Why Women's Self-Defense and Law Enforcement Seminars?
I have been asked now, on more than one occasion, why I seem to have a preference for women’s self-defense and law enforcement only seminars. In short, what do I have against the general populace (especially, it would seem, the average American male) and what “secret” techniques am I teaching to law enforcement personnel that I won’t teach to private citizens. The answers to these questions are all interrelated.
I have nothing against the average citizen, and would be happy to teach them almost everything that is taught in a law enforcement seminar. Ah ha, you say, there is an “almost” in there. Yes, there is. In most of my law enforcement seminars I will teach how to position a resisting subject for handcuffing, will teach a bit about grappling with a subject while protecting the law enforcement officer’s holstered handgun, and will teach some responses and body postures that are used in order to maintain control of a firearm, to include holstered and unholstered (grasped) handguns. Most private citizens do not need to know these techniques, as they are for situations that are outside of the normal realm of self-defense for most people. For those of you with concealed handgun carry permits and who habitually carry a firearm, yes, you could use the weapon retention skills. I teach the above techniques, as well as joint dislocations and bone breaks, and striking and manipulation of vital areas which can lead to very serious injury or death, to law enforcement officers with current or honorably retired credentials. I feel confident in teaching techniques that have the potential to be deadly or seriously disabling to these men and women because their respective law enforcement employers have vetted them, in that they have passed a stringent background check and competitive hiring process and are under scrutiny day-in and day-out by whatever version of an internal affairs division that exists within their department. In addition, every encounter that a law enforcement officer has is a potential deadly force encounter, because the law enforcement officer carries a mechanism to perpetrate deadly force, the issued or approved law enforcement handgun, with him or her every time he or she is on duty. I consider learning how to destroy the arm, or the person who owns the arm, which is attempting to wrest control of your firearm when you are going about your duties as a law enforcement officer to be a good and fair use of unarmed combative skills. I know some of you are thinking, at this point that there are some “bad cops” out there, and I agree, but, in general, I have found that the vast majority of them are good people doing a difficult job. If I can make that job a little easier, I will. I will teach the exact same level of “death and dismemberment,” as some of my students jokingly refer to it, to anyone who cares to train in classes in Albo Kali Silat. Of course, all new students are vetted by me, and it will take a period of observation and questioning by me, usually amounting to months, prior to some of the more dangerous techniques being taught. At the first sign of misuse of the training, the student is out the door. I do not want to be part of the violence problem in modern society, but part of the solution. There are some people out there who are in desperate need of a good old fashioned beat down, and these are criminals, bullies, terrorists and others who use violence on the innocent. I have no problem with teaching good people how to resist and defeat the bad, but I do not choose to train the bad.
Why women’s self-defense? Well, maybe I am old-fashioned, but I do not like people who beat on women. It sort of annoys me. Women are seen as prey by many of our more violent, predatory criminals. I teach women very effective, very damaging techniques, techniques that are designed to incapacitate or kill a violent attacker. Women, or at least the women who enroll in self-defense seminars, don’t often fight for status. Until a male student is vetted, there is always the chance that he will feel the need to demonstrate his combat prowess in the local drinking establishment or other unsuitable venue, because someone was looking at him, talking to him, etc. in a disrespectful manner. There is always the chance that a more violent than necessary response will be used by a student, but I have found that men fight men for a variety of reasons, and most women who are seeking self-defense training fight men who are trying to victimize them, if they ever have to fight at all. I also thoroughly enjoy teaching women. In all of the years that I have taught martial arts skills, I have yet to have a woman in one of my classes tell me that what I was doing was wrong, that she does the technique this way, that she learned this better technique in the military, ABC Kung Fu and Kick Butt Karate Academy, etc., or that she could wipe the floor with me in a real fight. All of the above have been directed at me, at one time or another, by male students. Now, I am not denigrating anyone’s techniques, skills, fighting style or dojo, or military or police service. I am just saying that, as an instructor, I expect people to come to a class to learn, not teach. In my instruction, I allow time for questions and feedback from students, but they are not there to teach. I have attended more than a few training seminars, law enforcement seminars, and martial arts classes. I went there to learn, not teach. If you want to know the truth, in many cases, as a student I had more extensive credentials than did the instructor of the class, but I learned something in the class anyway. If you keep a good attitude and open mind (and keeping your gaping pie-hole shut is also a plus), you will be surprised how often someone can teach you something useful.
I hope this explains my position on how and who I choose to train. Hopefully, I will see you soon in a class or seminar.