Well hello there and welcome to my “About me” page. I guess the fact that you are checking out who this guy actually is, means that the information you found here so far was at least intriguing enough to wonder if it really is legit? Although the content shared here is FREE, I believe you have every right to know who the person behind this text is, so that you can decide for yourself if this is actually useful advice. It is of course anything but easy, to squeeze a lifetime of experience into just a few lines like in a CV, so this will rather be a short story…
Let me introduce myself first, my name is Renato Skofac, and I guess it’s best to start this story at its very beginning… It was back in the early 80s, I was just at school age (yeah that means I’m old) when I got bullied and beaten up by a group of other school kids on a daily basis and the schoolyard became my personal hell for years! I had to learn how to stand up for myself and fight back or be miserable and afraid for the rest of my life. I decided that was not how things would end, and as I was already back then very stubborn (and I mean very, very), I actually managed to endure a lot. Despite getting tougher in the process, and being able to land a good punch myself, I concluded that I needed some real fighting skills in order to really overcome my bully problems, so I officially started to train in martial arts when I was 12 years old. My story turned out to be a glorious one (from my perspective at least), martial arts had empowered me and transformed my life, from a bullied kid into a protector, and although it all started out of the desperate need to survive, it eventually became a passion that lasted for a lifetime.
As I recently turned 50, the term “lifetime” really starts having some significance here, I am looking back at more than 3 decades of practising martial arts now. That being said, I did actually practice quite a few of them… I started with Karate, (it was the “Karate Kid” era after all) but I soon discovered that it lacked answers to specific attacks (boxers and wrestlers were a real problem). So, I added some Kickboxing, Jiu-Jitsu and Kung Fu to the mix. Just to put that into perspective, MMA was not even a thing yet back then, Wing Chun was praised as being the No.1 self-defence art at the time and Krav Maga was still fairly unknown in the western world back then. I remember a friendly Kickboxing sparring match I had against a friend who was built like a Berseker. He was packed with muscles and yet flexible as hell so he could kick like Van Damme and punch like Tyson, a crazy and dangerous combination, I couldn’t even get close enough to punch him. So, we agreed on street rules and I did the only thing I could and went straight for his legs, I took him to the ground and hammered him there with elbows and hammerfists to the shock of everyone else in the gym. OMG how unfair, against the rules, against sportsmanship… Who would have thought back then that this would soon become a standard defence against a good striker? During my military service, I had the privilege to be selected for one of the most elite special forces units in my home country (Croatia), I went through some tough training and earned myself a green beret, certainly also thanks to my abilities as a martial artist (but partially because I was little crazy). I learned a lot about motivation there, how extreme training drills can actually simulate real stress situations and how important the mindset is when you fight to survive. After the military, I dedicated several years to studying Bujinkan Ninjutsu an authentic Japanese warrior art (Ninjas as in masked assassins, yep) which really fascinated me at the time as they were considered by many to be the special forces and commandos of their time. Years later I also had a chance to learn Russian Systema (an old traditional martial art developed in Russia, a little weird but very interesting). And finally, in more recent years I was intrigued by Israeli Krav Maga (no introduction necessary due to their outstanding marketing) because of its military-like training methods and also Israeli Kapap to round things up.
As I started to train because of the need to learn to defend myself, effectiveness has always been my most important criteria. Standing my ground when being confronted with often bigger, stronger, and more aggressive opponents has taught me quite early that most martial arts do not hold the answer to every aspect of fighting. Meanwhile, I was working full-time in security, and on a sort of a personal quest for knowledge, searching for practical solutions that would work in real-life and enable me not only to survive a fight without severe injury but also not have to destroy the attacker (apparently that doesn’t look good at work). All that should ideally be applicable right away after the training session, the very next day at work, not years down the road when I finally progress to a higher level of mastery to be able to comprehend the technique… Needless to say, there were many disappointments in that regard and I concluded for myself that not everything is actually worth pursuing to perfection and mastery because a lot of things in martial arts are far more artistic, ceremonial, or purely cultural, than they are really applicable for defending yourself, at least not the way they were taught nowadays. What I really couldn’t comprehend was, how it was possible to attend a professional security training course and learn extremely efficient control and restraint techniques in just one weekend, but it takes years to get the same benefit out of martial arts training (no wonder the price was like for a year of training 😉 ). I know that I do not make myself friends with being critical like that, and I also have to admit that I haven’t been a good martial arts student either. I would give it two, three years to get a grip on it and some solid understanding of the principles and then I would usually start questioning things that were not so great, pointing out weaknesses if there were any and asking for alternative solutions or at least proper explanations. In other words, I have never been anyone’s favourite student, but rather often the pain in the … “Because it is in the curriculum” is the most irritating answer to a reasonable and justified question I have ever heard, and I heard that one a lot. I mean, isn’t it a legit question to ask, why do you continue teaching this particular technique, although you know that it actually does not work in real life? But by now you know what the most common answer to that question was, “the show must go on…” Looking back now, I almost do feel bad about it sometimes (almost), I could maybe be in some martial arts hall of fame with at least half a dozen black belts and high ranks given the time I dedicated to martial arts training, instead I teach self-defence classes in the local park. If only I would have shut my mouth and been more compliant. Well, I guess I just don’t have that in me, besides I actually love teaching in the park on Sunday mornings (seriously). But to be fair, I have also found something great, unique and useful in every martial art I have practised, and I obviously loved martial arts, it is just that none of them has been the “one size fits all” solution that we all tend to seek.
