Saturday, 2 June 2012


As in, the CORRECT tool for the available target.

I was speaking to my good friend Jason J-Bone Simpson yesterday and as ever we got on to the subject of MMA/Combatives/self protection etc. And a topic/question came up along the lines of, "why use an open hand instead of a punch?"

Fair question and the palm heel strikes Jason was referring to often get referred to as slaps which they could not be further from if fully understood and the user can deploy them correctly with correct impact transference. Before I go any further I’m going to quote Mick Coup here with regards the shape of the human head and correct impact tool. Obvious stuff but remember the head is constructed of thick protective bone and the most likely target we are presented with in a 1st to 5th gear street attack scenario or similar is approximately two thirds of the front upper part of the head/face. That is: facing you, from the nose upwards to the frontal part of the skull.

"So imagine you have a sack filled with maize hanging from the roof as a punch bag; you can hit that all day long with a fist, elbow, knee etc more or less. Now remove the maize and fill it with something shaped more like a human head and of more appropriate structure, like a bowling ball. I f**king guarantee you will not be using a fist on that anytime soon!"

Not word for word but along those lines as I recall from memory; surely using a palm heel would make sense here? I stress not a slap, but a palm heel. Using a fist is great and comes much more naturally to most I’m sure, not to mention what they have always used so as ever it's hard to get most to see past that.

All manner of reasoning starts to come forward as to why they would use a fist, they want to hit the end of the jaw line with their two index and middle finger knuckles to cause that instant knockout...... That's a target area of maybe 2 inches I a full blown, no rules, extremely messy violent altercation and hopefully just one on one? Not exactly high percentage stuff in my humble opinion. "A fist will hurt more," might do...might what if it does if it can't be consistently deployed, bit of a sliding scale approach that? "I'll do more damage," you might do with regards localised trauma to him as much as that fist that you’re absolutely set on using regardless of target presented; again - big deal!

Just briefly, it puzzles me why people tend to get so fixated on how much local trauma they can inflict rather than actually ending the problem as soon as possible. It's all very macho and makes for great chest beating to tell and have tales told of that time such and such knocked whoever’s teeth out or broke that guy’s nose etc but it's not that efficient or effective in reality and surely we should be striving for these two adjectives for many more valid reasons than pub stories? More on this later.

By using a closed bare fist on the general target area presented in such scenarios outlined earlier you’re greatly increasing your chances of having that weapon out of action fairly quickly; fist meets head/cheekbone/side of cranium constantly....not much padding in the way of tissue around the fist or head is there? Consider the pinky and adjacent scaphoids just might connect instead of or before those super conditioned index and middle finger knuckles and subsequent scaphoids.........still reckon you could hit that bowling ball in a sack? Really? How about I give it the odd push in different directions, you know, like people tend to move their bodies and in turn their head you’re so desperately trying to target and impact full contact with that now decidedly more delicate looking structure your determined to stick with?

"But I’ll not feel it as I will be full of adrenalin!" Go for your life mate. Thing is, if the situation starts to pan out in the other guys favour or slightly longer than anticipated I reckon you just might want a fully functioning right or left hand. And that's before we get into the grief of a broken paw and all the subsequent weeks of hassle associated with it. Or is that also a small price to pay for being able to use that deadly macho bare fist you paired for life with the first time you put on a pair of gloves?

Now, getting back to what's important on the subject which surely has to be dealing with the attacker/aggressor as quickly and effectively as possible. I don't think anyone can argue that the knockout is by far the best option when we are ta...lking about empty hands here?

This brings us back to the issue, the confusion almost, some have of getting localised trauma confused with more effective and specific results. Yes a fist will most likely cause more actual damage to the area it impacts but that does not in turn guarantee a more effective outcome!

We have all seen the character with the torn t-shirt, battered and bloodied face heading home with his mates after that scrap outside the chippy and it's instinctive to remark at what a hiding he took etc. How do we know? That old saying, "you should see the other guy," could actually be applicable surely?

What if that other guy was lying sparked out snoring on the floor with little or nothing in the way of visible injury; is he still the winner as he would place in front of Mr torn t-shirt at tomorrow’s beauty pageant?

Ideally in such a situation as would also be ideal in the cage or ring the knockout can't really be argued with as far as deciding who walks away and who doesn't. But then in the street I haven’t seen many referees suddenly step in and stop it as the guy with the broken nose and cut eye cannot intelligently defend himself. So I suppose actually, if circumstances allowed, aiming for more visible injury is one way to win a refereed sport fight...obviously.

