As the holder of a sixth-degree black belt in karate, Wayne Burley is well able to defend himself.
His concern is you.
Burley is one of only a handful of people in the world and only one of two instructors in Ohio who are certified to teach C.O.B.R.A., the Combat Objective Battle Ready Application personal-defense system.
“What I teach people is, personal safety comes in many forms,” he said. “What I’m here to do is educate people, from the stay-at-home mom to Navy SEALS.”
C.O.B.R.A., which offers specific personal safety training and programs, was created by a deputy sheriff in Clearwater, Florida, in 2002.
Burley said C.O.B.R.A. works for people of all ages and backgrounds because it takes a different approach than traditional personal defense training.
“Most martial arts starts with physical skills, but your foundation is awareness, having a ‘personal-safety I.Q.’ ” he said. “I look at the program as educational, with a safety component.”
C.O.B.R.A. offers highly structured training that helps students prepare for specific threats; from an active shooter, to school bullying, campus safety, workplace violence, child-abduction prevention and protection for real estate agents.
C.O.B.R.A. offers 10- and five-week academies, one-day “survival camps” for adults and children, as well as team-building programs and courses for corporations, schools, churches and other groups.
Burley said a significant portion of C.O.B.R.A. training is dedicated to “myth-busting.”
“We give it a ‘reality download,’ ” Burley said of C.O.B.R.A. training. “We look at what makes a person a soft target; we educate people on criminal intent. We profile crimes. It’s not only about Dayton and El Paso.”
Burley said he also teaches students about a criminal’s “TPM,” that is, time, place and method of attack.
“C.O.B.R.A deals with criminals and how they think,” he said, “And stopping their attacks. Education awareness increases safety.”
Burely added that part of the education is putting students in scenarios they may encounter—without actual physical harm.
“As the instructor, I give the adrenaline rush,” he said. “I yell commands. We do a lot of drills and scenarios. In real life, you don’t get to ‘tap out.’ ”
Burley said CO.B.R.A. emphasizes consistency in instruction, and that everything taught is available on video.
“It sets us apart in terms of personal safety,” he said. “I got into this because of the resources. I don’t have to reinvent the wheel.”
A native of Beloit, Burley graduated from West Branch High School and Malone University, where he was captain of the baseball team. He earned a master’s degree in fitness management from the U.S. Sports Academy in Mobile, Alabama.
He previously worked in human resources at Mercy Medical Center in Canton and as corporate safety director at Lauren International in New Philadelphia.
Burley has been teaching karate since 1984 and C.O.B.R.A. since 2017. He conducts classes at his martial arts studio in downtown Waynesburg or can teach off-site at students’ request.
Though just 2 to 3 percent of adults study martial arts, Burley said every adult wants to be able to take care of themselves.
He likens personal-safety training to having an insurance policy.
“One thing that stops people from seeking training is they don’t believe it will happen to them,” he said. “So, they’ll spend $80 on some sneakers, but not on a child-abduction prevention class. We solve huge problems when it comes to personal safety and defense. When you walk out the door, you have applicable teaching that you can use today.
“Training saves lives.”
>> More info: contact Burley at 330-204-5661, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit cobradefensecanton.com.