This month’s featured C.O.B.R.A. center for their commitment to excellence is the Fort Collins Colorado training center. The C.O.B.R.A. instructors training and teaching at their school, The Dojo, are a fascinating group of instructors.
Located in the picturesque part of Fort Collins, the school teaches everything from wilderness survival training, JKD and Kali to MMA and yoga. In an industry that can often become blindly loyal to a single style, this is absolutely refreshing. As professionals, they have taken what they do best and harmonized their training classes, representing the true meaning of martial arts acceptance. The Dojo LLC instructors embrace differences among disciplines and have succeeded in doing so.
The Fort Collins center has successfully implemented C.O.B.R.A. in their school and community, from teaching C.O.B.R.A. at Colorado State University to R.O.T.C. Military recruits and sororities. While training large groups outside their school they also maintain running successful 10-week and one-day camps. No wonder the Fort Collins team made the cover of Self-Defense Professional, they are knocking it out of the park!
Other than the C.O.B.R.A. headquarters located in Clearwater, Florida, the Fort Collins training center has the most certified instructors in the world. To put this in perspective, C.O.B.R.A. is currently in 14+ countries and 80+ locations in the U.S. Now that's a true commitment to excellence!
In this month’s self-defense professional magazine, we sit down with the Fort Collins school to get to know the Mile High Self-Defense leaders and hear their truly unique approach on training and business.
When and how did you start training in the self-defense / martial arts industry?
We have been teaching martial arts in Fort Collins, CO for 25+ years and, in 2005, opened a martial arts school to the public. We’ve been looking for a comprehensive self-defense system for many years but, time after time, the systems that we found were not complete. We found that the programs spent too much time on confrontation avoidance, lacking physical defense aspects, or they would engage in physical defense without addressing avoidance training. One of our owners is originally from Florida and he heard about COBRA and Chris Sutton through some friends involved in martial arts. We researched COBRA and quickly realized that we finally found what we were looking for to mirror our style of training.
How has COBRA added value to your training/business?
The COBRA system has really enhanced our business. We have had successful 10 week academies and a handful of one day kids and adult seminars in 2014. These increased our business income the first year we used C.O.B.R.A. This was attained even with a couple of scheduling conflicts during the year so we weren't able to do as many classes as we wanted.
What are your training/business goals for the next 3 years?
The Dojo business goals for the next 3 years are as follows:
- Double our number of enrolled students in our martial arts classes.
- Increase our COBRA profits by 15-20% over the course of 3 years.
- Greatly increase our presence in the community as experts in self-defense training.
- Become a training area for the local law enforcement community.
- In the next year, we would like to do our first and second active shooter seminars.
- We would really like to get Chris Sutton out here sometime for a seminar. This summer maybe?
- We have 9 authorized instructors right now, so we will be looking to establish more training centers in the Front Range Colorado area.
What do you enjoy most about being a Self-Defense Instructor?
We have really enjoyed the response that COBRA has gotten among our black belts. They have really enjoyed learning this system and see all its merits. The people that have taken our seminars have had nothing but good feedback for the course. We haven’t had one person yet to say that they didn't feel that they learned from it. In some cases, some of these students have trained for years or have firearms training.
If you only had 5 minutes to train someone what would be the most valuable survival skills you would teach them?
I think we would teach them awareness, vocalization, getting off the tracks and elbow strikes. I think that would take 5 minutes.
Describe your school, it's location and all the programs offered.
The Dojo is an 1800 sq ft facility with 1200-1300 sq ft of matted area. We have two bathrooms, a storage room, office, and front desk area. The Dojo is on the east side of Fort Collins, right next to an open space area with lots of trails and ponds. We are located near the city police station, Larimer Sheriff’s office and the detention center for the county.
We have classes in Warrior Monk, Akumu Ryu Bujutsu, kickboxing, grappling, MMA, Indonesian Yoda, fitness and kid’s karate classes. We offer wilderness survival seminars, Kali, JKD, etc. Private lessons are also available. COBRA is also one of our program offerings, of course. Weapons are used in almost all aspects of our training and classes.
If someone interested in joining as a COBRA Instructor / school, what would you tell them?
We would tell them to do it, for sure. COBRA is a great self defense program for beginners to advanced students. We haven’t found a better program in our 25 years in the industry. Also, follow the program exactly and you will have people contacting you for help right away.