As many will no doubt be aware the knockout is achieved by rapid acceleration and then the subsequent deceleration of the brain within the cerebrospinal fluid that surrounds and protects the brain itself. So it would make sense to try and go for the highest percentage chance of impacting that bony type bowling ball thing that protects that sack of fluid. Yes if you were to impact just so with a bare fist causing that bone on bone flash of impact that knockout might come more easily but the chances of actually getting things "just so" are far less than using that rather large solid palm heel on that solid unpredictably moving bowling ball. Very erratic fast moving bowling ball, remember I’m not talking about that sport fight were you have the massive luxury of getting a feel for your opponent as you both look for an "in". I'm talking about the instant locking of horns full on scrap here, and in no way am I taking anything away from those that fight in the ring or cage in any shape or form!

With no gloves, rules, time limits, referee and countless other factors that are not in your favour then making sure your choosing the highest percentage option and CORRECT TOOL FOR TARGET PRESENTED must be a top priority?

With the palm heel you can transfer massive impact again and again to this particular target with greatly reduced risk of injury to the hand, fingers and wrist. Obviously this transfers into a far more reliable weapon for the given target, should things not be "just so".

The correct open hand strike is definitely not the loose floppy hand slap advocated by some or the even more ridiculous cupped hand to cause some pocket of air to the ear that ruptures the eardrum or such bollocks that is often touted as if it were fact. Don't believe me? Stand in front of the kitchen work surface and use that cupped or loose floppy wet fish style hand to strike the surface full force, real full force......if you’re lucky it might sting like fuck and have you dancing about the kitchen taking the lords name in vain for a while. If you really did strike it full force you can be pretty sure you won’t bother watching any adult films for a while, so if you do give it a go choose hands carefully..........

Use the palm heel itself, fingers retracted, thumb out the way and imagine your actually striking with the stump of the forearm. Driving the heel of the hand like a jackhammer into that fecking bowling ball, the one with the cheekbones, eye socket, thick forehead and nose. You can train it on pads by allowing your fingers and thumb to go over and round the side of the pad respectivley, you might be surprised how much impact can actually be transferred here ;)

I'm certainly no palm heel Nazi by the way; it wasn't until I was shown and explained the concept but more importantly went away and drilled it for myself I saw and felt the benefits; take note. And that's not to say that I wouldn’t advocate the use of a fist if the correct target was presented, for example any number of body shots or if the head was still enough to take that risk. Sliding scale here again......

Hope some of that made sense and ultimately it's just my take.

Find out more about Chris's self defence system at or E-mail chris at

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Reasons and Excuses

There is an interesting but more importantly very valid thread on the Core Concepts forum right now entitled “Reasons vs Excuses”.

When I first saw the title I mistakenly jumped to the conclusion that it would be a thread about finding motivation to train and such. Turns out it isn't at all, it covers the common problem of people wanting to train the things they want, or how they want rather than what's actually important or the far higher percentage necessity for what's required when all's said and done, addressed objectively without all the “cool” reasons that mean very little in reality.

Before I continue, here's a link to the thread as its well worth a read entirely independently of this article. Perhaps boil the kettle and read it after the following with a coffee...

Now, finding the motivation to train or the reason(s) to train has never been something I have ever really struggled with. The bottom line is I'm one of these people that just generally enjoys my training and so I don't need to constantly remind myself to get to the gym for whatever it is I need to be doing, bag work, C.V., weights etc. The thing is I purposefully do remind myself why I need to be doing so, if I don't mentally kick my own arse to train hard and improve/refine what I'm doing then I'll be joining the ranks of the water bottle clutching, logo stamped free gym towel sporting Jacuzzi dwellers. That on it's on scares me sh**less.......

This brings me on to one of the main points, I have to ensure that mentally I try and improve and at the very least, train hard. How do I instil this? For me personally the bulk of what I try and utilise is fear, the fear of being beaten, looking bad, letting myself down, letting others down, not making the grade etc. And why not? We are always hearing in the combative scene how we should be prepared and such, and I suppose you can't argue with that although some do tend to take things a bit far.

However, the chances of me actually being in a truly life threatening situation are thankfully extremely slim, chances of me being attacked by a gang or robbed at knifepoint are somewhat remote as well. The possibility of me getting injured in a violent altercation is not something I'm overly concerned about as it's not very likely at all; especially since I moved to a somewhat quieter part of the country.

But I still train hard; I still try and learn more and I still push myself every session every time. I'm pretty blessed really as I don't really have to put myself through all this hassle for the reasons I stated previously and countless more if the truth be told. Unlike guys out there that have no choice - the sort that the “Tactical” sections of the industry like to imitate with their “Daily Carry” webbing pouch, combats, torches and emergency escape route in case it goes code red during Eastenders or whatever.

The guys that have no choice, they are, and can be deployed on operational duties around the world or tasked with stuff as a direct result of a politicians/governments decision. They have to be fit, capable, knowledgeable and “good to go” daily or the result of them not being so, could create or leave some fairly serious consequences. Way worse than most of us will ever have the burden to bear if we start slacking off on our training, in whatever shape or form it takes.

