Wednesday, 2 January 2008

Review of Tactical Edge Seminar@Krav Maga Edinburgh

Tactical Edge Mini Seminar Wednesday 12 December 2007

Mark started off the session with a light warm up which had most the guys in pieces. I noticed that only Lee could keep up the pace with Mark’s two regular students who attended. I suggest less Xmas pies and pints before the next seminar guys!

Mark explained the need for explosive fitness in terms of real combat. You need to be able to go from standstill to 100% in a heart beat. You need the ability to work extremely hard and fast for a very short period of time. This is the difference between training for fighting in a ring and training for survival in a street situation. Therefore, the guys were put through a series of drills that took them from jogging pace and then bursting into explosive exercises. Mark also worked on some excellent movements to encourage explosive power in the legs.

The guys then worked through various combatives from the Tactical Edge system on the pads and Mark greatly emphasised the need for correct breathing throughout the exercise. Mark gave his usual sermon on punching people in “real life” and steered everyone towards open hand strikes and hammer fists. Mark uses the rule “hard to soft” and “soft to hard”. So if we are striking a boney part of the anatomy then we look to use a soft part of our anatomy to strike with such as a palm heel strike or hammer fist. If we are attacking a soft part of the anatomy then we use a hard part of our anatomy such as an elbow or a closed fist. Mark then demonstrated the use of the downward elbow on the collar bone which is a terrific strike to add to your arsenal. Mark used the analogy of using the knife against a boney area and how this would result in projecting whatever it was that you struck. The same happens when you use the elbow and attacked the face or collar bone area, the opponent is projected. Mark also covered some of the history of punching in traditional Martial Arts and how originally many styles never used closed fist techniques as they were designed for use on the battlefield. The same rules apply now as they did back then. You cant break your hand and use a sword or knife the same as you can’t break your hand and service your rifle. It wasn’t until the last 50 years that these closed fist strikes featured more heavily in systems.

The seminar then quickly moved on to look at counter grabs with the main underlying principle being that we don’t look to remove the hands as this can result in the attacker using his freed hands to strike you. Instead we leave the hands where they are and look to overcome the startle flinch response successfully by attacking various points on the body. It’s not a case of simply striking one area repeatedly. Mark added some failure drills and then moved on to countering throat grabs. Statistically this is more likely to happen to a female than to a male however again it’s all about principles. Deal with the initial throat grab which is stopping us breathing and then look to deal with the situation from there. We used a lot of forward momentum in these attacks as in reality someone is bouldering towards you trying to squeeze the life out of you. Too often you see students play acting with these attacks when in reality it’s close to when you see Homer choke Bart in the Simpsons! As long as you keep in mind the safety aspects you cant go wrong. However, you need to make attacks such as these as close to real life as possible. Begin with a verbal cue and then slam into the person. Its unlikely a choke is going to come from nowhere. How many times do you hear of someone randomly walking up and choking someone outside of the training hall. Real life isn’t like that guys so lets ensure our training doesn’t suffer by training falsely.

Mark then covered the universal lines of attack and the use of limb destruction's. Keeping in mind the need for quarter beat strikes in order to overcome the startle flinch response. This is something that is new to a lot of the KM students as they are used to attacking often on a full beat. We then took the techniques to the full conclusion with the attacker ending up at our feet after we had used our choice takedown.

Mark then covered the use of the karambit in terms of close quarter knife work explaining the origins of the tool and then going on to cover various applications. We then went straight into the empty hand applications and did all the techniques using elbow strikes and then using the arm drag to take an attacker down. Mark keeps emphasising the need for commonality of movement in a system. I can say without a doubt that the corner stone of Tactical Edge is the commonality of movement principle. You learn a movement or technique and it’s very nearly the same whether its empty hand, edged or impact weapon. This translates right across the board when using impact tools whether it’s a kubotan, stinger DTL karambit or the T-bot. Mark took a movement and then demonstrated it again and again with an array of tools. The movements doesn’t change which means we don’t have to mentally change gears when given a different problem or when having something close to hand to utilise as a defensive tool.

As a treat we ventured on to the use of flexible weapons and looked at using a bandana as a self defence tool. You hear a lot about the use of flexible weapons in SD circles however, its hard to get your hands on any decent material so it was a real treat. I have only heard of a few other instructors who actually teach the use of flexible weapons and in particular the bandana. We looked at using the bandana to defend against various lines of attacks. Mark covered defences and counters and how to wrap and crush and the use of ligatures. Having your face crushed by a piece of a cloth is not something you want to do for fun but these guys loved it. Seeing a 17 stone guy get dropped and then scream when these techniques were applied is a real eye opener.

To round things off Mark emphasised the need to keep an open mind. Try the techniques, understand them and then decide whether to keep them or not. If you have some difficulty don’t bin it straight away, persevere until you have it and then decide what to do with it. Mark said something that really sticks in my mind. Now keep in mind that Mark has Dan grades in many traditional Martial Arts and modern combat systems. This is one of the reasons that I sought him out and continue to train with him. He has a huge amount of knowledge as well as real life experience in using what he teaches. He said that there were too many people claiming to have 25 years experience in Martial Arts or Fighting systems. He said they don’t have 25 years experience in something they have 1 years experience 25 times. This is something to think about and it’s the main reason I continue to train with Mark. I never get a blinkered view from him.

Once again a big thank you to Mark who travelled down to take this seminar. I know everyone enjoyed it and we all look forward to Mark coming back in 2008.

1 comment:

  1. Great seminar , hope he s back soon for another one ,