The Approach- Interview with Its Creator Eddie Quinn
Q. Hi Eddie thanks for taking the time to speak with us. Your product The Approach has done really well and has instructors across the globe and security officers training in this unique system, Can you explain to everyone what exactly it is?
The USP (Unique Selling Point) of The Approach is that it is a method of self defence that can be learnt in hours not years, and it is easy to maintain.
The core movements are a forehand strike and a backhand strike which can be used as single strikes or in combination, the strikes are then combined with footwork. The reason people reach a good standard very quickly is that I relate the movements to what the human body does naturally. I relate the forehand strike to a throwing movement, the backhand strike to skimming a Frisbee and I then put it all together by putting one foot in front of the other, in other words, walking!
Research has shown us that one of the reasons the human race has survived is because of our ability to throw things; Rocks, spears to hunt for food.
The Mother art of The Approach is Silat Fitrah, I have been studying Silat for the past 21 years. Silat is a South East Asian martial art based on blades and multiple attackers, The Approach was born using principles from this art.
In the UK we are not allowed to carry Hammers, Baseball bats and Blades legally on the street, however if you imagine your closed fist is a hammer, your forearm a baseball bat and your elbows are blades then you have your own legal versions!
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The objective is to strike the attackers head. In Silat Fitrah one of its main principles is; ‘If the elbows could they would’. If my attacker was close I would use my elbows to strike, however as you well know, there is often a large space before you get to the head. We fill this space with hammer/forearm strikes, this can be with either a pre emptive strike or we can be reactive and use this same strike to smash the oncoming punch and then take the space so the elbows can get to the head.
Remember, whoever fills the space the best, wins the fight.
Q2. You have been involved in the martial arts along time but many don’t realise you had a life changing incident a few years back, would you mind sharing that with our readers and how that incident has changed you views on training?
When I was 18 I left my local pub and was taking the short walk back home when I intervened when a group of lads were abusing a couple of girls who were waiting for the Bus home. I told the group to leave the girls alone and one of them pulled out a flick knife, he then proceeded to attack me and I was stabbed 6 times. I was rushed to hospital and after extensive resuscitation I was handed over to the Thoracic Surgeons who saved my life. The right ventricle in my Heart, my Liver, Bowel, Gall Bladder, Head and Leg were all punctured in the attack. That event changed my life forever.
During my rehabilitation I had a consultation with my Heart Specialist who recommended I take up some kind of Martial art, I took his advice and never looked back.
I grew up in Birmingham in the late seventies early eighties, we were street kids and very street wise. Every area had its gangs and violence was part of the norm for us.
When I began my martial arts journey I was very aware that on the streets people didn’t bow before they hit you, were barefoot unless they were that poor they didn’t have shoes, they didn’t apologise if they cranked your neck too hard or released when you tapped. You were never asked what attack you wanted; would you like a left punch or right punch and I will leave my arm out especially for you. I knew people fought in multiples, were normally armed and would posture and swear at you and have no hesitation to stamp on your head, stab and rob you and have no regard for your life.
After all that, I was still hooked on Martial Arts from day one, however I always knew the difference between The Dojo and The Street.
Q3 The Approach seems a very powerful method of striking and one that doesn’t take long to become proficient in. I understand that you have trained both men and women in the Approach, what kind of feedback from women do you get about your techniques?
Women love The Approach because it is so easy to learn and it is hand friendly.
Let’s face it how many times have you punched a pad or a heavy bag and hurt your hand, even though you are wearing hand wraps and gloves! I’ve been Thai Boxing for over 23 years and I still wince when I have caught the bag wrong with a punch!
The Approach uses the hand like a hammer and hits with the bottom part of the hand. This is why The Approach has had a lot of interest from the Police and Security Industry because of its effectiveness, simplicity and the fact that it saves lives. When you think about Officer Safety and the simple fact that if a police officer damages his/her hands in an arrest and the suspect is armed, how can the officer then pull out and effectively draw their Gun, Baton, Taser, which could be fatal.
Q4 I know you are really busy but what does the average day of Eddie Quinn Look like and what do you do to keep sharp and stay in shape?
From Monday – Thursday my days are pretty much the same; teaching, training, admin, marketing, then Friday – Sunday I’m either flying somewhere to teach or driving up and down the motorway teaching seminars and instructor courses.
I like to stay home as much as I can and be with my family and dogs. I also like to train with my teacher Guru Tua Chris Parker in Nottingham as much as possible.
Q5 Many people don’t realise that you travel a lot, and whilst many may think its glamorous it means you area away from your family. I’m guessing it’s not all business class and 5 star hotels, so for those thinking of starting their own system could you tell us what the realities of travelling so much are?
Its Business class and 5 Star hotels if you pay for them yourself!
I was away a lot last year teaching in the USA, Australia, The Middle East, The Far East and in Europe. It is something I had always dreamt about doing, becoming an International Martial Arts Teacher. It is a great experience but yes you are away from your loved ones and it does get lonely, however you get to meet some fantastic people who become lifelong friends but the bottom line is, It is a bloody long way to go to work, it is a price I had to pay to turn The Approach into a global brand.
