I am 100% transparent with my business and all I have to offer. I do hope though, you're more interested in the quality of what I offer, rather than just the price. I make my rates as fair as possible, and I created a page to help answer that question: TUITION PAGE
I don't want someone attending classes with me ONLY because I offer more classes and flexibility, and charge less than anyone else. If anyone trains with me at Kaizen, my hope is that it's because my philosophy, and method of training is exactly what you are seeking for yourself or your children.
This is why I always offer your first training session for free, and then provide a two week trial for $25. There's no pressure to join. If I'm not what you're looking for, then I can only thank you for your time and consideration.
Honestly... none of them.
This may not make any sense, at least until you begin your training at Kaizen.
So... let me back up a second. While I hate name dropping, I began training at the age of 12 in various styles like Tae Kwon Do, Hapkido, Jujitsu, Judo, Boxing, Muay Thai, Escrima, Silat, Kali Sikaran, PSNA, Reactive Knife, yada yada yada... in my opinion... none of them matter. I no longer utilize their styles or acknowledge my former belt ranks or titles.
In my late teens, I earned the rare and great opportunity to begin training under men who would forever reshape the course of my martial life. The many years I spent traveling to France and Tahiti to learn and study with them forever forged my method of training and fighting. It is their legacy, I strive to share with others as best I can.
What I teach now is most easily described as "Close Quarters Combat" or "CQC" for short. It is not a "style", but rather a "method of training". This system of fighting and self-defense is based upon a solid foundation of skill, while developing instinct, muscle memory, freedom, and discovery. It is ones ability to improvise, adapt, and overcome that matters, not his style.
An attacker (your opponent) doesn't care what style you know, or what belt you have, or if your school was accredited... they simply want to harm you. It's your skill and courage that will assist you... not your memorized forms or trophies.
For more answers to your questions on what I teach, please refer to my BLOG on this site. I will further discuss my background with the men I trained under in France and Tahiti. What I gained from my many years with them... to me is priceless. I strive to pass on to others what, they gave to me.
Some instructors refer to themselves as "The Great Grandmaster of the Century". Others aren't quite as arrogant, though narcissim compels them to be revered as "Masters". They hold these titles because they paid their testing & affiliation fees (and the check cleared), memorized all their katas, and blindly followed outdated traditions set by their instructors like sheep. To demonstrate their powress, they perform ridiculous self-defense skills with partners who are compliant and cooperative in a pre-determined and controlled environment.
As for my belt ranks and titles... I tossed them aside years and years ago. I happily abandoned all affiliations and recognition of any titles I formerly held. My continued training, experiences, and development of skills internally and externally hold far more value than a printed certificate of rank hanging on my walls.
I'm simply someone who's achieved a certain level of skill and understanding of combat. I've been a fighter and a bouncer, and I've experienced my fair share of real-life encounters. I've spent my life training others who could care less what style I offer or what belt I have... all that mattered to them was "could I train them to fight, or fight even better"?
With this mindset, I pass on my experience and knowledge to anyone willing to learn and apply themselves. I pride myself on the accomplishments of those who train with me, not by how many stripes I've had sewn into my belt and uniform.
The only accreditation I require comes from my reputation, the quality of training I offer, and the success of my students dedicated to their training.
Absolutely! I actually encourage this, as it allows parents to see first hand how I work with my students, and provides great support for them as well.
Our studio is massive, with over 5,000 sq ft of space. This includes a beautiful front lobby with lush plant life, ambient lighting, a Koi pond and waterfall, and live viewing of the studio during class.
There is also a parents lounge with couches, tables, coffee, and a large TV which monitors the class via a studio camera.
In the back of our studio, we have a spacious gaming room and fully equipped fitness center, which is available for free for our parents and adult students.
*Parents, I respectfully yet firmly request "NO SIDE COACHING" during class! While I completely understand and appreciate your desire to help your child perform their best in class, side coaching not only distracts your child, but also the other students, and even myself.
I will always work my hardest to keep your child performing at their best and to help them achieve their goals. It's great to be involved in their progress, but best when done after class or while practicing with them at home. Thank you for your cooperation and respect on this matter!
My adult classes are nothing like my youth classes. Adult training is entirely informal, with no belts, no uniforms, no testing, no "Sir, Yes Sir" formalities, and no ridiculous spinning kicks or karate kid jumping kicks for adults to do.
Adults who attend training with me are not sheep. They don't pay me to be yet another boss barking orders at them and giving them pushups... we train as equals, striving for the same goals to develop fighting skills and instincts.
