CRAIG DOUGLAS INTERVIEW
Chaos and Pain have covered the importance of tactical education and self-defense in the past, so we’ll keep this short. Training in martial arts and self-defense is an applicable and fulfilling way to approach fitness—you won’t be making new personal records or improving your totals, but you will be advancing yourself in a way that, depending on your previous experiences, may be far outside your comfort zone.
While it may be the case that you never use the skills you acquire outside of class, you will never be worse off for having learned how to better protect yourself. Not all systems are created equal—oftentimes self-defense and martial arts are taught with a very specific set of conditions in mind which may leave gaping holes in how one can apply what they’ve learned. A complicated lock may work wonders on the mat, but how does it hold up to multiple armed individuals on the street?
This is the problem Craig Douglas seeks to remedy through his self-defense system, lovingly titled Shivworks. Douglas has over two decades of experience across law enforcement and the military and boasts a fighting resume that would make most prize fighters blush. For Craig Douglas, practical application and simplicity are the name of the game, as the system focuses heavily on self-preservation and survivability in the presence of multiple armed attackers. Shivworks was founded with weapons in mind and specifically emphasizes retention and efficient handling, borrowing from several martial arts and fighting styles from Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu to traditional boxing and beyond. This is a no-nonsense system engineered to keep you alive in the worst conceivable situations.
This comes as no surprise, as Shivworks was designed after Douglas was brutally assaulted during an undercover drug deal. As the deal went south an assailant went for a gun and, fearing the obvious worst outcome, Douglas took him to the ground—at which point a second assailant bludgeoned him with a hammer. Though he thankfully made a full recovery Douglas note that this experience heavily informed the direction of his training, as the gulf between practice and application was made readily apparent by such a harrowing experience. We’ve had the opportunity to speak to the man himself about his time in law enforcement, his methodology, and his personal training. We’re confident you’ll find chaos and pain in spades.
Tell us about your martial arts and military education. How did this, coupled with your time as a narcotics agent, drive you to create Shivworks?
I was an infantryman for 3 years in the U.S. Army from 1986-1989 so nothing relevant there towards what and how I teach. As far as martial arts go, I’ve probably dabbled in most everything at this point, but I spent most of my quality years in southeast systems like
Kali and Muay Thai.
Tell us about Shivworks. How did you develop the program and its intricacies?
ShivWorks basically represents my life experiences through assorted martial arts contextualized by 21 years as a police officer. I came into law enforcement with a decent martial pedigree. The reality of street assaults, specifically my time spent as an undercover narcotics agent, really brought home the disparity between formal training. What was happening to me when I was robbed and assaulted while buying drugs. A lot of what I learned either didn’t work or had to be significantly reduced.
Can you explain the F.U.T. for our readers? Which elements of self-defense are emphasized by the F.U.T.? How do you think this form of training benefits the average person interested in self-defense?
Ha-ha…so a F.U.T. is a F*cked Up Tangle. It was equip a made once when describing how a clinch change when weapons are added. As to how this benefits the average person, I really believe that this is probably the worst-case scenario. Being entangled either vertically or horizontally with someone when they pull a knife or gun. So, it’s probably a place that merits a lot of study.
How have you incorporated Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu into Shivworks? Which other arts do you feel are key to your method of training?
BJJ modified for the purpose of standing up or producing a knife or firearm is the basis for the ShivWorks grounded curriculum. As to standing work and other arts that merit exploration I think Greco-Roman wrestling and boxing are the kings of vertical work.
Where can our readers find more information on your classes and your training material?
Either the bare bones website www.shivworks.com or the Facebook page Shivworks and Shivworks Alumni
Finally, for those who don’t know, you’re currently powerlifting with The Ant from Animal. What is it like working with Animal? What’s your current total, and how much has it increased?
Richard Hawthorne has been an absolute joy to work with and has made me a lot stronger than I was. Starting into strength training at 45 years old 2 years ago was an attempt on my part to sustain some longevity towards continuing to teach coursework. Now I’m addicted to it! I just broke a thousand on the three lifts and couldn’t squat a deep 225 when I started 22 months ago. It’s been a fantastic journey and Richard has proved even an old broke guy can make significant gains with proper programming and consistency.
Though at present the Shivworks website is a bit bare, it’s still home to useful links and information, including course schedules through 2016—we hope you check it out as more information is added. In the meantime, you owe it to yourself to follow Shivworks on Facebook and remember to keep an eye out for courses being hosted in your area. You never know when you may be thankful for it.
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