Gary Lee O’Neal is the 10th degree Grand Master of the American Warrior Free Fighting System, an eclectic consolidation of martial techniques specifically designed for and proven in combat ranging from that used by American Indians to cultures from every continent. Not just about kicking, punching, and blocking, this system incorporates 21st-century combat application of kata, all weapons known to man, fieldcraft, tradecraft, and electronic warfare in all environments and in all weather.
By design, this system prepares a person for combat and to defend home, family, friends, and self in contemporary society. It is also designed to improve the skill sets of warriors in all facets of life to include law enforcement and military. Above all, this system is not a sport: There is no tap out—these techniques are designed to kill, not to submit. The cage here is the city, sidewalks, parking lots, shopping malls, and checkout counters.
According to O’Neal, “No matter where you go in today’s world, the possibility is there for each individual to become a warrior, but it takes a life-long commitment to self discipline and cultivation of the will to walk the Path of the Warrior”:
From my Lakota upbringing, I was taught that warriors have a responsibility to protect the tribe. No man is born a warrior; rather, life makes him one. You fight when you are forced to fight, and this is how you prove yourself; once you prove yourself, there is no turning back. That’s when you must continue the journey by training your heart, your mind, your body, your soul, and others to better prepare as you stand vigilant, ready for the next time. If the first time does not kill you, then you can almost count on having a next time. The next time always comes.
O’Neal is retired US military and has excelled in direct action combat in the 173rd Airborne, Charlie Company of the 75th Rangers, 1st Aviation Brigade, 1st Field Force, 7th Special Forces Group, 5th Special Forces Group, and the first US military anti-terrorist team, code named “Blue Light.” He has nearly forty years of combat application, knowledge, and expertise. Specializing in tracking and stalking, he served as chief instructor for the Special Operations Combat Special Weapons and Tactics Course, and he has taught in a variety of other Special Operations Courses to include the first Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape Course implemented by legendary prisoner of war Colonel Nick Rowe. O’Neal also holds a 6th Degree Black Belt in American Karate Do and holds black belts in several other martial systems. O’Neal explains, on the streets today in US cities and around the world, there are predators of all kinds, including Jihadi sleeper cells, actively operating and looking for soft targets as they walk freely among us with no threat of arrest due to our government’s inability to apprehend them legally. It seems that law enforcement can enforce the law only after the fact, and then it’s too late.
Therefore, you should have a good working knowledge of guns and knives—and how to use those tools—offensively and defensively. If you know how to use guns and knives, you have a better chance to defend yourself against someone who is trying to use these tools to attack, rob, or intimidate you. If you have no familiarity with guns or knives and one or both get pulled on you, you will be at a psychological disadvantage and will lose—one way or another.
The same thing goes for offensive and defensive driving. A weekend at a race track learning how to use your car offensively and defensively will give you a tremendous advantage when faced with someone in the throes of road rage. Once again, this type of familiarity trains your mind and body to overcome the fear that people typically experience in confrontations on the street. Just knowing how to spot a tail when driving or how to spot someone following you at the mall or attempting to approach you at a teller machine or gas station pump could save your life by putting you one step ahead of a bad situation. Prevention through awareness is the key, and there are steps to learn how to do this correctly. You rarely get a second chance when you are the victim.
Currently, O’Neal continues to train US military forces, conducts seminars around the United States by request, and teaches select individuals in the training hall at his place of work. He is CEO of Old Warrior Company in Raeford, North Carolina and a 2010 US ARMY RANGER HALL OF FAME INDUCTEE.