Here's the part where I was going to outline some of the stuff I do mentally to “kick my arse” and dig deep when need be during training. I was even going to outline some NLP techniques I use, most of which I have been using for years but I now have a sort of streamlined formula for them - how to use visualisation, reframing, anchoring and such like, but I'm not going to. “Thank F**k for that” I hear you all sigh.....

What I think is better is that I'm going to tell you about a very good friend of mine. I have known the guy for about 12 years now, we met through biking and have been mates ever since. To be brutally honest if it wasn't for bad luck this guy would have no luck, perhaps we all know somebody similar I don't know.

Very long story short: he was hit by some myopic clown in a van years ago and had his back broken in three places. This has basically snowballed and he is now on crutches and enough painkillers and sedatives every two hours to floor a rhino. The only thing that keeps him conscious is the constant flow of coffee and his undying love for a full fat Marlboro...

The last two things are for humorous purposes but I'm sure he would agree they play a part, what really keeps this guy going is his absolute refusal to give in and is still determined to do as much as possible when he should really be bed ridden. Getting dressed, shaving, making tea etc are obviously very painful to say the least but as he always says, “I'm doing it because next time someone might not be there to do it for me.” F**k me, being awake is painful for the guy but still not once have I heard him moan or make an excuse not to do something for himself.

His condition is unlikely to get better, he knows this, by the way he is also partially paralysed down one side and he suffers seizures on occasion leaving him unable to speak and in pain for periods of time afterwards. Imagine having to deal with that sh*t every day and still refusing to give in and put yourself through more pain just to continue to be as self sufficient as possible? He doesn't have a choice; he gets on with it and faces a harder training session by midday than most of us would have in a week’s training combined. Mentally and physically.
I'm quite sure Stuart would love to be able to make the conscious decision that he doesn't really have to train today, he will train twice as hard next week, he has a bit of a cold, he has the latest strike bezel torch or whatever. But he does, because he has to, what's the alternative? Faced with the alternative, how committed do you think you might be to not making excuses to go to the gym, research stuff a bit more, develop something new and so on?

It's easy to find an excuse not to work hard to get better at something and personally I couldn't care less about that attitude....unless you happen to be the sort of person that's always talking about the latest system, technique, DVD, instructor and what you’re going to do and/or become. Or constantly asking me about how to get big or lean after telling me you used to go to the gym and you’re currently in front of me on your 8th Stella. And let's be honest, this whole combative/self protection/RBSD subject should be treated seriously should it not or there is little or no point in pretending to address what you see as the threat however it may manifest itself.

Despite the physical barriers and constant pain Stuart is doing a bit of research and training himself ( this summer he is hoping to beat a world record) to such an extent he has created an outfit called “Raspberry Racing” (raspberry ripple = cripple); speaks volumes doesn't it?

The record he hopes to break involves him on a high powered superbike riding at approximately 180mph; the previous record was 162mph I believe. No big deal really until I tell you that as a result of his seizures the he is 100% blind!

Anyone still finding excuses to not get up and go to the gym; eat correctly for that physique you have always wanted; perfect that right cross or even turn up consistently to that class every week? Or is it still too much hassle, too sore, you’re tired......Next time you’re making that excuse have a think about my mate having to get up and make another coffee to keep himself awake as he organises and plans the next stage of this little Sunday ride on his bike.

Alternatively you may be one of the people that have no choice; you have to be “good to go” and that's an approach I don't think anyone wouldn't benefit from in their training. Perhaps try and adopt that very approach through whatever means you find works; witnessing my mates drive and resolve certainly shames me into pushing that bit harder. I'm fortunate enough that I have the luxury of being able to do just that.

Never forget that all of a sudden you might just find yourself in a situation when you suddenly need to be fit for purpose. All the YouTube videos, DVD’s and pontificating suddenly won't be worth a stuff, obviously. A situation I kind of found myself in a few days ago when the bastard announced that I was going to be one of two riders either side of him linked by intercom to guide the lunatic down the runway.........

Find out more about Chris's self defence system at or

E-mail chris at

Monday, 14 November 2011

Just how realistic and fit for purpose is your self-protection training?

There are all manner of things that I really WANT to believe, I truly want to believe that I'm capable of being an F1 driver if I was just given a little chance. I'd love to believe that because I was pretty nifty on a motorbike on the road and track that again, given that break, I'd be right up there in world superbikes with the rest of them. And I'm sure one day Pamela Anderson will be knocking at my door dressed in lingerie with a bottle of baby oil. And yes, I have probably briefly fantasised about them all, well ok, most definitely the last one.

