Tonight’s lesson brought my client to 10 hour point of his course, completing Basic Muay Thai for Martial Arts Cross Training. This is where I like to bring clients back to the self-protection line and look at ways to integrate their attribute training into this area.
This time I looked at one aspect of the fence – a posture termed “the pleading fence” by Geoff Thompson. I mention it briefly on my “Cross Training in the Martial Arts” DVD. It involves putting the hands up in a parallel position as if pleading. Such a tactic is often employed by some self-defence teachers who teach handgun disarms, where the hands frame the weapon. The problem with teaching a fence posture is that individuals can easily get hung up and fixated on that particular posture. Geoff Thompson told me that the stylization of the fence largely came from people seeing his diagrams and photos, and assuming that the fence was a static position. When I started seeing people using the fence as a blocking tool rather than a method for launching a pre-emptive strike I knew that the original message had become lost. Nevertheless, adopting different hand positions are valid. They just need to be active and not fixed if possible. The fence is a concept rather than a technique. We used the pleading fence first a momentary passive gesture to gauge distance and put up a sensory tentacle for pre-emption. Then we used it aggressively to initiate a shove to create distance.
Next we moved onto using adapted Thai elbow strikes for very close-quarter combat. These were only used at this range the client quickly changed back to striking with the hands once distance had been achieved. We also used downward elbow strikes as anti-grappling tools. Knee strikes were also integrated in clinch range and as part of an incidental combination, generally focusing on straight and diagonal knees. We combined these techniques with eye gouges and head-butts – the missing ninth limb of traditional Muay Thai. Finally we looked at using low round kicks and teeps to attack the legs.
Photography by Charlotte Von Bulow Quirk Photography