I started training with Darren around nine years ago. At the time, I didn’t really know too much about his program, but I was looking to try something new. I had originally signed up for a ten weeks of lessons, but ended up training for around 8 years, and would still be doing so if Darren still lived in Canada.
I am from Winnipeg, Canada, and am entering my second year of medical school, and the time spent training with Darren was been extraordinarily valuable. Admittedly my experience with other martial arts is limited, but one of the reasons that is the case is because I have enjoyed working with Darren, and learned a lot.
Darren is an excellent instructor, because he is always ready to jump in, and to put what he is teaching to the test. He has never asked (nor would he want) for me to merely accept something as true, but instead he always explains the mechanics behind a given technique or the reasoning behind given strategies. His approach is very scientific in this way, and the term martial ‘arts’ is perhaps a misnomer making his program’s title: Civilian preservation technologies quite appropriate.
I learned a variety of skills, both physical (empty handed, weapon-defense, using weapons, ground fighting, joint manipulations to name a few), and mental (including violence avoidance, improvised weapons and discipline). Darren also worked with me to ensure that the tools I put into my self-defence toolbox worked for me, so during and even after having not trained for a while, I still feel that my strategies for self-defence have been custom fit to my abilities.
When I started, I’m sure my parents didn’t like the idea of me using weapons, since I believe most traditional martial arts do not teach students to use them, at least not at the beginning. Training with Darren, we started with sticks on day one. As we progressed, and we became more proficient, and our control grew, he introduced new us to new tools (or weapons if you prefer). I never once feared from my safety during training, since Darren has a good eye to see who is ready, and the way he conducts class is very positive, ensuring that training partners are working together to make class a safe and productive learning environment. Darren does not teach ‘thugs’ are people interested in using his instruction to do harm. I would consider myself in very good shape, but at 5’9 it would not make sense for me to rely on my empty handed skill against someone twice my size. There is a reason professional boxing and MMA have weight classes. Real life does not, and Darren teaches based on reality, and weapons- both using, and defending against are part of that.
Walking into his class those years ago was one of the best decisions I have made. I learned something new every class and it was always a positive and safe environment. In fact I have had more severe injuries playing soccer or hockey. In fact of all the physical activities I have done, I’ve injured myself the least. “With great power, comes great responsibility”. Training with Darren has developed both.
Medical Student & Student at Civilian Preservation Technologies
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada