Today’s session with Kingham Hill School brought an ending to the hard skills part of their self-protection training. We looked at defending against primal grappling, focusing on a specific technique – the side headlock – and in general with a pressure test. Next week we will look at some attribute training in the form stand-up fighting.
The lesson began with a warm-up of muscle memory revision exercises. This included striking whilst moving, covering, sprawling, knee strikes and tactical escapes to exit points. We then moved straight onto the nature of the side headlock. This is a very common primal grappling move and can be quite difficult to escape, especially if the hold is on tight. We looked at dealing with the early stage of the attack, which is very important. As soon as contact is made the defender should seek the back position and secure a waistlock or a seatbelt hold. Slipping out of the early stages of headlocks is a skill that really should be ingrained so that the defender never reaches the stage where his posture is broken and the head is securely held in place for the attacker to either punch with one hand or to take them to the ground.
Next we looked at the more troublesome stage when the hold is on. This requires more work and movement, involving getting the shoulder through, breaking the attacker’s posture and both hands pressing against the hold to get into a position when the defender can return to striking. Eye gouges and strikes to the groin and solar plexus are all useful add-ons in this instance, but none are primary weapons. The main principle is about getting back a strong position to break the hold. Once the basic movement was confirmed I introduced a focus mitt target to train striking from this compromised position.
We moved onto pressure testing with one person wearing a head guard and restricted to grappling against another only permitted to strike and use anti-grappling. The class trained for 10 x 1 minute rounds, getting an opportunity to play both roles.