I read the following post on Facebook today by Kevin O’Hagan, one of the Worlds best teachers of Reality Based Martial Arts. It sums things up so well that I thought I’d share it with you:-
“I read alot of posts on facebook these days about the age old question,’What is the most practical and effective fighting system. I hear shouts for Krav Maga, BJJ, boxing, Thai etc etc.
One of the things we must take into consideration is fighting is not self defence.Fighting or having a fight is about two participants agreeing to engage in mutual combat.
Self defence is about one party minding their own business getting on with life when unfortunately violence comes their way unexpectedly. These are two totally different things. If you are prone to fighting in the street you will have a very short shelf life. You will either be spending a good percentage of your life behind bars or eventually six feet under. Self defence can be split into two distinct areas. Confrontational and ambush. That’s it. A match fight is not in the equation.
In self defence if the situation warrants physical response and isn’t dealt with in 3 seconds it will deteriorate into a type of match fight but that is a rarity. Normally the first person to land a shot wins.
Self defence isn’t about sparring up and feeling out your attacker before you launch your deadly attack, it is about somebody sucker punching you in the head before you even know it, or pushing a glass in your face or a knife in your guts. There will be no posturing and twirling of the weapon or any bad ass dialogue before this happens.
It is about somebody grabbing you around the neck whilst you are checking your Iphone.
It is about being chasing down and having a pack of animals kick ten bells out of you.
In the world of match fighting it has been proved beyond doubt the big boys that stand up under pressure are boxing, wrestling, Thai and BJJ/submission wrestling. Why? Because they are mainly practised as combat sports.
Self defence is situational and scenario driven. It is a totally different world. Its not to say these combat arts can’t make the change over but they need to be adapted greatly. This is a huge topic on its own.
Having a row outside the chip shop or pub isn’t and never will be self defence if you have willingly engaged and not tried to find another solution.
Teaching self defence and teaching fighting are not the same thing”.
If anybody is interested in real world self defence, I’d highly recommend that you “like” Kevin’s page to find out when he runs his seminars. I might well meet you there!
Following on from my interview with Lori O’Connell, back in January, I’ve also had the privilege to review her new book, When The Fight Goes To The Ground (Jiu Jitsu Strategies And Tactics For Self-Defense).
With many sport grappling systems encompassing ground fighting, this book focuses purely on ground fighting from a self-defense point of view. However, with the rising popularity of Mixed Martial Arts/Cage Fighting, Lori’s wisely points out that the threat on the streets has changed. This is not only because many people have trained in MMA, but even those who simply watch it (without training) have become aware of MMA tactics. So for a complete self defense system in today’s world, we also need to be aware of and take into account MMA tactics should we end up in real self defense position on the ground. Along with her own Can Ryu Jiu Jitsu, Lori has cross trained in my many other martial arts including MMA/Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
Unlike some sport systems that are happy to fight on the ground (Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Judo, MMA, etc); Lori’s stresses that although we should be aware of ground fighting and prepare for it; the ground is not where we want to be. Apart from broken glass and other obstacles, if there are multiple assailants you really can’t defend yourself properly from the ground (all sports are guaranteed one on one, street fights don’t). Throughout her book she continually refers to getting out of a situation and getting back on to the feet as quickly as possible.
Most instructional martial arts books take a “one size fits all” approach to the applications they teach. However, Lori looks at different body types, their relative advantages and disadvantages and in many cases gives variations of the techniques for those different body types. Also (unlike most other martial arts books) she takes into account pain resistant attackers due to the effects of drugs/alcohol and advises where some techniques might not be fully appropriate and might need to be adapted to take this into consideration.
Furthermore, whereas most instructional martial arts assume that their techniques will work first time, every time, Lori realises that the attacker will be fighting back and gives secondary techniques should the attacker resist your initial counter.
It’s a well laid out, clear, simple to follow book which builds up the exercises systematically and is based on a set of very practical principles. It takes into account a wide variety of different scenario, but after adjusting to each scenarios it always comes back to the same principles to follow up with. I like this approach as it means learning a set of principles rather than hundreds of different techniques.
The book is suitable for:
Sport grapplers who would like to learn street oriented self-defense.
Martial artists from primarily striking styles who don’t do much ground work.
Law enforcement officers.
Below is Lori’s own promotional video for When The Fight Goes To The Ground. It’s well worth hearing what Lori has to say in her own words. As for me, I can confidently recommend this excellent book to you all. Being a Karateka myself (who admittedly does not do a lot of ground work), I will be looking to include some of these strategies and principles into my own training and teaching.
Lori O’Connell is a 5th Dan Jiu Jitsu expert and respected author with her second book on the way. Having studied a wide range of martial arts she has a deep and broad knowledge of all areas of self defence. Unlike many other teachers, she has the experience to know what will work in the street as opposed to what works in the ring with a referee in control.
