the one-handed methods (much like fencing), the Doyle style evolved from a one-handed style to the much more effective two-handed style when a family member fused the principles of pugilism into the motions of the stick. Passed on from generation to generation, this two-handed style was only taught to individuals with the surname Doyle.

A much sought after style, Rince an Bhata Uisce Beatha was thought to have derived its name from the fact that the style’s creator rented his stick fighting services out to guard illegal distilleries from rival whiskey makers.  ‘The Whiskey Stick’ soon found its way to Canada via a Doyle who left Ireland to start a new life in Newfoundland in the early 1800s. From there, the style found itself passed on from father to son for generations and finally to the current keeper of the flame, Sifu Glen Doyle.  Breaking with tradition of only teaching Doyles, Glen has spread the popularity and tradition of Rince an Bhata Uisce Beatha to anyone with the intensity and desire to learn it.

I first heard of Glen and of Irish stick fighting in Inside Kung Fu magazine years ago (it was before 2000 for sure).

Last year, I had an opportunity to meet Glen, and so I jumped at it.  We met for coffee and talked for an hour or so, and then he took me to check out his training studio.  We hit it off, and Glen struck me as one of those rare human beings that has a heart of gold.

We exchanged numbers and emails, and shortly thereafter I received an invitation via email to a training and certification course run by Glen on April 10th-11th, 2010.  Not really knowing what to expect, but deciding to check it out, I went and learned the fundamentals of his system of stick fighting.  I was immediately blown away by the system’s simplicity and efficacy.  I was surprised that without changing a single thing about this system of stick fighting, it could be used for real and practical self-defense.

It is a very simple system to learn, and it is brutally effective.  It is the only stick fighting system that I am aware of that WANTS to be close quarters (there may be others – but I am not aware of them).  The more I learn of it, the more I fall in love with it.  I have decided to offer instruction in it alongside the Hybrid Fighting Method as I believe it is invaluable.

I am currently a Level 1 Instructor in this system, which has 8 levels to it.

(6)   We spoke a little over Skype regarding the message that we are trying to spread to the public about self-defense. In your opinion why do you think people should take self-defense?

For the same reason they should put on a seatbelt every time they get in a car.  For the same reason that they should wear a life jacket when they are on a boat.

They may never get in a car crash; they may never fall off of a boat; they may never get attacked by somebody.  But if they do, they will be thankful they had taken the precautions to save their life.

Literally every person that is drawing breath can, and will, benefit from self-defense training if they take it.

(7)   Who are some of the people that you look up to in our industry (and this includes the traditional martial arts as well) and why?

Well, there are plenty of people that have influenced me one way or another over the years, but the ones that immediately stand out are:

Richard Dimitri – I love guys like Rich.  Very cerebral, and constantly analyzes what he teaches and his own motivations for teaching it.  I think human beings are still evolving, and Rich is one of those guys at the crest.

Richard Grannon – As a bouncer, I was one day watching YouTube videos on bouncers, and came across a video of Richie Grannon.  Listening to him talk about how he was hurt badly as a doorman, how he dealt with fear, and how he now worked as a “self-protection instructor” – I was immediately drawn to this guy.  The story he tells is very similar to mine – and so I felt a strong connection to him.  After watching his videos, I really bought into the concepts he teaches.  I don’t think anyone can go wrong listening to Richie Grannon.

Tony Blauer – Tony, in my mind, is probably THE guy when it comes to self-defense; the same way that U2 is THE band when it comes to popular music.  He’s not a god or a grandmaster or a mystical ninja – and he makes that abundantly clear in his videos and courses.  I really respect that.  Demonstrating the ability to be human and make mistakes in public view is ballsy…and admirable.

Shawn Zirger – This guy is a Senior Instructor under Paul Vunak for Progressive Fighting Systems.  He is the founder of the Zirger Academy of Jeet Kune Do (

I don’t think there is any single human being that I have had the pleasure of spending time with that has a comparable depth and breadth of combative knowledge to rival what Shawn has.  And the really cool thing about him is that he shares that knowledge freely, completely, and passionately to any desiring to learn it.  He doesn’t know it, but his influence on me has led to significant changes in the Hybrid Fighting Method.

Tim Larkin – I really dig Tim for two reasons.  One – for doing his thing regardless of support or opposition because he believes it is right.  Two – for taking the time to field my questions and offering his experience to help me grow as a person and as an instructor.

Gord Wood – Gord…he has been a tremendous friend since I met him in 2003.  He really showed me how to teach martial arts, and out of everyone, is probably the largest influence on me from our industry.  He and his wife, Ashley, run a school out here in Ancaster, Ontario, Canada called Evolution Martial Arts (  If anyone comes out this way, you owe it to yourself to train with Gord.  He’s an outstanding instructor, an amazing friend, and a wonderful human being.

(8)   What has your experience as a (former) bouncer taught you?

Being a bouncer has been a great experience (mostly) for me.  I have learned how to read body language very quickly, how to talk to people to diffuse a potentially dangerous situation, and I have also developed a keen sense of awareness of my surroundings of any place I walk into based on my experience as a bouncer.

On a physical level, I have learned through experience (some good; some not so good) what combative techniques/tactics/strategies are effective or ineffective.  I have been fortunate as a bouncer, having never been seriously hurt, save one time.  I have been shot at, knives pulled on me, hit in every way imaginable by fists and feet; but the one time I got hurt badly will stick in my mind forever.

