Self Defense

Services for Real Estate Pros with Transactions Made Easy 573085

I was approached not long ago about the possibility of starting a self defense class at Keller Williams, mainly for women. The reason, I was told, is that too many women are (sometimes - not always) naive to their surroundings and the people therein.

Ok, so let me back up a little bit.

Karate - means open hand That's not me. It's just a cool Kung Fu pose.

So a little about my background in Karate, or, the Martial Arts: It all started a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far it didn't. It actually started at Churchill High School when I was 11. I started taking traditional Karate; better known as Tae Kwon Do (the way of the foot). Now, I didn't care anything about how the martial arts evolved, or the art of what I was doing. I wanted to learn how to kick people. I was an angry young man. I mean, my last name is Curlee. And given the fact that my hair was actually curly, you can only imagine.

Anyway, I took Tae Kwon Do for about a year. I got pretty good at it. However, when I tried to use it on the street it just didn't work. Trying to kick someone in the face when they are rushing at you is a hard thing to pull off. And considering that Tae Kwon Do was started in order to fight opponents who were on horses, it wasn't very practical.

So I left the Tae Kwon Do program I was in and started looking at other martial art forms. When I was 13 years old I found Judo. I liked Judo. It was really intense. You grabbed people and threw them to the ground, locked them into certain positions, and choked them or broke their bones. Pretty neat! But, after I had been training for awhile and had become pretty darn good, I took this to the streets where things really matter. Let me tell you, trying to grab someone to throw them while they are punching you in the face isn't really a lot of fun. It is, in fact, very discouraging.

It's not that Tae Kwon Do and Judo aren't or cannot be effective. But unless you are just unbelievably and uniquely skilled in your ability to perceive an attack and circumvent it, these forms of martial arts aren't practical. So I continued my search.

When I was 22 I found a Kung Fu called Da Phei Lung. Now, considering that Kung Fu means "time and effort," I should have known that I would get bored. The only thing that kept me in this form of the martial arts for over a year was the instructor. He was incredible. He truly understood what it meant to have to fight on the street. And so he tailored this form of Kung Fu to be practical. I loved that. He also fought twice a week. We put on the gloves and "played," as he liked to call it. And while I was at this school I really did learn a lot. Also, when I took this form on the street - it worked.

Everybody was Kung Fu fighting... But still, my desire to learn something even more quick and destructive overwhelmed me. Needless to say I was very different back then. :)

At 24 I found Kenpo Karate. Kenpo is a form of Kung Fu as well. But it's founder, Ed Parker, was incredibly aware of the need for something totally practical for men and women who had to defend themselves on the street. So he customized the moves to be workable to any size or gender. And when I found Kenpo I fell in love. I excelled at Kenpo quickly. My instructor was a true fighter. We fought twice a week. We put our skills on the line. And no, this was not point sparring. We put on gloves and a mouthpiece and fought.

But the journey doesn't end here. You see, I was all too aware that fights don't normally stay standing up. Having been in...well, a lot of fights, I knew that probably more than 90% of them end up on the ground. And so my instructor and I began to look at fighting forms that catered to this. Eventually we became convinced that Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu was the superior ground fighting form.

Ground \'em and Pound \'em There was a world class Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu instructor in Dallas named Carlos Machado. He was cousins with the Gracie's and grew up his entire life training Jiu-Jitsu. So we figured there was no better person to train with than him. So that's what I did. Eventually I became a high rank in this form as well. I incorporated this into the Kenpo, and eventually was what was known as an MMA fighter (Mixed Martial Arts). I had a team of guys. We fought all over Texas.

So between the traditional Karate (black belt), Judo (brown belt), traditional Ju-Jitsu (black belt), Kung Fu (low rank), Kenpo (black belt), Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (blue belt), and Western boxing, I have a pretty good idea of how to defend myself. Added to this is my experience of taking these things to the actual street - like an idiot.

All of this brings me back to the impetus behind my blog post - women's self defense. Is it important? How would this work? What would the class be like? Can a woman really learn how to defend herself on the street? These are just some of the questions I'm going to tackle. They are critically important.

Then, after that, we will talk about doing something like this at Keller Williams.

Have a great weekend,

Dustin Curlee


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Olan Carder
Fairway Independent Mortgage - Charlotte, NC

I can't believe you haven't gotten any comments!!  Your post is very entertaining and I myself think women should have some self-defense training.  I think Realtors are at high risk because of the situations it can put you in.  As a 6 ft 2in 220 lb. guy that grew up fighting every other day, I don't really worry too much about myself... but my wife (who can kick my butt) needs to be careful because there are nuts out there!

I wish you luck with your class, but either way it goes, your post was fun to read!

Apr 07, 2008 10:58 AM #1
Dustin Curlee


Thanks for saying the post was fun to read. I try to make them somewhat humorous.

I see that you posted on the other one as well. I'll hit you up there. :)


Apr 08, 2008 12:44 AM #2
James Iodice
Coldwell Banker Weir Manuel - Waterford, MI
Associate Broker, Selling Homes and Offices


Finally someone who is going to bring Martial Arts into this community on a whole new level. I like Olan am surprised by the lack of comments. You need to post this is some different groups to get it out there for the rest of AR to read.

What you describe is exactly what Bruce Lee went through before creating his style. The need to take the best of different arts. I have always been a student of Tae Kwon Do obtained my 1st Dan in 1984. We also did a lot of Kick Boxing in our school. I don't think you gave TKD a long enough try, but your approach is a good one. No one style alone is the best, BL proved that.

Regarding self defense, I am not sure everyone got your underlying message (read the rest of Dusin's self defense posts) but the key is know and recognize your surroundings. If it is too late USE your surroundings.


Apr 11, 2008 11:39 AM #3
Dustin Curlee
Transactions Made Easy - San Antonio, TX


You are right. I need to put that post on some different group lists. I will do that now.

I did give TKD a long try. :) It's just not diversified enough, in my humble opinion. Although most TKD schools have been forced to branch out and incorporate some form of hybrid street fighting into their curriculums, they still, by and large, are fundamentally the same.

You are right though when you say that Bruce Lee completely changed the course of martial arts. Every serious studen owes that guy a lot of thanks.

And, again, you are right in acknowledging the key - knowledge and awareness. Ed Parker (the creator of Kenpo as we know it today) said in his first book (in the Kenpo series) that environmental awareness is really the key to avoiding most situations.


Apr 11, 2008 12:10 PM #4
Graham Kennedy

Really interesting post Dustin! Is Krav-Maga one that you would recommend? It's promoted here in the U.K. as a good form of self defense for women.

Aug 01, 2012 08:25 AM #5
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