School of the Fighting Arts
By Shihan/Guro Terry Pollard 8th Degree Black Belt



 Fight or Flight – Are you ready to defend yourself



1.    Do you carry a gun

2.    Do you carry mace

3.    Do you carry a stun gun

4.    Hestitan or small striking device

5.    Are you trained to protect yourself in some way

     Many people carry things like these, but can one really fight back. People do not respond the same way under stress, some just panic and run, and some are figuring out a way to stop the threat.

     Do you practice and fully understand the self defense weapon you may use, and can you adapt to extreme situations, you may never know. That is why people need to train on regular basis, so a person will not have to worry about what to do, your training takes over.

     The police will never make it on time to stop the threat; they have to be called first before they can do anything. You are on your own until they get there. There are no safe places anymore for example; shootings in churches, murders in the home, domestic violence, rise of terrorism, etc.

      In some states you are not required to run, you can defend yourself if you feel threaten. When defending one ’s self and you have a gun, make sure you do not hesitate and shot to stop the threat. Remember when you shot someone make sure you know where that bullet is going.

     Once a situation starts you do not stop until you get away and you’re safe. Just remember you are not just defending yourself, but your family.

Protection of your home and property;

     One thing to think about, if someone is breaking in your house or property when you are there, they mean you harm. If they break in your house or property when you are not there, they are there to steal. So what does that tell you, do not hesitate when defending one's self and others.


  Why do so many women refuse to learn Self Defense

     In today’s world women are targets from the day their born to the day they die. Women need to learn how to protect themselves more than ever. Most attacks on women are from someone they know from the family, X-boyfriends, X-husbands etc. not just the stranger on the street.  Anyone can be a victim, but most are not prepared to defend themselves. Most men in society automatically acknowledge that self defense is important. There are over 215,000 martial arts schools across the country, and the vast majority of students there are male.
     Personal safety for women is a largely ignored subject. In today's hectic and rushed environment, personal concerns are more towards 'getting ahead', climbing that corporate ladder, or just rushing home to prepare dinner. But all it takes is one incident - for you to be victimized, and scarred for life. We cannot have this “it want happen to me mentality”. 
     Stalking has become one of the most dreaded crimes against women in recent years. According to a 2000 study conducted by the federal Department of Justice, one woman in 12 will be stalked during her lifetime. This figure is startling when compared to the fact that 1 in 3,000 will be raped, based on current FBI statistics. Many women know their stalker personally and as a result, are hesitant to believe the situation is potentially dangerous. Being aware of these alarming signals can help you determine if you are being stalked and what to do about it.
     I teach classes weekly to all who want to learn, male and female alike and all are treated equally. In most attacks, women will not be attacked by another woman, but will be attacked by a man. But no matter who you are it takes training, and dedication to learn how to defend yourself, not just some a one day class.

 Martial Art Stereotypes

      What is the first thing you think of when you start thinking about the martial arts? For most people a certain martial art movie comes into mind. When you decide to start training in the martial arts, what are you looking for? What type of teacher are you looking for?  When I talk to people on the phone, or in person and give them information about training, many people don’t know what they want. For example, I would like to get in better shape, I want to learn self defense.


     Many look at martial arts as some type of fitness center, or may choose a style that can give you motivation, or positive thinking and build up your self esteem, self confidence etc. Many well marketed schools lead with this type of things which are O.K. When choosing a teacher to train with, what are you looking for? Are you looking for someone that looks like Jet Li or some Asian Guy?  Are you looking for something that is easy to learn? If martial arts were easy you wouldn’t need schools.


     When picking a school or teacher, make sure you really want to train with that school or teacher. Every mainstream school will say things that will justify why they are there, and some can be like a slick used car salesman.  I will be honest with everyone I talk to; if I can’t help them, I will refer them to someone else. I will only take students that really want to train, and have a good time.


     When someone watches a martial artist on youtube, and they are showing something, one guy is non-Asian, and the other guy is Asian. There is an automatic judgment on the guy that is Asian, that he will be considered better just because he is Asian. Then there is the non-Asian guy doing the exact same thing and even better trained, and the judgment on him is harsher. People need to open their eyes and look at the training, not the race of the person doing it. I am not Asian and I have taught Chinese martial arts to Chinese, and taught Filipino martial arts to Filipinos.


     So what am I saying to think about when you choose to train in the martial arts, don’t be so naive and just run to some old Asian guy, and ask him do you know martial arts? That is a form of racism? There are con artists of all types including the martial arts, times have gotten better in the martial arts world, but just have an open mind and research before you start training.




      Too many schools focus on sparring too much, due to the lack of other knowledge, just to feel in the time of the class. I talk with many people every week about what we do at our school. Sparring is important, but not everything. We use sparring for timing, distance, evasive movements understanding types of fighters etc. Remember sparring is only a part of your training. Training needs to cover everything possible, reality training for the real world, not just for point fighting, kickboxing, MMA etc.

     What ever style you choose, one style will not cover everything. Some styles may cover sport martial arts better than others; some martial arts styles may cover reality better. But if a student or teacher does not know clearly what the differences are, they will be lost in the mainstream teaching and learning with a false since of security. Thinking they are ready, and not being honest with themselves. Too many students and teachers are lying to themselves letting ego and pride get in the way.

     Remember one more thing, under a stressful situation you will do what you’re trained to do. No matter what you say or think, your body will only adjust to what you give it. There are many martial artist thinking just because they are a great tournament champion they are ready for the streets.

     But, don't forget tournaments are under a controlled environment with rules, that even includes UFC, NHB, etc. There are referees there to stop a match and check on you if you get hurt, not on the street.  If you are second place at a tournament you can go back and try again. If you are 2nd place on the street your dead or in ICU.  All parts of training is important, just know the difference.