The thing is, I'm fully aware that these are indeed nothing more than harmless daydreams, we can all choose to have them at times; it's nothing more than harmless escapism. The problem begins when people choose to have these hugely delusional thoughts in areas of their daily life that really should be approached with reasonable rationality and a basic cognitive thought process.

Imagine if we were to approach everyday tasks with the same approach, such as driving or making sure the bills were paid on time. Or how about ensuring the house was secure when we went on holiday or that we had enough fuel to get to our chosen destination and that we left on time to catch the flight?

Anyone with an IQ in double figures wouldn’t kid themselves that “it’ll be alright” and leave the house unlocked, not check the fuel gauge and leave it till the last minute as they wanted to watch Corrie before leaving to catch the flight. It's a given that the bags would be checked and packed the day before, the windows and doors would be secured, car topped up with fuel and all manner of other bits and pieces checked and crossed off the list well before the event. Of course they would, if you even suggested you leave this stuff to chance, the average person would look at you like you were just somewhat haphazard and deluded.

Now imagine approaching a more serious subject, a subject that simply must be addressed realistically, objectively, honestly and as thoroughly as possible. To approach this subject with any sort of hope for the best, that'll do and it'll be ok when it comes down to it attitude, could see you seriously injured or worse. Yes obviously I'm talking about self protection/combatives/rbsd and many areas of the martial arts that tout themselves as such.

The thing is, if you look at what's commonly touted as being effective and effectively deployed/usable in real world violence by the bulk of what's out there it falls very short of the mark. That's if it were even to get off the mark in the split second of a real no rules street fight.
A few months ago I had the pleasure and most certainly pain of attending the Core Combatives Foundation Course with its founder Mick Coup. Countless things stuck in my mind from those four days, incidentally one of which was an 18 stone prison wardens head, but one expression used to describe effective training was “always try and make the training fit the fighting not the fighting fit the training”. Simple isn't it? And when training or wanting to learn how to defend yourself, to approach your training/learning any other way is deluding yourself more than just a little.

Of course it is, if you’re setting things up so you can deliver that perfect punch or kick every time or positioning the pad mans hands every odd shot then be honest, your making the fighting fit your training. Not your training fit the fighting...

So how do we address and rectify this hit, fix, hit, repair, hit mindset? By being ruthlessly honest with ourselves and our training partners, pad man, punch bag whatever. It's hard to do as everyone loves that sound and feel of a nice punch or kick combination as it rattles off the pads, bag, shield or whatever. It makes us feel good, makes us look good....and this is usually what starts the cycle of making the fighting fit the training and not vice versa as it should be, at least if you really are serious about all this self protection stuff. Combat trouser wearing, tacticool knife and torch sporters take note...

It takes time and more than a little commitment to be truly honest with what you’re doing training wise. First off, ask yourself, is what I'm doing here really such a high percentage effective option in a real fight? Would my attacker (the pad man) really be standing there, effectively with his arms down and staying in the one place as I throw this chin jab/knee/chin jab and then stop dead still looking at him as he stands still looking at me?

In fact, is this palm heel chin jab/knee/chin jab really worth all the time you have been devoting to it considering how hard an inch and a half of bone is to hit accurately in a blood and snot tear up? What would be a higher percentage effective option here? Take that metaphorical step back and look at what's being presented, think about what's being said and properly evaluate what it is that is being claimed each time. Think, “Fit for purpose?”

And the pad man, what's wrong with getting him to move out the way? Maybe just make those pads a tad harder to hit with slight movement and if he were to move backwards, to the side or even come right back at you regardless of your chosen strikes as is the norm in reality, well at least until one of you lands the best the meantime.
There's loads of stuff you can improvise and add to in order to make your self-protection/combatives/rbsd training more effective and worthwhile. After you throw that low turning kick make sure your pad man moves out of your striking line making you work for that position to kick again. After that right hook your pad man falls to his right bringing that right pad down into an offline strike or a knee representing your attackers head.

Work the bag so it’s kept off you and at a steep an angle to the floor as possible with just highline strikes, like that pi***d up monster that doesn't stop, no matter how hard or how many times you punch or palm heel him. Get someone to run into you and push you over as you’re dealing with the first guy, forcing you to get back to your feet and re-orientate yourself and then have to engage the nearest/biggest threat straight away.

Like I said, loads of stuff you can add in change and re-format with a little thought and honesty with regards making the training fit the fighting. Of course it takes you way out your comfort zone but I don't think anyone’s actually felt that “comfortable” in a real world street fight have they? So surely it stands to reason that the training for such an occurrence shouldn't be all that “comfortable” either.

Those that are still of the mind that that spinning back fist or some jkd trapping with a little chain punching or such like will work just fine are free to carry on of course. But before they do so I would ask them to take 5 minutes and have a look at these “live drills”  from C2 foundation courses:

Now ask yourself if you really think that the aforementioned will stand up as fit for purpose. Ah yes, the C2 live drills, now that really is a wakeup call I look forward to introducing to the many......                                   

