UC Instructor's course review





Instructor candidates from left to right; Steve Tomkins, Daniel Morrison, Tom Fryer, Jamie Miller, Eddie Sidaway and below left to right; Dave Mulliner, Patrick Martens, Alban Balliu, Paul Scothern and Rob Pepper,




Back in December of 2007 we began the start of a seven month UC Instructor Program, with the first session acting as an introduction and overview of what was expected for the following six months commencing in January 2008. For this first generation Instructorship we had ten candidates, guys who had already trained with me for a minimum of 1 year right up to Senior students who had been actively training with me, between three and four years. All candidates had a very good grasp of the UC curriculum from a student perspective before they embarked upon this course, as well as significant amount of time spent training within a variety of martial arts for a number of years, so there was plenty of foundation to begin with and some of these guys also have a fair amount of experience from a street perspective. Therefore the six months up and coming, could now be spent on organizing the presentation order of material and teaching these guys”how to teach and present”. All of these guys will now (post-event) tell you, that this offers a very different slant on your understanding and presentation as an Instructor, compared to a student, just learning for his or her own self need. The UC curriculum like any good method of Self-Protection is made up of two core elements. The first relates to our Personal Security or Soft Skills; here the focus is on gaining an understanding of the problem before we begin looking at cultivated solutions. The soft skills focus on the objectives of prevention and avoidance via awareness & observations skills, along with understanding all elements within the context of a criminal assault, target hardening, the cultivation of a confident body language profile, understanding of any pre-attack indicators or cues and much more.


This is then supported with a minimal toolbox of Gross-motor Hard Skills. These of course are our physical tools employed where possible, from a pro-active game-plan. From here, such a plan is then supported with contingency plans for the “what if factor.” The course grading progression for a student is divided into four levels, each element building upon its foundational precursor. All candidates on this course had already reached the third graded level within the UC curriculum before embarking upon this Instructor program, so all were pretty much on the same page in regards to understanding. The following offers a recap on the requirement levels up to instructor status and will give a greater insight into the topics covered over the duration of this course.


Section One



Section Two

For Grade Two:  

·        Recap of all Combative Principles/Foundations & the Self-Protection Game Plan.

·        Understanding the Color Codes & additional training models; The Ooda Loop/Vital Pyramid.

·        Focus on looping Gross-motor strikes together into logical and adaptable attacks plans, based on the subject’s energy/Continuous Attack/Forward Pressure/Ferocious Intent ala game plan (worse case scenario)

·        Understanding of body mechanics and the manifestation of force.

·        Understanding Deceptive Kinesis & Combative mindset.

·        Situational Offence; Continuous punching attack/Default, cover & fend to counter response/Counter Tackle.

·        The Combative use of Improvised Weapons.



Section Three

For Grade Three:


·        Full understanding of the UC ‘’On the Sharp Edge’’ Program including all educational elements.

·        Knife crime statistics/Knifer’s M.O/concealment, access & deployment/all training models relating to Counter edged weapons including the 3 E’s/Action, Reaction theory/Training/Action Pyramids/weapon definition/eliminating intent.

·        Body Language Cue recognition.

·        Dealing with the threat before access and deployment.

·        Offensive use of an edged weapon along with certain variations, namely efficient Combative use/street bastardizations/jail house methods.

·        The blade-fend position/fending the attack lines/counter offensive tools/putting it all together.

·        Static hold up threat/ambush attacks/Combative Mentality/Medical Management etc.


Section Four    

For Grade Four:

·        Revamp of all UC principles and foundational training models.

·        An understanding of all aspects relating to Multiple Assailants.

·        An understanding all aspects relating to Ground Fighting and Counter Grappling.

·        Competent use of all secondary tools & natural bodily weapons inc/biting/gouging/ballistic manipulations/use of the environment/access and deployment of offensive weapons.

·        Offensive Weapons module.

·        Counter impact weapons.

·        Subject Control.

·        The dynamics of chokes & strangulation.

·        Full understanding, along with a fair degree of fitness & competence of all aspects relating to Combatives conditioning/ATP drills & functional strength training along with the specific reasons for their employ.

·        Full understanding of State Access & State Management/adrenal Stress training & Scenario/Simulation training design.


Section Five

For Grade Five Instructor Status:


·        Full understanding & competent demonstration of all and any part of the entire UC curriculum, randomly at any given time.

