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We Are Self Defence Specialists and we are Proud!

The week dragged slowly for me, it was the first time anyone had told me they were going to assault me. In fact they were going to “smash” my face in, kick my head in and leave me bleeding on the floor. This is what they told me, and what’s more they said it would be later this week. The worry would be prolonged.

I struggled to sleep, I thought about what I would do if it happened, I worried and I ate less.I was experiencing the slow adrenaline dump. However I wouldn’t fight him, I didn’t want to and I knew I would lose, I knew I could get hurt.

I walked home alone later that week, then I heard the shouts that to this day still haunt me. They were the shouts of a crowd, baying for blood. Perhaps the women accused of witchcraft in Salem felt this way. However as the group approached I realised it was him.

He had come to hurt me, he had come to smash my face in just as he promised.

I refused to fight him, I wanted no part of violence, I was not a fighter. He wanted a fight and without one the crowd got restless. So he threw a couple of punches at me that landed and hurt. I still said no. I didn’t want to fight. Without the fight he wanted he started to give up, even though the crowd told him to just beat me up he still said no. There seemed no point when I just didn’t want to fight

I thought I had survived this incident. That was until a member of the crowd wanting some fun stepped in and said “if you won’t do it, I will!” At that point I was brutally assaulted, punched and head butted until I was on the floor. Only by virtue I had managed to get right outside my home did it end. I had a split lip, a nose bleed and bruises all over. This was the moment that changed my life, I was just 11.

Since this day I have dedicated my life to self defence. This was my sole motivation in training in numerous martial arts and systems over the years. I never wanted to feel like that again.

This blog has seen massive success over the last 3 months and today I have had over 1000 views this month alone. It has been viewed so many times because I am passionate about self defence. My guest bloggers are also passionate and have shared their stories to motivate and encourage us all. A few people have criticised the blog and me,even when my name is not mentioned I know they refer to my writing. These people are few and far between.

The support I have received so far has shown me that this blog has a future, that self defence has a future. I believe the study of self defence can go from small groups in church halls to become a legitimate study which people want and ask for. I want parents to say that are taking their child to “self defence training”. I want the media to refer to us as self defence and self protection experts. I want a person to stand proud and say they are studying self defence.

We are not limited to one system, we can borrow from them all, selecting the best techniques for the individual student.  We use what works, studying real violence for answers and using martial arts where appropriate. We are the future of self defence and self protection.

We are warriors of reality, and some people will not like our harsh viewpoint of combat. But as I like to say, “A bruised ego heals a lot quicker than a  broken jaw”.

Thank you for all the support and positive comments. If you are reading this then I believe you too are proud to be a self defence specialist and student. You might not fight in the cage, you might not have a black belt, it matters not. We prepare for the most savage of opponents, those who would see us in hospital. Those who would see us away from our loved ones. Those who would laugh about causing us serious harm.

We are self defence students and I am proud to be a self defence specialist, I am always learning and always studying and I will share what I learn.

Keep reading this blog because the best is yet to come. Thank you for all the support.

Keep safe and be proud.


How To Create a Great Website for free in a matter of minutes

I’m no web developer or search engine specialist. I’m a martial artist and self defence instructor. However I have discovered a few tricks that could save you some money and I used these tricks to get to the first page of Google when I ran a  regular class.

The first step should be the reason you need a website. My advice is to have two. A personal site and a class site.

This gives you double the exposure. I have a paid for personal site at however you can do this free and I don’t believe it matters too much. There is also a cheap low cost method I will explain another time.

Your personal site can be important no matter your level, be it beginner or instructor. Use it to record your progress, share videos of your performance and more. However as an instructor its a place to showcase your skills and experience.

Your club site should contain enough information to allow someone to find you, contact you and know where you are and what you are about. If your teaching children perhaps you could display a child protection policy.

Ok so how do you do this, and how do you do this for free.

I personally use a service at This is my provider for which was actually before I got the domain. The webs service adds the webs bit on. However I don’t think its a major issue if you have a local business as we can get exposure later on.

The webs service allows you to create a free website in minutes using templates. It’s very easy and simple.

Your next step should be getting seen. As a local business your customers may either google local clubs to find you or actually google you from a leaflet etc so your first port of call should be google business. Get yourself Registered and on the map.

Next up its time to get business links. You can use a series of free websites to do this but ill save this for next time.

However if you want a free website with no hassle then get over to and have a play around. For those wanting more details ill be releasing them in a later post covering such things as getting a domain, writing blogs, WordPress, website development, getting to the top of google and more.

