Birmingham’s Shinkenmi Ni Tesseyo Karate very kindly invited me to teach a children’s and an adult’s self-protection workshop. Both sessions were small and therefore I took a more informal touch. Rather than using a PowerPoint presentation, we covered all the soft skills material in a sit-down discussion format.
Both sessions covered pre, in and post-fight criteria. All attendees did well and gave their all into the training/learning process. However, I was surprised that some think that personal security should form as little as 10% of one’s overall self-protection training. The recommendation from such combative luminaries as Peter Consterdine, Mo Teague and Geoff Thompson is that it should form at least 90%. Good soft skills mean that hard skills might never have to be utilized.
We began both workshops with correct attitude – confident and adaptable – and then moved onto a definition of situational awareness. I brought in statistics and case studies for violence in Birmingham. The city is way above the national average when it came to violent assaults and robberies. 2011 saw a decline in violence, but an increase in robberies. Birmingham City Centre was, of course, caught up with the copycat riots that were inspired those that broke out in London earlier in 2011. Statistics on knife crime indicated that it was at the upper end. Even before I taught the workshops I was forwarned by the caretaker that a new gang was in the area and they had made there way in on one previous occasion!
Awareness also incorporated the Jeff Cooper Colour Code and Mo Teague’s variation on the OODA Loop. We also discussed the effects of the chemical cocktail on the body in stressful situaitons and how it affects fight performance.This led us immediately to the crisis point, where we dealt with the pre-emptive strike and using the fence.
It amazes me how simplistic and natural the fence is as a concept and yet how it can also be terribly misunderstood. Many people still don’t get the idea that if you can set a social/physical barrier up to stake out your boundary, you have the best opportunity to see whether an incident is going to become violent and, if so, you can fire off a pre-emptive strike. In the junior section we looked at the problems with range and the fence. If size is a major issue then the defender has to judge their fence outside the distance measured by their arms.
We covered target familiarization – overlapping full-contact strikes to focus mitts with placing shots on real human targets. This was all done within a scenario, getting students used to handling pre-fight verbal aggression and deception. We then moved onto natural instinctive combinations and maintaining pressure. This was followed by the cover – an effective recovery tactic – and multiple attackers. Everything was done at different ranges. Both sessions finished with S1 vs S2 pressure tests, covering general and specific situations.
The post-fight section was, again, a sit-down discussion. We discussed continued awareness and the “double tap”. We also discussed reporting incidents and the importance of having basic first aid skills. Looking at repurcussions, we discussed the importance of making peace with the incident – what is done is done – and also the legal side of such matters.
I would like to give gratitude to Shinkenmi Ni Tesseyo Karate, Andy and Mick Rheeston, for booking me. Great to modern thinking traditional martial artists like this, willing to bring in other coaches. They were both a pleasure to train with and I look forward to our continued relationship. If you are in their area and fancy trying out a martial art I recommend that you give them a go.