Being quite petite, she is the first to admit that she does not have size or strength on her side, but she makes up for this with technique and tenacity. I have been very lucky and honoured to secure an interview with this busy lady and I will be reviewing her new book when it comes out next month.
So, over to the interview:
CW: Lori; martial arts are different things to different people, (sport, self defence, self development, fitness, etc). What are the most important aspects of martial arts to you and which aspects do you emphasis most in your teaching?
LO’C: Self-defense, self-development, and fitness.
CW: Please tell us how you first got into martial arts and what style(s) did you originally started with?
LO’C: I started with Can-ryu Jiu-jitsu, the style I continue to teach today, but I have trained in a number of other arts over the years. I first got into it at the age of 16 partly for self-defense, but also because I wanted to be a “strong woman” like so many movie heroines that were in movies in the 90s that had made an impression on me.
CW: You’ve practiced a number of other different styles along the way, apart from Can Ryu Jiu Jitsu. I’ve always found that when I practice other styles, I usually end up learning more about my own core style (Shotokan Karate). Do you find that you learn more about your core style of Jiu Jitsu, or do you find some of them completely different?
LO’C: I’m like you. I’ve found takeaways in all the different other arts I’ve studied that helped me improve in my own style. There is so much to learn from all the arts. Why limit yourself only to what is taught in your own style?
CW: Please list the other styles that you’ve practiced and tell us which of them have had the most influence on you? Have you taken aspects of some of those other styles back into your Can Ryu Jiu Jitsu teaching?
LO’C: Shotokan Karate, boxing, MMA, Aikido, Taichi, Taekwondo/Hapkido, Wushu, several other styles of Jiu-jitsu. These are only the ones that I studies for 6 months or longer, most of them I trained in for at least 1 or more years.
CW: Having practiced so many different styles, what is it about Can Ryu Jiu Jitsu that particularly appealed to you to keep it as your primary style for many years?
LO’C: I like Can-ryu’s self-defense emphasis. We don’t do competition and emphasize using self-defense in accord with Canadian laws. I also like that it continues to evolve as common self-defense scenarios change and evolve.
CW: You say “using self-defense in accord with Canadian laws”; how does this impact the style on a practical level?
LO’C: We emphasize using “only as much force as is necessary to nullify the situation.” We teach a wide range of techniques, from hand strikes, kicks, takedowns/throws, improvised weapons etc, but do so in context. We tend to emphasize techniques that are effective at creating opportunities to escape that aren’t likely to be lethal. We do teach some things that have that potential, but when we do, we explain that they should only be used when that level of force can be justified (i.e. when you can explain why you perceived a situation to be potentially lethal to you).
CW: As part of your involvement with Professor Georges Sylvain’s (founder of the Can-Ryu Jiu Jitsu), I understand that you were one of the main demonstration models in several of his training videos including The Persuader Key Holder Self-Defense System, Police Pressure Point Techniques and The Use & Application of Pepper Spray Against Dogs. Can you tell us how this came about and what the experience meant to you?
LO’C: When Professor Sylvain came out of retirement in the martial arts world, he did so through my Sensei’s dojo. When he first started teaching black belt classes at our dojo, he took a special shine to me, telling me on a number of occasions that I was talented. He even once told me that he thought I had the potential to be a master. That had a profound effect on me. When he started producing his videos, he asked me to be one of the main demonstration models, which was a great honour for me. It was an awesome experience to learn directly from him and I remember the experiences fondly.
CW: You also lived in Japan for 3 years where you started your own club teaching both Japanese and other foreigners. That must have been a great experience going to the homeland of Jiu Jitsu and actually teaching it to the Japanese themselves. Please tell us about this experience, how it came about and what it meant to you personally?
LO’C: Honestly, I started teaching there because I missed my own style. I hadn’t planned to start a club. I started out training in a local Aikido club. It wasn’t the greatest experience. I wasn’t treated the greatest being a foreigner with previous experience and a woman to boot. They didn’t really take me seriously. Though later, after I started my own class, they started watching from the sidelines appreciatively. They even came over before classes and offered to lend me books. Weird how they changed their tune after I left them. Oh well. I didn’t have many Japanese students, only a couple, but they were both martial artists who had trained in other styles. One of them held a 3rd degree black belt in Judo and seemed to like how we applied our training in a more self-defense context. He was a great student. He barely spoke any English and was really shy, but always worked really hard and trained seriously. There were lots of ups and downs when I taught in Japan, but I’m glad I did it. It kept me developing in my style and I got to give back to my local community through my teaching.
CW: Having reached a very high grade, passed on your knowledge and skill to so many others and authored 2 books, what would you regard as your greatest achievement within martial arts?
LO’C: Wow, that’s a tough one to answer. I would say my greatest achievement was creating and maintaining a community through my dojo in which people of all ages and backgrounds feel comfortable coming together for their own self-development. I also liked that I have been able to extend that community through involvement in social media and my writing. Giving back to the world in a positive way has always been important to me.