Until next time
Keep safe.

The Great Responsibility- Are You Training Victims and you don’t know it?


It is hard to believe the great responsibility that martial arts and self defence instructors have yet very few actually realise this. Since I have started this blog I have seen a tremendous response, both positive and negative.  I have been accused by some martial arts instructors as actually attacking martial artists and the fact they help people by giving them the skills to both “protect and enhance their lives!”

Well what do I have to say to these people? Simple.

I really don’t care about upsetting the martial artist who has developed an over confident ego based on years of dojo training. Its funny how although I haven’t been a Jeet Kune Do student for many years (I tried it and It didn’t suit my needs at the time) I have read a lot of different things about Bruce Lee and the art. I hear that there was a backlash about his teaching and ideas from the traditional martial artist. Sounds Familiar eh?

Now I wont compare myself to Bruce Lee or indeed even the scholars who were killed for saying the earth wasn’t at the centre of the universe all those years ago. However I have been amazed by the martial artists who seem to think they have the monopoly on their ability to teach a person to defend themselves against real violence. The modern martial artist needs to study not only the physical skills but be proficient in law, first aid, fitness, criminal behaviour, criminal trends and more to be a good self defence instructor. Fortunately we have had organisations such as the British Combat Association preaching these things for many years now. We live in a time like no other, we have footage of real violence available to analyse and view for free all across the internet. However how many instructors are looking at this footage and then asking themselves the simple question “Will my training work?”

Violence shatters lives, it destroys people and the lives for their families. A single incident can cause serious physical trauma, emotional distress and in some circumstances even death. Don’t believe me take a look at the below clip.

in this space I had linked a youtube clip that showed serious violence. Having thought about this clip in further detail I feel the clip is not required to showcase my views. It is in the public forum but having watched it several times I feel that not only should I not use it that indeed it should be removed from You Tube. I hope you enjoy the rest of the article.

My friend Jamie Clubb often talks about the need for individuality in training, in other words training the person with an individual approach based on their needs. Now this is hard but it was something that my friend and subject of an upcoming blog Georgi Georgiev did for me. He focused my Judo training based on my height and build, my strengths and weaknesses, yet many classes are just a syllabus. Sticking to the syllabus at all costs. If you ask the instructor for a more focused approach you may be offered a private lesson priced between £20- £100. This is not focused on the individual. It focuses on the art.

Now this is the point I ask people:

Why are you training? Again something which is heavily focused on by the Vagabond Warriors Seminar I have previously reviewed. If you are training to keep fit there are likely to be better ways. If you are training for personal growth or skill mastery that’s fine. If you are training to learn self defence then this is when you need to get serious. Self defence is a serious subject, yet I find it strange when instructors are not willing to turn the microscope onto themselves, and ask themselves to not just ask if this works in self defence, but will it work for the student they are training?

To further punctuate this, having been to numerous schools of martial arts throughout my life. No instructor, not one has asked me what my own goals were and how they will help me get to this point.All our students may have been or could yet be victims of violent crime, it may not be the same violent crimes you have been victim to. It may be rape, gang rape, domestic violence, bullying, gang abuse, verbal abuse, threats, intimidation and much more. Are the techniques you teach designed to work for them in the situations they could face? Will it work for their build and body shape? Or are you guilty of just accepting the students money and going though the motions?

I have another guest blog from a person who contacted me but wishes to remain anonymous. Their post is most inspiring and educational. I ask you, how well do you know your students? You have a huge responsibility as an instructor. Your training encourages and develops people in so many ways. All I suggest is that you ask yourselves this question:

Will the skills that I teach actually work and meet my students needs and how do I know this?”

As I keep saying we need to use martial arts as a tool box to draw from, they are not the answer to violence. Violence will provide the answers we need.  Here is the guest article:

A little background…

I had a wonderful childhood, I was spoilt and sheltered. I had always had a rose tinted spectacle view of the world. People were generally nice, bad things happened to other people.

How wrong can you be?

When I was 17 I was raped by a ‘friend’ who had been experimenting with cocaine. I had never been hit before and the shock and fear left me paralysed. I had been blind to the dangers and naïve enough to think I could handle myself in any situation.

I am not proud but I made a decision to find a guy who could look after me. I quickly started dating a guy who was well connected, aggressive and took no messing from anyone. At first things were great, I thought I was safe. Then, at three months pregnant, he hit me. I’d refused to go for a night out. He was full of apologies the next day and I fell for it. Being hit then became an infrequent occurrence throughout my pregnancy. Soon after the birth of my son, it became a regular thing. I was treading on egg shells, never knowing what would set him off. There were too many excuses, drink, drugs, the football result… The list was endless.

