Proper Gear For Training In The Counterpoint Tactical System

Proper-CTS-GearIn order to facilitate great martial arts training in a professional environment; students should invest in the proper equipment. Below I have listed the recommended gear for each belt rank in the Adult Counterpoint Tactical System Program.

It’s important that we train safe and train smart!

White Belt

  1. Uniform
  2. Three Ring Binder and Dividers
  3. Safety Glasses
  4. Mouthpiece
  5. One, Rattan Eskrima Stick
  6. 12 oz. to 14 oz. Boxing Gloves
  7. Shin and Foot Pads
  8. Boxing Head Gear
  9. Cup and Supporter

Blue Belt

  1. Aluminum and Rubber Training Knife

Green Belt

  1. Wrestling Shoes
  2. Knee Pads

Red Belt

  1. Two, Rattan Eskrima Sticks

Third Brown Belt

  1. Lacrosse Gloves and Elbow Pads
  2. Padded Weapon Head Gear
  3. One, Padded Stick

Second Brown Belt

  1. MMA Finger-less Gloves
  2. Focus Pads

First Brown Belt

  1. Two, Padded Sticks

*This is an updated blog post from January 2014.

Proper Gear For Training In The Counterpoint Tactical System

What Kind of Karate or Martial Art Do We Teach?

This is the official crest of the Counterpoint Tactical System.

I had a nice conversation with parents about what type of Karate or Martial Art we teach at Ryer Academy. It’s a common question from people and as a member you might be asked by curious friends, so I thought I would explain what it is that we are teaching.

We teach the Counterpoint Tactical System. It’s a martial art founded by my teacher, Zach Whitson, and is taught in thirteen affiliated groups throughout the east coast and mid-west of the United States. The Counterpoint Tactical System is an integrated martial art for self-defense. The system’s largest traditional influence is Filipino Martial Arts, however, being an integrated martial art means we use elements of various arts based on range and strategy to have a balanced curriculum.

Our children’s curriculum is a minimized version of our Adult Counterpoint curriculum, organized in a tangible way for kids to learn. It is organized in five sections which are represented by our belt striping sequence: empty-hand techniques (blue), stand-up grappling techniques (green), grappling/ wrestling techniques (red), weapon techniques (brown), and verbal de-escalation techniques (black). This curriculum has proven itself successful in that we are able to teach a broad range and high level of martial arts skills. We are also seeing “martial arts kids” turn into “martial arts teens” and now becoming members of our adult program!

In a broad sense I say we teach martial arts, but hopefully next time you are asked what martial art or style of karate you take or your child takes, you’ll knowingly say, “…the Counterpoint Tactical System”.

Want to read more about the Counterpoint Tactical System? Visit the official website at

What Kind of Karate or Martial Art Do We Teach?

What Makes A Martial Arts System Effective?

adjective \i-ˈfek-tiv, e-, ē-, ə-\
: producing a decided, decisive, or desired effect

An effective martial arts system should produce practitioners that possess the skills to protect themselves and their loved ones in every phase of civilian armed and unarmed self-defense.

As a practitioner for over twenty years, I’ve been asked many times what I believe is the most effective martial arts system. First you should understand what your martial arts system was intended for; i.e. sport, tradition or self-defense. While some martial arts systems are effective in a controlled environment or intended to respect the conditions of the past, I define an effective martial arts system as one that lives in today’s world against today’s threats. Some martial arts systems have changed originally being designed for self defense, but morphing into a sport. Be sure to get a firsthand look at the way the martial art system is presented and a school’s approach to the training. Here are four general guidelines that have helped me determine what makes an effective martial arts system.

  1. An effective martial art system should take an inexperienced individual and develop high levels of skill.

In the Counterpoint Tactical System, we have a carefully designed curriculum that systematically guides a practitioner through entry level skills to advanced skills. This curriculum is setup as blocks. Once a practitioner learns the blocks they are able to easily connect and build with them. Many martial arts have no curriculum to develop skill sets, leaving naturally gifted practitioners to demonstrate the effectiveness of their martial art. I question if this effectiveness is the result of the martial art or the person’s natural ability. In order to be considered an effective martial arts system, the system must improve the practitioner’s skills regardless of their ability or lack thereof.

  1. An effective martial arts system should teach a practitioner to use their skills in a spontaneous situation without rules or regulations.