CW: Most senior grade martial artists are men. Have you had any resistance to your teachings or writings based on gender, or has it been a mainly positive response?
LO’C: For the most part, my experiences have been mainly positive. I’ve never had anyone resist my teachings directly to me because I’m a woman. That being said, I’ve sometimes felt like senior martial arts instructors have a tendency to be a bit of a “boys club” at times. They aren’t trying to make me feel unwelcome or anything, they just don’t always know exactly how to treat me in social situations. I think they tend to be a bit more formal around me than with other men of the same rank and experience. I try not to take it personally because I know they don’t mean me any offense. It’s a by-product of being in the minority, gender-wise.
CW: Generally speaking, women sometimes face different threats to men. Do you feel that women should train differently to men? If so please explain how?
LO’C: Not really. They just need to understand how best to use their body to achieve the same results as men. They often have to have better technique in order to apply moves on bigger/stronger individuals. For the most part, martial arts techniques are most effective when you use your energy efficiently by emphasizing universal principles such as body mechanics, balance breaking, distance & timing, etc. Everyone should be aiming to use these, regardless of size or strength because everyone wants to know that their moves will work when the chips are down and they are dealing with an attacker that has the size/strength advantage.
CW: Apart from the practical side of realistic self defence, you also seem to be interested in spiritual development as well. What are your main influences here and what part have martial arts played in your spiritual journey?
LO’C: The martial arts have taught me to aim to be fully present in whatever I do, to accept situations as they are, but also to try and make the most of them, however I can. I wouldn’t say that I subscribe to any formal spiritual philosophy, but I’ve always appreciated Zen and Taoist philosophy. I believe that everyone should develop their own sense of spirituality (by spirituality, I mean how one views their connection with the world around them)..
CW: The spiritual side can be difficult for many to understand, especially beginners (who usually just look to the physical self defence skills). Do you try to teach the spiritual side to your students (if so, how)? Or do you mainly focus on the practical side and wait them to work it out for themselves?
LO’C: I mainly focus on the practical side and let students get whatever they want to out of their own training. I don’t believe in trying to press my spiritual beliefs on anyone else, but I am happy to share if asked. I also provide a library at my dojo that contains many spiritual and philosophical books as well as martial arts books. If people want to explore spirituality within the context of the martial arts, they have every opportunity to do so, but it’s something they must initiate on their own.
CW: You don’t seem to have much interest in sport martial arts (which I personally can fully relate to). Have you ever taken part in competitions? Do you feel that sport adds or detracts from martial arts training?
LO’C: I have dabbled a little, having done a few competitions to see what it was like. At one point, I was training to be an MMA fighter with every intention of going into the ring. I had started doing MMA because I wanted to learn what they learned so I can teach my students how to handle that sort of attacker. I trained really hard for a number of months, but my trainer/promoter weren’t honest with me and kept telling me he had fights arranged (for which I trained up), then telling me it fell through at the last minute. I found out later that he had never actually gotten those fights for me and I was really put off. I lost interest after that.
I don’t think sport necessarily detracts from training. It depends on how you do it. If you only practice with sport in mind, never considering how your techniques might need to be adapted in self-defense situations, then yes, it would certainly detract from one’s martial arts training IF your purpose is to learn self-defense. If sport is your reason for training, then obviously it wouldn’t detract.
CW: I’m also very interested in your own personal blog www.Giver365.com. Can you tell us what that is about and what inspired you to start it up?
LO’C: Giv’er 365 is my way of exploring how I serve the world around me. I was inspired to start it up because I was doing a lot of thinking about my connection to the world around me and wanted to find more ways I could give back and perhaps inspire others to do the same.
CW: Are you a full time professional martial arts teacher/writer or do you just do it part time?
LO’C: I would say I do it half-time. I do work in the movies for the other half, mostly doing work as a movie extra, with the odd bit of stunt work here and there.
CW: In what ways does your martial art training impact on other areas of your life outside of the Dojo?
LO’C: The dojo has given me a community that I value greatly. Most of my friends have come out of my dojo, so my social life often revolves around my students. I also feel that my martial arts training has helped me develop my sense of connection with the world, and has even been a primary influence on my personal values.
CW: Looking at your first book, Weapons Of Opportunity, please tell about this, what motivated you to write this book and how well has it been received?
LO’C: I wrote that book because I was working in a full-time marketing job at the time that didn’t have enough work for me to actually work full time. Since I had to be there at my computer all day, I preferred to find something productive to do rather than sit there surfing the Internet. I hadn’t even started my dojo yet either, but I was missing my connection with Can-ryu. So I started writing that book as a series of short stories and anecdotes from my early years of martial arts training. I self-published the book, having not had any luck finding a publisher to back the work of an unknown author’s personal memoirs. Those who bought it and read it though, seemed to enjoy it. I got a lot of positive feedback from it. I’ve sold out of the printed copies, but a new digital version will be available soon.
