This private student originally engaged my services to further his cross-training knowledge, focusing particularly on kicking and groundwork. We also explored a lot of functional fitness to compliment solo revision training.
Today we changed tact altogether, as the student requested that we go back to self-protection.It is my personal philosophy that a martial artist should know the basics of self-protection before they explore combat sports or martial traditions. This isn’t to say I don’t approve of those who only get into it for the areas outside of self-protection – far from it – but my complete approach follows this method. Therefore to grade under me in Clubb Chimera Martial Arts you need to learn personal security soft skills and self-defence hard skils.
We began with a discussion on avoidance, awareness, attitude and the effects of fear (the chemical cocktail of adremaline, nor adrenaline, cortisol and endorphins that hit you in times of stress) on the body. We then looked at attack ritual and the time it takes for an antagonist to reach his prey. This brought us onto the constant rule of creating and maintaining distance whenever possible. The rule is particularly important during the pre-fight stage. Here you use what Geoff Thompson terms “The Fence”. This is the boundary between you and your antagonist and is usually demonstrated by raising your hands in a natural hand gesture. Quite simply once this fence is touched you strike without hesitation. I drilled this exercise first with touch contact using a human head target and then full contact on the focus mitts.
We worked the straight strike and the hook strike. I selected the open hand as it is an easy to use weapon and has a lower risk of being damaged than a fist. Having said that, the student was an experienced boxer and I appreciate a punch might be a more natural weapon for him to use. This was followed by a look at referencing a target after it has first been struck – one hand keeps constant contact whilst the other strikes. The target is struck with a constant and uninterrupted flow of fast strikes until the target is covered. The strike changes shape as the target changes, prompting natural combinatons – a straight strike turns into an overhand strike then to a hammer fist and finally to a knee, depending on where the main target goes.
We then trained these strikes from various postures combat base (kneeling), butterfly guard (seated on the ground) and long guard (on the back). All postures were trained to standing.
Next we moved onto the cover. This tactic is used for recovery and regaining the initiative. It is best drilled with the student in code white. This is staged by having the student close their eyes before being physically prompted. They are then hit with focus mitts to prompt them to cover and then overwhelm the pads with their own stirkes. For more information on the cover please read my article “Take Cover!” The cover wss also worked from the different postures. We then looked at getting up from the ground in an asymmetrical ground-fighitng situation. The session finished with some anti-grappling. We used the eye-gouge to acquire the striking target.
Recommended reading for this lesson: “Dead of Alive” by Geoff Thompson, “Streetwise” by Peter Consterdine, “Risk” by Dan Gardener, “The Survivor’s Club” by Ben Sherwood, “The Gift of Fear” by Gavin De Becker and “On Combat” by Dave Grossman.