Archive for June, 2011

Phoenix School teaches “Braining” over “Brawling” for Self Defense.

June 23, 2011

Phoenix School teaches “Braining” over “Brawling” for Self Defense.
For Immediate Release
Contact Mark Mayes at 602-896-8721

Phoenix Bodyguard & Martial Arts Schools teach “Braining” over “Brawling” for Self Defense.

“Brain power is the key to neutralizing threats in this day and age.” Says head instructor John Nottingham of USA Martial Arts in Phoenix.
Especially when someone can actually be sued just for defending him or herself…”Security Wise / Street Wise personal protection” is proven to be the better alternative.
“This is the kind of protection training that security and law enforcement are moving toward…but it’s especially user-friendly to the average person who doesn’t have any kind of self-defense background.” Says Nottingham. Security Wise/Street Wise Personal Protection can be learned within a very short amount of time.
Nottingham should know because he owns a Security Company and trains bodyguards, law enforcement and military.
These classes will be held at USA Martial Arts Phoenix this Friday evening from 5p-9p, and Saturday afternoon from 12n-4p. Please call Mark Mayes for more information. Telephone: (602)896-8721.

Military Hand-to-hand combat system for Special Forces comes to Phoenix in Self Defense Training Course

June 7, 2011

For Immediate Release
Contact: Cathy at 602-896-8721
Practical self-defense Phoenix Arizona

Military Hand-to-hand combat system for Special Forces comes to Phoenix

NTS VIPER Tactical Instructor Anthony Miles Shows an Explosive Move from VIPER Street Combat Self Defense under the watchful eye of founder John Nottingham

John Nottingham launched his Arizona school USA Martial Arts & Kickboxing in 1992 and recently opened a new training center in Phoenix to accommodate his Bodyguard Security & Training Company [Executive/Close Protection]. In addition to teaching kids good values through martial arts, Nottingham teaches military, law enforcement and the discerning civilian.

“There are no rules on the street when it comes to your survival or that of a loved one.”, says Nottingham.

Their methods are considered unorthodox to the mainstream self-defense or martial arts way of teaching. Nottingham’s approach is to break structure, conventional thinking and teach clients to think and operate outside the box. The majority of martial arts and self-defense systems pre-scribe rules and strict conformity, sportive emphasis or complex motor movements. Although well-intentioned, many tactical self-defense, fighting and hand-to-hand-combat instructors are retrofitting sportive and cultural tradition lifestyle martial arts to fit what they believe is effective self-defense.
Nottingham’s self-defense method, called VIPER, is designed to break things down into effective, simple self-defense steps and principles that can easily be adapted to a wide variety of individuals in varying dangerous situations.

Last Resort Handgun Disarm Defense

Military Origins
Nottingham and his team come from a unique backgrounds in the military, having served in Special Forces, Airborne units, law enforcement and a decades in the martial arts. In the early 90’s, Nottingham was asked by his Army company Commander to develop an updated, simple and effective hand-to-hand combat course as part of an experimental program. His research continues to this day as he stays on the cutting edge of combatives and defensive tactics. His client list includes those who serve in combat, on the street as law enforcement and bodyguards to protect VIPs.


Bodyguard Tactics for Strategic Self-Defense

“The best way to explain VIPER (his version of reality based self-defense) is the skills you would use to survive the most terrifying criminal assault situations you or your family can imagine. We cover the entire gamet from early detection for avoidance to the harsh reality of physical intervention such as gouging out an attackers eye as a last resort. We teach our clients how to manage situations most people don’t believe are possible to survive.”, said Nottingham

“When your families lives are in danger or your life is on the line, you can’t be thinking about rules or worrying about the wrong things. Part of the initial education is deprogramming the incorrect conditioning and beliefs people have about self-defense so that they can adopt an accurate and winning mindset. Self-Defense is a leadership role so our clients learn to be assertive when they have to.”

VIPER Self Defense is built on natural reflexes, physics, bio-mechanics and the physiological response to intense stress.

“Clients have refered to VIPER as an American Krav Maga type training due to it’s reliance on combative principles, simple and effective self defense. However, VIPER Evolution I does not emphasize the physical as much at this level as Krav Maga does. Instead we teach smart strategies to avoid, detect, diffuse, avoid and thwart situations before the begin. We find this is a faster method to efficacy. Krav Maga was designed for young, fit, military personnel so it is very intense and high risk training. I love the Krav Maga system and practice it, however it is predicated on high mobility, explosive movement and a degree of athleticism most people don’t have or maintain. We take pride in VIPER being much safer than Krav Maga and can reach a wider array of clients because VIPER isn’t designed just for young, resiliant, military soldiers.”


Take for example a criminal threatening your family with a gun. The natural instinct for an untrained person is to fixate on the weapon. VIPER teaches clients how to control that intense stress and mental function through proprietary conditioning training, the same used for training elite Special Forces operators for combat. The body’s stress reaction becomes a conditioned trigger to look for exits, cover, and opportunities an untrained individual, gripped by panic, would not see.

Background of VIPER Close Quarters Combat CQC
VIPER was developed by John Nottingham while serving in a reserve detachment of a Special Forces Unit. He was selected by his company commander due to his unique background in combative martial arts in order to develop a scientific, highly effective method of practical self-defense for Special Operations. It had to be able to beat other elite forces hand-to-hand and weapon close combat training.