CW: Your second book, When The Fight Goes To The Ground: Jiu Jitsu Strategies And Tactics For Self Defenseis coming out soon. When is the release date and what inspired you to write about this specific subject? Although it is early days yet, have you had any response or feedback about it?
LO’C: The official release date is Feb. 12, 2013. I was actually approached directly by Tuttle Publishing. Their martial arts acquisitions representative read my blog and liked my writing, asking me if I would be interested in submitting a proposal for a technical book/DVD format they were looking to develop. I had wanted to write a book about practical ground defense that got away from the whole submission grappling arena, focusing more on using techniques to get off the ground as quickly and efficiently as possible. I never pursued it though because I was told by a martial arts instructor/author mentor of mine that without being a well-known MMA fighter or something, I was unlikely to ever get a publisher to back it. Goes to show you that you shouldn’t always believe what you’re told. I haven’t really had any feedback about the book yet since it’s not out, but I have taught many of the techniques at seminars and at my own dojo and the techniques have always been well received.
CW: Many styles (like my own Karate) emphasis striking and do not always do much groundwork. Will this book to be of much value to martial artists of other styles to help them fill a possible gap in their own training?
LO’C: With the popularity of BJJ and MMA, many people are learning ground related skills, whether it’s formally through schools, or just from watching UFC and YouTube. With this knowledge becoming so widespread, it is well worth it to learn a base of ground defense if one’s purpose is to learn martial arts for self-defense. Traditional martial artists from stand-up striking styles don’t necessarily want to give up their style just to learn that specific an element of self-defense. And even if they did resort to training in BJJ or MMA, these styles are usually taught in a competitive context, leaving out many strategies and tactics that better serve one’s goals in street self-defense.
My book addresses the significant differences in approach between competition ground fighting and street defense ground fighting. It would teach competitive grapplers skills, concepts and techniques they can combine with their training for application in self-defense scenarios. It also offers traditional stand-up martial artists a simple, effective system of ground defense they can combine with their stand-up defensive skills.
CW: Outside of your own dojo, do you teach many seminars? If so, is it usually just within the Can Ryu Jiu Jitsu association, or do you teach martial artists of other styles? And how far afield have you journeyed to teach?
LO’C: Yes, I teach seminars outside my own dojo. I teach at the Canadian Jiu-jitsu Union Winter and Summer Camps every year. I also teach as a guest at other dojos for students of different martial arts styles. I have even taught self-defense/Jiu-jitsu seminars for corporate clients and private groups. So far, the farthest I’ve travelled to teach has been to Ontario, but this year I have plans to teach in the US, in addition to seminar plans in various locations throughout Canada.
CW: What are your future plans with your martial arts career? If anybody would like to book you for a seminar, how should they contact you and how far are you prepared to travel?
LO’C: My plan is to continue teaching and training (I still train at other dojos as well as my own dojo) to keep learning and improving on what I do in the martial arts. I also intend to write another martial arts book, one that addresses personal development in the martial arts.
If people are interested in booking me for a seminar, they can contact me through my dojo’s website, Pacific Wave Jiu-jitsu. I am willing to travel pretty much anywhere as long as we can come to an arrangement that makes it worthwhile for both me and the host.
CW: Lori, I’d like to wish you success with both your teaching and writing careers. I look forward to reading your new book When The Fight Goes To The Ground and would like to thank you for taking the time out to do this interview with me. Thank you very much.
Anybody interested in pre-ordering Lori’s new book or purchsing the old one, can do so from Amazon (see below).
Kevin O’Hagan, 7th Dan Combat Ju Jutsu and author of numerous books is undoubtedly one of the very best Reality Based Martial Arts instructors in the UK. On Sunday 2nd Sept, I attended one of his seminars on the Anatomy Of A Street Assault. As per usual, Kevin’s seminar was very informative, practical and thought provoking!
The first section looked into the different types of assault, perpetrators motivation behind each type of assault, how to identify them and how to avoid being selected or how to defuse a situation once you have been selected. This is the part that this review will cover. There was a very pragmatic physical side to the seminar as well, but that is not covered here.
Firstly, it was made clear that we were not talking about fighting. Kevin defined fighting as either combat sport, or when 2 people decide to step outside and “sort it out”. A fight is basically where 2 people, for whatever reason, both consent to having a fight. A street assault (subject of seminar) is where one person initiates violence and the other is unwillingly drawn into it.
There are only 2 real types of street assault, which are:-
Otherwise known as “social” violence, where the perpetrator is generally showing of to an audience; trying to intimidate the victim and make himself look tough. It is easy for the victim to be drawn into this if not careful and then it could degenerate into a fight (where the victim is provoked to the point of consenting to fight).
