Knocking Down the Pins: CTS Training Simplified

Huh, sometimes I even amaze myself…

My boy, K.Wags, thinks that folks use the term “amazing” far too often. I don’t really disagree, but I’m convinced the analogy that I came up with in class last week fits all the criterion.Amazing

Surprise? Well, let’s be honest, the ensuing words of wisdom came directly from me, so…

Wonder? Wonder? More like WONDERFUL. Stay with me here; I have come up with an astounding, startling and breathtaking “Tale to Astonish” which compares our training model in the Counterpoint Tactical System (CTS) to a brand new version of bowling that would totally be totally fun and easy to learn.

Our staff at Haastyle Martial Arts Academy, and, really, all of us teaching and training CTS throughout the country, are very proud of, and love to pontificate about, our open training model, as set forth by our leader Zach Whitson, the creator of the system. This model provides for progressive resistance as one develops specific ‘attributes’ necessary for street survival and growth in the system. For example, at the beginning level, we train a set of passing drills that are fundamental to the application of CTS in the real world. Later, we develop a set of locks and takedowns that can plug directly into the passing drills when trained correctly. At the advanced level, we will train more advanced interceptions, enhancements, and counter attacks that will come in handy after students have committed to years of maturation and evolution in the system. This got me to thinking…

I imagined an AMAZING new game, something that will take your little ant-sized CTS game and expand it to a GIANT game…

Tales_to_Astonish_Vol_1_49 (2)

Prepare to be ASTONISHED by an AMAZING analogy of how your development in the Counterpoint Tactical System can work:

Imagine the game of bowling and it’s system of strikes and spares for increased scoring opportunities. In the traditional version, a perfect score of 300 is achieved by knocking all the pins down on every throw. Ten frames, twelve consecutive strikes wiping out all the pins. That is 120 pins in total for those scoring at home. Through the magics and trickery of how the score is kept in bowling, this equals 300 (#obviously).

Go Mike!

Wally-300

#Codyisaloser

 

This strikes me (#punintended) as a difficult way to learn to accomplish a ‘perfect’ affectation of the idea of knocking down ten pins. I would rather get great at knocking down one pin first, then two, and so on. Take it on faith that if I knocked down one, then two, then three, etc. finishing with three strikes in the tenth frame, that cumulative score would add up to 75, for knocking down 75 pins. Makes sense, right? This is a common score for your average seven-year-old league bowler?!?!?! What if the game was set up with one pin in the first frame? Knock it down and it counts as a strike (a ‘perfect’ accomplishment); in the second frame there are two pins and knocking them both down counts as a ‘perfect’ strike, and so on. Now, by knocking down the same 75 pins, you have achieved the ‘perfect’ (300) score.

Go you! (the CTS practitioner)

300

Master Z, as the founder and primary promoter of the CTS method, asks us all to pick up an ever increasing load. So does your boss, your spouse, and so do your kids. That’s how the world works. If you want it to be real, guess what, it’s gonna get harder (#yourewelcome). In turn, your accomplishments will have more value.

So, it’s pretty much understood that the most difficult part of training is getting started. Many think they have to accomplish everything right away, rolling perfect strikes every time. What I’m saying to all you new players out there is, take it one frame at a time and keep knockin’em down.

Hmmm, what if I actually trained to hit someone with a bowling ball?

See you on the mat! RH

How JKD Training led me to CTS

In my last post I talked about How Kenpo Karate led me to CTS, I took a look at the time I began training in earnest and started to believe, and achieve some legit goals in martial arts, but there is much more to the story of my Kenpo Genesis. (That was the name of episode one, stick with me here on the Star Wars theme. HEY, I hear a new one came out; I bet it bombed…)

Anyways, shortly after I began training at my Kenpo school in West Boca, my instructor came across a Jeet Kune Do instructor that ruined his life. He would teach seminars and even train us (the staff) privately. My first instructor, for his part, was a determined Kenpoist (in that, he was determined to be sure that Kenpo was the answer to all his problems, from wanting to be a martial artist, to wanting to have some money) before he met Sifu Neil. Neil had answers to questions that we didn’t even have, and I was in a ball of confusion

2001

Mind. Blown.

