The United Studios of Self-Defense is one of the largest professional organizations in the martial arts industry, boasting 144 locations in the US. If this weren’t enough, USSD enjoys close ties to what many consider the birthplace of the martial arts: The Shaolin Temple. We take a look at USSD in Colorado Springs where, under the watchful eye of Matt and Marley Probst, students work to achieve the inner strength and calm of a Shaolin monk.
EXAMINER: Matt, Marley, what is USSD about?
MATT: USSD’s goal is to deliver martial arts instruction on as professional a level as possible. Everything is held to a standard; the curriculum, the ranking system, testing procedures, conduct and so on. This is to ensure that the student receives a superior product. In our case, this happens to be martial arts training.
MARLEY: USSD is not a typical corporate organization; at the lowest level, we believe in the importance of ensuring that the student gets quality instruction. A prime example is that the student receives private instruction, which is included in the tuition, along with group classes.
MATT: The private instruction is as good for us as it is for the student.
EXAMINER: How so?
MARLEY: It allows us to make sure that they are progressing correctly, instead of keeping everyone in a group and assuming that everything is fine. For some instructors, personal attention consists of a few seconds of adjusting a student’s arm or foot placement, and that works for them. We believe our students require more than that. We dedicate at least 30 minutes of one-on-one time with each student.
MATT: While this may seem like a lot of ground to cover, Marly and I do this full time; we don’t have day jobs. We are fully committed to our students, and they in turn, not only become outstanding martial artists, but better people as well. Anyone can learn how to damage someone else; they don’t need martial arts for that. We aren’t here to create destructive people; we are here to help people deal with the destructive forces within. For some USSD students, this means fighting a life threatening illness. For others, this means taking control of their energies and becoming disciplined. This holds true especially for children.
MARLEY: Regarding physical self-defense, many people focus on the combative aspects of martial arts, and there is nothing wrong with that; our students receive instruction in what we call DMs, or defensive maneuvers, to address possible attacks. We just take it a step further and ask students how they might avoid situations like a street altercation.
EXAMINER: So the when, where and why of self-defense is taken into account, along with the how?
MARLY: The Shaolin creed says, “Avoid rather than check, check rather than hurt, hurt rather than maim, and maim rather than kill. All life is precious, and can never be replaced.” We feel this is right on a tactical level as well as an ethical level.
EXAMINER: Ethical tactics. Sounds exactly like the model of a Shaolin monk.
MATT: The relationship between USSD and the Shaolin monastery resulted from the understanding that our ethics and theirs were essentially the same; in fact, the West Coast head of USSD, Charles Mattera, paid a visit to the Shaolin Temple in 2003. In 2005, the abbot dedicated a 13 foot monument to USSD at the Shaolin Temple itself.
MARLEY: I guess we made a good impression!
For more information on USSD, contact Matt or Marly Probst at (719) 599-5255 or [email protected]
AUTHORS NOTE: glowbass.com, Eric Taimanglo, Matt and Marley Probst, and United Studios Of Self Defense disclaim all liability from any personal injury or damages resulting from the use or misuse of the techniques demonstrated in this article. All techniques demonstrated are for information purposes only.