Self-Protection Intro Session (diary entry)



Today I began a brand new programme with a new client. The client is of a high general fitness level who has trained regularly in cardiovascular methods uninterrupted for many years. His motivations are for general safety and also an interest in combative disciplines for a change of activity. After a discussion on our respective backgrounds, my client decided he would like to follow the CCMA syllabus of learning basic self-protection before branching off into aspects of cross-training.


The following articles are good resources for CCMA’s underlying tenets relating to self-protection:


We began with a basic self-protection over-view. Following the British Combat Association’s brief I use the term self-protection as the entire approach that encompasses personal security (soft skills/non-physical skills) and self-defence (hard skills/physical skills). Personal security addresses attitude, awareness, a basic understanding of biological and psychological responses to stress, attacker profiles, victim selection and basic self-defence law.  I explained the distinction between match-fighting and a self-defence situation. We do not address consensual fights in basic self-defence. In most instances, if you have made a decision to fight in an organized fashion – be it with or without rules – you are no longer involved in self-defence. I would advise that you swallow your ego and recognize the situation for the alpha male/female challenge it is and either walk away the best you can or arrange it in a cage, a ring or on the mats. The second you comply in a combative situation you already lost the altercation.


Attitude needs to be in place from pre-fit to post-fight. Without a good attitude you won’t be comfortably aware or see the importance of raising your awareness to the appropriate level given the people, place and time. You also won’t have the mental strength to handle the sympathetic responses your body will be experiencing and proceed and carry through with your plan counter-attack.  We also covered Mo Teague’s Recognize, Read and Respond loop of awareness, and defined a threat. This led us onto the various options, finishing with the last resort: fight.


Our fight management began with the fence. This is where all pre-emptive attacks are delivered. We worked both the regular fence and the aggressive fence. The former is for the general management of most situations. Here the student is taught to decide where their action line will fall and how he will act. A classic way to decide this is by using the lead non-striking hand as a sensory tentacle. Once this is breached the striking hand responds immediately.


We selected straight palm strikes first as a single shot and then as a continuous series of strikes. This was then trained from various restrictive positions – kneeling, seated and from the back. Next we explored the hook and its reverse action, the backhand (hammer fist) strike. We worked both sides with each technique. As always, I focused on correct positioning and the right muscle activation.

Here are some examples of other diary entries that explored similar training with other clients.

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