     What are forms good for; they are a way to practice when you are alone, to meditate on your martial arts training. But forms are limited, if you only do forms to look good, then you are only a dancer of the martial arts. Some styles think forms are waste of time, and some styles do too many forms.

     There needs to be a balance, if you are the type that wants to be a well rounded martial artist. Some instructors that teach too many forms feel they are giving lots of knowledge to their students and the student feels the same way, it is partially true, but the student may have martial arts knowledge, but there skill is lacking due to too many forms. We prefer to have a student with a higher skill level with fewer forms, quality not quantity.

     Forms are good for balance, coordination, fitness, applications in the form etc. The martial arts must be put into action, when it comes to fighting for self defense or even tournament fighting. You need to feel if the technique will work for you, it may or may not. At my school we do use forms, but at a limited amount, everything has its purpose in training and also its limitations. 



Politics in the Martial Arts


     I have been training in the martial arts since the 1980’s, and I have learned so much from all of my martial art teachers of the past and present. Each of my teachers has influenced me in a certain way, which helped make me into who I am today. I see things now as a martial artist as always evolving, and keeping my mind open to all things. If someone trained with me 10 years ago, I am not that same person anymore.


     Many teachers are set in their ways, and aren’t willing to see things in a different light, which ego is usually the problem. There is nothing wrong with sticking to a specific style you are happy with. Criticizing other martial artist just because they don’t agree with you doesn’t matter, not all martial artist train for the same reason, ex. self defense, fitness, sport etc.


     Politics is now becoming a problem within martial art groups and styles. If you don’t belong or agree that their way is the gospel truth, then you are an idiot, or you don’t know what you are talking about. I have experienced with some groups that if you work hard, and push yourself, you can be considered cocky, or over confident. Some groups only want people that are needy and naive, so that the teacher can be kept up on a pedestal like a cult leader.


     Politics will cause some styles to eventually die out, and will also create a low quality of training due to pride, ego, and not wanting to change for today. Yes, tradition is great, but it should be only a part to give respect to where your training comes from. But if we only dwell in the past, and not for the future, ex. what the teacher said or did 100 years ago does not mean it is useful for today. Martial Art training should be a constant growing experience through your life to help you become a better human being.


     Politics is like a cancer, if it goes on to long then the system or style will split into different groups or sects, and each claiming they are right and the others are wrong. So what am I trying to say, the world is going to keep on spinning no matter what you say or do, and 100 years from now nobody is going to care. Life is to short for politics, all martial art styles has something to offer for everyone.



Weapons training

      Weapons’ training is very important in a wide range of your training. Hand and eye coordination, learning how to move with a weapon, and keeping it under control. Speed and reflex, weapons move quicker than punches and kicks.

     Just because you know a Form or Kata with a weapon, does not mean you know that weapon. You may know how to spin it around, and have a bunch of cool looking movements, but you need to put in more real action, if you want a better understanding.

Example: Weapons sparring, self defense with weapons, and self defense against a weapon attack.

     The way we teach with weapons training is to put it into action with a partner. To better understand weapons you must know how to use the weapon, to earn the respect of that weapon, ex. the knife. This particular weapon, the "knife" is much underestimated, there are styles that still teach the cross block defense against this weapon, which will only work for someone stupid enough to let you get away with it, but not against the professional.

     If you want to learn a particular weapon, go to the style that specializes in the knife, the Filipino martial arts covers this weapon very well, some more than others. You don't go to someone that teaches some form of sport martial arts to learn close quarter combat; you go to the style that focuses on that the best.

Research the styles out there, don't just take my word for it, prove it for yourself and be truly honest with your training.


Playing off the Bluff for the martial Artist  

     I have been practicing martial arts since the 1980's, I have seen how martial arts schools have changed over the years. I have seen schools that stick to what martial arts is really all about, and I have seen schools that water down their training just to make more money, ex. the Mcdojo's. The respect of the Black Belt is falling away, because anybody can be a black belt now, including little children. At my school we teach styles such as; Kung Fu, Arnis, Jujitsu and Karate for Kids.

      What I see today when people receive their black belts, they think they are finished and ready to teach, and start their own schools. And then the bluff begins, so many black belts play off their rank to get students, and never really have to prove themselves. I have served in the Army, and served in the local law enforcement. I cannot teach something that will not work for the average person; we need to be honest about our training. The black belt will not save you; your training will save you. So many schools also play off the fitness game.
     Fitness is a given when someone trains in the martial arts, and after a while the original reason for training has faded away. So many martial arts schools get caught up trying to stay in business, and will do anything they can to get you to sign up. What happen to the old fashion way of working hard for something, and the years of dedication? America is the land of the masters, everyone wants to be one, but they don't want to work for it.
    I have learned not to give a student to much to fast, and not to give them to much of my time and energy, because most students quit. I tell my students, "the longer you stay the more you get", these are my safeguards. Only the truly dedicated student reaps the rewards, and will see what I really know. I hide what I really know very well, and occasionally give a few hints to prove it, not just talk about it. There is this saying that many know, if you talk the talk, you must walk the walk.
     I believe you must be completely honest with yourself, not lying to yourself, and then you are no longer bluffing your training, but you can prove it. I have proved my training to myself countless times while working as a Deputy of the local Sheriff department, and I show my students that it can work, if you just simply practice. I am not saying to get into fights or challenge other styles, but just be honest with your training as a martial artist.




  Owner/Master Instructor

 Shihan/Guro Terry Pollard

8th Degree Black Belt

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