|Mandirigma Filipino Martial Arts|
"A LIFE SKILL, NOT A LUXURY"
“ After the very first training session with Guro Darren Friesen I came to the conclusion that there were some serious gaps in my Jiu-Jitsu training. What a hit to the ego on what you think you know versus what you really know. As a military close quarter combat instructor and long time martial artist I immediately realized that this was someone that had complete dedication and insight to reality based hand held weapons combat. I still use Darren’s curriculum in my own club”. I invite anyone to contact me with any questions or to verify this testimonial.
Sergeant in Canadian military with multiple tours of duty
Club owner at Martial Arts Nanaimo and candidate Dog Brother
Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada
-I had the fortune of being one of Darren's students for several years and unlike some other clubs that I've investigated, there is no hiding of secrets that only "the chosen few" get to learn; no bowing to a picture on the wall, no subjecting students to unnecessary pain to show machismo. Things are very casual, though still respectful towards one another. If you have the patience to learn, Darren has the patience to teach you all that he thinks you need to know.
-Unlike some clubs which simply try to teach skills, Darren teaches how to put those skills into context. It's one thing to learn self-defense skills; it's another matter not to end up in jail for acting in self-defense. Darren teaches to use our heads to attempt to first work around conflict rather than simply forcing our way through it, unless no other options are available.
-Many other clubs will attempt to force you to learn according to the way they teach because of "tradition" or because they think their way is the best way. In my experience, Darren attempts to teach his material with concern for how his students learn, because he realizes that people learn in different ways. There are no pushups or berating a student for failing to perform a skill, which I found resulted in a less stressful environment, one better suited to learning.
-Some clubs demand absolute loyalty and seem frightened to step "outside the box" when it comes to alternate approaches to deal with a situation. Part of the strength of Darren's instruction comes from his diverse background—He welcomes new insights and a diversity of backgrounds in his classes rather than simply demanding that his is the best way or only way. If it turns out, there seems to be a better way, he'll adapt it.
-While some martial arts styles seem to have better utility in a sporting environment, Darren teaches material that is more useful for "real life" situations where there are can be multiple threats, no referee and no soft mat to fall back onl
-He teaches to "be aware of your surroundings" (forgive the cliche) in order to become more aware of hidden assets (i.e. improvised weapons) if you know what to look for.
-Of all of his considerable skills, Darren's greatest asset is his mind. He is able to sum up his options quickly and think his way through self-defense problems with due concern to everyone involved who might be at risk. [am thinking of the knife incident with your family here] This combined with using psychology, his skill on the ground, on his feet, with weapons (—especially with weapons!) and empty hand all make for a formidable self defence system.
-Darren has not yet (as I am aware) mastered the art of the "no touch knockout", where one throws an opponent across the room with a snap of his fingers—but he's working on it!
Personal Trainer & Student of Civilian Preservation Technologies
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
|Your ethos & philosophies are pleasingly similar to mine and what I've written about, and I was interested to hear your views about eschewing the stereotypical, almost farcical obsession with suits, belts etc in modern martial arts. It does sound like you have tapped in to a more practical approach that would have no doubt been where the arts began, before westerners with little understanding began to apply ancient practices to modern times and ended up with all the ritual but none of the use. |
Author of "How Not to Get Hit"
Instructor at Budo Warrior Schools
Darren has trained with me in sword work for over a decade; in that time, he has mastered the concepts of Kenjutsu & sword combatives and has become adept at both constructed drills as well as free-flow training. His skill and experience with the sword makes him a valuable representative of our art.
Darren Friesen is certified to teach and evaluate students in our Kenjutsu style.
I also trained under Darren, learning Arnis and self-defense groundwork; during this training, I found Darren to be a thorough professional, having both vast technical knowledge and a solid understanding of practical applications for common scenarios. He was able to adapt teaching techniques to accomodate both different learning styles as well as varying skillsets and interest areas.
Computer Programmer & Self-Defence Instructor
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
|Darren is an excellent instructor who focuses on physical and mental toughness while|
practicing technique to perfection.
Darren will spend personal time with his students and develop assistant trainers or
student mentors who will assist in the training of students.
I have personally trained with Darren in the Philippine martial art of "Arnis". My prior
training includes a Shodan Black Belt in Jiu Jitsu and 3rd Dan Black Belt in Kukiwon Tae
Kwon Do. I have personally been a Martial Arts instructor in those disciplines for
decades. I had the opportunity to train with Darren Friesen as an assistant to Dante
Alambra in Arnis for a short period at my Jiu Jitsu Den, and found that it not only
complemented my current training, it was the quintessential street fighting
defense/offense that I was looking for.
When Darren opened up his own club, I immediately followed him to upgrade the skills that
I had started under Dante, while maintaining my own disciplines. Darren's training
sessions maintained the same vigor and quality of training that I had experienced
previously and I continued to develop my Arnis.
Arnis is primarily focused on both empty hand techniques or using any weapons on hand to
counter stick, knife, machete, etc. It utilizes the basic martial arts movements to
complement the use of sticks, knives etc, and can be used purely defensively, such as
one-on-one situations, or can be escalated when facing multiple adversaries.
I consider Darren to be an extremely good trainer and instructor and would endorse him to
anyone. Darren does not focus on whether everyone has the same Gi (clothing) or
unnecessarily on traditional protocol, but on the training itself, both physically and
mentally. My only regret is that he is no longer here to train with.
David Scrapneck, BSc, CCPE, Shodan Black Belt Jiu Jitsu, 3rd Dan Kukiwon Tae Kwon Do
Gastroenterology, Manitoba and N. Alberta
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
began his training in Filipino Martial Arts under my father in our family style. Over the past 15 years Darren's pursuit of knowledge in personal safety as well as combat effectiveness has not only included training in many other forms of martial arts, but also countless hours of research on anatomy, psychology, sociology and criminology. Darren has an uncanny ability to absorb this information and blend it into his own style of personal self-defense
that not only gives the practitioner the ability to protect themselves physically, but also teaches the individual how to assess situations and avoid confrontation. What separates Guro Darren from other self-defense instructors
is that he not only teaches the nuances of physical, social and environmental aspects of self-defense, he also includes the legal aspects in his training. If your looking for the real deal, look no further!
Sikaran Arnis School of Martial Arts
Tagapagmana nang Pamamaraang Alambra (Heir to the Alambra Style of Martial Arts)
Unang-Batikan Burokil Alambra Arnis De Mano
9th degree Modern Sikaran
6th degree World Sikaran Arnis Brotherhood