Episode II: Finding the Flow

My training in JKD allowed me to move faster and more sure in my Kenpo and my Kali. I was being creative in my movement, less choreographed, and was finding the flow that all martial artists (should) strive for.

The first thing that I noticed about JKD is that it had less esoteric techniques. Jab, cross hook, cover, took the place of the memorized, preconceived/conditioned responses found in Kenpo. One of the issues that I always had with Kenpo is that it tried to give you too much. In an effort to use some of the more ‘fancy looking’ basics from the Kenpo that he learned from his teachers, Ed Parker had inserted some freakishly flamboyant motions into his system of American Kenpo Karate. My first attraction to JKD was the charm held in it’s simplicity. Secondly, JKD possessed a less mechanical motion. Initially, I assumed, this was a product of it’s simplicity, but soon came to understand that it was the training methodology.

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Stickfighting like it’s 1999…

I really liked the folks that I trained Jeet Kune Do with at American Dragon Martial Arts Academy, and the instructors, Sifu Neil and Sijay Helena were good teachers. Classes were usually broken down into three parts: First we did our calisthenics and trained our basics with hand targets and/or body shields for 15-20 minutes. Now that we were warmed up, we would practice Jun Fan Kickboxing interactive drills while wearing protective gear (45-60 minutes). There was always a theme to the drills, and they were designed to develop certain attributes, much like we do in Counterpoint Tactical System (CTS) today. We would finish most classes practicing Jun Fan Gung Fu (essentially, Bruce Lee’s version of Wing Chun Gung Fu). While training at American Dragon, I also participated in their, Filipino Kali Classes and Muay Thai Kickboxing (best. cardio. ever.).

Here’s a video of MMA world champion Anderson Silva training the same stuff that I was doing at the time:

My training in JKD lasted nearly three years (Jan. ’99-Dec. ’01). The only reason that I stopped was because I was asked to be an instructor at a school of my own. For Christmas that year, knowing my disappointment in not having a Kali teacher (I had never stopped training Kenpo with Manny Reyes Sr. every Tuesday morning in Hialeah), Mindy (my wife) bought me a block of private lessons with Sifu Neil. My intention was for him to teach me Pekiti Tirsia Kali as apposed to the Inosanto System (PTK is a major component of Guro Dan’s Kali). Sifu Neil was a certified instructor in PTK (I believe, under Tom Bisio, if memory serves), but, for some reason, I didn’t get the vibe that he was into teaching me solely PTK, it turned out I was correct and thus began my search for a new Pekiti Tirsia Kali instructor (and episode three of this series).

I am very thankful for my training in JKD, it helped me to understand that I should never be satisfied with, just “knowing” a technique. The experience led me, for the first time in my training (as a 2nd degree black belt in Kenpo, mind you), to aquiring some real skills ‘hard wired’, as we say in CTS. Jeet Kune Do was a major upgrade to what is now referred to as #trainingHaastyle. Where to go from here? I wonder…

See you on the mat! RH

There are a lot of avenue’s to CTS, Eric Primm’s was grappling, you can read about it here…

How Grappling Led Me to CTS by Eric Primm

 

How Kenpo Karate led me to CTS

So, when I started this blog I, kinda sorta knew, that I was going to have to share my past a bit. In discussing my journey and in discussing the future, indeed, MY future with regards to both Haastyle Martial Arts Academy (HMAA) and the Counterpoint Tactical System (CTS), I must write about my martial arts upbringing. Over time, I will get to all of it, but today, the focus is on my days as a student of Ed Parker’s American Kenpo Karate.

I had trained before in another style (for another article), and that did not work out at all. Kenpo is what started me on the road to CTS. Kenpo had all the right things, at the time, to set my proverbial ball rolling. As I trained later, in Jeet Kune Do (JKD) and Pekiti Tirsia Kali (PTK) systems, it was with teachers that had a strong Kenpo background. This training completes the grand ‘Spar Wars’ trilogy that has left me on the CTS dark side swinging a (relatively) light saber made of rattan…

spar+wars

click on this it’s cool..