What Makes VIPER Different
The key difference in VIPER is in it’s testing. It only takes techniques, tactics and strategies that can be quickly and effectively implemented by a user then tested under stress. To date, Nottingham and his team have run thousands of scenarios and gleaned invaluable feedback from the tactics used in the field and street.

During the 25 years he’s served teaching Martial Arts, Law Enforcement, Military, Nottingham updated and refined his method of practical self-defense, and after scientific study and observation, adjusted his system to teach it to the civilian men, women and children.

Nottingham’s training materials, research and unique approach has inspired numerous other instructors. His training videos and programs have been adopted by military, law enforcement, martial artists, bouncers, agents and bodyguards all over the world.

“It’s gratifying to get feedback from Police Officers or Military that our programs saved their lives in the field. That’s what this training is designed to do – protect and give the good guys the edge.”, said Nottingham

Realistic Self Defense Training. Will What I Know Really Work?

“At some point everyone will face a moment when they have to ask themselves if what they know about self-defense and safety will truly and honestly work when they need it most. It might be to protect their loved ones or at a time when they are out of shape, injured or in a unique environment. VIPER will give them newfound confidence.”

Nottingham is quick to point out that martial arts is great and has numerous benefits but it is not to be mistaken with specialized self-defense and personal protection training. I encourage good martial arts training but it needs to be properly placed in context. Martial Artists are by far our fastest adapting clients, once they grasp the fundamental shift in mindset. However, what we do in VIPER doesn’t look anything like a typical martial arts class.

Nottingham and his team will be hosting a special VIPER SELF DEFENSE training course in May. It is a three day VIPER intensive immersion course combining classroom, slow motion drills and scenario training with a fully padded mock assailant.

V.I.P.E.R. Personal Protection Bodyguard Tactics for Self Defense Security
Students will learn to deal with the most common street attacks and self-defense situations including punches, chokes, grabs, and attacks from various positions such as from behind and on the ground.

The class even sets up different environments to have the students apply the VIPER thinking and action steps to resolve or escape the situations. Students get to learn how to deal with the stress and anxiety of a real attack in crunch time and how to manage the adrenaline dump, rapid heart rate and how to focus on what matters most for survival.

Instructors encourage students and create a learning atmosphere of comfort and relaxed professionalism where cheering is as prevalent as learning. Nottingham explains, “We know it is a stressful subject so our goal is to make it as enjoyable experience as possible. Our clients often comment on how much fun they had while learning and want to come back. Our repeat business is amazing. We guarantee you come out transformed and thrilled with your experience or we refund your money in full.”

In class, students learn the techniques of:
o Punching
o Kicking
o Elbows
o Knees
o Headbutts
o Biting
o Eye gouging
o [and some things Nottingham says only go to clients and too graphic for public articles]

Clients learn to develop power in their attacks and the vulnerable places on the human anatomy to attack for the best results. VIPER Self Defense emphasizes targeting and strategy over perfecting techniques, teaching students to keep it simple and direct.

Brutal Reality Check
Clients are shown videos of actual crime footage, assaults and then discuss applying VIPER tactics and tools to learn from the situation and prevail. Although graphic, Nottingham emphasizes that we have to understand violence in order to thwart it.

Our of Shape? Even More Reason To Take VIPER
Nottingham says that he can teach any willing student despite age, physical make-up or limitation. “Everyone can improve his or her personal protection with this course. It’s not about beating the other guy into submission. Most of it is brains over brawn. We focus on what a client CAN do, not what they can’t. People are often amazed to find out that we are hard wired for self-defense. We just need a few tools to best bring it out.”

USA Martial Arts Phoenix and Nottingham Sword & Shield Security – Scottsdale Bodyguard Academy -are located at 5930 W. Greenway Rd Suite 9 & 10, Phoenix, Arizona 85032. To sign up for this self-defense or another martial arts, kickboxing or personal training program, call 602-896-8721 Facebook: VIPER Personal Protection

John Nottingham Online

About John Nottingham
Owner Nottingham Sword & Shield Security
Founder USA Martial Arts Phoenix
John Nottingham is a 7th Degree multiple Black Belt holder, veteran who served in an Airborne Special Forces reserve unit, has been trained and holds certifications from Paul Vunak, Tony Blauer, Krav Maga, Gavin de Becker and Associates, Bodyguard Training International USA Bodyguards, ASIS, Robert Oatman, and many more.


June 7, 2011

VIPER PERSONAL PROTECTION Live Training for Reality Based Self Defense and Personal Protection Security. Bodyguard Tactics for Protecting Yourself and The Ones You Love.

Personalized Security Scenario Based Stress Inoculation Immersion Training

Stopping, or intercepting violence at its source through recognition, assessment and neutralization. VIPER is a course about winning, surmounting incredible odds, and quickly anticipating, eliminating or managing a threat in a variety of situations based on context.

VIPER strategy disrupts the threat and aims to keep you from harm. VIPER students learn to change the format, tempo, and style of conflict with clever and deceptive strategies that catch their opponents off guard. This enables VIPER trained individuals to stay one step ahead. VIPER teaches to attack threat and seize the initiative to dictate the outcome. It deals with neutralizing violence by any means necessary and only one of those modalities may be the use of physical force.

VIPER is made so that anyone can use his or her individual abilities and situation to adapt and win. Additionally it is designed for those who are out of shape and my have other limitations. You will develop your own safety plan and arsenal of skills centered on your individual needs and experiences.

VIPER teaches concepts so that student’s techniques improve over time and evolve into the response that works best for them. Additionally the concepts are like planted seeds that grow in time in students. The strategy used by VIPER evolves and adapts to fit virtually every situation that could arise.