While classes are based on practical and effective skills, and we strive for safety, I must also mention they are and can oftentimes be very intense. There is contact, lots of it. You will get hit, kicked, choked, thrown, grabbed and more. Learning to fight doesn't come without it's fair share of bruises, both physically and emotionally.
Additionally, while adults don't need to be body builders or superb athletes, there is a basic level of fitness and mentality they must possess in order to train. If you don't like getting hit... perhaps there is another activity best suited for you.
Then I am not the right studio for you. Thank you for inquiring. There are plenty of McDojos out there who will be happy to give you a black belt, provided your check clears at the bank.
While this is important to some people, non of these self-proclaimed titles, awards, and certificates hold any value here. I respectfully, but honestly don't care what style you've studied, or what degree of black belt you are... neither does your attacker.
I realize this can offend a great many people, but again, respectfully... I don't care. I am not here to cradle someones delicate ego or delusions... I am here to train my students to truly gain the physical and emotional skills needed to fight and for self-defense.
I spent years memorizing countless katas, weapon complexes, and one-steps, etc... all they did was restrict and limit how I moved. I wasted more time memorizing a combination, rather than knowing how to "apply" a combination and think critically and instinctively. At Kaizen, we Train as we Fight, and Fight as we Train.
Adults who parade their belt rank live under a shell of false confidence by the belief their belt rank makes them a more qualified fighter than a lower rank... let alone qualified at all. Having a black belt, or being called a master does NOT make one a great fighter.
As for tournaments... they demonstrate nothing other than you had prettier kicks than someone else, or that you scored more points in a love-tap sparring competition. Scoring a point then immediately stopping is absolutely one of the worst fighting habits one could imagine. Try punching an attacker just once in an assault, and see how far that gets you!!!
There's a vast difference between a student new to the studio who is shy, scared, or overly excited and full of energy, and a student familiar with everyone and the rules of the studio.
Initially many students (especially younger) may lack focus or control, or need extra encouragement to participate in class at their full potential, or to not be a distraction to the class. In these instances, I encourage parents to NOT be discouraged or upset as this is completely normal and happens often. I do all I can to welcome each student into our studio, introducing them to other students, and familiarizing them with rules and drills we practice, helping them to gain confidence and focus. This is the benefit of the free lesson and two week trial. It gives them time to ease into training. However, once a student has reached the point of a membership, they are now at a level where I'll require more from them, and hold them accountable for their behavior.
Simply stated, I have ZERO TOLERANCE for laziness or disruptive behavior during class. I am neither Beggar nor Babysitter. When a student walks onto the floor, I expect them to perform and behave at their very best level. If a student refuses to apply themselves, complains, or is disruptive to the class, I will invite them to leave and even furthermore, discuss with them and their parents if this is the right place for them.
This is perhaps one thing which separates me from most instructors... I will not beg anyone to apply themselves to their training, and I will not babysit a student who lacks the focus, respect, or willingness to give their best effort in every class or let alone pay attention to simple instructions. It's simply not fair to those students who wish to achieve their highest skill potential, or for those parents paying for lessons.
Something about me... I treat every lesson as if it's the most important lesson I'll ever teach. I will give all of my knowledge to anyone willing to absorb and apply it. I want my students to succeed. I want my students to surpass my own knowledge and skill. I want them to reach their full potential. I will be patient, understanding, respectful, and motivating, and I will do anything and everything I can in every lesson they attend to help them achieve such a goal.
However if they're not willing to apply themselves, if they mess around and treat the studio like a playground, or simply drag the class down with a poor attitude and laziness, I will remove them from my studio.
Not everyone has what it takes to be here. Some people would rather cry, complain, and simply give up the moment an exercise is too tough, or the lesson too difficult, or the drill not fun enough. Others will be too disruptive and unfocused to train, or may lack respect for their classmates and their safety. I can't teach those unwilling to learn. (You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink).
I will do all I can to help them overcome challenges, to overcome self-doubt and fear, to find their courage and strength, and to develop their fighting skill to it's highest level... but they must be the ones to make it happen.
At Kaizen, my rules are simple... Train as hard as you can. Push your physical and emotional limits. Listen. Be respectful and disciplined. Don't complain. Don't give up. I will help you every step of the way, but only if you give the effort.
