Charlie is the chief instructor/owner of SAFE Self Defence and is a qualified Martial Arts and Self Defence (CQC) exponent. He began training in Tae Kwondo in Aberdeen, Scotland, at the age of 16 at the Teh's Tae Kwondo
Institute under chief instructor Thomas McLaughlin. While training at Teh's he achieved 4th Kup and then moved on to studying Wu Shu Kwan (Chinese Boxing) under Sifu Dr Javad Birjandi (deceased).
Due to internal politics within the Wu Shu Kwan hierarchy, Sifu Birjandi with some of his senior students (Charlie included) started training under a new system called Zhuan Shu Kuan (Chinese Fighting Art). With commitments to work, studying and bringing up a young family, training ceased for a few years until he migrated to New Zealand in 1995. Within a couple of months of being in the country he started training with Siu Lum Gar Kung Fu and Kickboxing under the watchful eye of chief instructor Sigung Martin Lindgreen.
Charlie initially concentrated on advancing his Kickboxing/Chinese Boxing/Arnis skills with Siu Lum Gar, progressing through the grades rapidly and becoming one of Siu Lum Gars Kickboxing instructors. When Charlie's two son's started learning Kung Fu, he concentrated on working with them and became more involved with the Kung Fu, again working his way through the grades quickly, he started instructing students, even before he was presented with his instructors black sash he was running his own branches in Pakuranga, Papatoetoe, Maraetai & Manurewa.
With a thirst for learning his training hadn't stopped, he's been studying traditional boxing and Krav Maga. In August 2013 Charlie became a registered ICS Close Quarters Combat instructor (as of March 2020 he is now a Level 10 Black Belt Integrated Combat Systems Master Instructor), the intensive course and grading was conducted by ICS's chief instructor Peter Sciarra. Also in the same month he became a Protect Self Defence accredited trainer, the course was conducted in Auckland by Protects director and chief instructor Phil Thompson.
During August 2014, Charlie became a certified Level Four (as of 2018 he's now graded to Level 7) Unarmed Combatives Instructor with Hock Hochheim's CQC system, plus a Level Three PAC (Pacific Archipelago Combatives) Instructor and a Level Three FFC (Freelancer Filipino Combatives Instructor). The grading and certification was conducted in Auckland by Hock Hochheim.
Since the tail end of 2018 Charlie has been working alongside the Blind Foundation in Auckland developing/teaching a Street Smart self defence system for the blind and partially sighted.
Charlie has also completed Krav Maga Knife Workshops: Levels 1, 2 and 3
Nina attended the Women's Street Smart Workshop in 2015. After attending the weekend workshop Nina realised just how little she actually knew about defending herself.
"There were about 15 of us in that class, of different ages and backgrounds, and not one had had any previous training. That’s the reality for most women today; you just hope you’re never in the situation where you’ll need to fight for your life." says Nina.
Since February 2017 Nina has regularly been attending the Women's Street Smart classes running out of the Krav Fighter Gym in Grafton.
Nina also says that self-defence is a necessary skill-set for anyone. "It is about being prepared and confident enough to take action."
Nina is working hard to obtain her Women's Street Smart Instructors qualification, she wants to help others feel sure in their own skills and have the basic knowledge to defend themselves.
"Training with so many inspiring women this past year, who are guiding and encouraging one another, has been a fantastic experience."
Nina's goal is to be able to run her own Women's Street Smart workshops, to extend the availability and accessibility of self-defence workshops across the country.
In January 2020, Nina moved to Melbourne, Australia where she will be teaching Women's Street Smart workshops and classes.
Also known as "Ash", she has attended the Women's Street Smart weekend workshops on numerous occassions.
Ash believes and understands the importance of being able to protect herself. "It's something every woman should know how to do; because as unfortunate as it is, there are increasing amounts of assaults occurring each day" says Ash.
Ash believes that if she can assist even one woman in feeling more confident walking out on the streets or just feeling secure in herself, that's all she can wish for.
What Ash loves about Safe Self Defense & Close Quarters Combat is that it's 100% street smart. Meaning it's not all about learning a martial art, it's learning how to de-escalate and getting out of nasty situations as fast and effectively as possible.
Ash has been attending the Wednesday Women's Street Smart classes since they started in 2017.
Besides self defense Ash really enjoys dancing and other forms of exercise such as yoga and swimming.
Amber has just started working as a registered nurse and had always wanted to learn self-defence and be prepared for the ‘worst case scenario’.
She had tried a self defence course prior to coming to SAFE Self Defence and was extremely disappointed with it, the workshop comprised of sitting in an auditorium and been told stories of people being attacked because they were not vigilant enough or ignored warning signs… Not very empowering.
Amber has been attending the weekly women’s class at Grafton for nearly two years and it has been exactly what she was looking for.
With a real admiration for the work that SAFE Self Defence does and the fact it's run by some really fantastic and selfless people, she decided and grasped the chance to become an instructor and have the opportunity to help other people feel safe and learn ‘real’ self defence.