Spartan Training Gear partners with Senshido International

UntitledSpartan Training Gear is honoured to announce a new corporate alliance with Richard Dimitri, one of the world’s leading authorities on hand-to-hand combat and creator of ‘The Shredder’, & Senshido International.

In the months leading up to this announcement, Spartan has already had the pleasure of providing our Hoplite Training Armour to several Senshido team members such asChristopher Roberts of SAFE International, Matthew Dyck of MFTAC and Jesse Lawn Close Quarter Combatives.

logoThis is the first time in Senshido’s 15-year history that certified instructors and team members will have access to Combat Training Equipment that has been personally endorsed by Founder Richard Dimitri.

“I’ve never been a fan of ‘training suits’ really, for the simple reason that for the last 17+ years of working worldwide with clients like the British SAS to International Women’s Movements, I’ve always found better, less expensive substitutes, so I couldn’t justify the cost when the home-made stuff we were using worked just as well. However, that was until the new SPARTAN GEAR came around. The HOPLITE TRAINING ARMOUR is, in my most humble of opinions, better than any other gear I have seen or used in my career as well as the most affordable for the amazing quality. I honestly couldn’t recommend them more.” ~ Rich Dimitri, Senshido International

This new partnership will also have huge benefits for Senshido affiliates worldwide.Active, certified and affiliate Senshido instructors will be receiving complete details on the program in the private Senshido forums shortly.

We’d like to welcome all members of the Senshido community to The Spartan Army. We look forward to a long friendship and a prosperous relationship.

The Spartans are coming to New York!!

161917_140570772667355_7206515_nSpartan Training Gear is proud to announce that it will be attending the Super Summer Seminars in Herkimer, NY. July 15-17, 2011.

Every year 200-300 instructors and students from all over the U.S. and Canada come together for a weekend of fun, friendship and training. Super Summer is open to any martial artist regardless of style, system or affiliation.

Representatives of Spartan Training Gear will be on site all weekend to demo and field any questions on our Hoplite Training Armour line of products.

The Super Summer Seminars martial arts camp was established in 1983 by Michael J. Campos, Director of the Zen-Do Kai Martial Arts Association. Having been involved in martial arts since 1959, and having trained long and hard in several different disciplines, Sensei Campos recognized the beneficial effects of martial arts cross-training. His goal was to create a camp for Martial Artists of any style or organization to meet and train so they could all improve by learning from each other. Super Summers has proven to be that vehicle.

In addition to special guest instructors each of the approximately twenty staff instructors offer over forty seminars where the participants learn techniques and training methods as varied as Aikido, Ju-Jitsu, Pencak Silat, Escrima, Jeet Kune Do, Wing Chun, TaeKwonDo, Tai Chi, ZDK system, Shotokan, Goju, Muay Thai, Grappling, Sparring, Boxing, etc.. Additionally seminars are offered on topics like fitness and flexibility, business operations, instructional skills and the psychological and law enforcement aspects of the martial arts.

Super Summer Seminars has long been recognized as one of the best camps available for program, organization, and value. Prof. Wally Jay called it “one of the best camps in the country.”


This year’s Special Guest Instructor is Scott Sonnen of Circular Strength Training & TACFIT. Here’s more on Scott:

Scott Sonnon, was the first U.S. citizen to formally intern in the USSR with the former KGB and Spetsnaz, be licensed by the Russian government to teach Systema and earn the former Soviet Union’s most coveted athletic distinction – “Master of Sport” in Sambo, serving as the USA National Sambo Team Coach and the USA Police Sambo Team Coach. An international champion in Sambo, Sanshou, Sport Jiujitsu, Submission Grappling and amateur MMA, he now focuses on coaching tactical fitness and defensive tactics to federal law enforcement agencies and military special operations units, and certifying trainers in Circular Strength Training and TACFIT.
Check out Scott’s website here:

For complete details on this seminar and to register, go to their website:
Become a Fan of their Facebook page:

We look forward to training with you. See you in Herkimer!

Seniors learn to stop being so nice with self-defence course

By Susan Pigg of the Toronto Star

Pauline Shea grapples with self-defence instructor Chris Roberts at a course in “preventative skills” aimed at seniors.

It takes just a split second for 74-year-old Anne Lappin to kick into attack mode as the muscular man grabs her from behind.

Her teeth are bared and she’s flailing so forcefully that he soon backs away. Then she steps forward to whack him one more time.

“That was the surprise element,” Lappin says later with a laugh. “I think maybe my basic survival instinct was coming through.”

The outburst has left self-defence instructor Chris Roberts shaking his head in shock.

“You wouldn’t do that in real life, right, come back at an attacker like that?” he asks Lappin.

“No,” the elderly woman says. “I’d run.”