Randall Brown is Co-Owner and Chief Instructor of The Dojo. He has been training in and teaching the martial arts for well 40+ years. He has a degree in Oriental Philosophy and holds black belt rankings in several traditional martial arts as well as instructor status in Muay Thai, Jeet Kune Do and Kali. His school has produced both MMA and grappling world champions. Randall has always refused to teach self-defense until discovering COBRA, believing that all previous self-defense courses were lacking in realistic and applicable techniques.
John Hertlien is a Co-Owner and Senior Instructor of The Dojo. He has been training in and teaching the martial arts for 25+ years. He has a degree in Oriental Philosophy and holds black belt and instructor rankings in numerous martial arts. John has personally trained local and world champion fighters.
Anne McLaughlin is a first degree black belt with 8 years of martial arts training in the Akumu RyuBujutsu system. She was the 2010 Pancrase Women’s Absolute Submission Grappling Champion. She began training for personal discipline and self-defense, but the martial arts quickly became a gateway to living a better life.
Anne decided to become a COBRA instructor after taking the 10-week academy at The Dojo. Not everyone has the time or desire to spend years developing the skills and mindset to effectively handle combat situations and, she was impressed at how much the COBRA academy was able to impart in such a short time. The techniques were simple and effective, and their application in controlled scenarios really set this self-defense system apart from any other. Anne believes that everyone should be empowered with skills to protect their life and defend against an assault.
Elizabeth McLaughlin has been training at The Dojo for a little over a year. She began training in the martial arts because of the physical benefits, but maintained a certain amount of skepticism regarding the practical application of self-defense training. After completing the 10-week COBRA course, she knew she had stumbled onto something extremely valuable. She acquired the confidence and the knowledge to realistically navigate threatening situations.
Elizabeth now feels both mentally and physically prepared to defend herself and others. Becoming a COBRA instructor wasn’t a question at all as it is invaluable and is something she wants to share with as many people as she can.
Robin Scoville started training in the martial arts almost 20 years ago. She currently holds a 4th degree black belt. Robin has helped over the years with various women's self defense seminars. When she saw what Cobra had to offer, she quickly signed up for the 10 week academy. She is very impressed with the curriculum and expressed an interest in becoming an instructor asap.
Sebastian Puente has been training for 22 years in martial arts. He is a sixth degree black belt, and professional mixed martial arts fighter. Seb likes the COBRA system because it's practical for real life self-defense and opted to become an instructor to spread the word to help others learn how to defend themselves.
Chris Inman has been training in martial arts for the last 16 years. He is a fourth degree black belt in Akumu Ryu Bujutsu. Chris wanted to become a COBRA instructor because of its effectiveness in not only addressing real life scenario training but also including the intensity and level of stress to help the cadet learn how they will respond to a given situation as if real. The second reason that Chris became an instructor was because the COBRA system is the first he has encountered that addresses active shooters scenarios.
Brian Elsasser holds a second degree black belt in Akumu Ryu Bujutsu and a first Degree black belt in the Goshinjutsu. Brian has been training for over 15 years. COBRA is an extremely effective self-defense system. There is nothing else like it. Within 10 weeks you will learn to confidently defend yourself. Brian’s goal as a COBRA instructor is to grow that confidence within every student. The scenario-based training is an amazing tool for just that. Experiencing that aspect of the COBRA training displayed to him the effects of stress on performance. By following the tactics of COBRA everyone can learn to navigate that stress and be safe.
Silas Beaner is a co-owner of The Dojo in Fort Collins along with John Hertlein and Randall Brown. Silas has been training in martial arts for over 20 years and holds a fifth degree black belt in Akumu Ryu Bujutsu, a first degree black belt in Goshinjutsu, and is a wilderness survival instructor. Silas has a Bachelor’s degree in Oriental Philosophy and a Bachelor’s degree in Business. Silas is also a professional MMA trainer and has helped train a couple of world champions.
Silas decided to become a COBRA instructor for a few different reasons: COBRA is one of the most complete self defense systems that he has found. COBRA is law enforcement based and deals with the most common scenarios and self defense situations that the general public will encounter. The way the curriculum is formatted makes it a very easy and efficient way to learn self-defense and lowers the amount of time necessary to perfect techniques.
For Training and Further Information about C.O.B.R.A. Fort Collins :
The Dojo LLC
2600 Canton Ct Suite G
Fort Collins, CO 80525
Find us on Facebook: Cobra Fort Collins and The Dojo Martial Arts
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