The second lesson in Kingham Hill’s Spring Term course on Self-Defence revised the fence, looked at an aggressive recovery version of the fence and the cover to regain striking before moving onto some Muay Thai cross-training.
The class warmed up with transitioning through postures. This was done reinforce moving fluidly from different compromised positions to standing and also adopt strong, stable fighting postures. I encouraged active engagement of the core muscles, retaining a straight back, not putting the hands down and retaining active positions with the elbows tucked in throughout the transitions.
We then revised the fence (protection of personal space prior to a violent incident). This was trained first as a target familiarisation exercise, which consisted of placing pre-emptive hand strikes when the fence-line was breached. We then transferred this onto focus mitts. Students in groups of three dealt with two-on-one situations.
The lesson moved onto recovery tactics. An aggressive version of the fence, which uses a shove to set up a pre-emptive strike, is the first line of recovery tactics. Here the defender is too slow to protect their personal space and they find an attacker already occupying it. The shove, backed up with a quick shift backwards creates the space. This is then reinforced with a verbal command, such as “back off!” and “stay where you are!” Creating this distance should stop the incident from becoming any more physical. However, we then followed this up with a pre-emptive strike should the aggressive attempt to return to the space. This provides the added benefit of using two moving objects to create a greater impact.
The next line of defence is the cover. Here the defender is already under physical attack. They are being struck and, for some reason, they are not out of the picture yet. In line with the proactive strategy of my self-protection course, they need to regain the initiative. This is done by using the cover. I have dedicated an entire chapter to this tactic in my eBook “Mordred’s Victory and Other Martial Mutterings” and have discussed many times on here (there are also videos on my YouTube Channel that describe its use). The cover and the previous shove demonstrate two types of natural flinch responses that can be cultivated into temporary counter-offensive tactics. In this instance I taught the cover in order for the student to smother the attack and return fire with their own strikes. This was taught with a very specific type of coaching, which began with a code white test (the student closed their eyes and were startled with a physical prompt). They were then struck, prompting the cover action, which then transitioned into returning strikes and moving back into the same procedure taught with pre-emptive striking.
After the cover we moved onto Muay Thai cross-training. I taught the Dracula guard as an example of combat sport technique that shares some similarities with a self-defence tactic. The cover, of course, can be used in MMA and in Western Boxing it shares some similarities with the peek-a-boo style. However, in this instance we were dealing with a close range jab exchange. Rather than slipping the jab, the nak muay covers their face and jabs at the same time. I then used the cross-face momentum to reverse the action and combine the jab with a round kick to the leg.
Soft skills covered in today’s lesson included short-term and long-term self-protection, motivation and attitude, and the importance of developing effective behaviours.