VIPER students learn how to solve problems proactively and/or counter offensively, not simply react to them. It is a response to potential violence and the threat of being a potential target. VIPER graduates seize control and take the conflict to their arena where they can dominate and win. VIPER is designed for and used when responding to hostile situations and a high level threat.

Nottingham Training Systems

Bringing you to a higher level of personal safety through effective self-defense training in a very short period of time.

Course registration
Telephone 602-896-8721
VIPER PERSONAL PROTECTION [Self Defense Personal Protection Security]

Questions & Answers About USA Martial Arts Phoenix

June 3, 2011

How Does One Start The Martial Arts?
It’s easy to start Martial Arts. Call 602-896-8721 (USA1) and ask to speak with our Information and Enrollment Director Coach Mark Mayes. You’ll book you first appointment and introductory trial lesson. Visit the school, meet the instructors and students, watch a class and make sure you feel it’s right for you. OR Visit our website to take advantage of our WEBSPECIAL. Begin training and learning and watch yourself transform. Make the call and visit our WEBSPECIAL today!

Questions are good but experiencing makes you understand it much, much better!

What Style(s) does USA Martial Arts Phoenix Kickboxing & Fitness Teach?
USA Martial Arts Phoenix Kickboxing & Fitness is unique in the way that it approaches Martial Arts. The very special curriculum is made up of multiple arts that allow for different styles to be taught.

Our pre-school martial artists for children, known as Little Tigers are student who are ages 4yrs – 6yrs. This age group focuses on coordination building fun while learning. The base style is Tae Kwon Do with Karate, Kung Fu, Brazilian Jiu-jitsu (kid-friendly wrestling and fun gymnastics) blend. While kicking and punching is taught, that is simply the vehicle used to teach more in-depth skills such as respect for themselves and others, proper responses to parents, teachers and elders, a sense of true self confidence and the ability to learn what foods are important to eat while what foods are not. Little Tigers is a program dynamically designed for this age group and is only taught by USA Martial Arts Phoenix Kickboxing & Fitness.

KIDS KARATE is the next level of development. This program is based from the Little Tigers program but is geared for children ages 7-Teens. This rewarding kid oriented martial arts program emphasizes character development, strength training, flexibility, coordination and practical self defense like how to handle bullies. Tackling issues such as peer pressure, conduct at school, grades, and responsibility for keeping a clean environment and a clean mind.
INTEGRATED MARTIAL ARTS (Traditional MMA for Self Defense)
USA Martial Arts Phoenix Kickboxing & Fitness offers a blended curriculum of martial arts as our foundation program. It is traditional and modern MMA or Mixed Martial Arts but doesn’t emphasize competition, rather tradition, personal development and practical, individualized self defense. This integrated or mixed martial arts curriculum combines Tae Kwon Do, Muay Thai Kickboxing, Karate, Kung Fu, Real Life street self defense, Brazilian Jiu-jitsu (MMA), judo, and our version of Krav Maga. Over the 100,000+ Hours of instruction the team has together, we have developed the curriculum based around what we have found our students need, want and that has proven to be the most effective.

Other ‘stand alone’ programs also include ; Kickboxing, Taekwondo, MMA Submission Fighting, Kids Jiu-jitsu, Women’s Self Defense, EZ Defense Seminars, Weapons, Escrima, Mixed Martial Arts, PFS Jeet Kune Do, Warrior Leadership, ef3 Energized Fitness & Nutrition, Personal Training, Kickboxing, boxing, and individualized programs by personal training. please click on the links to learn more about those individual program.

How Young Does USA Martial Arts Phoenix Kickboxing & Fitness Take A Student?
Each person is treated as a unique individual with different abilities and goals. Some are ready to begin martial arts training earlier than others. We require all student be at least 4 years old, be able to take instruction for a 30m period and be able to be in a group class. (however private lessons are available.) Usually 4 years old seems to be the standard but we will accept 3 year olds if the instructor believe they are ready. We can answer this question with a simple 20 minute intro lesson. Please call 602-896-8721 (USA1) to book your no-obligation intro lesson today!

Do Lessons Cost A Lot Of Money?
USA Martial Arts Phoenix Kickboxing & Fitness offer very competitive rates if not the most inexpensive rates for martial art schools in our area. Tuition starts at $59 a month and range up to $125+ depending on your program. USA Martial Arts Phoenix Kickboxing & Fitness offers commitment levels and month to month pricing. Meeting with our Programs Director will get you an exact quote on class pricing. Call 602-896-8721 (USA1) to book your first appointment and intro lesson today.

USA Martial Arts Phoenix Kickboxing & Fitness has one of the finest martial arts training facilities with the latest and newest equipment, SWAIN Olympic mats, heavy bags, kicking shields, punch pads, boxing mitts, kicking targets, full screen A/V system with sound system, wireless internet access, a pro-shop, merchandise, snack bar and a highly experienced and caring staff.

We also work with a non-profit organization set up a student tuition assistance plan. This is a plan that will accept qualifying students depending on financial status and certain criteria. We believe no student should be turned away from martial arts due to their inability to pay. Although money is needed in order to operate our world-class facility, scholarships help those who genuinely deserve an opportunity. Please inquire within if you need help paying tuition.

