Starting a Self Defense Training Group Part 4

In Part 3 we talked about the tasks and mindset the group organizer would need to practice. So now lets get down to brass tacks about the precise structure we have found most useful.

It’s been my experience that both in our group and others I have seen form that there is a tendency to try to do too much. Both time wise and with regards to content. Often guys want to get together and try to completely recreate a full day of training, or maybe a “short day” of “only” 4 or 6 hours. Ouch.

Not only is that a large block of time for someone to put aside on a regular basis (and these need to be regular if they are to be useful) but without flight time instructing its very difficult to keep people usefully on track over that period of time. We used to do longer days, they required quite the time commitment and I don’t feel like we got as much use out of one 4 hour training session as two 2 hour training sessions a week apart.

“If you want to teach someone nothing, show them everything”
~Shawn Williams
For a group that meets once a month I think 2 hours is the sweet spot. Short enough that you don’t need a long break, but long enough to get a lot of focused work in. Its a good size where it doesn’t kill a busy persons day with a huge time commitment. If you can’t put aside 2 hours once a month for training, its simply not something your really interested in improving on. Don’t focus on the time per block, but on the number of training sessions over time. It’s long term skill development that matters.
To form the basic format I start with an idea of what live training at the end is going to look like. Not every session has to have a fully contextual beat down, in fact that is super time consuming and while great for occasional testing not the best for technique development. If like I mentioned in the last installment, you want to work on techniques like escaping side mount like the final evo from ECQC training day 2, then start by thinking about what that evolution looks like.
From there the question is what particular techniques does a participant need to have precisely to have a positive outcome. What does a successful evolution look like? In this case you need to be able to effectively hip bridge, and hip escape, form a frame, and get your opponent off of you. Then create space to stand and/or to produce a weapon.
Now you have an idea of what physical techniques you’ll need, and the bulk of the time will be spent repping those out by gradually building one step on top of the other with layers of resistance and context slowly added and removed. Knowing exactly what movements to use, technical details to focus on, and how to adjust by what you see in the group will take flight time. Be patient. Your on a long road.
With the focus we are using we may choose some positional sparring. Given context a useful exercise for us was one I call the “5 second get up” .  Its just what it sounds like. I grab a shot timer with a 5 sec PAR. I have one guy start flat on his back and another on his knees next to him. At the start beep the top guy drops and tries to keep bottom guy pinned while bottom guy needs to explosively escape. Contextually this can be framed as the need to escape before a second guy arrives or the urgency one needs when blows are reigning down and you cant spend another moment getting beat on. I suggest several of these short rounds each before switching top/bottom. The goal is to get the participant as many exposures to this sliver of the whole as possible.
We have gotten skill work, practiced techniques, and amped up with some live training inside a limited scope. Short break and back to the drilling but now work in access a weapon. Sometimes you get the weapon out and use it then get up, sometimes you get up then get the weapon.
Then we can recreate that grounded evolution we started out working towards.
What follows are some outlines for sessions. As we go I would time parts, trim where needed, add in other places. Remove and pair down the techniques, and otherwise sharpen the structure. I’m sure most of the terms and such will be gibberish to those who haven’t been training with Shivworks, and that is just fine.
Session 1
  • Default Position in Managing Unknown Contacts (muc)
  • Safety brief and pat down (10 min)
  • Discussion on the Criminal Assault Paradigm (cap) and the focus of the days session (10 min)

note: this sessions focus is on the moment we are caught by surprise, initiating is a separate block

  • Review main elements (15 min)
  • High compressed fence, arcing movement, graduated verbal response
  • Role play warm up, encroachment (15 min)
  • Review default position and sucker punch drill with partner (20 min)
  • <break 15 min>
  • Driving in from default drilling (15 min)
  • Limited live training (20 Min)
  • Limited space for the focus, prefer against a wall, encroachment starts at sucker punch range, focus on short goes and break after entanglement/contact. prefer mixing of partners and a conveyor belt or up/down/out, constant work and lots of reps.

Session 2

  • Initiating from MUC Safety brief and pat down (10)
  • Review of focus of session (5)
  • We are looking at a situation in which we are approached by someone we do not know in a environment that would support a crime, the totality of circumstances has led us to choose to act first.

