One of the projects I’m most proud of during my time as the director of video production for a small but notorious publisher was the book and video project Battlefield Pankration by Jim Arvanitis. It’s a turnkey personal defense system, including everything from pre-combat de-escalation techniques to handling weapons like sticks and knives. Jim stands out among a hugely overpopulated crowd not just for his skill, knowledge base, and devotion to fitness, but also his personal experience in actual fighting. Until you know how you’ll react to being hit in the face, you have no business teaching self-defense. Jim Arvanitis is the real deal.
We had gone to Maryland to shoot a martial arts video with someone you might have heard of; he was an actor on the show WMAC Masters and had once been featured on an A&E program about former felons who had gotten their lives back on track. His name is Willie “Bam” Johnson. I had worked with him on a self-defense project ten years earlier and found him to be a very strong, fit, and decent man. So when it came time for us to shoot another video, I jumped at the chance.