It all started in my garage. The year was 1979, and I wanted to make the world safer. I believed I could. And I started with one student. Six years later I moved to a small school in an industrial area in Montreal. It was 1985. This place was about 1500 sq/ft. It had a professional boxing ring, ten heavy bags, and a small weight area. It served us well. Five years later I moved into a bigger facility, this time, 6000 feet. More bags, a grappling area, juice bar, more training space, male & female changing rooms – the works. In 1986, Panther Productions released a 5-volume series on my method and ‘observations on self-defense‘. I say observations because my system was very different from the conventional approach to training. The ‘Panic Attack’ series began to get an underground cult following and I started getting seminar requests from around the world. In 1993, I did the hardest thing I could imagine – which also turned out to be the right thing – I closed my school. I remember the fear. Opening my school had been my ritual, my meditation, my sanctuary for almost 10 years. What if I was wrong? What if this failed? I took that leap of faith and committed to the seminar requests and an unknown future.
For 14 years, I traveled the world. I taught every single class. And these weren’t 1 or 2-day weekend gigs, my SPEAR courses were 5-day, 40-hour sessions taught to police DT & military combatives instructors. There were a few periods I was on the road 250+ days a year. I remember one of my trips was 7-weeks straight – five cities, two countries, no break. I’d come home and the kids would scream, “Intruder!”. :-)
In 2007, the U.S. Army was testing scenario gear from around the world and picked High Gear, the suit I designed in 1989, as the official gear to support the Army Combatives program. I had spent 5 years developing the gear and literally took it door-to-door showing it to various trainers and units. This was both a big deal. Thousands of High Gear suits were required. It was also a big deal for me personally, as it gave me the opportunity to move to the USA. Living in the USA was a dream & goal I had since I was 13 yrs old. I decided to open an epic facility (the one you see in the picture). It was 18,000 sq/ft, a mega Box designed for Combatives & CrossFit. It had a full on fight-house/shoot house, grappling area, Throwdown cages, and bag racks, and multiple classrooms (the vantage point from where this pic was taken). Fun times for 2 years. But corporate America took its toll on me. I lost my focus. At heart, I’m an artist, driven by passion. Not by the margin. For two years, I was asked to explain why I was teaching to small agencies, why I wasn’t going after massive contracts. I had accountants question me about the type of water I purchased for my staff (I’m not joking). A couple of personal and corporate events made my next decision easier than the one I made in 1993 and I closed up shop in 2010 and moved west, to California, where I had always dreamed of living since I was a young man. And there, I set about rebuilding a team.
Today we are busier than ever. I have an amazing cadre helping me spread the SPEAR System methodology around the world. We have three training divisions supporting amazing communities like CrossFit, the martial arts and self-defense world, and, of course, the MIL, LEO, and other first-responder communities.
Train hard & stay safe,
#manageyourfear #resiliency #spearsystem #beyourownbodyguard