No styles, no systems, no rituals, no lineages, no masters, no labels, no belts, no katas, no uniforms, no dogmas;

Only the process of self actualization & personal expression of truth through functional combative movement and fitness.

On a purely physical level, we share how to individually and collectively use all of our natural tools as well as extended ones, offensively and defensively in a strategic and tactical manner and in all ranges of combat.

We're put through functional physical fitness training where we learn to push ourselves through our own perceived limitations. We also have much to offer on nutrition, health and optimum performance.

On a more cerebral level we learn about the psychology of violence, fear, stress & confrontation management skills, deescalation strategies and holistic survival tactics.

As the mind navigates the body; by challenging personal self defense dogmas and individual & core belief systems, personal growth and evolution occurs.

On a human level, we learn about the ripple effect and the moral, legal, and ethical consequences of our chosen actions while self examining our darkest emotions. We are encouraged to question everything, to learn to think for ourselves, to be more accountable and research everything we learn and to be open and responsive to life without judgment.

On a personal level, the training can make you face and slay your own demons.

Everything shared here is highly encouraged to be individually researched, to “absorb what is useful, add what is specifically of your own and disregard the rest.”

Saturday, February 20, 2010

DVD Special Tactical Urban Combat box set volume 1

TACTICAL URBAN COMBAT BOX SET VOLUME 1: An updated and excellent introduction to Senshido's core concepts and fundamentals!

DVD # 1- Senshido Fundamentals of Personal Protection
DVD # 2 & 3 - Defense Against Most Common Attacks
DVD # 20 - The Lone Warrior
BOOK - In Total Defense Of The Self

Limited time only, offer expires March 1st 2010 get the whole box set of 4 DVDs and our best selling book In Total Defense of the Self for only $150 CDN + shipping fees.Call 514-312-5713 or email to order.

Thank you.

Monday, February 15, 2010

My first solo seminar...

Hey guys,

My first time posting on the blog. My name is Wesley Derequito and I have been training in Senshido for over 10 years now. I hosted my first seminar and it was fantastic. We were a nice small group of about 20 people, and everyone got to take part and everyone did phenomenal. I really felt they saw that Senshido is more than just a self defense system. I even got personal at the end and shared a very small history of me prior to training with Rich and the Senshido gang back in '99. I was ready to write a blog on how the seminar may have impacted the group of people but I am here ot actually share how my semmy impacted me!
Here's my story in a little more detail than I had time to share at my seminar:

I was a little hot-headed before. Not crazy or anything but saying a little wrong thing to me and I would blow up ...never got physical but angry and raising my voice due mostly because I kept things to mself. Only the closest people to me knew I was like that. And some of them today actually forgot I was like that. Basically, Senshido taught me to be level-headed. The verbal diffusion drills and just being aware to it made me realize so much about myself...I was overweight, somewhat lazy, I didn't see the value in many things, and had low self-esteem (which was the worst part). I decided to make changes to myself for the better. My training motivated me to get up train, get healthy and just enjoy being me.

I had finished my initial trainingat Senshido (approx. 3 months) at the time but I was dying to go back. Nto because I felt I needed to...because I really wanted to. I never found a system that was so complete. Not just in the aspect of self defense, training, fighting, martial arts, etc...being aware and learning the psychology of attackers, criminals or so-called "predators" really attracted me. I used in the seminar..." Unfortunately you have to 'think' like the 'bad-guy' to understand the bad-guy..." And it helped me. It helped me to see how not to be the "bad-guy". Not that I ever was, but it helped me to be a better person (not to sound preachy lol).

So that was me before. And today, just like Senshido has, I have evolved as a person. Now, Senshido is not some kind of all world saviour, but I know it does its best as a system ...actually scratch that...the people wh oare part of Senshido do their best to help the peoplearound them be better people whether it be directly through the self defense training or indirectly through the simple gesture of letting anyone come in and at least try a class despite age, race, sex, culture or physical condition (Check out the previous post for that one!). Are there other systems that do this? Yeah, I'm sure there is. But I am just happy to be part of one that does and to be someone who can also give back by being an instructor and able to share with other people is an even bigger reward.

