Forteza Fitness

Combatives

Concrete ‘Jitz: Ground Survival Workshop with Michael VanBeek, May 28th!

“Real Solutions to Real Problems for Real People.”

Please join us in welcoming respected self-defense instructor Mike VanBeek to Forteza!

What is Concrete ‘Jitz?

Working from the ground back to your feet, Concrete Jitz covers every thing you need to know about defending against violence while on the ground.

This is not your daddy’s Jujitisu. While Mike’s jitz is strong, he has learned that the game changes when you are facing violence in the street, rather than an athlete on  mat. This workshop is about stopping violence’s ground game cold, and getting you home safe.

While he basic’s of ground-fighting will be covered, there is material here that will benefit grapplers and self-defense enthusiasts of all levels. So, whether you are an accomplished grappler or are looking to add ground skills to your self-defense, this is the workshop for you.

Topics covered:

  1. Why are we on the ground? (getting knocked down)
  2. Defense against a standing opponent.
  3. Defense against a mount.
  4. Defense from your guard.
  5. Getting back up.
  6. When can I access my weapons?
  7. How do stop the other person from getting to theirs?

About Your Instructor:

Renowned practical self-defense and personal protection instructor Michael VanBeek is the man to teach you how to defend against street-level criminals, because he knows their world from both the inside and the out.

Early in life, Michael was enrolled in special-education classes and given the drug Ritalin. As a result, he endured constant bullying. To compensate for his small and skinny stature and the social stigma of being in special education, Michael’s mother enrolled him in his first martial arts class in 1978.

Earning several different rankings in various traditional arts, Michael stumbled upon Jeet Kune Do in the late 1980’s. This art, made famous by its founder Bruce Lee, led VanBeek to train with many of the greatest martial artists alive. In the early 1990’s he not only maintained a victorious cage fighting record but also trained with firearms and tactical weaponry as a professional body guard, while finishing his education in Criminal Justice. As a security guard in the greater Chicagoland area, Michael was exposed to a side of self-defense/fighting not often seen in the martial arts. After spending most of his life in martial arts, working in bars and clubs, body guard training, setting records in cage fighting, earning black belts and obtaining a Senior Instructorship in Bruce Lee’s Art of Jeet Kune Do, Michael VanBeek thought he had it all figured out. He was wrong – almost dead wrong.

His life took an unexpected turn and in 2004, divorce and job loss left him in a severe depression. Within two years Michael VanBeek, the once honorable Sifu, was now using drugs and alcohol to escape his depression and isolation. He very quickly found himself homeless. From the one side of Chicago to the other, Michael’s goal was survival and in many circumstances, fight or die. Whether fighting to stay alive or fighting to feed an addiction, this was not the life of a once respected martial artist. The Cook County Department of Corrections became yet another challenge.

VanBeek turned his life around, re-entered the world of martial arts and reconsidered his career. He chose to dedicate his life to teaching people to defend themselves against the violence of which he became a part – the violence that almost took his life.

After a few years modifying the way he taught martial arts, Michael conducted violence survival seminars throughout the country and met other instructors with similar experiences. Soon, FOCUS opened locations nationwide. With a unified goal and service to train people to save their lives from real violence, without the rituals, uniforms or the time required by most training systems, Michael VanBeek created “Real Solutions to Real Problems for Real People.”

Today, Michael spends most of his time in service working with special needs children, lecturing and presenting seminars on Counter-Violence to families, corporations, security firms, organizations and individuals. In addition to running his company, VanBeek speaks to groups about performance-related matters, using his story to inspire others.

You can learn more about Mike and his work at: http://www.focuscounterviolence.com/

When, Where, How Much:

Sunday, May 28th
11:30 AM
Forteza Fitness
$75 pre-registration $100 at the door.

Register today and save! 

