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 Chris@realisticselfdefence.co.uk 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 www.outcoldfightclub.org
 E-mail chris at chris@outcoldfightclub.org

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 www.outcoldfightclub.org
E-mail chris at chris@outcoldfightclub.org