Find out more about Chris's self defence system at

or E-mail chris at

Tuesday, 13 September 2011


I have been deliberating whether to write about this lot for some time now, for many reasons. Most of which is due to the dozens of issues they have caused within an industry they promised so much for and have weakened and destroyed from the off. I actually had most of what I thought was a full article written but have decided to start afresh.

However, seeing as there is so much content in my view, my girl suggested I write this as a series of articles, this being the first....obviously.

Although not directly linked to self protection and combative arts or even marital aids, as a few of the guys/girls in the security industry train in this area it will be of interest to some - perhaps. When I say “some” I should perhaps clarify this as being with reference to the “old school” types that recognised some form of physical training might be of use and still do; unlike the muppets that are churned out regularly, proudly sporting that little blue badge they believe makes them capable in all departments.

The Security Industry Authority regulations and licensing practises were initially implicated approximately 7-8 years ago, (no, I cannot be bothered researching every single date etc). Basically this was introduced, supposedly, to stop all those terrible nasty bullying and scary bouncers from working as security personnel on predominantly licensed premises, but within all aspects of the industry itself. Something that was inevitable and required in some form or another for sure. Nobody in the business for any length of time could deny, with a straight face, that there were some elements in the industry that were doing more harm than good.

It's just a great shame that the all or nothing approach the SIA decided to take when deciding who is or isn't fit to work in the industry in any capacity seems to be equally as set in concrete with regards objectivity and a touch of common sense to every applicant that passes their utterly farcical exam.

It used to be the case that to even be considered for any door team you had to put in some graft and prove your worth and ability in front of others that had successfully done the same before you. A bit like many other jobs, but given the nature of licensed premise security and some of the undoubtedly difficult situations that can and often do arise within this sector, then isn't it just a touch irresponsible to allow anyone that can tick a few boxes in some laughable multiple choice exam paper to then register and pass them as fit for purpose?

The “exam” itself is nothing short of a complete insult to those that have spent a few years risking their health and sometimes freedom to ensure the very types that set these questions have a safe night in their chosen venue. As a quick example, here is one of the questions that will live with me as long as my a**e points south. It's not word for word but you will get the general idea....

A head doorman needs to display which of the following qualities?

A: Have bigger muscles than anyone else?
B: Prove he is the toughest?
C: Must be physically bigger and more aggressive than the other doormen?
D: Must be a firm leader and have good communication skills?

Again, not word for word but that was the general gist of it, nothing short of insulting really. But it's certainly an eye opener into how much of a grasp the powers that be have of what working a pub or club door requires, and a good indicator of what they perceive the average doorman’s mindset must be.......ahem, yes of course.

The door supervisor course lasts 4 days and with an “exam” at the end. If you pass the exam you then get the paperwork to prove this and you’re deemed able to do the job. A Criminal Record Check and as long as you’re whiter than white and have been for many years you will get that lovely little blue badge. I'll go into the hypocrisy of the CRB check in the near future, but now back to the exam.

How anyone with an IQ in double figures could fail this “exam” I simply do not know. I completed and checked mine twice in less than 5 minutes, aren't I the clever one. However some of the ones that pass do indeed puzzle me, the reason being, they barely speak a word of the Queens English.

There was a guy sat next to me sitting his exam with me, in fact he had been on the entire course with me. The poor chap was deaf and dumb, completely illiterate and scared of his own shadow...and this guy had been put forward by his social worker to get funding and become a doorman. No surprises, he passed and got his badge. How does this guy talk to customers? How does this chap listen to certain peoples grievances? How does he knock anyone back? How does he explain his actions? How does he hear the radio or respond to a shout on this radio? How does he give a statement to the cops? It's never ending!

And don't forget that the guy was as timid and shy as you could imagine, and this guy is a frontline operative! He's a liability, but then so are the bulk of the individuals the SIA churn out nonstop. Believe it or not I ended up working with this guy; he stood staring at his feet the entire shift. When the buzzer went off he was completely oblivious, so obviously I had to deal with it (not that I would have trusted him to deal with anything more challenging than adjusting his hearing aids). Thankfully it was nothing serious, but if it had been I’m pretty sure that buzzer would have burnt out and he would have been standing there staring at his shoes with his thumb up his a**e. I asked the boss why on earth he had been given a job and he basically said that he and his social worker had come into the interview and gave the minorities speech etc. In reality he had to give him a job, oh how we laughed......

This is just one in literally countless examples of totally unfit individuals being registered as fit and able to do the job as long as they pass this exam. For example, the guy that almost started crying when I had to front kick someone that ran at me, or the guy that phoned his mum to come and collect him because someone stuck the nut on him and many many others just as jaw dropping.

