From knives to bats…

Defending yourself couldn’t be more important… the start of a new week a focus change, away from ambushes with a knife to ambushes with baton’s in addition head lock defences which were briefly touched upon last week.
Professor discussed the philosophy of the use of baton’s in skirmishes in the streets and nicely lead on to the use of headlocks. Such a common attack especially when you get close. So the evening was looking at basic positions with respect to dealing with these two potentially lethal assaults.
We started with a warm-up which consisted of running, side-stepping, backward running and hip escapes. Then we did a set of drills, first one a speed ‘grab’ drill, where we had one arm on the wrist and the other on the gi, we then proceeded to pull in the grabbed person into a hip throw position and then retracted the position. The point of the drill was for speed and we were expected to do this 20 times each side.
Afterwards we did a throw, which apparently was used on Helio Gracie in his battle against Kato, (check 8mins 07 seconds into the fight) this involved stepping across the
grabbed opponent, right foot in line with their right foot, pulling their head down and bring the left to foot to raise their left foot resulting in them being thrown down.
The last warm-up drill we did was a combination of the previous two, we had one hand on the wrist the other behind the head, idea was to again step across so right foot in line with their right foot, then this time drag the right foot back to stretch their left foot, once that is done you can then use your left hand to pull their right foot at which point they go down on to the floor. From here armlocks were attempted as a finish.
With the warm-ups over, we looked at initially two baton defences, with the attacks coming from above the attackers head. The idea was to get in before the swing has started. Good posture and base was necessary and placement of the first initial move of the hand on the wrist is vital. The first variation required stopping the attacker, whilst making sure to protect our head and keeping the arm free to defend against attacks from the other arm, whether they are armed or unarmed in the other hand, then disarming the weapon hand.
The second variation facilitated not getting a full grip on the wrist and the attacker attempting to move their arm back, at this point to defend this position grabbing of the arm at 3 points was essential, the wrist, the elbow and our head tight on their shoulder with the other hand clamped underneath. From here the idea was to keep the base low and take a step, then using momentum from the top down and with the leg sweeping their leg up from behind to perform a takedown. Once they’re down, performing an armlock was the finish.
The above was drilled a few times making sure to understand balance and not to topple after the trip.
Next we looked at scenario’s involving headlocks. Stories were told and videos mentioned of how dangerous headlocks can be. One scenario explained by the professor, is if you’ve been able to distance yourself from a would be attacker and they then advance, inviting the clinch learnt last week, what is common is for them to headlock and then take you to the floor, where the future will look exceptionally bleak. The first part of the headlock counter was to ensure safety from being squeezed and hit, which involved being on your side, then stopping assaults. We practiced this one piece first before moving on the first escape.
This escape involved building a frame against the neck of the attacker then using hip escapes and outstretching the arms to change position. Once enough space was obtained and the ‘headlocker’ releases the headlock, this essentially pushes their head near you legs allowing the opportunity to attempt a leg scissors around their neck. An important detail with this is to make sure the you raise their chin up, prior to engaging the legs around the neck.
This was drilled successfully, seemingly a straight forward concept to grasp.
The last escape similar movement to the above, but if the headlocker doesn’t let go. In that situation, the idea is to use the leg facilitating the hip escape to act as a weight in a pendulum to allow the headlocked the ability to sit up, then position themselves in a modified mount position on the headlocker. From here control is key, as there are various options from this position, in terms of causing damage to them, either via other locks or strikes.
We ended the night with a summary and also how these simple positions will be the foundations of the rest of the lessons for the week.
My thoughts, this to me was very interesting since i got caught in a headlock on the mats not long ago. Also the weapon defence from a baton was interesting as it is a completely different dynamic to the knife. Again looking forward to the rest of the lessons this week.
“Tapping out!”

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