I was asked to set up a basic...

Juany118

Senior Master
Joined
May 22, 2016
Messages
3,107
Reaction score
1,050
Okay I have been asked to set up a basic self-defense class. These are the ideas have currently in mind and would like any suggestions/critiques/additions. @gpseymour and others who have taught/teach self defense focused stuff are welcome to contribute.

Here is my base curriculum atm
1. Target Hardening/situational awareness/avoidance.
2. After that we get to techniques. I am want to keep it simple and so here are my current thoughts.
A. basic breaks from the most common grabs of clothing
B. attacking soft targets if you can't break, with hand (say grab groin if in a head lock, bite the arm that is head locking <like I said self defense, not fighting>). With foot, stomping on the instep of the assailants foot.
C. I am basing the hand "strike" off of Wing Chun straight punch. The idea of keeping a person's weight behind the punch, vs a lot of rotation, seems to make sense because once you "get it" it is simple more simple. Punch from the heart and step into it vs having to coordinate rotational movement at the waist. I will use the punch as the initial training tool but I will then be showing how the same works with the palm, because knuckles and fingers can break. The target will be face, eyes, throat.
D. the foot "strike" would be the oblique kick to the knee/thigh.

the basic point of the class will be "avoid the fight, if forced to fight you aren't trying to knock them out but only to create an opening where you can run away and get help."
 

Monkey Turned Wolf

MT Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jan 4, 2012
Messages
9,848
Reaction score
3,826
Location
New York
There are three things I would add in.

The first I think you may have, but just didn't write, which is de-escalation. Fits a bit into your 1., but when you're already in the situation how to handle it before it becomes physical.

The second is situational weapons (IIRC you have experience with that), particularly the weapons that WONT work. Include a couple that do if you have time, but making sure they don't do something stupid would be the higher priority to me.

The third is throughout the class, reminding them of practice. That's both practicing the techniques themselves, but also practicing the situational awareness/de-escalation aspect. It's pretty common of people to go to a class like that, leaving with confidence that they know what to do. But I would hazard a guess that if they don't practice the techniques (soft and hard), they won't be any better off than if they hadn't attended at all. If anything they might be worse, because they'll be trying to remember what they learned and end up freezing.
 

CB Jones

Senior Master
Joined
Feb 20, 2017
Messages
3,932
Reaction score
1,999
Location
Saline
Short discussion on the pros/cons of carrying weapons and the what is allowed by law? (gun, knife, pepper spray, stun gun, brick in purse, etc...)

Short summary and explanation on the laws of your state on Self Defense
 
OP
Juany118

Juany118

Senior Master
Joined
May 22, 2016
Messages
3,107
Reaction score
1,050
@kempodisciple since I also study Kali, along with Wing ChunC h am surprised improv weapons didnt pop into my head, thanks for the reminder, and yes, de-escalation is part of number 1, I just didn't write it. That's a hard balance though because in a robbery, rape etc situation that really isn't an option. I need to figure out a way to get that across BUT not have people get trapped in that loop.

Practicing is definitely on the list btw.

@CB Jones I am definitely going to go into the law but the reason I am trying to avoid specifically addressing deadly weapons is the myth of "you can just shoot them." In my State, and most actually, that isn't the case and I am trying to balance informing people with confusing them. After 20 years as a cop more than once I have seen self-defense go overboard. I don't want to contribute to that dynamic.
 

Kung Fu Wang

Sr. Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Joined
Sep 26, 2012
Messages
11,694
Reaction score
3,294
Location
Austin, Tx/Shell Beach, Ca
1. Try not to let your opponent to be able to punch on your head should be your highest priority in self-defense.
2. How to sprint from 0 to maximum speed within few seconds should be your next highest priority.
 
OP
Juany118

Juany118

Senior Master
Joined
May 22, 2016
Messages
3,107
Reaction score
1,050
#2 is absolutely in my mind. Running away requires conditioning.
 

Midnight-shadow

3rd Black Belt
Joined
May 29, 2016
Messages
928
Reaction score
243
Are there any defences for dealing with someone grabbing you by the hair as opposed to your clothes? If so I would include those as well. Elbow and knee strikes are also very powerful close-combat techniques that I believe should be taught for self-defence. The great thing about elbow strikes is they can be used in lots of different directions and scenarios where punches and kicks cannot be used.
 

