Recently (25/03/2023) we had a seminar with Tommy Joe Moore on WW2 Military Combatives at the Seal Martial Arts Dojo.
Tommy covered a wide variety of techniques during the seminar with the focus being on the practical application of simple techniques such as palm heel strikes and knee strikes to the groin.
The first drill we did Tommy had us group up in pairs and keep our arms up in a defensive position in front of the body. We then had to push the opponents head back with both hands under the chin. Rake downwards with the fingers into the eyes whilst repeatedly kneeing them in the genitals.
We also looked at onslaught drills launching multiple palm heel strikes to the underside of the opponents chin to push their head back and take their balance. It was important to drive both hands through the opponents chin and move through them not giving them the chance to recover their balance.
We also looked at jigs which is making shapes with the pads to work on specific punches such as hooks and uppercuts. This was an interesting drill as it really makes you work on your body positioning and power generation.
Tommy said something interesting about creating a space and filling it with violence. I think in the simple sense it’s just exploiting openings in your opponents guard in a manner similar to what we did in the jig drill. I think it also extends beyond that though to your mindset about how you deal with a violent confrontation. It’s all well and good having 10,000 techniques but if you don’t know how to apply them properly then it’s largely useless. You need to think about your body positioning, protecting your chin and giving it 110% when attacking with maximum force to totally overwhelm your opponent.
A lot of the training we did was scenario based such as what to do if your left arm is blocked, how to restrain and opponent with a quarter nelson, how to strike with the inner forearm, how to deal with multiple attackers and a variety of other drills.
The chaos drill was a good exercise where the everyone at the seminar bar two people put on pads and attacked the two people. They had to defend themselves with palm strikes and other attacks on the pads while being overwhelmed by loads of people. You quickly saw everything descending into chaos with people running around and getting a few hits in here and there.
I think this type of scenario based training is important as it teaches you how to relate what you’ve studied in martial arts to a realistic situation. You should introduce these elements of chaos to your training to stress test your skills. The old adage of K.I.S.S or Keep It Simple Stupid is very relevant when it comes to reality based self defence like Combatives. It’s not overtly complicated but the techniques are well thought out with an emphasis on whomping and smashing your way through the opponent!
When an opening presents itself you don’t hesitate to throw in a palm heel strike or an uppercut to fill that space with violence!
Tommy also took everyone through Fairbairn Sykes knife fighting system for the SOE (Special Operations Executives) in World War 2. This is a short system to rapidly prepare soldiers to use the Fairbairn Sykes Fighting Knife.
We looked at how to draw the blade from the left hip bringing it into a ready position to impale the opponent should they clash with you. One of the great things about the WW2 knife curriculum is that it’s concise and to the point, you cut the hands, slash at the eyes and thrust to the throat. There is no faff doing ten different movements you just attack the opening that is presenting itself.
We also looked at sentry removal drills such as sneaking up behind an opponent and neutralising them with a knife. It was very similar to the Kage Waza in Tantojutsu. The were two concepts called Stirring and Ratcheting to inflict maximum damage to the opponents soft tissue.
We also looked at clashing with the knife and pinning the opponents drawing hand whilst repeatedly stabbing them in the femoral artery on the inside of the leg.
Overall it was an excellent seminar and illustrated the importance of being brutal in your application of the techniques. Don’t let the opponent grab you, use your bodies built in chainsaw (forearm) to smash the opponents grabbing arm down releasing his grip and perform a strong inside chop (Ura Kiten Ken) to the opponents throat.
Tommy also mentioned something about not getting stuck in time and space. The scenario was based on two attackers trying to ambush you and how to negate the situation. The key thing is not to hesitate and allow yourself to get stuck in time and space, you need to keep moving getting past the opponents so that you can either flee or launch a counter attack. The key thing is to move around the outside of the ambush not allowing yourself to get pinned in the middle.
I think this seminar really illustrated the importance of scenario based training to me, It’s important to have a decent syllabus but at the same time you should test the material. I don’t think it’s a good idea not to have a syllabus and to purely focus on scenario based training, There needs to be a balance between both.
In conclusion if the opportunity presents and you can bait an opponent into leaving themself open then make sure you fill that space with violence! Once you land the first hit keep driving the hits home for maximum impact, thats the aim of the game with Combatives.