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 Hard skills program Manchester 2004

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Registration date : 2007-06-27

PostSubject: Hard skills program Manchester 2004   Fri 13 Jul 2007, 22:58

Manchester 2004
by Greg Hall

Chief Coach of G-TEK MARTIAL ARTS Greg Hall hosted a “HARD SKILLS PROGRAMME” seminar this Sunday 21st March 10-30am till 4. With Combatives expert Dennis Martin with assistance from Simon Squires.

Before I write a review of the seminar I would like to first of all give some background as to how the seminar came around.

When I was in the infancy of my martial art journey my favourite magazine was “Fighting Arts Illustrated” with Terry O’Neil and my favourite column was “ON GUARD with Dennis Martin”

I really liked the reality of it and although I was doing sport martial arts I knew there was a difference in what he was saying to what I was practising.

These differences later on came to light when I started working on the doors of Manchester town centre.

When that illustrious magazine ceased to be in circulation Dennis had a regular column in Combat namely “REALITY CHECK”.

Sometimes the only reason why I bought these magazines was because of these columns and in the combat magazine at the end of each article it always said words to the effect of “if you want to train or want to go on the mailing list for seminars then send an e-mail.

So I did and arranged to go on the International Seminar last August and I loved it.

Then I went on the Stress Inoculation Seminar and got on the instructor programme and on the knife course we talked about doing a seminar.

Through E-mails and talking at the seminars we finally arranged a Hard Skills programme for March 21st at Steve Powell’s gym in Manchester.

Ok enough of the history behind it now to the actual seminar.

I arrived at the gym at about 9-50 and Dennis and a couple of others were already there.

Dennis was starting the seminar with a power point presentation, so Si made a projector stand out of the big pads.

To start the presentation Den did a little introduction of who hosted the seminar, who he was and who his assistant was.

Then the presentation proper got under way with firstly the different courses that are to be undertaken to become an instructor or just well rounded and they are:-


The C.Q.B essential pyramid consisting of at the bottom of the pyramid MINDSET, then TACTICS, then SKILLS and top of the pyramid KIT, with a brief explanation of each was next.

On each seminar I have been on this essential pyramid which is Lofty Wiseman’s brainchild is always shown, so that stresses the importance of it.

We then moved onto “Confrontation Options”

Next was a talk on different names of systems and how they are just names don’t get too caught up on the name.

In Combatives there is no defence just attack or counter attack and one of the major differences of Combatives over Martial artsaccording to Kelly McCann, is “Martial Arts is something you do with someone and Combatives is something you do to someone”

If you require a Combatives system rather than a Martial Arts system then it must cover all eventualities.


Unarmed Combat

Impact Weapons

Edged Weapons



All these topics were covered in extensive detail with the pros and cons for each being detailed. Case studies were read out which brought to light some of the confrontation options actually being used.

Before we move on to the next topic discussed I would just like to comment here that after many years of training and being guilty of becoming a technique junky I have come to realise over the last few years that advanced is nothing more than mastery of the basics and not more advanced techniques.

When Dennis said the last topic before the physical was on task related fitness I got a surge of adrenaline because I knew what was coming next. Ha-Ha!!

After the fitness drills came the actual strikes.

The first strike was the Tiger Claw which is a palm heel type shot. Very powerful and because of the size of the striking area you don’t have to slow it down just fire it at the head with 100% commitment and it should do the job. We practised this technique in various drills on the focus mitts.

The second strike we practised was the Elbow again on the focus mitts. We did singles, doubles and trebles in different combinations.

>Knees were the next subject covered both offensive and defensive and fitness drills to pre-fatigue the muscle first were also shown, which if you haven’t done is definitely as much for the mindset as tool development.

Next up were the Slaps, Backhand and forehand. Dennis shown a couple of variations and then said the one he likes best and the reason why. We practised these on the focus mitts in different combinations and from different scenarios.

Dennis like all good instructors is like the ferryman. The ferry man picks you up on one side takes you across the water to the other island where you then go on your own way, then comes back for the next lot and repeats the whole cycle over again.

So a good instructor shows you as many useable techniques, concepts, theories as possible, some he doesn’t agree with some he likes then you practise the lot and throw out what you don’t like, keep what you do like and change certain aspects to suit your body type etc.

After the slaps the Short Axe Hand was shown from a defensive posture that puts your hand in position for the axe hand before throwing it. The body mechanics of the drop step and timing of strike hitting before foot hits down were shown and we practised on the focus pads again.

>Sister technique to the short range axe hand is the long range axehand. The short range axehand sets the long range one up a treat. Nice combination and 2 different delivery systems.

Then we put the pads down for a while and practised the strangle and the difference between the choke and the strangle was very accurately shown by Si squires.

This technique was then shown in an argument type situation to make the drill real.

After everyone had got the technique down, to simulate shock and adrenaline dump we had to do 9 strikes to pre fatigue then do our spin to choke.

The final physical task was the chin jab on the specially made focus pads. The chin jab being one of the favoured techniques.

We got into to power line and practised left and right chin jabs and trebles.

At certain points during the day we had well needed little breaks for drinks food and questions answered.

Dennis had actual books that you can get about the Combatives systems of World War 2 etc and everyone had a good read of these interesting and informative books.

At the end Dennis did a Q and A and answered all questions. He said the only stupid question is the one not asked.

Everyone said they enjoyed this seminar, and it went so well that I will be organising the second in the seminars which will be on “OFFENSIVE MINDSET”
[Review by Greg Hall]
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