You know at my seminar there were people like my sister and her boyfriend who I invited and to have them tell me how great it was meant alot. And just now one of my best friends who I invited and came just for simply moral support messaged me and told me he didn't even expect to learn so much if the short 2 1/2 hours that he feels he owes me money lol. And then got great feedback form the participants who did amazingly well! I was able to cover stuff that wasn't really on the program because the gang really caught on. The thanks and gratitude I received was a great feeling. I mean I teach the material already but it always feels great. I almost wish for a negative comment because I want to grow as an instructor and find new ways of developing people's skills including my own ;)

Well that's all for now. I will have more seminars in the near future and I will be holding my own classes very very soon which I am excited about. Thanks for reading guys.

Wes Derequito

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Who are looked upon as victims?

Senshido International Sheffield UK Team Member Craig with some of his students and their mothers at a boxing charity event.

I recently received the following private message from one of my International Team Members:

“I just spoke to a mom who is saddened that no martial art or self defence club in my town will take her kid because he’s got Down syndrome... Of course, I told her bring him to us, we will look after him, but she got some pretty hostile responses… fuck these people.. what the fuck is up with some people? Lucky they don’t have a disabled kid hey??”

Needless to say, I understand and empathize with his frustration. Most martial art schools today also market themselves as ‘self defence’ being one of, if not the main benefit of learning their art or system yet this woman was not only turned away from these schools/clubs but she was also insulted and ridiculed.

Strange behaviour coming from places which profess teaching self defence and martial arts. At first, I was astounded by my Team Member’s message, it infuriated me for a moment but I pondered the paragraph and the predicament and came to a couple of possible reasons as to why she was greeted as such…

First of all, a victim is someone who is perceived of as vulnerable in one form or another, there are of course other types of victims but generally, speaking from an average civilian’s perspective, victims are those that are perceived of as being vulnerable. Women, children, elderly, disabled, passive non threatening looking individuals, etc. then of course, one has to also factor in occupation (law enforcement, nurse, cab driver, CEO?) but we’ve already stated we are generalizing here and talking about general population.

Of course, this shouldn’t matter, because a solid self defence system worth its salt which can efficiently be taught to those perceived as vulnerable would work wonders in the more capable’s hands such as law enforcement officers, soldiers or anyone who humbly puts themselves in harm’s way to protect others… of course…not.

Eric (left) & Rich (right) teaching Eric's kids self defence.

Herein lies one of the issues. Most of these systems are not applicable to those that are normally perceived of as vulnerable but are more geared towards the athletic, strong male. The systems in question probably require some form of brute strength, are power based and oriented around knocking the opponent out with powerfully and well executed strikes and blows, or require a certain degree of mastery of techniques rendering these systems or arts obsolete to those who would really need them.

This of course gives birth to insecurity and insecurity manifested by someone who is supposedly teaching the highest form of personal security creates a dichotomy. This internal battle gives rise to the ego, the ego kicks in defence of itself, its pride, its titles, its belts and the like and all sense of the higher self that would normally prevent a human being from lashing out and hurting another by insulting a mother’s disabled child unfortunately… comes out.

This behaviour naturally is supported by the other egos around them for the same insecurities which plague the original man who responded as such in question, also infect the rest who look for guidance, a place to belong and learn from and so the behaviour propagates and we have only 1 out of most clubs in a neighbouring area teaching self defence who will not only train but look and care after the boy with down syndrome instead of categorically refusing him and belittling her for it…

Another possibility is each of these people who answered the phone also had to deal with a disability or another in their families, perhaps they have a sibling or child themselves, or maybe a parent and it is something they couldn’t deal with. Perhaps even they themselves had a disability to contend with growing up and they were treated as such and so after possibly battling and surpassing their disabilities, they replicate the way they were treated to hide that fact, possibly even denying it to themselves. Perhaps.

