Archive for RBSD

Important Self-Defense Movement For Any Style

Posted in Self-Defense, Training, Videos, Women's Self-Defense with tags , , , , , , , , on December 11, 2015 by chencenter

It’s here, the follow-up from The Valkyrie. Lots of action, and variations to practice in this one! We also had a lot of fun making this (as evidence by the ending)! Please share this video with your friends and loved ones.

Also, a special shout-out to my friend and CombativeCorner crew member T.J. Kennedy (owner and founder of the Hybrid Fighting Method) for influencing and helping our Praying Mantis evolve into what it’s become.

Peace and Happy Holidays.

Michael & Jennifer Joyce

Outfoxxed on YouTube


10 Questions with Lee Morrison

Posted in 10 Questions, Self-Defense with tags , , , , , , , , on January 21, 2014 by Combative Corner

Lee Morrison Urban Combatives

Lee Morrison is (in our opinion) one of the top instructors in the world when it comes to self-protection.  His no-nonsense approach, as well as his rich background in Combatives make him a favorite among many martial art and “combative”/RBSD students.  Lee is the owner and founder of Urban Combatives (link on the above image) and instructs both in his native UK and internationally.  It’s a real privilege and honor for us, so without any further ado… 10 Questions with Lee Morrison!

When was the moment you realized you wanted to teach Combatives?

Initially I didn’t want to teach – I considered myself first and foremost a student and still do. I use to train with lots of Combatives guys, the late Peter Robins and of course Dennis Martin, among others, and they obviously saw something in me and always asked me to teach or present a module at our frequent events. So initially I’d travel to Combatives seminars and present my take on it.

Then I realized there was nowhere around training, in the way I wanted to so I hired a hall with a few like-minded training partners and we’d pressure test everything. Word got out then more people started to come and before you know it I was actively teaching a group class. This is how I started out but the real reason I decided to make it a career is because I found the main thing, above all else, that I could really do well and enjoy.

Obviously you’ve had some great influences and had the opportunity to learn from some amazing guys. Which individual had the greatest impact on what you are doing now and why?
Everyone I’ve trained with gave me something. In Combatives my main influence was Kelly McCann, particularly his early stuff. It was the immediate ‘in your face’ explosiveness, backed up with serious attitude that really suited my personality in regards to violence or counter/violence. Even as a kid I’d hit first and motor as fast as I could move to get it over with as soon as possible. I like the precision with which he presents material – also he is always totally prepared.

To be honest if your are talking about who has had the most influence on me that led me to my conclusions regarding ‘dealing with violence effectively’ that really in main came from the people I worked with on the door and also from those I’ve dealt with on the door and in the street. You want to learn how to deal with a predatory profile then study a predatory profile. My life, for better and worse sometimes, allowed me to rub shoulders with many such individuals and trust me when I tell you, I paid attention!

What is your background as a bouncer? (when did you step away from it, and for what reasons)

At 21 years old I went on the doors for the first time. Several reasons really, first I needed to earn extra money for my family, but I also like many, had questions with regards to dealing with the whole violence thing, in spite of the experience I had gathered growing up, I still found the feelings relating to violence, horrible and at times hard to deal with. Adrenaline can hit you hard and I wanted to get a handle on that.

I knew that frequent exposure would help so I got the chance to work the doors and continued to do so for the next 14 years. I left in the end because I realized I had the conclusions I needed. I worked with some really great people of veteran experience and learned a lot from them. My goal or end game at that time was to make a living teaching full-time, so as soon as I made that possible via profile and consistently working the International circuit, I left.

What was the worst situation that you can remember when working the doors?

There were many that I considered myself truly tested. I’m not really a war story- kind of person; I only use live examples when it is relevant to the module I’m teaching. To be honest those that talk a lot about this kind of thing with a smile and a yarn give the impression of glorifying violence, to me I always found that distasteful. The truth is I have always hated violence, I just learned how do deal with my share effectively enough to share my conclusions with others that maybe need it.

As an instructor/coach/teacher, what (in your opinion) is the most important concept to understand when it comes to self-protection?

Avoidance where possible, along with the cultivation of awareness and early threat cue recognition. Also the importance of developing a confident body language profile.

There are lots videos in which you talk about the approach, the tools at your disposal and intent behind your attacks.  What is your method when dealing with a knife-wielding maniac?
That’s a silly question really, if you are unlucky enough to meet such a person the advice is clean cut, fucking run! If you are totally unable to escape and now you are facing anyone armed or unarmed that represents a significant threat to your existence, the most important thing before anything physical happens from your end, is where your head is in that moment.

You’ve got to cultivate the kind of mentality that absolutely refuses to be victimized. How you think or train your pre-fight perspective is EVERYTHING! In a physical sense once the total acceptance and willingness to engage with everything you have is present, shut down his head/main frame with as much impact as you can muster and keep fucking going until it’s over! Do so with an attitude that dictates your very life depends on it!

It is obvious to many that women are the most “in need” of this material- does your teaching approach or methods change when you address a different gender (and how)?

My teaching in the main will adapt when I’m specifically working with a women’s-only class. Even if there are women present in a group class or seminar I will often adapt certain specifics for them. Before offering solutions to any student regardless of age/gender it is important that you understand the problem. So if I am teaching Anti-grappling for example I would first talk about how we got here before any counter response – do you see?

So with any subject it is the same. If we are looking to teach women, we must understand that the main threat to women comes from men! Then understand how the threat is two-fold as most assaults on women take place from men known to them within a relationship/family circle. Of course street attacks from those unknown to women also occur, as do blind dates that suddenly turn bad. But the fact is such situations are less frequent than what was previously mentioned.