·        Full understanding of how people learn (VAK) Visual/Auditory/Kinesthetic.

·        Understanding differing learning curves and how we adapt for such.

·        Certain elements of Neural Based Learning applicable to subject matter.

·        Representational systems/accelerated learning/Building rapport with a class/ etc.

·        Observation & assessment/Understanding the levels of learning/Chunking skills/ Learning in a conscious state/learning in an emotional state along with elements to cultivate this/State management.

·        Program design from warm up to warm down, the whys & how’s along with attached variables.

·        Communication skills.

·        Scenario training design along with control of all elements concerned from safety to plugging in the experience.

·        Further development/support systems/attribute development/additional Combative disciplines.

·        Adaptability to differing rules of engagement; Civilian/Military/Law Enforcement/Security/Women & Children Etc.

·        Full understanding of the current UK/European law in relation to all aspects of Civilian use of force & Self-Protection.

·        Stress Test.


UC is a concept driven curriculum and emphasis was placed on installing such principles and concepts to a full understanding, along with the necessary elements required to install them into others. Session one looked at a lot of ideas from neural based learning and NLP from an instructor to student delivery perspective; geared around presenting the Combative principle elements of the UC curriculum. It was here that each candidate was given their first opportunity to deliver one soft skill and one hard skill to the rest of the class. This offered an excellent gauge for me as their instructor, to view each of the guys from a starting point perspective. The 3 key areas to excellent presentation come from; 1) knowing your subject; 2) keeping it simple; and 3) projecting a confident demeanor. These key points were emphasized throughout the entire course and the results, in terms of progress via exposure and class time, were indeed demonsratable.



Several of the guys presenting Soft-skills; for the first time.


Session two continued along the same theme; with the presentation of soft skill and hard skill concepts from a teaching perspective with yet more exposure to presenting to class mates, both one on one and as a group structure. Additional elements of this session included a lecture on Fear Control and Adrenal Stress conditioning. Here we looked at how we can introduce our students to scenario and simulation type training with the objective of understanding State Access and Management along with creating a relatively safe non-compliant environment that will allow each student, to stress test what they have grasped so far.


Steve Tomkins teaching the Hammer fist/Cycling and Jamie Miller teaching

the open-hand slap during the Instructor’s class.



Paul Scothern teaching clinch knee strikes.


In session three during the third month, we recapped on the UC Counter Knife program just to be sure that all principles relating to this difficult subject were fully understood. All candidates had previously graded to this level, so were all starting from pretty much the same page. Along with each monthly instructor class I was also working with each of the guys during private lesions and additional group workshops so there was plenty of flight time put in by all candidates. Now we started to focus on level four grade material; primarily counter grappling, counter impact weapons and dealing with multiple subjects. It’s important to understand that this is simply how the material is presented for grading purposes, its not that, you only start to learn counter knife at level three, multiples and grappling at level four of course not; all students get exposure to each of these subjects pretty much straight after learning the basic game plan. All soft/hard skill principles and concepts share commonality right across the full spectrum of all Combative related subjects from the very beginning. This is simply how the material is presented for those who wish to take (non-compulsory) gradings as a yard-stick to progress within UC.




Daniel Morrison teaching an ATP Conditioning drill.



Rob Pepper and Tom Fryer deliver Soft-skills to the rest of the Instructor class.

Session four focused on all areas relating to grade four in preparation for the pending exam during the coming months. Here we looked at the application of our Combative principles, soft-skills and hard skill tools; applicable to multiple subjects, counter grappling and counter impact weapons. In addition to this we looked at the specific elements employed for the construction of any group class. Here we looked at everything from the warm up to the warm down, including the whys and how of EVERYTHING needed to teach an effective Combatives lesson plan within a group class environment.


The final element of month four included a presentation of the principle of Artifice and the use of deception. This UC module included a variety of ways to employ deceptive kinesis via brain engagement and misdirection. All such elements were taught from two perspectives; first from understanding how deception is often employed against us, within the context of a criminal assault and secondly from how we can add the art of pattern interruption to our own toolbox, as an effective precursor to pre-emption. It was here that each candidate was given a homework assignment for the following month. Here they had to cultivate a unique example of the use of deception as a pre-cursor to their favored pre-emptive strike. In short each had to design, apply and teach, their own “sucker punch” strategy, as an opportunity to demonstrate a full understanding of this Combative principle along with an additional opportunity to present within a group class environment.


