Today began the first day of a new term at Kingham Hill School. My session has been oversubscribed, meaning that the class was the largest group so far since I started teaching at Kingham Hill back in the spring last year. I am teaching self-defence again along with elements of combat sports. It was good to see the return of familiar faces from the two previous terms. Their presence meant I had some assistance with the greater numbers. There was an enthusiastic atmosphere than enabled me to move through the basics quite fluidly.
Soft skills were delivered piecemeal as each physical technique was taught. We touched upon situational awareness, identifying potentially violent behaviour, understanding the effects of stress (fear) and the legal side of self-defence throughout today’s lesson. These topics will be revisited in subsequent lessons and also delivered as discussion points during rest periods.
The warm-up consisted of tactical escape, footwork, covering, striking and sprawling. We then moved onto the fence and pre-emptive striking. From here we trained defeating hesitation by striking off the fence once it was breached. We then drilled the rear hand straight, often colloquially referred to as a cross. This can be thrown as a punch or a palm strike. There are pros and cons for both. The majority of the class selected the palm strike whereas those with some experience in Boxing and Muay Thai went for punch. From here we looked at the importance of constant forward pressure and an uninterrupted flow of strikes.
In order to better naturalise the execution of this technique we did some walking exercises, gradually building up the striking action. The point of this is to be able to integrate a strike from a natural gesture, defeating as much telegraphing as possible in the action. We then trained on each other to assure good targeting and application. This was then transferred onto the focus mitts. The mitt-holder was empowered with explanations on how to better improve the practise of their training partner when striking the targets. We then added on referencing with the supporting hand and incidental combinations.
The final part of the lesson was concerned with Western Boxing basics. The difference between asymmetrical/counter-assault/self-defence dynamics and symmetrical/consensual violence/match-fighting dynamics was discussed and demonstrated. The use of the fence lead hand to sense, negotiate and maintain distance was changed to a jab. The rear hand straight became a definite punch. We also trained backwards and forwards footwork.