I lost a lot of friends as I wasn’t allowed to see them or I was too bruised. My family stayed away, they knew the score but only came when things were too much and I had to call for help. I’d made my bed and all that and we had a child so I tried everything to make it work. I began to suffer with depression, and I hated my life.

I never went to the police and I often wonder if that would have made a difference. I saw friends in similar situations who contacted the police but if you’re not strong enough to leave, who does it help?

The turnaround…

I decided to make changes, starting with some part time work. I started making friends and my husband had to be more careful about where the bruises were. I felt better. I wasn’t such a bad person. I made the decision to leave when my husband was away and I did it! We had some initial teething problems, I was stalked, and still got abused when I took my son to visit his father but, slowly, things got right.

And now?

Writing this has dredged up a lot of bad memories, it is uncomfortable. There are still places I won’t go, things I won’t do, but that’s common sense and awareness. I still feel guilt and shame, I doubt that will ever go, but I can control it now and things are certainly better.

I took up martial arts, recommended by a friend. I’ve learnt a lot about myself and what made me tick. I do a little teaching and have made some amazing friends.

My hope in writing this is that people really think about self-defence, about their own and what they teach others. I’ve done various self-defence courses but most lack some of the vital components, for me at least.

I am choosing not to give my name. I wouldn’t want people’s opinions of me to change and I am not the same person I was.

Take care and stay safe  🙂

Thanks for sharing, I challenge the instructors and readers of this blog not to upset and criticise but to help enhance and deliver a better product to the public. Self defence is an important subject. Take it seriously.

Keep safe.

Fighting Back! A guest blog that will inspire and motivate. A must read.


Wow what a great response from my last blog. I have had so many positive comments from so many people and thank you it is very much appreciated.

Trust me the next post will push the boundaries even further for people. It will make people feel very uncomfortable and force them to ask themselves a lot of questions about their training, however that will be coming soon. The idea of this blog is to cause discussion, motivate and become a platform for my views and opinions. I started it because I got so fed up with the total rubbish that was generally being written and sold as self defence products. Self defence is an unregulated industry, this means that anyone can sell anything without any comeback at all. Without any testing and without any basis in reality.

I keep saying that a self defence revolution is on its way. We need to look at violence for the answers to violence, not martial arts. Martial arts are a tool box to draw from, they are not a guide book, they do not have all the answers. Yes they are fun, they are very useful, but they are martial arts. The criminal has no respect for them, he has no respect for you! They will think nothing about your training when they pick up a glass and smash it into your face, they will not consider rules when a group of  men and women stamp and kick you repeatedly in your head for no reason other than they want to. These and far worse things can happen. Is your training geared to deal with them?

A change in perception can change everything, people once thought the earth was at the centre of the universe!

For today’s post we have a very special guest. Michelle from Michelle Fighting  She is an inspirational person who has a film due out soon based on her experiences. At the end of the blog there is video showing this lady talking, its a very good watch. However please check out her guest article. Its a fantastic read that will inspire and motivate us all to achieve our goals and fight back against overwhelming odds. Here it is:

Moving Forward

Firstly, let me introduce myself. My name is Michelle and over the last year I have set up a website called Michelle Fighting Back. I do motivational talks in the hope to inspire others. I realised that by telling my own story I could help many people, motivate them and give hope to people that had been through a difficult time in their life.

I was raped at knifepoint when I was 14 years old. I wanted to show people that we all go through difficult and traumatic times, but it is still possible to lead a happy life, so I decided to tell people my story. Through my website I have spoken to people from all walks of life. Men and women have kindly and bravely shared their stories with me. I would never tell someone how to live their lives and where possible I have passed on the details of fully trained organisations. For example CRASAC or I have suggested services such as counselling. I tell people how I have dealt with my own attack and the issues within my life that my attack created. I have been very open and honest. I have noticed that many of the messages I receive from people have the same word that crops up, time and time again. Everyone’s experiences are different, but this particular word seems to creep into everyone’s lives …Guilt. It’s hard to believe that such a small, simple word can cause such devastation, destroy lives and at times even end lives…

