Charlie Riley is the head instructor and owner, he's a qualified Martial Arts and Self Defence (CQC) instructor and he has been involved with both for over 25 years.
He began training in Tae Kwondo in Aberdeen, Scotland, at the age of 16 at the Teh's Tae Kwondo Institute under chief instructor Thomas McLaughlin. While training at Teh's he achieved 4th Kup and then moved on to studying Wu Shu Kwan (Chinese Boxing) under Sifu Dr Javad Birjandi (deceased).
Due to internal politics within the Wu Shu Kwan hierarchy, Sifu Birjandi with some of his senior students (Charlie included) started training under a new system called Zhuan Shu Kuan (Chinese Fighting Art). Due to commitments with work, working offshore in the North Sea & Norwegian Sector, studying for his Higher National Certificate in Mechanical Design Engineering and bringing up a young family, training ceased for a few years until he migrated to New Zealand in 1995. Within a couple of months of being in the country he started training with Siu Lum Gar Kung Fu and Kickboxing under the watchful eye of chief instructor Sigung Martin Lindgreen.
Charlie initially concentrated on advancing his Kickboxing/Chinese Boxing/Arnis skills with Siu Lum Gar, progressing through the grades rapidly and becoming one of Siu Lum Gars Kickboxing instructors. When Charlie's two son's started learning Kung Fu, he concentrated on working with them and became more involved with the Kung Fu, again working his way through the ranks quickly, he started instructing students, even before he was presented with his instructors black sash he was running his own branches in Pakuranga, Papatoetoe, Maraetai & Manurewa.
Charlie also runs self-defence workshops for women's groups, non-profit organisations and provides one-on-one training. Charlie has a vision that everyone young and old gets the chance to learn the basic fundamentals and techniques of how to defend themselves, he's started the campaign by running his free Women's Street Smart workshops in Auckland, Wellington City and throughout the rest of New Zealand.
With a thirst for learning his training hasn't stopped, he's been studying traditional boxing and Krav Maga. In August 2013 Charlie became a registered ICS Close Quarters Combat level one instructor (as of April 2017 he is now Level 7 Advanced Instructor), the intensive course and grading was conducted by ICS's chief instructor Peter Sciarra. Also in the same month he became a Protect Self Defence accredited trainer (Level One), the course was conducted in Auckland by Protects director and chief instructor Phil Thompson.
During August 2014, Charlie became a certified Level Four (as of 2017 Level 6) Unarmed Combatives Instructor with Hock Hochheim's CQC system, plus a Level Three PAC (Pacific Archipelago Combatives) Instructor and a Level Three FFC (Freelancer Filipino Combatives Instructor). The grading and certification was conducted in Auckland by Hock Hochheim.
Charlie has also completed Krav Maga Knife Workshops: Levels 1, 2 and 3
High level martial arts and self-defence instructors Charlie has been certified, trained and attended seminars with include: Hock Hochheim (Force Necessary - Founder/Architect), Phil Thompson (Protect Self Defence - Chief Instructor), Peter Sciarra (ICS Close Quarters Combat - Chief Instructor), Omer Duchovny (Combat Krav Maga - Advanced Civilian Instructor), Sigung Martin Lindgreen (Siu Lum Gar Kung Fu - Chief Instructor), Sifu Derrick Manchester (Siu Lum Gar Kung Fu- Technical Advisor & senior instructor), Master Jose Marie "Jesse" Diestro (Sikaran Arnis - Chief Instructor), Sifu Corrie Lindgreen (Kempo Bushido Ryu - Instructor), Shane Bentley (Shorin Kempo/Aikido Doyu-kai - Instructor), Sifu Dr Javad Birjandi (Chief Instructor Zhuan Shu Kuan/Wu Shu Kwan- deceased) and Thomas McLaughlin (Tehs Tae KwonDo - Chief Instructor)
Nina Fourman attended the Women's Street Smart Workshop in 2015. After attending the weekend workshop Nina realised just how little she actually knew about defending herself.
"There were about 15 of us in that class, of different ages and backgrounds, and not one had had any previous training. That’s the reality for most women today; you just hope you’re never in the situation where you’ll need to fight for your life." says Nina.
Since February 2017 Nina has regularly been attending the Women's Street Smart classes running out of the Krav Fighter Gym in Grafton.
Nina also says that self-defence is a necessary skill-set for anyone. "It is about being prepared and confident enough to take action."
Nina is working hard to obtain her Women's Street Smart Instructors qualification, she wants to help others feel sure in their own skills and have the basic knowledge to defend themselves.
"Training with so many inspiring women this past year, who are guiding and encouraging one another, has been a fantastic experience."
Nina's goal is to be able to run her own Women's Street Smart workshops, to extend the availability and accessibility of self-defence workshops across the country.
Ishita Dwivedi, also known as "Ash" has attended the Women's Street Smart weekend workshops on several occassions.
Ash is a 16 year old who believes and understands the importance of being able to protect herself. "It's something every woman should know how to do; because as unfortunate as it is, there are increasing amounts of assaults occurring each day" says Ash.
Ash believes that if she can assist even one woman in feeling more confident walking out on the streets or just feeling secure in herself, that's all she can wish for.
What Ash loves about Safe Self Defense & Close Quarters Combat is that it's 100% street smart. Meaning it's not all about learning a martial art, it's learning how to de-escalate and getting out of nasty situations as fast and effectively as possible.
Ash has been attending the Wednesday Women's Street Smart classes since they started in 2017.
Besides self defense Ash really enjoys dancing and other forms of exercise such as yoga and swimming.