Episode I: “Kenpo Genesis”

One thing that I always loved about EP’s Kenpo was the structure. Most specifically, the depth of the structure. Kenpo is set up with a form/kata (a series of preset movements designed to illuminate and instill certain principles of motion) and/or a set (a series of preset motions design to educate the foundation of basics) and a set number of techniques (a series of preset responses to a specific attack). In addition, the forms had a wonderful progression from linear to circular style that caught my eye right away, and the techniques had a consistent modus operendi that was designed to help you find your place on a six count rotation. All of these things fit my sensibility and a need for order in a world surrounded by three girls (my wife and two daughters).12185499_1078245652215724_8915579881498590691_o (2) Where I trained, there were an unusually small group of requirements for each belt level as compared to the average Kenpo Karate school, probably the smallest curriculum that I have ever seen for an adult program. This never phased me because I was there to learn as much as I could, not just a bit so I could achieve a belt and my instructor never held me back. Soon after I began training in West Boca, my instructor had exhausted what he had to offer me, so I began traveling an hour to Hialeiah, one of the worst parts of Miami, to train with Manny Reyes Sr.; time I will always cherish. He taught from a “street fighting” perspective and I learned a lot. Thus, I fell in love with martial arts thanks to American Kenpo Karate.

“(more like) Jeet Kune Don’t”

Early on in my Kenpo training I was introduced to the art of Bruce Lee’s Jeet Kune Do. Long story short (Episode II), my JKD instructor was a former Kenpo guy, so he also had a solid structure to his curriculum and teachings, which makes sense as, Dan Inosanto, the current Senior Instructor/ Practitioner of JKD, ALSO came from a Kenpo background. Forms and techniques were still there, but the introduction of Filipino Martial Arts (FMA) concepts and a less rigid training model began to expand my horizons. The problem was that my JKD instructor wanted me to quit Kenpo, he said “…Kenpo training is wrong…” and, let’s just say, I wasn’t ready to hear that (whether he was right or wrong is a nuanced discussion). So, as a Kenpo guy, having started my FMA training in a JKD school, I find myself in a seminar with a man, that has since become a great friend and mentor, Professor* Zach Whitson. Zach was teaching his earliest innovation Kenpo Counterpoint. I am Jacks Smirking Revenge blendGet this, Kenpo Counterpoint was at it’s essence, Kenpo Karate that uses the FMA training model of countering and re-countering. So, rather than denigrating, discounting or deleting the, somewhat flawed, Kenpo training model, he took strides to upgrade it. Seeing this breakthrough made me understand a couple of simple things.

  1. As Bruce Lee said: “Absorb what is useful, discard what is not, add what is uniquely you own.” I feel this is one of his most misunderstood quotes. So many discard what, they feel, is not useful BEFORE training it thoroughly. Mr. Whitson showed me there was more to learn inside the context of American Kenpo Karate by adding something that was his own and encouraging me to do the same.
  2.  Martial arts skills were not going to come to me in the mail. I had to go out and find what I needed to grow. So, a short while later, when I opened my first school, I gave Mataas na Guro** Zach Whitson a call.

Pekiti Gone Wild”

For several years thereafter Master Z.*** would come to visit annually, I would visit him in the Tennessee, and sometimes, at other schools with which he became affiliated. We would train Kenpo Counterpoint and the Pekiti Tirsia Kali system which Master Z. acquired from Tuhon Bill McGrath and Grand Tuhon Leo Gaje. PTK had a massive curriculum which I was willing to go through, but the wheels were spinning in the mind of my guide. Over time, Master Whitson was able to accrue considerable ‘hands on’ with Supreme Grandmaster Ciriaco “Cacoy” Canete and, through the revelations attained in that time, COUNTERPOINT TACTICAL SYSTEM WAS BORN! And my transition was complete… imageedit_2_9416829634 (2)Other than the successful development of two strong, independent daughters, and my long, beautiful relationship with my wife of almost 30 years, there is NOTHING that I take more pride in than having been there at the genesis of CTS. Kenpo was good to me, I ultimately made it to 3rd degree black belt. CTS has become the foundation of my days.

See you on the mat. RH

PS – If you want to know that there are other avenues to the same end, please read Eric Primm’s

How Grappling Led Me to CTS


*due to his rank at the time of 6th black in Kenpo, that is how he would be titled.