After my own attack I had the attitude that my attacker would not ruin my life. 20 years ago I made a very big decision that would affect my whole future and my attitude to life. In my mind I had two choices, either I could beat my attacker or he could beat me. To me it was that simple. I really don’t like the term ‘Victim’. I’ve never been a victim and refuse point blank to become one. As far as I’m concerned the word victim suggests that a person has been beaten, that the attacker has won in some way. I decided my attacker could only win if i allowed him to destroy me, if i gave him that power and if i allowed him to defeat me. Over the last 20 years I have been a very determined young lady. I have used my attack in a positive way by pushing myself to reach my goals, to have adventures and to fulfil my dreams. We are all unique and different. Each one of us deals with situations in our own way. There is no right or wrong way, just our own way. I have had messages from people asking ‘Why didn’t I deal with my attack in the same way you have dealt with yours?’ I cannot answer that question, I can only share my strategies that I have used to be the person I am today. I always encourage people and give support where ever I can.

I have had messages from people who are living a daily battle due to their experiences. Many of them have mentioned that they feel guilty, as if they are to blame in some way for what has happened to them. They feel guilt towards family members. They feel guilt because of the way it has affected their lives. They feel guilty because they can’t move forward in life and they are living in the past. The guilt they feel is endless… In my view you should never feel guilty for someone else’s actions. We need to work towards accepting that we have done nothing wrong, we didn’t deserve to be attacked. Guilt can eat you up inside. It can ruin relationships, destroy lives and leave people living in fear. No one should lock away that guilt. Another person’s actions should not determine your whole life. I am happy to say that some of the people that I have spoken to and I am in regular contact with in some cases have taken giant steps in their lives to move forward. They are facing their issues, learning to let go of the guilt and they are also fighting back. Whether it is mentally or physically, they are taking control over their lives. Sometimes just being able to talk through your
problems with someone, who has a bit of understanding, can make such a huge difference. If you would like to talk to me I am just an email away, you don’t have to suffer in silence.

Always remember your own happiness lies within yourself.
Big Hugs

Michelle x

What a great article, be sure to check out her site and the video below. Until next time keep safe and train hard

How to Knock Out an Attacker with Your Weakest Hand- Video Included

Hi and once again welcome to the blog of the self defence If you are reading this then you are reading the words of Andrew Holland. Fast becoming recognised as a leading self defence expert. This post will tell you how it is possible to knock out a person with your weaker hand and also using only a slap. Trust me its very cool and should only be used in self defence situations. If you like this head over to my site and sign up for my updates and newsletters. Major things happening, so keep informed via my email list. Just visit the self defence and sign up.

Anyway, Its been a busy few weeks with lots of projects and I have even been heard across the UK on BBC Radio 2 to 6 million listerners. This of course was a major leap in establishing my views and instruction to a wider audience. To celebrate this I thought I would give a sort of free gift. Well its actually an old video I recorded on you tube but I never really it promoted much. Its quite hefty and 11 minutes long but you can skip to about the 3.50 minute mark where the technique begins. However I think it would be better to give you a full explanation of the reasoning behind the technique so I have written this post.

The Lead Left Power Slap

Firstly a bit of history.

Slapping was something only girls were allowed to do. Or at least that’s what everyone was told when I was growing up. If a boy slapped someone they were told “only girls slap” (In fact looking back they did have access to a great range of self defence skills including eye gouging and hair pulling). This viewpoint was almost universally held by everyone including teachers and parents, boys had to hit with a closed fist! They were the unofficial rules of society. That was until something changed, someone broke the mould and made it not just OK to slap but stated it is actually far more useful than punching with a closed fist.

Now I don’t actually know who first started teaching slapping as a self defence skill, however I first heard of it from Peter Consterdine on his Powerstrike video. Suddenly it became OK for large doormen and security people to slap so I credit Peter for making the technique popular.For those that don’t know and are reading this post to gain some basic self defence information. Peter Consterdine is one of the the founders of the British Combat Association and is a Karate and security expert.

So, the story goes that Peter produced a video called Power Strike and in it he taught what he called the power slap. Essentially it was just a slap using a very unique hip movement he had come up with called ‘the double hip’ which generated more power in a single shot. However it was the sheer genius of the use of a slap over a punch that seemed to have evaded people for years.

The Slap is perhaps the most underused weapon in modern martial arts today. It doesn’t feature in most self defence or martial arts syllabus yet the devastating power it can yield is simply amazing. Lets examine the slap over a traditional punch.