Generally this consists of staring and excessive eye contact. When the eye contact is met and matched (which the perpetrator is looking for), then threats are made (usually accompanied by a lot of profanities). This can escalate into pushing and shoving, more profanities and louder shouting, then eventually (if one of them does not back down) a big hay-maker is usually thrown, followed by a full on fight.
Going back to the first stage (staring), Kevin explained that the you simply do not meet the stare. You glance around at the perpetrator, you can even nod at him in acknowledgement, but you do not hold and return his stare. But you don’t turn your back on him either. This way you let him know that you aware of him (he can’t launch a surprise attack), but you are not returning the unspoken (at this stage) challenge. This may be enough to avoid escalation by not giving the perpetrator an excuse to escalate. However, if he does escalate and aggressively ask who you are looking at, you simply apologise and say that you were looking at somebody near or behind him who you thought you recognised. Either way, it is better to simply apologise than to end up in a pointless fight.
Perpetrators tend to de-humanise their victims, so try to make yourself very human to him. You could say something like “sorry mate, I’ve just lost my job and wife’s left me and I’m having a really hard time right now, I really don’t want any more trouble”. It might be enough!
Each situation will be different, so you have to make your decision at the time. Another possibility is to try to put doubt into the perpetrators mind that he might be picking on the wrong guy by saying something like, “sorry mate I really don’t want any trouble. I’m still on probation from the last fight I had and I really don’t want to go back to jail”!
If this still does not work then it could progress to the pushing and shoving stage. At this point, if you don’t think you can talk him out of it then you have 2 main options; pre-emptive strike, or face him down with your own show of highly aggressive behaviour.
Whichever strategy you choose, you should already be in The Fence position. You may say something like “is there nothing that I can do to persuade you not to fight me”? Possibly you might get a positive answer that there is something you can do to avoid further conflict. If you get a negative answer, then you will hopefully have witnesses to testify (if required) that you tried everything to talk him out of it. At this point as you ask the question, you should be lining him up for a pre-emptive strike to a vital spot which will hopefully finish it all then and there.
Alternatively you may decide to push him away really hard and step back slightly as you do so. The step back gives the impression that he has been pushed further back then he actually has been and giving an exaggerated impression of how strong you are. At this point you launch your own tirade of threats, abuse and profanities to try to intimidate him into thinking that he has picked an even bigger nutter then himself.
Other factors to consider include that male victims will often not want to back down if they with their girlfriend/wife and the perpetrator will use this to provoke further. This can include directly insulting the lady. But Kevin pointed that most ladies would much rather walk away then have their guy involved in a fight, so a guy is just making a bad situation for his lady even worse if falls for the bait. If however you have a lady who would want you to get into a fight, then Kevin’s advise was “get rid of her, she’s trouble”.
But each situation will be different so a judgement call will have to be made at the time. Kevin also emphasised that as well as practicing the physical techniques, you should practice the verbal lines above in role play with a training partner, or you will forget them under pressure.
Ambushes are asocial and the perpetrator does not want an audience. These people are more “professional” then those who seek confrontation and they give no warning or build up. It just happens and you have very little time to react or prepare in any way.
Kevin explained that the best way to avoid this type of assault is through awareness. The ambusher is looking for an easy victim who they can assault (mug, rape) quickly and efficiently without any witnesses. An analogy was drawn with lions hunting. Lions always try to single out the young, old, frail or injured; who has strayed from the main herd. In the same way, the human predator looks for somebody on their own and somebody who is not really aware of their surroundings. This could be somebody who is engrossed in texting on their mobile phone, lost in their IPod, or simply putting groceries into the back of their car and not looking around.
Simply looking around so that the street predators know that you are aware of their presence (so they won’t be able to take you by surprise) can often be enough to deter them and have them look for somebody else.
It was also emphasised that if anybody tries to force you into a car or to go to a secondary location, do not co-operate in any circumstances. At the secondary location the perpetrator can do whatever they like without fear of being caught. Although at the original location they may be threatening to kill or maim you, THEY are still afraid themselves of being caught. You are better off facing injury at the original site, then possible death at a secondary site.
This review only covers part of the seminar and there was much more to it that what is covered here. Most martial art courses deal only with the physical skills of fighting. Very few deal with avoiding or de-escalating a situation so that you don’t have to fight in the first place. Kevin O’Hagan’s courses are applicable to people of any style and I would highly recommend them to any and all martial artists.
One style that I don’t often talk about is Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. The main reason is . . . . well . . . . . I don’t really know much about it. However, I was asked by Graham Barlow if I would feature some Brazilian Jiu Jitsu tutorial videos. Graham used to write some articles and do some video’s for Bunkai Jutsu in its early days about the more practical applications of Tai Chi and Choi Lee Fut.
