Gary is the founder and Chief Instructor at Activ8 Self Defence. He is passionate about Martial Arts and has over 30 year's experience in a number of different Martial Arts including Jujitsu, Kung Fu, Judo, Karate, Taekwondo and Krav Maga. Gary firmly believes that an effective Martial Arts syllabus is one that is fluid and dynamic and incorporates the most effective techniques drawn from across a range of disciplines; it was through this belief that Activ8 Self Defence was born.
Gary’s passion and drive led him to create an organisation that could be truly independent, able to choose and train its own instructors, whilst modernising the Jujitsu syllabus to become more innovative, accessible and realistic as a form of self defence in today’s society.
Gary’s particular area of expertise lies in weapons defence and this is something he has incorporated into the adult syllabus in particular; adapting the Jujitsu syllabus to give more emphasis on real-life situations that people sadly do find themselves in. Gary’s previous roles have meant he is only too aware of the need to focus on ways to avoid placing yourself in danger. He actively promotes and teaches strategies involving the use of body language, voice and eye contact in order to diffuse potentially threatening situations yet acknowledges that on occasion, this may not be enough and there may arise a need to defend yourself against attacks involving the use of knives, guns, or other weapons.
Gary’s philosophy is reflected in the rigorous instructor training program he has developed. He firmly believes that a good instructor should have knowledge and skills far beyond the Jujitsu syllabus. All instructors are required to progress through a series of stages where they are taught to develop their knowledge and understanding of physiology, anatomy, and basic Japanese, but also how to foster a sense of self-worth, enthusiasm and positivity amongst the students they teach, regardless of their age or ability. There is an emphasis on the development of teaching skills which focuses on body language, the tone and modulation of the voice, behaviour management, inclusion and above all, how to make sessions challenging and fun. All instructors hold current First Aid certificates and DBS clearance.
Gary believes that true health and fitness requires a holistic approach which incorporates both physical and mental strength; essential in Martial Arts practice. Gary’s previous role in close protection required him to make decisive life and death decisions for himself and his team and he credits his Martial Arts training with providing him with the physical, mental and spiritual strength that this role demanded, not only when dealing with imminent threats, but also in allowing him to develop the inner peace required to make controlled decisions and remain positive in the face of negativity. He encourages his own students to set themselves challenging personal targets and to engage in meditation and self reflection in order to overcome mental constraints, develop a positive approach and learn how to control responses in difficult situations in order to strive towards the achievement of their individual aims.