Punch- Its powerful as a closed fist becomes a weapon. Just as if you were holding a brick the fist in essence becomes its own solid object which your can throw. This follows Newtons laws of force in that Mass x Acceleration = Force. The fist becomes the mass which you accelerate and you then have force. The punch is also compact, its small yet is fast. It is truly devastating. So we have a pretty compelling argument for using the fist.

Then again let’s look at the major down side. It Breaks easily. The hand is fragile and was designed to grasp and not punch and as a result they often break in circumstances which has become known as the boxers fracture. Basically when you strike with a closed fist the pressure starts to pass from the knuckles down the metacarpals of the hand. The metacarpals can snap during this process. Boxers avoid this by wrapping their hands to make sure the bones can’t spread much and this stops them breaking.

Slap- So lets have a look at the slap. The plus points are:

It is a large object but is easily moved. The open hand position does have a bit of air drag but not enough to reduce much speed. The same rules of force apply to the open hand as they do the closed fist so force will certainly be generated. The open hand is actually large so the chances of missing the target are reduced. The major difference however is that the hand is unlikely to break as it is open and the pressure caused by the punch doesn’t exist with the slap. So the slap looks cool so far. Lets take a look of my favourite slap in action.

That is one of the best slaps ever seen on tape. The person gets knocked out cold and shows the sheer power of the open handed technique.

Now the slap isn’t anything new however some time ago I started to work with the idea of the lead left power slap. The main reason behind this was that I wanted to be able to use my strongest hand should the first attack fail. If you notice from the video above the slap lands so if it hadn’t worked he would have had to ‘re load’ his power hand to fire another punch. This would of course lead to an opportunity for counter attack. I was looking for a powerful weapon that I could use that allowed me to to still have my power hand in reserve. This would be especially useful if faced with multiple opponents.

Power Hand

For those that don’t know. I call my strongest hand my power hand. For me this is my right hand and like a boxer would I stand with my weaker foot forward and my right foot a half step backwards. This is because of various reasons however my stronger side punch will have greater distance to travel and thus picking up more acceleration making the punch actually stronger. As it is my most dominant side I have greater muscular control and dexterity over the strike/side and this means it is likely to land on target. Of course the opposite is true, my weaker hand leads and as such it is nearer the target and that is less likely to miss as I need less control. Now before I have Bruce Lee’s Jeet Kune Do’s fans hunting me I appreciate there is another counter argument to this as well. A lot of people argue that having the weaker hand at the rear is better allowing the stronger hand to be closer to the target. There are good and bad points to both arguments. I actually can strike from either stance but prefer the original boxers rules. Anyone unsure of how hard a boxer hits then take a look at the video

OK That was just a bit of light entertainment but you get the idea. Boxers hit hard. So I will keep with the boxing stance as I know it works for me. So I refer to the power hand as the one furthest away from the opponent.

The Lead Power slap is therefore going to be delivered with your weaker hand. In my case the left but its easy to reverse the instructions for left handed people so they can use their right.

The Technique

Most of us know that there is something in life called the startle flinch reflex in which if someone was to throw something at you then you will elicit one of a range of responses. It could be moving your hands across your face or ducking etc, there are many variations of responses however it does happen. As such it is likely that if you throw a strike the opponent will make some kind of defensive action. Now whether this is successful largely depends on what happens before your throw your strike but lest say that you are simply standing and a person walks up to you and isnt happy that you looked at him (yes this goes on still)

“What you looking at” He says

“Nothing, I was just looking your way. I didn’t mean anything by it” You reply

the conversation goes down hill from here with various insults and threats and the male is clearly looking to hurt you.

Now without thinking about it the opponent has his body language set up ready to attack you. His right hand is pulled backward with a glass in his hand and this isn’t something you can really duck. If you think about it. Planning on blocking or ducking an attack by a person holding a glass is a risky strategy. Therefore the power slap presents a great opportunity for a pre emptive strike.

So at this moment you decide to launch a pre emptive strike and choose the power slap. In particular the left lead power slap.

Your hand hooks out of the field of vision of the target. He has his hand backwards and down so you have a clear path to the side of his face. Your left hand is closer to the opponent thus reducing the chances of you missing and because you are closer it also increases the speed of the attack.

You strike lands but the startle flinch reflex of the person has fired and as such you haven’t landed completely flushed. He is very dazed but still standing and with a glass in his hand. However because we have used the lead left power slap your strongest weapon (your right hook or straight) is ready to let go. Which you do and of course the end result is that the person is either out cold or dazed enough for you to escape the situation.