Session five began with each candidate giving a presentation of the said “Artifice” home work assignment. This was followed by me giving a presentation of the why’s and how of simulation and scenario training design. Here I taught 3 physical skills in isolation, namely an offensive hard skill assault on a strike shield, followed by a default response into a clinch knees counter and finally a counter tackle response. All skills were unrelated and selected at random.



Here a couple of the guys give examples of Artifice from their homework assignment.


Now with a full understanding of each said skill, I created a simulation/scenario example with the addition of props, dialogue, theme and role-players. In this particular simulation; you’re in a bar and a situation becomes hostile between you and a rowdy patron. In short it becomes necessary to employ a pre-emptive response into him (pad-man), as you do, his mate gets up from a nearby chair and proceeds to throw multiple punches at your head (boxing gloves). From here you default, cover crash forward and counter with multiple clinch knee strikes snatching the 2nd threat to the ground then attempt to make your exit. As you do so, a doorman in the club rushes in to take you down with a tackle, you sprawl if you can, deal with the problem and get gone. If you end up on the ground you add-lib from here until escape is possible.


Here are some of the guys training the simulation example above.

Here all we’ve done, is taken the same 3 skills from a sterile training environment and implemented a structure more task specific to an event, in which they might be called upon to use. This formed the basis for the following month’s home-work assignment, where each candidate had to design and present their own simulation for the class. Again, as an opportunity to show that each instructor had grasped the concept well enough to deliver and install into another.


Next the focus was placed on Combative group class design: In previous sessions we looked at all, of the essential elements that make up any class, from warm up to warm down along with every element in between. Now each instructor was required to teach an element of such a class for approximately 15 minutes; as which point he would stop where ever he was when his minutes was up, for the next instructor to pick up where the last guy left off. This way the class kept momentum, everyone got further exposure to teaching which I got to analyse first hand.

 Example of group class teaching format;

Warm up/Hard skills-impact work/Situational offence/Combative Conditioning/Soft skills/Simulation work/Class debrief/Warm down.


As this was going on, each instructor sat one at a time in front of me, for his theory part of the grade four exam along with class format related questions. Below gives some examples of those questions along with the answers required for this particular test paper.


Class related questions:


What is the sequence of a warm up and why? Answer; raise the heart rate, mobility to joints. Why is impact work 80percent of what we do? Because muscle memory will always go with the majority; and for the majority we want the cultivation of IMPACT. What 2 main elements drive the UC curriculum? IMPACT with ATTITUDE. What oxidative energy system is employed during a fight? The ATP system. How should your conditioning reflect that? It should be task specific to the event.

What additional side effect is cultivated from ATP physical conditioning? Mental Toughness and the WILL TO WIN. What are the 2 main elements relating to the Psychology of violent confrontation? State Management and State Access. How do we control fear? Understanding/expectation/breathing/adrenal exposure. What elements in training can you employ to access fight state?

Mental imagery/visualisation/crisis rehearsal/visual & auditory stimulus. What elements of stress can you employ in training, to cultivate the management of state?


Fatigue/Disorientation/Pain/Adrenal stress. What are some of the side effects of adrenal stress? Auditory exclusion/Positional fixia/Time distortion/cotton mouth/shaky limbs/more resistant to pain & shock/faster/stronger/need to urinate/need to empty bowels/nausea/denial/need to babble post-event.

As this was going on one candidate at a time was called out to sit the theory paper and questions for the grade four exam.

Each of the guys passed with full marks and were now prepared with all the necessary elements, via a full presentation of all soft skills, hard skills, concepts and principles within the UC curriculum.  All that remained now was for each candidate to demonstrate to me, a full understanding and physical demonstration of any random element that they would each in turn, be required to take the floor and teach the following month, in addition to the final STRESS test of course for the final session next month.


Session six; STRESS TEST DAY:

This began with an overview for the day followed by the first part of the instructors grading. This was basically an in-depth Q & A into all of the foundational principles and concepts that make up our Urban Combatives curriculum. This started with a Soft skills recap & random test on all soft skills from level one to three; this went onto to look at the specifics relating to methods of Counter knife such as; defining methods of concealment; if knife is to hand or concealed on the belt line. Defining the 4 primary knife related injuries and possible consequences of the same among other specifics.


