Fred Mastro and the Mastro Defense system

Fred Mastro is a Belgian born self defense teacher. He is best known for being a celebrity bodyguard as well as a fight choreographer, bouncer, and martial arts personality.  He has worked as a choreographer on a number of popular films such as Taken with Liam Neeson.

Mastro Defense System

He has also developed his own self defense systems known as the Mastro Defense System (MDS) and LADYFENSE based on his collective martial arts experience. The MDS system has gained a large following online following and his Facebook page currently has over 1.6 million followers. Mastro’s seminars are usually very well attended and his defense system now has affiliate schools and teachers that are based in North America.

Usually I am very wary of defense systems. In particular we are wary of defense systems that teach their students how to disarm attackers of knifes and other deadly weapons. Disarming techniques are often based on unrealistic movements. In our opinion these techniques are irresponsible and give people unrealistic confidence that could potentially be fatal.


Maestro’s own background is in the Kali and Penchak Silat. Penchak Silat is a umbrella term used to describe a group of Indonesian and Malaysian martials arts  It is a full-body fighting art that incorporates incorporating striking, grappling and throwing in addition to weaponry. However it is noteworthy that Mastro himself is a BJJ brown under the legendary Red belt Flavio Behring. Behring passed in 1994 but it is not clear whether Mastro has continued to study BJJ.

Anyway, check out the videos yourself and make up your own mind. Many of the techniques such as the Mastro handshake are based on the familiar rapid style striking and hand movement that regularly appears in other self defense videos. It is likely that Mastro himself is a proficient martial artist but we are less convinced at the validity of the techniques in a real life scenario.

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