The alternative slap would have been the standard power slap. Which of course could have worked and possibly would have knocked out the opponent as well. It is a really great technique however it is usually fired further away from the opponent and as such distance increases reaction time. The left hook in boxing is so devastating because the opponent rarely sees it. It is delivered out of the field of vision. In self defence situations you will experience a flood of adrenaline through your body and an effect of that is tunnel vision. However don’t forget, the opponent has that same issue so the effects of any strike out of the field of vision are increased.

The below video explains and demonstrates the technique with me showing it. It is pure raw footage I was going to use to promote an on line video service which I never actually produced but the actual technique is quite useful. The good stuff starts at around the 3.50 mark. It is a great technique which I hope you enjoy and find interesting.

Any way keep safe and have a good weekend.

Andrew Holland

The Self Defence

The Self Defence Wars- When Experts Collide

The Self Defence world is changing. For many outside the industry this will mean nothing and not effect you in any significant way. However the truth is that right now a revolution is going on behind the scenes. Where this revolution will end I am not sure however some of the most amazing minds in self defence are raising their game. This of course adds to a great side effect: others will follow and keep pushing the boundaries. This will take self defence instruction to the next level. This is what I refer to as the ‘Elite’ level. This post concerns one such expert, Mr Jamie Clubb. It is both a review of his methods and his new Vagabond Warrior Seminar that I took part in on 25/2/12 at kyushinkai Karate in Telford. Jamie is pushing his game to the next level. But what would happen if you put 2 experts in the same room and what would by my thoughts about his skills, his teaching and more importantly his new seminar the Vagabond Warriors.

It was strange to arrive and see Jamie Clubb in person for the first time. He wouldn’t consider himself a celebrity however I have been reading Jamies articles for some years now. I first got switched onto his writing in Martial Arts Illustrated and liked his approach. He seemed a student more than an instructor in those days but as I found out more, it was clear he was simply going on a journey with various other martial artists to enhance his game and learning from Self Defence legends like Geoff Thompson and Mo Teague. What this means is that he has gained a lot of experience which has no doubt been mixed with his own views and opinions.

The point I’m making is that for me this was actually a chance to meet with another expert in the field of self defence, having two experts at any event can be strange especially when one becomes the student to the other. However I have always been keen to add to my knowledge and Jamie I feel was a wise choice for me to train with. My ‘cup’ has never been full, I am always looking for new input. So let’s get going this is my review on Jamie Clubb’s Vagabond Warriors seminar.

Vagabond Warriors Review

The Seminar started some time prior to the actual date. Jamie has developed a very unique method using Facebook where by he delivers constant information to the group prior to attending. This is excellent, entertaining and exactly what I expect from someone who will be at the front of the new revolution of self defence. It is almost like the modern version of a course pre read.The course itself was very easy to register. An on line payment system and a course code allowed Jamie to get my deposit and for my place to be guaranteed, this made life easy and again had a very professional feel to it. As I found the venue I got a parking space on a good sized parking lot. Again this made life very easy. The venue itself was amazing, great facilities with pads, mats, an classroom and even a cage. This was a very professional school, in fact the whole process so far had been very well oiled. I was officially impressed. At this stage everything was well polished and professional but would it continue?

The Vagabond Warriors is a very unique course and to be honest I wont tell you exactly what is involved because I know the content will change, however I will discuss the overall feeling of the course and what I gained from it. The idea of this post should be to allow you to make an informed decision about your training and if you would like to get Jamie down to your club or class or if you would like to attend his seminars.

The course began with a good classroom input, very polished via power point and including some great concepts. Then it was a day spent on the mat and in the cage with a few further class room inputs included. The course is packed with drills but most importantly if you were to ask me what it is all about I would say “the Vagabond Warriors is about discovering and developing a personal system of self protection that is for yourself. It is a course that will provide structure and ideas about your own training and your goals and as an instructor helping your students do the same. In many ways it is about linking your martial arts training, your sport/fitness training and your self defence training together.”

Jamie has come up with a very impressive and clever idea here. The battle for most martial artists is always what to focus on and why. The Vagabond Warriors is designed to help you process the ever growing information out there so you can become a better martial artist. Its not a self help course, its not a self defence course and its not a MMA course yet it delves into all these areas. Although I know Jamie wouldn’t like me identifying the self help part but Jamie is actually delving into this subject. Not in relation to your personal problems or your life goals but solidly focusing on your Martial Arts Ability. To be honest I actually liked this part of the course a lot. Jamie has some really unique concepts here that will immediately get you mentally asking questions of yourself.

