Liverpool 12/2/06


This was the first program of the year for CQB Services and is number 4 in the Combatives program: the subject of which covers all methods relating to Counter Grappling. We all started to gather at around 10 am on this wet and rainy Sunday morning.† Within half an hour the group had accumulated into respectable numbers, the usual faces and some new ones.† Students and instructors alike had gathered here to increase their knowledge of the support system of Counter Grappling. The course started with an introduction from the man himself Dennis Martin whose knowledge of all subjects relating to Close Quarter Combatives never fails to enlighten me.


The Introduction went on to define what grappling is along with the limitations that its presents in a live confrontational sense. Everything today was geared for the reality of the street the object being for self-preservation all the way. With that said some of the sporting aspects were also brought to light, in order to give weight to some of the limitations that grappling outside of the octagon can present, along with things that we could take, adapt and apply for our own arena of the street. Limitations were defined by all the Bís; including the dangers presented by Blinding/gouging etc, Buddies/multiple assailants, Blades/concealed weapons on the person your grappling with and/or the danger of someone else using a weapon on you and Biting, the fact remains that biting and gouging can and does change the outcome of grappling in the street, hence the reason that such methods are not allowed in NHB competition. Next we looked at the primary Countermeasures for anti-grappling; here our first objective is always going to be to do, what we train to do and for Combatives the majority of our armory comes from Striking: We want to be hitting from the very first opportunity and to keep hitting until the threat is dealt with. If we canít strike straight off the bat, then we will create the ability to do so via the secondary means of Gouging/Biting: etc these tactics include all methods of raking/ripping/fish hooking and tearing.†


All the old time illegal wrestling fouls are most valid here, but again as a means to an end to get to the strikes.† Finally as a counter measure we talked about Joint attacks: not in a slow, gaining pain compliance sense, but more as a ballistic attack on the joint itself with impact and aggression. Just as a point of interest, this is how the late Charlie Nelson would teach methods of subject control, always via a distraction to a ballistic attack to the joint before attempting to hold it in place.†



Task specific warm up for grappling; including methods of handling each otherís body weight.


From here we moved into the practical, starting with a Task-Specific warm up and a look into some of the conditioning methods that can be employed to enhance the fitness for grappling.† This included various 2 and 3 man drills geared towards handling each otherís body weight and getting used to being manhandled.† From here we moved onto our primary counter measure, that of striking. This started with Brian Lightbody taking everyone through the 360 drill: here the trainee has two pad feeders offering targets to strike from 360 degrees, this drill enhances mobility and the ability to strike from all directions along with emphasizing the importance to actively scan, in an attempt to open peripheral vision.


††† Here are some of the guys doing the 360 drill; this drill brings out a variety of functional elements.


Next Den took us through some Positional Striking: here we were shown how to employ our primary striking tools from a variety of different positions. Using the Tigerís claw/hammer-fists/elbows and knees from standing, kneeling and lying positions whilst attached in a grappling sense to our feeder/aggressor.

Working palms and elbows strikes on the ground with Rob, Tommo, Paul and Den.

Striking from your back takes out the body mechanics to really hit hard, but as you can see here determination, continuous attacks with maximum aggression can make up for it.


Den works his Ax hands and Mick indexes for continuous Hammer-fist strikes.

Mark and Tommo blasting away with Ax hands and Hammer-fists.

Next up was Den teaching the Hipkiss Cross swing & cut as a counter grab measure to common holding attacks. This method was depicted in James Hipkissí s War time manual UNARMED COMBAT. This basically employs a cross arm cover as you step back and seize a holding limb. From here swing back with an elbow or an ax hand depending on the range and follow up as appropriate.†

The Hipkiss Cross swing & Cut in action on the day with Paul and Mark

The Hipkiss Cross swing & Cut in action on the day with James and Phil.

Next up was my own module of Offensive & Counter measures from a stand up clinch. Working from Close Quarters, in some cases from Extreme Close Quarters. (ECQ) Most of our arsenal is employed from this range and this is why we must achieve dominance from a standing clinch. In this module we will look at obtaining this kind of dominance in an offensive, pro-active sense as well as methods to counter the clinch in order to regain the initiative.†† The objective is to strike as soon as possible and if necessary to employ secondary means to get to this objective. Here is where biting, gouging and spitting come into play in order to create the opportunity to strike and or take down from here.


Thanks to Simon for being my demo partner for the day here we work offensive clinch.

Here we are working methods of counter stand up clinch.


Next up was Gavin Lewis teaching various Counter Clinch methods from Rear Attacks. Gavin offered an array of physical skills that can be employed to deal with a variety of rear attacks. He encouraged everyone to take the ideas and adapt them as needed. Get the student thinking outside of the box in terms of adaptability. He offered everything from rearward strikes and stomps to finger breaks, groin grabs and spitting. Gavin employed a clear and user-friendly teaching approach to his excellent presentation.

Gavin and Mark demo the rear escape with groin grab and size is irrelevant is Mark uses all of his digits to snap just one of Mickís. Here Rob demos the same finger break escape on Paul.


