Tuesday, 4 September 2007

Review of the Tactical Edge Seminar 2 September 2007 - video footage to follow"

Mark Davies started the day by covering his extensive background in Martial Arts and work with SF Units and VIP protection. He then discussed the evolution of his Tactical Edge system and how this was originally designed for use by SF units and is now being used in the civilian market. The techniques in the system have been field tested by either Mark himself or one of representatives. Nothing that hasn’t been battle tested is taught in his classes.

Mark swiftly moved on to cover the subject of adrenal stress and how this would effect the body during combat. Mark has extensive knowledge in this field and it’s worth coming along just to hear all of this.

We then quickly moved on to some basic strikes and Mark emphasised that we very rarely want to strike anyone with a clenched fist unless we are doing a lot of conditioning exercises. Mark has a rule for striking – (hard to soft, soft to hard). So if striking a hard area with lots of bones we use a palm heel, hammer fist or if it’s a soft area then we can use an elbow for example. Given that nobody in the class regularly used a makiwara we then moved on to some pad drills using with palm heel strikes from various angles and also looking at some variations for when the attacker is very close to you. Mark encouraged people to keep tension out of the forearm and to use the arm in a whipping motion as the tensing of the muscle greatly reduces the speed of strikes. We then covered various take downs including the head tilt, horizontal neck twist and the head under. The training all came together in the forms of situationals. These began with a verbal assault and some pushing and shoving. The defender would immediately assume a passive guard. The defender was encouraged to engage pre-emptively whilst still talking to the attacker in order to make sure the attackers brain was engaged when we launched our attack. All the confrontations were to end with a take down. Mark then let everyone add their own particular “salt and pepper” as he puts it and choose how and when to engage the attacker and what particular take down to use. A particular favourite of mine was the horizontal head twist as it allows you to completely control someone whilst scanning for multiple opponents. Although we didn’t cover this Mark explained that we can use the attacker from this position as a shield or take him into a position of negotiation. If we are rushed by a further attacker you can then project your hostage forward into them in order to impede his advance and speed up your exit. Although I train with Mark regularly, I find it doesn’t matter if I have trained something with him a hundred times I always find something new in a technique. This time when doing the head tilt it came in the form of ensuring that your attackers vision is focussing vertically when the head is tilted which again causes disruption. This was something that although it might seem obvious was something I hadn’t thought about previously during my training.

Anyway, back on with the day. The participants were then introduced to the limb destructions that were used in the Tactical Edge system. Mark explained the reasoning behind attacking a limb as opposed to striking directly to the face. An example used was a knife attack. We want to defang the snake so that the limb cannot be used to continue to attack us. With the limb destruction, the strike to the bicep would normally ensure that the knife ejected from the hand. If it didn’t, the bicep shot would certainly weaken the whole system and allow an easy follow up with a strip or disarm. For anyone that was not convinced Mark let us all “put it in a little”. Even with a small amount of power the shot is extremely uncomfortable. Therefore going all out would leave you in serious pain and discomfort. We covered all the various angles which essentially boiled down to the high and low line which only required two movements. This would ensure that the movement was retained under stress. We then finished off the attacks with our choice of take downs.

The beauty of the Tactical Edge system is that everything interrelates. You don’t have to mentally shift gears and use another technique when faced with empty hand , edged or impact weapon attacks. Similarly if you are using empty hand , impact or edged weapon you don’t have to use different techniques. I find that training like this super charges your skills.

We also covered various knife threats from different positions and used “returning blades”. Mark explained how when a blade strikes bone it projects. Even just using training weapons you could feel see its effectiveness and see people flying all over the room. Mark then introduced some foot pins and showed us how we could use these with the returning blades.

Mark then explained his reasoning behind why he didn’t like direct blocking against edged weapon attacks and then demonstrated power passing against the blade. Again this comes down to Mark’s personal experiences of edged weapon attacks. He greatly favours passing or limb destructions.

Mark then went on to explain the circumstances where you might legally carry a defensive tool. We then moved on to using edged weapons. Mark explained that in the event that we are were overseas and carrying an edged weapon it would rarely be a fixed blade unless you were in the military or in the outback!!! Therefore we looked at the use of folding knives We looked at various methods of the punyo strike where we used the butt of the weapon to destroy a limb and then moved on to opening techniques. First we look at the high end of the force ladder and then moved down towards the lower end where the blade of the knife wouldn’t even be used. Some of the participants who hadn’t trained in blade arts were hesitant at first however, after the experience they quickly realised that to be proficient in countering edged weapons you have to understand how they can be used. We practiced some basic flow drills which allowed us to change from the various grips and then looked at some drills which dealt with long range and medium range attacks. We also looked at concealment and Mark went over the deadly back cut which features in the Bowie system. Mark is the only Bowie instructor in the UK and unfortunately despite bringing down all the Bowie trainers we didn’t get a chance to have a go as we had run out of time. After some revision of the days topics the seminar was wound up.

I would personally like to thank Mark for travelling down and holding this Tactical Edge Seminar for Krav Maga Edinburgh. I hope to get Mark down more regularly to the Capital. I would also like to thank all the guys and gals from Kempo Jujitsu who got up at 4am to travel down. I hope to see you all at some point again in the future.

Keep an eye out on the Krav Maga Edinburgh website for footage of the day. If anyone is interested in training in Tactical Edge then please see Tactical Edge

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