In terms of physical skills, women can innately rip, claw and tear effectively, thus creating possible tissue trauma injury which may indeed lead to the option of escape or a follow-up with something more significant. So I focus first on making them better at what comes naturally before giving them more impactive tools such as elbows and knees. Not all women can generate enough power to shake the brain into unconsciousness with a palm strike alone.

So I will adapt the tool for impact and tissue trauma. I will also focus more on primary targeting especially the eyes/throat and groin as opposed to the more generic targeting of hit the head hard to shake the brain in the more male-orientated classes. But eventually both methods will be employed.

America has and probably will always maintain a fascination and obsession with guns.  What is your stance on guns, their use, and/or gun laws?

Well I agree that it is people that kill people, take a gun or a knife and lock it in a safe for fifty years it won’t hurt anyone. It takes INTENTION to turn any said tool into a weapon. To be honest I love to shoot and do so when abroad at every opportunity. With that said sanctions on gun law are of course necessary but let’s be honest there are enough black market weapons around for those of bad intention to lay their hands on. In the UK everything construed as a potential weapon is outlawed but this simple fact does not apply to the criminal, who will of course carry regardless.

Personally I think all women in the UK should be allowed to carry OC spray for Self Defence but of course that will never happen and I think that if you are stringently checked and checks are maintained, and you have had proper training which is maintained for skill retention, then you should be allowed to keep a firearm under correct conditions of safety for home defence, but again that will never happen here.
What are some of the things you dislike about the self-protection industry today?

Internet forums full of “keyboard Commandoes” with absolutely no experience of dealing with violence, then slating others. Also wankers that bitch and whine about whose using whose material.  Bottom line is if you pay for the training, you drill it under testing conditions until you own them – how you use anything is your fucking business. No one owns anything – it’s all been done before by bigger and better people so deal with it!

When Lee Morrison isn’t teaching or traveling for work, what does he like to do for fun/recreation?
Spend time with my kids, family is very important.

Bonus Question:

If you could pit any two athletes together (in their prime – dead or alive), who would you like to see fight?

William Wallace and King Leonidas of 300

Published:  JAN. 20, 2014



Lee Morrison Urban Combatives Profile PicLee Morrison is the owner/founder of Urban Combatives, one of the top internet resources on Combatives.  Having trained under Dennis Martin, Kelly McCann, Geoff Thompson and Charlie Nelson (to name a few) – there is no doubt that Lee is the real-deal! For more info, click his pic on the left.

*Pic courtesy of Neal Martin’s website CombativeMind.Com

What’s Your Question For Lee Morrision

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 2, 2013 by Combative Corner

lee morrisonLee Morrison is one of the world’s best when it comes to teaching Combatives.  We’ve been in communication lately and after he finishes his workshops in Australia, he’ll answer our questions.

Please write your comment below

or write it in the comment section on our Facebook.

The Combative Crew

10 Questions With Al Peasland

Posted in 10 Questions, Martial Arts, Self-Defense with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 28, 2011 by Combative Corner

The Combative Corner is pleased to present self-protection instructor-extraordinaire, Mr. Al Peasland.   Al runs Complete Self-Protection in Milton Keynes and in the words of his mentor, the legendary Geoff Thompson, he’s “the most experienced instructor in Real Combat System and is one of the leading exponents and teachers of ‘The Fence’ in the world today.”  After recording a wonderful, hour-plus video interview & later found that the audio had glitches, Al was kind enough to put this interview (for the 2nd time) into words.  We thank you and our readers thank you!  Now, get to know the Man of the Hour… Mr. Al Peasland.

How did you get your start in teaching self-protection?

Well, I’ve been teaching martial arts in general for many years. Even when I was starting out and probably only 4 or 5 years into my Karate training under Geoff Thompson, I was helping to teach the weekly classes, especially when Geoff was away teaching seminars.  It was a great experience for me to jump into a teaching role at a young age.  More recently, Mick Tully and I decided to start up some weekly classes in Coventry and later in Milton Keynes. I had already written my Fence Concepts book and filmed the DVD with the help of Mick, and launched Complete Self Protection as the overseeing company, so it made sense for us to get a regular base from which to share our joint knowledge.
The self protection element of what we teach is actually only a small part. I am a big believer in studying the full art and then extracting the “self protection” aspects from that, rather than just learning those aspects in isolation.
After all, if all you do is study realistic and functional techniques for a street confrontation, you will have a very small syllabus, and will very quickly have to start guilding the lilly and ultimately, you’ll end up studying the “art” again, just branded as something “reality based.”  Having said all that. For me, the reason behind the CSP name was the first word of COMPLETE. Self Protection is not just about a fight on the street and should encompass all aspects of personal security, well being, confidence, emotional protection, the list goes on.  When we start to embrace this aspect, then ALL of our martial arts training can start to have a positive impact on our personal security, regardless of it’s “street effectiveness”.
In what way did your work with Geoff Thompson direct/inspire what you are doing today?
Geoff is my brother-in-law, my mentor, and probably one of my biggest influences.  Lets not forget that I met Geoff when I was 12 years old and just starting to go through some of my most formative years into adulthood.
At this time I was training 5 times per week with Geoff in the Karate classes and then, later, on a daily basis with Geoff as his private Uke.  I have been close by, whilst Geoff went through his biggest journeys of leaving the Doors, touring the country and the world teaching seminars, bringing Reality into self defence training and making it very topical and forging a way for all the other reality based instructors to follow.  Seeing Geoff chase his own dreams, getting his first book published, taking massively brave steps and facing his own fears and demons, all gave me the building blocks to do the same things.  It’s not about following the same path though, just using the same strategies and approaches.
What Geoff taught to me and the rest of our group, and packaged it as Real Combat, what works outside, I then tested for myself on the doors of Coventry.  Yes, I did follow Geoff’s footsteps on this one and Geoff actually gave me the platform, the necessary introductions and the right encouragement to do this.  I would have happily taken his word for it that what he taught me worked for real, but it was more about the fear and the test for me, not proving out techniques.
Geoff has definitely shaped me in terms of some of the material I teach, but I also have other big influences in my life now from the martial arts world.  Number one is Terry Barnett. My instructor in Integrated Arts, and someone who I have been privileged to train with in his private group for several years.  Mick made the introductions and it was simply the best gift he could have given me.  Terry has changed my game again, and certainly changed the way I teach and deliver my material, and also the way I now approach my training.  Rick Faye is another very large influence now and Mick’s own JKD instructor.  John Will – recently been very supportive.