What Makes USA Martial Arts Phoenix Kickboxing & Fitness Different Than Other Schools?
There are many different martial art schools in the Phoenix, Scottsdale, Paradise Valley, Cave Creek Arizona Area. What sets USA Martial Arts Phoenix Kickboxing & Fitness apart? While many of these school are great schools USA Martial Arts Phoenix Kickboxing & Fitness focus on teaching in a very unique way. Why do so many people choose USA Martial Arts Phoenix Kickboxing & Fitness?

USA Martial Arts Phoenix Kickboxing & Fitness Academy was founded by John Nottingham and operated in Arizona for almost 20 years. He is an Eagle Scout, Army Airborne veteran, former competitor and champion, coach and multiple Black Belt holder.
He founded more than just a martial arts school in 1992, he brought together the best talent he could find, pulling instructors from all over the USA, Korea, China and the world. Together with a strong team USA Martial Arts Phoenix Kickboxing & Fitness has been providing the Phoenix/Scottsdale/Paradise Valley Area with highest quality instruction and martial arts training since 2005. John Nottingham has over 25 years experience in the martial arts and with his team together they have over 150 years experience in multiple disciplines. We have advanced Black Belts, Masters and Instructor licenses who are on our team that have trained in different styles and bring their best to the school.
The experience shows. Whether it’s the well-run classes, where the skills of the martial arts are passed on to the students, or their family style approach to business, you’ll notice the difference of quality the moment you walk into the school.
USA Martial Arts Phoenix Kickboxing & Fitness associates itself with some of the best school the nation has to offer.

Before enrolling in any martial arts program you should compare schools. What you will find is that, above all, our school offers you quality and integrity. If you or your child enrolls in our program it is our responsibility to provide you with quality instruction, and we take this responsibility very seriously.
Unfortunately, the martial arts industry is not regulated by any state or federal agency. This means that any person can open up a martial arts studio regardless of his or her background or training. Therefore it is up to you to determine the quality of a school and the people who will be in charge of teaching you or your child martial arts. No matter what school you choose, make sure that you take the time to do the research.

All of the instructors at USA Martial Arts Phoenix Kickboxing & Fitness Academy of Martial Arts are hand-picked by Master and Dean of Schools, John Nottingham. Having trained with him for years, you can be sure that, while each instructor has their own unique teaching style, they all teach the same techniques and skills.
USA Martial Arts Phoenix Kickboxing & Fitness is also unique in the fact that, unlike other schools, every single instructor continues and maintains his or her martial arts training. They are continuously updating and expanding upon their expertise and skills. Our school requires that the instructors stay current with our ever-evolving curriculum so that they are at the top of their field.

Since USA Martial Arts Phoenix Kickboxing & Fitness was established in 1992, John Nottingham has set out to make USA Martial Arts Phoenix Kickboxing & Fitness the best school in Phoenix. Based on the increase of student enrollment it seems that the Phoenix Arizona community supports their vision.
Almost all of this growth can be attributed to word-of-mouth advertising and referrals. Our students enjoy being here and it becomes a part of their daily lives. They convince their family, friends and coworkers to try one of our programs because they know that they are training at the best martial arts school in Arizona

The classes at USA Martial Arts Phoenix Kickboxing & Fitness Academy of Martial Arts are designed so that each student can succeed at his or her own pace. The teaching staff believes that students learn best when they are in classes that are appropriate for their age and skill level. Classes are divided into sections depending on the students age and belt rank. This ensures that the students in one class can learn as a team instead of feeling left behind or being held back.

Having an ideal facility, with the latest martial arts equipment, allows USA Martial Arts Phoenix Kickboxing & Fitness Academy of Martial Arts to offer more classes, more often, with more variety.
The curriculum at our school is unique in the way it blends different styles of martial arts. Students are exposed to a range of disciplines and as they advance in the program they have opportunities for focused training. USA Martial Arts Phoenix offers a variety of specialized classes that sharpen the skills and take students to the next level.
In addition to the regular schedule, USA Martial Arts Phoenix offers classes that focus specifically on Thai Boxing, Grappling, Weapons, Demonstration Skills and Sparring.

USA Martial Arts Phoenix Kickboxing & Fitness Academy is recognized around the nation for producing the highest quality Black Belts students year after year.
What’s more impressive is that these Black Belts continue training after receiving their belt. A common phenomenon in martial arts schools is Black Belt Burn Out, once a student reaches the level of Black Belt they feel that they are done with martial arts. However, at USA Martial Arts Phoenix Kickboxing & Fitness Academy of Martial Arts a high number of our Black Belts continue to train toward their 2nd or 3rd degree.
This says two things about our school.
One, we have created a great program and a great atmosphere that students, even after the momentous accomplishment of their black belt, still choose martial arts and still choose our school to better themselves.
Two, because we have a large number of black belts that still train at our school we have a valuable resource for the lower belts. They not only help teach the other students but they also provide a great example. The lower rank belts have a great inspiration that shows them where hard work and diligent practice will lead.

Unlike other schools, the USA Martial Arts Phoenix Kickboxing & Fitness Academy of Martial Arts was built specifically for martial arts. Located at the South West corner of Tatum & Greenway road on the corners of Phoenix, Scottsdale and Paradise Valley it is convenient for many members of the North Phoenix community.
Additionally, we are continuously adding to and updating our equipment. We use kicking shields, medicine balls, punching bags, Swiss exercise balls, jump ropes, resistance bands and gymnastics equipment for kids.
As you can see, there are many reasons why the families at USA Martial Arts Phoenix Kickboxing & Fitness Academy of Martial Arts choose us over any other school in the Phoenix area. We encourage you to take the time to compare other martial arts facilities so that you can find the best school for you and your family. You will usually discover that USA Martial Arts Phoenix Kickboxing & Fitness is what you are looking for and more!

