Hitler’s Martial Arts?


“Ideology is the opposite of philosophy. Philosophy is the curiosity which guides its inquiry according to universal principles. Ideology is a prior prejudice that seeks out an echo-chamber of reaffirming information.” ― Stefan Molyneux   There is an unofficial school of thought that argues a strong belief can override a number of flaws in a violent situation. The regular reader of my material will note how much importance I place on attitude and one might argue that a strong sense […]

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Fluidity of Techniques (diary entry)


18.11.17   This morning we brought the CCMA basic course on submission grappling/groundwork up to the seven and a half hour point. We focused entirely on submissions from the closed guard. After sport-specific calisthenics for groundwork, we revised the conventional arm-bar and leg triangle choke from guard.   An area I am very keen to express in training is the fluid linking of movements with minimal delay. This seems obvious, but often I find what gets lost in learning is […]

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MMA Range Training (diary entry)

ground and pound 2

15.11.17   Tonight’s MMA lesson focused on bringing everything together. This is where we look at transitioning through ranges and skillsets within a limited rules format. Although MMA isn’t self-protection training, it provides a very rich training ground for mining practical attributes and provides an excellent area to test various specialised techniques in conjunction with others.   We warmed up with some dynamic stretching; focusing a lot on unilateral bodyweight calisthenics that allow for a large range of movement i.e. […]

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Reality Training for Children

francis gilbert

Back in 2006 I produced a four-part series on training children in self-protection. I had started my own club the previous year and it struck me that a huge area was missing in the so-called reality-based world. Adults had been woken up to the big problems in martial arts training, which had seemingly been addressed by a new tribe of martial arts going under the banner “Reality-Based Self-Defence”. However, children, who made up the majority of martial arts classes to […]

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Submissions from the Guard (diary entry)

triangle choke

11.11.17   This morning’s lesson took my client up to the six hour mark of a scheduled 10 hour course on basic submission grappling/groundwork for martial arts cross training. We finished off our basic escape from pins training and moved onto closed-guard work.   The warm-up consisted of all specific groundwork calisthenics and mobility exercises, especially movements from the back. Then we revised escaping side control and scarf-holding using both a reversal and snaking escape. We then finished off this […]

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Building on the Mobile Scaffold (diary entry)

armbar from guard5 (close up)

08.11.17   Tonight we tested and then built off the foundation taught last lesson. I struggle for an appropriate metaphor here and keep on using the term “scaffold”. One doesn’t usually think of mobility, fluidity and transitioning when one thinks of a scaffold, but the point remains that a fighter needs to have a mobile base in order to fight effecienty. The movement from guard resembles the footwork required to effecient when one fights from a stand-up or clinch position. […]

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Escaping from Pins (diary entry)


04.11.17   This morning brought us up to the four and a half hour mark in a 10 hour basic course on submission grappling/groundwork for martial arts cross-training. Previously we looked at basic top positioning, pinning and transitioning from the top with a few submissions. Today we looked at defence from underneath. It wasn’t my intention to work much on guard-work, which comes under its own very large category, but there is some degree of overlap that flowed well.   […]

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Guard Position Mobility (diary entry)


01.11.17   Tonight’s lesson moved away from MMA clinch and Muay Thai to explore ground-fighting and working from the guard. This topic came up after MMA sparring in the previous lesson, where my client expressed problems with executing effective movement whilst holding a closed guard position.   We warmed up with our usual set of mobility exercises into calisthenics. Then we completed a series of calisthenic exercises specifically for ground-fighting. This consisted of various crawls and also snaking/shrimping variations to […]

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Explaining the Child Fence for Self-Protection (diary entry)

child facing outside world

30.10.17   The third lesson of my special course on self-protection for young people brought the focus onto the three elements of a conflict: pre-fight, in-fight and post-fight. We looked at the definition of self-protection, dividing into personal security and self-defence. I explained that attitude ran throughout this conflict and should be a rule for life. Being aware of one’s behaviour in everything from learning to direct action has a fundamental impact on survival in violent situations. We discussed situational […]

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MMA Clinch to Ground (diary entry)

standing arm triangle

25.10.17   Tonight’s lesson continued with MMA clinch-work, revising Muay Thai entries and adaptations, but focused on set-ups using the elbow and collar tie. We also did some ground work.   Training began with western boxing and Muay Thai shadow boxing, moving onto wrestling entries. This was followed by partner work, which included neck-wrestling, lock-off positioning for knee strikes, shoulder trapping and arm-triangle trapping. We then moved onto over-hook/under-hook pummelling. From here we looked at setting up knee-strikes, elbow-strikes and […]

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Child Self-Protection Course Continues (diary entry)

child training

23.10.17   Tonight was the second in my special course for child self-protection. We began with a warm-up of catching games teaching evasion skills, spotting exit points, moving out of corners and creating distance. This moved us onto the fence, where we did a series of exercises to help teach understand personal space and using boundary lines. When it comes to children, this can be especially difficult. Children are still developing certain mental functions to better understand spatial awareness and […]

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Transition to Submission (diary entry)


21.10.17   The second lesson in a scheduled 10 hour course on submission grappling/ground fighting for martial arts cross training brought us up to the three hour mark. We revised all the pins taught in the previous lesson, refining movement and positioning to promote fluidity. After a series of top position exercises – bear crawls, lizard crawls, crab crawls, seal crawls and frog jumps – we went back through the pin transition drill covered in the previous lesson. This then […]

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Muay Thai Clinch for MMA (diary entry)

over hook

18.10.17   Tonight’s lesson looked at using the Thai clinch for mixed martial arts. We began with a series of mobility exercises and then some calisthenics before we moved onto the plumb position. This partner work began with neck-wrestling and some light grip-fighting. From here we did some one-for-one striking from the clinch and sweeps.   Next we brought Muay Thai clinch into the MMA arena. With a greater allowance for stand-up wrestling holds and even submissions, we were able […]

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Ground-Fighting Begins (diary entry)


14.10.17   This morning we began the first lesson in a 10 hour course on submission grappling/ground-fighting for martial arts cross-training. Our initial focus was on building a strong top position by learning the basic pins and how to transition through them in an effective way. We began with a series of mobility exercises on the floor, which increased their intensity until they were fully-fledged grappling specific callisthenic exercises. This was followed with a series of crawling exercises – bears, […]

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Muay Thai to MMA clinch (diary entry)


11.10.17   Continuing our work on the Muay Thai clinch tonight’s lesson primarily looked at sweeps and finished with Mixed Martial Arts clinch-work. As I have discussed previously, modern Muay Thai is not an obvious choice to focus on throwing, but the restrictions allows for some interesting developments. Plus the art has one very important element: the long-time practise of striking in combination with the clinch. The way nak muay move their opponents fluidly whilst striking is an art unto […]

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