An overwhelming portion of the individuals that are given their SIA badge should never, and could never actually do the job effectively in any shape or form. That doesn't mean they are not nice guys/girls it's just that they aren't cut out to provide SECURITY services for licensed premises, and this all important 4 day course and laughable multiple choice exam is telling them they are and giving them the ability to do so.

Doubtless there are a few people saying that the answer is just to employ the ones that are capable? The hard fact is there are less and less good guys/girls to choose from for several reasons, not least the fact that they don't want to risk their health working with one of these jacket filling plant pots! It's approximately £500 to apply and get your SIA badge, that's a lot of money for lads that only do the job for extra cash or full time. And that's if they get their badge granted due to that common assault charge they picked up 6 years ago defending themselves on the door from a group of pissed up scumbags they didn’t want in in the first place.

And I haven’t even started on the breweries paying for managers and charge hands to get their SIA badges, as this saves them from having to pay a security company to fulfil that pesky legal requirement. But that and related issues are for next time......

E-mail chris at find out more about Chris's self defence system at

Monday, 5 September 2011

MMA is the closest thing to street fighting...

Is it, really? How many times have you heard this? 
Well I have heard it quite a bit over the years, usually from those that would label themselves "cagefighters" and tend to have a liking for Tapout T-shirts, hoodies, pants and knickers etc. Or those that possibly do not have quite as much experience outside the chippy as they would have you believe. Not always, but more often than not in my humble opinion...
Ok, so how close is it to a tear up in the street? Well I don't think anyone can deny it's a lot closer than Taekwondo or suchlike if for no other reason than you can and will regularly end up on your arse and have to fight to get back on your feet or at least for dominance on the ground. Imagine that, how unfair! I mean, is that not cheating? 
Some bad news I'm afraid, it's not cheating and to add insult to injury (injuries) in the street it gets even worse.
Ever had a passer-by stick the boot in while your rolling about with some coked up drunk? Or had a complimentary bat in the gob from a bored onlooker, probably no surprise that I have given how much I'm loved for my sarcasm and interesting points of view on a few subjects. Mainly the RBSD scene admittedly but I'm sure you get my point.

I have never seen a third party steam in to one or both of the fighters during an MMA bout but I have on countless occasions seen it in the street. And been on the receiving end to boot, no pun intended...well maybe a bit.
So how similar is an MMA fight to a streetfight/straightener/pub brawl etc? Two entirely different animals…completely. Before I give my reasons why I think this let me tell you how I felt stepping in the cage. When you walk out in front of a few hundred people and then step into the cage and go to your corner you feel like you're fighting everyone in that venue. 
The pressure is most definitely on and all the bullshit and claims you may have made are now going to be tested for all to see, thankfully this is not prevalent at all in MMA, one of the reasons I took to it and love it so much. 
Completely at odds with the current RBSD scene which seems to be entirely based on tinterweb for most followers, but I digress… 
Now imagine that feeling of fighting every onlooker in the street and praying none of them decide to start punching or kicking your mallet while your trying to deal with the original problem...yes it does happen. And no they don't even have to know your opponent to feel justified in having a pop at you. 
Don't believe me? To put it bluntly, I doubt you have ever been there in that case.
The MMA fight has a massive margin of safety, comparatively speaking, to a scrap in the street for many many reasons. Here's some of the huge comfort zones and rules designed to protect an MMA fighter:
1: Time limits.
2: Gum shields.
3: A nice clean impact absorbent floor with no rubbish or broken bottles lying around if/when it goes to the floor.
4 : A referee to step in if one fighter cannot intelligently continue to defend himself.
5: No eye gouging.
6: No biting.
7: No groin strikes.
8: No small joint manipulation.
9: No throat strikes.
10: No head butts.
11: No shredders.
12: No kicking to the head of a downed opponent. (just have a think about how relevant that really is)
13: Groin guards and as much time out as required if struck in the nuts to recover. If only!
14: A cage side Doctor or paramedics.
15: Being able to win on points alone.
16: Cornermen to shout advice on what you can't see.
17: A rest for a minute, a drink of water and maybe even a sit down after each 5 minute round.
18: Having background on your opponent.
19: Your opponent generally doesn't pull out a blade or a duster etc at any point.
20: Gloves/mitts.
21: Submissions have a "tap out" option.
22: Fighting starts from touching gloves and more often than not getting a "feel" for pace, strength, style etc. As opposed to launching themselves at you mid argument or from behind/the side or with mates.
23: Your opponent tends to be sober and compos mentis.
24: Your fighting for a title or plastic trophy not your life or the ability to walk, talk and speak when the final bell goes.
25: Win lose or draw his mates don't set about you in the carpark afterwards.