**I came to find that Master Z. was also a master instructor in Pekiti Tirsia Kali an art that I had asked my JKD instructor to teach me and he chose not to.

*** Zach does not dig on extreme formalities so the familiar Master Z., Mr. Whitson or plain Zach became the preferred titles over Professor or Mataas na Guro.


 

Don’t Start in the Middle – Haastyle FMA Training Structure

Have you ever walked up in the middle of a conversation and listened just long enough to know you are never gonna figure out what’s going on? I certainly have, and it’s always frustrating, ’cause I likes to know stuff.

Good talk Russ

Fun fact: My Dad used to call me “Rusty”

Does this happen in your training? When I develop my lesson plans for our classes at Haastyle Martial Arts Academy (HMAA) there is a fundamental structure that I like to use to insure that everyone in class, of all skill levels and learning abilities is on board from the start. Everyone may not get everything, but everyone is gonna get SOMETHING.

The majority of my classes at HMAA are open to all skill levels and even though my staff is there to help, it is important to me that they get something out of the class as well. My general class structure begins with basics, moves toward attribute training/ technique, then what I refer to as “theme assault” and finally sparring. Take a look at my class structure and let me know if it can help you with your teaching or training.

Part I: Train the Basics

ba·sic – the essential facts or principles of a subject or skill.

Naturally, I always open class with some form of a warm up. Yes, there will be calisthenics, but this is where I lay the foundation for that days lesson. More often then not, I will hit my trusty Ringside boxing timer and start up some footwork to warm up the legs. For some footwork variations, check out Eric Primm’s Footwork Friday archives. Almost anything we do in the Counterpoint Tactical System  (CTS) is gonna require some understanding of how to move your feet, so I am constantly checking to be sure the students are going somewhere with their footwork, not just stepping. Based on the lesson of the day, we might add sticks and/or knives, or maybe just stay empty handed while we move. I’ll call out basic strikes to go with the footwork to warm up our arms and, more importantly, focus the intention of the students for that days lesson. Many of my students arrive directly from their hectic lives, so basics training serves to get them mentally on the mat. And yes, calisthenics on the breaks between rounds.

Part II: Attribute Training

CTS is a tactical training system that relies on the development of reflex actions or attributes. Master Zach Whitson the founder and senior practitioner of CTS, using a computer analogy, says that we want our skill sets to be hardwired as apposed to software.

at·trib·ute – a quality or feature regarded as a characteristic or inherent part of someone or something.

Our attribute training is done mostly through drilling with progressive resistance from a partner. Techniques that can be used to “finish” the progression are often included in this section of class. The focus remains on the attribute though, as the “finishing” technique is of no consequence given the failure of the attribute.

Here’s a brief demo of Bryan and I showing – drill -> attribute -> technique progression.

“True knowledge is a state of being.” – Stephen Covey

(author of “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”)

Cant handle the Truth

Part III: Theme Assault

as·sault – make a physical attack on.

As we progress in class we include “theme assault.” Theme assault is basically combining two or more drills to begin (or hone) the spontaneous movement that allows various attributes to connect. This is the most frustrating transition for my students. In undisciplined practice, theme assault looks like bad sparring.Break Concentration The student that has not used the initial parts of class to focus their intentions, now feel. like they. walked in. the midddddle. of. the. connverrsaaationn.

I am Jack’s… complete lack of surprise… 

I see bad footwork, bad body mechanics and, typically, a frustrated partner. Point being that you can not push your students into the deep end of training. Theme assault should entail just that; whatever the theme is, plus, add a thrust, add a low line, add third hand, whatever it may be, don’t be THAT guy.

Part IV: Sparring

spar – verb – present participle: sparring – make the motions of boxing without landing heavy blows, as a form of training;
engage in argument, typically of a kind that is prolonged or repeated but not violent.

Now we can argue the definition of sparring, but the bottom line is a) it’s not fighting and b) it’s just another platform for learning. So it’s time to play. We no longer say “it’s your turn” or “it’s my turn”, just go. Now, depending upon skill level we can take it as far as we want. We can retain the theme, empty hand, knife, stick, ground et al, or we can go all the way to juego todos as we call it, meaning, “play all.” Hell, I’ve been known to throw sticks and knives out on the floor during empty hand sparring. You can also add take downs and ground tactics to the whole deal. At HMAA we work hard to keep the energy as close to the initial attribute/ technique training as is possible. We train to relax, not kill, kill, KILLLLL, but that is a source for another discussion.

