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Self-defense workshops focus on intensity
Clint Shultz, second from left, practices
escaping a headlock by Mark Adams on
Friday, April 7, 2017, at the Ketchikan
Gateway Borough Recreation Center.
Staff photo by Taylor Balkom.


Daily News Staff Writer

Any common-variety movie spy has shown that a surprising and tenacious burst of attack quickly can put would-be assailants — considering the typical cinematic effect, perhaps even a dozen or more ruffians — on their heels.

Along with mastering technique, knowing how to drop such a bombshell charge at a moment’s notice is among the most important lessons in self defense, according to local martial arts aficionado Clint Shultz.

The Ketchikan resident and former U.S. Marine Corps sergeant, who has been providing martial and combative arts instruction in the gateway city and elsewhere in Alaska for the past decade, should know, too.

Now, women in Ketchikan will get a second chance at an in-depth lesson on quickly projecting one’s inner ferocity.

Shultz will emphasize that skill during a women’s workshop Saturday at the Gateway Recreation Center, focusing on a widely used form of self-defense technique known as Krav Maga, the official self-defense system of the Israel Defense Forces.

Among other elite agencies worldwide, Shultz said, the technique has been adopted by the U.S. armed forces, as well as the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Central Intelligence Agency and U.S. Secret Service.

For those who want to learn in Ketchikan, the $10 workshop will be held from noon to 2 p.m. Saturday at the recreation center.

Shultz said he recently held a similar women’s workshop, teaming with Sgt. Grant Miller of the Alaska State Troopers, who will help again with the second offering.

“So I’ve been teaching martial arts for the last 10 years, and we’ve been teaching a Japanese karate system, and then about three years ago, we started offering a class in Filipino martial arts,” Shultz said. “The goal has been to just provide some more opportunities for our students, so we’re kind of reaching out to a different group of individuals, as well.”

Shultz, who aside from instruction has been training in martial arts for about 20 years, said Japanese karate is more of a traditional form of martial arts, appealing to some but not others.

His Filipino martial arts class — specifically, on the art of Kali, he said — is weapons-based for a bit of a change-up.

Krav Maga further branches out, this time for a focus on self defense.

“This last year, we just wanted to offer something that was strictly self defense that didn’t have anything to do with traditional stuff, no uniforms or nothing — just straight self defense that someone could just walk in off the street, take a couple months of it and get a good foundation,” Shultz said. “And that’s kind of where Krav Maga just fit in.”

He said he began leading regular training sessions on the technique in November at the recreation center, with the class meeting on Friday nights. The Saturday workshop will take a more specialized approach.

“So it’s a two-hour (workshop),” Shultz said. “The focus of the class is about teaching the women the level of intensity that they need to be able to cultivate in order to defend themselves.”

Aside from that, the workshop will cover threat awareness, basic striking patterns and intensity and stress drills — “to get their heart going and to get them to react,” Shultz said.

 “We finish off, usually, with some basic self-defense concepts (and) techniques,” he said. “But the key with this is, for someone who comes in — and maybe that will be the only self-defense class that they ever take — we don’t want to just give them a bunch of techniques that they’re never going to remember; we want to instill in them the level of intensity that they need to be a fighter.”

Emphasizing “contact” via a quick reminder from Shultz that Krav Maga means “contact combat,” a group of about a dozen trainees started a recent Friday class with a light warm-up sparring session, and then moved on to several 20-second-long bouts of pounding away with clenched fists at training pads, held by a partner.

Visibly winded — the class also provides a nice workout, Shultz noted — the group transitioned to fine tuning basic strike techniques, before later working on more intense method near the end of the session on disarming a handgun-wielding, for-play attacker holding up a passerby.

Each class lasts an hour and a half. The training, Shultz said, is used in defending against threats like kidnappings, home attacks, street violence or weapon threats.

Eric Johnson was among the first to arrive at the recent training session. Johnson said he also teaches karate with Shultz and plans on testing this summer for a black belt, which symbolizes varying degrees of mastering the art.

“(Krav Maga) was really an addition to our self defense (instruction),” he said, “because this is, to me, a real self defense (technique). So much of martial arts at times can be training, and you do all these things, but this is simplistic; it’s straightforward.”

“In most martial arts, there’s a winner and a loser when you’re done with stuff,” he added. “This is like: ‘I’m alive.’”

Tory Shultz trains with her husband in all of his martial arts classes and also will be testing to earn a black belt this summer. Krav Maga, she said, is one of her favorites. That’s because the technique is practical in an every-day sense.

She said the class is difficult because it tests someone’s ability to power through exhaustion and other training obstacles of the sort, but worth it.

“It’s practical in the sense that I can see myself using it to protect myself, whereas karate is more of the forms and stuff that you do,” she said. “Krav Maga is something I can use in the real world, and it gives me confidence, like, being a woman, especially.”

“If I see a guy walking down the street or following me or something,” she added, “I have — not false confidence — but I have an awareness about my surroundings, so it’s really helpful for me to be able to get that confidence in myself or to get that awareness that I have ... going from relaxing (and) casual to intense in 0.0 seconds.”

Shultz said trainees in later sessions eventually will work through six levels of Krav Maga technique, and he’ll be training out-of-state later this month and in June to become certified to instruct additional training that involves knife fighting and handgun use, both of which fall under the Krav Maga umbrella, he said.

Shultz, who holds a fifth-degree black belt in karate, said he first trained in Krav Maga during his time in the U.S. Marine Corps. He furthered his training via Marty Cale, the chief instructor of the national Krav Maga Association, and one of Kale’s head trainers, Cole Saugey, who traveled to Ketchikan to train Shultz, a member of the association.

“Within our system, everything flows down from the Israel Defense Forces,” he said. “Professor Marty, whose our chief guy, trains directly with them, and then he gets all of the up-to-date technique, the up-to-date changes; everything flows through our organization and our instructors.”