Gerry Seymour

MT Moderator
Staff member
Supporting Member
Joined
Mar 27, 2012
Messages
27,804
Reaction score
9,006
Location
Hendersonville, NC
Okay I have been asked to set up a basic self-defense class. These are the ideas have currently in mind and would like any suggestions/critiques/additions. @gpseymour and others who have taught/teach self defense focused stuff are welcome to contribute.

Here is my base curriculum atm
1. Target Hardening/situational awareness/avoidance.
2. After that we get to techniques. I am want to keep it simple and so here are my current thoughts.
A. basic breaks from the most common grabs of clothing
B. attacking soft targets if you can't break, with hand (say grab groin if in a head lock, bite the arm that is head locking <like I said self defense, not fighting>). With foot, stomping on the instep of the assailants foot.
C. I am basing the hand "strike" off of Wing Chun straight punch. The idea of keeping a person's weight behind the punch, vs a lot of rotation, seems to make sense because once you "get it" it is simple more simple. Punch from the heart and step into it vs having to coordinate rotational movement at the waist. I will use the punch as the initial training tool but I will then be showing how the same works with the palm, because knuckles and fingers can break. The target will be face, eyes, throat.
D. the foot "strike" would be the oblique kick to the knee/thigh.

the basic point of the class will be "avoid the fight, if forced to fight you aren't trying to knock them out but only to create an opening where you can run away and get help."
How long is the class? That matters quite a bit. Unless I have several classes to work with, I avoid teaching any kind of kick - they simply won't be able to deploy it. I'll teach a knee strike (grab and knee - easy to practice with kicking pads and some heavy bags). I don't personally teach a punch for some of the same reasons - I teach elbows and hammerfist and a palm slap (almost a chop) if I have time, because those are all easier to deploy. I teach those three because of the ranges, and I can have them practice a lot with just a little instruction. If you can teach the punch sufficiently (with enough practice time for them), then go with it. I do prefer the simpler (for quick learning) linear versions of the punch over rotational versions in this situation.

I've gone to spreading out the "non-fight" parts more, to get the concepts better ingrained. I spend a few minutes on them to start the session (or series of sessions), and revisit and expound upon them at specific points (when I can let them have a breather after anything remotely rigorous, since many will be out of shape).

I teach only one block, which is also the transition to knees (and to grappling, if they decide to train beyond that point). I call it a "plow block", and I think there's something close (though probably used differently) in WC. What I teach is both hands up (like covering your head or throwing up an instinctive defense in front of your face), then enter HARD and slam those arms into either side of one shoulder (one somewhere outside the shoulder on the arm, the other somewhere inside the shoulder on the clavicle or neck). It's an easy block to learn, and even if they screw it up (backing off or not moving), it's likely to help deflect a punch.

I do a few situational bits like you're talking about (headlocks, etc.), but I try to re-use things as much as I can. If I can get a lot of the same structure, movement, and strikes in most situations, they get to practice them more. So, every defense I show a biting option. Every defense I show a striking option. Every defense I show a clearing option (pushing them away). Over and over, the same basic approaches, just in different situations, and I point out how it's similar to what we did on the last situation, and the one before that. That even goes for the grab releases - find where to re-use those (what if they grab your hand with the headlock? is there one that has similar mechanics to releasing a hair grab? etc.).

My biggest focus is on trying to build a set of physical responses that are as re-usable as possible. I don't necessarily teach them the best possible defense to each attack, because those are less similar.

Side note: This has also become my approach for building a foundation for new students. I give them a subset of material to work with before we get into the NGA core curriculum.
 

Gerry Seymour

MT Moderator
Staff member
Supporting Member
Joined
Mar 27, 2012
Messages
27,804
Reaction score
9,006
Location
Hendersonville, NC
There are three things I would add in.

The first I think you may have, but just didn't write, which is de-escalation. Fits a bit into your 1., but when you're already in the situation how to handle it before it becomes physical.

The second is situational weapons (IIRC you have experience with that), particularly the weapons that WONT work. Include a couple that do if you have time, but making sure they don't do something stupid would be the higher priority to me.