Get on the mat, work your game, and go through the progression. Begin class by getting your mind on your work so you don’t “drop in” on your partner later in the session. You will get better, develop more confidence and learn the truth, Ruth (I get paid extra for each Sam Jackson reference…)

See you on the mat! RH

Feature Friday – Ez-E

Welcome to my Friday Feature, a weekly post designed to introduce to you some of our best and brightest students at Haastyle Martial Arts Academy and illuminate where their success comes from, what brought them to our Academy, and discuss some of the challenges they may have faced along the way. If you are not yet a member, perhaps you will see yourself in one of the upcoming weekly features. We started just last week with an introduction to one of our Youth Phase II students, Tyler K.

This week I want to introduce to you my good friend Ezara–Ez-E (pronounced E-Z-E) as I call him. He contacted me for the first time, as I recall, way back in 2008. We exchanged several Facebook messages through the Miami Cacoy Doce Pares page . Ez was unable to begin

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Here’s me with Ezara and Bryan circa June 2014

training with me for a variety of reasons until 2011. I always use him as one of the examples of getting in to train when you are ready. This should not translate to eternal procrastination, just realistic expectations of time, finances, and desire.

I have students come to me for all kinds of reasons: health and fitness, the search for a hobby, and, of course, the desire to learn some form of personal protection. Ezara is one of THE most motivated students who has ever come my way, partly because he was the victim of a terrible assault that landed him in the hospital, and almost worse. Prior to reaching out to me, he had done a tremendous amount of research: he knew a bit about the Cacoy Doce Pares (CDP) system and found the best instruction in South Florida at HMAA. It turns out we had a common background. We both had trained extensively in Bruce Lee’s, Jeet Kune Do and Ed Parker’s American Kenpo Karate. The funny thing is, Ez actually came to me to learn CDP, a deceptively simple, easy-to-learn system that we train primarily for close quarters blunt weapons. We teach CDP in our youth classes, as well as having it as a main part of our Counterpoint Tactical System (CTS) program.

Here’s Ez-E, early last year, as he was preparing for his blue belt test in Counterpoint Tactical System…

Ezara is in his 50s, keeps himself in good shape, is happily married, and travels up from Hollywood as often as three times a week to train with me privately. He works as a professional musician with a nightly gig as the piano man at Runyon’s in Coral Springs. As a musician he needs to look after his hands, so HMAA training is perfect for him as we train safe 100% of the time. He’s awesome–so for crying out loud, put some bread in his jar. Like so many of us, Ezara has had some financial challenges through the years, but has always maintained his personal commitment to be able to protect himself should he ever be attacked again. Ez has very bad knees as a result of spending his younger days “on the boards,” amongst other things, so over the years we have had to modify some of the tactics to accommodate that limitation.

Well, it’s four plus years since Ez started training with me. He is a good friend, confidant, and training partner. He has helped to make me a better martial artist. Ezara was awarded his 1st degree black belt in Cacoy Doce Pares in October 2015 and is a red belt in CTS. Congratulations, Ezara, on your diligence and dedication to training. You are a fine example of what can be accomplished by a student in our adult program at Haastyle Martial Arts Academy!

See you on the mat…

Russ Haas

FMA Training with Music Will Make You Better!

bob_marley__you_feel_no_painSo we begin this week with an expansion of one of the points that was made in last weeks post “CTS is NOT for Everybody…”, if you haven’t read it, check it out. One of the points that I made was that the Counterpoint Tactical System (and Filipino Martial Arts training) may not be for you if you don’t like music. Now, of course, this is an over generalization, it’s clear, when we get together, that many of my CTShello-is-this-thing-on brothers and sisters are not only tone deaf, but one might wonder if they can hear any music playing at all? Yet somehow they still manage great success in their training. As for me, “it sure helps m’trainin’ when the right tunes are a’playin.” There are a couple of elements of my solo practice, and in group classes at Haastyle Martial Arts Academy, where I feel that music has been particularly useful by improving the process, and thus improving the results. That’s what we’re all about, right? Give a few of these ideas a try and let me know if you get the feeling.

