The older I get, the more I realize that I can claim very little credit for the accomplishments of my life. We are really little more than the sum total of what God has placed in us and what others have invested into our lives. In the same way, American Tactical Ju-jitsu is a product of other arts and the great men of the martial arts who have invested their time and talents into both my development as a martial artist and the development of ATJ as a distinct art.
The two men who deserve the most credit, and to whom I am forever indebted, are Professor Rob Evans and Grandmaster Joe Hess. They both took the time to train me personally, often one on one, over the course of many years. To a lesser degree, Supreme Grandmaster Florendo Visitacion (Professor Vee) also invested much directly into my life while he was still alive, and indirectly through Professor Evans who continues the Vee-jitsu legacy.
I began training with Grandmaster Joe Hess in 1982 when I was a young police officer. Among many of his distinctions, he was a master of the ancient Kobudo weapon called a nunchaku. Combining his martial arts skills with his law enforcement training background, he developed tactical police applications for the nunchaku, even authoring a number of training manuals to that effect.
My Police Chief at the time had met GM Hess at a DEA training conference in Florida where he was supervising the police defensive tactics program as a member of the DEA adjunct staff. The Chief brought GM Hess and one of his colleagues to our little town of Irmo, SC to conduct a training course in the Police Nunchaku. That class started a training relationship with GM Hess that has now lasted for almost three decades.
Part of my responsibility as a Training Specialist at the Institute of Police Technology and Management was to start a law enforcement tactical training program. I brought Joe Hess in for a number of Tactical Defense Courses where he typically used me as his “training dummy.”
As the Police Chief in Summerville and later as Sheriff in Dorchester County, I continued to call upon Grandmaster Hess to conduct training programs for my police officers and deputies.