10 Questions With Luke Holloway
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)?
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.