Graham teaches Tai Chi and Choi Lee Fut in the city of Bath, but has now added BJJ to his studies. As I have not featured Brazilian Jiu Jitsu before, I thought this was good idea. I would like to wish Graham all the best in his new art and here are some videos from the Bath Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Club.
Kevin O’Hagan is an internationally renowned martial artist who I’ve mentioned several times before and have a lot of respect for. He will be hosting a Seminar on “how to develop short range knockout power” in Bristol on Sunday March 20th 2011, 11.00am to 3.00pm. Any course by Kevin is to be highly recommended.
Full details are below in his own words (cut and pasted from his promotional poster):-
Bristol dojo, 74/78 Avon St. St .Philipps.Bristol.bs20 opx
• Understand controlling aggression range
• Line ups and fence
• Dealing with verbal aggression.
• Functioning against ‘In your face violence’
• Targeting, impact development
• Ko shots, fight finishers
• Choke outs
• Dealing with single and multiple attackers
COST; Seminar £25.00p or seminar package with DVD Kevin O’Hagan’s ‘One shot system’.(60mins to compliment seminar content for reference) £40.00p.
CONTACT;Jake at jakeohagan@ymail .com or 07789865284 to book your place and also be on your mailing list.
Having been to a couple of Kevin O’Hagan’s seminars, I can vouch that the guy is a great teacher and extremely practical. Most of what he teaches is simple, effective and can be easily incorporated into your own style. I certainly incorporated it into my Karate and into our DVD, Inside Bassai Dai.
Kevin and his son’s, Tom and Jake will be running a 6 month Teaching Diploma next year, which I would highly recommend. Apart from Kevin’s practicality, he is a real gent who is very approachable, humorous and makes time for anybody who has questions for him (on and off the matt). His son’s are the same. I’ve posted about Kevin before, so you have a look at the type of things he does HERE and HERE.
Anyway, for information about the diploma itself, here it is Jake O’Hagan’s own words:-
DON’T MISS OUT ON THIS……….
I am writing to you with a unique opportunity so that you can be first to pencil it in to your training calendar for next year.
At the start of 2011 Kevin O’Hagan is planning to host his first ever 6 month Diploma course to qualify the lucky few as an official instructor in the O’Hagan Total Combat System. This diploma will train you to a standard where you are able to incorporate and integrate parts of Kevin’s system within your arts where possible and pass on to others. It will be authenticated and signed by Kevin. This will be a unique and highly sought after credential. Kevin is a respected internationally in the world of reality combat so this diploma will carry some weight.
This unique training experience will occur once a month for 6 months and will require full commitment to every training session to complete the Diploma. You will have the chance to train through intense 4 hour sessions side to side with Kevin as he works closely with you to hone your martial skills.
The course will be split in to 6 modules which will be based around topics such as anatomy of a street predator, predicting violence, understanding fear, threat assessment, Manstoppers, combat ground fighting, adrenal response, mugging rituals, multiple opponents, control and restraint, weapon defence and much more!!!
As you can see from the subject matter the Diploma is bursting with information. Theory and practical hands on training make up the subject matter. Both aspects are as important as each other in Kevin’s system. The Diploma will help you understand the street predator inside and out then focus on verbal and physical ways to systematically defuse defend or attack back successfully.
Kevin will impart over 34 years of knowledge in these intense 4 hour seminars to a small group of applicants on a very personal basis. He will be sharing the essentials and fundamentals but also be letting you in on all his martial secrets and favourites that will distinguish you from the rest.
This really is a unique and valuable opportunity for anyone who is serious about martial art. This course will not be padded out or sugar coated; it will be fast moving, jam packed and no nonsense. Due to Kevin’s martial arts up bringing in the Japanese arts of Goshin ryu and Kodai ryu combat jujutsu under instructors such as the hard and infamous Mickey Upham, ’Mad dog’ Dave Vincent, SBS veteran Mike Marshall and the renowned self-protection guru Dave Turton, Kevin has brushed shoulders and shared mats with the very best in the self-protection, Jujutsu and MMA world.
Kevin is now one of the few active instructors in the UK teaching these dying arts. He wants to preserve and promote them for the future. Will you be one of the fortunate applicants to aspire to this?
This course will change your training perspective forever! As pre-mentioned Kevin has trained with the best and is excited to offer this Diploma after years of hard training. This chance will be limited to a small numbered group and will be very personally taught at a very reasonable price; for martial artists from any background. We want to provide this opportunity to as many as possible in the future so we will guarantee you get your money’s worth.
If you are interested could send a reply to this or respond via phone; we will give more details and answer any questions you may have. Again this will be a unique chance and only available to a small group; so register your interest ASAP.
Thanks for your time and I hope to hear from you soon
All the best
Jake O’Hagan O’Hagan Total Combat System Tear Up Promotions +44 (0)7789 865 284
PS: Please let Jake know that you heard about here!