The third is throughout the class, reminding them of practice. That's both practicing the techniques themselves, but also practicing the situational awareness/de-escalation aspect. It's pretty common of people to go to a class like that, leaving with confidence that they know what to do. But I would hazard a guess that if they don't practice the techniques (soft and hard), they won't be any better off than if they hadn't attended at all. If anything they might be worse, because they'll be trying to remember what they learned and end up freezing.
Good thoughts - you bring up something I forgot in my long post. With the situational weapons (and discussion of ANY weapons), my focus is on helping them not make it worse. A light stick is useful in my hands (more so in yours, Juany), but not so useful in untrained hands. If they are going to pick up a stick, they need to start hitting and keep it up until they no longer need to worry about themselves. Otherwise, they shouldn't pick it up. If they are going to carry any weapon (gun, taser, spray, hand grenade, or naginata), they need to practice with it to proficiency BEFORE they start carrying. That last sentence goes to your third point - and I try to give them some pointers on what specifically they should practice to continue what they learn. I suggest some of the same exercises I use with new students.
 

Gerry Seymour

MT Moderator
Staff member
Supporting Member
Joined
Mar 27, 2012
Messages
27,804
Reaction score
9,006
Location
Hendersonville, NC
#2 is absolutely in my mind. Running away requires conditioning.
Another point I didn't get to in my long post. I do suggest to them that fitness is a component. I tell them that doesn't mean they all need to become athletes (though that would increase their chances), but that improving their strength, endurance, and running speed will be important.
 

Gerry Seymour

MT Moderator
Staff member
Supporting Member
Joined
Mar 27, 2012
Messages
27,804
Reaction score
9,006
Location
Hendersonville, NC
@kempodisciple since I also study Kali, along with Wing ChunC h am surprised improv weapons didnt pop into my head, thanks for the reminder, and yes, de-escalation is part of number 1, I just didn't write it. That's a hard balance though because in a robbery, rape etc situation that really isn't an option. I need to figure out a way to get that across BUT not have people get trapped in that loop.
Even in situations where de-escalation isn't the goal, using the basic strategies gives their mind something to work with that may help reduce freezing in the moment if they have to wait for an opportunity. It keeps the mind actively working, rather than focusing on the fear. I recall reading some research that supported that - I'll see if I can find anything in my notes on it.

@CB Jones I am definitely going to go into the law but the reason I am trying to avoid specifically addressing deadly weapons is the myth of "you can just shoot them." In my State, and most actually, that isn't the case and I am trying to balance informing people with confusing them. After 20 years as a cop more than once I have seen self-defense go overboard. I don't want to contribute to that dynamic.
So, no hand grenades?
 

CB Jones

Senior Master
Joined
Feb 20, 2017
Messages
3,932
Reaction score
1,999
Location
Saline
Also, maybe a short discussion about fighting through pain and not giving up. It's a fight, you are gonna get hurt and injured, but you have to continue to push through that.
 

hoshin1600

Senior Master
Joined
May 16, 2014
Messages
3,018
Reaction score
1,494
who is the target audience and how many hours of instruction?

i do not particularly like showing punching in these types of classes. most often there is not enough time to gain any skill in it. i prefer palm strikes and hammer fist. i have people do the hammer fist on hand pads in a downward 12/ 6 type angle. this allows new people to get a feel for what kind of power they can generate. knees are good and i do stomp kicks. one idea i use is to use the stomp kick from the ground to the knee of the attacker,(followed by standing up... many BJJ vids on this) also a good co-ed drill is the stomp kick from a sitting position in a chair, holding the chair for support.
as far as running away its not an automatic response as many would think. i do drills where they need to escape and use a set of cones as a goal line to get to (safety point).

the thing is there is so much material in this vein of training.
can you tell me what your doing for target hardening?
 

oftheherd1

Senior Master
Joined
May 12, 2011
Messages
4,685
Reaction score
817
Are there any defences for dealing with someone grabbing you by the hair as opposed to your clothes? If so I would include those as well. Elbow and knee strikes are also very powerful close-combat techniques that I believe should be taught for self-defence. The great thing about elbow strikes is they can be used in lots of different directions and scenarios where punches and kicks cannot be used.

Yes, in the Hapkido I studied, there are defenses against grabs of clothing and hair. Teaching them effectively on what is often a one session class may not work too well.

EDIT: I meant to add that I agree with hammer fists, knees and elbows in general. But how many to teach and from attacks in which location; you don't want to overwhelm nor shortchange your students. Some basic break falls from being pushed backwards may not be a bad idea but again, I don't think it would be good in a single session. It is also fraught with possibilities for injury, but if you have the time, a good way for a student to not be injured in a real fight. Also, teach kiai and tell them how important it is for preventing having the wind knocked out of you.