Closest thing to street fighting or a violent all out attack? Not in my experience or considered opinion. 
Obviously I could now list all the things that could happen in violent encounter/situation in the street, like weapons, being outnumbered, getting your head kicked about like a football whilst unconscious and such like but the possibilities and variables in such a scenario are endless. And hopefully if you can see how "safe" MMA is (comparatively speaking) from the 25 points listed above then it's obvious why I'm not going to bother.
This is not to take away at all in anyway how tough MMA fighters are mentally and physically. MMA is an extremely hard game to compete in, with all manner of fitness and conditioning required even at base level. But it's the huge margin for error allowed here I am trying to convey, you with me?
As part of RBSD training I rate MMA highly as it has so many ranges techniques/defences you can add to your armoury. But it is not street fighting, it's not as close as some would tell you or like to believe, closer than a lot of stuff out there that has the cheek to claim "good form of self defence" but it's still an entirely different animal if the truth be told.
Not sure how this will be received and I'm sure it will upset a few as I always (obviously entirely inadvertently) seem to do, but Tapout clothing is pretty reasonable these days and as we all know, if you wear Tapout and call yourself a "Cagefighter" nobody will ever test you! 

To find out more about Chris's club visit
 E-mail chris at

The Sensei under pressure...

How many of you (me included) did or still do believe that the black belt 10th Dan in some mystical martial art from the mountains of Japan is force to be reckoned with outside the kebab shop at 3:30am this Saturday morning?
I'll bet most can see where this is going... Well I have lost count of how many instructors and students of traditional martial arts that are taught and truly believe that 10 point striking systems and defensive blocking/trapping will definitely work with our old friend Joe the bampot on two-grams of Charlie and eight Stellas at kicking out time.

What nine times out of 10 we are missing here is our old friend adrenalin, all the screaming kyaa! and eeesch! and all other Bruce Lee/Chuck Norris expletives in the world are not making the situation live in training.
However next time it goes off outside the chippy please shout this as you take your horse stance do let me know how you got on, three weeks later when your out of hospital...
The main problem i see here is compliance when training, by this i mean the defender allowing the targets to be hit and then the usual role reversal for the next 20 minutes. Personally I don’t stand on the same spot when I get smacked I tend to shifty about a bit if possible, but hey that's just me.
Now what I'm getting into here as a very important word that I believe is worth noting when training and especially sparring, MOMENTUM. Yes momentum, when a tear up starts in the street we have the usual haymaker or head butt and then its on, now I'm not going into the prefight dance/ritual as that's for next week maybe.... so its gone off, somebody has called someone's pint a nob and there has been a punch thrown.
But wait no knockout! How can this have happened? So our two heroes now are lashing at each other wildly and glasses, tables and possibly bits of cheeseburger are now making things a bit awkward in the ring.
How much room do you think this has taken up in the 2 or 3 seconds so far? In my experience bucket loads, girls screaming, more pints smashing and inevitably it’s on the ground so our two heroes are now covered in slices of lemon and fag ends.
Doesn't really equate to the all seeing master sensei's McDojo does it?
Now before many have a burnout saying I'm rubbishing traditional martial arts IM NOT, you can take something from every fighting system but you have to be able to apply it under pressure.
Much easier said than done believe me, I have worked with many top martial artists on doors and the only ones that were any good when the proverbial and fan met were basically street fighters. Why? because these guys understood the environment.
The guys that did nothing but light sparring against others from the same system were instantly out their depth and I'll bet just couldn't understand why, reason, they are now way outside their comfort zone.
Now I'm not rubbishing any martial art or fighting system, in fact I think its vital to train in as many as possible and see what works for you or more importantly can you get it to work under pressure.
But under pressure is not endless forms or katas or learning a new combination every week it’s trying to make your training as live and realistic as possible.
And please bare in mind MOMENTUM two guys at just 10 stone each rolling around is now 20 stone of Tasmanian devil, blood and snot.

To find out more about Chris's club visit
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Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Reality, who's reality are we talking about?!