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New Workshop! Hugging the Lion, Slicing the Griffon: Italian Martial Arts from Medieval to Modern (February 20 – 21st)

“Cum li braci vegno acusi ben distese per guadagnar in ogni modo le prese…” “With the arms extended I come to you to gain the grappling in any possible way..” – Fiore De Liberi, Flos Duellatorum, XV century

Forteza Fitness & Marital Arts and the Chicago Swordplay Guild welcome Dr. Marco Quarta of Nova Scrimia for a weekend long immersion in the unarmed combat  taught in Italian fencing and gymnastic academies from the late Middle Ages until the early XX century!

Italian Martial Arts can be divided into Zoghi di Concordia – Games of Concord, or combat sports, and Zoghi d’Ira – Games of Fury or Games of Rage, real combat. Based on ruthless efficiency, Abracar developed from the need of surviving in battlefields, as well as quickly defending in dark streets where people could attack armed with daggers at any time. Compared to its combat-sport counter parts Lotta (wrestling), Pugilato (boxing) or Pancrazio, (also called), Abracar shares the use of strategies and techniques (Zoghi), speed (Celeritas and Presteza) and strength (Fortituto). However it is characterized by less elegant and sophisticated actions, focusing instead on quickly escaping, injuring and ending a fight.

This combative approach didn’t disappear at the end of the Middle Ages, but was maintained across the centuries – the XIX century schools of mani libere (“hands”) maintain the same principles, and also focused mostly on self-defense (like in the case of Master Luigi Carmine or Alberto Cougnet schools). Today, similar methods are preserved within south of Italy schools, such as “calci & schiaffi” (kicks & slaps).

Part One: From Abrazare to Mani Liberi – Grappling and Hidden Weapons
In this workshops we will cover basic and advanced strategies for the transition from gioco largo to gioco stretto (long to short measure). We will also focus on the flow of grappling toward striking and back to grappling, including:

  • trovar di braccia (finding and binding the arms).
  • aprire e chiudere i cancelli (opening and closing the gates), to change measure during actions aimed to finalize an opponent. We will see:
  • Prese avantacade e Ligadure (trapping and blocking the opponent’s arms and legs);
  • Rotture (breaking joints and weaker bones of the body);
  • Percussioni (striking with hands, arms, elbows, legs and heads);
  • Lesioni (injuring with pressure and clinching on soft parts such as eyes, genitals, ears, etc.),
  • Gambarole, Capofitti and Stramazzi (different actions aimed to throw and take down the opponent on vital parts, such as the head, in combination with striking).

We will also study the actions in the context of hidden weapons. Indeed, Abracar (and the Italian school in general) is an art of unarmed fighting for armed fighters (ex. daggers, knives, sticks, swords). It is designed not only for unarmed combat, but in particular it is aimed to display fencing geometries designed for opening opportunities to grab your own or the opponent’s weapon, if available. By doing so, at the same time trying to prevent him to arm himself. Similarly, living traditions in Italy maintain the same concept in the use of the knife.

Part Two: Hands Against the Knife!
Fol 12Now that we are armed with a dagger or a knife, the workshop will move into the second part, dedicated to dagger and knife fencing (short range fencing). Translating abracar dynamics into dagger dynamics, we will:

  • Translate abracar dynamics into dagger dynamics – two weapons, one method!
  • Learn to flow from gioco largo to gioco stretto with short blades, in transitions of opening and closing the gates.
  • Study the use of gioco largo to control measure in opposition to gioco stretto aimed to finalize the opponent while neutralizing his weapon.

SEMINAR DETAILS

Date and Time:
Saturday, February 20th (11:30 AM – 5:30 PM)
Sunday, February 21st (11 AM – 5 PM)

Cost: $125.00 prepaid by February 15th, $150 thereafter.

Required Knowledge: None, but experience in unarmed and knife martial arts is helpful

Required Equipment: Comfortable training clothes, long-bladed training dagger, water-bottle, fencing mask. Additional masks and daggers are available at the studio.

Registration is limited to 30 people so register today!

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Forteza 2014 Year in Review and 2015 Teaser: Combatives

The past twelve months of Combatives training at Forteza has been so epic, we almost feel bad for everyone who didn’t get to train with us.  Almost.