After a short break it was time for guest instructor Mick Coup to introduce his module on the dynamics of gouging and head butting. I had the chance of working some of these excellent drills on a recent seminar in Cardiff† (see review of C2 Combatives) He talked about the thumb gouge as a secondary attack along with the proís & cons of attacking the eyes. Basically the eye is an excellent target, but is more resistant than one might think and how understanding how an individual will react to having his eye gouged can really help your efficiency in terms of making it work.


Mick Coup teaching the dynamics of gouging and head butting.


Paul and Rob and Phil and Slack get to grips with the eye gouge.

In all cases the gouge is a means to an end, with the main objective as always to get up the ladder to primary striking. Mick had everyone working the gouge from a tight clinch both with and without eye protection. From here he moved onto head butts used more like a short punch with the head to create space for your elbows and palm strikes. We did one sensitivity drill with a partner and a pad which trains you to fire in the Head butt without any preliminary movement as soon as the line is clear.

The head butt drill worked on a pad then as an overlap with a partner.

Next these tactics were put together for a wall drill, which took place outside in an alley complete with puddles and rains which all added real atmosphere to the drill. Your partner closes his eyes and is shoved into the wall by the pad man; this simulate s a clinch, from here the trainee employs the eye gouge in order to peel the pad/head back for the head butt and transition to the elbow/palm strike. All in all a most excellent drill enjoyed by all as the pictures will show.


Realistic out door training came fully equipped with alley, walls, puddles and rain.


Next we were back up with Den who was showing us the transitions from stand up grappling to the ground. These included finishing attacks to a fallen aggressor who has either been clinically dropped or has been floored with you still attached and maintaining control or has been floored but is still holding onto you. In all examples of this phase the aggressor is on the ground and you are on your feet. Finishing tools included the use of Fairbainís Bronco kick along with various methods of stomping and knee drops.

Den demonstrates the transition from one man up and one man down.

The next transition of the grappling phase, was introduced by Liverpool gutter fighter Tony, this related to fending from your back to a standing aggressor.† The objective here is to get back up on your feet ASAP.† The drill starts by lying to one side on your back as you kick out with both feet to the low line.† This is simulated with your partner holding a shield in front of his legs.† As he moves 360 degrees around you, you must track with your feet and kick out in order to create space.† From here placing your hands on the ground, slide your body back from this point and regain your footing (as depicted in Fairbainís All In Fighting).† From here, the feeder starts to encroach with the shield held high, signaling for you to cover and crash him with elbow strikes.† This was an excellent presentation supported with good physical demonstrations by Tony.


Tony fighting from the floor and Den and Brian demonstrate the closed mount.

The final transition was introduced by Dennis and focused on both combatants going to the ground.† This is familiar to all as, horizontal grappling.† Den then went on to hand over to Simon Squires, who in my opinion presented one of the best modules of the day!† First Si demonstrated the most common way that an aggressor will take you to the ground i.e. via a rugby tackle/double leg takedown.† It was here that he asked me to demonstrate how you can be taken down in this way, real hard.† Not once, but three times.† First showing a tackle, then two examples of what will happen from here.† First the aggressor proceeds to stay on his feet in order to kick and stamp the victim senseless.† The second involved the aggressor i.e. me, taking the mount and proceeding to punch the granny out of his head.† Both of which, was only too happy to simulate.

Lee and Si demonstrate a double leg take down to ground and pound.


From here Si paired up with Giles and went onto to demonstrate some of the best escape methods from the mount and the guard that I have seen in a while. All very live, non-compliant done in real time. The first method has you returning fire with an immediate flurry of hammer fist strikes, as soon as the aggressor lands in the mount and the second escape places you in a dominant reversed position, from where an immediate counter attacks takes place. I love Simonís material, its always very easy to learn and stands up well under stress, which incidentally comes as part and parcel of all Simonís excellent presentations.


Si and Giles present counter methods for the mount.


Giles and Si teach the finer points of damage limitation and mount escape.

fighting from the mount and James kicks away Phil from the guard escape drill.

Next Simon presented the grand finale for the day, an excellent little pressure drill incorporating 3 men, one acting as a safetyman, along with a pair of boxing gloves, full face head gear and a foam brick. The trainee kneels in front of his partner wearing headgear and gloves from where he is shoved onto his back as the aggressor attempts to mount and rain punches upon him. As soon as they hit the ground the safetyman counts down from 10. The trainee must cover and limit the damage until the safetyman finishes his count; at this point the foam brick (simulating an improvised weapon) is thrown in safetyman shouts Ďíbrick in!íí from here the trainee scrambles for the brick and must smash the aggressor in the face 3 times to finish the drill. Excellent stuff, a great conclusion to a most excellent day all that remains is for me to thank everyone who took part and offered contributions to a great overall package. Finally thanks to Den for putting it all together this was a good start to our seminar calendar.

Peace LM

Contributing instructors for the day: Lee, Simon, Den, Gavin, Tony and Mick.


Group class for Combatives 4: Counter Grappling Program