Rob Stanley

Rob Stanley

I was deployed to Iraq on March of 2003.  Sometimes I saw the people I was shooting at; sometimes I just saw their muzzle flashes. Other times I don't know what I was shooting at, only that i needed to shoot in that direction at that time.  Sometimes I saw my target fall from my bullets, sometimes I did not.
They left me to guard the door they were using as an entry point. They had been in the house for about three minutes when three of the enemy came around the corner. Two were armed with AK-47's and one with a pistol and an AK-47 Bayonet. I fired a three-round burst at each of the men with AKs and saw them fall. My last three round burst were all tracer rounds, letting me know i was out of ammo. The remaining enemy was only five feet from me, so i did not have time to try and reload. (I had been thrown back against the wall by the impact of four bullets striking me in the chest, from the lower part of my rib cage to the upper right, one of the bullets passing close enough to my neck to leave a friction burn. If it had not been for my body armor and ballistic plates, I would not be here writing this: as it is I had three cracked ribs and a friction burn). So. I dropped my rifle, stepped forward and grabbed the wrist of the remaining enemy's knife hand. I performed a drop-knee shoulder throw, broke his elbow over my knee and finished him with his own knife. When I looked up, one of the Special Forces guys was standing in the door. He said, "I was going to give you a hand, but it looks like you didn't need any help."There were no US casualties in the operation.
If it hadn't been for Sensei Stokes constantly drilling on the basics, I don't know what I would have done. Never complain about practicing the basics: They are the building blocks for everything else and can save your life. Also, I can personally state there is no glory in killing someone, nothing to brag about, nothing cool, and it is something that will haunt me for the rest of my life. It has not changed how I feel about serving my country or doing my duty. If  I never have to fire my weapon in combat again, I will be a very happy man,however, if I need to, I will.  As I've said, there is nothing to brag about in killing: anyone who does is a liar or a psychopath.  The men who really do the killing don't like to talk about it. I only share this in writing because of my trust and faith in the Bushido Judo School, and in Sensei Stokes. I end with this statement:  "I am no hero, only a soldier who did his job to the best of his abilities; nothing more."


  • "In an age where commercialism seems to rule in the Martial Arts space and the true values of the Martial Arts are getting blurred Bushido Judo School holds true to the age old traditions of Honor, Respect and Discipline."

    -Andres Andreu
  • "Bushido Judo School has changed my life not only as a competitive athletes point of view but as an overall person. I have come to understand my self and gain much knowledge on how to control myself. Bushido's instructors are very caring and not only willing to help with judo but in all aspects of everyday life. Bushido isn't just a school it becomes your family."

    -Chris Elias
  • There's a few good places in Raleigh for martial arts, but I travel 40 mins to Bushido in Durham, because they're a competitive Judo club with the perfect balance of play-rough practice and fun-loving attitude.

    -Matt D'Avanzo
  • For the past two years, my six year old son had been asking to take martial arts classes. Being new to the area, we began visiting different dojos. A friend recommended that we visit Bushido. From the moment I met Sensei Stokes I was impressed with his interactions with the children in the class. My son joined, and a week later, I joined as well. The instructors and fellow students are exceptionally helpful. My son and I both enjoy the classes immensely, and my younger daughter now wants to join us.

    -Joe Zakszewski