I was a bouncer in a downtown Toronto nightclub.  On May 3rd/2009, there was the largest fight I have ever seen in my 7 years of bouncing.  The call came over the radio that something was going down, and so all of us security ran to the part of the club where the fight was happening.  I’ve never seen anything like it – a brawl/riot among 2 or 3 VIP tables.  So, all the ingredients were: 30ish people, 12 bottles of vodka, 12 glass pitchers of juice/pop/etc., about 50 drink glasses, about 50 shot glasses, unknown amount of beer bottles, and 3 large flower vases on the windowsills.

When I got there, there were already 3 or 4 security inside the pyramid of bodies trying to break up the situation.  Glassware and bottles were flying everywhere…it was chaotic.  I stopped on the outskirts of the fight and covered my head due to all the airborne glassware.  A guy in front of me was standing on the couch and he threw a vodka bottle at another table, so I grabbed him and threw him to the floor.

As I did this, one of his friends came from behind me and smashed a vodka bottle over the back of my head (brand was Belvedere – at least it was the good stuff…lol).  I saw a flash in my eyes, my ear was ringing really loud, and my legs both instantly gave out.  I dropped like a sack of potatoes.  After I fell, I tried to get up, but my legs just wouldn’t move.  I sat there for a minute covering my head trying to gain composure.  As I tried to move again, the guy smashed another bottle off the front of my head.  I pulled myself away using my arms, as my legs were still jelly.  As I turned around, that same guy stomped right in my face.  I managed to stand up after this, but I could barely keep my balance.

I had no strength in my limbs, so as much as I wanted to clobber the guy, I made the decision to get the hell outta dodge.  When I saw myself in the bathroom mirror, the entire right side of my head, face, ear, neck, chin, chest, and stomach – were completely painted with my blood.  My jacket and t-shirt were also soaked in my blood.  I grabbed some towels, wet them in the sink, and applied pressure to my head wounds.  I made my way to the staff area at the back of the club, along with 3 other bouncers that got hurt, and we waited for the police and ambulance to arrive.

We all took the same ambulance to the hospital and by 7 a.m. I was out of the emergency room, with 4 staples in my head for one of the cuts, and a nice little gash on my forehead where the 2nd bottle hit.  The rest of my scalp has some small cuts and scrapes and one more gash from the broken glass from the bottles.  As a guy with a shaved head, I am still to this day discovering scars from that night…lol.

I thought I was on the outskirts of the fight, but clearly I wasn’t – as the guy that clubbed me came from behind me.  Sometimes my ego hurts because I didn’t stay and fight, but when I look at it, and the fact that my body wouldn’t respond to what I wanted it to do (it took all my effort just to stand up and to stay standing), I realize that I made the right decision to bail and save my skin.

After the fact, I was told by my coworkers who were working that night that I had knocked out 2 guys before I got to the one who threw the bottle – which would make sense as to why I was targeted.  But I don’t remember everything from that night.  Having had a concussion before being knocked out in my first Muay Thai fight, I know that there are blocks of memory that are lost.

I am thankful, and lucky to be alive to tell the story.

(9)   I know that through SAFE International, you get a chance to talk with young kids all over the country and abroad. Is there an underlining message that you make sure that they understand regarding their safety?

I am always sure to communicate to them that although they can’t control who attacks them, or where they are when they get attacked, or how they’re attacked – the one thing they CAN control is how they respond.  I tell them that if they forget everything I ever teach them, to at least remember this one thing: Ask yourself what you have available to cause injury to the attacker, and what targets on the attacker are available to injure.  Then do everything in your power to cause that damage.  What weapons are available to you (hands, knees, elbow, bites, etc.)?  And what is available to injure (eyes, throat, groin, etc.)?

(10)  What is your method of training to prepare yourself for a violent attack (mentally, physically or both)?

I first start by training a specific technique slowly and in a very controlled manner.  I go through several incidental options that are a by-product of attempting the specific technique.  I do this with all techniques I am learning.  Then I pick up the intensity and get it to the point where I can perform it at full speed and full power.

After this, I allow my training partner(s) to attack me in any way he chooses, starting slowly again until I am proficient, and then I amp up the intensity.

After I am able to confidently defend myself in this context, I add variables of role play, scenario training, etc., to really ingrain the training into my psyche and muscle memory.  That way, when an attack happens, I don’t have to think about what to do (because with all the physical and chemical stimuli I can’t anyway).  I just react according to the principles and techniques I have developed.

Bonus Questions: What are the future plans for Mr. Kennedy?

On November 27th I have an Irish stick fighting championship match that will prove very challenging.  My opponent is a good friend of mine, Colin Simpson, who has been training for years longer than I have in this system.  I am glad that we can be friends now, beat the hell out of each other for 5 rounds, and still be great friends after the fact.

Sometime in early 2011 I plan on having Hybrid Fighting Method instructional DVDs and downloads available to purchase.  The quality is phenomenal!  I’m not just saying that because their my DVDs, but because I was fortunate enough to secure an amazing filmmaker, Mark Hemstock of Hemstock Films ( to film and edit them.

Beyond that, I look forward to preparing and running instructor certification modules in HFM, hopefully by this coming summer.

But before I do any of that…I need to catch up on some sleep!

Thanks for conducting this interview with me Michael; I really do appreciate you taking an interest in what I do.  It is an honour when someone asks me to share my knowledge and experience with them, and I don’t take that lightly.






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