When FAST Defence training first came to the Cayman Islands four years ago, virtually nobody had a clue what the extremely effective, quick and easily learned self-defence technique was about.
Bill Kipp and his wife Debra loved their initial visit which led to a succession of subsequent teaching visits and now many here know all about FAST Defence.
Karate instructor Bob Daigle has continued teaching the technique, which includes anti-bullying strategies and now a Caymanian has been certified to teach FAST Defence. Instructors dress in body armour to take their poundings from students and are known as ‘bullet men’.
Troy O’Neil is a former two-time Caribbean novice light-heavyweight boxing champion who still coaches boxing at the D. Dalmain Ebanks gym. Last week he received his three FAST Defence certificates from Daigle and is thrilled about it.
“From doing the FAST Defence seminars I feel good about giving back to the general public and especially enjoy the anti-bullying seminars,” O’Neil said. “Paula Jackson has been looking into anti-bullying too and has mounted a campaign and I fully back it.
“I went to Cayman Brac with Bob a few years ago to do anti-bullying seminars and that was inspiring too. This is real-life stress training, not like the fake stuff like trying to teach people how to do spinning back high kicking. The whole FAST Defence philosophy is not to get into a fight in the first place.”
O’Neil feels the FAST Defence training has helped him control his own emotions as well. “I maybe used to fight first and then ask questions after,” he said. “Now I know that it’s better to talk and to avoid the whole confrontation thing in the first place.
“People I knew before, after doing FAST Defence, they are calmer and less ignorant.”
O’Neil, 36, has worked all his adult life in customs and is now a senior tally clerk. He sees boxing coaching and FAST Defence instructing as a potential career move.
His list of boxing accomplishments include silver medals at the World Police and Fireman Games in Indiana and in Spain. He also went to the 2004 Olympic trials only losing by a cut eye in Brazil.
In Brazil he was inspired to stay active having seen many middle-aged and elderly Brazilians stay in shape from their chosen sports. “I saw older guys staying fit by playing foot volleyball and I kind of want my island to be like that, because obesity is becoming a problem here. I want to get people in tip-top shape.”
FAST Defence is an acronym for Fast Adrenal Stress Training. It teaches people how to deal with the negative effects of adrenaline, whether paralysed by fear or the ability to have an adrenaline rush such as if a woman finds her child is trapped underneath a car and she finds the ability to tap into that adrenaline and lift the car off.
FAST Defence classes emphasise to students how to avoid conflict without it becoming physical and to use verbal skills to get out of trouble and how body language can be best used to minimise attracting trouble. O’Neil has learned all those skills and is looking forward to passing on that knowledge.
He went through hundreds of hours of training stretching over four years with Daigle and Kipp. In that time, O’Neil helped teach over 1,000 men, women and children, police, security companies and people from every walk of life.
The next FAST seminar is on Tuesday 31 July from 6-8pm at Body Now 4 Moms and Kids at 7 Mile shops on West Bay Road, cost $99 per person.
Daigle said: “Troy is the first born-Caymanian to be certified as a FAST defence instructor, certified bullet man and certified to teach anti-bullying and anti-abduction seminars.
“He is highly talented and has a great attitude. He’s a really good role model and I couldn’t be happier having him on board the team and somebody I can count on. Not just is his attitude great but his skills are top notch.
“He can take these skills anywhere in the world and fit right into a demonstration, whatever’s needed to be done. It could be a military project, he is the best out there.
“We’re getting ready to teach more FAST Defence seminars again and look forward to empowering more people.”
FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT BOB DAIGLE: [email protected]