I am certain there is no course like this one as Jamie seems to have found a way for the modern martial artist to focus on their training and get the most out of it. The course really is a guide on how to do this. From fitness to attribute training. You will learn how to construct training drills, improve existing drills and how to reflect on your training.The course is a fantastic value for money event as it will help you to make the most of your own training. I highly recommend it to anyone who is currently a martial artist.

To finish I have posted some video below of Jamie. He has thrown down the gauntlet for training seminars and to be honest has given me a level to aim for when I put my own seminar together this year.

To end the blog check out the footage and I will end with this note:

Vagabond Warriors is a course that is designed to teach you how to get the most value from your martial arts training. If you are spending money on your training right now and want to maximise your money then check out his course, it will help you develop as a martial artist and will give you concepts and ideas that you will be able to use straight away. I cannot imagine anyone that wouldn’t walk away from this course feeling pleased. It has a strong value for money feel that will add value to your current training. Jamie doesn’t say ‘do it this or that way’ instead it is about finding you own way and then focusing on this. All the drills are designed around this and so is the input. I have come away from the course with new ideas and thoughts and highly recommend you either attend or book the course for your students.

Here’s the video and remember keep safe

Andrew Holland

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Ultimate Guide to Leg Locks for Self Defence

This is one of my largest posts to date packed with videos from various resources across the web. It is a subject I am passionate about contrary to the vast majority of self defence experts out there. The subject is of course Leg Locks and their use in self defence situations. By the end of this article you will understand why I feel they are so important and also have various resources to look at on how to leg lock with real skill.

The first subject I should cover is the why? OK now many people know what a leg lock is however as many of my readers have never been to a MMA class I will explain the basics. A leg lock is when a person applies a joint lock against a lower limb such as a hip, knee, ankle of foot. These locks can be pain inducing like a calf muscle slicer or destructive to bone and ligaments like the dreaded heel hook. Either way leg locks are very damaging holds.

Now that this is covered why do I believe in them so much for self defence. Well most experts will say that you shouldn’t spend any time on the ground in a real violent incident simply because the attacker may not be alone and if you are on the floor you are very vulnerable to a head kick and stamp to the head. This could result in serious injury even death. This is very true and I agree with this advice. However not all situations are the same and there has to be a realisation of a number of factors that make leg locks essential training.

1. If attacked the opponents are likely to be physically stronger than you.

This is true because most attackers will not go after the 6ft 5 inch tall person as it will be a difficult fight, therefore the attacker will pick on someone physically weaker than them. Yes there may be others around and with the attacker  however there is no guarantees they will get involved. A lot depends on circumstances. Most attackers like an audience to ‘observe/ witness’ their work. This observation will lead to people taking about them and grow their reputation.Having others involved in the attack is not always the desire of the attacker as such you can never base all your decisions on what might happen next. Sometimes we have to take a risk.

2. If you are on the ground you may end up being back there again.

Consider this, you have been grabbed by a  stronger person or punched and knocked to the floor. What makes you think that getting up again will lead to a different conclusion. Getting up can be just as dangerous as staying on the floor, as when you get up you can be extremely vulnerable to attack. Although moves like ‘climbing’ up the opponent reduce the risk, the risk is still present.  So if you manage to get up the stronger person may be able to force you to the floor yet again. Ground hog day indeed

3. The attackers goal may be to take you to the floor

The attacker may in certain incidents want you to go to the floor such as in a sexual assault. The attacker regardless of if they are male or female may want to force you to the ground. So you are there anyway and likely to stay there. Perhaps the only option you have is to fight from the ground.

In summary to the reasons why leg locks are so useful it is that you can end up on the floor faced with a larger stronger attacker. Often who could be a better striker/puncher and simply getting back up will only repeat the events that lead to you being on the floor. This I realise isn’t always the case but it is a logical deduction. As a result learning how to leg lock is a great idea.

The Effectiveness of Leg Locks

Leg locks are a great tool for anyone as they are not based on muscle. It really is a case that your whole body is working to destroy a limb which has very little protection to it. The knee for example is a small joint and not very strong. It is known as a hinge joint and has a series of ligaments that allow it to function. The ankle is also a very fragile joint, both have little muscle around them to protect them and neither flex very well. Applying the whole body against such joints is very easy and the pain is almost instantly effective. My experience of leg locks is that they become painful in about a second and then destructive after only 2 seconds(or less depending on the person). When I say destructive they break joints and tear ligaments. If you dont believe me or have never seen it lets take a look, however be warned this is graphic footage.

