My first meeting with Michael Janich was in 2008 at a trade show. I had been walking through the show area and met Clint Smith, who was kind enough to sit down with me and my wife and chat for a few minutes. We spoke about the show and the industry and I had the chance to show him my first production model Tuff Writer pen, the Frontline Series. He then mentioned that if I liked training, he knew just the man I should talk to—Mike Janich. I had recently read one of Mike’s articles on the application of pens as improvised weapons and spent the next 45 minutes hunting through the maze that was the show floor before running into him at the Spyderco booth. I probably looked like a starry-eyed fanboy when I came up and blurted out something similar to, “You’re Mike Janich, I read your article!”

Janich’s Background

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Mike, let me give you a little background on the man. Michael Janich has been studying and teaching the martial arts and edged weapons tactics for more than 30 years. He served nine years in the U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command as an intelligence analyst/linguist and five years as a Department of Defense intelligence officer. He also founded Paladin Press’ video production department and worked closely with leading edged-weapon experts including James Keating, Kelly Worden, and Kelly McCann on the production of their instructional videos. In addition to being the founder and lead instructor for Martial Blade Concepts (MBC), he has authored more than two-dozen books and videos and designed knives for Spyderco, Masters of Defense, BlackHawk Blades, Combat Elite and several noted custom knifemakers. In other words, the guy knows a thing or two about defensive-tactics and edged weapons training. When he has something to say, it’s probably worth at least hearing the man out.

Fast forward three or four years of staying in touch with Mike, I had the opportunity to attend the 10th annual Martial Blade Camp. This was my second Martial Blade Camp outing, but for those of you who haven’t had the pleasure, think of Martial Blade Camp as less of a training class or seminar and more of a training event. You don’t simply attend Martial Blade Camp, you experience it, and when it’s done you usually have a few souvenirs to bring back (some from the many camp sponsors and a few of them of the black and blue variety as well).

While the original Martial Blade Camp was started with the intent of being an alumni gathering for folks who had attended MBC seminars and were looking for both a refresher and a venue for exploring topics beyond the scope of seminars, the annual event has grown beyond its humble beginnings to become one of the absolute “must-do” items on any real martial artist’s bucket list. With over 36 hours of training and instruction in the mountains of Colorado, the camp has grown from 20 initial attendees to almost 70 people strong. Plus, people don’t come just once; about 65% to 70% of the campers have trained with Mike before and most of them had attended previous camps. This makes for a very fertile learning environment, as the high rate of veteran Martial Blade Camp attendees creates an amazing instructor-to-student ratio. When learning new material, especially drills, novices are encouraged to pair with one of the many veterans. This greatly accelerates the learning process and also provides a format to help veterans develop their teaching skills. This is one of the key differences between Martial Blade Camp and other seminars I’ve attended; anyone who’s ever taught understands that you have to have a very solid level of understanding of a given concept to be able to teach it effectively to others. Many seminars work on developing technical proficiency and stop there, while at Martial Blade Camp everyone is also encouraged to not only master the material, but also just as importantly, learn and pass the information on to others.

Concerned Citizens & Armed Professionals

Martial Blade Concepts is an edged-weapon training program designed for the concerned citizen and armed professional. Based on Mike’s extensive analysis of the Filipino martial arts and many other systems, MBC emphasizes the development of “all-purpose” defensive skill rather than learning a large number of specific techniques to defend against predetermined attacks. These techniques are based on research into body mechanics and solid principles, and create a foundation for your personal defensive system. MBC focuses on developing understanding of the principles, then underscoring these principles with a few proven techniques and learning how to apply them to literally hundreds of different defensive situations. Through this simple method, students develop proficiency quickly and have both the ability and the confidence to employ their skills after a relatively brief period of training. Obviously the mastery of any technique takes time and practice, but you would be amazed at how quickly it’s possible to develop proficiency in a dedicated training environment like this.

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