This review of a unique survival training camp wouldn't fit into our April/May 2015 issue, so we're posting it here. Prepare to get prepared!

In the April/May 2015 issue of Black Belt (on sale March 31), Barry Eisler — the former CIA operative who pens the John Rain series of spy/martial arts novels — wrote a feature titled “Always Ready! Ramp Up Your Reality-Based Self-Defense With a Train-Cation That Teaches Lifesaving Skills.” In the story, Eisler evaluated eight training camps that are sure to be of interest to martial artists. Space limitations forced the editors to trim the article and, unfortunately, to omit one report. But, as they say, one person’s loss is another person’s gain. Presented here is the review that didn’t fit: Eisler’s write-up on a symposium presented by Cody Lundin, renowned teacher of survival skills and former co-star of the Discovery Channel reality series Dual Survival.

— Editor

Expert: Cody Lundin Course: Aboriginal Living Skills School’s Self-Reliance Symposium Website: You might know Cody Lundin from the Discovery Channel show Dual Survival — although I know him from his awesome books: 98.6 Degrees: The Art of Keeping Your Ass Alive! and When All Hell Breaks Loose: Stuff You Need to Survive When Disaster Strikes. Cody Lundin (Photo Courtesy of Aboriginal Living Skills School) Lundin teaches safety not from violence but from natural disasters and the elements. This may be a little outside the typical purview of the Black Belt readership, but I think most martial artists’ goal is to increase safety in general, not safety solely from human attackers. At least, it is for me — which is why I took one of Lundin’s courses and why I hope to take others.


The emphasis in the weeklong Self-Reliance Symposium is on how to survive a grid-down situation in an urban or suburban environment. In other words, what would you do to ensure the safety, the comfort and ultimately the survival of your tribe if you were suddenly living at home but with no heat, no running water and no power? To that end, the other participants and I spent a week camping in the Arizona desert in July, when daytime temperatures exceeded 100 degrees. During that time, we experimented with different kinds of shelter, different kinds of food, different kinds of water decontamination, different kinds of fire generation and so on. Barry Eisler making fire under the watchful eye of Cody Lundin. There was also a lot of lecture and discussion regarding how to be prepared for a grid-down situation — food, water, shelter, medicine, communications, mobility, etc. — which proved useful when I returned home and beefed up my bug-out kit and other disaster-response preparations. (I live near San Francisco, which, as we all know, is earthquake country).


For me, possibly the biggest take-away from Lundin’s course was this: In a survival situation, there’s not much backup. In this sense, a grid-down environment is like a military or intelligence operation. You won’t get a second chance, so you have to plan and prepare with exceptional care. And if something even relatively minor goes wrong, it can quickly cascade into something cataclysmic.


Example: If you and your family get food poisoning on an average day, it’s unpleasant but probably not life-threatening. Likewise, if you break an arm or get an infection, it’s not fun but it is manageable. You can go to the doctor. If the doctor can’t handle it, you can go to a local hospital. If the local hospital can’t handle it, you can get medevaced to a better-equipped facility. Cody Lundin (Photo Courtesy of Aboriginal Living Skills School) However, if one of those things happens when the grid is down, there’s no backup. What would be not much more than an inconvenience during ordinary times can suddenly prevent you from accomplishing tasks that are critical to your survival. To mitigate all this, planning and preparation are essential, and Cody Lundin’s course provided me with a terrific foundation. Read the rest of Barry Eisler’s story in the April/May 2015 issue of Black Belt, which hits newsstands and bookstores on March 31. (Go here to subscribe.) In case you’re wondering, the courses Eisler evaluates are Massad Ayoob’s Lethal Force Institute 1, Tony Blauer’s Personal Defense Readiness, Wim Demeere’s private lessons, Tim Larkin’s Target Focus Training, Marc MacYoung’s No Nonsense Self-Defense, Rory Miller’s Chiron Training, Peyton Quinn’s Rocky Mountain Combat Applications Training and Rift Recon’s Art of Escape. (Photos courtesy of Barry Eisler)
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Two-Time Black Belt Hall of Famer Hayward Nishioka has been campaigning for judo in the United States to harvest more shodans (1st degree black belts) Shodan literally means student. It's analogous to being a freshman in college. It's not the end but the beginning according to Jigoro Kano, the Founder of Judo.

A very dear friend and sensei of mine the late Allen Johnson, may he rest in peace made a home at Emerald City Judo. In Redmond, Washington.

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Competitive Edge Karate
Photo Courtesy: Jackson Rudolph

Team Competitive Edge, coached by Jackson Rudolph, Reid Presley, and Cole Presley, has become one of the premier teams in the sport in recent years. The team consistently takes home individual overall grand championships and they are the reigning U.S. Open ISKA Team Demonstration World Champions. Moving into the 2022 tournament season, they have made a huge move to deepen their roster and add seven junior competitors to the team. The new additions range from proven champions bringing their talents to the squad, some skilled workhorses who have previously joined the team for the Team Demo division, and some promising young stars who will be making their debut in the black belt division this year. Keep reading to learn more about each of the new additions (ordered alphabetically).