Note: there are many takes on this, from eye jabs to more a detailed boxing blast, all have there advantages and deficits, this is imply my take on it for our group.

  • Warm up pad work (15)
  • “diving board” jab/cross
  • Footwork pad work (15)
  • 1-step to cut angle -2
  • <break 15>
  • MUC role play with pads (20)

Encroaching role player is to raise pads during MUC, focus is to throw, step, and hit again. We are looking to develop the hit and MOVE, encourage thinking and options. We can break range to flanks, shoot for take down, deploy a weapon, or strike again.

  • MUC role play with pads and second guy (20)
  • Groups of 3. No pressure from 2nd guy, looking for focus to make correct choices for flanking and stacking opponents.
  • Live training (20)
  • Focus with rear foot on wall, cannot move until they initiate. Encroachment issue with helmet and gloves approaches, looking to strike if they get close enough.
  • Focus desired end state is to hit and get off the wall. Short repeated goes. Get multiple reps in before switching.

Session 3

  • Standing Grapple in the Weapons Based Environment (WBE)
  • Safety brief and pat down (10 min)
  • Review focus of session (5 min)
  • We are looking at navigating a collision of bodies in a WBE in order to access or deny access to weapons and safely break contact.
  • Warm up, cutting the corner and swimming under hooks (consensual, non competitive) (10 min)
  • Double unders competitive (10 min)
  • Review wizzer to break double unders and drill (10 min)
  • Bony edge, lower level, cut corner, swim
  • Review under hook, over hook, ties and a strategy of getting to under hook/bicep tie (5 min)
  • Under hook / Tie competitive (10 min)
  • <break 15 min>
  • Review and drill strategies from hook/tie (15 min)
  • Duck under on under hook side
  • Duck under from wrist tie
  • Arm drag
  • Tie ups
  • Partner access non competitive and technical work (15 Min)

Can use hard trainers as appropriate. One is trying to access, one trying to deny access. This is a “slow roll”, 20%, should be able to use good technique and strategy, not out of breathe and able to speak to opponent.

  • Live training from neutral clinch (15 min)

Focus is looking to access weapon and break contact. Note: can break AND THEN access or access first, keep an eye on breaking in front of opponent.

Session 4

  • Attached Edged Weapons Safety brief and pat down (10)
  • Warm up review of IFWA and standing grapple, technical drilling (20)
  • Review hook/tie strategy, need for timing access, nearest hand under control, “cheating IFWA with the short center line fixed blade” where the rules get bent, opening of the folder and more strict access
  • Non consensual competitive access from neutral clinch (15)
  • <break 15>
  • Point driven methodology attached (15 min)
  • Reverse, forward, and punch grips throwing with hips, setting up shots, targeting considerations, nok knives only and review safety with how hard we can hit with them
  • Train technical to IFWA and then live for 2-3 good hits OR technical depending on group
  • Defense against the deployed blade drilling (30 min)
  • Wrist tie to baseball bat and hip switch to take down or break range (contextually dependent choices)
  • Entangled body lock
  • Live training from clinch (15 min)

Session 5

  • Pistol Disarms
  • Safety brief and pat down (10)
  • Review of session focus (10)
  • Worst case scenario, disproportionate armament, cover realistic gun holds and ask about anyone being robbed at gunpoint.
  • Role play getting hands into play from hold up (10)
  • Review moving body AND muzzle to get off line of fire, drill from hold up (20)
  • < break 10>
  • Technical disarm drilling (20)
  • Bring into core, extend opponent if possible, set bite, out thumb side
  • Review 1 and 2 hand holds and different positions
  • Ring game (20 min)
  • Circle on ground, 2 enter, each have one hand on short PVC pipe
  • 15 sec PAR (can adjust, shot timer works best) 3 ways to win: 1- push opponent out of ring , 2 – take pipe , 3 – take down with dominate position. Multiple goes, fast pace.
  • Live training (20)
  • Fist helmets and SIM guns. Start focus in corner in gun hold, work from role play to get to escape/disarm
That’s enough to get you started. You already picked a date for that first session, right?
Shawn Lupka
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