AUSTIN, TX – The annual NVTO SummerCamp took place recently in Austin, Texas, over the weekend of July 20-21, 2013. More than 40 practitioners representing 7 NVTO-affiliated schools from across the country converged for a weekend filled with 8 hours of hands-on training. Participants engaged in a mix of fighting applications, reflex training, street self-defense, anti-grappling, and refinement of their skills.
Conducting testing at the seminar were Sifu Kenny Felton (4th degree) and Sifu Robert George (4th degree), both of the NVTO HQ. Over the weekend, a total of 25 participants advanced in rank, including Jim Gillentine of the Dallas school and Andrew Lucchesi of Austin, both of whom passed the rigorous test for 2nd Degree Instructor. Additionally, four assistant instructors completed the test for Sg 12 (Gary Mowbray, Avi White, Jason Miller and James Adams). These four will now begin the arduous preparation for the 1st Instructor Degree test.
Of particular interest at this camp were two programs taught by Master Webb: SwiftDefense® which was taught to beginners and Soft Defenses which was taught to the advanced students.
SwiftDefense® is a program that teaches verbal and physical skills for avoiding conflict. While beginners are heavily drilled in basic striking, countering, and anti-grappling; the SwiftDefense® training gives them the possibility of avoiding a physical fight altogether.
As Master Webb explained, “It’s common knowledge that street thugs profile their victims, looking for someone who will be an easy mark. SwiftDefense® teaches the student how to ‘not fit the profile.’ However, physical conflicts can’t always be avoided, afterall it’s the attacker who ultimately decides whether or not you will have to defend yourself. In those circumstances, a beginner’s best defense against an aggressive, larger attacker is to hit them with everything they’ve got.”
The Soft Defenses, on the other hand, utilize techniques and strategies which teach how to subdue an attacker without unnecessary injury. According to Master Webb there are reasons why this mode of training is learned at the advanced student grades, “Generally speaking, most martial arts beginners are not skilled or experienced enough to risk a prolonged encounter with a seasoned street thug. Our NVTO Soft Defenses program is taught to advanced students and also to LEO’s (law enforcement officers) with the goal of overcoming and controlling an attacker by less-lethal means. Unfortunately there is a trade off, because what is less-lethal against a combative street thug is less safe for the person defending themselves. Nevertheless, our Soft Defenses program combines the best of both worlds; a less-lethal defense with a high level of effectiveness.
Following the seminar, a very special anniversary was observed. Thirty years ago in June of 1983, Master Webb began his study of martial arts with Japanese Karate. Two years after that he switched to learning Ving Tsun kung fu and has continued ever since. In honor of his 30 years of martial arts, we presented our teacher with a large fold-out card which had been signed by all of the seminar participants. Master Webb was indeed surprised and commented, “It’s been a long journey and one which I look forward to continuing. I really appreciate the card, the warm thoughts and the opportunity to make an impact in my students lives.” Thus ended another fantastic camp, and on behalf of the students, “Congrats Si-Fu, 30 years and still going strong!!!”
Text: Tre Castillo, Photos: Jason Miller