Coming up on Sunday 19th September is Kevin O’Hagan’s Edged Weapons Defence Seminar. I’ve only trained with Kevin once before on his Manstoppers Course, but for real world self protection practicality, Kevin has to be one of the best in the UK. Although he is primarily JuJutsu based, I’ve always felt that learning JuJutsu is like doing a Karate bunkai class (that is not meant in a condescending manner to JuJutsu as I have a lot of respect the art).
A number of the techniques I learned on the Manstoppers course fit hand in glove with my Karate and I thoroughly recommend it to any Karate/TKD/Kung Fu practitioner who wants to learn more about how to use their own art in a practical manner. If you look carefully, you will usually find that some techniques taught look surprisingly similar to some movements in your katas/patterns/forms that you maybe had not found a practical use for before.
TOPICS TO BE COVERED;
VITAL DISTANCING AND TACTICAL POSITIONING
TYPES OF EDGED WEAPON AND CONCEALMENT AND CARRY
TYPES OF ATTACK
AVOIDANCE AND ESCAPE
OFFENSIVE AND DEFENSIVE TECHNIQUES
TREATING A KNIFE WOUND
The course is from 11.00am to 3.00pm at the Bristol Dojo, 74-78 Avon Street, St Philip’s, BS2 OPX. Cost £25.00. To book your place contact Jake O’Hagan on 07789865284 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here’s a video clip of Kevin in action. As mentioned above, if Karate/TKD/Kung Fu practitioners look closely, you should recognise some movements from your own katas/forms/patterns. The video clip is not in the “teaching format” that I prefer for this blog, but you have a look at what this brilliant teacher has to offer you on the course.
This is an area that you will see debated from time to time with people for and against it. Some claim that pressure points make your techniques ultra effective, whilst others claim that in the heat of the moment you will not have the accuracy to find the point whilst somebody is trying to hit you at the same time.
So who’s right? Well in my humble opinion, the truth lies somewhere in the middle and it depends on the circumstances.
If you start a fight 6ft apart, close in, then exchanging blows with a capable opponent; I believe that it would be difficult (but not impossible) to find pressure point targets. Just think when you are sparring against somebody of equal skill, it can be difficult landing a blow on their torso (which is a large target), never mind finding a very small pressure point to hit. Furthermore, when you have just had an adrenalin dump, your fine motor skills do not work as efficiently. For this reason, many people advocate concentrating on developing your techniques (regardless of style) so that you are fast and powerful and you will hurt your opponent wherever you hit them.
On the other side of the coin though, very few fights start 6ft apart. They usually start much closer with the antagonist making impolite enquires as to who the fornication are you visually observing! Or something like that.
In this kind of scenario, if you are genuinely convinced that you are going to be attacked and you are not able talk sense into your assailant, at some point you may take the decision that you will have to beat some sense into him instead. I’m not talking about somebody calling you names or jumping a queue, but a real threat of imminent violence. In this scenario a pre-emptive strike to a pressure point will be much more likely to succeed. The opponent is still posturing, still psyching himself up; he’s not actually going for it yet. You don’t step back into a guard as that only warns him that you are a proficient martial artist and tips him off to attack you even more vigorously.
You are better off using what Geoff Thompson calls “the fence”, with hand open and facing down in a universal position of neutrality, feet apart in a solid stance (but not a martial arts stance), engaging his brain with some dialogue (anything at all – isn’t it a shame about the polar bears!), then hit him as fast and hard as you can on a vulnerable point.
Now some traditionalist may get a bit hung up on this, as Funikoshi (founder of Shotokan Karate) stated that in Karate their is no first attack. This has been interpreted by many as you need to stand there and wait for the other person to throw the first punch. This is obviously not very practical. What he really meant was that we should not go looking for a fight. In other places, Funikoshi has described how to deal with an assailant by showing no sign of fighting, using a pre-emptive strike then running away to get help.
And as I’ve heard Kevin O’Hagan say, “you don’t really want a fair fight do you”? After all, he started it not you.
There are of course other considerations. Firstly, if your assailant is drunk or high on drugs, they may not even feel very much as there senses are dulled, yet their aggression can be heightened.
Secondly, if your assailant is fully hyped up and adrenalized, they will feel less. Have you ever cracked you shin against somebody elses in sparring? You think “ouch”, give it a quick rub and carry on. But the next day, it is throbbing like mad.
Why did you not feel it very much in sparring? Its because you were fully warmed up and your adrenalin was flowing. However, if you (or you assailant) are squaring up for a real confrontation, you have an awful lot more adrenaline in your body than when you are sparring. You will absorb a lot more punishment without even thinking about it . . . . . and so will he! Kevin O’Hagan reports of a case in America where a guy attacked a cop with a knife. The cop shot the guy 4 times, yet the assailant still managed to get to the cop and stab him before collapsing. How well do you think your pressure point strikes would work against a knife wielding assailant who keeps going with 4 bullets in him.
