My Fifth Hard Target Day 2 (diary entry)

Beginnging where we left off on the self defence physical skills, we went back through the postures and then we covered movng from these different ranges. Among the main teaching principles that have been apart of Hard Target since the beginning is the rule you fight how you train. This is no mere armchair or dojo philosophizing from research into the visible development of miling down neural pathways as a person learns a physical skill to real case studies where law enforcements personnel have incurred tragedies due to picking up unintentional dangerous training habits, instructors carry a heavy responsibility when they train anyone in practical combatives. So, when I teach someone how to move from a kneeling, seated or lying position I drill into them the most efficient means I know to get back to their feet ad nauseum!

After confirming all the techniques, I began putting them together. I teach combinations a little differently to most. Although I do show some set three technique combinations, as you would in a sporting context, I have a strong preference for “target response” combinations. These are combinations that follow the natural responses of your target. So you hit someone’s head; the head is likely to go back prompting an overhand hand straight shot and so on. I am also a big fan of time management. Early on I got the students used to striking all their way through the various postures. We applied the same concept to the combination work, attacking with the best available weapon at all times. So, for example an eye gouge might be followed by a finger-break if the target brings their hands up to defend their eyes or we might go a head-butt if the eye gouge was used at very close range and then by an elbow as the target’s head moves further back.
Prior to lunch all students were tested in a code white reaction test. This is when they close their eyes and are immediately prompted to use what technique is relevant when they are startled by a possible threat. Sometimes the possible threat turns out to be completely inoffensive, so this tests control and understanding the “rules” relating to personal space.

After a light lunch we moved into the usual situational exercises, pressure tests and pressure ordeals leading up to the infamous individual pressure ordeal. Everyone made it through this time with no quarters asked and some even carrying old injuries.

The final stage of Hard Target deals with the escape to the second management line. As always, the course is worked around Mo Teague’s trademark Confrontation Map, which combines all aspects of a conflict from spotting it early on to the repurcussions afterwards. It has two management lines. The first is when you arrive at the “crisis point”. The second is when you successfully survived the crisis. In this last section I discussed the “Double Tap”, the “Black Dog” and the legal side. This time the soft skills were updated to include the Human Rights Act legislation as it relates to the Section 3 (1) of the Criminal Law Act 1967. This helps better clarify the law in relation to a person’s right to self defence, including answering the concerns many civilians have regarding whether a person defending themselves is supposed to gauge exactly what is proportionate in a time of extreme stress.

The whole class was a real inspiration and there was a great energy derived from the obvious camaraderie.