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Evolution in Self Defense

My early training in the sixties was with a system called Amdo, it stands for American Way. It was a very diversified system that taught karate style sparring, many throws from Judo, locks from ju-jutsu, take-downs and reversals from aikido, and even some strikes and blocks from kung fu.

Today a system like that (it no longer exists) would be highly accepted. But remember, this was in the 1960's when "Tradition" was king. Many traditionalists scoffed at such a system. I can remember talking with other students who were from traditional schools. You could always see a snicker when I told them that we didn't do kata, one steps and formal drills.

Later my studies included Okinawan karate which I have spent many years of study and now teach. The big difference is I don't teach traditional Okinawan karate for self defense. I think my background in Amdo helped me see that there were better applications for many of the traditional karate self defense techniques. I also realize that one art does not have all the answers when it comes to self defense. You can always do something a little better, easier or faster. The trick is knowing what will really work or not when you see it. This is an area where there is no excuse for experience.

As the years progressed I continued to find easier, quicker and more direct ways to apply self defense. Sometimes attending a seminar I would find only one or two 'better' applications than I was teaching at the time. To me it was worth the price of admission.

I purchased dozens of self defense videos. Most of them were teaching traditional and in many cases useless self defense techniques and applications. But many times I would find just one technique or application that I could add or implement in my system.

Over the years I continued to refine, simplify and fine tune what I was teaching. I was getting closer to what I wanted and what I knew my students needed but I still felt something was missing.

I then met Bill Kipp and Peyton Quinn of the Rocky Mountain Combat Applications Training Camp (RMCAT). Bill was doing seminars on the road so I set one up for my school. Their brand of self defense was 'scenario based adrenal stress conditioning training.' After only one seminar I quickly realized several evident factors:

1. Although my system of self defense was very simple, it was not simple enough in many cases to be performed under a strong adrenal rush.

2. While under an 'adrenal dump' as we call it, your mental capacities are highly diminished.

3. Loss of fine motor skills can drop to almost scary levels.

4. I needed to greatly simplify what I was teaching and teach self defense that had what I call a "build on factor". This simply means that one technique builds upon another and that a few simple sequences would be able to be used for a number of different attacks.

Bill Kipp and I later formed F.A.S.T. Defense. FAST is an acronym for Fear Adrenal Stress Training. We are now teaching this technology to self defense instructors around the country and Internationally.

Within a short period of time my self defense system went through another overhaul. This time I really like the end result because the techniques have been tested under the stress of an adrenal dump.

I have put the 30 most common street attacks on video, using our latest technology. You can read about them at www.street-self-defense.com

Shihan Michael Pace

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