In 2014, Forteza played host to literally the who’s who of teachers in the field of Combatives and Reality Based Self Defense training.  We kicked off the year with an in house Bowie knife seminar taught by Forteza instructor Keith Jennings.  Students learned the basics of American big blade fighting, and with many of the students having some training in historical fencing or Martial Blade Concepts, everyone took right to the weapon, and Bowie knife sparring has been seen at the monthly Fight Night ever since.

In the Spring we hosted an Urban Survival course taught by Johnny Tsai.  This informative seminar was one half lecture, helping students with contingency plans and how to assemble a bug out bag in case of a local disaster, and the other half we went out to the woods and learned how to build shelters, how to start a fire with a variety of tools, and even practiced some self defense skills.

In May, Forteza played host to Martial Blade Concepts founder and head instructor Mike Janich for a two-day seminar.  Since Forteza instructor Keith Jennings is one of Mike’s senior instructors, and most of the students in attendance had a solid training base, we were able to really amp up the training and focus on the more advanced aspects of MBC training.  On the first day, Mike presented a state-of-the-art seminar on the MBC forward grip knife curriculum.  Mike tuned up everyone’s basics, and then got everyone rocking out on flow drills, combat applications, and even a bit of knife chess.  The second day was a bit treat for all of the attendees, as Mike showed his seldom taught interpretation of  classical Filipino machete and sword and dagger training.  Mike was able to blend the traditonal aspects of sword and dagger with the logic of the MBC methodology into a brutally effective big blade system.

Forteza was honored to host Lee Morrison for an absolutely epic five days of training in July.  Lee is a UK Combatives instructor who is know for both his soft skills training, helping students cultivate the proper Combtives mindset, as well as the hard stills needed to survive a brutal street altercation.  And when we say hard, we mean hard.  Lee spent two days doing private training with the Forteza staff, focusing on developing explosive power and bone crunching power.  Then the two and a half day seminar pushed everyone to the edge.  Everyone took some hard shots, and gave just as much as they got.  The increase in skill level and overall toughness by the end of the last day was a sight to behold.

Self defense guru Hoch Hochheim taught a two day seminar in October.  Hoch is a legend in the field, and was one of the first instructors in the United States to teach self defense removed from the hangups of traditional martial arts.  Hoch covered a wide variety of material in his two day seminar.  We went over his empty hand striking skills, knife vs knife, and his modern version of traditional Filipino stick fighting.  Perhaps the best part of the seminar was hearing Hoch’s war stories of his police days, as well as the many martial arts personalities he’s met over the years.

Lastly, Forteza was extremely honored end the year hosting Kelly McCann for a two day seminar. Kelly is the most sought after instructor in the field of Combatives, but until recently his training was never available to civilians.  Thankfully, that has now changed.  After Keith trained with Kelly at his Civilian Training Center in Virginia, he had been trying to figure out a way to train with him again ever since.  When Kelly announced we was taking his Kembativs training on the road, Forteza jumped on the chance to be one of the first gyms to host him.  Students were introduced to Kelly’s boxing training, both in the sportive sense and bare knuckle boxing for the street.  We also did some classic Combatives training, doing everything from self offense, to stick and knife, and the dreaded pocket stick.  After a weekend full of bare knuckle boxing, chin rips, and combative throws, the amount of pain induced by the little pocket was almost comical, especially to Kelly.  It was an epic way to end an epic year of training.

COMBATIVES 2015

We are only a week into the new year, and 2015 is already shaping up to be an even better year of Combatives training.  To meet the demand of our students, we are going to be offering more weekend focus classes on specific self defense topics, and launch our invite-only Forteza Combatives Club.  Our first class of the new year is the Martial Blade Concepts Fundaments class.  More details to come.

Also, for our first big Combatives seminar of the year will be hosting Dom Rasso of Dynamis Alliance for a two day seminar.  We will be covering situational self defense, team tactics, car Combatives, and Dom will be showing the unique reverse grip knife tactics he used when he was an active Navy Seal.  To register, please follow this link:

https://www.dynamisalliance.com/gear/situational-combatives-course

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Video Recap of Urban Combatives Seminar

This past July, Forteza played host to Urban Combatives founder Lee Morrison for a three day seminar.  Lee specializes in combining high intensity physical training, with the mental stress of scenario training.  The Forteza Combatives classes are integrating many of these training drills and methodology into our weekly classes.

