Kapatiran Suntukan Martial Arts


Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Terry Steps Out

Terry Trahan visited Des Moines recently and shared concepts he teaches at his school in Denver, CO. This was Terry’s first public seminar and the beginning of something I foresee being the next step in instruction opportunity for him.

Terry started the day off with a short lecture about his way of thinking and application along with types of ambush and assaults. Along with those, Terry discussed the use of force continuum. He touched on the idea of de-escalation and how that starts with you.

I have fresh experience from a recent seminar on some of the conceptual knowledge that Terry was sharing and it is good to hear it again from another source. Terry added more terminology to my brain with some other ways to look at violence. These are

Frenzy Violence – either mass or individual
Fear Violence – quiet and reserved feel and the possibility to talk down.
Tantrum Violence – Boundary Testing, pay attention, don’t acknowledge
Criminal Violence – chest puffing, predation

The bulk of the physical aspects of the seminar were spent on a few entries repeated over and over to help make them feel integral with the body and situation.

Overall, I think Terry has come into his own and look forward to the future. I highly recommend any chance to train with him to enhance your understanding of your art.

I asked those in attendance to give their thoughts as well.

The Weasel Speaks: Terry Trahan’s Inaugural Seminar
This past weekend I attended the Inaugural seminar of my good friend Terry Trahan. I’ve known of Terry for almost 10 years, and been privileged to call him a friend for the past 5 or 6 years. When Jay Carstensen, of KSMA, told me he was going to bring Terry in for a seminar, I was all for attending and supporting it.
The focus of the seminar was surviving a violent encounter. Terry began with a general talk on violence. Topics included recognizing the different types of violence and triggers for those types of violence. He also addressed the body’s natural responses to violent intention directed at it. We discussed the force continuum, some of the legal and ethical implications, as well as figuring what is worth fighting for in each of us as individuals. We also discussed the importance of understanding motivations of the criminal mind. All of this, in my opinion, one of the most important, and under addressed, topics in martial art schools of any type.
After the 3rd cup (pot) of coffee, Terry was ready to start the physically interactive portion of the day. According to Terry, what he has to share is not martial arts, but survival tactics that he’s found to work across a broad spectrum of violent experiences. He teaches from experience and has dedicated himself to sharing this knowledge in hopes that it will help protect us and our loved ones. What he offers is “Vender Neutral” tactics to increase your ability to respond to ambush. He stresses the importance of finding something that works for you and then continuously drilling it until you don’t have to think about it. He provides a foundation to experiment and build from but leaves it up to us, and our existing training, to fine-tune it.
We covered both armed and unarmed adversaries and application concepts while Terry punctuated the idea that it’s the same basic core foundation…you don’t need 512 techniques to survive. You only need a couple tools that you know “really fucking well!” He drove this point home again and again during the day. While we did do variations, everything came back to core movements established early on.
Terry was also very conscientious about taking the time to adjust it for varying sizes and strengths. (We had some very small gals in attendance…with some very pointy elbows. Thanks Terry)
For myself, after having almost 2 decades of training in a variety of martial arts, I totally appreciated the repetition as well as the reduction of the number of things covered at the seminar. I’d rather cover 2 or 3 topics to the point of “beating a dead horse” than 20-30 topics and only touch on them. I’ll remember 2 or 3…and be able to apply them enough to continue applying them outside of the seminar. The second I leave an event like this, I’m already starting to forget things…unless we’ve drilled them ad-nauseum. During a conflict, the more options you have to consider, the more time it takes to decide what to use…this is not a point in your favor when milliseconds count.
Terry has grown unbelievably as a teacher and public speaker. His material is well thought out, and well presented. He is articulate, blunt, to the point, and will not feed you a line of bullshit. He believes in what he says, does, and has to offer. The tools he gives you have the potential to save your life. If you ever have the opportunity to attend his seminar, do yourself (and your students) a favor…GO!

Terry offered more than just techniques for self-defense. He gave us information to help us better understand the reasoning behind some attacks and how attacks happen. With knowledge of the different types of violence: frenzied, fear, tantrum and criminal, we may be able to better adjust our response. In addition, he shared the OODA loop: observe, orient, decide, act and reminded us that we will be in a different spot in the loop as our attackers. Combining this information with actual training gave me a solid base to center the seminar. Terry is an excellent instructor, and I’m looking forward to what he will share in May at The Gathering.

Terry did a great job at this seminar! His info was important, invaluable and REAL! He conveyed the knowledge in a friendly way, yet expressed it in a way that really makes you think and react. I've always enjoyed his point of view, and respected his skills. Though I've "studied" martial arts for 20+ years, he still brings refreshing newness to self-defense. You can only hear so much before it’s just not NEW or is a re-hash of something you've already heard. It’s not too common to get info that is that "real" and ANYONE of ANY skill can understand and use. Not to spread the butter too thick, but there are seminars I will go to, and some I wont go to (free or not)! He's definitely a person every person should attend a seminar, regardless if you’re into martial arts or self defense or just don't want to be a victim. THE REALNESS aspect of it all, speaks mountains, regardless if you’re a climber. Not to mention, it was just plain FUN. Good people always help a seminar or any kind of training, physical or mental, but you MUST have a good trainer or leader to inspire you to want to learn and utilize the information shared.

Thanks for everything Terry! And to Jay, thanks for hosting and inviting us into your house & yard!!

I loved the seminar that Terry put together. For myself, the discussion regarding the four types of violence was a fresh perspective that I will keep with me in all of my future training. The experiences and knowledge that Terry shared during this weekend only further solidify the material he covered. Discussing the mentality of an attacker serves as a reminder that all of the training we do can only serve us if we are ourselves mentally prepared to meet that psychological demand and the reality of the brutality that may occur. I have always enjoyed Terry's approach to defense, as it is very straightforward, simple, and real.

And hot pockets rule. ;)

It became abundantly clear that Terry Trahan doesn’t teach martial arts so much as methods for survival. This seminar raised my awareness of legal implications of using force, helped me to prepare a useable defense out of my own instinctive flinch reflex, and deepened my understanding of how to generate more power into my movements. Terry’s teaching method is very practical.

I enjoyed the seminar very much, and feel I got a lot out of it. It definitely put into perspective how fast an assault can happen and how little time you have to react to it. I learned about the different types of assault and how to deal with them. Ultimately it taught me to be aware of my surroundings and what someone is doing. And of course I learned how to defend myself against a knife attack. All of the knowledge I walked away with from this seminar I think is very helpful, though hopefully I'll never have to use it.


  1. Nice review Jay! And thank you for inviting us to participate. Terry, Awesome seminar. Looking forward to many more!

  2. It was a great seminar. Having such a great group of people, ready to train and share, and joke, made it wonderful. Can't wait to see all of you in May!
    And Amberly, Macaroni!

  3. Great post Jay! :) The seminar was fantastic Terry! Though, I shall never look at most any food the same again....

  4. Great post, sorry I missed the workshop. I'm looking forward to seeing you all at The Gathering of the Tribes in a few weeks!

  5. I received this comment from Aaron last week and forgot to post it:

    "I must say that I will be a bit more wary when asked for a smoke or for the time when walking down the street from strangers.
    I will also be practicing stepping into my attacks.... from the little I was shown it is easy to see the impact difference from such a simple body movement."


©1998-2013 Kapatiran Suntukan Martial Arts