Martial Direct




MA Search


Profiles in MA



List Your School

Events & News



Contact Us

MARTIAL DIRECT- The Directory of Martial Arts Schools & Instructors

Richard Dimitri

Interview (cont.)

[Richard Dimitri] My students also train in regular street clothes, no gis, no bare feet and on concrete, no mats.

Although we incorporate boxing and grappling etc. it is always with street in mind. There will be sudden ambushes, they'll 'spar' if you will (mostly scenario replications really) with the lights off, music blaring and strobe light on.

I've sprayed them with pepper spray while they were sparring. They've fought full out in environments such as knee high snow, a staircase, inside an elevator, inside a car, etc. I've had them go full out after drinking a glass full of Vodka (to see how they perform under the influence of alcohol).

Not typical of a MMA environment.

For example, one of my affiliates in NYC trains at a MMA school where he watched the rape prevention class being taught. Women were in gis, barefoot, on mats, working submissions off the guard... how does that even come close to being jumped in an alley, wearing a dress and heels being attacked by a sociopath? It doesn't. Period.

One of my students who is deeply involved into BJJ and MMA now, because he wants to compete, has been training with some of the top MMA and BJJ schools in Montreal. He's won several grappling competitions and is ranked blue belt in BJJ, I believe.
He recently came to a phase 2 class of ours and I told him that I would like to try something.

I told him that he can do anything he wants MMA wise, grapple, strike, submit etc. my students and to give it all he's got, no pulling punches. The only thing I allowed my other students to do against him is the Shredder, nothing more and it had to be simulated because there was no protective equipment. They weren't allowed to box, kick, grapple, use submissions, nothing... nothing but the "Shredder".

It was a massacre. One by one my students mauled him. He even got up and said that it was completely futile and that the "Shredder" completely neutralized everything he was attempting to do... once contact was made, the "Shredder" took over.

He got up after a few attempts and his face was red and scratched up pretty bad and this only through simulation... that's the freaky part, it was only simulation. He wasn't simulating though. He was given the instruction to go at it with everything he had and this guy is a great grappler and great striker to boot.

[MD] How do these “sportive” arts compliment your training?

[RD] Grappling compliments the training because it is necessary and crucial to understand in order to learn how to beat a grappler. If you don't understand submissions, how can you defend against them? If you don't understand positions, how can you understand what you're opponent is doing once positioned on you? How can you know how to escape it? Grappling is the delivery system on the ground. Without it, the tools may not find their mark.

[MD] What are the pitfalls of this training to "reality" or "survival" skills?

[RD] The pitfalls? There are no pitfalls really. That's like asking what are the pitfalls in learning CPR or a fire drill. The only thing is for some people, it becomes obsession... they eat, live and breathe 'reality based training'. I've seen it and it is unhealthy.

[MD] Rich, I think you misunderstood me. What I meant was what are the pitfalls of training in a sport-based art? Even as a compliment to "reality" training.

[RD] The thing is, if one is analytical enough, there is no pitfall. It depends on the reasoning behind the training.

The pitfalls of sport fighting are largely due to the belief that one cannot defend against a knife, that one cannot defend against multiples. This belief is largely due to the limitations of sport fighting for 'street'.

Their system doesn't deal with it so therefore it cannot be done.

One of Cicero's 6 mistakes of man is "Insisting that something is impossible just because YOU cannot accomplish it."

It really irks me when people impose their failures and limitations onto others... "If I can't do it, no one else can." This is the statement of a loser, plain and simple. If every innovator, creator, scientist etc. believed these losers, then we'd still be in the dark ages.

Thank God some people don't adopt other people's failures as their own.

I'm not saying that MMA are ineffective. Quite the contrary actually. Any sport fighter versed in MMA is much more dangerous than your average individual with no training and will be able to handle him/herself in the street no problem against the majority types of assaults out there - but not all.

MMA is an essential part of any reality based system because if you're not in there sweating, bleeding and mixing it up, then your theoretically 'fighting'.

Sparring, regardless what ranges in (kickboxing, grappling, MMA, etc.) are excellent tool and target developers. However the next level is scenario replications.

You can't really do a scenario and have it go physical if you have no grappling, boxing, kicking, close quarter skills. What if the scenario hits the ground? What if it separates and distance gets created but the option to run is not available?

MMA, however, aren't a complete survival system as they lack the pre-contact aspects and aftermath aspects... MMA are the middle with no beginning and no end. This of course doesn't mean that I think MMA don't work for everyone. Not at all.

If it works for you then great, stick to it and all the more power to you. I am not here to change your mind or get you to stop everything and buy my tapes or train with me. If what I say makes sense to you great. If not, don't listen.

