I haven’t done any video’s for a little while and it seemed about time that I did. Unfortunately, my “partner in crime”, Keith, has gone his own way now so I enlisted the help of another friend, Artchi (yes, that is how he spells it).
So with Artchi’s help, we had a look at hikite (pull back hand).
Russell Stutely is recognised as Europe’s number one expert in pressure points and famous throughout the world for his innovative teachings, which have moved the boundaries of the martial arts and added new dimensions for all of us. His system can be applied to any martial art, so you don’t need to change style to incorporate his teachings. He has studied very deeply how to use pressure point fighting in high pressure scenarios, so that they will work when we really need them.
Russell has kindly agreed to do an interview with me which you’ll find below. But before you go on to the interview, I would like to take the opportunity to thank Russell Stutely for taking the time to answer my questions and share some if his insights with us.
But first, here’s a little clip of Russell in action:
CW: Russell, can you tell us a bit about your early background in martial arts, what inspired you to start and what style(s) did you practice in your early days?
RS: Like many people, I started Karate because my older Brother went to Class.. he stopped and I carried on. I started in Shukokai… stopped for a while and then started again in Shotokan
CW: When you decided that you wanted to develop beyond the usual traditional martial arts (as taught in the West), who did you seek you seek out to teach and take you to the next level?
RS: It was after watching “way of the warrior” that I knew there was more out there. I tried to study with all the experts and masters… but it was only when I met Rick Moneymaker and Tom Muncy that it all started to make sense
CW: You obviously have an in-depth knowledge of all the pressure point (or some might say acupuncture points). Do you also have a background in Traditional Chinese Medicine (or something similar)? If so, to what extent has this helped you in your martial arts studies?
RS: No background.. just learnt it as I went along
CW: I’m a great believer that whilst you should learn as much as you can from others, experienced martial artists should also be able to work out a lot of applications for themselves rather than waiting for others to teach them every single aspect of their art. To what extent have you taken the knowledge that you have and worked out the rest for yourself?
RS: I have no idea to what extent that has been done… Only when you begin to understand what you are doing, do you “sometimes” realise how much you don’t know!
As regards working out stuff.. we do that every day…as for applications.. I have no idea how many I know as the only limit is your imagination and the depth of knowledge that you have.
I sometimes can give a whole seminar on one move from one Kata and show a different application every 5-10 mins for hours on end. It depends on how deep you want to go
CW: Although you are primarily known as a pressure point expert, you include a number of other aspects which you refer to as “players in the game”. Can you please explain what these are?
RS: Technique enhancers.. the underlying principles upon which a technique is based.
CW: There are other big names in the pressure point business (like Rick Clark, George Dillman and others). Can you explain how your approach is different from the way the other experts teach?
RS: I am more interested in making the Points work when the proverbial hits the fan. That means that PP’s are the last 5% of any given technique… some people find that a hard concept to grasp for some reason.
CW: I’ve always believed that the ideal time to use pressure point strikes is during the pre fight build up, when you know that things are about to take off and you decided that your best option is a pre-emptive strike. If the guy is “peacocking” rather than taking up a fighting stance he leaves himself more open and vulnerable. Would you agree with this?
RS: Only hit if you have to.. but yes of course.. a pre-emptive strike has to be the preferred option if there is no other way out.
CW: Many people argue that pressure point fighting is not really viable in an all out fight as a high degree of accuracy is required to hit a small target when it is moving and you are under great pressure too. How would you answer this?
RS: They are doing it wrong are mis-informed about how and why Points work or have no real experience of Points other than with the wrong teacher.
Accuracy is VERY IMPORTANT and it is one area that many so called Self Defense “experts” purport to not need in a fight or is impossible to use… absolute rubbish. THEY may not use it.. aim small miss small. Accuracy is what you build up in training. Hit what you are aiming at and the rest kinda falls into place.
CW: Have you had much feedback from people who have actually had to use what you’ve taught them in a real live situation?
RS: Yes.. every day nearly from Cops / Security etc all over the World
CW: I’ve read a comment by you ages ago that some people, having experienced the “waveform” and felt how much more power they can generate; then go back to their own clubs and just go back to the way they were doing it before. How easy is it to absorb your teachings (players) into a traditional martial art?
(The reason I ask is that if somebody returning from one of your courses tries to do it in their own club and it is obviously different from what their regular instructor is teaching, they may be told not to do it that way).
RS: The reasons they went back to what they were doing previously are
Instructor said do it my way or leave
They were embarrassed to tell their students that they need to change
They were embarrassed at the fact they had been training 20 years and hit at X Power.. then in 60 Mins we got them to 2X Power… bit difficult for some people to take!
CW: You must have seen very many people progress and take great leaps forward due to your teachings. Is there anybody who you are especially proud of for the progress that they have made?
RS: All of our OCFM Coaches.. and lots of people who have trained with us over the years. Especially the Cops in MA and the DT Trainers there.. outstanding people with outstanding ability
CW: Putting fighting applications aside for a moment, how do you feel that your training/teaching has helped you to develop as a person (spiritually, emotionally, mentally, intellectually)?
RS: You have to develop in those areas when you study and teach
CW: Do you feel that anybody (as long as they train hard) can develop their personal characteristics (in the way that you have) as well?
RS: I don’t know if anyone wants to develop my personal characteristics 🙂 But anyone can develop to whatever their potential if they work hard enough. That is what we try to help them to do.
CW: Many people teach martial arts as their main source of income (or even just to pay a few bills). As you have been very successful, do you have any advice to give to help people build up their martial arts business?
RS: Just follow sound business practice. Don’t take that stupid attitude of “I teach for nothing” and the holier than thou attitude of the “knockers” out there. The MOMENT you accept money you are in business. You MUST treat your students like CUSTOMERS. Give them the BEST POSSIBLE service at a good price.