Please feel free to continue to browse our website where you will find more detailed information about the many programs that we offer. Call 602-896-8721 (USA1) or email us to schedule your first intro lesson to see if USA Martial Arts Phoenix Kickboxing & Fitness is right for you!

Telephone 602-896-8721 (USA1)

How To Block a Punch

June 1, 2011

It was suggested by WordPress that I write a blog article on the topic of how to block a punch. My first response is to learn at a proper school or from a qualified instructor. This is one of those areas that shouldn’t be learned on the internet. However, for purposes of discussion and supplemental training, I decided to take this on as if I were being asked by an adult student. Note: Nothing will replace proper instruction from an expert instructor or qualified coach, hard work and a humble learning attitude. Hopefully this might get you thinking about ways to avoid the dreaded faceblock.

“Before I learned martial arts, a punch was just a punch and a kick was just a kick. When I studied martial arts, a punch was no longer just a punch and a kick was no longer just a kick. Now I understand martial arts, and a punch is just a punch and a kick is just a kick.” – Bruce Lee, founder Jun Fan Jeet Kune Do

Is a Punch Just a Punch? Some Ground Rules
First I need to find out why you want to know how to block a punch. A punch can mean many things and as a professional consultant on safety and personal protection, I am reluctant to offer a recommendation without a proper diagnosis. Is it for Military, Law enforcement, Security, a family man, business traveler, domestic abuse situation, co-worker problem, out of hand associate? What is the context? Without that information it is difficult to answer such a broad question. My professional advice will depend on several variables including determining the defenders (intended target) capabilities or previous training.

Are you a senior citizen with limited mobility? Are you a former wrestler? Do you have martial arts training? How much time do you have to invest into learning this? What punch are you avoiding… the local pub jerk? A trained boxer? MMA match? Those answers would guide the advice and tactics. However, I will give it my best shot for informational and discussion purposes. I’ll presume an average person of average intelligence and ability for the sake of this article.

Second, to prevent giving overly specific advice I will stick to concepts and principles as the core of the discussion. I’ll start in more general terms about how to block a punch or how to handle someone trying to punch you, then move into some physical options.

Philosophical: How To Block a Punch
I teach a system rooted in preventing, detecting, de-escalating, deterring and defending situations. I firmly believe in the ancient battle field strategy of Chinese philosopher and strategic genius Sun Tzu,

“The battle avoided cannot be lost.”

My first recommendation would be to follow the USA Martial Arts rules of engagement for self-defense:
A. Remove the opponents will to punch (Motive/Intent)
B. Remove the opponents opportunity to punch (Opportunity/Availability)
C. Diminish the opponents ability to punch

Ninja Magic: How To Block a Punch
This may come in the form of a distraction, “Tell it to the Police Officer standing behind you.” Then you disappear. Or maybe you could use something like, “I’ll meet you at 4pm in the alley.” When he looks or shows, simply don’t attend. Ninja magic. (Keep in mind you didn’t resolve the problem, you just may have delayed it.)

Wise Martial Arts Master, “Why do we learn to punch?”
Martial Arts student, “So that I can defend it.”

Training Good Guys Not Bad Guys
I realize that it’s unsatisfying to read “avoid the situation” but that is precisely my recommendation. I study and teach my martial arts and self-defense students that our training is so that we may “walk in peace”. Our fight is for inner peace and to better understand ourselves. If we begin with the end in mind then we must presume that you do not wish to engage in a fight, rather to end this situation peacefully.

Verbal Judo: How To Block a Punch. Winning The War often starts with Words
One of my favorite training videos to use when teaching law enforcement and private security is a bouncer in Europe who is a KICKBOXING champion. He is dealing with an upset guest trying to bully his way into a club. The bouncer calmly engages him and assertively but kindly answers his questions in unexpected, non-confrontational ways. With outstanding VERBAL JUDO skills he bouncer separates him from his friends, asking him to “talk to him like a man”. The bouncer then appeals to the loud mouths selfish interests informing him that he will tell the loud mouths brother and diffuses the situation in short order. A clever use of redirection and appealing to selfish interests to resolve the issue. Brilliant psychology and conflict avoidance chess.

Win a Battle Lose a War
You may successfully defend against this punch but do not presume the attacker will not go get a tire iron, wrench, pool cue, broken bottle or gun and come back for retribution with his buddies. It’s best to preserve another humans dignity and de-escalate situations intelligently, taking the high road.

Strategic: How To Block a Punch?
Most punches are the result of social verbal contracts breaking down or an individuals inability to express their inner feelings or desires adequately enough to get what they want. The pre-contact stage usually starts with verbal communication and non-verbal communication (body language). These pre-contact cues are critical skills to have if you want to prevent and avoid conflict.

1. The “up down” look – a quick assessment to size up another. Testing the target. [Assessing likelihood of success and or getting hurt or getting away with it.] Assessing.
2. Puffing up or peacocking, an attempt to draw attention and appear to be bigger or more of a threat. Displaying.
3. Antagonistic communication marked by short syllable words, gestures, sudden change in volume. Testing.
4. Owning space and scanning (predatory postures and sometimes pacing or pecking-sudden jerky movements)
5. Tension in jaw, neck and shoulders (you can often see the shoulders visibly rise)
6. Eyes do not blink, widen or tense
7. Respiration increases or suddenly changes
8. Wind up
9. Clenching a fist
10. Shoulder dip, moving into range

When the verbal skills break down or don’t work, some individuals will continue to communicate through physical action . This can be in the form of shoving, slapping, punching, chest bumping and so on. This is still communication – just anti-social physical communication.

