January 28

7 Things A Crooked Self Defence Instructor Won’t Tell You


Armato di Coltello

Self Defence is a strange business. On one hand we have a small community of dedicated and professional instructors. However, on the other hand, we have a huge explosion of morally bankrupt people that are trying to steal the hard earned cash from the gullible.

It must stop!

As an industry, we need to stand up against these frauds so that the great instructors can flourish because the frauds are harming the industry.

It is almost astonishing that people have the audacity just to wake up one day and say “I’m going to teach self-defence courses” when they have little knowledge and can barely look after themselves. We see it all the time on YouTube and Facebook. People are teaching knife defences and no touch knockouts that would just get people killed!

So here is my list of 7 things that a crooked and corrupt self-defence instructor won’t tell you. Why? Because they can’t! Most got their certificate after a few hours of training, or even worse… on-line.

1. What It Is Like When You Are Punched Hard In The Face

self defence

So we start off with the most fundamental of all. Being punched.

At some point, you have to get the gloves on and gumshield in and take shots.

A bad self-defence instructor will avoid sparring like the plague and say that it is ‘for sport only’.  Or even worse they just do ‘body’sparring.

Here is the thing, you  need  to feel significant impact  to the face/ head or at least, have that on option. I do love the way Defence Lab and keysi Fighting Method use pads to batter their training partners so they have to defend themselves, it is a lot like sparring but the risks are reduced (Bet you didn’t know that they also spar with gloves on too did you?).

My opinion is this; you need to start giving the real student feedback from lesson 1! Now you can start slowly by using pads or technique sparring where one defends one technique and the other only attacks with a certain kick or punch.

Eventually, as you progress you need to be able to put on a  pair of gloves and throw punches and have them thrown at you!

You simply cannot avoid doing this if you want to get good at self-defence.  If this sounds too violent, go and pick another life-saving skill to teach!

I am not saying you need to be a pro boxer but if you are teaching self-defence go and experience getting punched in the face. It might just change your mind about all this ‘Gucci’ shit your teaching.


2. What It’s Like When You Lose A Fight

I just love it when I hear people say they have never lost a fight. All I  think is that “you haven’t  been involved in enough then”.

But what is a fight? Is it when two guys agree to scrap on the street, is it when a cop arrests someone that doesn’t come willingly or a doorman that ejects a male that fights back. Perhaps it is when a woman fights back against a man trying to rape her.

Well in truth it is all those situations. A fight is when someone physically tries to inflict harm upon you. The why it happened ceases to become important. Take the footage below of the female police officer being assaulted, was that not a fight?



So this comes to a key issue. If you are so good, you have never lost a fight, you need to go out and challenge yourself until it happens. Now this does not mean that you have to go out scrapping every week on the town. No this could be as simple as going to your local BJJ  club and grappling until you get tapped out.

Or perhaps go to your local boxing gym and do some sparring.

Instructors in self-defence need to understand that it is essential to get beaten. This way you realise that there are people out there who can cause you harm.

You don’t need to be the best grappler or striker to be good at self-defence. But if you are teaching self-defence you do need to understand that you are NOT top of the food chain.

Your role is to help decent people protect themselves against scum.

Hey here  is some footage of me being tapped out in a Judo match (the opponent was an ex-international I blew out my knee in this fight too, see if you  can spot it), why did I do Judo or boxing? Not because I  was going to be a world champion, it was because it was part of my skill base and I wanted to challenge myself. Here it is…


3. What It Is Actually Like To Fight On The Floor On Concrete

A bad fight takes its toll
a bad fight takes its toll

It is great teaching people self-defence in a nice, warm cosy gym. You can really be inventive with your training  and techniques.

Try that outside on the cold, dark, wet concrete and things do change!

However, this has made people believe that you can’t ever go to the ground, or that it is some evil place where terrible things happen. There is a time and a place for everything and yes going to the ground has risks, and yes some moves don’t work, but a lot do. Going to the ground would never be my primary option but it might make sense when you weigh up all the other risks (i.e. has he got a bat, knuckle duster, etc.)

I would love to see a video where a BJJ club went outside, talked about how their techniques went on and then post footage of what worked and didn’t.

The fact is that many instructors who say “never go to the ground” have never been there in reality or training. So what’s going to happen if you end up on the ground?

Yes, you  can keep clinging to this “get up as fast as you can stuff” but it is all talk unless you train it.

Go outside tonight and train, let me know how it went!

