You are the Coach (diary entry)

860236_4995762889943_578781030_o_1The third lesson of the night was a small group booking, comprising of thee adult students. The objective for this group is to get better conditioning through the Triple C programme. However, during the lesson a few questions were raised regarding self-protection. The all-female group expressed interest in booking the CCMA ladies-only self-protection seminar.

We warmed up with some basic footwork around the mats. This brought us onto some upper body mobility exercises, bobbing and weaving in particular. Looking at head movement, we then went through the sit-through exercise. This was trained as a bodyweight exercise, with a kettlebell and against a Swiss ball.

We covered proactive coaching. This introduced the group the concept of taking charge of one’s own training by helping to train others. By taking on the role of the coach, a student quickly commits themselves to examining technique and learning on the job, so to speak. This began 360 degree stationary coaching. Here students are taught how to hold stationary focus mitts and act as coaches for a single fellow student. The student stands between the two coaches. The two coaches hold focus mitts. One coach provides a single target to work a single technique. The coach in this position has one free hand to physically check for any errors in the student who is performing the technique. The other coach stands behind and checks for areas that the first coach cannot access.

We brought this concept onto flash pad training. At a basic level there are three rounds to help a student be more confident in throwing a technique and improve their defence at the same time. It is a good reaction exercise for the student, but the coach also learns by spotting errors in the student’s defence. The first round is a straight flash pad exercise with a student responding to targets and hitting them with an appropriate technique. No voice stimuli is required at the basic level and should be kept to a bare minimal as the exercise progresses to more advanced levels. The second round has the coach deliver only negative feedback. The student is in defence-only mode and learns to use footwork and covering to best intercept strikes. The final round puts it all together, with the student understanding that he must respond to the flash-pad prompts, knowing that any exposure of in his defence will be attacked by the coach.

The next exercise brought a chaotic element to the training. Using the two-on-one coaching approach, the student transitioned through postures whilst covering and striking the focus mitts of whoever is attacking.


At the end of the session there were discussions regarding pre-emptive striking and conflict management. We discussed posturing and the fence concept. These are areas covered in the CCMA self-protection seminars:

Corporate Self Protection A4 copy_1_0 Women Self Protection A4 copy