You should know:
1. We teach nothing that will get our students killed.
Self-defense is not a game. Nor is it the place for macho posturing, agenda-driven thinking, unchecked emotions, or complicated and unreliable physical techniques. Any, and all of those will get someone killed in a violent confrontation. We know because we have seen people seriously injured trying to use ineffective techniques in real fights. Our goal is to provide effective strategies and skills for surviving violent encounters - at whatever level.
2. We don't teach people to fight. We teach them to survive.
Our goal is not to teach you how to stand there and fight. We do not teach dueling; nor are we concerned with winning. Our only self-defense goal is to teach you how to end it now! By ending a violent encounter quickly, you do one thing - ensure your own safety. The strategies, tactics and degree of force necessary all change according to the threat level, your goals or profession. However, no matter who you are, you want the situation resolved as quickly as possible with the least amount of force.
A far more effective way to ensure your safety than fighting is the ability to de-escalate a potentially violent situation. Better yet is the ability to recognize a possibly violent situation and avoid putting yourself into it. Not only does that lessen the chances of being physically hurt, but nobody has ever been sued for not fighting. This is why, a significant portion of our courses are oriented toward violence de-escalation, verbal self-defense and common-sense avoidance.
3. We help people achieve understanding.
Techniques fail. Things go wrong. Mr. Murphy and his laws are always present in a physical confrontation. Many a perfectly good self-defense technique can be - and has been - utterly destroyed by the attacker simply stepping forward. If you only know rather than understand a move, your attempts are vulnerable to Mr. Murphy. That is because you probably will not be able to react fast enough when the situation changes (i.e., step forward) and alter your own actions to meet this new and different threat. Or you will attempt to use muscle to make a move work. This is fine if you are a big, strong man, but if you attempt to contest the strength of a larger and stronger opponent your technique will fail - nearly, every time.
You may know hundreds of techniques, but if you don't understand what makes them work you won't be able to apply them outside the controlled environment of the training hall. If you understand the principles that make them work, no matter what is happening you can develop a move - on the spot - that will be successful against any size opponent. This is the difference between a belt collector and a fighter. The latter has an ingrained understanding of these principles that allows him to operate effectively within the chaos of violent confrontation. The former will often freeze in confusion, unsure of which, of the hundreds of techniques he knows, would have been best. By the time he decides on one, the opportunity and the technique's effectiveness has passed. This is why so many training hall techniques fail in actual practice.
4. It's what you think you know that will kill you.
A simple, but controversial, statement is: The reason that most martial arts techniques fail in actual conflict is that the person trying to use them doesnt have the basics nailed down. There are fundamental elements that MUST be present in an effective offense. In training, reviewing these elements is often met with a yeah, yeah, I know that attitude. The problem is in an actual confrontation, the know-it-all does everything BUT those basics and that is why he loses the fight. As our goal is survival of violence and not sport, we emphasis that these fundamentals must be ingrained. We don't care if you know them, we care that you do them as instinctively and automatically as breathing. Don't practice until you get it right. Practice until you can't get it wrong.
Advanced technique is nothing but the basics understood at a deeper level. And it is having those basics ingrained that will not only save you in a conflict, but will allow you to moderate your use of force - which does wonders for keeping you out of jail afterwards.