Personally, what has been your biggest obstacles as an instructor?
A few things.  One is finding the time to train as much as I know I need to in order to be a good instructor.  For me, I believe, the more classes you teach, the more you need to train and continue to grow. As an instructor, you should lead by example and always remain a student as well.  I’ve also had to make sure that I set out my stall and have faith that, sometimes what I teach may not appeal to everyone, but that’s not a reason to change or offer something more palatable to the masses.  I think the other big obstacle is being able to market what I teach.  I have really struggled with being the humble martial artist whilst at the same time, being the businessman to market CSP and publicise how great we are.  I may have also been pigeonholed as the “Reality Based” instructor who teaches only the stuff that works outside and this is most definitely not the case, as I mentioned earlier.  Those who know me, know that I am always self deprecating and quite ready to tell everyone that i don’t believe I am anything special in martial arts.  So being prepared to look bad in front of my class is never a big obstacle, however, this is a great time to share something with you that I remember Rick Faye saying to the class, the first time I trained with him.
He said, as a martial arts instructor, it’s your job to teach everything you know of the arts, and not just the stuff you look good doing.  Because, just because you are not good at something, doesn’t mean your students can’t be. In addition, if you only teach a small percentage of the arts, and your students can only make a percentage of that work – gradually, the arts spirals smaller and smaller, when it should grow and grow.

What do you enjoy most about what you do?
Obviously, being able to train and enjoy something I am passionate about, but then, Martial Arts is part of my life and not just something I Do, so that kind of goes without saying.  I enjoy the family feel we have in our classes and the wonderful people this crazy hobby has allowed me to meet and become friends with.  I’ve met and continue to meet, some of the most interesting, wildly diverse, unique, inspirational and beautiful people through my pursuit of martial arts.
I don’t know many other past-times where you would get such a diverse collection of people, all of whom become leveled when they put on their gi, or step onto the mat. It’s a privilege to be a small part of this and then, to top it all off, to have a small amount to contribute and offer to these people, is an honour.  I also enjoy the process of learning, the testing and the stretching my abilities and skill-set. I enjoy being the student and learning. I really love the thought that there will always be something new to learn, something new to study and something new to grow a deeper understanding of. And this is just stuff within me, we haven’t even started talking about the stuff I can learn physically.
In self-protection, how do you go about training the ladies? (anything you do differently)
Not especially, no.  I am a firm believer that women should be taught the same as men in all classes, with the exception of taking weight and strength differences into account in certain aspects of the session.  Ultimately, if we’re teaching a session on “self defence” then it makes sense that the women in the class are able to handle and familiar with working with larger, stronger, men.  However, I think it’s also important to be sensitive to the needs of all students, not just the females in the group, and by that I mean, taking into account any emotions that may be a factor.  For example, having a woman in the group who’s possibly been attacked or beaten in the past, it would be insensitive to immediately ask that woman to drill some groundfighting with other men in the group.  In terms of technique though, no – there should be no difference.  How a woman should punch, slap, or strike to generate power is no difference to how a man should do it – so they both get taught the same.
What (in your opinion) is something that is greatly overlooked in our profession?
Hmmm, this is a tricky one because, the nature of this subject means there is probably a lot of stuff that I have overlooked and will not be aware of – we’re all human after all.  Some things I do see that concerns me are the lack of etiquette in some Reality Based groups.  I was brought up and weaned on traditional martial arts and dojo etiquette was a major part of that.  I believe it’s this discipline, which leads to self discipline that can shape the martial artist. There seems to be some of this lacking in the classes which teach only MMA or Reality Based styles as they have dropped alot of the formalities and etiquette in order to spend more time training.
For example, I no longer wear a gi in any of my CSP classes, although I still do for my Judo training of course. But, I do still expect everyone to bow when they walk onto the mat. I hate to see people abusing equipment and throwing their gloves or pads around when they have finished their rounds. – just a pet hate of mine!
I also think that instructor fitness is overlooked a great deal. The idea of a “master” being out of shape and out of condition, does concern me.  Unless there is a very good reason, I don’t believe any instructor should use the fact that “fights only usually last for a few seconds” as a reason not to be in shape!  I only have to look around me at the likes of Dan Inosanto, Peter Consterdine, Terry Barnett, John Will, to name but a few, world class instructors who are all still impressively fit, active and probably still training alot harder than their students do, to know that, there is no excuse to be out of shape!
In a reality based type training, I also think the “reality” bit is sometimes overlooked. By this I mean, we attend classes where techniques to disarm knife or firearm wielding assailants are taught, without much thought to the actual reality that the student is living in.  As Mick so eloquently puts it. If you work in Macdonalds, you don’t have to train as if you’re going to be working on “Black-Ops” every day.  We need to put some perspective back into what reality actually is and then shape our training to better prepare ourselves for that, rather than just teach the stuff which looks great.
Many people neglect the art of Verbal Communication with their attacker? How do you feel about this skillset?
Yes, you are right. This is massively overlooked.  Even when I see The Fence being taught, it is something that seems to be thrown in as an after-thought.  Verbal communication doesn’t just mean, chatting to them to try to diffuse the situation. It can be using your voice in various manners to illicit prescribed responses from your attacker.  From being calm and confident, or assertive and instructive, or aggressive and threatening. Your voice is probably your most powerful weapon when it comes to self defence.  When we teach the Fence, we include the distracting dialogue to ask the attacker a question, engage the brain and then, if we have no other option, launch our pre-emptive strike.  The key is, there needs to be a slight pause between asking the question and throwing the strike – to give the attacker time to register and begin processing the question.  Unless we drill this question-pause-strike, combination in this sequence, and with the same timing we intend to use in the real situation, it is sadly quite likely to fail.  With the addition of fear, adrenalin, and the high stress of such a situation, the chance of being able to calmly and rationally deliver the question, then pause, then strike, is going to be highly unlikely, unless it has been drilled and drilled many many times in the comfort and safety of the gym.  This applies to any technique. We simply cannot expect it to work in the heat of battle if we haven’t trained it to death in the gym. Verbal techniques are no different.
What your thoughts about fitness, playing different sports, and it’s ability (if any?) in helping you become a better martial artist?

