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Self-Defense Systems

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It is very important that you do some investigating prior to enrolling yourself or your child in a martial arts program. When I started martial arts training in Austin, Texas, back in 1983, I visited every school in the city starting from the closest, to the furthest. Unfortunately, the best school was completely across town, and I lived 35 miles away from the opposite side of town. This resulted in a 42 mile drive one way to train. I will say gladly that Sifu Brian Duffy had the best martial arts program (Kenpo Karate of South Austin) at the time and was well worth driving to train.

There are many different schools out there and although they ALL claim to teach self defense, very few really do. For example, some martial arts were developed centuries ago, others not quite as long, but the fact is that things have changed and we don't walk around with swords, or other exotic weapons, therefore we probably won't ever need to defend against them. What you probably will be up against, is someone attacking you on the street. (and he probably won't want to point spar).

Then there are the "commercial" schools who strive to make a profit. These schools can easily be recognized by the 8 year old kids running around wearing black belts. (You'll also see them at Pizza Hut).    Their instructors mainly target kids and parents looking for a school that will teach their kids to take care of themselves. Parents believe their kids are learning because of the belts and stripes that are constantly being sold to them. They also are impressed by the tournaments and trophies, but you need to know, these tournaments are made up of people that train just like them. You will not find the guy that jumps you on the street point fighting in a tournament!

Street fighters will not point spar with you, and the minute you raise your leg to throw an "exhibition kick", he will take you down and beat you senseless. Instructors who teach this way probably have never been in a real street fight, therefore, they believe this stuff works.

Do not pay attention to rank. These instructors have either promoted themselves, each other, politicked, or changed the name of their art and claim to be "Grand Masters". These "Grand Masters" can be identified by their age. They are usually in their 30's and will sell themselves by throwing names of well known, credible martial artist at you. Fact is, rank means nothing! I have seen colored belts that can hold themselves better. These guys also promote for profit and will have black belt students who can't even tie their black belts properly teaching classes. These are easily identified by their sloppy stances, sloppy basics and sloppy technique. TRUE Grand Masters usually have over 40 years of training and are likely horrible business men, but excellent teachers.

A good instructor will be honest with you even if it costs him a potential student.  I let potential students know up front that Kajukembo is hard work and they will only get out of it what they put into it. I make no belt promises, and I only teach true and pure self defense. If it's trophies or belts they want, Kajukembo is the wrong class. If they want to learn martial arts, then they have come to the right place.

This is not the best business approach, but I would rather fill my students with class than my class with students. Plus, I teach because I love martial arts, not because I have to. 

Sifu Israel Gonzales

Kajukembo Self-Defense Systems