Knowing this “language of escalation” and pre-contact or “pre-assault cues” are powerful tool we teach to law enforcement, bodyguards, military, and especially bouncers, coolers and doormen who do security at rougher nightclubs requiring such security. If you see it as communication, you are more likely to be able to avoid being emotionally compromised and can view the situation more objectively. Furthermore you can pre-empt, prepare and stack the odds in your favor by getting the jump on the often oblivious aggressor.

Tactical: How To Block a Punch

___ Can you create a diversion and escape via the nearest exit?
___ Can you call in security for an intervention?
___ Can you offer to buy them a drink, snack or make a gesture of peace?
___ Can you find humor in the situation and/or de-escalate it with verbal means?
___ Can you recruit friends and bystanders to help you?
___ Can you use physical barriers around you to avoid contact (tables, pillars, chairs, people etc.)
___ Can you feign illness or use an unexpected tactic to disrupt the aggressors pattern?

Physical: How to Block a Punch
A common saying in my school is,

The Best Block is to Not Be There!

Physical defense is like the rest of personal security and self-defense and should be built in layers.

___ Can you simply walk out?
___ Can you run away?
___ Can you side step or evade in such a way that compromises the aggressors position?
___ Can you use the physical geometry of the room as a weapon of opportunity? For example: Throw something, cover their eyes with a towel, throw a drink in their face, intercept the punch with a hard object?

Disrupt The Attack: How To Block a Punch
Depending on the appropriate use of force you could flinch into a defensive position holding a pen, fork or seemingly innocuous object and let him ram his fist into it. I teach my students to use elbows and knees this way to intercept and destruct/damage the attackers punching limb. (If you’ve ever cracked your fist on a hard elbow point full speed you’ll get why this one works really quick.)

Proper Use of Force: How To Block a Punch
Of course I am duty bound to advise using only the minimal amount of legal force necessary for you to escape the danger and get to safety. It is a judgement call you for which you will be ultimately responsible. This advice is generic and designed for entertainment and discussion only.

Another physical option for dealing with a punch is simply changing range. Move out and in like a boxer. Imagine your torso is a spring to allow head movement. (Be careful not to swing your head into a hard object of course.)

“Float like a butterfly and sting like a bee.” -Ali

You might also consider changing level; that is, ducking, bobbing, weaving, slipping and of course, covering. Good level changes come from bending your legs, not usually bowing unless highly skilled.

Improve Your Position: How to Block a Punch
Another option might be that if you do not detect the punch early enough that you try to roll with it and transition into a better position to prevent subsequent damage. Try to get to a position of advantage and protect your vital areas.

Flinch Cover: How To Block or Avoid a Punch
Your body is hard wired to flinch away from an attack such as a punch. Once perceived, the hands will extend up to shield the head with palms facing out. A good trainer will help you use this as your starting point that transitions into your next move.

Put your hands up and assume a strong stance. Hands up means shielding your face and chin. You’ll need to be able to run interference like a fence or barrier.

A strong stance means knees bent over toes (off heels), feet apart like standing on the corners of a box, comfortably about shoulder width and a half or so apart (width and length). Like a good boxing or MMA stance you may have seen.

RAM HORN/RHINO HORN Shield: How to Block a Punch
One of my preferred ways of covering the knockout zone on the human head is using a double rams horn cage block. The best way I can describe it is raise the elbows up and in at the level of the face, tuck the chin in, shrug your shoulders to protect the neck (carotid, trachea, mandible area), now place your palms over the tops of your ears and squeeze the elbows together in the front like you have RAM HORNS that form into a RHINO SPIKE on the front. You should still be able to see with movement. They key to this techniques effectiveness is not just the structure of the shield movement, but the change in level (height) and range (usually moving inside).

Stopping a Punch and Preventing Others
Remember that you are usually not out of danger just because you slipped or avoided the first attempted punch. You may have even eaten it. If you’re still conscious, you might be able to clinch by driving forward and using a hold. The key here is to pin down the arms, usually at or above the elbows and use driving, pulling pressure to upset the attackers balance.

Dirty Trick: How to Block a Punch
An old school trick to block a punch is to headbutt it. Presuming we’re talking about a head hunter punch, you may be able to drive the hard part of the skull (the apex point used in soccer) to strike the metacarpals of the hand. The ensuing collision can do serious damage to an attackers hand. Keep in mind that it doesn’t necessarily guarantee they will stop attacking you or that you are out of harms way.

Pre-emptive Maneuver: How to Block a Punch
Another way to stop a punch would be a pre-emptive maneuver such as a double palm knocking them back. A push kick or front stomping style kick can work due to the longer range of the leg. You could also simply shove his face back. Whichever way, remember that if you are close enough to make contact with them, he is close enough to make contact with you. Make sure you are prepared with defense at all times while targeting the key parts of his anatomy to disrupt and thwart the attack.

Force Multiply: How to Block a Punch
All of these ideas are really irrelevant without understanding the context of the situation. The situation will always dictate the appropriate response and physical intervention is always a last resort. In my experience the person with the most friends, compassion and good manners usually has the advantage. Be nice until its time to not be nice. Everyone has a fundamental God-given human right to defend themselves. Training gives options. The old adage is true,

Better to know it and not need it than need it and not know it.