Of course, those guy at the other end of the phone could’ve simply been all assholes as my team member suggested…

The point is, we’ll never really know what prompts someone, especially in a supposed ‘enlightened’ industry, to respond as such to a mother looking for self defence lessons for her unfortunately disabled child but we can indeed theorize based on acute behavioural and psychological concepts as to why… if you have other well thought out theories, please feel free to share and reply below… remember, your replies are moderated, keep it polite and informative, even if you disagree, you’ll be taken more seriously that way, considered even… :`)

Thank you to our Team Member who will remain anonymous as this is not about us vs them or who teaches better self defence but a glimpse at the power our egos have over us as well as inside human nature at work, who I know will do astounding work with the child.


What will I learn at a Senshido seminar? Is it worth it???

Sheffiled England
An amazing and detailed review of one of our seminars by one of the participants, if you've ever been curious about a Senshido seminar or wondered what they were like, this man gives a very well detailed and written account as per a thread he started on our forum:

Before starting, I would like to point out I am not affiliated to any Senshido school and this is a neutral feedback.

By way of a short introduction, I trained in traditional martial arts when I was younger, mainly karate, then got interested in RBSD for a number of years. After injury and health setbacks in recent years, I currently focus on maintain general fitness as much as possible, do some solo drills and still keep an interest in "the arts", Tai chi being the one I can at least do regularly…

The two reasons for this post are 1) before attending a seminar, I knew very little about Senshido. Alongside general information about Senshido, personal accounts from seminar attendants proved useful, so this will hopefully help other people looking to build information. 2) Richard had asked us to post an honest account. Sorry it's taken so long, but as they say, better late than never… All I knew beforehand was from a Black Belt article and from the articles on Craig’s website, which I’d skimmed through before the seminar.

Sydney Australia
My first introduction to Richard Dimitri came as I walked into the training hall. I passed a bloke, not overly tall but quite stocky, with a beanie hat who was walking in the other direction amongst students who were coming in. He smiled and said a quiet hello.

It’s only after passing him that I thought “hang on, I’ve seen this face on the article, it’s Richard Dimitri”. He did not come across as an aloof master with a huge ego, but a very normal person.

I also realise in hindsight (with all the stuff we learned during the seminar) that he was probably scanning the people coming in, not actively perhaps, but in a sort of continuous awareness mode. When the seminar started, Craig introduced Richard, who invited everyone to sit down on the matted training area and started talking.

I can't help wishing I’d had a tape recorder to record all the information he imparted. To sum up, he explained his background and his philosophy, explained how he came to develop it, what principles he followed, what real life experience he based it on. He told us half-way through “Don’t be impatient, we will soon start the physical drills, and then you’ll be wishing I was still talking because they are tiring”. I’m not sure how long he spoke for in total in that first part, but it went on for maybe 45 man. I can assure you that not for a second did I feel bored.
Auckland New Zealand

The description he gave of his past, his observation on the nature of real life fighting, attacks, muggings, violent fights was captivating. Straight away I was also struck by the intensity and sincerity emanating from what Richard was saying.

This introduction established his credentials as a reality based self defence instructor (basically, I’ve done my research, in the field, by observing real fights and being involved in real fights as well). Some of the stories he recounted (either fights he was involved in or attacks some of his students were victims of) were grim. But they underlined the crucible in which his method was created and refined and helped us understand where he was coming from (not from a book or an imaginary and idealised view of conflict).

We then started working on real drills. Rather than a set of rigid techniques, as in "you do this, I defend like that", these felt like exercises designed to raise awareness of certain principles. As an example, we worked on a situation, such as a knife threat, and tried to apply principles to avoid being hurt. Throughout the day, as well as introducing the fundamentals of his method, Richard passed on a wealth of seminal information and messages. Some of these seem evident but when you think about them, you start questioning a lot of information which is widely peddled as true and taken for granted.