Many martial arts systems are based on knowledge of memorized patterns. While this initially has value, the intent of any effective system should take a practitioner to a level where they can deal with any situation. I have studied a system where a majority of the training is spent memorizing techniques only to never use the techniques in actual sparring. To be considered an effective martial arts system, the tactics you train must translate to sparring. In the Counterpoint Tactical System if a technique cannot translate to sparring then it is discarded. On the flip side, I have practiced a martial art with much less memorization and it was effective only because of the vacuum it existed in. Realize that if you are practicing a martial art where you can’t strike an available target at any given time; you should question the system’s effectiveness.

  1. An effective martial art system should teach practitioners the skills to survive in all ranges of combat against single or multiple opponents that could be unarmed or armed.
Watch Master Zach Whitson and Joshua Ryer demonstrate some of the modern skills of Close Quarter Gun vs. Knife that is part of the Counterpoint Tactical System.
Watch Master Zach Whitson and Joshua Ryer demonstrate some of the modern and effective skills of Close Quarter Gun vs. Knife tactics that is part of the Counterpoint Tactical System.

This is one guideline that really sets many martial arts apart. To be an effective martial arts system it should deal with all ranges of combat. In addition, it should have modern weapon considerations like knife and gun tactics.The founder of the Counterpoint Tactical System, Master Zach Whitson, has established the approach of starting from your feet and striking, then grappling from your feet, and lastly ground fighting. He states that, “Mobility and the aptitude to stop a threat with a single decisive strike is the most important idea on the street with multiple opponents and weapon considerations.” There are many martial arts systems that focus on one range of combat or defend against only one opponent. While the system might be effective in that controlled environment, this is not the world we live in.

  1. An effective martial arts system should promote a lifelong practice rather than a short career.

To be considered an effective martial arts system it should be a system that can be done at various stages of your life. As we age we lose physical attributes like strength and endurance. Though we can rely on these attributes for many years, eventually you will need something else. In the higher levels of the Counterpoint Tactical System, internal martial arts becomes a focus teaching practitioners attributes like refined technique, breathing disciplines, and increased mental awareness. These attributes will complement your aging body and allow you to protect yourself and your loved ones well into your older years.

While there are other factors one could list, these are four general guidelines that I have found and have led me to my effective martial arts system. I hope that you will find yours!

What Makes A Martial Arts System Effective?

Master Zach Whitson’s 40th Year In The Martial Arts

Pittsburgh 2015 Spring Martial Arts CampThis past weekend my dojo, Ryer Martial Arts Academy, hosted our annual Spring Martial Arts Camp. We host these training events three times a year in Pittsburgh and every event features the instruction from Master Zach Whitson, the Founder of the Counterpoint Tactical System. This camp occurred on the exact month and year of Master Z’s 40th anniversary of formal martial arts training and we set out to surprise him with a very special gift. In addition to the gift, I wrote a short speech expressing my feelings about his great achievement. Though I could have winged it, I knew I would get emotional as Master Z means so much to me, to my academy, and to my fellow CTS family across the country. Here is the actual speech from the presentation…

“If you didn’t know March of 2015 marks forty years of formal martial arts training for Master Z. This is an incredible and inspiring commitment. In preparation for this presentation I started thinking what he has accomplished in forty years? To the best of my knowledge, Master Z has cross-trained in over a dozen different martial arts. He oversaw the establishment and operation of two schools in New Orleans. He has traveled nationally and internationally to teach martial arts. He has earned master level in not just one system, but two and a grandmaster level in Cacoy Doce Pares. At this point he has taught hundreds of students, if not more. And finally he has carefully devised and been recognized as the Founder of his own martial art, the Counterpoint Tactical System. This is a just a few of his accomplishments and I know there are more to come!

But what really moves me is that one man’s passion and drive in the martial arts has forged a community (some of which you see right here before you) of other like-minded martial artist who might not otherwise have met. Because of your continued effort, you have inspired others to pursue the arts and effectively change their lives for the better.

I don’t think a commitment like that should go unnoticed! With that being said, that community you have built has come together to present you this gift. We congratulate you on forty years in the martial arts, hope for another forty years, and we thank you for such a commitment!”

Thank you again Master Zach Whitson for all you have done and continue to do! To view a video of the presentation, please click here.

Master Zach Whitson’s 40th Year In The Martial Arts