TOUGH TRAINING: Michael James
during an interview at Express House last Wednesday.
Ex-soldier offers martial arts classes to armed forces
Rickie Ramdass firstname.lastname@example.org
OFFICERS of the armed forces face an obvious threat to their lives from criminals, therefore they need to take additional steps to ensure their safety or at least reduce the chance of becoming victims of crime.
Those officers are not always in possession of firearms, so in the instance of them being unarmed and coming into contact with a person who intends harm, they should be able to defend themselves.
“Your body can become your own weapon,” said Michael James, a world-class certified Krav Maga and Shotokan instructor, recognised under the Japan Karate Association and the US International Shotokan Karate Federation.
James is a former member of the Trinidad and Tobago Regiment. In an interview last Wednesday he told the Express he provided bodyguard services to former prime minister ANR Robinson during the 1990 attempted coup.
James said he started studying martial arts at the age of ten and still pursues the art form. Now 54, James said he believed the skills he learned over the years could help law enforcement officers be better equipped to deal with the country’s crime situation.
Krav Maga is considered one of the deadliest forms of martial arts. It was developed in Israel and consists of techniques from other forms of martial arts.
It is used mainly in face-to-face encounters and real-world situations and is considered very brutal, James said.
“Servicemen need to actually do these self-defence (classes) because they won’t always have a gun on them. If they get into a situation where a guy tries to attack them with a knife or an ice pick or a piece of wood, they could be able to defend themselves.
“So all servicemen and women need to know these type of things because they never know what type of situation they would get themselves into. And health and fitness is very important too,” James said.
He said members of all the protective services are welcome to register for his classes which take place at Police Headquarters in Port of Spain at a cost of $160 a month.
In addition to Krav Maga and Shotokan, James said he also teaches TaeBo, aerobics and Pilates. Also, he advises students on the proper type of food to consume in order to maintain a healthy body.
Currently, James has a class of five students from the Police and Prison Services.
He said he chose not to teach civilians because those who may be bent on breaking the law could use it to their benefit against law enforcement.
James said there were also some difficulties in teaching the art to officers, given the shifts they are made to work and the country’s crime problem.
“The training is very hard, the difficulty sometimes is the different shifts and you see when the crime gets high outside, those soldiers have to go out on duty and come back and do my Krav Maga training and Shotokan...it is very tough on them. The crime situation out there has them busy,” said James.
Anyone willing to contact James can do so by calling 489-8527, 358-0915 or 645-7370.