Richard discussed how often do we see a drill or a routine, purporting to be real self defence, where the attacker strikes or reacts in an unrealistic way. After some of the points he made and illustrated, certain clips you find on the internet are actually quite painful to watch because they look really staged, prearranged and ultimately unrealistic (more like theatre or cinema).

Liege, Belgium
The second day followed the same format of Richard giving a lot of explanations on general guidelines and principles and drills designed to help us get a sense of an element which was part of Senshido’s way of self defence. As on the first day, we worked on the anatomy of an attack, on the various steeps leading to an attack, such as the way an attacker who’s spoiling for a fight might chose you, the way there are often warning signs when a mugger or rapist is about to attack us to rob or hurt us.

The explanations that Richard gave us on the mindset of someone who is about to hit or attack us was astonishing. We worked on the reactions we should have to try and defuse the anger and some of the ideas Richard revealed to us were a revelation. To give you an example, he said that we should avoid provoking any further a person who was confronting us violently (in other words, do not unknowingly fuel the fire).

One drill we worked on was designed to avoid making him/her more angry: consider the scenario: a man is accusing you of eyeballing him. He comes at you, nostrils flaring, eyes glaring, smoke practically coming out his ears and growls, "what the f*ck are you looking at you little sh*t?”. Now if you try and calm him down by saying "I was not looking at you”, Richard explained that in a lot of cases the man will get even angrier and say "what, you calling me a liar?" "No I’m not", "there you go again! Do you think I’m stupid?!" and so on until it goes physical. The drill was to defuse it by admitting you were and improvising a natural response, fitting your character, and the situation, and acknowledging you were looking at him, for whatever reason, and apologizing.
North Carolina USA
Thereby, showing you were not a threat, taking away the handle he had to get even angrier, all the while maintain a passive stance, which served a purpose of both looking appeasing and helping to try and calm the bloke down, and all the while offering you protection in case it kicked off (Geoff Thompson has a similar tool, which he calls the Fence I think). We worked on that drill with a partner and even though we had been told how to contradict the person confronting us, we sometimes found ourselves saying "no I wasn’t staring at you, etc.", which shows how deeply ingrained this response was.

Now you might already have worked out this principle for yourself but it’s one of those things I would never had thought of by myself, except perhaps through painful personal experience. It is a very good example of the level of insight which on this course. It was not all physical drills, but went deep into understanding the mechanics of a confrontation and the principles which underpin the way they play out.

As a further example we also covered lots of principles, such as the 5 things one should never do when faced with an aggressor, the 5 principles of physical retaliation.All through the seminar, Richard also kept referring to other great thinkers on the fighting arts, from Bruce Lee (as in the martial artist and not the actor) to Japanese sword master Musashi. Some of his conclusions were fairly close to the messages you will hear from Geoff Thompson or French Expert and living Legend Henry Plée. But let me make it clear it was not Richard stealing the ideas and passing them as his own. Rather, it was a case of several people independently reaching the same conclusions through a different path (a reassuring phenomenon one would imagine for the people who are doing the searching).

Quoting Tony Blauer (I think) Richard said “good information does not displace good information, it merely adds to it”. He did not come across as dogmatic or rigid in his message and paraphrasing Bruce Lee urged us to absorb what is useful (especially to us) and reject what isn’t. (even amongst the material he taught, and not many experts I’ve heard have the same message, not of shooting down what they teach, but of being honest enough to emphasise reality, where some things don’t work out for everyone, rather than an idealist, where cock-ups are ignored)

At the end of the second day, he also invited questions from all attendees, and did not dodge any. (I believe he used to do the same in former seminars with physical attacks and used to invite people to attack him, before injuries forced him to slow down a bit; that said, as one of the participants found out, Richard will not shirk from a live demonstration if someone remains unconvinced of the validity of his method).

