Why did you create Level 5 Combat Systems?
» Not to take anything away from traditional martial arts, as that has been my roots, but in short – times change. Throughout my martial arts career I have seen class sizes diminish. People don’t have or don’t want to dedicate themselves to spending 20 years learning, practicing and becoming proficient through an art or a system. While some systems can be learned more rapidly than others, people still want the instant gratification. I have distilled 20+ years of traditional martial arts, countless hours of independant research as well as influence from others such as Bill Kipp, Lee Morrison, Kelly McCann, et al into a system that is easily learned, easily retained and very effective. Without tradition, without rules. As in any system, the more you practice the more effective you become. Another reason is traditional martial arts are typically quite old and many are not dynamic, meaning they do not change with the times. Sure techniques can be applied to wrists and joints the same as 2000 years ago and can be adapted to new situations. Martial arts are militaristic in origin. Today people want to defend themselves against the growing violent culture. Self defense becomes necessary to survival. Survival is not a game, neither is this.
Where did the name Level 5 come from?
» Honestly, it came from a book, “Scaling Force: Dynamic Decision Making Under Threat of Violence” by Miller and Kane. In the book there are 6 levels: Presence, Voice, Touch, Empty-Hand Restraint, Less-Lethal Force, and Lethal Force. I highly recommend giving this a read. We do not teach lethal force, per se, although we do practice with bladed weapons and firearms. This is an explosive style and it is violent, yet we aim to control our actions and not use excessive force. Of course, if someone progressed up the continuum of force, death or great bodily harm can be the result. As most situations can be handled with less lethal force, that is what I decided to name the system.
Is this a martial art?
» Well… not really. Martial arts tend to focus on small points, fine motor skills that take a long time to perfect and in an adrenalized state, fine motor skills are one of the 1st things to become impaired. Level 5 Combat Systems uses gross motor skills and things that don’t require a lot of practice to be able to use. Of course, to be proficient, practice is required. We also do not do katas, as found in a number of traditional martial arts.
It has been said (by Kelly McCann) that martial arts are what you do with someone else, combat is what you do to someone else.
What are combatives?
» Kelly McCann said it better than I could in Combatives for Street Survival. “Combatives are self-defense concision. Not a lot of extra involved. The reason is clear, you don’t want to have a lot of extra choices or a lot of alternatives, because under duress, when you’re truly frightened or fighting for your life… you want to make sure you resort to things that come readily to mind that can be done under duress, that aren’t particularly hard to do.”
Why not learn the best technique from the beginning? It makes sense. I don’t want to waste time saying I’ll show you the advanced part later. Give me something that works right away not after 6 years of practice.