The Russell Stutely Interview

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:

The Interview:

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.

Russell Stutely On Pressure Point Fighting

Following on from my last article on pressure point fighting, I would like to quote from Russell Stutely who is widely regarded as Europe’s number one pressure point expert.  He is also highly regarded by Geoff Thompson and Peter Consterdine of the British Combat Association, who are very much into reality martial arts.

The reason that I wanted to quote from Russell Stutely is that although he highly advocates pressure points and obviously makes a lot of money teaching them and selling DVDs etc; he still very much advocates that you must develop good basic technique first.  If he was to promote pressure points in a such a way as to suggest that it is a magic bullet so that you don’t have to bother learning anything else and beginners could use them to defeat experienced black belts, I would be very suspicious.  But he doesn’t.  He is very methodical in his methods.  As with my previous posting, I am wary of how effective pressure points can be under pressure, but I do think that if you do want to learn them you must do it in a structured and methodical manner, which is why I am open to Russell Stutely’s approach.

So here it is in Russell’s own words:-

“So many times people ask me about the best way to learn how to use Pressure Points… So, I am going to start sending out my “Tips of the week” on Pressure Points in particular and also to answer some of the most popular questions asked.

OK.. How to learn Pressure Points correctly?

This is a biggie… so will be answered in several parts over the coming weeks.

The first thing is to gain an understanding of how the body works from a Martial Arts perspective. This does not mean that you need to know the names of points or even the names of major muscle groups etc.. it would of course help if you started to learn them as you go along.

First of all… whatever art you practice… take your best / favourite technique and really get to grips with it.. really understand it.. break it down into its constituent parts.

This means that you must analyse it to death… UNDERSTAND what every part of your body is doing to ensure the correct application of that technique.

For a simple “jab” as an example.. you MUST know what your weight distribution is, how your feet are positioned, where you “push off” into the floor, how your body aligns, any “extra” movement that should not be there… where the correct power line of delivery is.. how you are balanced, how you keep your defenses,… the relationship between your shoulders, hips and ankles … and MUCH more.

Then when you can break this down and understand it.. you know how to “re-build” the technique to make it more effective.

Then and only then do you start to add in the Points… unless you have great technique to start with of course!
This sounds like a MAMMOTH journey if you are supposed to do this with EVERY technique??

Well.. it is not as long as it sounds… do this exercise with 4/5 techniques and you will begin to REALLY understand how to break down a technique… how to make it better.

Then you will be able to do this with any technique… THEN we can begin to add the points.

I ALWAYS teach people Balance Points first.. understand how the body is balanced from both your and your opponents perspective and you will automatically begin to break down technique.

Just this exercise alone will dramatically improve your Martial Arts and Self Defense skills.

Hope that helps?
More soon

Russell”
 

Does Pressure Point Fighting Really Work?

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 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.

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.

Professor Rick Clark: Pressure Points

Professor Rick Clark is a specialist in applying pressure points using techniques from the katas/patterns.  He has a very good understanding of both Japanese/Okinawan katas as well as Korean.  When you see his qualifications, you’ll understand why:

8th Dan Ryukyu Kempo

7th Dan Tae Kwon Do Chung Do Kwan

7th Dan Ju-jitsu

5th Dan Judo

3rd Dan Modern Arnis

1st Dan Hapkido

As well as having one of his books, I’ve had the pleasure to attend one of his courses when he came over to the UK.  He’s a very easy going gentleman who is very approachable and extremely knowledgeable.

 

For more information about Professor Rick Clark and his seminars, his website is www.ao-denkou-kai.com.

Practical TaeKwonDo

Here are a couple of clips from Matthew Sylvester, author of the book, “Practical TaeKwonDo: Back To The Roots“.

In the first 2 clips, Matthew and his training partner are “freestyling” multiple applications to sequences from TaeKwonDo patterns. As you will you see, each sequence has multiple applications.  In the last clip, Matthew focuses on multiple applications for the lower block, giving different applications for TKD and Karate chambering.

Matthew’s qualificatios are :

– 1st Dan Ao Denkou Jutsu
– Senior Instructor Instinctive Kenpo Fighting™
– Level 5 Practitioner Instinctive Kenpo Fighting™
– 3rd Dan Jung Shin Taekwondo
– 3rd Dan OKKO Karate Jutsu
– Level 3 Instructor Nigel Lee’s MEME
– 1st Dan Adam Merton’s Shunryu Kenpo
– 1st Dan Aikoushin Kobujutsu
– Instructor Family Awareness Safety Training
– Level 1 Instructor Jim Wagner’s RBPP
– UK Advisor Jim Wagner’s RBPP
– SIA Qualified Door Supervisor
– Qualified IFUMA Instructor in Chang Hon TKD

You can find out more about Matthew Sylvester at his Facebook page www.facebook.com/mjsylvester.