General Information




Q:  What is the Dog Brothers Martial Arts curriculum?

Note:  This curriculum is an updated version of what appears on the Dog Brothers Martial Arts website. A two page summary PDF can be viewed here.

The Dog Brothers Martial Arts curriculum is a system of many styles where the ultimate goal is to “walk as a warrior for all your days™.” This means that the greater mission is to have real skills throughout the entirety of one’s life – not just when one is young and competitive. This calls for an open mind. Considerable thought and experience has gone into the development of this curriculum, and as is the case with all things taught in DBMA:  “If you see it taught, you see it fought.™”

A) The core of the DBMA curriculum is the Filipino Martial Arts (FMA). The three principle systems upon which we draw are Inosanto Blend Kali/Silat (Guro Dan Inosanto), Pekiti Tirsia (Grand Tuhon Leo Gaje), and Lameco Eskrima (the late Punong Guro Edgar Sulite)  This includes work with staff skills as well as short impact weapons.

B) Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu: BJJ plays an important role, both for our Kali Tudo™ (unarmed) system and for Stickgrappling (armed), which will be discussed next.

C) Stickgrappling: is the DBMA blend of BJJ and FMA, as well as some of stick subsystem of Bando Python from Dr. M. Gyi, Grandmaster of the Bando system. Even with a stick, grappling can happen and in this range the presence of  weapons changes things in important ways. A good stickgrappler has good stick skills, good grappling, and good stickgrappling and can keep track of all three simultaneously.

D) Krabi Krabong: is the weaponry and empty hand art from which Muay Thai Kickboxing descends.

E) “Kali Tudo™“: the DBMA empty handed  sub-system that aims to search for the totality of the elements of ritual (MMA) and reality (Street): striking,(Kali-panuntukan, Jun Fan Gung Fu (JFGF), Krabi Krabong) trapping, (Kali, JFGF) throwing (Silat and others), grappling (principally BJJ, with some other things), and striking during grappling (Kali, Silat, JFGF).

F) Die Less Often: The Interface of the Gun, Knife, and Empty Hand: Die Less Often, or DLO, is the reality based component to our training that deals with pre-attack cues, legal issues related to self defense, levels of engagement, preemptive and reactive self-defense strategies, and smoothly transitioning from one weapon and range to another in the adrenal state.

Q:  How is this different from MMA?  Is it MMA with sticks?

Mixed martial arts training is wonderful for a variety of reasons, and they are beyond the scope of an FAQ answer.  The difference is one of outlook and of parameters of conflict.  MMA fights show examples of both extremely technical skills and real-time application of technique in a highly adrenal state.  However, the parameters of the fight are pre-arranged, and rules exist for the protection of the fighters.  This point is critical!  Combat in the ritual sense (a.k.a. “the cage”) is not the same as combat in the street.  That is not to say that MMA doesn’t work in the street, but it should not be relied on as an all encompassing system for dealing with sticky situations outside of the cage.
Here are a few considerations:
  • Most people don’t walk around in the street with 4 oz. gloves on.  Punching in the street may need to be adapted for both physical and biological safety.
  • Toe kicks that may not be safe or effective in a ring where one is shoeless can take on a new meaning with a hard toed shoe.
  • Weapons are a legitimate possibility.  Is it a good idea to assume that “the bad guy”  doesn’t have something up his sleeve because we don’t see it?
  • Is there only one “bad guy” in the first place?
  • Striking areas that are illegal in the cage are illegal for a reason.  These targets are fair game in the street.
  • Levels of readiness are even in ritual combat.  Initiative is even at the start of a “Let’s get it on!” sort of competition.  In street based situations, (e.g. bouncers working the door, LEOs approaching a suspect, a pedestrian dealing with a panhandler or solicitor with unknown malicious intent) the initiative is often decidedly uneven.

However, MMA has one major thing going for it that FEW martial arts do:  It is tested in the adrenal state!  There is a routine emphasis on training in live scenarios and/or competitions, something that is also typical of jiu-jitsu, muay thai, boxing, and some others.  These practitioners are not left to wonder how they will apply what they know in real time, because it is a part of their training.  This understanding is something that the original Dog Brothers sought to replicate through their own experiences with Filipino Martial Arts, and is one of the reasons why Dog Brothers Martial Arts is an effective, no nonsense system.  If you see it taught, you see it fought.™

Q:  What is the difference between DBMA Memphis and Memphis Kalis-Silak Group?

Guro Will Dixon and Guro Robin Schermerhorn head each group, respectively.  The groups are different only in focus.  The arts of the greater Majapahit Empire in Southeast Asia are both broad and dense, and provide many techniques, strategies, and influences from which to pull ideas.
Guro Dixon’s focus is on teaching these arts through the Dog Brothers Martial Arts curriculum, in which he is a Brown Tag (Level 2) Instructor.
Both groups are collectively known as the Memphis Kali Group, and we meet up for hard (elective!) sparring and socialization on a quarterly basis.  Many students also cross train between the two programs, which is encouraged.  For more information on the Memphis Kali Group collective, you can follow us on Facebook here.

Q:  Is this program suited for LEOs and/or Military?

