Tonight was a new beginning in the academy syllabus. Tonight we ventured into understanding and arriving at the clinch.
Along with this part of the curriculum was a discussion over the psychology of a fight and also the common false interpretation of someone knowing a self-defence art such as ‘Gracie Jiu-Jitsu’ being immune to harm or being some sort of super-human.
We started the class with the normal address from the Professor and then started the warm-up. We did running, side-stepping, running backwards and then back to running forwards. Next we did a drill which involved clinching your partner with either arm under their armpit and resting on their shoulder referred to as a pummel or re-pummel. We did this a few times swopping partners to deal with different people of different sizes.
The lesson started, a more philosophical tone to the evening, explaining fight mentality, aggression and dispelling common belief potentially taught by other self-defence disciplines around… knives.
The first move explained a reaction to someone potentially stabbing you towards the body, however certain things need to be addressed first:
1) Distance between you and the attacker
2) Options, i.e. can you run?, should you run?
3) Position of hands
4) Eye contact during confrontation
5) Do they have an accomplice?
If you can run, you should run it’s not about being a hero.
Always maintain an estimated 10ft between you and the attacker, especially if you don’t know if they are carrying a weapon, the distance gives you time to get away from them.
If you are in a situation where you can’t directly escape use your hands to create an initial frame around yourself. Or a better option would be to use any obstacles near where you are for example a parked car.
Maintain eye contact with the attacker.
If the attacker attempts a stab, with your arms already up, you can do the following:
Shift your mid section back, almost like bending over whilst placing your arms out to target the arm that’s wielding the knife. It’s almost a pushing motion on their arm whilst moving your body back.
This was drilled for quite some time, expansion on this move will be done later in the week.
We then moved on to working with distance management, at this stage the weapons went away and this was more essentially altercations with people that weren’t armed but still aggressive. So we did some drills keeping distance between our training partners, one person advancing the other adjusting their position and vice versa.
Next we added in an extra move to discourage advancement from a would be attacker, the Pisao kick!, this was practiced taking note of stances and what part of the foot to use in addition to where to target. This position was advanced to kicking to two other locations on the attacker, all designed to keep them at bay. This was practiced with varying degrees of success.
After that we then used the Pisao kick to potentially ‘encourage’ a strike from the attacker, giving us the opening to clinch. The strike in question was a ‘haymaker’ attack, which we would perform a high block with the arm and use that as an anchor to put weight over the arm trap and engage into a clinch. Head positioned just under the chin, body engaged hip to hip at the side. From here a headbutt and a knee into the groin is available, then leading into hip toss. This was practiced on both sides with differing degrees of success.
We then talked about jabbing, again incorporating distance management this move is an addition to the basic punch defences down several weeks back, but tonight take downs were added on the end. So first we would need to understand when would be the right time to engage in this defence. Attempting to punch requires commitment from the puncher, if we are managing distance we are essentially encouraging the attacker to come at us so we can capitalise. This would involve a parry to the punch followed by initiating a clinch under the punching arm. This was practiced a few times to understand the basic principal.
The professor then added a takedown at the end, this one involved same entry but this time, we grabbed around the backs of the hamstring on both legs, moved our legs so we were positioned directly beneath them, stood up whilst holding them and raising their legs up together whilst twisting round which sent their top half towards the floor. For those that were partnered with bigger training partners, were encouraged not to do this if they were possibly carrying a back injury. There was a different variation which basically was a single leg take down, involving same entry, but both hands on the leg just behind the knee with the head positioned into their body. Then stepping round whilst holding the leg to send them to the floor.
We drilled this for a while, alternating between the different take downs.
At this point the professor asked us if we had any questions, different ones came up and the professor as always had an answer for us.
Personal thoughts, the mindset is absolutely vital when carrying out these drills and techniques. I personally never want to have to get into a situation where i would need to use this, hopefully i’ll be able to read a situation, preferably from afar, and not get involved. But sometimes it doesn’t always work that way. The logic behind these techniques make a lot of sense but the most valuable part was the professor’s experience in dealing and seeing these situations before. Effectively there’s no bullshit involved. I look forward to more education in these situations and techniques when dealing with people with weapons!