June 19

Self Defense Training- MMA V RBSD


Some years ago I did some training for a number of professional self defence instructors. It was a private group and the training revolved around the growth of MMA and how it would come to effect self defence training in future years. Well as I thought MMA did explode and continues to enjoy huge growth as a sport with it seen in around 120 countries.

However the demographic that is emerging that watch the UFC is very interesting. The key market is of course the 18 – 34 year old group yet in this interesting entry in the Bleacher report there is a strong argument that children will be the future of the UFC and its hard to argue as I am now 34 and I started watching the UFC at High School.

Now in terms of self defence that is interesting because it means that the demographic most likely to get involved in violence (stats show it to be 16 to 24 age group) will be exposed to techniques that cause fatal and serious injury. Do you know your triangle choke from your knee bar? If not you can bet your children will do.

What Does it mean?

In simple terms it means that the average Joe out there who wants to hurt you is not going to be the average Joe anymore. They will possess higher knowledge and ability than before and expect the ‘average Joe’ to know how to choke you out, take you down and fire punches that are fast and powerful. This is the main reason I started Primal combatives, to take self defence into a higher level of training. This is because I have known for a long time that skill levels are increasing out there, just go on you tube and take a look at the high school fights online. Most use mma tactics.

The idea behind Prinmal combatives was to create experts in self defence who can deal with the highest levels of violence and teach others that process.

When I launched Primal Combatives recently I have enjoyed huge praise from numerous groups in self defence and have a lot of interest because people know that dealing with MMA is a must have skill but not everyone wants to go to MMA training. People want the knowledge without having to fight in the cage,

Unfortunately however a few self defence groups didnt like it, these groups are often using ‘quick’ fix techniques. Now I am all for dealing with violence in the safest and most efficient way but with the birth of the UFC came the era of MMA or mixed martial arts. Of course this has meant that arts such as wrestling, BJJ (Brazilian Jiu Jitsu) and Thai boxing have all gained even more popularity as the skills in those arts have all been clearly successful in the octagon. In fact it was BJJ that became the early dominate force in MMA and the UFC when Gracie Jiu Jitsu won numerous events. The bottom line is that MMA is now fashionable and people can fight standing, they can fight on the ground and they can mix techniques.

Now as stated times are changing and I hear the same things from self defence groups.

I never want to go to the ground so I dont need to train there

I can eye gouge or ‘shred’ a face to stop them taking me down or choking me out

A fighter will break their hand when they punch without gloves but my slaps with an open hand are more effective

I dont need fitness as fights only last 30 seconds


Now these issues are myths so lets look if we can address some of these issues her but first here are a few of the opinions of these self defence groups in relation to Primal combatives and its goal:

Firstly: Punching with an open hand v closed fist

 “Punching to the face. As Hock has said before (and Rich and everyone else): Small bones vs. large bone, usually large bone wins. A Senshido student knocked a guy out with a hook punch, but cut his hand on the dude’s tooth…got gangrene as a result and almost had to have his hand amputated. Mike Tyson broke his hand in a street fight because he didn’t have wraps/gloves on. Your chain-punching…we don’t agree with the principles of chain punching as it typically doesn’t have any real power behind it and is easy to bypass”


Ok now lets examine this statement from one would be self defence instructor. The argument here is that straight rapid punching doesn’t work? That hands break in real fights? That you can get an infection from a cut. These are interesting arguments. However lets be clear on this. Using open hand slaps works on a pre emptive basis, not in full on battle when your life is at stake and I will go as far as saying that using open hand slaps against a guy using closed fist strikes is similar to bringing a knife to a gun fight.  Geoff Thompson wrote in his book Dead or Alive “The knuckles are when the fist is clenched an extremely solid and durable element. When abetted by transferred body weight they become very destructive as an attacking tool”. Now  I would never say that slapping doesnt have its place in real self defence but they will never be better than a closed fist strike. The issue around breaking your hands comes down to a few major issues. Firstly it does and can happen. As the author of the above comments came out and said even Mike Tyson broke his hand. However lets also be clear on this I would rather have a broken hand and my life intact than the opposite. By choosing open hand slaps you are picking a slower and far less powerful technique than a closed fist strike. I wont even talk about the risk of gangrene issue. That speaks volumes.

Now regarding chain punching lets take a look at one example:

Now that should really be an end to the whole chain punching debate. Chain punching from boxing, wing chun, Vunaks RAT or any other system works. I call it “blasting” personally but either way it works! Throwing straight shots in a rapid fashion works.

