Thursday, June 7, 2012

Bernie Major - DTI - Roland, AR

Bernie Major began self-defense training 33 years ago in Taekwon-do. He was frequently taught by the founder of modern Taekwon-do, General Choi Hon Hi. He spent 6 years in the Canadian military and when he got out of the military he owned/operated a successful chain of martial arts and fitness centers. In 2000 Bernie moved to the United States and opened another martial arts school. 

In 2005 Bernie took a course change and attended Executive Security International where he graduated with honors and has worked in the protection field since then. In 2010 he opened Defensive Tactics Institute in Roland, AR bringing his years of martial arts experience into the realm of the gun.

We asked Bernie to answer a few questions so that people reading this blog could get a better feel for what to expect if they attend a course at DTI.

Why did you decide to become a trainer?

I have been involved in training all of my adult life, either in the protection of others or teaching people to protect themselves. I have a genuine interest in helping people learn ways of self- reliance.

In what ways do you teach shooting differently? What sets you apart?

I am a martial artist first. Therefore I think like a martial artist. To me, shooting is an integral part of the use of force spectrum. The use of a firearm must become an extension of the person wielding it. I am also a perpetual student. As long as my body will allow, I will train and continue honing my skills, I periodically seek correction under other qualified instructors and I will pass on the knowledge in a well thought out manner. What may set me apart is the fact that I don’t believe in “trainertainment” The students must receive good value during their time with me and that means sound techniques, real world concepts and tactics.

Bernie coaching a student.
How do you motivate students to learn while in a class? What type of person should your students expect to deal with when they train with you?

I’ve always been the type of person that didn't do well with self-promotion. I’m even a bit uncomfortable answering these questions. I want my actions and skills to speak for themselves. I guess I motivate students to learn by finding out their hot points, by helping them towards their goals. Students are treated with respect and never treated like military recruits. They are the star of the show – not me.

What can students expect to take away from your courses?

Usually more than they expect. It has been repeated several times by many students that they get great value for their money spent. We all do things to gain pleasure and avoid pain. So a student who takes a class wants to gain knowledge, skills and tactics to avoid the potential pain they would experience if confronted with a violent attack without the training. They’ll be taken care of and accepted at their present level of expertise and helped along to attain the goals laid out in the course or by the student. And that’s to prevail.

What is your training philosophy?

I expect students to have an open mind, to listen to why a technique is applied in a certain manner. Then whole heartedly try to perfect that technique until the student’s efforts are exhausted. If the technique really does not feel natural, discard it. But replace it with something else that. Try to be ambidextrous; you can’t customize the fight to fit your preferences. I expect a student to have some self-discipline, not just to control emotions but to practice methodically “perfect practice makes perfect”. I want students to be patient with their progress. You can’t short cut technique. As an instructor I try to stay physically sharp so that I can demonstrate with a level of proficiency. I also try to stay current in training trends and methods to deliver information effectively. I stay in a student mindset because the training journey never ends. I realize that I am not the best at everything but I always seek ways to improve. But I promise my students my best.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Instructor Profile Series

On the Personal Defense Network website they have a series of articles called the Instructor Profile Series. For them, it serves the purpose of introducing their contributing instructors to the readers on the website. They offer good insight into the instructors that as a student, I find helpful. I have been asked more than once about instructors in the central Arkansas area. They certainly exist, and some are pretty good, but the word just doesn't seem to be out there about them.

The purpose of this page is to create an ongoing instructor profile series of instructors local to my area that can be used as a resource for prospective students. I have contacted several instructors to see if they would like to featured in the series, and will add more instructors as I get to know them.

If you are an instructor and would like to be featured, you can e-mail me at