March 29

Defence Lab Review- It is Better than Keysi Fighting Method




I was lucky enough to be invited down for a Defence Lab Seminar being run by Andy Norman recently and I think it would be excellent now to provide a review of that seminar and Defence Lab as a whole. First some background.

Defence Lab emerged a little over 12 months ago from the ashes of the Keysi Fighting Method. For those who may still be a little unsure about what I am talking about here is a little history.

 Click here To Find Out What Self Defence System Liam Neeson Trains in
Click here To Find Out What Self Defence System Liam Neeson Trains in

Keysi Fighting Method- History

The keysi Fighting Method was a system of self defence and fighting that was created by Andy Norman and a man named Justo Dieguez. It was known for its close range techniques and using a double arm cover over its head which was known as The Pensador. However it really came into the public view when it was used in a number of Hollywood Films most notably the Batman Begins film.

The public exposure gained by the Batman film lead to Keysi Fighting Method or KFM as it was known to become a much sort after martial art programme and its Creators Andy Norman and Justo became much in demand. We also saw the KFM in the Batman sequels and Mission Impossible 3.

However over 12 months ago Andy Norman took the decision to walk away from Keysi and the Keysi Fighting Method Company ceased trading. Many different stories were heard about why the 2 creators parted ways and it isn’t my place to comment on that issue.

Needless to say within a few months of the collapse of Keysi Fighting method we saw Andy Norman create a new product called Defence Lab

Andy-Norman Defence Lab review

Andy Norman

For those that dont know Andy Norman he is a person who has some incredible heritage within the martial arts world.  However he is most notably a Hollywood Fight Consultant. He was the person who actually got the the role of working on the Batman Begins film and not Justo and since then he worked on a range of films and lately we saw Andy train Tom Cruise for the Jack Reacher Movie. Remember the cool fights in that film, well they were as a result of Andy Norman and his Defence Lab system.

Now this latest seminar wasnt the first time I have trained with Andy Norman and I have to say this guy is truly world class. I have trained with Olympic Medallists and I have no issues with recommending Andy as being at Olympic Level in his field. He teaches in a relaxed manner yet is able to get the class motivated with a few words. Adding humour when it is required you know when you are training with Andy Norman that you are with the best!

The Review

My training with the Keysi Fighting Method was done almost always on seminars so again I have a good grasp of what keysi Fighting Method is.

However this was all about Defence Lab and I was looking forward to getting to grips with it. Now for those that know me I have recently been diagnosed with Exercise induced Asthma of which the instructors were aware of and numerous asked me how it was during the seminar and I had plenty of opportunities to take my medication when required and also sit down and rest. Id like to thank the whole DL team for helping me with that aspect.

OK- So here we go!

I arrived late at the event and was the last there due to traffic on the M6 motorway. So when I walked into the room I was blown away as it was full. Im guessing about 30 people were there if not more all dressed in the new Black and Green colours of Defence Lab and we had a variety of ages and genders.

As I was late I jumped right into it and was able to see that Defence Lab is no Keysi copy! Immediately the whole lay out has changed and boy did I like the new stuff. I’m not going to give away any secrets here but the Defence Lab process is a combination of materials designed to keep you safe against attack and everything we learned was street applicable and useful.

The keysi fighting method grew based on the pensador technique, it was its calling card. Defence Lab however has taken that and evolved it beyond imagination. This has come through research and hard graft by Andy Norman and his team.

The seminar ran at a great pace and it was over before I knew it and we had covered everything from striking, to chokes, to cover work, to defence against biting, gripping and  we even did it in the dark!!

Is Defence Lab better than the Keysi Fighting Method?

Yes. I have no doubts about that in my mind because Ive trained in both (albeit limited) but within the seminar Andy covered some of the Defence Lab innovations and I really thought they were special. It is no secret that I really liked the Keysi Fighting method but there were things that I didnt agree with at its fundamental level. Things that didnt make sense to me based on my experience. I am happy to report that those things are gone and I really loved everything we covered in this seminar.

What Is Defence Lab?

So you may be reading this and asking just exactly what Defence Lab is? Well it is a self defence training programme designed by one of the best martial arts and self defence experts in the world- Andy Norman. He is so good he is a leading consultant to the fight industry and his own team is made up of experts in their own right.

One thing that I will say is that there are no egos in the Defence Lab world. These guys and girls are all about development of themselves and each other. There is none of this ‘our style is better than yours’  or tough guy mentality. This is a really friendly and safe place to train and incredibly welcoming too. It is the perfect match of training and skills.

