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Facing down the fear
Founder of FAST solutions addresses the 'trauma factor' in self-defense

By Amy Hillenburg | ahillenb@reportert.com
Sunday March 13, 2005


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World-renowned martial arts expert Bill Kipp, left, shows instructor Jenny Dill how to use her knee to fend off
World-renowned martial arts expert Bill Kipp, left, shows instructor Jenny Dill how to use her knee to fend off "Bullet Man" Derek Smith. Kipp visited Martinsville and Ellettsville Thursday, Friday and Saturday for specialized self-defense training with a team from Gentry Martial Arts in Martinsville. Photo by Amy Hillenburg.
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MARTINSVILLE

You may be proficient in all the disciplines of martial arts, and you may know the right techniques in self-defense. But if you haven't prepared for the emotions and fear that come with a surprise attack, you're really not ready to fight back.

Bill Kipp, founder of FAST solutions and a world-renowned pioneer in the field of personal protection and interpersonal conflict, came to Martinsville, Greencastle and Ellettsville Friday and Saturday as a guest presenter at Gentry Martial Arts. The program was well timed. April is Women's Sexual Assault Awareness Month. But this training is tailored for both men and women.

FAST is an acronym for "Adrenaline Stress Training." The self-defense program recreates realistic scenarios that allow the participant to experience what it's like to be afraid in hopes that they won't freeze up when they are personally attacked. The FAST defense classes Kipp taught this week don't deal with weapons, although there is a module that instructors can take in which weapons are a factor.

Kipp is from Colorado and has been in the self-defense training business for 17 years. He has taken his classes all over the United States and around the world. Brandon Sieg and Todd Miller, owners of Gentry Martial Arts, met Kipp at a Florida conference. Sieg was intrigued by his premise of incorporating the "trauma factor" in self-defense techniques.

They researched this missing component from martial arts and sought Kipp out for that reason. Sieg said they attended his conferences in Louisville, Ky.; Pennsylvania; New Jersey; and Tuscon, Ariz. He will travel to Las Vegas in May. This month, he will go on to Long Island, N.Y., and Michigan to present the training. It is the first time he has been in this area.

Gentry Martial Arts is located in Martinsville, Ellettsville and DePauw University in Greencastle. Kipp said both men and women feel fear, but they are taught ineffective ways of handling it. Men can be too aggressive or macho, causing an attacker to come on even stronger. Kipp said women are socially conditioned to be passive even when doing nothing puts them in grave danger.

Seig pointed to the recent abduction of Carlie Brucia in Florida. The young girl was shown on a parking lot video walking away with her abductor. She was later killed. Many people who watched the video clip on television didn't understand why she couldn't get away from her attacker. She wasn't bound or gagged.

"It isn't that she didn't know what to do it was the fact that she was scared into not doing anything," Sieg said. "We have all had situations where we said to ourselves, 'I am going to do this or that,' but when the time comes, we get startled and can only kick ourselves afterward for not doing what we said we would do. FAST helps make sure that doesn't happen when our families' well-being is at stake."

Facing down a predator

Sieg and Miller opened their martial-arts school in Martinsville about five years ago. At first it was located on the square. They have moved the school to 333 W. Washington St. in 2002. Sieg teaches martial arts and self-defense at Indiana University and runs the program at DePauw. Miller also teaches the disciplines at IU, which has one of the top self-defense programs in the country.

Sieg said FAST classes start by teaching people how to establish personal boundaries both verbal and nonverbal to deter a predator during the initial verbal assault and what is called the "interview phase." If this fails, Sieg said simple techniques are taught in class that use full force against fully armored assailants, known as "bulletmen." But in a normal classroom setting, he noted that students can't really do the verbal assaults and hit each other full force.

World-renowned martial arts expert Bill Kipp, left, shows instructor Jenny Dill how to use her knee to fend off "Bullet Man" Derek Smith. Kipp visited Martinsville and Ellettsville Thursday, Friday and Saturday for specialized self-defense training with a team from Gentry Martial Arts in Martinsville. Photo by Amy Hillenburg.

"The real beauty of this program is the ability to back the attacker down before it becomes physical something that martial-arts classes don't normally practice," Sieg said. "We are greatly honored that Mr. Kipp is here to give our students, and the rest of the community, the opportunity to learn this."

Kipp offered another unique training experience on Saturday. He held a multiple assailants class, teaching people how to fend off more than one attacker at the same time. Sieg said this multiples class requires a number of instructors and is a rare occurrence. As a matter of fact, Kipp said this was the first class of its kind that he has presented in the Midwest.

The Gentry Martial Arts staff had to add a bulletman and a couple more coaches to accommodate the training. Three were from Indianapolis: David and Mandy Yoshida, and Shaun Watts, along with Stephanie Brown from DePauw. Sieg said they were all student instructors at Gentry Martial Arts. Jenny Dill is also a Gentry Martial Arts instructor, as well as a K-3 literacy teacher at Central Elementary in Martinsville.

Sieg said corporate training and team building in self-defense is coming to the forefront, with businesses training their employees how to handle threatening situations, gang behavior or sexual harassment.

"The multiples class goes beyond individual self defense techniques. It's almost a combat program," he said.

Although kids can be taught to handle bullies through self-defense training, Kipp said adults must be prepared to do the same thing.

"Bullies do grow up and go to work," he said. "People must learn to deal with the coping mechanisms they've developed. They must learn to draw boundaries, deal with verbal assaults and quit dancing around the fear component."

Kipp said the FAST defense program is an incredible way to defend yourself, as well as an incredible way to live your life.

"I love it when I see students start to change their posture and their expressions, even after a three-hour course," Kipp said. "No other program does this."

Anyone interested in more information about the FAST program can contact Gentry Martial Arts at (765) 342-5600, or see the Web site at www.fastdefense.com.

While in town, Kipp agreed to interviews for WCBK Radio, which will be aired throughout the month of April.

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