As I eluded to earlier, the more you teach, the more important I think fitness becomes.  Sure, I don’t plan on getting into the cage any time soon, so I don’t exactly have to be fight-fit. But, training should be about longevity, heath, and enabling you to enjoy a safer and more fulfilling life. Health, fitness and well-being are a major part of that.  So my martial arts should include fitness, flexibility and all those good things.  If nothing else, the fitter I am, the longer I can train, which means the more I can drill techniques before I tire. This in turn means I can progress more quickly.  Cross training, for me, should include everything and not just adding something like Judo to your martial arts repertoire.  I often hear of instructors not wishing their students to train elsewhere, or study other arts. Mostly, I assume, through their own insecurities. But would those instructors worry if their student said they were also training in tennis or golf?  Both of which can offer great benefits to their overall martial arts game.  All sports offer something of benefit to your martial arts. Whether it be greater flexibility, fitness, balance, posture. Or improved body awareness for body mechanics and structure. It could even be a better internal understanding, the ability to concentrate and study deeper.
The key, for me, is doing something that you enjoy. Because, to be good at anything you need to practice it alot, and so, it makes sense to spend all that time doing something you actually enjoy.
Are there any special training exercise(s) that you think is an “absolute MUST” in self-protection training?
Relaxation drills.  For me, being able to hit hard is the fundamental requirement of physical personal security.  Power comes from relaxation and being able to hit accurately, quickly/explosively and this all comes from relaxation.  I am a puncher, it’s something I’ve done for years and so, it’s natural for me to punch rather than slap or palm heel or hammerfist, for example.
One drill I like to do, for anyone wishing to improve their punching power, is to have the students alternately slap, then punch, then slap, then punch.  The reason for this is to blend the relaxation that comes with a slapping technique, with the extra penetration and hardness of a punch.  As Dave Hazzard says, “a punch should be like a lump of concrete on the end of a piece of string, not a marsh mellow on the end of a stick.”  Only the hand should be clenched, the rest of the arm should be relaxed to allow the technique, the mechanics and the power to flow rather than tension which only restricts and holds power back.  However, more important that all of the physical training – the one thing I ask any students of self defence seminars to do is to practice Awareness  All too often, self defence instructors, when asked, will say the most important thing is Awareness. Then immediately go on to start teaching student’s punches, strikes and how to throw people over their shoulders.
So I like to spend more time and actually TEACH Awareness drills.
In one of our Roundtable Discussions, we asked our panel “What’s your New Year’s Resolution(s)? Do you make them, and if so, what are you goals for 2011?
This years resolution was not to make any new years resolutions. I guess I’ve broken so many in the past that I’ve given up now.  However, goals for 2011 are already coming to fruition.  We intended to move venues in Milton Keynes in order to expand our classes, and this is now happening.  We’ve been busy running lots of seminars and now my second half of the year I am actively slowing this side of the business down as I know it has taken time away from my wife Lou and my friends and family, who are all far more important to me than a business.  I do have more plans for more products in the second half of the year, new websites, more seminars and lots more exciting stuff to come.
I also intend to study Judo more and hopefully grade and possibly enter a few competitions, but nothing too heavy.



I could name alot of boxers who have all inspired me, but Muhammad Ali has to be the top of the list – I think that one speaks for itself – Sir Henry Cooper who sadly passed away – for his sportsmanship and attitude
I have always been a fan of those athletes who perform extreme challenges, and the most obvious one for me is Sir Ranulph Fienes. I’d love to meet him, and I think his exploits, his courage and his incredible life journey is one to be inspired by.
More recently, I have been enjoying following James Cracknell’s challenges. He’s a living demonstration of just what we can all achieve if we really set our minds to it. Some of the pressures he’s able to put himself under, when most of us would have given in long before, are simply amazing and we can all draw confidence and motivation from his achievements.
I tend not to be in awe of film stars as I think they are just people doing a job they love, and probably get far more press than other professionals at the top of their respective games.
However, I really like Sean Connery, both for the fact that he has come from humble beginnings and made his way to the absolute top, and also for the fact that he can play pretty much any character from any country and still get away with having his Scottish accent.
Lou suggested I should put down Tom Cruise as he is quite versatile and still steps up to the plate to do alot of his own stunts.  I know he is also very generous with his time when he’s doing the red carpet events, talking to fans, etc.  I also like Mila Kunis, a great actress, oh yeah….. she’s also hot.



