Craig Douglas Interview
Chaos and Pain has
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. That being said, 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
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
notes 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 really 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 pretty decent martial
pedigree but the reality of street assaults, specifically my time spent as an undercover
narcotics agent, really brought home the disparity between formal training and
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
Can you explain the F.U.T. for our readers? Which elements of self-defense are
emphasized by the F.U.T., and how do you think this form of training benefits
the average person interested in self-defense?
Haha…so a F.U.T. is a F*cked Up Tangle and was a
quip a made once when describing how a clinch changes 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
Either the bare bones websitewww.shivworks.comor 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.