[MD] Some people say that thinking in strict ranges limits your responsive actions. For example, if you think in terms of "punching" range, you may get stuck in that mode and not use a tight kick that's available to you.

These people prefer to use a general guide to ranges, such as:

  • Long Range
  • Medium Range
  • Close Range
What are your thoughts on this?

[RD] Semantics, plain and simple. We're all saying the same things, it's just that some wish to differentiate themselves using a different lingo or approach and I don't blame them.

A front kick, whether you call it a forward kick, an oblique kick or a straight kick, is still a front kick.

If it helps one's students to understand things better to name it otherwise, then all the more power to them. We do the same thing with certain things as well, it just helps define things better for some. In the end it's all a matter of perception really.

A name is just a name... it's the end result that counts and if you can achieve what you desire to achieve calling it 4 ranges, 3 ranges, punching range, boxing range, close quarter range, trapping range - whatever..., then that is what is important in the end.

Criticizing others for doing it otherwise is in my opinion wrong.

Look at it this way, if we all did the exact same thing, had the exact same methods, delivery systems, moves, tactics etc. then there would be no innovation, no healthy competition, no need for so many 'experts' etc.

We're all out there doing our own thing, putting our own spin to things that already existed. This is what differs us and allows creativity and gives the public a choice. Something that attracts people to gravitate towards something that caters more towards their personalities, their views, their beliefs.

Simply stated, everyone is different and there is something out there for everyone.

[MD] What makes Richard Dimitri tick? Why the passion for this line of training?

[RD] Very tough question to answer only because it is very, very personal to me and not something I normally share openly or publicly.

Let's just say that an unfortunate and traumatic event occurred early in my life which caused anger and rage that nearly destroyed me (this led to me placing myself in high risk occupations amongst other things I care not mention). As I got older I've been able to channel this anger (although still very present today) into drive which in turn metamorphosized into passion.

I hate injustice. I cannot swallow it. I hate to see people being victimized, taken advantage of, hurt out of spite and maliciousness... it literally burns me inside. This is why I do what I do, because to a certain extent, each individual who has survived violence, defended themselves successfully, defused a potential violent confrontation or escaped a potential threat because of what they've learned from me, helps to heal me. It's a bond I share with people that they don't even know exists.

[MD] Rich, you wrote a column in Black Belt a few months ago. What happened to that? Will you be writing for it again?

[RD] Well, it did well for me in establishing me a little more and putting my name out there. Notoriety I suppose! (LOL).

I was asked to write again for them but not as regular contributor, just as a freelancer. I sent in an article a while back which didn't meet their present requirement's at the time. I will definitely be sending in a few more at some point.

[MD] What is the focus of your own training at this moment? Anything in particular?

[RD] Conditioning wise, I focus a lot on core strength and functional strength training.

I incorporate free weights with stability ball exercises and body weight exercises. My combat training consists of a lot of sparring, grappling, boxing, kickboxing and full out knife defense and scenarios.

[MD] Is there any specific area that you're trying to improve right now? Something that you feel warrants more attention at this given time?

[RD] Knife defense. No matter how good you think you are at knife defense, it's never good enough. I work serious overkill drills. Two on ones, full out no consent attacks. This is one of the things that I concentrate the most on.

[MD] What do you do besides martial arts and teaching?

[RD] I like to kick back with my wife and friends and just laugh and have a good time. I don't take things to seriously. I used to work in the film industry as well as a stuntman, fight choreographer and two-bit actor but if you thought the martial arts industry was filled with ego and politics, you have never experienced the film industry. I bailed out because I refused to sell my soul and prostitute myself or bend over for anyone.

[MD] Do you have any interest at all in traditional arts?

[RD] Yeah, I love the Chinese arts, wushu, certain styles of kung fu.

The mastery these people have over their bodies and the feats they can accomplish is always amazing to watch. The artistic impression of these arts always attracted me.

[MD] Any parting words you'd like to share with our readers?

[RD] Yeah, do your homework. Ask questions. Test things out. Define what it is you wish to accomplish and set out to accomplish it. Keep in mind that opinions are just that, they are nothing more than an individual's perceptions and although they may differ from yours, it doesn't necessarily make them wrong or no good.

There is something of value to be found in everything if you look hard enough.

Someone recently emailed me and apologized to me because his son found value in a traditional martial art. This really bothered me because I deducted that if he felt the need to apologize for this that means someone somewhere belittled him for it earlier and that is just wrong. I told him to never apologize for learning something of value elsewhere, regardless of where it comes from.

If something works for you then f!#$ anyone else who says it doesn't.

[MD] I really appreciate you taking the time for this interview, Rich.

[RD] The pleasure is all mine Kip.

It is I who thanks you for this opportunity my friend.

God bless and all the best.

© Copyright 2002/2003
Martial Direct
All Rights Reserved