About John Nottingham
John Nottingham is a 6th Degree multiple Black Belt holder and founder of the USA Martial Arts chain in Arizona USA. He owns Nottingham Sword & Shield Security, a Bodyguard, Law Enforcement and Military Training Company specializing in protective security.

How To Become A Martial Arts Instructor, Karate Instructor, Kung Fu, or Taekwondo Teacher

June 1, 2011

Martial Arts Teachers Change Peoples Lives

So You Want to Be a Martial Arts, Kung Fu, Karate, Taekwondo, Teacher. Great! Here are Seven Skills Needed To Be a Martial Arts Teacher.

From Judo, Jujitsu, BJJ, MMA, Krav Maga, Jeet Kune Do to Muay Thai Kickboxing, Boxing, Kenpo, WingChun, and Hapkido Your Ability to Market and Present Your Skills is More Important than Style.

WordPress suggested that I do an article on How to Become a Martial Arts Instructor. So if you want to be a Kung Fu Sifu, a Taekwondo SaBumNim, a Karate Sensei or make martial arts a career or job choice this article can provide you insight from my experience.

Dream Big & Write it Down
I’ve been a professional martial arts instructor for most of my adult life. Martial Arts changed my life and I wanted to share that magic with others. I got bit by the martial arts teaching bug and it became my dream to teach martial arts and one day own a school.

I’m blessed enough to live in a country where that dream was possible. I’ve been drawing pictures and writing plans, notes and ideas down since that time. So if you want to be a martial arts teacher, kung fu instructor, taekwondo, or karate professional, the first step is to dream big, visualize, clearly define what you want and go for it. Write a mission and vision statement or whatever helps you draw inspiration.

“Even the mighty oak tree starts as a small acorn.”

Learn From Your and Others Success and Mistakes in Teaching Martial Arts
I’ve been teaching since I was in my teens, had my own Park District program at 16 years old, teaching at two retail schools and have been operating my own professional full time schools since 1992. Having trained and taught in Korea, China and over 10,000 students in my career I hope to be able to share some of my experience to help you. I’ve made plenty of mistakes and enjoyed the blessings of being able to follow my dreams and helped others do the same. You can too!

You Can Fail – Don’t Be Afraid of That. Remember to Fail Forward and Frequently. Fail But Don’t Fail To Take The Lesson and Apply It. That’s Wisdom.

Building Martial Arts Instructors from the Ground Up
Most martial arts instructors get their start as a student in a professional martial arts program. That’s what I did. Those who belong to a successful commercial operation have a significant advantage than those who do not. They inherantly learn the habits, structure, systems, customer service and psychology of a successful school. In my experience, those coming from community programs, part time schools or struggling operations will typically have to unlearn and relearn some components. You can learn those skills through industry training and good mentors.

John Nottingham Pulgueksa Temple Korea

I learned a great lesson from Grandmaster Ernie Reyes that I use in just about every facet of my business, life and martial arts practice. It is especially true for teaching,

“It’s not what you do, it’s how you do it.”

The less like REX the better.

Being a successful martial arts instructor has a lot less to do with belt rank, kicks and punches (what you know in martial arts) and more importantly what you can do for people. That’s not an excuse to stop training or be a low ranking, underqualified instructor. It just points out the importance of knowing you are in business to provide value as an instructor or school owner. You’re marketing your services, expertise and most importantly, the experience a student has when they work with you.

Taekwondo Master John Nottingham Flying Side Kick Punch 1995

Early on in my training I was taught,

“Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care.”

Define Your Goals as an Instructor
It is important to define your goals. Do you want to just teach? Do you want to be a martial arts instructor as a job? Do you want to own your own school? Knowing this information will help you determine who you choose as a role model and mentor.

One of my contemporaries teaches for a large non-profit organization and thoroughly enjoys what she does. Others teach for successful schools and make a nice living doing what they love. The other option is to own a school and employ yourself. Your decision should be based on your goals, risk tolerance, passion and end goals. Make no mistake, teaching is a leadership role involving sales, persuasion, communication, and lots of human emotion.

Well established commercial schools will often have leadership programs and staff training or “assistant instructor” programs for which you can qualify. This is a tremendous beginning because you can learn and make mistakes on somebody else’s students. Some schools charge for it, while others do not or trade for service.

In my schools we offer students leadership training, mentoring programs, instructor training and career options for students. When I started, none of these things were available to me so I swore to myself that one day when I had a school that I would have a program for martial artists with a dream of teaching or owning a school to do just that.

You will need skills in several areas to be a successful martial arts instructor:

1. Product knowledge. (Usually advanced Black Belt with admirable skill). You have to have something that people want. Excellence is admired and inspires.
2. Know how to teach. Communication and leadership skills are essential to being an effective instructor. Good teaching skills require training and constant updating.
3. Ability to problem solve and build duplicable systems. Your ability to manage problems, plan, solve challenges and make decisions quickly will determine much of your ability to teach successfully. Your ability to duplicate will determine your growth.
4. Passion and enthusiasm. These are essential because enthusiasm is what drives the emotion of the school. Enthusiasm is caught, not taught. Usually if enthusiasm in a school dies, the school soon dies. Determine what makes you unique and emphasize it in all you do.
5. Charisma. The little acknowledged secret of our industry is that it is primarily personality driven and you will need charisma (or to hire those with it) to be successful in any long term capacity.
6. Wise counsel. You’ll need a team of advisors who you trust and are interested in your success. Several minds are better than one and outside eyes can be more objective for you, your teaching or school operation. This can be other successful teachers (Grandmasters), attorney (legal), CPA (accounting/tax), billing (tuition collection), marketing, sales and investing.
7. Industry, marketing, sales and other business knowledge. You’ll need some guerrilla skills to make it in this quirky industry. There is a lot of information available but only a select part of it would I qualify as wisdom. That’s why I recommend belonging to a good network of successful school owners and/or instructors. Even if you don’t plan on owning a school now and just teaching, this is an invaluable resource and usually worth every bit of the investment. Above all, it will help you tune in and listen to the market. The market is king.