I pinched this title from a blog I read a few days ago, it was written by fellow Martial News blogger Sue Wharton, a Karate student who seems to have come across the bulk of utter rubbish that's out there. I can only presume Sue has seen the usual "ex special forces" top secret deadly Ninja bollocks sort of stuff that is all too common.
Apparently this is some of the stuff that the systems she has come across teaches you to protect yourself from "bombings, armed robberies, drive-by shootings, carjacking, gang violence, sniper attacks, multiple attackers, knife attacks, gang rapes…", looks like things have really stepped up a gear since I last had a squint online, that's online not in the real world, just in case any RBSD nerds are getting all excited at the prospect of a new dvd box set.
Well she has a point doesn't she? I mean what is everyone's reality? Thankfully mine isn't defending myself from bombings and sniper attacks although perhaps it should be given the volume of people I offend on a daily basis, if anyone can lend me the box set please get in touch… 
This is an issue that is at the core of what's hard to get across about real world fight training, most peoples general Internal Representation (look at me going all NLP, pretty soon I'll be able to stop training altogether) of what a real fight actually is. Trying to get across to most people, especially those that have no experience of actual violence, that's real violence where people get seriously injured or maimed is no easy task. I'll try and give a few examples here. Please bear in mind that for the purposes of this article I am generalising throughout.
Type 1: Martial Arts hobbyist, goes to a class once a week hits the pads and mirrors the instructor. No real interest in training or pushing/pressurising themselves at all, the class is more or less so they can say they do "Martial Arts" and is something they like to forcefully believe will help them defend themselves if need be. Try and get across what it's really like to face a couple of seasoned thugs that want to kick your swede in….all a bit much for this guy/girl, and they will recoil back to safety with their security blanket very quickly. Make all that scary stuff go away.
Type 2: The Martial Arts belted and danned veteran, this guy is shit hot at his chosen art, has trained for years in this system and knows everything there is to know about how it was first formed and why, has all the books relating to the subject and worships Sun Tzu’s "The Art of War", good book incidentally…spars in this system with others, again in this system whilst wearing their Gi's and is a force to be reckoned with… this system, ahem. 
It's a shame that this guy hasn't really been dragged into or even witnessed two guys stamping on someone's head outside a pub because he called his pint a poof or such like. Try and tell this guy that fighting isn't really like what he partakes in the Mc'Dojo and you will get a somewhat colourful response to say the least. As far as he is concerned, he has trained for years in the most effective fighting art ever, his first Sensei drilled this into him and those in the same art at every competition he ever went to…except the ones from slightly different federations. Their style isn't nearly as good. It makes no difference how you try and explain things, what examples you give, video evidence or whatever. They will not give an inch, their system is deadly and has something in it to deal with any real world attack, knife and guns included…obviously. 
I have even had conversations with these guys where they try and demonstrate a strike that would need to defy the laws of physics with regards generating maximum power, but that little gem is for another time. 
If this guy/girl could think and indeed see outside their arts self-manifested box they could be different class compared to most. But sadly they are still caught up in the same old rhetoric such as how to close the distance in a street fight. I'm going to use a phrase I heard Mick Coup use as it's one that has really stuck with me on this fantasists problem, "if your worried about closing the distance in a street fight, blink, don't worry, the guy your fighting will close it for you!". 
Think about that for a minute. Rather than recoil back to safety these guys/girls will argue black is white and white is black…forever.
Type 3: Never witnessed a day's trouble in their life, rarely had even a heated argument, thinks bullies go away if you stand up to them, completely naïve and has all the coordination of a pissed, asthmatic buffalo with a built up shoe and earache. As a sidenote this lot are usually massively passive aggressive but experts on everything.
Your wasting your time here completely, no really, it's pointless as they are fortunate enough to have had no experience whatsoever with anything more physically threatening than watching their school play "rugger". Even if they did show an interest in training it would all be great fun and something to tell over the dinner table at the weekend. Tales of how they are learning to "bash people up" etc, good money spinner for some, especially if you like to churn out endless dvd's for this enormous market. As far as they are aware once you are trained to fight you can dish out beatings to multiple opponents with ease, just like Bruce Lee, of course.

So where on earth do we go from here? Well thankfully I have had a long, hard and in depth think about this and my overwhelming thoughts on the subject are… who knows.
How can you teach someone something they think they already know? How can you encourage someone to learn or appreciate the realities of a subject they find too terrifying to even approach although like to kid themselves they are addressing by going to nice safe compliant classes, hitting pads half-heartedly and watching dvds? How do you enlighten someone to the realities of real violence when they simply do not want to know or have been so cosseted all their life that it simply does not compute? As the saying goes, you can take horse to water…
As much as idiots out there with claimed "special forces" backgrounds, ninja death moves and claims of "loving violence" are to blame for creating this entire money making nonsense, the "students" themselves are huge contributory factor to what constitutes "reality". And sadly this is something I think we are stuck with for the foreseeable, how can we not be?
Getting injured, pushing yourself, getting your confidence knocked out, regularly attending those awful demanding and painful classes to actually getting your bum off the couch to even train can be a struggle to the best of us at times. 
We are all guilty of taking the easy option at times, of course we are as everyone's human. It just fascinates me how the vast majority of so called Reality based trainees take the easy route each and every time, but then perhaps it's not entirely their fault as there are as many utter whoppers out there more than willing to cater for them via dvd's, webcam instructor courses and top secret fear no man pressure point strikes.

To find out more about Chris's club visit
 E-mail chris at