The London Story – Tim Larkin Interview

Posted in Crime, Day's Lesson, Safety, Self-Defense, Teaching Topic, Violence with tags , , , , , , on March 21, 2011 by Combative Corner

The following story is transcribed verbatim from our 10 Question Interview posted on March 17th, 2011.  The entire interview is available on our Youtube Channel (here).

Tim Larkin is the man behind Target Focus Training in Las Vegas, NV. (website)

The London Story

I was training in London in , I think it was 2004 or 2005, and this young lawyer –  one of those Horatio Alger stories – 1st one to make it past high school in his family – lives in a nicer part of London, gets off the subway and decides to walk through the park, which, yes, it’s at night but it’s a pretty safe park – no big deal.  He gets followed by two guys.

As they approach him they put knives to his throat, demands his watch and wallet.  This guy engages them, gives them his watch and wallet, the jewerly, gives them the briefcase, gives them everything… and they take off.  They leave.

And everyone loves that part of the story, because it worked.  He did everything that they tell you to do in all self defense classes, and in law enforcement.  (They say) “Don’t resist; give them everything.  Engage them socially.”  And it worked.

The second time, when they came back, their heads were down, their knives were drawn.  He said, “Hey, hey! What are you doing?”  And they stabbed him 47 times.  He was heard screaming, “I gave you everything, I gave you everything!”

My goal in Target Focus Training is that you know the difference between the two.  In the first engagement there was a chance you could use your social skills and there is a chance you can talk your way out of it and comply.  The second time they weren’t engaging you socially.  When the heads were down and the knives were drawn there is only one thing that’s going to work in a situation like that… the tool of violence.  That’s the only way the kid had a chance at surviving at that point.

What probably happened as the guys were walking away is – one guy says to the other, “umm… you know what? He saw our faces.  It’s probably not a good idea, we better go back and kill him.”  They literally put no more thought in it than that.  I can’t control what the other guy is about, I can only control what I’m about!  If I’m worried about what he’s doing to me, I’m going to be behind the power curve.  I have to sit there and make sure I have the best opportunity to affect an injury on that individual.  And I need to be focused on those opportunities.  The way I can do this is by understanding the difference.





10 Questions with Tim Larkin [Video]

Posted in 10 Questions, Self-Defense, Videos with tags , , , , , , , , on March 17, 2011 by Combative Corner



[Remembering our ‘Discussion’ post (here) about Gunmen]

Larkin says… “I look at it from a different standpoint.  We use our vision in two ways: focus vision & peripheral vision.  I look at it from a reaction standpoint.  If something’s happening now.. we’ll look mid-level on somebody.  The reason we are doing that is because… like right now I’m look at you.  You and I are engaged; my peripheral is disengaged and a lot of “social” happens in the fascial features and we get caught up in that.  I show my students this all the time, and they don’t think that’s the case.  I’ll watch them as they train and I notice a lot of time they’re “checking in” with each other before they go to their target area and put a strike in.

What I’ll do is I’ll give them all balaclavas and it takes away the face, so you just have the eyes going.  It’s amazing the change in people.  All of a sudden they’re not head-hunting anymore, they’re not social anymore, and it all just becomes available to them.  They’re seeing the targets and their reaction time increases immediately.

So, I guess my answer to you is – I want my peripheral so I can pick up movement as fast as possible.  So the last thing that I want is to engage the guy… but I don’t want to get into the psychological aspect of it… I don’t want to sit there and worry “oh jeez am I challenging him, am I doing this or any of that shit,” I just want my best ability to react to what we’re going on, so I can affect my injury at that point… if that’s what I think is going down.*

The above question was transcribed verbatim from our interview.


[ 00.10 ]  Who are you and what is it that you do?

[ 00:38 ] How is what you different from what you see others teaching?

[ 03:24 ]  What is the biggest obstacle for you in regards to instructing?

(additional question)[ 07:42 ] Regarding media video “Use of Force”

(additional question)[ 11:25 ] Regarding T.M.Artists & Self-Defense

[ 20:52 ]  How do you deal with all the negative criticisms directed at you and TFT?

[ 27:15 ]  Is there a difference between teaching men vs. women?  If so, what should be emphasized for each?

[ 29:54 ]  What are your thoughts on weapon training?  Should everyone that studies martial arts & self-protection (in your opinion) also study weapons?  If so, which ones and for what purpose?

[ 31:28 ]  What is essential in the early stages of learning self-protection?  Is it different if your teaching law enforcement or military?

[ 37:49 ]  How important is physical fitness in self-protection?

[ 40:08 ]  How does Tim Larkin like to spend his free time?

[44:21  ]  Do you make New Year’s goals?  If so, what are your goals for 2011?

Happy St. Patrick’s Day Everyone!

* Tim Larkin’s Website: TFT *  Related Article – Discussion #9 – “Gunmen”

10 Questions with T.J. Kennedy

Posted in 10 Questions with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on November 2, 2010 by Combative Corner

The Combative Corner is proud to introduce to you (if you didn’t already know), Mr. T.J. Kennedy…a martial artist with an array of talents, such as: Krav Maga, Irish Stick Fighting and Muay Thai.   T.J. Kennedy is the chief instructor and founder of the Hybrid Fighting Method™ (HFM).  Apart from teaching this unique system, he also serves the public as a self-defense instructor through SAFE International™, an organization that teaches youngsters (from high school up), private groups, and corporations, valuable lessons in personal self-protection.  T.J. lives and teaches in Ontario, Canada.  For more info on T.J., visit his website [here], his blog [here] and/or his YouTube channel [here].  Those who want to be updated by email on his newest articles/posts, workshop dates, etc., should also sign up for his newsletter (located on his blog).

