Why do we train?
There are many common reasons, but the fundamental reason is street self-defense. The following questions can help you decide to enroll in our programs and, while all might not be applicable to you, they are all common scenarios we can help you prepare for:
The unknown attacker—This could be a new gang member initiation or a thug looking for an easy target to rob. It could include racial-based aggression or the precursor to sexual assault (rape). At Toe2Toe, we teach vigilance (awareness), confidence, and controlling the fear (fight or flight) response. This will keep most people out of many altercations. We also teach stun and run tactics using kicks, punches, and other strikes to tender areas (eyes, throat, groin, and knees) to enable an escape. We teach small self-defense weapons including the kubaton/uwara as well as other improvised weapons that can be used to gain an advantage. The ultimate goal is to survive the encounter.
The bully/abuser—This could be a kid from school or an abusive neighbor. In some cases, it could be a stalker/former friend in a relationship gone badly. This scenario is a little different, given known strengths and weakness can be taken into account. The bully/abuser can be considered carefully in an analysis to find the best approach to defusing the situation. Oftentimes, verbal judo (talking through things) is the best approach, and at Toe2Toe we can help work through confidence issues and even rehearse what to say and anticipate the expected response. The key is to use diplomacy first and physical self-defense as a last option. In cases where conflict becomes physical, we teach a variety of self-defense moves, which are effective at disabling the attacker rather than permanently injuring them. These “less-than-lethal” tactics are always intermediate options that precede more powerful and decisive actions. The ultimate goal to reduce conflict, prevent confrontation, and if things become physical, to survive the encounter.
The armed assailant—This could be a carjacking, armed robber, or terrorist. Nothing we teach will truly prepare anyone to face an armed assailant. Anyone who claims to be able to teach a student disarming techniques at the level required to avoid being shot or stabbed is either dishonest or a fool. Let’s be clear. A gun, knife, or explosive device is an absolute game changer! The real question is this: what can we do? At Toe2Toe, we focus on confidence and compliance until a better option appears. If a thug has a gun and wants your wallet, we encourage our students to give it to them and let them go. If a car thief wants your car, again, we encourage our students to give it to them. Life is too precious to take chances with guns and knives. That being said, there could be a time when action is required, and, in those cases, we will teach weapon control and best practices for avoiding a critical wound. There are some who will survive these encounters, but anyone who Googles “knife attacks” or “gun attacks” will realize those numbers are statistically low. So what can you expect from us? We will teach escape and evasion tactics more so than physical confrontation first, and then absolute commitment to self-defense, if the confrontation cannot be avoided, to include an escalation of force up to lethal force if need be. However, this is NOT the focus of our program. Anti-terrorism units and citizens with a concealed carry permit are best suited to defend in these situations. The ultimate goal is to survive the encounter, and this situation is the most difficult of all scenarios in the street.
The angry drunk—This could be a friend you don’t want to hurt or some stranger who just had too much to drink. Best defense is always to walk away. Most drunks would prefer to go back to drinking and then pass out than to fight. We teach off-balancing techniques and throws/takedowns, which are very effective. We teach grappling/submission techniques, which can be used to restrain the aggressor. We also take time to remind students that drinking is an adult activity that requires adult responsibility. Be safe and be smart if you choose to partake of events where alcohol is being consumed. Be vigilant to aggression and leave early if things get uncomfortable. There is no dishonor in avoiding angry drunks. The ultimate goals is to survive the encounter.
Toe2Toe is not an “MMA” or “sport” organization. We are a real-world self-defense organization focused on developing the physical skills, abilities, and mental preparation to survive. We will always encourage students to test their skills in the laboratory. Our “laboratory” includes intense training in our school with resistance from fellow students and instructors as well as the occasional competition.
The professional MMA competitor—We have trained a number of athletes in amateur, semi-pro, and professional Martial Arts. This is a grueling, time-consuming endeavor, but we are willing to go the distance if you are willing to do the work. Before you walk in and say, “Can you train me to be the next Ultimate Fighting Champion?” be prepared to spend a lot of time on the mats, in the gym, and at home doing your part. Never forget that this is a Martial Arts school, and there is plenty of homework to be done after class. That being said, we trained the current MMA Hall of Fame CEO, Ashe “The Archer” Bowman and a few other semi-pro fighters. If you want to discuss this, we are willing.
The tournament circuit competitor—We have had several students compete and win in local, state, regional, and national events. Much like travel baseball, this is a time-consuming and expensive pastime, but we can give you the tools if you are willing to travel and compete. We teach rules, systems, and expectations for winning. This is not the focus of our program, but it can be a lot of fun. If you are interested in this sort of thing, be prepared to work very hard for several years to master the skills needed to win consistently.
Mastering “self” through competition—This really is the only good reason to compete in our opinion. It is when we look at ourselves and strive to master our weaknesses that we can easily identify personal flaws or shortcomings that we can work on. Winning medals and trophies is great, but, win or lose, the true victory is in mastering yourself. I encourage all students to compete against themselves. Do more pushups than you did last month. Run farther and faster than you did in the last race. Kick higher, harder, and faster than when you first joined. Learn more throws, joint locks, and escapes than you ever thought possible. This is the epitome of Martial Arts… to conquer SELF.