Warm-up – The first thing that I do when I step on the mat to begin class is turn on some upbeat songs and this is the only instance where I, personally, will put up with “pop” music. Yeah, I’m taking one for the team here, although, truth be told, I have used this tool when training alone. It’s easier for everybody to get going on the mat when you transition with something you may have heard on the radio on the way over. It’s got to be something upbeat, maybe something that you can sing along to (in your head, I mean, nobody, nobody wants to hear you singing on the mat… **cough cough – Shaun – cough cough**. We’ll get some footwork done, maybe some push-ups, sit-ups, etc. 10-15 fifteen minutes, for me, that’s about my tolerance for this type of music. Here are some good tunes that we have used over the years for this purpose:

  1. Harder to Breathe by Maroon 5 (when they were tolerable)
  2. Poker Face – Lady GaGa (before she became the Queen of England)
  3. Misery Business – Paramore (a guilty pleasure)

“Pop” warm-up fails include Adele, Maroon 5 (new stuff), and ANY country music recorded this century.

Solo Weapon training – Every FMA practitioner spends a good bit of time where it’s just you and your tools. Many of us have weapon racks and displays where we keep our tools/ toys. In CTS and most other systems there are many striking patterns and defensive tactics that are to be practiced on the regs, in an effort to stay sharp (a bit of blade humor there for you). In my training, I always begin with straight up curriculum and work up to freestyle, sometimes going back and forth. I’ll grab a weapon and start to play, I use the music to give me queues. The music will tell me to speed up, slow down, change my timing, or change my weapon. For this type of training, I listen to drum music. Drum music can come from all over the world, in my collection, I have several Japanese taiko drum groups, Scottish, German, African, native American and several Latin drum groups. This type of music tends to vary rhythmically in tempo and time. The use of different percussion instruments and the sturm and drang nature of it can change what you are doing in an instant. Back in the day, I used to workout with Jason Bonham (yes, THAT Jason Bonham) and I was always hoping he would give FMA a try, alas, I did get his son in for a while, but never him. Here are some great drum corps that I listen to:

  1. Fushu Daiko (far and away my favorite)
  2. Wolgemut (German/ renaissance style)
  3. Albannach (Scottish drum corps)

Double Stick banging

“I don’t like to hammer out some nice sinawali’s to hard rock music.”

said no FMA player ever…

At HMAA, all of our Cacoy Doce Pares classes begin with pengke-pengke. For this double stick practice I reserve our best hard rock/ old school punk music. The slamming guitars and super fast tempo lends itself to pushing the pace, forgetting about the minutiae and, above all, don’t stop. The only problem is many of the songs won’t fill a two or three minute round, anyway, go, go, go!

Here are some of my faves:

  1. Bad Reputation – Joan Jett and the Blackhearts (THE best)
  2. Run to the Hills – Iron Maiden
  3. Ring of Fire – Social Distortion (I love Johnny Cash, but this is the one you want)

This music is also great for pad work, oh, and, listening to every day…

Doce Pares sparring – Zach Whitson (the founder of CTS) and I always have some music on when we train. The best is when we throw some blues or reggae music on and spar in the way of Supreme Grandmaster “Cacoy” Canete. The chilled out vibe of some Buddy Guy or Muddy Waters blues records, I mean CD’s, I mean MP3’s; or the cool riddims of Peter Tosh, Jimmy Cliff or, of course Brother Bob really set the tone for a relaxed feeling of the movement of “Cacoy”. Try these:

  1. Peter Tosh – Live & Dangerous: Boston 1976
  2. The Rolling Stones and Muddy Waters – Live at the Checkerboard Lounge 1981
  3. Cyndi Lauper – Memphis Blues (2010)

For me music is as much a part of my life as my heartbeat or breathing and training is as much a part of my life as music, so let the music move you in more than your heart and your head.

So if you’ve come in off the street
And you’re beginning to feel the heat
Well listen buster
You’d better to start to move your feet
To the rockin’est, rock-steady beat
Of Madness
One step beyond!

