Transitional Kicks (diary entry)




The 5:30 a.m. sessions continue with my client’s sixth hour of a 10 hour course in Basic Self-Protection. This morning’s lesson looked at building a transitional structure for multi-range unarmed self-defence, leading onto anti-grappling tactics. We had introduced kicks into the previous class. This aspect was covered again from a ground-defence position. However, we got to the ground-defence kicking it was important for me to better establish transitional movement.


  • My client first trained going through the four basic postures. Once this was confirmed we added the straight strikes, which is the default technique he has learnt since the first lesson. The purpose of this exercise is for him to stay on the offensive. Next my client performed the same movement using the cover.


  • We then went to transitioning from a sideways position, which is where the fighter is best suited to throw kicks from the ground and to defend against kicks in an asymmetrical fight situation. He begun from his back with his feet planted and his cover on his head. He then rolled to a foetal position to limit the target area and to best scoot round on his side. He then moves from here to side-plank, maintaining a single-arm cover. From here he rises to a stand position.


  • The next stage was for my client to kick from the foetal, side-plank and standing positions. This was first performed with target familiarisation (targeting kicks to an actual moving body). Followed by kicking for impact on a pad as each posture was reached.


  • Then we isolated the scooting recovery action. Here the fighter lies down with his head exposed to the standing person’s kicks. He responds by covering immediately, turning to a foetal position and scooting round to a position that sets his feet on his standing attacker’s feet. From here he pushes up into a side-plank and then standing position, ensuring he stays on his attacker, retaining balance throughout the movement.


  • Finally, all of this is put together. The fighter covered against kicks and stomps whilst moving onto his side quickly and scooted round to a position where he could return fire with his own kicks. He used stamps and round kicks, moving from each subsequent kick to a stronger posture until he was standing and could transition from kicks to his default highline straight strikes.


With ground-defence covered, we moved onto anti-grappling. Grappling is a support system. We use it to deal with some mid-level threats or arrests or if a high risk fight situation deteriorates. Anti-grappling allows the person defending to get back into a striking position. This is begun with striking targets whilst being grabbed and manhandled. This type of training reinforces the default striking option with the fighter constantly on the front foot, delivering the same strike over obstacles and never getting engaged with the grapple. Next lesson we will continue with the anti-grappling and then move onto combat grappling.


Photography by Phil Shirley

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