All Instructor candidates ready for the final leg of this Instructor event.


Then we went onto our Combative Principles and Concept definition: Topics such as CONTINUOUS ATTACK/FORWARD OFFENSIVE PRESSURE/ARTIFICE/MISDIRECTION/BRAIN ENGAGEMENT/PATTERN INTERRUPT. Principles associated to MULTIPLES such as PRE-EMPTION/MOBILITY/MINDSET & COUNTER WEAPONS such as GETTING INSIDE THE ARC OF THE WEAPON TO ASSAULT along with elements associated to COUNTER GRAPPLING and other topics. Questions and explanations were passed back and forth among the instructor class, with each candidate giving a clear understanding that they had all done their homework.


Simulation design homework was next; here each instructor presented their own Simulation from the previous month’s assignment, incorporating props/theme etc some very interesting ideas coming from experience and research. Each Instructor showed a good understanding all the elements required to implement effective scenario based training. All aspects of safety, use of protective KIT, use of props, role-players, dialogue and theme as well as showing a clear understanding of state access and management along with the manipulation of varying elements of stress.  



Tom Fryer employed the use of props in his scenario; which depicted an attempted mugging whilst in the park with your child; needless to say big Tom bashed everyone in proximity to hit, saved the kid and got gone ( :




Steve Tomkins bashes one subject in the head with a tin of peas during his supermarket multiple scenario.



Alban Balliu’s scenario incorporated a fight in a nightclub followed by a classic overzealous doorman intervention. Got the feeling he’d been there and done that.



Daniel Morrison kitting up for simulation; and Eddie Sidaway ragging big Tom after dropping his first subject.

Grading module:


Recap; Q & A; Soft/Hard skill Presentation: Here each candidate began their instructor’s exam; by answering random questions regarding any and all aspect of the UC curriculum, geared towards demonstrating their knowledge and understanding. In addition to this each one had to demonstrate a physical skill in a teaching format, demonstrating a teaching style that would cater or all levels of learning. From here we moved onto the Grande finale via a stress inoculation test that sought to take each candidate into the realms of an anaerobic deficit forcing them to apply all elements of what they had learned under complete stress and non-compliant conditions. The following explanation will give you an idea of the format.


Stress Test:

In regards to the test the bones of it was this;
One guys comes in then lifts a moderately weighted Kettlebell 12-16KG(alternaing left and right) for approx 5 mins, then the next guy comes in to take his place.
As the second guy starts to lift, the first guys begins his stress test. This start with 10 push ups/10 squat thrusts/10 burpee jumps, stand up and get hooded (visual impairment) get spun around in a circle 10 times (disorientation) then the hood comes off, now fight padded assailant from lost initiative, (who is trying to knock you out) to a successfull conclusion
from here I pull the trainee to the ground from behind from where a second padded assailant mounts to ground and pound, candidate must deal with it and get back to his feet ASAP. Now he must deal with a third assailant via a knife attack (training weapon) but fully non-compliant. Once negotiated he must find the exit, through a hostile crowd of 5-7 pad-men (one has boxing gloves) but all are on a mission to put you down. Once through the door there is one final surprise (ambush/baseball bat) to deal with. Now you must leave the main exit, then work your way around the entire perimeter of the building through a wooded area on uneven terrain (where something else may or may not happen Smile From here you must find the rear exit and re-enter the building as if nothing happened, controlling fatigue and emotion to a significant degree that will allow you to control state and re-enforce a higher level of brain function, by answering a question to break state. This test hit’s all areas of Combative functionality, going from one on one from lost initiative under stress to fighting on the ground to dealing with an edged weapon to multiple hostile assailants to counter impact weapons; accessing

heart/grit/determination/mindset/state access and state management and they all tackled it like warriors, I'm proud of all of them.


Presentation of Instructor Grade


I’m happy to report that each and every one of my guys passed their instructorship with flying colours, and I am sure they will all represent UC in a most positive light.  This most successful course ended with a presentation of their instructorship Plaque/licence/Instructor manual and a Photo presentation. It should be noted that several of these guys are now actively teaching throughout the UK and Ireland via group and private tuition. Details of which will be posted shortly.

The ten successful candidates; of the First Generation of UC Instructors.


In closing I would like to give thanks to all of the efforts put forth by these guys, each and every one of them has the ability to take what they have learnt forward for future generations to come.

Peace: LM 2008