The second video seen here is the famous First ever UFC Event where the world saw just how effective leg and in particular ankle locks really are. Ken Shamrock (yes the same one who was a wrestler) defeated a very fearsome kick boxer named Pat Smith. In both the above examples look at the speed of the technique and how much pain was caused. Then also consider that these are highly trained people. Not some idiot trying to cave your face in because he just had a row with his girlfriend over something he put on Facebook (yes this does happen).

Now also consider that the leg locks used don’t just cause pain they actually destroy the function of a limb, it was the Russians who specialised in leg locks in their system of Sambo/ Sombo and they used to say (kill a man and his body remains on the battle field, break his leg and two men have to carry him off the field) well I believe it went something like that. The idea is that you totally destroy a persons ability to fight you and this is what happens when you break a lower limb. I hope this clears up just how affective leg locks are.

The Types of Leg Locks you should use

In MMA all the leg locks have a use however in self defence this is very different. The main reason is that you will enter into the leg locks from a defensive position. You will not pull guard or look to get the leg lock to end the fight, this would defeat the object. The idea of leg locks for self defence is that you can use them if you end up on the floor, we never go to the floor for free or by design. We should never go to the floor unless we absolutely have to. It’s really dangerous to do this because as stated there could be other attackers nearby and the floor is a dangerous place. Its usually made of concrete and there can be all sorts of jagged edges and other things like broken glass etc. For those of you wondering what I mean when I say pulling guard and how not to enter for leg locks in the street there are two videos below. Both show succesful leg lock entries but why would you want to do this in the street? My main rule I will say is that we should never go to the ground unless we have no choice. It puts you into a vulnerable position however the two videos are very entertaining so I know you will enjoy them any way.

The second video shows the Gracie Brothers breaking down a recent UFC match where a heel hook was used but you can see that pulling guard isn’t the right thing to do in self defence situations.

Ok so for self defence techniques I will look at the best entries for leglocks last however the above entries are no no’s.For now we need to look at technique and which techniques to focus on. The best leg locks for self defence are as follows. The heel hook, the inverted heel hook and the knee bar. So here are a few videos showcasing some great instruction of leg locks.

The Heel Hook

Although I actually teach the heel hook slightly differently this video is very good and breaks down the move well.

Inverted Heel Hook

This video shows the Gracie brothers once again. They are very very good instructors and break down this technique very well.

Knee bar

The last leg lock I suggest for self defence is the straight kneebar, this move destroys the knee joint and is very dangerous. Again there are a lot of entruies into the knee bar but you need to understand how to apply the lock.


Unlike normal ggrappling matches aleg lock used in self defence will not come from any flashy rolling or flying entries. Instead it will come as a result of a scramble on the ground. This usually ends up in either a leg lock applied when the opponent is on top or even standing. The idea being that you can simply grab the leg and wrap it up and then crack the leg is destroyed. Here is a great vidoe of once again Pat Smith being leg locked in Brazil. This time fighting legend Marco Ruas does it to him however you see how he scrambles to get the leg lock. I never suggest you falling back from a squat position as seen in grappling matches but instead simply taking the leg and pulling yourself into the position.

The second knee bar is a great drill for getting into position if you are on the ground.

In conclusion

The above really is just a guide to leg locks and there are a ton of resources to train and study such techniques but always take care when using them. I have a few golden rules you should remember when discussing leg locks for self defence.

  • Never go to the ground unless you have no choice
  • If you do go to the ground getting up fast is usually the best option
  • If you fall to the ground try and get up before your opponent
  • If you fall into a position where a leg lock opportunity is present take it. A leg lock could destroy the opponent ability to fight, stand or get up and chase you
  • Leg locks need to be trained under expert guidance as they are that dangerous
  • Never go looking for the leg lock
  • If you apply the leg lock make sure you carry on squeezing until your feel and hear a break. They will scream in agony but you need to make sure you have destroyed the leg. Remember in the streets there are no judges, referees or points decisions. They could get up and seriously hurt you.

I believe leg locks are just as important to train for self defence as is striking, soft skills and grappling. As self defence students we shouldnt dismiss them as just tools for grappling. Remmebr to visit the website the self defence and sign up for my newsletter. The site is being re developed as we speak and some amazing features are coming soon. To not miss out sign up today. And to finish this lesson off Im leaving you with the fight that shows leg locks can beat anyone. Anderson Silva the best fighter on the planet has been beaten by a person using a leg lock. Here is is. Take care and keep safe.

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