It was back in 2014 when I first started to write about personal safety and soon also my first self-defence classes for regular folks (what we like to call civilians) followed. And there I was, with all my vast experience, a lifetime in martial arts, a black belt in Karate and countless colourful belts in various other fighting arts, a certified Krav Maga instructor, a professional security trainer with several certificates like control and restraint tactics, use of expandable batons and police tonfas, etc., standing in front of a mixed group of civilians, dominated by females, consisting of 14-year-old teenage girls, a lovely elderly lady in their 60’s, a middle-aged man with a bad hip, few obese people, a sexual assault survivor, a 5-foot tall (that’s not really tall at all) young lady, and those were just a few I would point out right away. So, this is what a class of regular people looks like! I realised immediately, that whatever I was going to show them, would actually never gonna be good enough! Let me put that in simple words, most of the stuff being taught anywhere as self-defence just isn’t a good fit for regular people. They are either not fit enough, or too short, too weak, too frightened, not aggressive or violent enough, and not able or willing to dedicate enough time to master it all. And so with every course I held, I started stripping down techniques and training routines that did not work for everyone, or I was replacing them with something from my experience in other arts to adjust the course curriculum to better fit my new audience. Can you imagine how that was accepted? (here is where I need to take a quick break to wipe my tears from laughing). At one point I was officially asked by the Krav Maga organisation I was affiliated with, not to use their name or the name “Krav Maga” anymore, because I dared to modify parts of the curriculum. At the same time, while they were blindly and religiously holding on to that precious curriculum, other competitors were ridiculing them on grounds that they were not an organisation founded and run by Israelis as if this has anything to do with your ability to teach Krav Maga. Anyways, that was it for me with any kind of big martial arts organisations, I also turned those down who kindly offered me if I want to join their organisation instead. It’s all about profit for them, global expansion under a franchise system, large membership numbers, upselling training gear, T-Shirts and not to forget the instructor licenses. I finally ended up developing and teaching my own concept, I simplified things to the core with a minimum of techniques and principles that really should work for everyone and fortified it with intense stress drills and realistic scenario training that was often criticised as being actually too harsh (so not true).
But let’s take a quick look now at the security career side. As I did actually and still do, have a real career in the private security industry, and by that, I mean that over the past 30 years (it was actually 1992 when I started) I have basically at some point done almost every possible job in this industry. I started out in the physical security sector as a security guard, then worked my way up to intervention teams, then a team leader at big sports events and concerts, worked in alarm monitoring stations, securing cash in transit, working doors at nightclubs (I dislike the term bouncer) and as a trained bodyguard I was protecting celebrities, business people and politicians. It was when my first child got born, that I decided this kind of work became a bit too risky, so I decided to switch to a technical role.
I went back to college and became a Security Systems Engineer. Eventually, I started my own business and progressed over the years from a small one-man alarm installer into a respected security system integrator with a team of highly trained engineers. During a big crisis that hit our construction market in 2009/2010 we ended up losing our business and I started working for big corporations. Over the years I had completed thousands of security systems, either by designing, planning, installing, and commissioning them, or as the responsible project manager. I have also written and published many articles about technical security systems, and eventually became a sought-after expert in the field. Work has taken me places over the years, I have lived and worked so far in four countries on two continents working for some of the biggest names in the security industry like BOSCH Security Systems and ADT. In my current role, I am responsible as a Security Program Manager for protecting over 100 locations across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, for one of the world’s biggest IT corporations.
As for education, I studied Crisis Management (never graduated though), and completed numerous courses and certifications in Project Management, Security Management, and Security Technology (Product/Brand-specific) training. I participated in countless specialised Security and Close Protection Training and also have several certifications as Self-Defence Instructor and Security Training provider. I have been teaching self-defence classes for almost a decade now and I am writing and publishing articles and videos for years on the topic of personal safety.
And we are finally at the end of my little story, which was long and boring, wasn’t it? I agree it is a lot and must be absolutely boring to some of you, but to be honest, I only put all this up here for those who actually want to know what my background and experience in all this is (yeah I mean you nosy people questioning everything). I also do not mention all this to impress anyone (OK, maybe just a little), but to give the information I share here some legitimacy. Nowadays everyone presents him/herself as an expert, especially on social media platforms, when in reality there is often not much or even any real experience behind it. I just wanted to show with this brief introduction (and believe me it is brief), that I know a thing or two about the topics I talk about. I was purposely going so deep into the self-defence experience, as I wanted to show that you never stop learning and improving and that it might take a very long time, even a lifetime to develop, fine-tune, and adjust your own curriculum until you reach a point where you are fully satisfied with your work. That being said, by no means do I think that I know it all, or that I even know things better than anyone else. The advice I am sharing comes from the summary of my personal experiences, with the hope that this information might be useful to some of you out there. In the end, it is for you to decide if you like it or not and if you want to follow it. This is it, go back to the blog now and read some articles or show up at one of my courses, I am certainly looking forward to it.