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Zanshin Lair - Essential Protection - Reality Based Self-Defense  
About Zanshin Lair
About Zanshin Lair

My training in Traditional Martial Arts began in 1990 when I joined the Montco Karate Club located in Blue Bell, PA. I initially thought I would attend a few classes, learn some effective techniques, and be on my way. But it turned out that this club, with its unique combination of Shotokan Karate, Tae Kwon Do, and a few influences from other martial arts was a strong lure for me.

I learned a lot there thanks to my instructors Jack Oliver and Joel Gaskin, and will always be grateful to the late, great Steve Gartman for introducing me to the club.

By 1994 my instructors started to give me some teaching responsibilities which I found satisfying. I liked teaching others how to protect themselves. I continued to train with this club for a few more years before deciding to supplement my training with knowledge from other styles.

I started out by studying Small-Circle Jujitsu and Ryukyu Kempo, then moved on to Filipino Martial Arts under Dan Inosanto. In 1998 I became aware of an excellent Reality Based school in Canada called Senshido that is run by Richard Dimitri. I began implementing his teachings at the Montco Karate Club, as well as training with Richard at seminars when he would come to the states.

In 2002 I began to train in Krav Maga, an Israeli system of self defense. In November of 2003 after thirteen years with the Montco Karate Club I departed to pursue teaching Reality Based Self-Defense.

I currently train individuals and small groups throughout Montgomery and Bucks County, PA.

Company Name

The company name "Zanshin Lair" came about in the early 90's. Being a student of Traditional Martial Arts and through reading I came across the word "Zanshin". In kyudo, zanshin means the body posture after the loosing of an arrow; the posture is intended to reflect the higher meaning of zanshin, which is a mental aspect maintained before, during, and after an action.

In karate, zanshin is the state of total awareness. It means being aware of one's surroundings and enemies, while being prepared to react.

In the context of kendo, zanshin is the continued state of spirit, mental alertness and physical readiness to meet the situation (such as an opposing attack) that must be maintained when one returns to kamae after attacking. It is one of the essential elements that define a good attack.

During the practice of aikido, the usual method of practicing zanshin is to focus on the just-thrown uke, or opponent, while holding kamae and maintaining awareness in case there are additional attacks or attackers. In Iwama Style training, zanshin is practiced as general awareness of one's surroundings, of which uke is just a small part.

Being a fan of dragons for as long as I can remember I chose the word lair as in a "Dragon's Lair" to designate my training area.

Meaning of the Logo

The center of our logo is the Japanese symbol "Enso" which means "circle" and a concept strongly associated with Zen. Enso is one of the most common subjects of Japanese calligraphy even though it is a symbol and not a character. It symbolizes enlightenment, strength, elegance, the Universe, and the void; it can also symbolize the Japanese aesthetic itself.

As an "expression of the moment" it is often considered a form of minimalist expressionist art. I also chose this symbol to represent the calmness of self that you will obtain through the confidence you build by being able to protect yourself.

This is similar to the "Eye of the storm" where it is calm. The outer marks represent swift and violent motion similar to the outside of a tornado or "Twister" as it’s often referred to. It is a very violent place to be.

Therefore, with the knowledge and training provided at Zanshin Lair you can go about your day calm and confident knowing you have the skills to protect yourself. However, if need be you can unleash sudden and violent action to defend yourself.

Other Systems & Styles

Tae Kwon Do / Norristown Area Tae Kwon Do
Harry Plichta - Norristown, PA

Ryukyu Kempo / Greater Okinawan Karate Club
Jack Medaris - Blue Bell, PA

Krav Maga / DeStolfo’s Tae Kwon Do
Conshohocken, PA

Target Focus Training / TFT
Tim Larkin - New York, NY

Fight Survival Training / Improvised Weapons Training
Nick Hughes - Kennett Square, PA

Senshido / Various Seminars
Rich Dimitri - MD & NJ

Krav Maga / Atlantic Krav Maga
Kevin Mack - Hatboro, PA

Executive Protection / R.L. Oatman & Associates, Inc. Class 29

Modern Combative Systems Courses

Basic Edged Weapons
Combative Pistol
Spontaneous Attack Survival for Edged Weapons
Inverted Edge Tactics
Non-Ballistic Combative Pistol

I'm currently a Modern Combative Systems Adjunct Instructor in Edged Weapons.

Zanshin Lair's Chas Billera and Modern Combaive Systems' George Matheis

I possess current ACT 235 certification as well as being BLS First Aid, CPR and AED certified.

I'm available for Executive Protection Work as well as Security Consulting. I have associates that teach Combative Pistol and Personal Fitness Training.

-Chas Billera

Other Instructors

Christian Sakelson

Christian Sakelson is an instructor here at Zanshin Lair.

He has served with the 2nd Battalion 75th Ranger Regiment, was a Deputy State Wildlife Conservation Officer with the Pennsylvania Game Commission, as well as a commercial diver with Local Union 1456 in NYC.

Throughout his career he has also worked in the following fields, Executive Protection, Corporate Security, Bail Enforcement and Insurance Fraud Investigation.

He is a NRA Law Enforcement Firearms Instructor in multiple disciplines, has trained with personnel from many diverse backgrounds including FBI, Secret Service, Department of Defense, Royal Marines as well as numerous state and municipal law enforcement agencies.

He provides specialized training, equipment and consulting services to police tactical teams, security personnel and civilians.

Our Quakertown, PA Facilities

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