Gavin Bodiford

Gavin Bodiford

Photo Courtesy: Kellie Austin Bodiford via Facebook

Bodiford is twelve years old and hails from Lebanon, Tennessee, a product of Premier Martial Arts Lebanon (formerly known as Success Martial Arts Center), where the Competitive Edge coaches have all earned black belts. He has five years of martial arts experience and was the 2020-2021 ProMAC Southern Region Champion in four divisions. He also finished the 2021 NASKA season in the top ten for creative, musical, and extreme forms and weapons. Bodiford is one of the competitors who has stepped up for Competitive Edge in the past, joining the demonstration team to help them secure the 2021 U.S. Open ISKA World Championship.

Riley Claire Carlisle

RC Carlisle

Photo Courtesy: Mallory Parker Carlisle

Carlisle (pictured with coach Sammy Smith) is a 10-year-old rising star from Starkville, Mississippi who has been training for four years. In the underbelt division, she has won grand championships at the Battle of Atlanta and numerous regional events. She holds multiple divisional and grand championship titles from the ProMAC circuit, and has amassed over ninety divisional wins in recent years. She is moving into the black belt division in 2022 and looks to continue her winning ways.

Kodi Molina

Kodi Molina

Photo Courtesy: Priscilla Molina via Facebook

Molina is a 13-year-old world champion from San Antonio, Texas with 10 years of martial arts training under her belt. She has won many grand championship titles on the NASKA circuit, and has claimed world championships from NASKA, ISKA, ATA, and WKC. At the 2021 U.S. Open, she became the reigning ISKA world champion in 13 and under girls creative/musical/extreme weapons. She is a versatile competitor who can win with extreme bo or kama routines, performs beautiful traditional forms, and is a solid point fighter as well. She is an active member of her community and participates in a variety of leadership programs, making her a great role model for younger members of the team.

Michael Molina

Michael Molina

Photo Courtesy: Michael Molina via Instagram

"Super Bomb" is the 9-year-old brother of Kodi, who is a world champion in his own right. In his seven years of experience, he has already won a variety of titles across multiple leagues, including NASKA overall grand championships at the 2021 Battle of Atlanta and AmeriKick Internationals. Since he began training at the age of two, his regimen has included strength, speed, agility, and conditioning training at "Rojo Dojo", where a number of world champions and national contenders gather to train. He is known for his incredible performance ability, always putting on a show when he graces the stage.

Gavin Richmond

Gavin Richmond

Photo Courtesy: Bobby Benavides

Richmond is yet another world champion being added to the Competitive Edge roster. The 13-year-old from San Antonio has been training for five years and has accumulated several grand championship titles, including wins at prestigious events like the Diamond Nationals and U.S. Open. The young star is a well-rounded athlete, not only because he competes in a variety of divisions at sport karate tournaments, but he also finished in 7th place in the pentathlon at the 2021 AAU Junior Olympics which included the high jump, long jump, 100m hurdles, 1500m run, and shot put, resulting in him being named an All-American. He is currently recovering from a knee injury, but his high-flying routines will be back on the mat soon.

Madalynn Wiersma

Madalynn Wiersma

Photo Courtesy: Gabrielle Dunn

Wiersma (pictured with coach Gabrielle Dunn) is another rising star moving up from the underbelt division who is expected to make waves in the black belt division. She first moved up into the black belt ring at the WKC world championships, where she won her first world title. The 9-year-old Georgia native was the 2021 Underbelt Competitor of the Year for ProMAC and she secured underbelt grand championships at the Battle of Atlanta and U.S. Open this past year.

Elijah Williams

Williams is a 16 year old from Lebanon, Tennessee who trains at Premier Martial Arts Lebanon. His eight years of martial arts training has culminated in black belts in Tang Soo Do and Tae Kwon Do. He is on an upward trend as a competitor as he has started breaking into the top four in his divisions, which are some of the most stacked on the NASKA circuit. Williams has been a great asset to Competitive Edge in the past, stepping up to fill in for team demonstration, such as in the world championship effort at the 2021 U.S. Open.

The Competitive Edge coaching staff told Black Belt that they are thrilled to take their roster to another level with these moves. They believe that these new players will create the perfect storm to win more overall grand championships now, strengthen the team demo, and build a great foundation for the future of the program.

Jose Also Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC
The seemingly ageless Jose Aldo won his third straight fight at bantamweight Saturday claiming unanimous decision over Rob Font in the main event of UFC on ESPN 31. Font started well against the former featherweight champion working behind a strong jab that kept Aldo on his back foot and allowed Font to consistently land sharp punches. But with 30 seconds left in the first round, Aldo threw a stiff left jab and immediately followed with a powerful straight right hand that dropped Font though time ran out before he could do more damage.
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