After teaching self-defence to more than 100,000 high-school students over the past 16 years, Roberts, 46, is now taking on a completely different crowd: seniors.

The instructor for SAFE International is offering what he calls the “preventative skills” of self-defence through a few community centres in Toronto.

Although Roberts comes well protected — the final two weeks of the four-week sessions include a little physical interaction — the program is really more about using your brains rather than your brawn.

He stresses avoidance strategies first to protect against potential attackers: walking with confidence, trusting your intuition, not being too polite and always being aware of what’s happening around you.

“Seniors are a vulnerable age group. They’re very limited in what they can do physically, but most attackers are cowards,” says Roberts. “Just by looking at them, making eye contact, you’ve made them know that you’ve seen them and you might start yelling and attracting attention.”

The biggest mistake many seniors make is being too nice, says Roberts. Even if they feel unsafe in an elevator or wary of someone edging in too close for comfort, they tend to be too polite to ask the person to back off or walk away.

In fact, seniors tend to downplay their own fears: One woman at a recent session in North Toronto confessed she knew she was taking a risk walking home through a back alley, but was more afraid of the alternative, the bustling crowds of Yonge St. who might knock her cane and throw her off her feet.

“The most important factor is intuition,” says Roberts. “When you get that gut feeling that something isn’t right or feels unsafe, find the quickest exit out of the scenario. Don’t question your intuition. It is your sixth sense.”

Body language is key, he says. “Attackers look for people who they perceive to be easy victims … so walking with purpose and keeping your head up is an easy way to display positive body language.”

Asking for directions or the time are popular ways to distract a senior because they tend to turn their back to show the way or put their head down to look at their watch, Roberts warns.

Bank machines can also leave seniors vulnerable, he says. He advises women to withdraw only small amounts of cash, always during daylight and, if possible, when a friend is along.

If the attack is simply about money or valuables, Roberts says it’s best just to hand them over rather than risk getting hurt.

But he arms seniors with a few self-defence tricks, such as grabbing at soft-tissue areas (the eyes and face), to throw the attacker off and give you time to break away.

Sherri Bulmer, coordinator of older adult programs at the Central Eglinton Community Centre on Eglinton Ave. E., asked Roberts to teach the program after seeing a senior seriously hurt by a purse snatcher outside an east-end centre where she used to work.

She was surprised to see the group actually grow over the four weeks as the women — the average age was 77 — raved to friends about the program.

“I wasn’t sure what the reaction would be,” says Bulmer. “But I can see now that this is about power and control.”

To ensure the safety of both instructors and students, SAFE International, exclusively uses the Hoplite Training Armour by Spartan Training Gear in all its classes and personal protection programs.

You can learn more about Spartan on their site:

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Stress Exposure Training – Part 3

This is the final installment of a three-part series on Stress Exposure Training written by Ger O’Dea of Dynamis Training & Insight

Hoplite Training Armour allows us introduce contact in a gradual, sensible and realistic way so that people can conduct those ‘personal experiments’ which are referred to by the SIT methodology.  Incorporating equipment such as the Hoplite Training Armour allows us to drastically increase the intensity of our training sessions compared to what we could achieve without it.

We can gradually build up the intensity of the confrontation experience for our trainees, while maintaining a low-risk training environment. Using our Hoplite Training Armour let’s us take the theoretical guesswork out of the training, SAFELY.

Even where we work low-intensity training sessions, with for example trainees who will have only one day with us, we can begin to give them closer-to-real-life experience of what it feels like to make aggressive contact with another human being.  This is something that many people have never experienced and which is deeply challenging for them.   Phase One and Phase Two of the SIT approach provide excellent preparation for this phase, even given just a couple of hours with the trainees.

Incorporating contact during training, which the Hoplite Armour allows us to do, has significant benefits.  It allows trainees who have never struck another person in anger, to do so for the first time.   The trainee can then go on to experience that moment again, and again.   Each time, she will ‘groove’ her response a little deeper, re-inforcing the decision she made, the tactical needs in the situation, the physical sensation of initiating a strike and the results it produced.   She will also be ‘grooving over’ any residual doubt, hesitation, fear or panic which she may have brought to the situation.

Specific to the Hoplite Armour, we can say with some authority that it allows the average person to use most of their capacity in delivering a strike to another person with a very high degree of safety for the person inside the armour.  A full Hoplite suit covers the whole body and allows maximum movement potential in all three combative dimensions – standing, clinched or grounded.   

Training according to this SIT model benefits when the role-player inside the Armour can closely replicate the behaviours that will be seen in reality (‘training fidelity’ which I will address in a following article), including the pre-assault behaviours and in responding with realism when impacted by the other role-players in the exercise.   

