Last Official Class of 2010

Christmas lesson! Okay, so an opportunity to end the year with fun activities that are still relevant to training. A full class engaged in the following:

Build-up tig – This is a traditional escape and evasion game. I often start children’s self defence with this to help get across the first message – to avoid and escape. We then varied it with combat base moving, butterfly guard moving, snaking and bear crawling to work through other relevant postures (fighting from your knees, backside, back and on hands and feet).

High stance footwork – one person tries to crowd and cut-off his opponent in this non-contact activity designed to promote faster and more agile footwork. We took up a notch by having the chasing partner try to touch his partner’s back as many times as possible.

Low stance footwork – Both partners touch hands and attempts to unbalance each other. This something of a very crude version of what tai chi chuan students call “pushing hands”. This promotes the stability of low stances found at clinch range.

Mirror footwork chase game – One partner shadow boxes, sprawl and shifts to three targets set out on the floor in a triangle. The other does his best to keep up.

Clinch MMA sparring – One partner tries to take the other person down from a clinch position. Strikes are permitted.

Guard MMA sparring – One partner tries to pass guard whilst the other tries to use his guard to sweep or submit the other partner. Strikes are permitted.


We began with the frontline self defence hard skills revision. This consisted of the transitional drill and some pressure testing. Other areas we touched on tonight:

Strangles: The rear naked strangle (or blood choke) is perhaps the most high percentage grappling hold recommended for physical self defence. At present, I follow the tactic that you should strike when you can and grapple only when you have to. Having said this, as the risk of the encounter is scaled down then grappling techniques become more appropriate. The strangle-hold involves wrapping one arm around your enemy’s neck gripping your other arm-bicep and then passing your other forearm behind the back of your partner’s neck. It is important that the hold is on as tight as possible with all gaps closed. The pressure should not just come from the arms, but also the chest and back, which you use to complete the hold.

Entries: We also revised entries for this hold from standing and the ground. As we go to the ground we start crossing over into more attribute based work. In most instances you are fighting to get back to your feet, however, this might not be an instantly available option and therefore understanding of how to strangle on the ground is still a functional exercise.

Asymmetrical Groundwork: We revised both fighting to regain your footing from a one-on-one situation (with kicks) and a multiple attack situation (using climbing).

Symmetrical Groundwork: We spent a lot of time working from under the mount and from the guard position. This began as a straightforward self defence pressure test. We then moved onto some 50% sparring, known as rolling in grappling circles, to better develop movement against resistance on the ground.

I would like to take the opportunity to wish all those who have enjoyed reading this website the compliments of the season. Here’s to a happy holiday and successful 2011.