Tuesday night saw the lesson of my instructor client’s continued professional development in focus mitt work. We continued our work within the self-defence sector, aimed at adolescents and children. In addition to answering questions and pondering deeper on areas brought in our previous session, we looked at adapting the fence to suit range restrictions with young children.
We began with an overview discussion and review of video material discussed in the previous class. This is detailed in this client’s previous lesson report, but in brief we covered tactical escape, the fence, referencing targets/setting a datum, incidental combinations, hunting a target, clearing obstructions, the cover and two anti-grappling drills. My client has begun establishing simple principles of uninterrupted striking and tactical escape with their youngest students. Teenage students have been introduced to more soft skills work to underline the use of the fence, referencing the target and the hunting drill.
The Hunting Drill
This exercise is primarily designed to reinforce the “Broken Record” approach to counter-assault situations. The defender strikes their target whilst being held at an arm-distance by their coach. The coach moves backwards as they would do in all other self-defence striking drills, but they maintain the distance via an outstretched arm throughout the exercise. This teaches the student to keep hunting the target despite the restriction.
The Child Fence
The fence is often most easily taught with an outstretched arm. The defender uses this to gauge how far they can set their physical boundaries. However, problems occur when there is a clear height/range difference. Children are often faced with predators who much larger than them. Being much smaller and comparatively weaker, they have even less chances of successfully escaping once this much larger predator has closed in on them. An adult or even an older child can easily breach their fence-line without even stepping forward and, in fact, their means for incapacitating the child might come from simply reaching out with one or both of their hands and grabbing the child’s limbs. We can also add into this that most children under the age of 14 have not fully developed their distancing judgement.
Looking forward, we will go back over good coaching for the cover and some variations on this drill.