On Facebook you can find a video compilation of some of the drills Lee taught over the weekend.  Featured in the video are Dom Raso and Dylan Murphy of Dynamis Alliance.  Dom is a 12 year Navy Seal veteran, and Dylan is the guy who Kelly McMann himself has said is one of the future stars of reality based self-defense.  These two gentlemen will be teaching a two day Combatives seminar at Forteza in March of next year.  More details to come!

 

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Hoch Hochheim Seminar October 11 – 12, 2014

bannerhockhochheim3
2014 has proven to be Forteza’s year of combatives and practical, personal protection, welcoming famed instructors Michael Janich (Martial Blade Concepts) and Lee Morrison (Urban Combatives). Now we finish our “trifecta” by welcoming world-renowned instructor Hoch Hochheim for two days of training!
With over 30 years of military, police and civilian combat and self-defense experience, since 1996, Hock Hochheim’s mission has been to “bridge the gap between the military, the police, the martial artist, and the aware citizen.” Each group knows things about fighting that the other doesn’t. Today, we add to that mission statement the concept that you should: “use only that force necessary to win or survive.” All fights are highly, highly situational. We live in a mixed weapon’s world and a mixed peoples world with rules of engagement and use of force issues. This workshop will address two very different aspects of that world:
Saturday 10/11/14 11am-6pm
Day 1: Extreme close quarters knife training. Hoch’s close quarters knife module, called Death Grip of the Knife, will focus on face-to-face, nose-to-nose, grip-to-grip knife combat. Ground knife fighting will also be covered.

Sunday 10/12/2014 10am-5pm
Day 2: Military and police stick, as well as Filipino stick fighting. Hoch will cover striking, blocking, grappling and ground fighting. Hock has also organized Filipino single and double stick materials from so many FMA systems and programs down to their scientific, easily digestible essence.

About the Instructor

Hock Hochheim has taught force necessary combat strategies to citizens, the police and military all over the world in places like South Africa,  Australia, Germany, Europe, The United Kingdom, Southwest Asia for the military and of course, throughout the United States.  Hock has actually done more in real life than most people reputed to be…“ famous and experienced.”   Currently hock teaches hand, stick, knife and gun combatives in some 40 seminars in 11 or 12 allied countries a year. Hock served as an MP in the U.S. military both stateside and in Korea.  He also worked as a police officer and detective for 23 years in Texas working violent crimes and narcotics.  Also during his career he worked as a security guard, doorman, private investigator, body guard and security consultant, most notably for “America’s mayor”, Rudy Giuliani.
As a martial artist, Hoch began his journey in 1973 with Ed Parker Kenpo Karate. Since that time he has amassed black belts in Filipino Martial Arts, Kempo, Kajukenbo and Aiki-Jutsu, and was  voted by readers into the Black Belt Magazine Hall of Fame in 2001. Since the 1990s, he has been a pioneer in the integration of hand, stick, knife and gun training, and the use of the term “combatives” which was used by so few back then, but is now a widespread title today.
Seminars with Hoch fill fast, to register today by visiting Hoch’s site: http://www.forcenecessary.com/shop/combatives-seminar-hock-chicago.html

For more info, contact us at info@fortezafitness.com

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Martial Blade Concepts/Sobadiwan Eskrima Progressive Skills Seminar May 3-4th

MBC_Full_Logo6Internationally-known and respected personal defense and protection expert Michael Janich returns to Chicago for a special, two-day workshop!

PROGRAM
In this two-day seminar, Michael Janich will present intermediate and advanced instruction in the skills of his MBC system, focusing on the latest refinements of MBC’s standard-grip methods. It will also include rarely-seen instruction in the MBC approach to traditional weapon skills, including single stick, double stick, sword/machete, and espada ydaga (sword and dagger) tactics.