That is what we do with our OCFM Schools.. we do all the marketing etc for our owners.. they just teach.. and give the best class ever each and every class.
There is so much to running a School.. but we have the answers if people want them
CW: Finally, for anybody new to your teachings/philosophy and who may not be able to make a seminar, you have a lot of DVD’s/Downloads for them to chose from. However, it could be a bit confusing (especially with the different players). Which of your products would you recommend to somebody looking at your products for the very first time and getting confused as to where to start?
RS: Start at the recommended order listing at my store.. follow it in sequence for the quickest and best results. www.russellstutely.com/ashop
CW: Russell, on behalf of myself and my readers, thank very much for giving us the benefit of your insights.
My Sensei, Paul Mitchell, 4th Dan will be hosting a special Karate bunkai course looking at the principles & techniques of Shotokan Karate and applying them to realistic self defence. Along with the more obvious punches and kicks, this will include locks throws and takedowns utilising moves from both basics and kata.
The course is open to all Karateka regardless of grade – Beginner to Black belt. However, there is a minimum age of 12 for anybody under 4th Kyu
Basic details are:
When – Sunday 3rd April 2011, 11:00 – 2:30pm.
Where – Wells Blue Sports Centre, Kennion Road, Wells, Somerset, BA5 2NR
A little while ago I posted about a recent kata course hosted by my own Sensei, Paul Mitchell, 4th Dan. Well they’ve had a re-organisation of their Youtube channel and the Youtube link in that posting is now showing as “this video has been removed by user”. However, they’ve put some more up which are well worth watching, so here they are below.
They are all bunkai taken from the kata Gojushiho Sho.
If anybody is interested in attending a future kata course with Sensei Paul Mitchell (highly recommended), then you can either visit his website from time to time and check the “courses” page on that website.
I will also promote these courses, so you can either join my newsletter to be notified or go to the BunkaiJutsu Facebook page and “like” it to receive updates via Facebook.
I am a big admirer of Geoff Thompson. He has done a lot to promote the cause of reality training and is very much into keeping it real. His training methods are often as much about how to avoid getting into a fight (not taught in many martial arts) as has how to actually conduct the fight itself. Traditional martial arts generally teach you how to win in a fair fight. But that’s the problem, most fights aren’t fair. Sometimes you could be outnumbered, your assailant(s) could have a weapon and they often start from right up in your face without warning (rather than bowing first from a safe distance before gradually moving in).
So assuming that you’ve done all the avoidance techniques and the guy is still coming in and it is clear that the conflict is going to become physical, what is universally the best tactic to use?
Note, I said tactic, not technique.
In the words of Geoff Thompson himself:
“And if an encounter does by necessity become physical I teach and I preach the pre-emptive strike (attacking first). It is the only thing that works consistently. All the other stuff that you see, that you are taught or that you imagine might work ‘out there’ probably will not”.
“If your choice is a physical response, my advice is to be pre-emptive and strike first – very hard – preferably on the jaw (it’s a direct link to the brain”.
In the Karate world in particular, people used to quote Funakoshi when he famously said:
“In Karate, there is no first strike”.
This has been taken to mean that we have to actually wait for an attacker to throw the first strike and then try and block and counter it. This is a dangerous game to play. Geoff is spot when he describes this as:
“not only unsound it is dangerous and extremely naive”.
It’s not so bad when you are in a competition and your opponent is just out of range, then suddenly tries to attack (usually whilst still maintaining full leg or arm range). But in a street where somebody may be right up in your face, nose to nose, screaming obscenities at you, its not so good. Also, in a street fight an attacker is likely to grab you and pull you around or off balance (a tactic that is banned in Karate, TKD, Kickboxing and some others sport fighting systems).
So why would Funakoshi give advice that would leave his students in a vulnerable position? Well it is widely accepted by many now that something has been lost in the translation and what Funakoshi really meant was, that you don’t instigate or look for the fight. However, when in a situation when physical threat is unavoidable and you cannot get away, Funakoshi wrote in his book, Karate Do Kyohan:
“When there are no avenues of escape or one is caught even before any attempt to escape can be made, then for the first time the use of self-defense techniques should be considered. Even at times like these, do not show any intention of attacking, but first let the attacker become careless. At that time attack him concentrating one’s whole strength in one blow to a vital point and in the moment of surprise, escape, seek shelter, and seek help.”
Funikoshi is clearly talking about a pre-emptive strike. He recommends that you strike a “vital point” which is not so different from Geoff Thompson recommending that you strike the jaw as it has a direct link to the brain. He was trained for reality, not competition. This is the part that has been overlooked in the way that so many people have trained for a number of decades. I believe that this is largely because Karate has been dumbed down (see my 5 part video course if you haven’t already) and the fact that for such a long time Karate has been interpreted through the eyes of competition fighters.
Geoff Thompson and the other modern reality based martial arts teachers are not the first ones to train this way. Clearly the old Okinawan masters did too. However, after decades of being dumbed down for social and political reasons, Geoff and the other masters of reality based training have helped to bring the “lost” elements to help us make our training more complete.
Some people will (quite reasonably) have a concerns about the legalities of using a pre-emptive strike. Firstly, as you can never be sure how far an attacker will go, it is best to make that you are still around to deal with the legalities. No point being killed for the sake of worrying about going to court.
Secondly, in the UK at least (and I suspect most other countries), if you feel that you are in a real danger of being harmed by a would-be attacker, you are legally entitled to use a pre-emptive strike. I don’t know about other countries, but this is a defence that will stand in a British court. However, you will have to give good reason why you thought that you were in very real and very imminent danger. Somebody giving you a dodgy look will not be accepted.