Now… let the interview begin!


(1)   What’s your martial art background?

I started with Tae Kwon Do in high school.  For the entire duration of my childhood, I so badly wanted to take martial arts, that after years of pestering my parents, they finally signed me up at a local school.  I spent just over 2 years there.

After that, I learned Krav Maga, the self-defense system used by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF).  I have also trained in Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Boxing, Karate, Bujinkan Ninjutsu, some Jeet Kune Do, and various pressure point systems.

If I were to boil it down even further, I would say that a majority of my background is Krav Maga, with significant Muay Thai elements – peppered with the rest.

(2)   Did you know always know that you wanted to teach self-defense professionally? If not, what was your direction/job and what got you onto the path you’re on now?

Well, for years I was a devout Pentecostal Christian (I am now an atheist…and much happier), and I went away to college to study for my Bachelor of Arts in Theology.  I spent 3 years in this 4 year program, with an intercultural focus, and travelling to and from Southeast China and Hong Kong teaching English to all ages.  My goal was to travel/move to China and become a Christian missionary.

In my third year, I got engaged to be married, and decided to take a year off of school to work and save money for the costs associated with my engagement.  My fiancée was a Chinese national, and we had plans of getting her a Canadian citizenship.  So our process was to first bring her to Canada and get married, work and live here in Canada until we were able to secure her a Canadian citizenship (in this time I would finish my final year of school), and then move back to China and work as missionaries to the Chinese people.

It was soon after my return from China to Canada in 2002, alone, that I gave my head a shake.  I realized that at only 21 years of age, I was nowhere near ready for marriage.

To make a long story short, I broke off the engagement, and got a job as a security guard to pay the bills.  During this time, I was looking to start training again in some kind of martial art (I had just over 2 years of Tae Kwon Do in high school).

I had discovered a martial arts school local to me that taught Krav Maga.  I booked a trial class, and on a fateful Saturday morning, on a mere 3 hours of sleep, I laced up my shoes and stepped onto the mats with 3 other guys and our instructor for the day.

I felt like a fish out of water.  I accidentally poked one of these guys in the eye…twice I think.  I also quit halfway through, running to the bathroom to puke from the amount of knee strikes I was absorbing through the kicking shield.  I was about to dip out the door when the instructor encouraged me to get back on the mats and finish the last 20-25 minutes of class.

I did, and ultimately decided that if that 60 minute class could do to me what it did, but all these other guys could handle it – then it was something I needed to invest my time and money in.  I signed up immediately.

Fast forward 6 months of training 3-5 days a week, and I knew I was in love with self-defense.  I knew in my mind that this is what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.  I told my instructor this, and a year later I was in my first instructor certification course in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The more knowledge I attained and the more I trained, the deeper in love I fell with self-defense and martial arts as a lifestyle.

I took a part-time job as a bouncer in January of 2004 to help pay my bills, as I was at the time not working as a security guard, but as a self-defense instructor.

I got “the itch”, wanting to try my hand at combat sports, so I started training in Muay Thai, Boxing, and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.  In 2007 I had 2 Muay Thai fights.  The first one I got knocked out cold at about 1m30s into the first round.  My second fight, 3 months later, I won by split decision after a hard fought 3 rounds.

At this point in time, I was passionate about fighting, and passionate about self-defense.  I sat down one day and challenged myself to be excellent at whatever I set my hands to.  I realized that for me, I could be fantastic at fighting, or fantastic at self-defense (and the teaching of it) – but I would have to dedicate 100% of myself to one or the other if I was to be the best I could be at it.

So, on that day, in that very moment, I chose to pursue my dream of teaching self-defense with unwavering focus – and I haven’t looked back since.

(3)   What is the biggest obstacle for you as a self-defense instructor?

For me, the single biggest obstacle as an instructor of self-defense is getting people to be proactive about their own safety and the safety of those close to them.  Some puny percentage of the general population takes any kind of self-defense training, but the need for this kind of training is undeniable.

I think people never really think about what would happen if they were attacked violently.  It’s always something they hear on the news, but not something they think about happening to them.

However, the frequency of violence doesn’t really matter, because all it takes is once.  To be sexually assaulted once, shot once, mugged once, stabbed once, kidnapped once – is enough to scar someone for life (both emotionally and physically).

(4)   Is there a style of martial art that you haven’t gotten an opportunity to study yet, but would like to (and why that style)?

There are many arts or systems that I am aware of that I have not formally studied yet that I would love to.  Capoeira, just for the fitness aspect of it.  Kino Mutai, the Filipino art of biting, gouging, and pinching.  Sayoc Kali for its vicious use of knives.  Tom Patire’s Last Resort Tactics (LRT) and Hom Do (his lethal force system).

As the creator of the Hybrid Fighting Method (HFM), I always have my eyes and ears open for new ideas, and old ideas that I haven’t heard yet.  If there is something of value in them, I like to take what is of value and incorporate it into my system.  For this reason, I will always be a student of many arts and systems.

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said that “In my walks, every man I meet is my superior in some way, and in that I learn from him.” I think our learning as people and as self-defense instructors should never stop.  The very moment we think we’ve “arrived”…we haven’t.

