Fourth Hard Target Weekend Day 1 (diary entry)


This was my fourth time teaching Mo Teague’s Hard Target System, as a solo venture, for Response Security Training at their full-time centre in London. This time I taught a class that consisted of a mixture of martial arts students, door supervisors and students on the close protection course offered by RST. Backgrounds, ages, experiences and personalities were really across the board, which always makes for an interesting session. Diversity in a group often presents a challenge to an instructor. For me, it’s a chance to test my individualistic approach to coaching.

As always the pre-fight soft skills (non-physical) section of the course brought us up to lunch time. Please see previous reports on these seminars for details on the topics we covered relating to violene and likely offenders, awareness and action states, as well as the psychological and physiological effects on the mind and body. This section is always delivered using a PowerPoint presentation, introducing and explaining Mo Teague’s revolutionary Confrontation Map, which outlines all stages of a conflict. We also use CCTV video footage, providing case studies to illustrate and discuss interpersonal violence, and even popular culture references to convey certain points.

After lunch we steadily went through what are now becoming the 13 standard core techniques of the Hard Target System. These are all as individual concepts, which include both primary attack weapons and support weapons, as opposed to specific techniques and, of course, can be easily assimiliated into an even smaller number of techniques. Following a pre-emptive strike pressure test – which established the low probability of someone being able to block an antagonist at conversational (single arm’s length) distance – we began with high impact hand strikes, which are either hooked (ear/groin/power slap) or straight (straight single and double palms). Blind side backhand (back open hand or hammer fist strike) variations were offered off the hook, which also lends itself well to the execution of strikes with the edge of the hand to the throat, forearm strikes to side of the neck and to attacking limbs, and jabbing elbows. Strike strikes also lend themselves well to web/arc hand strikes to the throat and lead finger jabs to the eyes or throat. Strikes were done either to focus mitts or to a “Bob” doll (lifesize manaquin designed for combative training) or as a controlled technique to a live person. We also included lowline variations with football kicks and stamps to focus mitts and under control to human targets.

Anti-grappling and grappling applications – eye gouges, bites/pinches, finger-locks, philtrum takedowns and strangles – were applied compliantly and against resistan partners in specific training scenarios.

All of today’s techniques were pressure-tested or sparred, and then applied through basic postures.

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Essential resources for this course and self protection training in general: