A Psychology and Statistics Professor, LAPD Reserve Police Officer, and Shotokan Karate Instructor.

He began his martial arts training in 1955 in Sydney, Australia by learning jujitsu at Langridges gym. Soon later, he also began to study boxing at the N.S.W. Police Boys' Club in Wolloomooloo.He was the founder of the Topanga Valley Karate School, a nonprofit organization dedicated to teaching karate for self-defense. He was also the co-founder of the International Society of Okinawan/Japanese Karate-Do. He was also an active member of the American Teachers of Martial Arts association.

As a reserve police officer he would always volunteer to work on holidays so that regular officers could be with their families. He used his position as a reserve officer to gain access to thousands of police reports so that he could do a statistical analysis of the most common violent attacks. He was frequently called on to respond to 911 calls. On one occasion, he subdued a man that was on a combination of PCP and cocaine. Towards the end of his career, he began working for the fugitive-warrant division of the LAPD, apprehending some of the most dangerous criminals at large. After being attacked in a holding cell, he conducted an elaborate study to show that bullet proof vests provide little protection from a punch or kick to the chest. This resulted in the design of better protective vests for correctional officers.

He was a lifetime member of the NRA and would take his students to the shooting range with him as a reward for earning a brown belt. He would put 200 rounds of ammunition down the range each week, making use of four different guns.

Key Philosophies
  • Self defense instructors should focus on teaching defense techniques for the most common types of attack.
  • Traditional kata can be interpreted to provide useful self defense methods.
  • Practicing a martial arts technique ad-nauseum with lots of feedback from a quality instructor is the best way to learn.
  • Karate students should train in ways that will not cause long term damage to their bodies.
  • How you do a technique is as important as what you do. Proper body movement is essential for success.
  • Front snap kicks should follow a straight trajectory towards their target rather than moving upwards and scraping across them.
  • The bladder is a better target than the genitals.
  • Knowing how to do eye gouges, fish hooking, groin pulls, and hair pulls, are just as important as fancy karate moves, especially when facing a larger attacker.
  • Humans will often get a sour-bitter taste in their mouth when someone nearby intends to cause them some sort of harm.
  • Armed defense with lethal weapons should only be taught to students of brown belt level or above.
  • Some people are instinctively strikers and others are instinctively grabbers. Martial artists should focus their practice on whichever one they feel more comfortable doing.
  • Everything should be served along with a good dose of humor.
  • Crime Fighters' Psychology
  • Self-Defense for Everybody, A primer in applied Karate
  • Urban survival, applied psychology and methods
Web Resources

Bernie Weiss on Self Defense


International Society of Okinawan/Japanese Karate-Do