Since I was a boy I have been interested in the martial arts for fitness and self defense. For more than 30 years I trained on and off (mostly off) in various styles including, Hapkido, Judo, Aikido, various self-protection systems, and Tai Chi. In September of 2004 I began to train more seriously and I have been fortunate to have access to some of the very best instructors in the world. Since 2004 I have completed more than 4000 hours of instruction and practice in various arts including more than 135 hours of instructor training in Krav Maga.
From 2003 -- 2020 my primary martial training was in Krav Maga under Ernie Kirk and his senior instructors.
Here is a video of me partnering with WMMR's Preston Elliot as he earns his Green Belt in Krav Maga (a grueling, six-hour test). Here is a video of me at the final stages of my basic Krav instructor's test. And here is a video of Preston earning his blue belt, I took the same test -- you can see me in portions of the video. In April of 2011 I took an even harder test -- 9 hours long and earned a brown belt in Krav Maga from Ernie Kirk. It consistsed of a two hour portion of throwing opponents (and being thrown) and defending against close long gun, shot gun and machine gun threats on Friday night. Then, on Saturday, there was a 7 hour non-stop test of combatives, fighting, and self-defense and defense against all kinds of weapons.
On May 4-5, 2012 I succesfully completed the black belt test, which was similar to the brown belt test, only longer, even more intense and incorporating more techniques. This test consisted of a four hours of throwing techniques and various defenses against weapons on Friday night. Then, on Saturday, the test continued with 8 1/2 non-stop hours of techniques, sparring, grappling, third party protection and defense against various weapons.
In March of 2016 I was awarded my second degree black belt by Ernie Kirk. Evaluation was based on several physical testing days, classroom instruction, research, written exam, continued practice, seminar attendence and teaching since earning my black belt. Recieving this recognition was a tremenous honor.There is no kata in Krav Maga and all practices and tests include contact ranging from light to full force. In addition to attending advanced technique seminars, I train and teach occasionally at at Valley Forge Training Center. I'm certified to teach Krav Levels 1-4 (Basic through Advanced) techniques through Krav Maga Universal and available to teach seminars -- contact me for more information.
In mid 2011 I started training in Aikikai Aikido. I like the cooperative nature of the art, the ukemi (breakfalls) and the merciful control/restraint aspects are excellent and are a nice complement to the brutality of Krav Maga. I also have had good success applying Aikido techniques (particularly wristlocks, shoulder locks and kuzushi) in BJJ sparring against resisting partners.
In December of 2020 I passed my Shodan (first degree blackbelt) test in Aikido (thanks to the patient teaching of Mike Hutchinson Sensei over these many years) and was awarded my Shodan in February of 2021 (there is a rather long process of registering with the Hombu Dojo in Japan).
These days, my primary focus is on Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ). Since This is really the thinking man's martial art, yet it is also the most physically challenging. Krav maga incorporates several techniques from BJJ, but BJJ deserves to be studied on its own because it is one of the few martial arts where you can safely spar against a fully resisting opponent. This is a life-long art that really tests patience, strategy, humility as well as strength, conditioning and flexibility.
Aside from the BJJ components of Krav Maga, which I trained weekly, I had been studying BJJ specifically through occasional private lessons and seminars since 2010. But in May 2014 I intensified my BJJ training. I train at the awesome Elevated Studios in Wilmington, DE owned by a terrific black belt (and good friend), Stephen Plyler. This school attracts the best players in the area -- on a typical day I will roll with purple, brown or black belts, who teach me constantly. In this fantastic environment I earned my blue belt in May of 2015, my purple belt in November of 2017, my brown belt in June of 2021 and my black belt on November 4, 2023. Here is a video of me receiving my belt.
I have practiced yoga since 2009 for flexibility, strength, patience, endurance and healing, at least 2 times per week, under various teachers. I have also studied Tai Chai (Yang Style) on my own, sporadically since 1988 for relaxation, balance and flexibility, and for its martial arts applications. I studied for a short time under Master C. K. Chu in New York, and even more briefly with Terrence Dunn.
I have had the opportunity to train or take courses (from one hour up to several days) with other world-class and celebrity instructors including David Avellan (world champion grappler), Matt Serra (BJJ -- UFC Champion), Bill "Superfoot" Wallace (Karate World Champion), Nick Hughes (see the Ultimate Warrior episode on the French Foreign Legion), John Whitman (Krav Maga), Jeff Jimmo (kickboxing and grappling), Vitor Shaolin Ribeiro (four time world BJJ champion), Peter Hobart (author of Kishido), Roland Osborne (host of Discovery Channel's Go Warrior), Terry Bullman (MMA fighter and creator of the History Channel's Human Weapon), Tvi "BK" Blankchtein (lead defensive tactics instructor at the Maryland Police and Corrections Training Commission), John Miller (Sambo), Jim Klauba (champion kickboxer, lead defensive tactics instructor for Chicago Police Department and founder of the SuperCop boxing exhibitions), Greg Sinclair (Aikido), Richard Price (Aikido), Andrew Sato (Aikido), Janne Maunonen(Scandinavian Defendo), Kurt Osiander (BJJ), Moacir "Boca" Olivera (BJJ), Ravi Aviram (Krav Maga), Alain Cohen (Krav Maga), Dr. Guy Mor (Krav Maga), Lenny Sly (Aikido).
Over the years I have also had the opportunity to train with many law enforcement officers, military personnel, FBI, homeland security, and secret service agents, executive protection specialists, black belts in many different disciplines, MMA fighters, bouncers, and professional athletes. There are too many to thank individually, but I would like to thank them, collectively, for teaching me and sharing their experiences about the way things really are.