Greyskull Academy of Combat Sciences Three-Day Seminar Overview

by Johnny Pain

On September 13, 14, and 15, 2013, I will be opening the doors to the public for the first time at the new Greyskull Academy of Combat Sciences.

This article is designed to provide an overview of the weekend’s events for those interested in attending. 

The event will begin on Friday evening with a “meet and greet” session. Participants will wear whatever attire they choose on Friday since the hands on portion will begin Saturday morning. The night’s events will feature several presentations and interactive demonstrations of some of the major principles that will be covered over the course of the next two days. Attendees will receive a binder with a host of materials and information which they will use throughout the course, and will be able to reference after the event is over. There will also be plenty of blank sheets included for note taking during the lecture, and presentation portions.

At the end of the evening on Friday, the participants will have received a wealth of information, and will have seen some of the main principles of the course demonstrated. They will also have been tasked with participating in some interactive activities to further ingrain the core ideas.

On Saturday morning we hit the ground running. We begin by learning the base layer on which everything else over the course of the weekend will be built. Students are taught a series of vital targets, and how to cause trauma and injury to said targets with the weapons of their bodies. Students will be presented with the nervous system reactions for trauma to each target, building on one of the principles learned on Friday night.

After participants are instructed in causing injury to a handful of targets under a variety of spatial conditions, they will then partner up and apply their new-found knowledge using our dynamic method of training. It is at this point that students begin to see how capable they are with such a seemingly small amount of knowledge of the subject. There is a disproportionate amount of time spent training in this manner in order to immerse the participants in the information, and force them to solve problems in real time.

Students learn that this system is not based on techniques, or predetermined responses to specfic attacks or situations. By learning principles, they see that they are able to solve problems repeatedly regardless of the situation, conditions, or context.

After a brief break, they will learn another series of targets (normally three or four at a shot), and then sent out to apply the information once again. The amazement that comes with their ability to act, and cause a string of debilitating injuries with their new found vocabulary becomes very apparent at this point. Little emphasis is placed on how they look doing it at this point, with the focus being on how well they are able to access targets, understand the reactions, and the actual injuries they are causing, and to adapt under a variety of conditions (standing, on the ground etc.).

After lunch we return and introduce a few more principles, allowing everyone to rest a bit, and digest their meals. After the principles have been demonstrated, the class then incorporates the material into their training for another block of hands-on application.

After this, a brief presentation is given regarding facing common weapons such as knives and blunt instruments, and the participants are sent back out to the mats in order to apply their skill set against opponents armed with these weapons. The students experience a bit of an epiphany here as they realize that the skills that they have developed and applied during their long bouts of application throughout the day carry over entirely regardless of whatever object their opponent has in their hand.

This concludes the Saturday session.

There is always a dinner/drinks event on Saturday with class members who choose to attend meeting at a nearby restaurant bar, and socializing/discussing the events of the day. These are always a blast at every seminar event that we put on.

On Sunday we start off with more mat time, making available all of the tools that were used for practice at the end of the day on Saturday. Participants are once again faced with “attackers” armed with weapons, and forced to solve problems in real time.

After a brief presentation on some of the idiosyncratic principles unique to the different weapons, we then send them back out to now use the weapons offensively against their partners. At this point the attendees are very comfortable fighting with empty hands, against an armed attacker, and equally confident and adept at seamlessly integrating any weapon placed into their own hands without any hint of focus or dependency on the tool.

Before lunch we cover the principles associated with facing firearms, and then, you guessed it, hit the mats to apply the information.

Upon return from lunch we address the principles associated with facing more than one attacker, and then force students to problem solve using their skill sets against two and three other people at the same time. This isn’t the movies, so nobody hangs back and waits their turn to attack, we make this look just like it will in real life, a bum rush of flailing arms and legs.

Students are then given a break and there is time for a detailed question and answer segment. Unique scenarios, concerns, and  considerations are the norm in terms of questions at this stage, and I make sure that everyone is satisfied with their answers, demonstrating or creating an interactive drill to address the question.

After the Q and A it’s “test time”. No one is formally graded at this stage, but all are put through the ringer. All of the skills that they have learned and applied throughout the course of the weekend are put into play as they are forced to solve problems over and over in a variety of different scenarios that evolve as we go. Knives, guns, baseball bats, multiple attackers, third party rescue, it all comes into play here. This is the most exciting portion for me as I see people who were newcomers to the subject moving, causing injury, and seamlessly integrating weapons, both incapacitating attackers armed with them, and using them themselves with skillful precision. It truly is a sight to be seen.

Students are then once again given time to ask whatever questions they may have, and allowed as much additional time as they want for follow up instruction on any of the material presented.

From there we part ways, and say goodbye for the weekend. Those who fly out later the next day, or are otherwise staying the night often get together for dinner and drinks again on Sunday. I make it a point to be in attendance for all of the get togethers.

The weekend truly will be an experience of tremendous value that you do not want to miss. I hope to see you there.

Click Here to Register for the event today, spaces are limited.


Johnny Pain is the man behind as well as the East Coast’s notorious Greyskull Barbell Club, the newly launched Greyskull Academy of Combat Sciences, and several other ventures. He is the author of several books on subjects pertaining to strength and conditioning. He can be found comically entertaining questions on his Q and A forum at or can be reached for consultations, training seminars, or speaking engagements at

Also, you can follow him on Twitter: @thejohnnypain


4 Responses

  1. Joel Melanson

    I’ve just come back from the most recent Blueprint to Beast Seminar and I can assure you that having been exposed to only a fraction of what this 3 day seminar is going to include, it is definitely worth the price of admission. This is legit.
    John was gracious enough to add an impromptu 1/2 day combatives portion to the Blueprint to Beast and this was my favorite part of the weekend. I’ve been fascinated with self defense and combative concepts most of my life I spent years looking into different systems but I was mostly disappointed. John managed to cut through the bullshit and show us concepts that work in all situations. We only touched on a few concepts, but I can assure you that what I learned was very effective.

    June 18, 2013 at 8:06 pm

  2. Steve Esqueda

    I am in agreement with Joel. I was at the same seminar and although we only scratched the surface with combatives after the B2B material, it was definitely one of the high points of the weekend. John’s knowledge of this type of combat science is remarkable and he delivers it in true Johnny Pain style. Unfortunately I will not be able to attend in September, but am looking forward to another seminar further down the road. As I hope there will be many!

    June 19, 2013 at 5:01 pm

  3. Butch White

    I’m registered (at least I think I am) and so looking forward to this seminar.

    September 9, 2013 at 3:15 pm

  4. Bobby

    I’m interested in attending one of your Principles of Personal Defense Seminars for MIL/LE, or whatever you have going. Currently deployed, but will be stateside mid September. Any feedback on this would be appreciated.

    July 16, 2017 at 12:33 pm

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