Perryville, Mo., business teaches hand-to-hand combat, self-defense

Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Krav Maga instructor Josh Caputo, left, works with Robert Myers as Macy Baker watches the lesson Tuesday, June 28, 2011 at A Discreet Solution in Perryville, Mo. (Fred Lynch)

PERRYVILLE, Mo. -- Introducing a new student Tuesday to Krav Maga, a fairly modern hand-to-hand combat fighting technique, Josh Caputo of Dexter, Mo., asked Macy Baker to abandon some basic fighting tactics she may have previously learned.

Caputo asked her to watch his movements -- his shoulders to see if he'd punch high or low -- and not look directly in his eyes. Baker stopped his punch from the left and then from the right. They're maneuvers that are instinctive, Caputo and Del Hollinger, instructors at A Discreet Solution, said, but are important to be taught and practiced.

"It focuses on modern situations and modern techniques to basically save your life," Hollinger said of the Israeli fighting technique the business has recently started to teach to the public. "There's no fancy kicks, there's no bowing. ... It's practical and upfront."

A Discreet Solution, also a bail bonds company, has been in Perryville since 2006, offering conceal-and-carry certification courses and training for bail bondsmen. They've recently received their Peace Officers Standards and Training certification from the Missouri Department of Public Safety, allowing them to offer their courses to police personnel. Hollinger said his business is the only non-law enforcement agency between St. Louis and Memphis authorized to teach two specific disciplines -- handcuffing and Armament Systems and Procedures (ASP) or work with a collapsible baton.

"All of this we've done in the name of making the bail-bond profession better. Keeping the agents safe and keeping the agents able to handle the use of force when they take a person into custody," Hollinger said.

Del Hollinger, owner of A Discreet Solution, demonstrates how to thwart an attacker Tuesday in Perryville, Mo.

Hollinger loves teaching and felt his business could reach out further, which is why, with the help of Caputo and other trained men, he added Krav Maga training courses. It was developed in the 1940s, he said, for the Israeli Defense Forces to protect themselves in combat.

Krav Maga involves other striking techniques, efficient in helping men and women fight off an attacker using a knife, firearm or other weapon. The goal is to learn how to disarm or disable an opponent. LeVa Clement said it's an easy art to learn, a process that's "easier than it looks."

"Once you see what Josh does, you think 'I could have done that.' But, you have to do it over and over," said Clement, A Discreet Solution bond agent. "It's an instinctive art, so when this occurs, when you use it, rather than having to think, you can simply react."

She added that the course is great for women searching to learn self-defense techniques. The company will make a course available to women only as needed.

"You carry yourself more confidently when you know you have the knowledge to keep yourself safe," Clement said.

About 15 people are taking the course Caputo offers in Dexter, and a handful have signed on in Perryville. Like the conceal-and-carry permit classes, background checks are performed on participants, Hollinger said. Participants in all classes are watched closely, and violent comments toward anyone, especially women and children are not tolerated. "We're very conscious of students and the way people handle things. ... We do not want to train a terrorist, foreign or homegrown," Hollinger said.

The training course, which allows its students to evolve, is meant to be fun, staff said Tuesday.

"Think of it as confidence building, think of it as a positive mental attitude and think of it as a piece of mind in knowing that in these uncertain times that if you should be involved in a violent incident you're able to at least hold your own and do everything you can to not be a victim," Hollinger said.

Instructor and student Garron Lewis, a 26-year-old from Advance, Mo., said a lot of the fighting technique means maintaining awareness of your surroundings while dealing with the threat. He mentioned watching movements of the attacker and looking for routes of escape.

Between maneuvers, he said the mock weapon is dropped and not given back to the person playing the attacker.

"How you do it in practice is how you'll do it in real life," said Lewis, who's been a student of Caputo's for about 12 months.

Although he does some instructing too, Lewis said he and Caputo are always learning the skill.

"You're always a student in the martial arts," Lewis said.

Hollinger has reached out to several Southeast Missouri law enforcement agencies and has a class in the works to assist Perry County deputies. He said they've requested help to develop training to assist jail officers in conducting more efficient and safe operations, like pat-down techniques and handcuffing.

Caputo said he'd like to offer a training course to women at a local battered women's shelter. As a former military man, he said he wants to serve his country, just in a slightly different way. Hollinger added that the business will continue to expand and in October will begin offering Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu classes.

"These are very uncertain times. There are not enough police officers on duty right now," he said. "Thank God for the job that they do, but there's not enough of them, so as citizens I feel that you need to be able to take the initiative ourselves in the event we have to protect ourselves and our families."

Learn more about the training academy by visiting


Pertinent address:

103A W. St. Joseph St., Perryville, MO

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