Madness

Like Brother Bob says “one good thing about music, when it hits you you feel no pain.” For a bunch folks who are used to getting whacked with stick all day, well, that’s not nothing. So take advantage of the heavy heavy monster sound. Get on your feet and take your training ONE STEP BEYOND!

See you on the mat!

RH


 

CTS is NOT for Everybody…

Hey folks! Here’s my first shot at posting via Word Press so, I hope it makes you laugh, makes you cry and maybe makes you wonder WHY? Sheesh, I’m already Dr. Suess; thanks for reading, here goes…


So often, I find myself presented with questions like:

“What is the Counterpoint Tactical System (CTS)? “CTS Crest Hi res crop

“Can everybody do it?”

My responses run the gamut from “Are you looking to start training?” – “YES”; “Are you willing to do something great for yourself?” – “I want to, buuuut…”; “Are you willing to give it a try?” – “WHEN ARE CLASSES?”

You can do it

All that is really all that is needed for success in my program at Haastyle Martial Arts Academy is; 1) the desire and 2) the follow up action of getting on the mat. From that point on any reasonable person can see what CTS has to offer. The high percentage of people that do not follow through, and the sometimes STUNNING reasons why, are a subject for another article.

The premise of this article touches on possible reasons why someone that may try a class or two doesn’t follow through. It’s time to come clean; I’ve decided to put the truth out there:

The Counterpoint Tactical System is NOT for everybody!

Do NOT do CTS if…

  1. You need more drama in your life; you definitely should not be training in the Counterpoint Tactical System if you are the one who is alwaysSweet georgia looking for something or someone to bitch and complain about. CTS practitioners tend to stay cool and focus on the positive improvements that the training brings.
  2. You believe in “no pain, no gain”; the CTS training model is designed to build you physically from the ground up. Initially balance and stability are the focus of the training through the development of proper footwork. Check out my friend Eric Primm’s site for his regular Footwork Friday posts. Punching, kicking, wielding a weapon and evading all of these things are the foundation that we build upon. Do not practice CTS if you need to leave class bruised, battered and broken down to feel fulfilled.
  3. You like a “varied” wardrobe; yeah, well, like it or not, you will likely spend the rest of your days wearing tactical or cargo pants/ shorts and some type of black (maybe grey on “fancy” day) t-shirt, day in and day out (**except for you Val**). If you’re all about the traditional pajamas and belts, CTS is not for you.
    11221448_10207546918294233_1943202494923546113_o
    Counterpoint Tactical System first generation black belts circa 2013. L-R Kevin Wagner (Dayton, OH), Brian Brown (Atlanta, GA), Russ Haas (Boca Raton, FL), CTS Founder Zach Whitson (Charlotte, NC), Josh Ryer, Joel Dougherty & David Curet (Pittsburgh, PA)
  4. You need to do jump spinning 360 kicks; just NO…
  5. You need to keep every belief that you previously had about martial arts; most CTS students have had more than one strongly held belief about martial arts, and martial arts training methodologies disproved after practicing our “open training model” with progressive resistance training for a while.Are you serious
  6. You want to rest on your laurels; while CTS is still in its formative years as a system, it stands that training is an institutionalized part of the culture. From the top down, with CTS Founder Zach Whitson as our inspiration, virtually every, CTS black belt trains almost every day.
  7. You can’t embrace change; CTS is an ever evolving system that will change with the times as any, relatively, small group culture is prone to do. It will change as you age, it will change with improved teaching methods and technology. The CTS practitioner is never set on “cruise control.”
  8. You don’t love to laugh; it stands to reason, if you are going to spend so much time with your training partners, it has got to be fun. Make jokes; laugh. Make a mistake; laugh. Do something great; laugh. LAUGH, LAUGH, LAUGH… What If I Told You Missing SomethingThat about covers it, but it seems like eight is not the right number though, so let me add the following:
  9. You don’t like to train with music
    One good thing
  10. You have a fear of trianglesor you suffer from rhabdophobia (look it up).
  11. You don’t like to eat your veggieshealth is wealth!
  12. You don’t like the number twelvesee what I did there?

Maybe my next post will be about why we all SHOULD train in CTS?

That’s going to be long one, with a lot… of… words…

I’ll see you on the mat! RH