Attack is the best form of defence.
When discussing strength training, we talk about progressive overload. This same principle is something that I take into my Jeet Kune Do classes to help develop my students. Now I’m not talking about stopping the sparring and getting everyone to suddenly hit the bench, but what I am talking about is the increase in pressure/intensity of how techniques are applied, the pads are hit and how hard the sparring is. This in turn helps with the self protection side of training, which is what I want to cover in this article.
I have taught martial arts for the last five years and worked doors for over half of that period and one thing that strikes me, is peoples understanding (or misunderstanding) of how your martial arts relates to an actual altercation in the street.
What it is NOT!
Very rarely have I seen two people agree to a dust up, step outside, take of their coats and have a civil Queensbury rules boxing bout, outside of the pub. Nor is it where you get in a bad situation with a group of morons, who kindly (and living the Hollywood lifestyle) attack you one at a time, giving you a chance to do your best jump, spinning back kick to deal with each one.
What it is!
A real street altercation is a nasty, fast and morphing situation, with no rules, where no ref will step in to stop it and your assailants mates will gladly steam roll over you without a second thought.
Let’s take this a step further and say you are attacked by the full group of morons (let‘s face it, they‘re not going to be nice folk like you and I are they?) from the off. A; they will have done this before and use certain tricks to put you in line for the famous cheap shot. B; as this isn’t Hollywood, they will all attack you at the same time. I have been in a mass brawl and the best descriptive term for what you can actually make out is what I can only describe as Polaroid’s. The little snippets of things that you see, while you fight for your life.
What do we do?
So now we have a mutual understanding of some basic realities of street altercations, let’s discuss the options of what do we do? First things first, as I’m not writing an entire book, I’m going to bypass the fact that we would employ certain tactics that may allow my/our avoidance of these said situations and deal with the fact this situation is about to get violent… soon! This is where attack now becomes the best form of defence. If you know there is no escape and you are going to have to fight, then you need to hit hard, hit fast and BE FIRST! In the eyes of the law, you are allowed a pre emptive strike, if you feel that your life is in serious danger (remember those words folks). A pre emptive strike may be all that is required for this situation to end, or for you to escape to safety. What you don’t want is to get into a 60 second scuffle that will allow his friends the time to join in. The techniques we practice for these strikes are the right cross, slap (don‘t knock it until you‘ve tried it), jab, eye poke, groin kick and knee. These techniques should be practiced over and over, from a relaxed passive position so that they become second nature.
The trigger question.
Now, here’s a little trick we employ to help us gain the knock out. When a person is about to fight you, they become monosyllabic, there fists quite often clench (white knuckles) and they tense up. It is at this stage we need to re engage their brain to make the jaw relax and it is at this point that we employ our special technique, the trigger question! As I said earlier, this is purely to re engage their brain, so the dafter the question, the better the response. The moment he/she thinks, and responds, you hit them with your pre emptive strike. My personal favourite comes from one of our AMC instructors down south, who uses “Did you fuck my goat?”, just before he employs the knock out shot.
Remember folks, nothing is fool proof and sometimes this may not work on everyone, you may miss, you may not get the chance to hit before your assailants are on you. This is the point where you HAVE to fight, this is where you have to escalate the aggression (progressive overload) until the outcome changes in your favour. The things that get you through at this point are WILL, conditioning and your training (techniques etc). So, next time you are training, whether you are attacking your muscles, attacking the pads or attacking an assailant, keep the pressure on, maintain your technical and keep them level high and remember the progressive overload theory. Go for that last round, that last rep, that extra 20 seconds etc, because it is that mentality that could save your life one day.
Until next time, take care and train hard.
Steve Gaulton AMC North Chief Instructor
Stephen has been training in the martial arts for over 16 years. The arts he has predominantly studied are Muay Thai, Jeet Kune Do, Boxing and Praying Mantis Kung Fu, He has travelled all over the UK for his martial arts and trained with some of the best instructors in the world.
Stephen started the first AMC North class in October 2007 and has since progressed on to opening more classes in the Yorkshire area. Stephen also teaches private lessons in Adaptive Martial Concepts / Jeet Kune Do, Combat Athletics, Self Protection and Kettlebell strength and conditioning.
Stephen spent three years as a full time door supervisor/head doorman, so is familiar with conflict management and dealing with aggressive situations and likes to bring this knowledge to the AMC and Self Protection classes for the benefit of his students.
Stephen is currently a full time instructor and personal trainer and is training regularly in AMC/JKD and Muay Thai.
For further information on 1-2-1 session or daily classes go to Adaptive Martial Concept NORTH