Q6. Many people train these days in multiple martial arts, Can a person who trains in another system use The Approach and how would it fit in with their training?
Yes of course, that’s the whole point. Let me give you a couple of examples; I’ve just recently got back from teaching The Approach as a Guest Instructor at the British Transport Police National Training Day. The feedback I received after teaching the Officer Safety Team for just one hour was incredible. Here is a exert from one of the emails I received afterwards;
With limited time available for police training, it was refreshing to see things kept simple and to the point. This was not lost on you as you were able to take basic (but effective) movements that could be replicated with ease and integrated within our current training. The drills were workable for a variety of situations and far more realistic than the way we currently teach hammer fists and strikes for that matter. From the start you had the end user in mind where it became clear that you understood your target audience and the problems which we as instructors encounter when delivering training to officers of varying skill levels.
Like I always say The Approach utilises what the human body does naturally, if you are naturally right handed what are you going to hit me with when you are under stress, your weakest or strongest hand? It is a no brainer.
Look at a footballer ( Soccer if you are in the USA) the striker has a goal scoring opportunity but the ball lands to his weakest leg, what does he do, control the ball with his weakest leg then shoot with his strongest leg. The time it had taken to stop, control and shoot gave the defender time to tackle and the opportunity to score had gone.
Another goal scoring opportunity arose and this time the ball fell to his strongest leg and the ball hit the back of the net!
Q7. I have heard now that people can become qualified to teach The Approach over the course of a year rather than long courses, could you tell us more about this unique method of developing instructors?
There are 2 options you have if you would like to become an Instructor in The Approach method; Module Training spread over the year or the Intensive Instructor Course. Due to work and family commitments some found it difficult to be away from home or work for 4/5 days. With the Brand New Module Format the attendees are only away from home for 4 Sundays in a year, plus it is more affordable because the payments can be budgeted through the year.
This way isn’t practical for potential International Instructors so they fly in and do the Intensive 3 Days.
The 3 day Intensive course has been very well received and over the past few years we have had well over 50 Instructors from several countries welcomed into The Approach family.
One of the lessons that I have learnt over the past few years is that when you start knocking on the doors of the corporate world, they want to see more than just your martial arts qualifications. To teach personal safety in the workplace you need more than a Black Belt or a Certificate to say you are an instructor, they want to know if you have qualifications in Conflict Management, do you have PTLLS which is a nationally recognised teaching qualification, do you understand self defence and the Law, how to do a risk assessment and safety briefs which is in the BTEC Level 3 Advanced Self Defence Trainer Qualification.
I have introduced 3 new Instructor levels which include the PTLLS teaching qualification, a BTEC in Conflict Management and the BTEC Level 3 Advanced Self Defence Trainer qualification.
The Approach Method becomes a vehicle for my Instructors to gain the qualifications they require to teach personal safety, conflict management in most industry sectors.
Q8. I’ve heard from your courses that you have hired a Barrister to come in and give a presentation. I’ve rarely heard of that approach (forgive the pun) from other courses, what made you do that and how do you think it has benefited your coaches.
If you are teaching Self Defence you owe it to yourself and your students to have some knowledge regarding Self Defence and the Law.
I employ the services of David Shorter and Duncan Andrews who are both serving Police Officers and David is also a fully qualified Barrister.
It wasn’t until I started to work more closely with the Police that I realised I knew nothing about Self Defence and the Law. This came even more prominent when a friend of mines student was sentenced to 12 months in jail for breaking some guys jaw. This was his first offence and the other person was verbally abusing his wife and kids!
So I figured I needed to address this and to make sure I was not responsible as a teacher for putting my students in jail as a result of my ignorance in that department.
In a street fight there are 3 fights you have to win; The Internal Fight (The fight with yourself), The Physical Fight and the Fight with The Law. You have to win all 3!
What we need to teach our students is; were the techniques you used to defend yourself Justifiable in a court of law and were they in proportion to the level of threat.
In other words; you don’t need a sledgehammer to crack a nut!
That extra kick to the head when you have already dropped the person could possibly send you to jail.
Q9. And Finally…. How can a person train The Approach right now and how can they become an instructor?
If anybody would like details about my Instructor Program all they have to do is send an email to; firstname.lastname@example.org this goes directly to my Iphone and I will forward full details.
The next Intensive Course in the UK is from Friday 6th– Sunday 8th June 2014, this is in Solihull and it is 5 minutes away from Birmingham Airport.
For my friends in the USA and Canada there is an Intensive Instructor course being held in Orlando, Florida from Friday 18th – Sunday 20th July 2014.
If you are interested in the new Module Format contact me for dates.
For an Instructor near you go to; www.theeddiequinnapproach.com and check out the Family Tree, there is also a link for a FREE DVD in The Approach Series.
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Also please watch this excellent Video on The Approach