From Establishing Boundaries to Anti-Grappling (diary entry)

eye gouge standing eye gouge08.10.20

The fourth lesson of this self-protection course for teenagers began work on handling the clinch. I made use of the client’s brother, who has also trained with me, and is within my client’s bubble as well as simulations on her freestanding heavy bag and shadow training.


We began with a revisit of the fence and a discussion on the importance of establishing boundares as early as possible. It is advantageous to move into an effective position and maintain distancing as early as possible when a defender suspects they are being targeted. Body language and attitude are important both to assess the potential threat and to inform any witnesses. Fences need to be firm and efficient without becoming on obvious fighting stance. If executed properly – which is why it is very important to train this behaviour – the fence works as an effective acid test for a potential threat’s intentions. Such situations are already highly charged with tension and the chemical cocktail flooding the body, limiting cognitive abilities and fine motor skills, the defender needs very simple methods to respond in a way that will reduce harm being done to them.


After we ran back through the pre-emptive strike, incidental combinations with a referencing hand, clear obstructions, tactical escape, hunting a target, multiple aggressors and regaining the initiative from the cover, we began to look at anti-grappling procedures. Fortunately, prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, my client had already completed three 10 hour courses in stand-up grappling, submission grappling and MMA, giving her a good rudimentary knowledge of how to clinch. It is important that a defender who is going to use anti-grappling tactics knows how to drop their level and fight from wrestling stances and can use basic grappling postures. Once I had confirmed this through shadow work, began using strikes from these positions and on whilst moving in these positions. Although the head and throat are primary targets we also looked at punches to the groin abdomen. Next, we began work on the fighting from a wall whilst being clinched. With aid of her bubble partner (her brother) we went through the eye gouge/head-butt/horizontal elbow back into the default incidental striking combination.



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