Yes!  Many of the movements with short impact weapons and the corresponding control positions (standing and on the ground) are of great use for our law enforcement officers and military personnel.  Specifically, the SIW and Die Less Often blocks of material are directly applicable to the tools LEOs carry every day– the baton (ASP) and the gun.  We look to teach a default position and reaction to all who live with weapon access and neutralization on a daily basis. These blocks address BOTH pre-emptive and reactive responses to threats, as well as  threat management.


Q:  What, or who, are the Dog Brothers?

Taken from the FAQ page at  The Dog Brothers are a band of sweaty, smelly, psychopaths with sticks. DBIMA is the corporation founded by Marc “Crafty Dog” Denny. It is the vehicle through which the “Gatherings of the Pack” are hosted and through which Guro Crafty teaches. In addition to its business purposes, (e.g. video production) it serves to protect Marc from personal liability. DBMA is “the system of many styles” which has evolved out of the interplay of what we have been taught and our experience. Except for Guro Crafty, all DBMA instructors are NOT employees, agents, etc. of DBIMA.

Q:  Do I have to become a Dog Brother if I want to practice this system?

Not at all.

Q:  I want to become a Dog Brother.  Do I have to practice DBMA in order to become a Dog Brother?

No.  Becoming a Dog Brother is dependent upon Gathering of the Pack participation, induction, and promotion by Guro Crafty Dog, Guro Lonely Dog, or another of the Council of Elders.  Though I am a member of the Dog Brothers tribe and have fought in Gatherings, I cannot make you a Dog Brother or induct you into the tribe.  I can, however, present you to the people who can make this possible, and/or prepare you for participation in a Gathering.


Q:  How will I know if your program is right for me? Is there any ranking?

Come on in and try it out for a week! Should you decide that you would like to continue training, the first month is free of charge.  Since there is so much material in Filipino Arts, classes are different from month to month etc, as we change focuses (e.g. from stick to empty hand, to grappling, to staff, to gun and knife.)
There is an elective ranking system for the DBMA curriculum through dog tags. A colored sleeve on the tag represents how much of the curriculum one has demonstrated a good understanding and execution of. However, this is not required and is left up to the participant to determine whether this is or is not of interest. 

Q:  What is the class schedule?

Classes are held on Monday and Wednesday evenings from 8:30 to 9:45.  Should the demand for alternate days continue to grow, another night may be added in time.

Q:  Do you require contracts?

No. I give you the freedom to train here free from any long term contract and offer month to month training options. All I ask is 30-days notice if you can no longer train here for any reason.


Q:  How much do classes cost?

If you value a focused martial arts program exclusively for adults, that limits its class sizes where you can receive more personal attention, and that looks to develop each member to strengthen the “tribe,” then we’re likely a good fit for you!  The cost of training is greatly dependent on several different factors.  That said, the starting monthly rate is $85.  

Punchcard options

I also offer a punchcard payment option where the student buys a block of 10 classes in advance for whenever his or her schedule permits. (This option can also be used for a cross-training program with Guro Robin Schermerhorn’s Kali-Silak/Fil-Am Self-Defense and allows the student to use the punchcard between the two programs as he or she sees fit. Please ask for details on this option.)

Q:  Do you offer any discounts?

Yes, we offer various discounts for active military, law enforcement, families, and student discounts for referrals. 

Q:  Where do I find the liability waiver for class participation?

Download the waiver here.

Q:  What gear will I need?


Not all of this gear is necessary depending on your goals in the class, and I do have loaner gear available as you search for your own.  That said, most students typically want gloves, sticks and the like that are their own.  Here is the list in order of immediate importance: 
  1. One pair of rattan kali sticks, between 28 inches to around 31 inches. (I have some available for immediate sale, or I can recommend good websites that will provide the best kind for what we do.  My sticks are great for beginners, but if you are looking for a higher quality grade for longer use, look  here or here.  Note:  all sticks are NOT equal.  Please see me about what to look for if you have any doubts.)
  2. One mouthpiece (all students) and one athletic supporter cup (males) .  These are easy to locate at the neighborhood sporting goods store.  If you are interested in long term comfort and high quality safety, see .
  3. One pair of street hockey/lacrosse gloves.  Sports Authority carries these, as does Dick’s Sporting Goods.   These can be pricey.  I recommend browsing at the local sporting goods store for a brand/type that fits you the best, recording all of the specifications, and looking on,  or the like for someone who is selling them or a comparable pair at a discount.  For example, the gloves I use are $95 retail, but I found them for $14.99 online.
  4. One pair of MMA type grappling/striking gloves.  These will suffice for both heavy bag work and working controlled striking during grappling and standup training.  The street hockey gloves can be used instead, but most people find them a bit cumbersome over time, and they can be difficult when grabbing.  The reason we need both types is that the MMA gloves, while wonderful for striking, leave the tips of the fingers and the thumb exposed.  This is a real liability when swinging sticks!
  5. One pair each of both knee and elbow pads.  The only specifications I have are please stay away from the ones that have bubble dome tops (such as rollerblading types.)
  6. Short sticks/training knives.  The first pair of rattan sticks you break will make great trainers after they are sawed off and sanded!  If you want a knife trainer, again I will point you to dog brothers or Bloodsport.  I have examples of several types I can show you.
  7. One fencing mask.  This can be an Ebay item as well, or look here.  I have a loaner mask new students can use while they consider their options.  This is a great piece of equipment to have, but not an immediately mandatory purchase.
  8. Muay Thai type shin guards.  Your shins will thank you!