Washington DC USA
There was another aspect which was really impressive during the 2 days, Richard urged us "please, do not become that which you are trying to protect yourself again". In other words do not cultivate violent urges and become a thug. He also referred to instructors and experts who project an image of over the top and disproportionate bloodthirsty behaviour (murderous even in one example). Given the efficiency of the material offered in Senshido, the message was very appropriate and elevated it from the mere functional to the spiritual.

Also, this was very refreshing in the current climate where some disciplines have proven themselves very expedient in the physical arena of (nearly) no-holds-barred, seemingly at the expense of any moral values (what you gain in reality efficiency over traditional arts, you seem to lose in terms of decency and moral character in certain quarters)

As for Richard Dimitri himself, it is quite obvious that he knows what he is talking about, because he speaks from experience. Not only has he been there (quite important for a RBSD instructor) but he has applied a methodical approach to his experiences, reflected on them, analysed and refined them, and has worked hard to draw his conclusions. He is clearly a very deep thinker as well as a firm believer in basing his system on real life.

Richard also conveyed another warning : the knowledge he possesses has clearly come at a price: not only physical scars he bears, but also psychological ones which he himself alluded to with a lot of candour (like Geoff Thompson, he emphasises you that there is nothing glamorous in violence, despite what some trendy film directors would have us believe)

Also, listening to him speak informally to normal students during breaks or after the course, showed Richard to be a very modest and approachable person, very intense and sincere, who doesn’t play the part of the big expert, but tells it like he sees it, and shares his passion with enthusiasm with everyone, either one-on-one or speaking to a room-full.

Interestingly a person who'd watched the seminar said he had "charisma ", a word which came to mind during the seminar. Not wholly indispensable for his job, granted, but as soon as he walks on to the matt and starts teaching, it’s like a switch is flicked and he lights up full blast and goes into the full-blown teaching mode.

Really striking.In conclusion I would simply say that Richard Dimitri’s seminar opened a lot of doors and gave me a huge amount of food for thought. If you went from traditional arts to a more RBSD you will be aware of a quantum leap in your perception of reality fighting and the info we gained in this seminar produced a similar effect. We did not come away with a feeling of invulnerability, but a sense of a deeper understanding of the reality of conflict and a lot of food for thought, which has lead me to question a lot of my conceptions and the knowledge I’d acquired over the years. For weeks afterwards, I found myself reflecting on the principles Richard taught us and thinking about their application, not just in the physical realm, but the psychological and even emotional arena.

This is another aspect of Senshido which proved really impressive: you do not only explore the physical, or the awareness and avoidance side of things but you also delve into the emotional aspects of self-defence, before (including your own psychological profile or what makes you tick and react), during and after). If you are interested in self defence, you might well find a lot in what Senshido has to offer.

The approach is very innovative, original and refreshing. It carries the stamp of reality and benefits from the methodical and systematic approach of an expert committed to refining methods, strategies, principles to enhance survivability.

Even if you find some of the info was not what you were looking for it is hard to imagine that you will not find anything of value. Whatever system you study, it is likely you will find lots of stuff to reassess what you do, add to it, question it and refine it.

Even better, if you have a chance to train with Richard, I strongly recommend it. I have seen since the seminar that he comes in for some harsh personal criticism on the Internet, which is fair enough as you can't please everyone, but some people tear him apart and then say they have never met him or attended his seminar or classes. It leaves you wondering at how valid their argument is. Not wishing to dwell on this, it seems obvious that the least one can do to pass an opinion on the method is to try it once… After that, everyone's entitled to their opinion…

Finally I would like to once again thank Craig and Debbie first for holding the seminar, and second for making everyone feel very welcome throughout the weekend. And also Craig for doing his bit to prove that, as the James Bond song goes, in terms of humour "nobody does it better" than the Brits! And a big thank you to Richard for providing so much information which kept resonating for ages afterwards, for his honesty and for his approachability.