On Sunday, November 18, the QC Mettle gang joined the team at Combat Conditioning for a solid two hours of intense self-defense fitness skills, combined with an enlightening educational component. It was an awesome afternoon of camaraderie, learning, and sweat, sweat, sweat.
How long has Combat Conditioning existed in its current iteration? What is your history with fitness/wellness/self-defense courses?
Combat Conditioning is something I have been running for friends and teammates as a supplemental training program for conditioning geared towards the martial arts and competition, somewhere around 2 years now. It didn’t start out as much of anything, just people asking me to help them get in shape and ready for competitions. I’ve been having fun with it ever since then.
I guess you could say I’ve been training in different martial arts since I was 13. I now hold a black belt in Karate, Combat Sombo, and a blue belt in Brazlian Jiujitsu, with a little Muay Thai and Catch-As-Catch-Can Wrestling peppered in between. I currently hold a certification from USA Wrestling, and was awarded ‘Blackbelt of the Year’ in 2015 by the USA Martial Arts Hall of Fame.
In terms of exercise, over time I have had the pleasure of working with some of the best coaches in the world, some Olympic Judo team members, Sambo instructors from Russia, and learning all I could about nutrition and their training programs from each and every one. Just kind of amazes me hearing so many similar exercise science approaches and methods from top level trainers and coaches, yet each having some their own unique ideas on what works best. Always blows my mind. It’s just something I’m really passionate about. I’m currently finishing up my personal training certification, so I can expand and do more 1-on-1 consulting.
What are a few of the top things people need to keep in mind with regards to self-defense? How does your class at Combat Conditioning help to train people for real-world situations?
I think something important to remember is: anything can happen. Checking your ego at the door, or honestly anywhere you go, is vital in understanding how dangerous situations could be and how vastly underprepared we might be unless you’re training regularly. Also, getting hurt sucks.
I think the big thing that most of us don’t take into account is that the action-movie version of ourselves in our heads is not the same person in real-life. You’re not as fast or as strong as you might think, and even blackbelts have gotten killed because they overestimated their abilities. You need to train often, train the basics, and train for YOU. By YOU, I mean for your ability level and body type. I’m not going to have folks new to fitness or martial arts doing 7-count combinations and suplexing each other. I want folks to come in and feel like they have ownership of one or two new skills each class. I want you to remember those skills when you need them the most, not melt your brain and make you feel dumb.
Aside from that, I like to explain, a lot! Sorry, not sorry. In terms of real-world approach, I like to tell people WHY they are doing things, and explain the list of reasons when it could be good or bad, and explaining how bad ‘bad’ could get. I don’t think we like to hear the bad stuff often, and even tune it out in some cases, and having the understanding and ability to recognize when a situation could lead you into a life-threatening or harmful scenario BEFORE it occurs is the biggest tool in self-defense. Look for red flags, and leave before it happens.
What are some of the top things people think about self-defense that are inaccurate, or that could potentially cause a problem to escalate?
I think it is scary the amount of self-defense tutorials or ‘women’s self-defense tip’ videos that are out there that are unrealistic, with many techniques that don’t work or take a lot of training to pull off, and many are literally going to get some folks killed. Knives and guns are dangerous, and you’re not John Wick.
I think a lot of us forget what violence looks or feels like. It’s not a round of Street Fighter or some imaginary old-timey duel, it is fast, painful, explosive, and things sometimes just HAPPEN. One cannot hope to understand what it is to wrestle or get hit by someone without ever having done it. So you need to train for what you plan on happening, you need to be a savage when it matters. No one is going to ‘nicely’ beat your face in or ‘politely’ assault you. So that is step one in being realistic. I don’t go around hitting people and being a jerk (well, sometimes, haha) but I show students that this stuff can be pretty painful, and we’re all here to NOT get hurt, so you need to prepare yourself.
Why is it important for people to cultivate a self-defense skillset? In what ways is this skillset important and/or helpful overall?
It is important because it is a necessary survival skill. Our ancestors didn’t get here because they were the nicest — they fought, they struggled, and thankfully our world requires us to be less and less dog-eat-dog in everyday life. But it is an instinctual skill set you always want sharp should you need it. It’s like insurance — you pay into it just in case, but hope you never have to use it. And keeping your body and mind sharp together is always a good thing. Good amounts of exercise in general helps with mental clarity, so you might as well learn an applicable skill while staying sane and burning calories.
How can classes at Combat Conditioning benefit people new to the world of fitness conditioning?
I take a beginners’ approach to most students, mostly because form is so important, in terms of reducing injuries in the long term and educating folks about staying healthy, so I go slow and explain a lot. I go through proper form in everything, talk about our weaknesses, and how to improve over time with long-term goals. Your health is not a race, it is a marathon. I see more injuries happen because folks just rush through things, or are slowly causing long-term injuries. The benefits of being educated about and knowing your own body is immeasurable. Most folks start feeling soreness in places they’ve never felt before because of all of the martial arts-based drills and exercises I incorporate.
Is there a place for beginners at Combat Conditioning?
I look at it with a club or team mentality, with every member a team member ready to support and push each other. I find the best successes happen when a group works as one. So with that, every class is just you learning how to use your body, beginners and longtime members alike.
What do you have in store for 2019?
Basically I want to have a fun and motivated club of people who enjoy what we do, so that means spreading the word any way possible. I’m developing more content and updating our web presence every day, but am looking at doing pop-up classes around the area at different facilities. I may even have some spring/summer programs.
Thank you to Jeordan Hill and the team at Combat Conditioning for the invaluable, super fun day on the mats last month! We are pumped to keep working on our new skill sets while getting in a killer work out and having a ton of fun, to boot. — KMM