Boxers have been known to break bones in their hand early in a fight, yet still finish the fight.
I witnessed an incident in a pub many years ago where a confrontation broke out between two lads. One obviously wanted to fight and the other one did not. Very quickly a friend of mine, Daren, intervened to calm it down. Now Daren is a very large, solidly built guy, who whilst having a very friendly disposition is not the type of guy you would want to get on the wrong side of.
As Daren tried to calm the aggressor down, he was met with a complete lack of reason or logic. Daren lost his temper and went for the lad. It took 3 of us to hold Daren back, swearing and snarling in complete animal rage, with his sister trying to talk him out of it. The lad who had started it all turned white. My friend Keith (who you can see elsewhere on this blog demonstrating bunkai with me) tried applying a pressure point to calm Daren down. Daren in his complete rage did not even seem to notice.
After a while Daren calmed down and the other lad made a hasty (and wise) exit. When Keith met Daren a few days later and asked him what all that had been about, Daren gave a cheeky smile and said, “6 months stress all out in a few minutes”.
Human beings are capable of taking an awful lot punishment when in a rage, adrenalised, or just plain determined enough to finish the job; so it does suggest that pressure points can be limited when against somebody in a rage or fully adrenalised.
That said, there are some points that no matter how drunk, high or adrenalized a person is; cannot be resisted. An attack to the airways so that they cannot breath will always work, be it a strike or a choke. However, much of a rage someone might be in, if they can’t breath, they can’t fight.
Attacking the carotid sinus (side of the neck where you feel the pulse), causes the blood pressure to the brain to drop and hence the assailant passes out. This can be done with strikes (especially knife hand) or strangles.
Also an upward blow to the chin or the side of the lower jaw line causes the brain to “bounce” against the back of skull, causing un-conciousness.
These points (and a few others) should normally work under any conditions, though you are more likely to succeed with a pre-emptive strike than in an all out fight.
Whilst I believe that pressure points are valuable and have there place, they should not be treated as a short cut, or as a replacement for perfecting your technique. Whilst most people recognise that technique may only be 50% efficient when under pressure, 50% of a good technique is still much better than 50% of a bad technique. If you are not able to get in a pre-emptive strike, you may find yourself having to simply hit your assailant as hard as you can, wherever you can, until a good target becomes available. By then however, you may be too adrenalised to spot the opening, because a side effect of adrenalin is that blood goes from your brain to your muscles, slowing up your thought process.
Even if you are lucky enough to get in a good pre-emptive strike, that strike will need to fast and hard, which brings us back to good technique.
Russell Stutely is recognised as Europe’s number one leading expert on pressure point fighting. I recall one of his newsletters where people had been writing in asking him why he spends so much time doing pressure points. However, his response was that he only does a small amount of training on pressure points, with most of his personal training being basics and power development. When you look at Russell’s franchise training program, he deals with balance points, power generation and other aspects before he starts on pressure points. So if Europe’s number one expert on pressure points does not take short cuts and neglect his basics, neither should we.
My own Sensei, Paul Mitchell, always emphasises that form should have function (not just look pretty); but function will not work well without good form.
This is only my opinion and I don’t claim to have gospel knowledge on the subject, but I hope it helps others to form their opinion.
I have recently had the pleasure of seeing Kevin O’Hagin and his two sons, Jake and Tom, performing a demonstration at the Rotary Martial Arts Festival in Bath. It was fast moving, dynamic and one of the highlights of the Festival. Kevin’s style of Combat Justu, based on his many years studying various froms of Ju Jutsu, and other related arts, is a no-nonsense brutal system for defeating an opponent quickly and efficiently. The people that Kevin has trained with is extensive and reads like a who’s who of reality martial arts.
Kevin is a former professional cage fighter as well as successful author – brawn and brain 🙂 However, he separates his teaching between the sporting MMA side and his Combat Jutsu street defence style.
He has recently been awarded his 7th Dan in Combat Jutsu and is a 6th Dan Senior Instructor in self protection with the British Combat Association, the most respected reality based self protection organisation in the UK. In short, Kevin knows his stuff.
I have inserted a few Youtube clips of Kevin teaching, so that you can see for yourself the type of training he gives. Furthermore, Kevin is running a course soon in Bristol (UK). I have inserted a copy of his promotional poster below. I would say to anybody from the Karate, TKD world etc., who may not think that this is anything to do with your style; think again. Many applications from our Kata’s/patterns/forms, are very similar (sometimes identical) to Ju Jutsu, so I’m sure that if you look carefully, you will find Kevin doing moves that you have seen before, but never thought of applying them in that manner.
(Note: This third video looks quite close to Kung Fu Tiger style with the raking fingers)