Retired SEAL Empowers Others with Defense Training Inspired by Combat

Randy Rozzell is a retired U.S. Navy SEAL and a master in self-defense. Before he became a SEAL he was a Martial Arts Instructor in the U.S. Marine Corps.

In combat, there were several critical moments when Rozzel found himself in a hand-to-hand fight for his life. Though his advanced training helped him survive, he walked away from each encounter feeling the need to strengthen his skill set further.

“I ended up on three separate occasions fighting for my life in the hand-to-hand combat,” he said. “Those situations were very scary. I'd like to tell you that I dealt with them perfectly and I dealt with them sufficiently because I'm here, but I knew if I had better training I would have been more effective.”

Those experiences inspired Rozzell to study a range of martial arts and use those techniques to develop a specialized training program for the Navy’s elite warriors.

“It's a combination of Brazilian jujitsu, American boxing, more Thai wrestling, judo and Collie which is Filipino martial arts,” he said.

Watch video of Randy Rozzell practicing combative training techniques he perfected during his 12-year career as a U.S. Navy Seal.

Rozzell was eventually promoted to Chief of Naval Special Warfare Combatives, which put him in charge of training the Navy's elite fighters for critical situations.

“So everything I taught had to work because that was a SEAL’s life on the line. So I had to pressure test everything,” he said. “So if they happened to end up in a situation like I was, not only would they survive like I did but they would be even more effective.”

Rozzell retired after 22 years in the military and is now a San Diego Firefighter. He was just named Firefighter of the Year by the Poway VFW.

And although he is no longer active duty, his mission to help others protect and defend is far from complete.

“I have knowledge to help keep someone safe. Why wouldn't I share that?” he said.

Rozzell founded American Warrior Combatives and teaches practical combat courses to military and law enforcement personnel and civilians. He teaches classes at the 4S Brazilian Jiu Jitsu training center and also travels to a variety of locations sharing his defensive techniques.

Rozzell is a husband and father and is especially passionate about helping young women protect themselves.

“I hope and pray that my wife and my daughters never end up in this situation,” he said. “But if they are I want them to have something to fall back on.”

Kylie Heinzman, 18, is leaving for college this summer with a new-found confidence thanks to what she's learned from Rozzell.

“I had this sense of empowerment that not necessarily I could do anything but I could get myself out of any situation that I found myself in and didn't want to be in,” she said.

Heinzman said many of the simulated situations in training are uncomfortable but are critical to the training experience.

“All the situations that he puts us through are real situations and I do appreciate that, even though they are kind of uncomfortable,” she said.

Rozzell said he wants his trainees to understand how vulnerable they can be, and to learn how to be successful in those situations. It’s part of his passion for keeping people safe on and now off the battlefield.

“Then they understand that, ‘Hey, I can survive this. I'm not helpless. I'm strong enough to survive,’” He said.

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