Keith and Trey SumbradaDay One: MBC Practical Knife Defense
Day 1 of this course will provide step-by-step instruction the “state of the art” of the MBC system. It will review the critical skills of using a knife as a practical defensive weapon and maximize the efficiency of those skills by focusing on the details of structure, timing, body position, angles, footwork, and leverage. Day 1 will also fine tune the students’ execution of MBC’s reflex training drills and show how drills can be combined into strategic training sets to isolate, refine, and challenge specific reflex patterns.

Day Two: Practical Use of Traditional Weapons 
In day 2 of the seminar, Janich will share his perspective on traditional Filipino weapon skills, applying MBC’s proven analytical process to classical Filipino martial arts technique to extract practical, combat-worthy skills and tactics. This session will address the use of sticks, swords/machetes, and sword-and-dagger tactics, as well as other aspects of Janich’s Sobadiwan Eskrima system.

ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR
02-reinforced-grip-copyMichael Janich has been studying and teaching self-defense and the martial arts for more than 35 years. He has earned instructor’s credentials in American Self-Protection (ASP – an eclectic art that includes elements of judo, aikido, boxing, fencing and French Savate), the Filipino art of Serrada Eskrima, and Joseph Simonet’s Silat Concepts and is a member of the elite International Close-Combat Instructors’ Association. He has also trained extensively in wing chun gung fu, tae kwon do, wu ying tao, Thai boxing, arnis de mano and military combatives. Janich is also one of the foremost modern authorities on handgun point shooting and is one of the few contemporary instructors to have been personally trained by the late close-combat legend Colonel Rex Applegate.

Janich served nine years in the U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command, including a three-year tour at the National Security Agency. fter completing his military service, Janich was recruited by the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and served as an Intelligence Officer for that agency’s Stony Beach Program in Hong Kong and the Philippines. He also served as an Investigation Team Leader for the Joint Casualty Resolution Center (JCRC) and Joint Task Force-Full Accounting (JTF-FA) and has led numerous investigations into remote areas of Vietnam and Laos in search of information regarding American prisoners of war and missing in action (POW/MIA).

Author of six books, co-author of seven more, he has also been featured in more than 20 instructional videos on defensive edged-weapon use, use of the Filipino balisong knife, the use of throwing weapons and exotic weapons, stick fighting, and combat shooting. Currently, he serves as the Special Projects Coordinator for the Spyderco knife company of Golden, Colorado. With Spyderco’s support, he continues to offer state-of-the-art tactical training as co-host of The Best Defense on Outdoor Channel.

REGISTRATION
Early Bird Registration (before April 1st) $150

Pre-Registration (after April 1st, before May 3rd) $175

Day of Registration $200

For more information or to register, please contact:

Forteza Fitness and Martial Arts
4437 N. Ravenswood Ave
Chicago, IL 60640
773.271.3988

 info@fortezafitness.com

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Joint Lock Seminar Review (“Junkyard Aikido”)

Our wrists were sore, but we were happy!

Our wrists were sore, but we were happy!

On October 27th we had Eric Mayes, owner of Rocky Mountain Self Defense, out for a one day seminar on joint locking.  Eric is a black belt in Combat Hapkido, as well as a fully certified instructor of Martial Blade Concepts, so his approach was a good combination of martial arts fundamentals, as well as a more pragmatic, combative approach.

Jesse gets taken for a ride!

Jesse gets taken for a ride!

Eric began emphasizing that applying joint locks is not necessarily going to be your primary goal in a self defense situation.  Rather they are a tool, and are often times either accidental or incidental to your achieving your goal, which is to get out of harms’ way.  Eric they went over where people usually fail with their locking techniques, and broke down how you actually put a joint into position where you can actually either damage or lock out the joint.  Outside wrist lock, center lock, a “Z” lock, and an escort/come-along wrist lock were all taught in fine detail.  Eric then showed how to link all of these locks together in a flow by taking advantage of knowing how you partner would realistically try and escape the lock.
We finished the day’s training with how to counter each lock, as well as applying joint locks in a combative situation off of punches and blocks.  By the end of the seminar, all of the students in attendance were able to apply various joint locks from different positions, flow from lock to lock, and successfully escape even the most painful of joint locks.  Special thanks to Eric Mayes for making the trip all the way out to Chicago to share his expertise with us!
You can catch a bit of the excitement in this video clip, where Eric demonstrates a wristlock flow drill:

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Western Martial Arts Workshop After-Action Review

Forteza Co-Owner and Chicago Swordplay Guild founder, Gregory Mele has just posted an after-action review of the 2013 Western Martial Arts Workshop. Begun in 1999, WMAW is one of the oldest, if not the oldest, international event of its kind!

