Poor Analogies and "he's a good guy" bumps
I searched for this thread because I've been looking for a streamlined ground fighting program. I realize BJJ is the best, but it takes years of dedicated study. I'm 40, and I don't really have the time or energy for that.
I saw a clip of Mr. Lysak on YouTube and liked what I saw, but they really only had the one clip.
I don't have any criticisms, only that Mr. Lysak says he doesn't have a lot of time to write, but proceeds to write a lot but never addresses the question.
He could have just said "I studied X style for Y number of years under Master Z" and that would have been that.
Studied under Walt 20 yrs ago_the real deal
I realize the thread is somewhat dated but came across it b/c I am preparing to teach my 11 yr old daughter some basic martial arts skills and wanted to see how Walt was doing. I knew of his website then just did a Google search out of curiosity about what else I had missed seeing that I haven't seen him since around 1996. I found this link and while I understand people with real interest (and haters) were seeking answers, I am more shocked how much time people spent posting messages vs visiting Walt and asking him in person. Wouldn't that be the natural thing to do if you were "really" interested?
I began training w/Walt in 1982 and I believe Walt had recently received his black belt from Fred Villari's Studios. BEFORE anyone balks at that accomplishment as being soft ('wow Fred Villari'), be sure to read on!!!
I first trained w/him in Holyoke (I think he was only 17/18 then but was qualified as the one and only instructor of that location). My dad was an Olympic boxing coach at one point and also boxed in the military but broke his hand in the Olympic trials so I wasn't some nieve 12 yr old who thought whatever training I received was the best. I was an athlete as well and Holyoke isn't the best/easiest city to grow up in.
I realize things are being said about "commercializing" etc. Let me tell you the reason Walt had to begin teaching at East Coast Gym in Ludlow a couple years after I began training with him...BECAUSE HE CARED SO MUCH ABOUT HIS STUDENTS HE WOULD TRY TO WORK OUT ANY (if any) PAYMENT ARRANGEMENT SO THEY COULD CONTINUE. He would literally say "I want you to be here every day so train and hopefully you can make up the money at some point but I don't want to lose you". The owner of the location didn't care for that and ousted him. During a period of transition I took classes at other studios and I can tell you every instructor had respect for Walt. Many would say he's ahead of the curve (b/c Walt's motto was to try any/every style and use what is effective...don't limit yourself). We would be on top of the building (advanced belts) to gain focus, jumping off of cliffs into water to gain confidence or learning skills in the woods/swamp to understand survival. It was complete training from the most basic of skill to surviving.
Upon one his (multiple) returns from training w/Bussey in Nebraska, he hosted a seminar (for his students only) outdoors from Friday-Sunday. It involved as many life skills and combat training as imaginable. Why? Because he cared! Most of the students didn't even pay a dime!! In 1988 I left for Bentley College in Waltham Mass, near Boston. Ironically, Waltham was home of the initial Villari's studio. Although Walt had moved on from the company, I attended a month's worth of classes from someone who was considered the face of the Villari's brand. He was very impressed w/my knowledge, respect, skill and humility and credited Walt for that. Because I was 90 miles away from Walt's studio, I trained under Joe Espisito (one of Ed Parker's hand picked students & Elvis bodyguard) in Newton. Joe was extremely intense and talented but his focus was on all the trophies and more about winning tournaments. After a few classes, (BY THE WAY, YOU HAD TO BE APPROVED TO TRAIN THERE) one of his senior black belts said "whoever trained you prepared you to be able to handle yourself in any situation...very impressive". I was a brown belt then and Joe Espisito (who was very conceeded) actually asked ME how I could get my mind to think of every scenario instead of the usual motions of training.
While attending college I joined the Army Airborne Infantry in 1992 b/c I thought it's the right thing to do. I didn't take any money for college, I just wanted to go. After being in bootcamp at Ft Benning in Georgia (Infantry only training) for a month, I was nicknamed "ninja" by my Drill Sergeant. It came unexpectedly b/c I really never mentioned much about training but obviously it was b/c Walt taught a full circle of techniques.
I could go on and on b/c having gone to college right after high school and continuing to train under others while away (but visit Walt at every chance possible) it was evident at that time something along the lines of MMA/survival training was Walt's vision way before it became "commercialized". Walt has always had a huge heart and was more concerned someone was able to train than pay for it. My wife of 17 years was with me during those years I trained w/Walt and still remembers so many moments. When my 11 year old daughter found a picture of me doing a flying side-kick she asked if I could teach her. My wife said "if that happens, you better tone it down a lot compared to the real stuff you learned". The word REAL is what Walt is about.
Lastly - I used to train w/friends in my parent's basement almost daily and one friend was also a friend of a black belt student at another studio in Holyoke. I will only say they also had a location in Spfld and most of their students were as cocky as they come b/c they did a lot of tournaments. The black belt student and I made a deal to visit each other's class. I did my turn (I was a blue belt then) and thought "I think I just went through an aerobics class with some shadow boxing". The black belt cocky student came to East Coast Gym and was on the ground so many times BY AN ORANGE BELT that when we left he asked what 'snake fighting' meant.
Sorry to go on so long and at this point, after many medical problems and now being 60 lbs overweight, although I could use Walt's help it would be too much so all stated came from the heart...the way Walt would've wanted anyway. Best of luck to everyone and not every style/instructor is for everyone but if you are skeptical I would say take the invitation and find out for yourself. Brian D.
Funny stuff, this lengthy lineage debate. I will contribute one post. Only one.
I think the question is, do you want a dog with a great pedigree, or do you want a dog that can do the damn job?
I studied under Walt Lysak Jr. from early 1986 until the late 90's. I was an instructor under him for about half that time, until I moved out of the area. I can't answer your questions about exactly how long he trained and with who; I didn't keep a log. I can only say that I was present for a lot of training, and through Walt had the chance to work with some great martial artists over the years.
He learned from many people (I won't repeat the lists already held up earlier in the thread), but he started with his father. That man had more real world fighting experience than anyone else I have met. This started a research-driven approach. If presented with a method or technique that worked better, Walt and his students would eagerly embrace the improvement. This is how systems improve. All systems; kai-zen.
If you want to knock him for mediocre marketing, that's your business (and, insofar as that seems to be one of the key missions of the forum, you do it well).
25+ years later his approach still serves me. I can't tell you his line can be traced back to Iga prefecture or the Shaolin Temple. I can tell you his stuff works in the real world. If you want to luxuriate in the debate, have a good time. If you want to learn to defend yourself, quit typing and get in the dojo. If you do it with Walt, you will be prepared for real combat.
Be strong, do good, stay safe. Good luck in the martial arts.
All martial arts take a significant time to learn. I'm in Krav Maga, and they make a lot of claims of fast teaching method and they might be right to a degree. It still takes years and years to get any good.
Word. There's no real secret. Dedication, hard training and aliveness are just the way to go.
Originally Posted by robowimp