Ask any one of my students the easiest way out of the hard work and challenges I will throw at them, and they'll all answer... "It's by walking off my floor through the doors". If someone doesn't want to be there, then I won't beg them to stay, and I won't babysit them to apply themselves. Our time is priceless, and I choose to spend it with students who want to be here and face the challenges I throw at them with a spirit of willingness and determination.
Give your Best, or Give Up. In the words of Master Yoda "Do or do not... There is no try".
I'm very proud to say, ABSOLUTELY NOT!!! I am a private and independent trainer, free from the restrictions, limitations, and nonsense of traditional martial arts and the organizations that control them.
In my opinion, being accredited or affiliated is a method of masking oneself under the supposed skills and accomplishments of someone else. They claim their national accreditation and belt rank qualifies them for superiority to others, and to question their skills and claims is dishonorable and prohibited.
At Kaizen, I offer my own custom curriculum and unique method of training. No other self-entitled masters or money hungry affiliations hold any ability to dictate or regulate what and how I teach. I teach only what one needs to develop true fighting and self-defense skills. No titles, no memorized forms or pretend self-defense, and no fancy poses or useless techniques.
"Welcome to McDojos! May I supersize your membership with a few trophies just for showing up, a guaranteed black belt in just a couple of years, and of course... all the false confidence you can afford (provided your checks clear)"?!??!?
Simply stated, McDojos are everywhere. I despise these places. They claim to teach self-defense, but all they really do is sell you a belt with delusions of grandeur and false confidence. They waste your time with Titles, Trophies, Fancy Uniforms, Guaranteed Black Belts, and countless Forms (Katas).
So... how do you spot a McDojo???
A McDojo is a school that teaches a watered-down and impractical form of martial arts in the name of making money... lots of it. Profit is far more import than quality. They create overconfident students lacking the physical and emotional qualities to actually defend themselves.
They are masters of "bullshido"... excelling in deception, fraud, and lies. Kids become black belts quickly without ever having to train hard or learn actual skills, with little to zero fighting experience.
Their studios are flooded with trophies, certificates, and instructors who parade themselves in fancy uniforms, patches, and stripes. They make claims of skill no one is allowed to question. These studios most likely have no sparring, or only do "point sparring", which is pathetic to say the least in terms of actual fighting and self-defense.
They make grandiose claims and award themselves titles like "Great Grand Master of the Century". Kids never fail a belt test, and they offer "Black Belt Clubs", creating more black belts and masters than there are new students.
McDojos are known as "belt factories", producing black belts (many who are just little kids who can barely tie their own belt) who have no depth to their art or any practical and realistic self-defense skills.
I have to stop myself here... I could go on forever about this subject. I'll have to create a blog post for it soon.
In the meantime, all I can advise is... do your research,. Question everything and everyone... even me. Experience for yourself what I or anyone else has to offer, and decide who (if anyone) meets the needs your seeking in quality martial arts instruction.
Yes. The other facet of my business is "I Am Cinema". I am professional Cinematographer, Photographer, and Editor. While that may seem a far cry from also being a tactical combat instructor, this other half of my business allows me to maintain smaller class sizes, to guarantee better personal attention.
While living in New Orleans, I began working in Hollywood films, did some stunt work, and later became a professional filmmaker and visual storyteller. All in all, I worked in over 20 Hollywood films, Commercials, and Television series. I never became a full SAG actor though.
While living in Florida, the last "major" production I was involved with, was for an Amazon Prime series called "In Sanity, Florida", by See~Worthy Films. Among it's amazing cast, was the late and great Mr. Burt Reynolds. I was the Director of Photography and Editor for this series. I'm truly grateful for the friendships that arose from the series producer and director. They gave me my greatest experiences in film and TV.
Wisconsin Big Cat Rescue is my happy place. I honestly feel these cats do more for me, than I do for them.
My involvement with Wisconsin Big Cat Rescue dates back to early 2006, when I first began volunteering my time to them. I helped the rescue acquire funding to relocate, I helped them build the rescue, I bought them their first four-wheeler, and I more than happily gave and continue to give them all the time I can spare to be part of their amazing cause.
This rescue is the very reason I am now established in Reedsburg. I walked away from my career in films to live where I'm happiest, in this beautiful part of Wisconsin, and a stones throw from my friends and their family of exotic rescues at WBCR.
First, they mock you.
Then, they ask your advice.
Look in the Mirror...
That is your competition.
Civilize the Mind...
But Make Savage the Body.
My scars tell a story.
They are reminders of when life tried to break me, but failed.