An Interview With Sensei Brian Baccaire
What were your initial thoughts about taking a martial arts/self-defense class?
When I first thought of taking martial arts, I wondered if I would be able to effectively utilize what would be taught to me and also how far I could actually go in the system. I also wondered how the instructors were going to be able to adapt the system to meet my needs. I quickly realized however, that Kuntao Jiu-Jitsu is an incredible system that shapes itself to fit all walks of life.
What made you decide to train in Kuntao Jiu-Jitsu?
From the very first day in Kuntao Jiu-Jitsu I realized that the system would be a very good fit for my needs; due to the fact that it adapts itself to the needs of the individual and the instructors that helped me. Soke Petronelli trained Soke-Dai Bochner and molded him into a superb instructor. Soke-Dai Bochner was instrumental in my decision to train in Kuntao Jiu-Jitsu.
Do you remember any obstacles that you had to overcome with your martial arts training?
The biggest obstacle that I had to overcome while training in Kuntao Jiu-Jitsu was myself. What I mean to say is that I’m my own worst critic and my expectations can be higher than anyone else’s. As far as the teachings are concerned, it is a small obstacle to remember both my adaptive techniques and the way they are supposed to be for an able-bodied individual.
How has being an instructor for six years changed your outlook on the martial arts?
It definitely gives me more appreciation for how difficult it can be to teach other people. This is because of the patience and understanding that you need to possess in order to pass on the knowledge that you as an instructor have gained within the system. It has also given me more confidence then I had originally possessed before taking martial arts.
It is important to point out that you and Sensei Matthew Mendillo have trained under Soke-Dai Bochner longer than any other students. How has the Kuntao Jiu-Jitsu evolved?
Kuntao Jiu-Jitsu has evolved from a mainly stand up system into a martial art that now prepares you for almost anything you may encounter on the streets. With the extensive grappling that is now in the system, you as a student can go down to the ground with a lot more confidence. I myself never thought I would be able to defend myself if I was thrown out of my chair, but with the training that I have received over the years I am very confident that I could hold my own on the ground. The system has evolved to make the student more prepared for what is going to happen on the streets.
Does it continue to evolve?
I believe that any good system must evolve to meet the new challenges that life may present you. It will continue to evolve to encompass even more dangers that the streets may present. A system must continually evolve to meet those dangers.
Do you have a favorite part of the curriculum?
My favorite part of the system is the techniques that involve locks and submissions. Being someone who is unable to walk, it is imperative that I subdue an attacker with the least amount of energy exerted. With the help of those techniques, I believe that I would be able to stop an attack that may come my way.
Do you have any advice for someone who is interested in the martial arts, but may be hesitant to try out a class?
My advice for anyone who is interested in taking martial art classes, is that you shouldn’t let ANY disability, whether that be physical or just a lack of confidence in yourself, get in the way of attempting such a task. I have never considered myself a role model, but I am an example of someone who can accomplish whatever he puts his mind to despite having a physical limitation. Don’t be your worst enemy. Go out and try it for yourself.
Are there any other comments that you would like to make?
I just want to add that I am grateful to the people who introduced me to the world of martial arts and to the instructors that helped me get to where I am today. There are not enough words in the English language to express how thankful I am to be part of the family that is Kuntao Jiu-Jitsu.