Mike Hammer: My journey in INSTINCTIVE RESPONSE TRAINING©

Here is a recent article that Mike Hammer wrote regarding his experience with Instinctive Response Training!  Enjoy!

My journey in INSTINCTIVE RESPONSE TRAINING©

by Mike Hamer on Wednesday, August 22, 2012 at 9:15pm ·

In the last 6 years INSTINCTIVE RESPONSE TRAINING© aka IRT has turned me into a well rounded martial artist who is familiar with many different styles. When I first started training in IRT I had already been training in aikido (read more about aikido here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aikido) for almost a year, so needless to say it felt very awkward at first learning techniques of destruction rather than harmony. I was so used to just blending with attacks rather than actually being the attacker. Learning the movement and footwork associated with attacking was difficult for me at first. Learning to strike efficiently was one of the first things I started picking up on, practicing with empty hand strikes, kicks, sticks, blades, and various other types of weapons. A lot of our striking is based on Filipino stick and dagger arts, Muay Thai, Taekwondo, Kickboxing, Budo Taijutsu, and Boxing. When it came to more defensive and reactionary techniques such as grab escapes, throws, wrist locks, disarms, and getting off line of an attack, I felt a lot more at home due to the Aikido training I had at the time so I enjoyed that aspect a little more and had an easier time learning it for the most part. Grappling in our system is largely based on BJJ, and was something completely new to me as well. Having already trained learning how to stay calm and relaxed, I found that if I stayed relaxed the same way I did when practicing aikido, that a lot of the movement was fairly simple to grasp (simple, not easy! ) After a couple years I was ready for my first test. This included demonstration of various things ranging from basic self defense, striking empty handed and with weapons, grappling (submissions and transitions), free form movement, padded sparring with empty hands and with sticks, submission grappling, breaking, and oral/written exams. Successfully moving to the next level really helped fuel the fire I had for learning more about the martial sciences, and I felt pretty well rounded as a martial artist in general. I occasionally visited different schools/dojos during this time and felt at home wherever I went. What I learned in IRT made it very easy to walk into someone else’s dojo and be able to jump right into whatever they were practicing without missing a beat (ok maybe one or two beats, but none of what they were teaching was something I hadn’t already learned in some way or another) They might do it a little differently than us, but the fundamentals I acquired by studying IRT served me well wherever else I trained! Throughout the years Brian Vancise (Founder and head Instructor of IRT) has brought in various martial artists from around the world to teach seminars and help us grow in their particular style they were teaching. Among these other instructors I would say that the one I enjoyed training with the most was Grandmaster Jerson Nene Tortal of Dekiti Tirsia Siradas Kali. Here is a video clip of him teaching here in Alma (not saying that the other instructors weren’t all awesome as well!) Master Brian has also taught many seminars himself. Each one focusing on a specific part of the martial sciences, and were all invaluable to helping me take my skill sets to the next level. Among these seminars my favorite one by far was when I had the opportunity to train with him in Las Vegas. We trained espada y daga (stick and dagger) on top of cliffs and mountain peeks, including a little hike to a 10,000 ft peek on top of a snow covered blizzard. If you want to see our training from this seminar you can watch it here! In A few more years I was ready for my second testing. This included more of the same, but of course with more advanced curriculum and more intense sparring (at this point I had already started using real rattan sticks wearing only knee/elbow pads and a fencing mask…ouch!) During my training I have been able to apply techniques learned in IRT in a somewhat real environment as well (cagefighting) to my success. This taught me a lot about how important stamina is in a violent encounter, and it was a lot of fun! I only did that a couple times because I don’t really think its worth risking your health so that fight promoters can make money off you and I didn’t plan on ever going pro with it, but I was able to walk away with a victory both times and I think I owe that to my training in IRT. Today I have reached the point where I am getting pretty good at teaching the material I have learned to others, and I hope to reach Associate Instructor level (the first black belt ranking in our system) within the next year. During the course of my IRT training I have fell in and out of the loop a few times for whatever excuse or reason I might have had at the time. However I have always managed to persevere through the sometimes lack of motivation, personal problems, or whatever at the time was keeping me from training. I always manage to return with a new appreciation for my skill sets and the martial sciences as a whole, and I will never truly stop walking the path at anytime. Sometimes I get distracted on the things I might encounter on my journey down the path, but for me, there is no other path to travel. I am not seeking a destination on my path, for I know that the real destination is the journey itself. Much love and respect to all!!

I think Mike makes some excellent points and gives a good idea of what Instinctive Response Training is all about.  First it is a personal journey and one that you have to persevere with.  Second, it is designed to make a martial practitioner well-rounded even though they may specialize in certain areas.   Another point that Mike makes is that as a practitioner of Martial Science we in IRT do not limit ourselves in this pursuit.  Meaning we learn from everyone and if you learn the foundation’s of IRT then you can personally train anywhere and at anytime with anyone and enjoy it!  We are constantly in pursuit of improving and this journey is not only exciting and vibrant but also an awakening!  Thanks for the article Mike I know I enjoyed reading it!  Also thank you for allowing me to repost it here!

About Brian VanCise

Hi my name is Brian R. VanCise and my passion is the Martial Sciences. I have trained almost my entire life in the pursuit of martial excellence and I teach a world class curriculum in Las Vegas, Nevada. Contact us at: 702-326-3622
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4 Responses to Mike Hammer: My journey in INSTINCTIVE RESPONSE TRAINING©

  1. Mike Hamer says:

    Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  2. Ginger Greenwood says:

    Great article, Mike, I’m a very proud mom. Thanks for sharing your journey this way. And, thanks Brian for the guidance, passion, and personal committment you share with all who seek to learn the IRT way with you as the master.

  3. kkrick44@hotmail.com says:

    Enjoyed the read. Seems so long ago, but from what you said, it sounds so familiar. Work hard and keep training and you will achieve that coveted “Black Belt” that others only wish they had the determination to wear.

  4. Pingback: IRT Structure….. | The Instinctive Edge™

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