The Norman “Retreat” (diary entry)


jab woman
To celebrate the anniversary of the Battle of Hastings on 14th October, I covered a tactic that helped hand the Norman invaders their historical victory. Actually, like many historical reports, that is an embellishment. In truth, I only noticed a coincidence in the area I was teaching when I read some articles written to celebrate the battle. Nevertheless, the Norman tactic of feigning a retreat in order to draw their Saxon enemies off the higher ground is comparable to the way many defensive fighters draw their opponents.
My client is covering Western Boxing for cross training and he is currently working the jab. The lesson began with a revision of striking on and off the main attack line in a windscreen wiper type movement. The tactic works great to continue an attack using the jab and can be used to both corner and counter being cornered. We addressed the dangers of retreating in a linear fashion and also constant circling of an opponent, which can use up valuable energy whilst allowing an opponent to hold the centre of the ring, cage or mat. After going over these variations we went onto the drawing tactic.

Here we looked at dropping the lead arm to make it more relaxed for power jabs and anchor punches. The fighter was drilled to advance with a fast attack and bait an opponent before shifting back to invite the counter-attack. This was where he led the opponent onto the lead hand jab. I have covered training of the anchor punch in a previous diary entry here. Also see my diary entry “Jack Johnson Style”.

The lesson’s technical section finished with a look at the principle of drawing an enemy from a self-defence perspective. We looked at Geoff Thompson’s negative fence that was initiated by the John Anderson shove set-up. An aggressor quickly invades a potential victim’s space. The defender responds with a quick shove and shifts back, creating space. This space can be reinforced with a verbal response that might dissuade the aggressor from continuing his assault. However, if there isn’t time or it doesn’t the space allows the defender use the aggressor’s forward momentum to create a strong impact on a straight hand strike from the negative fence position.

We rounded off the lesson with a look at a series of strength exercises suited to tonight’s theme. These included medicine ball chest catches, both standing and lying down, tyre war, reverse lunges, power cleans and some bag drills. All of these focused on catching weight and/or impact or remaining strong when moving backwards.



Top Photograph by Charlotte Von Bulow-Quirk Photography, featuring Amanda Wilding and David Williams, taken for the published book “Mordred’s Victory and Other Martial Mutterings” and the upcoming “Bullshitsu and the Fight to Make Martial Arts Work” by Jamie Clubb.


Related articles by Jamie Clubb

“Playing the Combat Game”

, , , , , , ,