Whatever Works Encouraging individual creativity and innovation, Mark draws on his vast experience in the following methods to design the curriculum: • Filipino Martial Arts • Jun Fan Martial Arts (Methods compiled by Bruce Lee) • Hung Gar Kung Fu/Wing Chun/Hsing-i Pakua/Tai Chi Chuan • Japanese Jiu Jitsu/Judo/Aikido/Aiki-Jujitsu/Kenjitsu • Tae Kwon Do/Tang Soo Do/Hapkido/Kuk Sool Won • Indonesian Pentjak Silat • Malaysian Bersilat • Muay Thai/Krabi Krabong • French Savate • Western Boxing • Submission Hold Grappling • Brazilian Jiu Jitsu • European Fencing • Firearms Mark offers Beginner to Advanced-Level Self-Defense Training through Group Classes as well as Exclusive Private Instruction. His comprehensive curriculum incorporates: • Mixed Martial Arts • Specialized & Improvised Impact & Bladed Weaponcraft • Special-Use Weapons & Stratagems • Stress Inoculation Training • Situational & Environmental Awareness Training
• Filipino Martial Arts
• Jun Fan Martial Arts (Methods compiled by Bruce Lee)
• Hung Gar Kung Fu/Wing Chun/Hsing-i Pakua/Tai Chi Chuan
• Japanese Jiu Jitsu/Judo/Aikido/Aiki-Jujitsu/Kenjitsu
• Tae Kwon Do/Tang Soo Do/Hapkido/Kuk Sool Won
• Indonesian Pentjak Silat
• Malaysian Bersilat
• Muay Thai/Krabi Krabong
• French Savate
• Western Boxing
• Submission Hold Grappling
• Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
• European Fencing
Mark offers Beginner to Advanced-Level Self-Defense Training
through Group Classes as well as Exclusive Private Instruction.
His comprehensive curriculum incorporates:
• Mixed Martial Arts
• Specialized & Improvised Impact & Bladed Weaponcraft
• Special-Use Weapons & Stratagems
• Stress Inoculation Training
• Situational & Environmental Awareness Training
Respectfully ignoring the once-sacred boundaries of traditional styles, Mark was actively blending the most effective arts together 20 years before the term and idea of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) came into vogue. Even so, he quickly embraced the new term as being — at long last — a plain-English way to refer to the hybrid system he has been teaching all along. There is a crucial difference, however, between the revolutionary new sport — of which Mark is a fan — and his street-oriented brand of MMA…
After all, no matter how brutal it gets, absent the presence of weapons and the element of surprise, not to mention the decidedly unsportsmanlike use of finger locks, fishhooks and teeth, sport fighting is really just very hard “sparring.” Now, that is certainly not to say that a seasoned MMA competitor would be incapable of defending his life or the life of another in a real-world situation. But training to compete in an athletic contest — with rules, referees and EMTs in place to protect you — is clearly different from training to put down an undoubtedly armed psychopath hellbent on mayhem, murder or martyrdom.
Mark’s unapologetically vicious approach puts eye gouges, throat strikes, groin kicks and head butts high on the students’ to-do list. In other words, he emphasizes the problem-solving utility of battle-proven martial arts over the often-touted philosophical meanderings of neutered martial “ways” that have either lost or deliberately filed off their combative edge. His school’s constantly evolving curriculum encompasses about 80% stand-up and 20% ground-fighting technology, with the use of weapons included across the board.
Uninterested in subscribing to any one system and having no tolerance for politics, his school is beyond the reach of narcissistic hierarchies and the self-serving associations, organizations and federations that spring up around them. Thus, while remaining deeply respectful of the storied history and culture of the Philippines, he is immune to the petty rivalries that plague the continued evolution of their legendary indigenous fighting arts.
Known for his explosiveness and precision, Mark teaches FMA with a razor-sharp focus on real-world functionality.
Regularly cross-referencing the combat and duel-tested time and distance-control methods of European Fencing, which had a profound influence on the Filipino Martial Arts, he trains his students to wade into battle like Eskrimadors, armed to the teeth and secure in the proven effectiveness of their arts.
Eskrima / Kali / Arnis – Used as umbrella terms to describe a vast array of weapon-based fighting arts from the Philippines, these terms have become almost generic in recent years, often taking turns being more popular. Depending on the region, bladed weapons are more or less emphasized, with stick fighting being the most common denominator.
There are many weapon categories, including single stick (single sword, single ax, etc.), double stick, stick and shield, stick and knife, single knife, double knife, long staff, pocket stick, flexible weapons (flail, chain whip, bullwhip, etc.) and improvised weapons.
In addition to the advanced weaponry for which it is best known, FMA also includes lesser-known unarmed sub-arts designed to function independently, as well as in support of the weapon.
Pangamut and Panatukan encompass the empty hand or boxing phase. However, while the use of the fist is definitely represented, use of the open hand, forearm and elbow are given equal if not greater emphasis, along with the shoulder and forehead.
Pananjakman and Sikaran are essentially kickboxing methods. The focus here is on unadulterated stopping power, using the feet, shins and knees.
Dumog is grappling, both in stand-up fighting and ground fighting, with and without weapons.
Kinomutay is often referred to as the pinching and tearing art of FMA, with the emphasis here on targeting the inherent vulnerabilities of the human anatomy. Nerve attacks and vital points are exploited to the fullest, using fingers, bony points and teeth… but inflicting excruciating pain is only part of the menu; tearing off lips, ears and eyelids is the main course.*
*While such unmitigated savagery may seem absolutely unthinkable when considered in a vacuum, keep in mind that these methods were originally developed for jungle warfare, where no holds barred really meant NO HOLDS BARRED.
At the Mikita School, Knife / Counter-Knife Training is approached in 3 phases.
Phase 1: Knife vs. Knife
While the likelihood of getting into a duel with knives is slim, the rules of such an engagement are simple:
If you are more skilled than your opponent – he’s dead.
If your opponent is more skilled than you – you’re dead.
If you’re both equally skilled – you’re both dead.
In training, our emphasis is less on dueling and more on mastering the high-speed perception and motor skills necessary to disable a skilled opponent quickly.
Phase 2: Knife vs. Empty Hands
(In other words, how to use a knife against an unarmed opponent)
This phase of training is often initially seen as being, at the very least, socially unacceptable, if not immoral. But when you stop to consider the reality of a 120lb woman fighting for her life against a 230lb rapist/murderer, a knife suddenly seems like a damn good thing for her to have.
You’re also justified in opting for a weapon such as a knife when confronted by more than one assailant – whether they’re armed or not.
Phase 3: Empty Hands vs. Knife
Finally, having developed a strong sense of the weapon, Phase 3
is all about defending against the knife when you are unarmed. Elaborate disarms are out and while kicking the knife out of the opponent’s hand is remotely possible, any attempt to do so could also get you killed.
Running is always, by far, the best idea.
However, if you can’t run, the name of the game is evading and smothering the blade until you can seize control of the weapon hand… Even if it’s just long enough to land a few solid hits, push him in front of a bus, or drag him to the ground and choke him out.
As a perfect case in point, the UFC (and the Gracie family in particular) ushered in a new respect and appreciation for taking a realistic and comprehensive approach to training – including at least some measure of functional ground fighting.
Thus, it seems incongruous that most martial artists still don’t explore and train with firearms. In this school, we take a very serious look at the combative use of handguns, rifles, shotguns and sub-machine guns. We also have an arsenal of inert firearms we use to train disarms, and yes, you can disarm someone who is armed with a firearm.
The way we look at it, if it comes down to a choice between just standing there and dying or trying to survive, we’ll take the latter.