Ripping/clawing/Gouging faces works

 “The clearest proof that the shredder passes the test is that even when applied with little force it will stop a full force attack.Thus it is legitimate speculation to claim that if applied full force the results would be in most cases as advertised.For example a light jab wont stop someone coming at your full force as a brawler or lightly applied arm bar wont stop stop an intent grappler, however sometimes the mere act of putting your hand in someones face will cause pause in someone really go at you.Now simply add to the hand in the face gouging and smashing etc and the point is clear.”


For those that dont know the act of clawing, gouging, ripping and pulling at faces has been around a long long time. However in recent years the concept has been developed by a great instructor called Richard Dimitri. He is among the best in the world and whilst the technique CAN be effective there is a misconception that it makes up for decent training in fundamental striking and grappling. It is almost a short cut to learning to hit hard. Lets take a look at a video that totally disproves the ‘shredder theory. In this video you will see the instructor challenge a person to a vertical grappling duel Shredder v grappling

 take the video from 1.16

Now I will say this that the throw was done inside on what looks like carpets and the use of strikes was not involved. On outside concrete that would have resulted in head, back and serious trauma to organs. It wasnt even that crisp of  a throw, a real throw has a lot more force but this wasnt a real fight. However the instructor Richard Dimitri still injured his shoulder as a result. I realise of course that he wasnt actually gouging the eyes etc and only simulating it, the point is this that these “gouging beats everything” arguments are very flawed. The result of this would have likely been some eye trauma to the thrower but he wasnt fighting with strikes, from the side mount position striking is hard and fast and one punch will end an altercation.

Now Im not against eye gouges etc, I am merely making a point. The test in this video was Senshido founder Richard Dimitri challenging a guy to take him down. He did this, hurt Dimitri in the process and landed in a dominant position where he could have broken an arm or pounded him with strikes or even gone for a choke.

As in open hand slaps the gouge is only one tiny part of self defence and dont think that it will stop everyone or be a solution to every problem because it wont. In fact a good MMA or BJJ fighter will totally take gouging out of the equation with a very good arm triangle or taking the back of an opponent.

This video below is a very nice old school mma fight with Ralph Gracie who shows just how to take a person down and choke them out.

Now my point is this. I do believe shredding is useful as are open hand slaps but they do not beat solid fundamental training.

You Dont Need to be Fit for Self Defence

Im not going to labour this point much here, I will save it for a more in depth article but there is a difference bewteen not being able to get fit due to age or injury and not needing fitness. Several people who have got to that point of their lives feel that the excuse of not being fit now due to age can be passed down to younger students. The bottom line is that if you are 60 then you are not likely to be attacked by a group of 18 year olds on nights out in clubs. So your fitness requirements will be different. If you are injured or ill and cannot get fit then you do what you can.

The moral to the fitness story is that you need to do what you can with what you have got. Fitness is required in self defence as fighting for your life is hard work but if you cant train then perhaps you will need to focus on avoiding situations more, one strike solutions to conflict and pre emptive striking. HOWEVER, fitness is your friend and if you are young and training self defence then you need to be pushing yourself.

Training for the Opponent not for yourself

The above phrase is one that I use a lot. I have discovered a terrible disease among self defence circles and it is that people want to train for themselves and not for opponents. Now this can be down to many reasons, it could be due to the desire to train to meet new friends, to have fun or perhaps to lose weight. All of which are great goals but lets be clear that does not mean that your training will assist you in dealing with violence. A switched on mind using awareness and avoidance will likely allow you to avoid all potential for conflict. However as stated earlier the world is changing and you are going to have to change with it in order to prepare to deal with violence in an MMA era.

People are learning more so if you dont want to be choked out, slammed or have a broke arm you need to learn to defend against MMA style attacks. Just because you wouldn’t go to the ground willingly as it is dangerous doesn’t mean the attacker wont put you there himself!

Now before people think this is a major dig at senshido, Richard Dimitri or anyone else let me say that it isnt. I actually highly rate Richard Dinmitri and teach his shredder concepts. I have seen footage of some amazing senshido instructors including Wes Derequito who I rate highly. This post is designed to inspire people to move away from quick fix training. You need to get to class 3 times a week and master the basics of striking with power and grappling on your feet and on the ground. You need to learn how to effectively deal with all forms of attack, not just ones you think are likely.

BASICS, BASICS AND MORE BASICS are the keys to good self defence training, not quick fix super courses. Now if you are reading this and want to learn more about primal combative s and what it can offer you please get in touch. Its self defence for the MMA era.
To finish off, my father has one saying that he uses and I think it will be a great end quote:








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