The Protective Offense Think Tank

(Also known as the members of Conflict Research Group, International)

Teja VanWicklen

Teja VanWicklen

Women’s Self Defense

Teja Van Wicklen is a 30-year veteran martial artist with a broad background. She’s dabbled in a number of martial arts and skill sets, including edged weapons, wilderness survival and firearms. She was a personal trainer for 15 years, and briefly a volunteer Emergency Medical Technician (EMT).

In 2009 Teja formulated the idea for a new style of self defense specifically for women and moms, while pregnant and on bed rest. The idea evolved as she grew into motherhood and continued to ask herself questions like how she would fend off an attacker with her infant in a sling. She began wondering how older or injured people should protect themselves without being able to kick and why self defense didn’t include them.

Teja’s vision of a new self defense is family oriented. She sees it as a series of life tools that can be learned, practiced and played along with children, by way of audio, games, video and live and online workshops. The focus is on helping families protect themselves and each other while raising strong, productive children who will never be victims or criminals.

Toby Cowern

Toby Cowern

Urban and Wilderness Survival

Toby’s extensive and broad-ranging experience in the Reserve Armed Forces, leisure industry, outdoor activities and Health and Safety industry have equipped him with comprehensive skills and knowledge which he know channels as chief instructor into his very own company “Tread Lightly”.

Combining extensive military service and personal development with like minded international experts Toby’s office is now almost exclusively outdoors, where he spends his time tracking, hunting and researching, practicing and refining relevant survival techniques, further expanding and consolidating his 20 years of Arctic experience, and 25 years of survival training.

Rory Miller

Rory Miller

Violence, Force, Psychology, Conflict Management

“Force is a form of communication. It is the most emphatic possible way of saying “no”. For years my job was to say no, sometimes very emphatically, to violent people.

I have been a Corrections Officer, a Sergeant, a Tactical Team member and a Tactical Team Leader; I have taught corrections and enforcement personnel skills from first aid to physical defense to crisis communication and mental health. I’ve done this from my west coast home to Baghdad. So far, my life has been a blast.
I’m a bit scarred up, but generally happy.”

Marc MacYoung

Marc MacYoung

Martial Analyst

Growing up on the gang-infested streets of Los Angeles not only gave Marc MacYoung his street name “Animal,” but also extensive firsthand experience about what does and does not work for self-defense. What he teaches is based on experience and has proven reliability for surviving violence. If it didn’t work, he wouldn’t be alive to talk about it.

He is considered by many to be one of the most analytical thinkers on the subject of surviving violence and personal safety today. He has taught police, military, martial artists and civilians around the world. His message is always the same: Hand-to-hand combat is a last ditch effort when other, more effective, preventive measures have failed.

Kathy Jackson

Kathy Jackson

Pistol Instructor

“I’m a firearms instructor, a homeschool mom, a small business owner, a former magazine editor, and a freelance writer. I guess you could say I wear a lot of hats. My husband and I have been married more than 25 years, and we have five sons.

I’m a frequent contributor to Women & Guns Magazine, and my work has appeared in SWAT Magazine. I co-authored Lessons from Armed America, a book which presents several real-life accounts of people protecting themselves from criminals and the lessons we can learn from those situations.

My most recent book is: The Cornered Cat: A Woman’s Guide to Concealed Carry.”

Erik Kondo

Erik Kondo

Making sense of self defense for average people and people with disabilities

If you think self-defense is mainly about physical fighting or that only those with a long history of personal involvement in violence have an opinion that is worthwhile, feel free to skip my contributions.

While I do have multiple years of training background in a variety of martial arts, particularly Small Circle jujitsu, my focus in on helping the average person make sense of self-defense.

I see self-defense as an extension of personal safety which is an extension of how you live your life. My goal is to help people learn to minimize the negative consequences of aggression and obtain peace of mind through developing better understanding, critical thinking and judgement in times of interpersonal conflict.

Erik is also father of three, and has been a T4-5 paraplegic for the past 20+ years. Erik is a successful businessman and entrepreneur.

He also owns and runs a play spot for kids called Together in Motion in Arlington Massachusetts.