Learn self-defense from social studies teacher Mr. Doug Matina

Every Monday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m, social studies teacher and certified martial artist Mr. Doug Matina holds the Immortal Warrior Spirit: Self- Defense & Combat Solutions in the Landmark gym.  While there, participants are taught some of the basic essentials for self defense. The following is a recount of two students who  attended Mr. Matina’s class on Monday, April 21. As the only participants in attendance, these students recieved specialized intruction.

Disclaimer: No members of The Schreiber Times staff were harmed during the making of this article.


Aaron’s Story:

On a brisk Spring’s eve, I journeyed to the Landmark for the weekly Immortal Warrior Spirit: Self-Defense & Combat Solutions class taught by social studies teacher Mr. Doug Matina.  Waving goodbye to my mom in the parking lot, I had no idea that when she would return an hour later, I would climb back into the Prius a changed man.  I had walked down the long sloping hallway to the Landmark Gym many times before, but as I stepped onto the hardwood floors of the basketball court I sensed an unusual unsettling stillness in the air.  At center of the court stood Mr. Matina and Annie Kim with their arms folded.  Mr. Matina wore a look of stoic passivity and Kim, a strangely friendly smile.  Calmly, Mr. Matina explained that since Annie and I were the only two people attending his dojo tonight, Annie would be mastering the art of female self-defense.  Naturally I would have to play the role of target dummy.  Disappointed that I would not get a chance to practice my own immortal warrior techniques, I was glad I could still help Annie learn how to defend herself.  Lord, I did not know what I was in for.

The first combination that Annie learned was designed to discombobulate an assailant.  After a quick demonstration of the moves by Mr. Matina, we were ready to begin.  For her to practice, I would place my hand on her shoulder, simulating an attacker.  As we got into position I assumed she would methodically go through the motions.  All of a sudden, my stomach dropped as I saw the innocent kindness behind her eyes become replaced with a killer instinct, the likes of which I have never seen.  I did not know what hit me.  Actually, yes I do.  It was Annie’s hand.  To my throat.  This was followed by a quick succession of blows both to the brain stem and the ears.  Thankfully, I was spared a knee to the groin area.  Annie had the decency to simulate that.  Annie seemed to enjoy it all too much. Discombobulated and taken aback that such a small person could posses such powerful fists, I braced myself for the long hour to come.

With each successive move combination we covered, I found myself becoming increasingly afraid of Annie Kim.  As I limped away from each attack, I looked towards Mr. Matina for support, but he only nodded his head at Annie in praise.  The mats underneath us may have softened my falls, but did nothing to assuage my damaged pride.

The final move set we did involved me approaching her with a fake knife in hand.  After 50 minutes of getting humiliated I thought I finally had the upper hand.  I was incorrect.  I was dropped to the mats so many times that the sign of Annie staring menacingly down at me has been permanently emblazoned into my psyche.

At 8 p.m., I peeled myself off the mats and hightailed it out of the gym as quickly as possible, unable to look Annie or Mr. Matina in the eye.  I stepped into the Prius without saying a word.  When my mom asked me how the class went, I replied, “Good.”


Annie’s Story:

Walking into the Landmark Gym at approximately 6:47 p.m., I encountered Mr. Matina, the Human Weapon, sitting upon a pile of mats, brows slightly furrowed as he tried to decipher the intricate workings of changing one’s iPhone background.  He looked up and gave a single nod to acknowledge my presence before proceeding to state that in preparation for my departing to college, we would be learning self-defense —specifically, female self-defense.  We then began dicussing the inner workings of guns when Aaron Brezel appeared in the doorway.  I looked up at him, a sadistic grin creeping onto my face, for I knew exactly what was in store for this unsuspecting welp.

We began with a combination of moves that were meant to confuse the assailant with a series of quickly-executed strikes.  After a couple of demonstrations from the immortal warrior himself, I took on the role of the victim while Aaron transformed into my attacker.  My eyes were closed in concentration as I recalled the proper sequence of moves, when I felt a menacing hand placed on my left shoulder.  I responded by turning my left arm up, as though I was a waiter holding a dinner plate, severing the connection between his hand and my shoulder.  Fueled by an adrenaline rush, I thrust my right hand forward, striking his neck with the web of my hand and quickly delivered a blow to the bottom of his skull, near his brain stem.  Without allowing for a period of recovery, I hit both ears, left, then right, before grabbing onto his shoulder and delivering a final groin shot, toes pointed to maximize the force of the blow.  Deciding to be merciful, however, I only simulated the movement.  After all, we had an entire hour ahead of us. An hour that would undoubtedly be informing and fun (well, at least on my part).

After practicing this combination several times, I learned a variation of this technique; one that involved a  fake knife.  Seeing Aaron with this knife in hand made the situation seem that much more realistic, and I became determined to improve.  Wanting to see that single nod of approval from Mr. Matina may have also played a significant part in my increased determination.

At the end of the hour, we thanked Mr. Matina, and Aaron left the room as quickly as possible, hoping to save what little dignity he had remaining.  Grateful for the valuable skills I had just aquired, I thanked Mr. Matina once more, received a nod, and stepped outside.