How much time did you say you would have? :(
 
Last edited:

hoshin1600

Senior Master
Joined
May 16, 2014
Messages
3,018
Reaction score
1,494
@Juany118 i know your qualified to teach this stuff but your list makes me wonder a bit about the focus of the class.
the basic point of the class will be "avoid the fight,
Here is my base curriculum atm

note that you put only one line of non physical stuff then TEN lines of text on the physical skills.
1. Target Hardening/situational awareness/avoidance.
2. After that we get to techniques. I am want to keep it simple and so here are my current thoughts.
A. basic breaks from the most common grabs of clothing
B. attacking soft targets if you can't break, with hand (say grab groin if in a head lock, bite the arm that is head locking <like I said self defense, not fighting>). With foot, stomping on the instep of the assailants foot.
C. I am basing the hand "strike" off of Wing Chun straight punch. The idea of keeping a person's weight behind the punch, vs a lot of rotation, seems to make sense because once you "get it" it is simple more simple. Punch from the heart and step into it vs having to coordinate rotational movement at the waist. I will use the punch as the initial training tool but I will then be showing how the same works with the palm, because knuckles and fingers can break. The target will be face, eyes, throat.
D. the foot "strike" would be the oblique kick to the knee/thigh.

this appears to me as a disconnect between what your going to cover and what you THINK your going to cover in the class.
i get the impression that the "avoid" part and awareness is lip service and the focus of the class will be on martial art skills.
there is nothing wrong with MA skills as long as that is your intent. but i often find if it is not written down and seriously thought out and noted , it doesnt show up in the class.
 
Last edited:

Monkey Turned Wolf

MT Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jan 4, 2012
Messages
9,848
Reaction score
3,826
Location
New York
Bit of a derailment, but on the running subject...Absolutely agree that running is useful for self defense/protection. However, whenever I'm at the end of my run, I always have the thought that if someone where to come over now and jump me,
I'M F***ED.
 

JR 137

Grandmaster
Joined
Apr 26, 2015
Messages
5,162
Reaction score
3,219
Location
In the dojo
I just wanted to add to whats been mentioned already...

If youre teaching some physical skills, emphasize that they must be practiced on at least a somewhat regular basis. My CI and I were talking about this topic a few months ago. People think they take the course for a few hours once, and those physical skills last a lifetime. I likened it to any MA or sports skill - if I hit a bag for an hour once, its not like Id be able to throw punches just like that the rest of my life. If I shot free-throws for an hour one time, its not like I could line up and perfectly hit a shot months or even years later.

Physical skills need to be kept fresh.
 

Buka

Sr. Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Joined
Jun 27, 2011
Messages
11,904
Reaction score
8,694
Location
Maui
Escape from the mount.
Escape from getting grabbed from behind.

How to pick a Divorce Attorney.
 

Gerry Seymour

MT Moderator
Staff member
Supporting Member
Joined
Mar 27, 2012
Messages
27,804
Reaction score
9,006
Location
Hendersonville, NC
Escape from the mount.
Escape from getting grabbed from behind.

How to pick a Divorce Attorney.
I do tend to NOT cover escape from the mount, but only because I tend to not have enough time to cover it well. It's about the most complex maneuver I would include in this kind of class if I have time.
 

Midnight-shadow

3rd Black Belt
Joined
May 29, 2016
Messages
928
Reaction score
243
Yes, in the Hapkido I studied, there are defenses against grabs of clothing and hair. Teaching them effectively on what is often a one session class may not work too well.

EDIT: I meant to add that I agree with hammer fists, knees and elbows in general. But how many to teach and from attacks in which location; you don't want to overwhelm nor shortchange your students. Some basic break falls from being pushed backwards may not be a bad idea but again, I don't think it would be good in a single session. It is also fraught with possibilities for injury, but if you have the time, a good way for a student to not be injured in a real fight. Also, teach kiai and tell them how important it is for preventing having the wind knocked out of you.

How much time did you say you would have? :(

I was under the impression that the OP was making a curriculum for a continuous regular class, not a one-off seminar. I'm personally not a huge fan of one-off seminars as they can't do into as much detail as a regular class, and you lack the practice and experience that comes from training a set of skills every week. If I were teaching elbow strikes for self-defence, I would concentrate one just 2 variations: One for attackers behind you, and one for attackers in front of you.

When someone grabs you from behind:
strikes12.jpg


For an attacker in front of you:
images


Easy to pull off, and very effective, able to at the very least wind your attacker, or if you do it hard enough, can break a few ribs. We practiced the front elbow strike often in class against people holding rugby tackle shields and even holding that you felt the force of the strike penetrating through. It was actually pretty terrifying how strong it was.
 
Top