(5)   I know from your bio that you do Irish Stick Fighting. Probably one of the lesser known arts from your list. Can you explain to us what it is and why it appeals to you?

Rince an Bhata Uisce Beatha (pronounced: rinkan batta ishka vahaa, which translates to: Dance of the Whiskey Stick) is a Doyle (Dubhghaill) family style of traditional Irish stick fighting which was common place in the faction fights of the 18th & 19th centuries. While most Irish styles used the one-handed methods (much like fencing), the Doyle style evolved from a one-handed style to the much more effective two-handed style when a family member fused the principles of pugilism into the motions of the stick. Passed on from generation to generation, this two-handed style was only taught to individuals with the surname Doyle.

A much sought after style, Rince an Bhata Uisce Beatha was thought to have derived its name from the fact that the style’s creator rented his stick fighting services out to guard illegal distilleries from rival whiskey makers.  ‘The Whiskey Stick’ soon found its way to Canada via a Doyle who left Ireland to start a new life in Newfoundland in the early 1800s. From there, the style found itself passed on from father to son for generations and finally to the current keeper of the flame, Sifu Glen Doyle.  Breaking with tradition of only teaching Doyles, Glen has spread the popularity and tradition of Rince an Bhata Uisce Beatha to anyone with the intensity and desire to learn it.

I first heard of Glen and of Irish stick fighting in Inside Kung Fu magazine years ago (it was before 2000 for sure).

Last year, I had an opportunity to meet Glen, and so I jumped at it.  We met for coffee and talked for an hour or so, and then he took me to check out his training studio.  We hit it off, and Glen struck me as one of those rare human beings that has a heart of gold.

We exchanged numbers and emails, and shortly thereafter I received an invitation via email to a training and certification course run by Glen on April 10th-11th, 2010.  Not really knowing what to expect, but deciding to check it out, I went and learned the fundamentals of his system of stick fighting.  I was immediately blown away by the system’s simplicity and efficacy.  I was surprised that without changing a single thing about this system of stick fighting, it could be used for real and practical self-defense.

It is a very simple system to learn, and it is brutally effective.  It is the only stick fighting system that I am aware of that WANTS to be close quarters (there may be others – but I am not aware of them).  The more I learn of it, the more I fall in love with it.  I have decided to offer instruction in it alongside the Hybrid Fighting Method as I believe it is invaluable.

I am currently a Level 1 Instructor in this system, which has 8 levels to it.

(6)   We spoke a little over Skype regarding the message that we are trying to spread to the public about self-defense. In your opinion why do you think people should take self-defense?

For the same reason they should put on a seatbelt every time they get in a car.  For the same reason that they should wear a life jacket when they are on a boat.

They may never get in a car crash; they may never fall off of a boat; they may never get attacked by somebody.  But if they do, they will be thankful they had taken the precautions to save their life.

Literally every person that is drawing breath can, and will, benefit from self-defense training if they take it.

(7)   Who are some of the people that you look up to in our industry (and this includes the traditional martial arts as well) and why?

Well, there are plenty of people that have influenced me one way or another over the years, but the ones that immediately stand out are:

Richard Dimitri – I love guys like Rich.  Very cerebral, and constantly analyzes what he teaches and his own motivations for teaching it.  I think human beings are still evolving, and Rich is one of those guys at the crest.

Richard Grannon – As a bouncer, I was one day watching YouTube videos on bouncers, and came across a video of Richie Grannon.  Listening to him talk about how he was hurt badly as a doorman, how he dealt with fear, and how he now worked as a “self-protection instructor” – I was immediately drawn to this guy.  The story he tells is very similar to mine – and so I felt a strong connection to him.  After watching his videos, I really bought into the concepts he teaches.  I don’t think anyone can go wrong listening to Richie Grannon.

Tony Blauer – Tony, in my mind, is probably THE guy when it comes to self-defense; the same way that U2 is THE band when it comes to popular music.  He’s not a god or a grandmaster or a mystical ninja – and he makes that abundantly clear in his videos and courses.  I really respect that.  Demonstrating the ability to be human and make mistakes in public view is ballsy…and admirable.

Shawn Zirger – This guy is a Senior Instructor under Paul Vunak for Progressive Fighting Systems.  He is the founder of the Zirger Academy of Jeet Kune Do (

I don’t think there is any single human being that I have had the pleasure of spending time with that has a comparable depth and breadth of combative knowledge to rival what Shawn has.  And the really cool thing about him is that he shares that knowledge freely, completely, and passionately to any desiring to learn it.  He doesn’t know it, but his influence on me has led to significant changes in the Hybrid Fighting Method.

Tim Larkin – I really dig Tim for two reasons.  One – for doing his thing regardless of support or opposition because he believes it is right.  Two – for taking the time to field my questions and offering his experience to help me grow as a person and as an instructor.

Gord Wood – Gord…he has been a tremendous friend since I met him in 2003.  He really showed me how to teach martial arts, and out of everyone, is probably the largest influence on me from our industry.  He and his wife, Ashley, run a school out here in Ancaster, Ontario, Canada called Evolution Martial Arts (  If anyone comes out this way, you owe it to yourself to train with Gord.  He’s an outstanding instructor, an amazing friend, and a wonderful human being.

(8)   What has your experience as a (former) bouncer taught you?

Being a bouncer has been a great experience (mostly) for me.  I have learned how to read body language very quickly, how to talk to people to diffuse a potentially dangerous situation, and I have also developed a keen sense of awareness of my surroundings of any place I walk into based on my experience as a bouncer.