Hoplite Armour in particular allows the role player to broadcast pre-assault behaviours and impact behaviours extremely well because it is a lightweight, low-bulk suit which transmits small tell-tale body-language which are being broadcast.    This is highly important because our trainee needs to be able to react and respond to the earliest signs of confrontation (as shown by body language changes in the aggressive person) and also to the earliest cues of a physical assault when initiated. 

By experiencing the uncertain, spatially chaotic and rapidly-unfolding nature of high-speed scenario replication, the trainees become inoculated, to an appropriate degree relevant to the depth of their training, to it.  This is particularly successful if they are guided and mentored through the exercises by an experienced trainer who can use coaching methods to motivate them to persevere.

Want to know more?
All Dynamis Training Courses incorporate these advanced concepts in training for confrontation management.

They will be running the BTEC Level 3 Self-Defence Instructor Accreditation course on July 27th – 29th, 2011. The course will provide progressive self-defence, breakaway and officer safety instructors of all kinds with a framework for teaching self-defence which is legally sound, risk-aware and has a basis in the science and psychology of inter-personal conflict as discussed here on theDynamis Insight Blog.

Dynamis is the UK Authorised Dealer for Spartan Training Gear and the Hoplite Training Armour.

Stress Exposure Training – Part 2

This is the second of a three-part series on Stress Exposure Training written by Ger O’Dea of Dynamis Training & Insight

Applying the SIT model to Self-Protection and Confrontation Management

Phase One of training has to do with having trainees confront their own understandings of the nature of conflict and how they deal with it. A trainer may provide some exercises for the trainees – ‘thought experiments’ – regarding some conflict scenarios and garner the trainee’s response to this. Commonly, for example, a trainer might ask the trainees how they would deal with a much stronger opponent, with tattoos and scars and who looks ‘hard’, in order to provoke a discussion about the nature of intimidation.

This phase encourages the visualisation of conflict scenarios and the development of mental models, decision-making strategies and personal internal commitments to the issue of conflict. In our experience at Dynamis, a discussion of the law in regard to reasonable force and the case-law from that field offers an excellent vehicle for this phase of training as it has much to do with how emotional-cognitive decisions are made.

Phase Two of training has to do with skill development, at an intensity which gradually builds competence with the skills required to persevere and successfully manage the confrontation. Trainees are provided with relevant and effective skills which are comparitively easy to acquire given the amount of time they can devote to the training. We have written at length about the issues with much self-defence and breakaway training and the over-complexity, under-relevance of it here on this blog previously.

During this phase the trainees have the opportunity to rehearse the coping/confronting skills, re-imagining the process of the confrontation from one with a negative outcome to one with a positive outcome – reversing the ‘prey’ role which can crystallise in high-stress moments.

Trainees re-structure they way in which they approach the confrontation, using their internal dialogue and their internal associations differently now. Trainees develop, with time and opportunity, new problem-solving abilities which give them more options and alternatives during a confrontation – they begin, in short, to think more tactically about situations, because their level of stress-arousal is reducing as the problem becomes clearer and more familiar.

Phase Three of training provides the trainees with the opportunity to now apply their new skills in (again, gradually) increasing levels of intensity, although at this time the trainer should be focussing on bringing not just intensity but reality into the training. The focus here is on providing a variety of opportunities for the trainee to experience the entirety of the preparation which has gone before.

For example, in our training at Dynamis, the trainee will be placed in situations where they must now make decisions and take action based on their own beliefs and in accordance with Use of Force law, personal Duty of Care or Task Role, Risk Assessment, their ability to verbally manage the confrontation and then finaly their physical capacity to protect themselves or another. Running these scenarios can take from 15 seconds to 90 seconds to complete, depending on the amount of pre-assault verbal dialogue and the motivation/aggression level of the role-players.

The use of training armour can significantly effect the fidelity of this Phase Three training. At Dynamis, we use Hoplite Training Armour. In our next article we will discuss how the Hoplite Armour assists us to provide Stress Inoculation and Stress Exposure to our trainees.

Part 3 to follow…

Stress Exposure Training – Part 1

This is the first of a three-part series on Stress Exposure Training written by Ger O’Dea of Dynamis Training & Insight

Training people to deal with the stress of a violent confrontation can benefit from the methods used in some psychotherapy.

This article deals with the use of Stress Inoculation Training to guide Self-Protection and Physical Intervention trainers in the development of robust training programmes which will be resilient in the face of intense confrontations.

Stress is a process whereby environmental demands evoke an appraisal process in which perceived demand exceeds resources, and that results in undesirable physiological, psychological, behavioural or social outcomes.”
– Salas, Driskell and Hughes, 1996

Stress Inoculation Training (SIT) emerged out of an attempt to integrate the research on the role of cognitive and affective factors in coping processes with the emerging technology of cognitive behavior modification (Meichenbaum, 1977).   SIT has been employed to help individuals cope with the aftermath of exposure to stressful events and sometimes it has even been used on a preventative basis to “inoculate” individuals to future and ongoing stressors.