I had a fantastic night and experience with Defence Lab and Andy Norman. I would also like to thank James Boyle and Paul Strauther and the rest of the team. Their skills and training are world class.

If you want to find out more about Defence Lab then go here : I highly recommend Defence Lab for those looking for a self defence programme and please watch the videos below to see it in action:

All the best

Andrew Holland




Andrew Holland Martial Arts, andy norman, batman begins, defence lab, defence lab keysi, female self defence, fighting, Keysi Fighting method, the dark knight rises

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  1. Dear Mr Holland,

    I find this article to be very biased. there was no proper explanation of how the styles differ and what makes DNA better than KFM.

    You also refer to Justo the actual founding father of KFM as ” a man named” giving him little credit and high lighting your preference
    for Andy and his new style.

    If anything your article makes people wonder if you were paid to talk such nonce.

    1. Hi Jayster. Lets clear a few things up. “A man named Justo Diueguez” is how it was put which is an improvement on the ‘some guy called Justo’ I originally used. And yes I am not going to give credit to him because I don’t gush over the sound of his name, I have never met him and he has never been arsed to contact me despite all the great publicity he received from me.

      This site has over the years supported Kesyi/KFM more than anyone else on the web. From an article I wrote in MAI magazine back in 2008 and so far over 63,000 people have read my original review of Keysi .

      In all those years can I tell you how many times I got contacted by Keysi or Justo to say thanks? Nil,zero, not once! However, I have always been clear… I have never tried Keysi by Justo, so I have no knowledge of it in any way. However that didnt stop numerous members of the Keysi community emailing me abuse over the last few years. In fact my view of the Keysi community is now incredibly negative as they come across as little toddlers who haven’t got their own way, emailing me abuse.

      However despite the levels of abuse I received I still named Keysi as one of the best martial arts for self-defence in a recent article. Yet more favourable publicity at zero cost to them.

      So if we work this out just under 80,000 people have read favourable reviews on my site about Keysi. Not bad considering the level of shit I have received from them. I asked Justo for an interview at the time of the collapse of KFM and they said yes but never came through with it. Andy Norman on the other hand came through and invited me to a seminar and actually drove to meet me. Not once did he pay for me for an article on this site.

      However, my honest opinion is that KFM is terribly outdated when compared to the innovations made by DL. My past experience of Keysi was like comparing a Fighter Jet to a Tank, both great machines but the fighter jet is my favourite as it has more style and weapons. The things that I hated about Keysi have been removed and now there exists a new, more flowing system of self-defence. This is of course just my opinion. That’s what blogs are, opinions. If you want unbiased content go to Wikipedia.

      Keysi by Justo can write articles, they can do videos, get their instructors to blog and they too have all the same tools at their disposal that Defence Lab have, it’s up to them to actually tell people why their style is better than DL’s.

  2. Oki Andrew… I have been considering spending a few bucks on the DNA Fight Science package online, and was hoping your article would say more about the innovations of Defence Lab, and how it differs from the KFM or Keysi curriculum. Unfortunately, I found no such particulars here, and am left still wondering whether an investment in Defence Lab is worthwhile if someone is already somewhat versed in KFM and Keysi basics. Your article asks us to take on faith that there is considerable new learning to be had here, and that the curriculum is explicitly superior to that of Keysi. That’s fine, but I’m not one who normally makes decisions based on faith. Also, I thought it was rude, in the history section of your article, to use Andy’s full name, but then cite “a guy called Justo” in a diminutive way. It’s been this kind of petty in-fighting among all derivatives of KFM that has most compelled me to stay clear of any official associations with these organizations.

    1. Hi Ryan thanks for the detailed comment. You have made some very interesting points, To be fair the some guy called Justo’ thing can be taken as dismissive of his identity or role but it wasn’t intended that way. I havent read that article in a long time so thanks for pointing it out and I have changed it.

      As for the difference, between DL and Keysi and if you should invest in one or the other, that is a decision for you. It totally depends on what your goals are. I do know this, I have friends who hold high grades in Keysi and have trained DL and they say it is different. I think back in the early days there were a lot of things that were similar but less so now, and more innovations from DL.

      But thats just one bloggers opinion and I am sure many will disagree. But again thanks for pointing that issue out and it has been changed.

  3. Andrew, I enjoyed your article and the info given, however would have liked a simple, brief explanation of the Pensador Technique. I would have preferred less personal info, such as traffic explanation, and to be given at least one example of the fundamental Kensi method you couldn’t agree with. But thank you for your insight of the Defence Lab and their trainers. Vanda Burns

Comments are closed.

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