You have read them and probably said the words hundreds of times by now. But what do they really mean?
"What is the Clinch Academy?"
Previous to the Clinch Academy we were known as Self-Defense Tactics Inc.. My Father Blaine Rinehart, whom I had trained under all my life, began Self-Defense Tactics Inc. in about 1995 of which I was V.P. of. This was a very self-defense oriented martial arts program that took on a very realistic approach to learning. I owe a lot to this type of training as it has taught me how to be strong, to survive and persevere through intense situations. As I began to teach on my own around the year 2000 I continued on with the teaching of Self-Defense Tactics which was pretty much a pre-dated Mixed Martial Arts self-defense system. I have always loved martial arts and have gained a lot of positive benefits from it. I was eager to be able to teach and share these benefits with others. One thing I began to realize was that all though I personally gained many great benefits from this type of training, the market for it, was pretty small. Not everyone wanted to practice realistic self-defense because to be honest, it was a bit scary! That was just the point though. So is self-defense! I think just like my Father when it comes to this. If you are going to practice self-defense, you have to be real. I also personally feel that people don't approach learning self-defense in the same way they do in learning a Martial Art. People can see the practice of learning a Martial Art as a a progressive practice. You practice one situation at a time and explore all the different situations and techniques. When it came to teaching self-defense people always had a hard time learning progressively. In order to address the big picture you have to be able to explore the details. I felt like people had a hard time seeing beyond the fight and into the art. Everything would be questioned all the time with, "What if they do this?". My reply to that is always, "What if they don't do that?" You have to be prepared for every situation but you can only practice one situation at a time. It is a concept that applies to everything we do but for some reason people struggle with it when it comes to self-defense.
It was in 2003 that Self-Defense Tactics Inc. became the Clinch, Inc. and now operates under the name Clinch Academy. I made the decision to change the name because my focus as an Instructor began to shift. I had been training self-defense all my life but had never been in a real street fight. This wasn't a bad thing. In fact, I owe it to my training . I have been in a few pretty bad situations but due to the confidence and knowledge I had from my Father's training I was able to defuse the situation verbally and did not need to use any physical self-defense. The point is that I trained very hard all my life for something that may never even happen. Me and a few others were however competing in brazilian jiu-jitsu a bit and I felt that there was much more to gain from Martial Arts than simply learning how to fight or even compete and wanted to emphasis this as well.
The Clinch is a technique used when you tie your opponent up to prevent them from hitting you and possibly to set up a take down. In the Clinch you are less likely to get hurt or knocked out. You see boxer's Clinch when they are tired or overwhelmed because it is a "safe" position. In self-defense your goal would be to be far enough away from your opponent to get hurt or too close to get hurt. If possible, it is smart to stand at a safe distance before actually engaging in battle. In order to Clinch you have to learn to close that distance first. The most vulnerable area is the gap in between. If you can't maintain distance you have to close the distance in order to Clinch and be safe. This is a choice you have to make and commit to if you want to remain safe. This philosophy to me is the essence of self-defense and is a concept that can also be related to life. It is what the warrior's mentality is all about.
"To have the courage to close the gap and engage into a vulnerable situation in order to tie up and overcome what lies ahead. This is the essence of the Clinch on the battlefield and in life."
Clinch also has a personal meaning to me which is tied into the logo. The original Clinch logo was designed as 2 C's Clinching as you can see to the right. For me it was a reminder to Clinch to Christ. The more I close the gap between me and Christ the more I understand about life and am filled with peace, joy and love rather than fear, anger or hatred. How do I close the gap between me and Christ? There is a daily self- confrontation that has to take place and you are never more vulnerable than when you are seeking to know, understand and admit your own faults. People are very uncomfortable with God because He is perfect and we are not. In fact people are very uncomfortable with other people even bringing God up around them because they can't stand the thought of possibly being compared to Him. Whether they admit it or not, everyone knows God is perfect and we are not. Otherwise, they wouldn't be so uncomfortable or even angry when God enters the conversation. Some people refuse God because they simply can't confront their own sin and others refuse because they fear a Perfect God. For the same reason, we as fighters, are often afraid to Clinch because we lack the confidence to close the gap out of fear of getting hit or fear of what what comes next once we do Clinch. I get my confidence from Christ. It is through Him that my sins are accounted for and I can approach a Perfect God without fear and trembling. I simply give my sin to the Lord and let Him do his work in me. I pray for forgiveness and ask that He gives me the grace to live in a manner that glorifies Him and to love others as He loves me. I am not a Holier than thou kind of Christian. We are all sinners alike and I know I am no better than anyone else. But by the grace of God I am now a sinner who is covered in the righteous blood of his Holy Sacrifice - the final sacrifice of the Lamb of God -Jesus Christ, and am empowered by His Holy Spirit to put away the practice of sin and to put on the practice of righteousness. Just like in Jiu-Jitsu, through the practice of jiu-jitsu, I have gotten better but I am by no means perfect. I mess up all the time but I don't strive to repeat my mistakes but to correct them to my benefit and to yours. Christ is the root and we are the branches. If the root is good than so are the branches as long as they stay attached. For this reason, clinch tightly to the root. Clinch to Christ.
The newest logo keeps the "Clinch Symbol" as the central focus as I also keep it as the focus of my life. The two figures at each side give action and show the struggle that takes place. Training is a struggle when you are striving to excel. What is a warrior without a battle?! This too reminds me of my struggle with God in letting go of my own selfish desires and submitting to Him on a daily basis. The triangle that surrounds it symbolizes mind, body and spirit as well as balance, timing and leverage. In my training I strive to challenge and improve my body, mind and spirit. Balance, timing and leverage are the 3 key ingredients to good jiu-jitsu. The triangle reminds us of these things.
Lastly, the word Academy was chosen because I want to make sure everyone knows that we offer specialized instruction and training in Martial Arts. We are not simply a gym or club but an Academy of Martial Arts. People will come here to receive proper instruction and training in Mixed Martial Arts, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Kickboxing and more. The Clinch Academy is the place to be if that is what your looking for.
So next time you say the words Clinch Academy, you will know that there is much more to them than what is first understood. Now you can wear that T-Shirt or spread the word about us with more confidence knowing that you train at a place with vision and meaning, not just some gym down the street.