On a physical level, I have learned through experience (some good; some not so good) what combative techniques/tactics/strategies are effective or ineffective.  I have been fortunate as a bouncer, having never been seriously hurt, save one time.  I have been shot at, knives pulled on me, hit in every way imaginable by fists and feet; but the one time I got hurt badly will stick in my mind forever.

I was a bouncer in a downtown Toronto nightclub.  On May 3rd/2009, there was the largest fight I have ever seen in my 7 years of bouncing.  The call came over the radio that something was going down, and so all of us security ran to the part of the club where the fight was happening.  I’ve never seen anything like it – a brawl/riot among 2 or 3 VIP tables.  So, all the ingredients were: 30ish people, 12 bottles of vodka, 12 glass pitchers of juice/pop/etc., about 50 drink glasses, about 50 shot glasses, unknown amount of beer bottles, and 3 large flower vases on the windowsills.

When I got there, there were already 3 or 4 security inside the pyramid of bodies trying to break up the situation.  Glassware and bottles were flying everywhere…it was chaotic.  I stopped on the outskirts of the fight and covered my head due to all the airborne glassware.  A guy in front of me was standing on the couch and he threw a vodka bottle at another table, so I grabbed him and threw him to the floor.

As I did this, one of his friends came from behind me and smashed a vodka bottle over the back of my head (brand was Belvedere – at least it was the good stuff…lol).  I saw a flash in my eyes, my ear was ringing really loud, and my legs both instantly gave out.  I dropped like a sack of potatoes.  After I fell, I tried to get up, but my legs just wouldn’t move.  I sat there for a minute covering my head trying to gain composure.  As I tried to move again, the guy smashed another bottle off the front of my head.  I pulled myself away using my arms, as my legs were still jelly.  As I turned around, that same guy stomped right in my face.  I managed to stand up after this, but I could barely keep my balance.

I had no strength in my limbs, so as much as I wanted to clobber the guy, I made the decision to get the hell outta dodge.  When I saw myself in the bathroom mirror, the entire right side of my head, face, ear, neck, chin, chest, and stomach – were completely painted with my blood.  My jacket and t-shirt were also soaked in my blood.  I grabbed some towels, wet them in the sink, and applied pressure to my head wounds.  I made my way to the staff area at the back of the club, along with 3 other bouncers that got hurt, and we waited for the police and ambulance to arrive.

We all took the same ambulance to the hospital and by 7 a.m. I was out of the emergency room, with 4 staples in my head for one of the cuts, and a nice little gash on my forehead where the 2nd bottle hit.  The rest of my scalp has some small cuts and scrapes and one more gash from the broken glass from the bottles.  As a guy with a shaved head, I am still to this day discovering scars from that night…lol.

I thought I was on the outskirts of the fight, but clearly I wasn’t – as the guy that clubbed me came from behind me.  Sometimes my ego hurts because I didn’t stay and fight, but when I look at it, and the fact that my body wouldn’t respond to what I wanted it to do (it took all my effort just to stand up and to stay standing), I realize that I made the right decision to bail and save my skin.

After the fact, I was told by my coworkers who were working that night that I had knocked out 2 guys before I got to the one who threw the bottle – which would make sense as to why I was targeted.  But I don’t remember everything from that night.  Having had a concussion before being knocked out in my first Muay Thai fight, I know that there are blocks of memory that are lost.

I am thankful, and lucky to be alive to tell the story.

(9)   I know that through SAFE International, you get a chance to talk with young kids all over the country and abroad. Is there an underlining message that you make sure that they understand regarding their safety?

I am always sure to communicate to them that although they can’t control who attacks them, or where they are when they get attacked, or how they’re attacked – the one thing they CAN control is how they respond.  I tell them that if they forget everything I ever teach them, to at least remember this one thing: Ask yourself what you have available to cause injury to the attacker, and what targets on the attacker are available to injure.  Then do everything in your power to cause that damage.  What weapons are available to you (hands, knees, elbow, bites, etc.)?  And what is available to injure (eyes, throat, groin, etc.)?

(10)  What is your method of training to prepare yourself for a violent attack (mentally, physically or both)?

I first start by training a specific technique slowly and in a very controlled manner.  I go through several incidental options that are a by-product of attempting the specific technique.  I do this with all techniques I am learning.  Then I pick up the intensity and get it to the point where I can perform it at full speed and full power.

After this, I allow my training partner(s) to attack me in any way he chooses, starting slowly again until I am proficient, and then I amp up the intensity.

After I am able to confidently defend myself in this context, I add variables of role play, scenario training, etc., to really ingrain the training into my psyche and muscle memory.  That way, when an attack happens, I don’t have to think about what to do (because with all the physical and chemical stimuli I can’t anyway).  I just react according to the principles and techniques I have developed.

Bonus Questions: What are the future plans for Mr. Kennedy?

On November 27th I have an Irish stick fighting championship match that will prove very challenging.  My opponent is a good friend of mine, Colin Simpson, who has been training for years longer than I have in this system.  I am glad that we can be friends now, beat the hell out of each other for 5 rounds, and still be great friends after the fact.

Sometime in early 2011 I plan on having Hybrid Fighting Method instructional DVDs and downloads available to purchase.  The quality is phenomenal!  I’m not just saying that because their my DVDs, but because I was fortunate enough to secure an amazing filmmaker, Mark Hemstock of Hemstock Films ( to film and edit them.

Beyond that, I look forward to preparing and running instructor certification modules in HFM, hopefully by this coming summer.

But before I do any of that…I need to catch up on some sleep!

Thanks for conducting this interview with me Michael; I really do appreciate you taking an interest in what I do.  It is an honour when someone asks me to share my knowledge and experience with them, and I don’t take that lightly.






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