John Nottingham Shaolin Temple China

EFC, IMAMS, Member Solutions (APS), AFS
I started with a company called EFC who does consulting and billing. It was the best decision I made and can be credited with the reason I could do this for a living. I met mentors, teachers and associates there that I still have to this day. I’m no longer with EFC but I still have relationships with many from it. This changed my life.

I’ve been a member of IMAMS, IFC EasyPay, AMS, Member Solutions, AFS (indirectly), and consulted clients in just about every major billing/consulting company. Interview and talk with clients extensively before joining. Just as a side note, most of the other organizations emanated from original board members of EFC. The top 10% of our industry tend to network together.

Management Marketing Motivation
The Three M’s of a Successful Martial Arts Teacher

The National Association of Professional Martial Artists (NAPMA) is responsible for one of the biggest shifts in professionalism in our industry. It launched a trade magazine and provided quality information for many years. However, it has since been bought out and is now a marketing tool for Mile High Karate Franchises. NAPMA

Carlos and Rigan Machado with USA Martial Arts Founder John Nottingham

Martial Arts Industry Association (MAIA) is underwritten by CENTURY Martial Arts, the largest Martial Arts supplier in the industry. It has great programs to help with virtually every phase of operations from teaching to promoting the events. MAIA

The Martial Arts Teachers Association (MATA) is from Master John Graden, the original founder of NAPMA and offers some of the best information and advice online at a lower rate. I think this one is a no brainer and great for any instructor or school owner wishing to improve. Master Graden changed the course of my professional life. MATA

Professional Martial Arts Instructor College (PROMAC) is one of the elite training programs for instructors and school owners in the world. It is run by one of the top school owners and instructors in the world, Kyoshi Dave Kovar. I’m proud to call him one of my mentors. ProMAC

Most are offering similar information so the real issue is finding the company most cost efficient and best suited to your personality. It won’t do you any good if you won’t use it. I highly recommend doing the training, conventions, conference calls and giving yourself fully to the process initially. Try not to second guess it too much in the beginning and it will save you serious time and money. No matter what, pick one and go with it wholeheartedly.

Success Begets Success
If you do not have the advantage of coming up through the ranks in a good martial arts school, it is highly recommended that you join the most successful school you can find and work hard to qualify for a leadership team or instructor training program. It will save you time and cost you much less because you are less likely to make costly mistakes or have to reinvent the wheel. You can model the business systems you like and modify others to suit your goals.

Be Willing To Travel, Move or Make a Sacrifice
One of the most successful instructors I know moved from a different country to the USA to the most profitable school he could find, learned the systems and now operates his own chain. He has made a difference in thousands of students lives as well as made a very good living doing what he loves.

Start Small and Test It
One proven way to test if you are ready to be a teacher is to start a summer program such as a YMCA, Park District or even a small class in a Dance, Gymanstics, Fitness facility, corporation or apartment complex. I started in my first teachers school just helping on the floor. That lead to my filling in for other instructors then a Park District program (teaching for free to learn the skills), summer programs, fitness gym and then a gymnastics school. As that program grew it enabled me to make the leap to commercial retail space.

Test, Review, Renew Goals
It can be as simple as starting with seminars or summer programs to test your marketability. You will know if you are viable if people are asking to continue or sign up with you on a longer term basis. If they don’t, that may mean that you need to work on one or more of your 7 Martial Arts Teacher Basics listed above.

“You don’t get paid for what you know. You get paid for how well you market, sell and duplicate what you know.”

ATA an American Martial Arts Success Story
One of the most established successful instructor tracks are organizations such as the ATA or American Taekwondo Association. Although I’m not a part of it, I’ve had friends in it for decades and seen tremendous success through their instructor training programs.

For those professionally minded, there are also franchise options which you may consider. United Studios of Self Defense, Mile High Karate, AmeriKick as well as a myriad of other license programs are available such as Premier Martial Arts. I recommend speaking to owners as well as former member owners of those to get the pros and cons of each. Consider also the quality of life, not just income, from those opportunities.

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” -Lao-tzu

Lead By Example and Think Long Term
So whatever level you are, beginner, Black Belt or Master, the most important thing is to begin. You’ll learn along the way if you stay hungry for knowledge and remember to always stay a student first and a teacher second. My final piece of advice is to lead by example everyday and be willing to sacrifice who you are for what you may become.

Recommended reading:
Black Belt Management by John Graden
How To Own and Operate a Successful Martial Arts School by John Graden
The E-Myth Revisited by Michael E. Gerber

If you have any additional questions about how to become a martial arts instructor or how to start your own martial arts school I can be reached at:

About John Nottingham
John Nottingham is a 6th Degree multiple Black Belt holder and founder of the USA Martial Arts chain in Arizona USA. He owns Nottingham Sword & Shield Security, a Bodyguard, Law Enforcement and Military Training Company specializing in protective security.