Footage of Me Training at a Seminar
Footage of Me Training at a Seminar

4.What It Is  Like To Fight A Taller, Stronger and Heavier Attacker

Big business man threatening smaller businessman in anger. Feeling and emotional concept in furious and aggressive.


Very often people only ever train with people their size and weight. I understand this.

The self-defence, however, will see you face bigger, fitter, stronger, drug induced idiots that hit harder and are better in every aspect of fighting than you! Or at least, you need to train like that.

The chances are that if you are attacked the person doing the attacker will have at least one advantage over you.So your training needs to reflect this.

Make sure you train and spar with people of all weights. Learn to have different tactics if you had one or more attackers of varying sizes.


5. What It Is Like When You Break Your Hand On A Human Skull


I heard this from one well-known and respected authority on self-defence “I would never hit with a closed fist because I could break my hand and the hand would then be useless”.

Umm, are you kidding me? Does your hand drop off if you break it? Nope, a small bone in your hand breaks. That’s it. Yes you wouldn’t want to use that fist again in that fight/ attack but you  can still hold things, pull a  trigger and use your open hand, elbow, etc

I always see this ‘never hit with a closed fist’ stuff being taught. I still don’t get it and yes I have broken my hands several times.

You need to understand that being in a fight for your life is serious stuff and you need to use everything you have got! So when your instructor tells you the big bad dangers of breaking your hand on a skull, ask them if they have ever broken their hand?

Just be prepared for the bullshit they talk after you ask this and remember this… would you rather have a broken hand or a broken face?

6. What Really Happens When You Are Bitten By A Human

Wtender, mnnlicher Vampir

Again I hear this all the time….

Bite your attacker.

Yep that is going to:

1. Get their blood in your mouth, disgusting.

2. Just piss off your attacker.

I have been bitten once and had lot’s of people try and bite me. Each time was more worried about catching a disease than the damage the bite did. Check out the Evander Holyfield fight with Mike Tyson. Holyfield had part of his ear bitten off but he was still up for fighting!

Yes, it hurts to be bitten, the sensation was a bit like being burned. But all it did was make me angry. It didn’t stop me in my tracks. Instead,  I had even more adrenaline surging through my body.

Please just stop teaching this bite stuff where guys growl to make out they are biting others. I know some amazing self-defence instructors who teach real solid stuff that still teach this tactic.

A bite is not going to knock me out, or stop me in my tracks. It is also not likely to help me win any court battle because it is a really aggressive, animalistic thing to do.

“It wasn’t me your honour, that nasty man started it all, look he is so nasty he even bit my face.”

I  have one rule only for biting. It is my last resort! Check out where Bruce Lee uses it in a film and you catch my drift

leg bite

Check out the full fight on YouTube here

7. What It Is Like When You Hurt Someone In Self Defence

Beaten man with black eye in emergency room

This is my final self-defence annoyance! People who teach self-defence as if they are fighting in a video game.

“Yeah put him down then stamp on his head” yer right! How to get a prison sentence 101.

In an era where we all have high definition video cameras in our pockets that can upload a video to millions of people in a second, we need to train as if we ARE being recorded.

As a former police officer, I am well aware that everything can be used as evidence. You need to think the same.

If a guy attacks you and then you drop his ass, is it really required to put in that final kick to the head which leaves him with a  fractured jaw? Of course not.

And when the police turn up to a report of a guy in the road bleeding do you think they see him as a victim or an offender? I will tell you in no uncertain terms. He has been a victim, and you might not have noticed that CCTV camera on the flats opposite which was installed to monitor rowdy youths, however, the police will notice it and when they look at the footage they will assess if your force was reasonable and justified.

I hear this ‘rather be judged by than carried by’ saying all the time.

That’s great until you are sharing your cell with ‘Clarence The Impaler’ who has his nickname for reasons you just don’t want to get into!

So when teaching anything you need to be careful about what you teach: So forget all the “push his eyes into his skull, force his nose bone into his skull, break his neck” stuff.

Think consequences rather than techniques because trust me, the guy teaching your neck breaks has never broken one. He probably has never broken a limb or even had an argument that got a little heated.

So please don’t fall into their  drama of made up stories, which reminds me “This one time at band camp……”


I get asked al the time, why aren’t there more people training in self-defence.

The answer is simple…… There are too few great instructors.

The ones that are great have put their minds through a great deal of studies and their bodies through many challenges. These challenges have shaped their ability to teach people how to protect not only their life but the lives of the ones they care about.

That is what it is truly about! Keeping people safe.

What do you think makes  a great self-defence instructor




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