In order to enhance individuals’ coping repertoires and to empower them to use already existing coping skills, the SIT model uses a three-phase approach.  

SIT Phase One – Breaking Down the Problem
Regardless of the particular stressor which we are trying to prepare them to deal with, trainees are encouraged to view perceived threats and provocations as ‘problems-to-be-solved’ and to identify those aspects of some situations and their own reactions that are under their internal control and those aspects that are not under their control or influence.

This is the first step in breaking-down a stressor which at first seems overwhelming.

The clients are taught how to breakdown these ‘global stressors’ into specific short-term, intermediate and long-term coping goals.  The trainees’ response to the stressor is re-packaged as being made-up of different components that have been identified and examined in detail.   The trainee builds an understanding of each thing that needs to happen for the stressor to become overwhelming.

High-stress situations tend to go through predictable phases and so the trainee who will be successful should go through a process of preparing, building up, confronting, and reflecting upon their reactions to stressors also.

SIT Phase Two – Developing Skills to Deal with the Problem
The second phase of SIT requires focus on skills acquisition and rehearsal  and it follows naturally from the initial conceptualization phase which came before it.   The coping or confronting skills that are taught and practiced in the training setting are then gradually rehearsed ‘in vivo’ and are tailored to the specific stressors trainees may have to deal with.

SIT Phase Three – Exposure to the Problem
The final phase of training and preparation provides opportunities for the clients to apply the variety of skills they have learned to deal with the problem across increasing levels of intensity.    This is where the inoculation concept – as used in medical immunization – becomes evident.  Techniques such as imagery and behavioral rehearsal, modeling, role playing, and  graded in vivo exposure in the form of “personal experiments”  are used during this phase to increase the trainees competence.

Part 2 to follow…

The Functional Edge System & Spartan Training Gear in Edinburgh, Scotland

Spartan Training Gear‘s corporate allies, Dynamis Training and The Functional Edge System are teaming up for the first time to offer a BTEC Level 3 Advanced Award in Self Defence Instruction Program in Edinburgh, Scotland on July 27-29, 2011

Not only is this class the first of its kind, but this will also be the first UK-based advanced instructor program to prominently feature Spartan’s Hoplite Training Armour during scenario evolutions and drills.

For complete details on this class including venue, cost and registration please follow the link below.

For more info on The Functional Edge System:

This course is suitable for:

  1. Physical Intervention, Restraint and Breakaway Instructors from NHS & Health Care
  2. Officer Safety Instructors from Police & Prison Services
  3. Control and Restraint & Self-Defence Instructors
  4. Prevention and Management of Aggression & Violence Tutors
  5. Risk Managers & Health and Safety Advisers

Self Defence Instructor Award
To successfully pass this course you will need to complete the following five learning outcomes. To assist you, you will be provided with and signposted to all of the resource material you require. These will include: Fact-sheets, e-books and online video resources.
1. The Law in Relation to Self Defence and Personal Protection
UK common and statute law that relate to the use of physical force for the purpose of self-defence. The meaning of ‘Reasonable Force’ with reference to Section 3(1) of The Criminal Law Act 1967, Section 76 of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 and Article 2 of the Human Rights Act 1998.

2. Health & Safety Legislation for running Self-Defence Training Courses
The various elements of Health and Safety statute and associated Health and Safety regulations that relate to the use of running physical skills training courses and instructing physical technique, including the ‘common-law duty of care’ and ‘Tort’ with regard to Negligence, the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, sections 2, 3, 7, and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, Regulation 3.

3. The Workings of the Primitive Stress Response
Understand the effect of the primitive fight and flight response and associated fear response mechanisms on physical, emotional and behavioural state, including what is meant by ‘hyper-vigilance’ and understanding what physical changes take place when the primitive flight and fight response is triggered.

4. The Science and Psychology of Combat
Definition of skill, the relationship between arousal, stress and performance and the relationship between heart rate and performance. References to: Hick’s Law, Guthrie’s Law, Yerkes-Dobson’s Law, Heart-Rate and Performance, Stress and Performance, Decision Making and Anxiety and Arousal and Reaction Time and Decision Making.

5. Self-Defence / Unarmed Defensive Tactics
Demonstrate physical skills techniques consistent with the rights of defence and self-defence consistent with Reasonable Force and Article 2 of the Human Rights Act 1998, and which will be designed to work in situations of high emotional distress consistent with an understanding of the Primitive Stress Response and the Science & Psychology of Personal Combat.

Don’t miss this opportunity.