Cross Training & Self-Defence (diary entry)



Cross Training Class

If you will pardon the melodrama, today’s class was something of a self-defence journey into martial arts cross training. I took the student through various different fighting systems, overlapped them and brought them back to the self-protection line. We began with the fence and pre-emptive striking. This started with target familiarization and muscle memory development for the pre-emptive strike. Straight strikes, hooks and uppercuts were covered before being taken onto the focus mitts for impact development. We then practiced the strikes through postures – kneeling, seated and on the back. This was first done to isolate strikes through restriction to improve their overall performance when executed from standing. Then they were done in transition to encourage a student to get back to their feet from a compromised position. Strikes were further confirmed from an offline angle and against multiple targets.


Next we covered additional striking tools, such as knees, elbows and kicks before moving onto the cover. After addressing this we did some anti-grappling tactics. This included strking from holds, eye gouges, head-butts, bites, finger-breaks, sprawls and bridging on the ground.

This then brought onto incidental weapons. We looked at percussive and edged weapons by using Filipino/Indonesian/Malaysian martial arts methods and then brought it back to using everyday objects such as iPods and car keys. I also brought in cocepts from Zulu stick-fighting tactics. It was emphasized that sometimes an incidental weapon does not always offer an advantage. Some items, such as a writing pen, might cause superficial damage, but they are not necessarily people-stoppers. We then looked at disarms and explored a few basic arm-locks, which brought us back to the self-defence line and unarmed defences against weapons.

Self Defence Class


This was an introductory lesson to a self-protection only course. We discussed attitude, awareness, psychological and physiological responses to conflict; the law and the after effects of interpersonal violence.


Attitude is the bedrock of self-protection. Both personal security and self-defence are reliant on an individual’s attitude. Without a good attiude you will not put any of the other aspects of self-protection into practice. You must believe you are worth protecting and are able to protect yourself. Furthermore, you must have the inner strength to never give in, no matter what happens.


Understanding awareness was key for the two students I taught in this private class. Both are planning on living in a country where crime is not only considerably higher than it is in this country, but also the level of brutality is very different. This helped illustrate the common flaw often encountered when teaching Jeff Cooper’s Colour Code. Cooper stated that an individual in code yellow should be comfortably aware. Many coaches have one size fits all approach, but being comfortably aware on the streets of Burford is a lot different than being comfortably aware in Mexico City.

Awareness needs to be gauged according the place and time.


We discussed the role fear had to play at the pre-fight stage of a conflict. There is an internal conflict inside most people when they encounter a potentially violent situation. Societal conditioning means that most people have never fought another human being in their adult life. This comes up against the biological factors that have enabled us to survive through the paleolithic period of our evolution. We are still stuck in this stage.


Only the legal side of things we discussed reasonable force as underlined in the Criminal Law Act 1967 3 (1) and pre-emptive striking, described in Beckford v. the Queen 1988. The main area covered in the aftermath stage of a fight was Winston Churchill’'s “Black Dog”. This addresses the “should ofs” that people themselves up with needlessly after an incident.


We then did some target familiarization and covered the fence. We looked at both the calm and aggressive variations on the fence. The fence is a barrier you create to protect your personal space and allows helps you to confirm whether an aggressor intends to become physical.

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