There’s a new martial arts school in town

A photo of Randy Turner against a backdrop.
Randy Turner is the owner of the newly-opened Westboro business Direct Action Combat Performance Inc. Photo by Harrison Koyman/Rag & Carbon Photography and courtesy of Randy Turner.

By Charlie Senack 

A new business has arrived in Westboro that can teach you skills to defend yourself in any situation.

Longtime Canadian Armed Forces member Randy Turner said he always knew he wanted to pursue another career after serving. Just before his 20-year contract with the Forces was up, creative ideas began developing as he looked for another career option. 

The 42-year-old has only been retired for a year now and said that time out of work has been full of unexpected surprises, including a global pandemic. 

When things began to shut down in mid-March, so did many of his contracts. That’s when a space was brought to his attention at the end of August. Turner said he knew he had to act fast. 

“I really was not sure with the idea, thinking there was no way I was going to do this now because it just was not the right time,” said Turner. “After I looked at the space, and realized it was in Westboro, which has a nice atmosphere, I started to put a little bit more thought into it.”

Direct Action Combat Performance Inc. is located on Danforth Avenue. It offers full-spectrum combative training which is designed for the general population and focuses on skills that can be used as self-defence. Firearms training is offered offsite, in the outskirts of Ottawa, and the space on Danforth is used for mixed martial arts.

“The business model, I believe, is going to do well because what I’m offering is different from any traditional martial arts,” states Turner. “What I’m doing is offering individual, personal, private one-on-one training, or for small groups in the size of six people.” 

Even at a time when businesses are shutting their doors because of COVID-19 challenges, Turner said he’s okay with taking risks. A takeaway from being in the military, he said, is being able to adapt to change.

“During my time in the Canadian Armed Forces, there were a lot of great opportunities, and we were able to do a lot of great things as an armed force in places like Afghanistan,” he said. “Then there were a lot of missed [opportunities] and a lot of things we could have done. When I found myself trying to decide if I wanted to sign the contract for this place, I thought back to those moments.” 

A photo of Randy Turner in uniform outside with his dog.
A photo of Randy Turner in uniform. Photo courtesy of Randy Turner.

During his 21 years with the Forces, Turner went on eight operational tours and served in Afghanistan on six different occasions. While there, he worked on combative operations, which sometimes put him in dangerous situations.

He also served as part of then-prime minister Stephen Harper’s detail during a 2009 visit to Afghanistan. 

Turner is humble when he speaks about his time overseas and clarifies that many others who have served have been put in more dangerous situations. 

Born and raised in Halifax, Turner joined the military right out of high school, after feeling lost and looking for a purpose. His uncle, who was a longtime member of the navy, put a bug in his ear and the rest was history. 

It wasn’t until 2007 that Turner became interested in mixed martial arts, after wanting to excel further as an athlete and Forces member. 

“I was looking for an outlet to help complement the fitness that’s required to be a top soldier,” he said. “I started to get really good at it and my coaches asked me if I’d be interested in competing. Once they dropped the nugget into my head, I went through with it and had some success.” 

Now Turner is looking to share those skills with the rest of Ottawa, a city he has called home since 2004. It’s where he’s raising his 10-year-old daughter, Elizabeth, with wife, Natasha. 

To find out more about Direct Action Combat Performance Inc., visit

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