As warrior trainers, we must ensure that our students not only possess a “win at any cost” mentality, but also a fighting system that has been put to pressure tests. You need to instill in them the skills that are going to work no matter where they are or what they are doing. I think training the “Gutterfighter Way” is your answer, and let me explain why.
Sewer fight – “The Mental Side” Every day, thousands of people train in a martial arts academy. I think it’s awesome! Martial arts are great for helping to develop self-discipline, self-confidence, self-esteem, and physical fitness. So what exactly is the problem? Let me ask you a question. Take any student of Karate, Kung Fu, Kenpo, Tae Kwon Do, or any other form of martial arts and ask them the following: When was the last time you spoke of the violence of a physical encounter? When was the last time you thought about the violence of interpersonal human aggression?
The physical confrontations are brutal! I have been in law enforcement for over 24 years, so I have seen my share of the violence. It’s not pretty. It is your duty to mentally prepare each student for this. Well, let’s say one of your students has trained for three or four years, three nights a week for at least an hour per session. Wonderful, I applaud you. Most likely they have achieved what is equivalent in most martial arts to a black belt rank. However, do you really know if the skills you have paid blood sweat, tears, and earned money for will serve you when you need them most? The student must be able to recognize and accept the realities of violent confrontation. Please don’t stop giving them this valuable knowledge. They need your experience. The question to ask yourself is this: Have I tested my techniques, my tactics, and my methods in a realistic setting and made sure they will work? If you don’t know if your skills will work, how will your students know?
“Will this work so that I can instinctively use it in vital combat against an opponent who is determined to prevent me from doing so, and who is striving to eliminate me by fair or unfair means?” Lieutenant Colonel Rex Applegate, Kill or be killed
As you may know, when faced with a violent confrontation, people must run (flee), attack (fight), or freeze. When the mind and body have not prepared together, my observation experience has been that most people will do nothing when faced with a confrontation. I have even seen experienced military and police personnel display the phrase “deer in their headlights” because they had not developed the correct mindset to handle these stressful encounters. They had certainly been trained in physical skills, but they just hadn’t received the correct mental programming.
One can achieve the will to win through reality-based training. Here are two simple training examples that will make a big difference for any practitioner. On the one hand, a very high percentage of physical attacks occur in low light situations. It’s the perfect environment for the bad guy. When was the last time you turned off the lights in your dojo or training center and practiced your techniques in low light? Second, when was the last time you practiced your self defense skills in the clothes you wear every day and not the clothes you wear in training facilities? I rarely wear sweatpants, nor do I do daily activities in a Gi! By practicing these two simple training exercises, along with a true threat assessment, you are on your way to winning. I mean to win. Begin to educate yourself and your students with reality in mind.
Sewer fight – “The Physical Side” I teach a system that borrows its name from the Defendu techniques developed by Fairbairn and Sykes. The name given to our system is “Gutterfighting”.
“When you get caught, you are depressed, and you are lost if you do not ATTACK … And keep in mind, it is ‘Rogue fight’: any means, right or wrong, to save your life.” WE Fairbairn
Our Gutterfighting system is a combination of Krav Maga, Filipino martial arts, WWII fighters, and grappling skills. Certainly each of these fighting styles has been put to pressure tests in battle. Our Gutterfigthing is about “fighting” and “winning”. One of the most interesting principles of our fighting system is to charge quickly against the threat, get as close as possible and finish it off before it can fight back. Never wait for the attack. Once imminent danger is observed, attack with all the pettiness of a caged animal and don’t stop until your opponent is no longer a threat.
I’ve done everything I can to make sure our Gutterfighting has been designed to withstand the pressures and strain of a full-on confrontation. It is a collection of offenses and defenses in which the smaller person can successfully defeat a larger opponent. It is brutally effective, easy to learn and retain. Fighting in the canal is not about fighting pretty. It’s about going beyond mere survival and truly defeating your attacker, which I believe and preach on a daily basis! We want our students to win from a legal, mental and physical perspective, and our mission is to teach them to do just that.
Our Gutterfighting training practices combine the use of simple equipment and bodyweight exercises with focus glove hitting exercises and Thai pads in a circuit training format. This method of this insanity is to help us better prepare for the stress of a violent confrontation! We believe in being “fit to fight”. As stated above, violent clashes are brutal; your students must have the stamina to stay in the fight until they have won. The great champion Muhammed Ali declared:
“Champions are not made in the gym. Champions are made from something they have inside: a wish, a dream and a vision. They have to have last minute stamina, they have to be a little faster, they have have the ability and the will. But the will must be stronger than the ability. “
Certainly there are many great men who have led the way for Combatives, and they all deserve credit for their work. Everyone has been an inspiration during the development of these fighting concepts.
Sewer fight – “Striking & BEAT Target Model” We do not teach sophisticated striking techniques. I think everything will work when applying the BEAT target model; However, here is a short list of some of the striking techniques we use: Ax Hand (long / short), Face Strike, Chin Jab, Head Strike, Straight Blast, Cupped Hand Strike, Elbows, Punch Hammer, Knee Strike and Shin Kicks.
We use the BEAT model in the application of all striking techniques. BEAT is short for Brain, Eyes, Abdomen, and Testicles. This amazing application model was adopted from Frank Albert’s great book One-Strike Stopping Power: How to Win Street Confrontations with Speed and Skill. This book is available at http://www.paladin-press.com.
All hitting techniques are applied to one of these target areas and are used to distract your opponent long enough for you to get out of the threat zone or to distract your opponent so that an effective takedown is applied to follow-up control. As you already know, these punches most likely don’t cause an instant knockout, but they tend to be very distracting. Hitting these target areas will create a very short period of time in which your opponent is not thinking about you, but about his own pain. That is your window of opportunity. Master it! Don’t wait for something else to happen. Use this distraction window to your advantage and continue the fight until your opponent is knocked out. You must fight “down and dirty”. Don’t give up until it’s over.
Many years ago, Forrest E. Morgan wrote a wonderful book entitled Living the Martial Way. In his book there is a very interesting quote: “If someone asked me what a human being should spend the most of his time on, I would answer, ‘Training’.” Some might think this is a bit fanatic, but I would disagree. Someone once said that “proper preparation prevents poor performance.” I certainly agree with this statement. Remember that as a warrior trainer, you should also set aside time each day to work on your own warrior skills; This is the only way you will grow and win! What are the skills of a warrior? Simply put, they are life skills. Anyone who adopts the warrior mentality and prepares the body properly can handle life’s straight throws as well as his curveballs.
So there you have it, the “Gutterfighter Way!” Prepare your mind, prepare your body, practice your physical skills and prepare for an all-out battle. Hopefully the day will never come when you need these skills, but if you need them, BE READY! Train with a gutter fighting mindset and practice all survival skills until second nature. “Train today for the battles of tomorrow.”