It’s very refreshing to see innovation, progress and new achievements in an industry full of old dogs who don’t like new tricks. We speak to martial arts, self-defense and fitness professionals around the world on a daily basis. Many times the instructor wants to progress their business, reach a new market or they are just attempting create an overall more successful business.
The limiting factor many times is that they are stuck in their original belief system and change, even if it’s a must, is not an option. This month’s Self-Defense Professional feature story is about a trio of COBRA instructors from South Jersey, Christopher Pedrick, Denis Munn and Stuart Ross.
These 3 self-defense professionals have injected COBRA into their community and made an immediate impact. They have decades and decades of martial arts training yet brought in COBRA which is not anything like a martial art. They hit the ground running conducting one day survival camps, academies and active shooter training. The three all have a unique style the works together like a fined tuned machine.
They are open to new training, have studied their craft and constantly add value to their community. There no excuses here, they do all this and do not even have a brick and mortar school. They conduct training out of their church and are very consistent with this.
I have trained with this trio and they were nothing but fantastic on and off the mat. They are great representatives of the COBRA brand and true professionals.
Let’s take a trip to south Jersey and meet this months featured professional
1. When and how did you start training in the self-defense/Martial Arts Industry/fitness industry?
Stu – I was a wrestler in high school (107 lbs). Weight training and swimming/running was pretty much an everyday routine while in the military. Have a good friend who relentlessly bugged me to come out to train. After many requests, I decided to once again walk onto the mat, this time with a bow and a belt. Became a student of Shotokan Karate, Small Circle Jiu-Jitsu, and Modern Arnis in 2006. Still a student on that mat.
Denis – I started training in a Korean Karate Style with my sons and wife when I was in my early thirties (mid 1970’s). After a few years I changed to Japanese Shotokan, where I earned my Black Belt and began teaching. I trained and taught on and off for several years, until meeting Chris Pedrick. We started a martial arts school in one of his buildings on his farm. Several years later we moved our school to his church. I earned my first, second, and third degrees with my Shotokan instructor, my fourth and fifth degrees with Chris.
Chris – I was bullied a lot in school. When I graduated from high school as a 140lb 6’ tall lanky guy. In September after high school, moved to a new state. I happened to watch “Billy Jack” on TV… I signed up the next day… 12/27/1976. In December it will be 40 years since my first class. I have attained black belts in a number of systems including Isshin-Ryu, Shorin Kenpo Karate, Modern Arnis, and Yoshimishinki Ryugi Ju Jitsu.
2. How has COBRA added value to your training/business?
The Cobra curriculum covers a lot of different self-defense scenarios.
Various training like active shooter response training is unfortunately, very relevant today and many businesses schools and private citizens are interested in this kind of training.
3. What are your training/business goals for the next 3 years?
Stu – Train as many people as possible, hopefully getting some to continue with regular training.
Denis – To maintain our martial arts instruction and expand our COBRA offerings. To help as many people as we can to better protect themselves and loved ones.
Chris – Sustain the part-time business we have developed and increase COBRA awareness in South Jersey.
4. What do you enjoy most about being a Self-Defense/Fitness Instructor?
Stu – Giving someone something valuable, that they can carry with them for the rest of their life is priceless. This is knowledge could save their life or another person’s life.
Denis – Making a difference in people’s lives.
Chris – I like training others… the ah-ha moments when someone gets it. Having them leave with self-confidence.
5. If you only had 5 minutes to train someone what would be the most valuable survival skills you would teach them?
Stu – BE VERBAL! CREATE A RUCKUS! Predators want quiet, compliant victims – don’t give them what they want!
Denis – Awareness and tips for reducing exposure to crime and assaults.
Chris – Be aware of your surroundings. Have a plan.
6. Describe your school, it’s location and all the programs you/your staff teach.
We are located in a small town community with access to interstate roads. We teach traditional shotokan karate, Small Circle Ju-jitsu and Philipino Modern Arnis. It’s a rich mix of traditional teaching methods as well as street-wise, easily applicable self-defense. We are also set up to go onsite for training personalized to the specific needs of businesses and churches.
7. If someone interested in joining as a COBRA Instructor / School what would you tell them?
Cobra international has a great support team that is just a phone call away. Also, other cobra schools can be networked with to provide advice and possibly collaborative projects. They have carefully prepared training documentation which provides great syllabuses for your classes.
Photos compliments of Imvphotos.com
To Contact C.O.B.R.A. South Jersey for Questions or Training:
Denis Munn Christopher Pedrick Stuart Ross