As a bonus, here is some footage of the CSG’s own Rob Rutherfoord in a rapier exhibition bout with the Virginia Academy of Fencing’s Bill Grandy:

And a high-intensity, Bowie Knife duel between Forteza’s Keith Jennings and Thayne Alexander:

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Tomahawk and Long Knife Seminar Review and Training Footage

Meredith Lyons has posted a review of our recent Tomahawk and Long Knife seminar. This was the second part of our American Heritage Fighting Arts series, following on last month’s Bowie Knife Wokrshop. Next up: single-stick, both a training tool for the military saber, and a form of self-defense and fencing sport in its own right, and one of the martial arts of choice of the original Rough Rider himself, Teddy Roosevelt.

More on that soon, but for now, here is some video of both the recent ‘hawk and knife seminar, and some bowie knife fencing from the end of our first workshop:

‘Hawk and Knife

Bowie Basics

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10152103117427846&set=vb.505617845&type=3&theater

And you can find more Bowie sparring clips at the recent after action event review.

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Bowie Knife Workshop After-Action Review – American Heritage Fighting Arts

Just in time for Independence Day, Forteza kicked off our American Heritage Fighting Arts program with a three hour introduction to the Bowie knife.  While we had originally planned to launch this new program with a seminar on the tomahawk, due to a snafu with one of our distributors, we found ourselves without tomahawk trainers! Oops.

This worked out just fine, as there is no other weapon as  quintessentially American as the Bowie knife.

The Man – the Knife. While Jim Bowie’s knife duels are famous, there is no evidence of any special design of his devising, or a connection to the weapon that would come to bear his name

The Bowie was not so much a new invention, as the inheritor of about two-thousand years of European big knives, beginning with the Germanic saex. Although taught in fencing salles throughout the south – particularly in New Orleans, alongside the sabre and dueling sword, there was little formally written on fighting with the big knife, with the most notable sources being an illustrated newspaper interview from 1890 and  John Styers much later “Cold Steel”.  Our own Bowie knife system comes from Forteza Combatives instructor Keith Jennings’ 14 years of research into the weapon. Keith has at one time or another studied with three of the modern masters of the Bowie: James Keating, Dwight McClemore, and Pete Kautz. The program taught at Forteza reflects the teachings of three instructors, as well as Keith’s own research into the use of the knife in Western martial culture going back to the medieval ages, through the World Wars, and to today.

The seminar focused on the basics of large knife dueling starting with the grip, the basic stance and guards, and the three basic thrusts. After learning how to attack safely using the age old True Times, students worked on defensive actions, including basic parries, stop cuts, classical fencing techniques such as the inquartata and passada sotto.

Next, the students learned the deadly back-cut, taking advantage of the Bowie knife unique blade design. Using the clip point of the blade, students went through the mechanics of a proper back-cut, and how to use it both offensively and defensively.

Finally, with enough basic training under their belts, it was time to pressure test what the students had learned. There were a lot of different training backgrounds present, from historical fencing, to Filipino martial arts, Military knife training, and boxing. All of this showed up in their sparring, and everyone was quick adapt the bowie knife to their pre-existing skill set. There were several nice passes, and all of the fighting looked crisp, deadly, and ended quickly, just as a Bowie knife fight should!


Bowie Fencing Video Clip One

Bowie Fencing Video Clip Two

The next in our line of American Heritage Fighting Arts seminar series with be the Tomahawk and Long knife Seminar on Sunday, August 4th.

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