Russell Stutely is recognised as Europe’s number one expert in pressure points and famous throughout the world for his innovative teachings, which have moved the boundaries of the martial arts and added new dimensions for all of us. His system can be applied to any martial art, so you don’t need to change style to incorporate his teachings. He has studied very deeply how to use pressure point fighting in high pressure scenarios, so that they will work when we really need them.
Russell has kindly agreed to do an interview with me which you’ll find below. But before you go on to the interview, I would like to take the opportunity to thank Russell Stutely for taking the time to answer my questions and share some if his insights with us.
But first, here’s a little clip of Russell in action:
CW: Russell, can you tell us a bit about your early background in martial arts, what inspired you to start and what style(s) did you practice in your early days?
CW: When you decided that you wanted to develop beyond the usual traditional martial arts (as taught in the West), who did you seek you seek out to teach and take you to the next level?
RS: It was after watching “way of the warrior” that I knew there was more out there. I tried to study with all the experts and masters… but it was only when I met Rick Moneymaker and Tom Muncy that it all started to make sense
CW: You obviously have an in-depth knowledge of all the pressure point (or some might say acupuncture points). Do you also have a background in Traditional Chinese Medicine (or something similar)? If so, to what extent has this helped you in your martial arts studies?
RS: No background.. just learnt it as I went along
CW: I’m a great believer that whilst you should learn as much as you can from others, experienced martial artists should also be able to work out a lot of applications for themselves rather than waiting for others to teach them every single aspect of their art. To what extent have you taken the knowledge that you have and worked out the rest for yourself?
RS: I have no idea to what extent that has been done… Only when you begin to understand what you are doing, do you “sometimes” realise how much you don’t know!
As regards working out stuff.. we do that every day…as for applications.. I have no idea how many I know as the only limit is your imagination and the depth of knowledge that you have.
I sometimes can give a whole seminar on one move from one Kata and show a different application every 5-10 mins for hours on end. It depends on how deep you want to go
CW: Although you are primarily known as a pressure point expert, you include a number of other aspects which you refer to as “players in the game”. Can you please explain what these are?
RS: Technique enhancers.. the underlying principles upon which a technique is based.
CW: There are other big names in the pressure point business (like Rick Clark, George Dillman and others). Can you explain how your approach is different from the way the other experts teach?
RS: I am more interested in making the Points work when the proverbial hits the fan. That means that PP’s are the last 5% of any given technique… some people find that a hard concept to grasp for some reason.
CW: I’ve always believed that the ideal time to use pressure point strikes is during the pre fight build up, when you know that things are about to take off and you decided that your best option is a pre-emptive strike. If the guy is “peacocking” rather than taking up a fighting stance he leaves himself more open and vulnerable. Would you agree with this?
RS: Only hit if you have to.. but yes of course.. a pre-emptive strike has to be the preferred option if there is no other way out.
CW: Many people argue that pressure point fighting is not really viable in an all out fight as a high degree of accuracy is required to hit a small target when it is moving and you are under great pressure too. How would you answer this?
RS: They are doing it wrong are mis-informed about how and why Points work or have no real experience of Points other than with the wrong teacher.
Accuracy is VERY IMPORTANT and it is one area that many so called Self Defense “experts” purport to not need in a fight or is impossible to use… absolute rubbish. THEY may not use it.. aim small miss small. Accuracy is what you build up in training. Hit what you are aiming at and the rest kinda falls into place.
CW: Have you had much feedback from people who have actually had to use what you’ve taught them in a real live situation?
CW: I’ve read a comment by you ages ago that some people, having experienced the “waveform” and felt how much more power they can generate; then go back to their own clubs and just go back to the way they were doing it before. How easy is it to absorb your teachings (players) into a traditional martial art?
(The reason I ask is that if somebody returning from one of your courses tries to do it in their own club and it is obviously different from what their regular instructor is teaching, they may be told not to do it that way).
RS: The reasons they went back to what they were doing previously are
Instructor said do it my way or leave
They were embarrassed to tell their students that they need to change
They were embarrassed at the fact they had been training 20 years and hit at X Power.. then in 60 Mins we got them to 2X Power… bit difficult for some people to take!
CW: You must have seen very many people progress and take great leaps forward due to your teachings. Is there anybody who you are especially proud of for the progress that they have made?
RS: All of our OCFM Coaches.. and lots of people who have trained with us over the years. Especially the Cops in MA and the DT Trainers there.. outstanding people with outstanding ability
CW: Putting fighting applications aside for a moment, how do you feel that your training/teaching has helped you to develop as a person (spiritually, emotionally, mentally, intellectually)?
RS: You have to develop in those areas when you study and teach
CW: Do you feel that anybody (as long as they train hard) can develop their personal characteristics (in the way that you have) as well?
RS: I don’t know if anyone wants to develop my personal characteristics 🙂 But anyone can develop to whatever their potential if they work hard enough. That is what we try to help them to do.
CW: Many people teach martial arts as their main source of income (or even just to pay a few bills). As you have been very successful, do you have any advice to give to help people build up their martial arts business?
RS: Just follow sound business practice. Don’t take that stupid attitude of “I teach for nothing” and the holier than thou attitude of the “knockers” out there. The MOMENT you accept money you are in business. You MUST treat your students like CUSTOMERS. Give them the BEST POSSIBLE service at a good price.
That is what we do with our OCFM Schools.. we do all the marketing etc for our owners.. they just teach.. and give the best class ever each and every class.
There is so much to running a School.. but we have the answers if people want them
CW: Russell, on behalf of myself and my readers, thank very much for giving us the benefit of your insights.