Holding the Fence Line (diary entry)

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The second in my client’s first series of lessons on basic self-protection moved more into the hard skills that will make up the bulk of this training. We began with a revision of the fence and preserving personal space. Before we stepped over into actual physical engagement we confirmed a complete understanding of determining the likelihood of a physical threat.
This area exemplifies the importance of training attitude in conjunction with actual skills. Most people can make shapes, hit pads hard or actively engage in a form of specific sparring, but actually understanding the importance of holding your fence line and to act without hesitancy in a pre-fight situation requires a lot of practise. This is the overlapping quality between conflict management and fight management, and demonstrates why it is crucial for people to learn self-protection as unconscious/competent behaviour. It’s a tall order if you have gone through your life not being involved in combative situations on a regular basis and don’t have certain qualities in your genetic make-up, which pretty much describes the average person who seeks out self-protection training.
However, once an awareness of the strength of preserving personal space is in place I find many clients can better deal with the aftermath of potentially violent situations. The majority who have been able to avert a violent situation don’t seem to be plagued by feelings of inadequacy, knowing that the threat did not cross their fence line. The minority who have had to act pre-emptively are reassured that they did so in self-defence, as the line has been touched and the threatening person clearly intended to become physical. Many who train the fence have problems with either acting too soon or too late. By using the fence-line as an action trigger removes the decision making process.
We then moved back onto the act of pre-emptive striking. This is an overlapping process whereby the client both trains target familiarization on a live target and striking a target with full-force on a focus mitt. Other variables, such as use of a head cage, can be brought into play to better represent the entire experience of a live situation. In order to develop stronger striking from a short range we brought in restrictions and also trained the same strike from different postures. This was also performed in transition. At this point we went over the transitional postures as a regular solo conditioning exercise the client could easily perform.
Tonight’s final section focused on incidental combinations. These combinations occur in accordance with the common trajectory of a target once it has been hit. Training incidental combinations encourages the uninterrupted flow of constant forward pressure and also immediate adaptation to the way a target can change.

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