Taster Lesson at Kingham Hill School (diary entry)




Today’s first lesson was a taster session for Kingham Hill School. The event was well-attended by students aged 16-17 years. My mandate is to deliver a course of self-protection/Mixed Martial Arts. I usually like to teach a strict 10 hour course of self-defence first before moving onto martial arts disciplines, but I appreciate the structure and audience is quite different in this respect and these lessons are more akin to a club format. Therefore, I have decided to slice up the lessons in self-protection material and martial arts material. This will begin with a heavy emphasis on self-protection and then change to a heavier emphasis on martial arts. Today’s extended lesson was a rough approximation of that style.


We warmed up with some simple natural movements, incorporating striking off a regular walking pattern. This progressed into jogging and running, and then some lateral movement, following by dropping levels. I then gave a brief discussion on my approach to teaching and a distinction between self-protection (personal security and self-defence) and martial arts (Boxing, Muay Thai, Wrestling, Submission Grappling and MMA).


The lesson, in earnest, began with some pre-emptive striking. This was done off the usual fence procedure. I gave explanations regarding the legal aspects of pre-emptive striking as well as tactical reasoning behind this method. We set up a simple pre-emptive test, which always highlights the problems with trying to block a strike at close range. We then moved onto the focus mitts and I taught basic coaching for the focus mitt holder. Mitts need to be held firmly for self-defence training and I usually advise novice holders to put one hand behind the pad to reinforce the resistance. The fence is trained by having the mitt holder keep the mitt up and to move into their partner’s space. Only when they move into their partner’s space should the mitt be struck. Once the mitt is struck the holder moves back and covers the mitt. This encourages constant forward pressure of uninterrupted strikes until the target is obscured. The role of the mitt holder is that of a coach. This empowers the holder and puts them in a position of responsibility, investing in the material being taught and becoming more aware of fighting performance.


The straight strike was then performed from various different restrictive postures – standing, kneeling, seated and from the back. We then brought the self-defence side of training to an end with defence from the ground, where students were taught how to cover, kick and get back to a standing position.


Using the basic mechanics from the round kick taught in the previous exercise, I introduced a basic kickboxing combination. The students turned the hand they used to protect their personal space into a jab and coupled it with the rear straight strike, turning that into a cross. This was then combined with the low round kick.


The mechanics of the one-two jab/cross were then turned into an entry into the Thai clinch or plumb position. The kick was turned into a knee strike and we did some basic Thai clinch-work.


The lesson was well-received and I look forward to teaching a term at Kingham Hill next term.

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