One of my main influences and instructors, Dave Turton, teaches a very valid training concept which he calls “The Sandwich Theory” when it comes to training your self-defence realistically. The point he is trying to get across with this, is that all situations have a start, middle or finish (thinking about a sandwich first slice of bread, filling, second slice, now I am getting hungry, mmm, ham, cheese and pickle, lovely) Sorry, got distracted there.
Getting back to the point, most martial arts systems teach how to defend against attacks, usually in the manner of “the attacker grabs you, you do this defence”, “when the attacker punches, you do this”. Now if we relate this to a sandwich all we are getting here is the filling.
Now this can be beneficial when we are trying to introduce, teach and learn a new technique but eventually you will have to put it into application in a more realistic scenario (and if you’re not doing scenario training, why not?).
Once you have mastered the basic defence you will need to introduce the first slice of bread, in a self-defence situation this is more often than not a verbal opening. Right now you are probably saying what about muggings or ambush attacks? They may not include any verbal and you’re correct but this is where your awareness training comes in to play. Train for these too, but please do not discount training the early stages of an altercation; by doing so you will be losing vital chances to train not only your fence, but also training how to verbally diffuse a situation amongst other things. Have your training partner verbally assault you, this introduces a good bit of pressure and raises your adrenaline levels. Have them push and shove you whilst you practise trying to talk your way out or set up a pre-emptive strike.
Remember we are trying to control the whole situation, not just the physical attack.
Also train how you will finish your defence. Remember, we are training for self-defence and our priority is to get home safely. We want to be able to escape from the situation as quickly as we can.
If we have controlled the altercation verbally, by using the fence and controlling the space and distance around and between us and the attacker, we may be able to escape without it going physical. That is great, job done. But also think about your physical response. How have you controlled your attacker? If you have used an impact technique you may well be able to escape with- out getting tied up and grappling, but if you have ended up grappling and have finished your defence with a lock, or submission hold for example how do you escape from that safely? Have you tied yourself up grappling with the attacker so much you cannot deal with another attacker suddenly coming in? Have you tied yourself up whilst trying to control your attacker so much that to release him would put yourself back into danger? These are all points that you need to consider.
I hope this has given you something to think about. Anyway, moving on at this time of year everyone likes to go out, have a few drinks but it is important that you always keep your safety in mind. I would like to close this blog by offering a few safety tips:
Plan your night out and journey to and from your destination, make sure you let people know where you are going to be and when you expect to get home.
Never accept a drink from anyone you do not completely trust.
Know your limits when it comes to how much alcohol you can handle, don’t be pressured in to drinking more if you feel you have had enough.
Think about how you are going to get home at the end of the night, pre-book your taxi with a reputable company. Better still, try to get one of your friends not to drink so they can drive and drop everyone home safely, or arrange a friend or a member of your family to pick you up. If you’re arranging a pre-booked taxi get the cab firm to text you the make of car and the registration number so you know you are getting in the correct cab. If you’re a lady, then request a female driver if possible.
Make sure you have a number of a couple of taxi firms on you, have them stored in your phone and also written down and stored in your purse / wallet in case you lose your phone or the battery runs out.
Ensure your phone is fully charged and you have credit if on a pre-pay phone.
Trust your instincts.
I do not want to make you paranoid but just a little awareness can make this party season a little safer and hopefully allow you to enjoy it to the full.
As usual, I welcome any comments and questions.
I would like to wish all my readers a very Merry Christmas and a prosperous 2012.
Have fun and remember to stay safe.
To find out more about Rider Martial Arts visit: http://www.ridermartialarts.webs.com/
You can e-mail Stuart at: firstname.lastname@example.org