Review of
Dennis Martin's
CQB Stress

By Lee Morrison And Phil Matthews
Liverpool - 2nd November 2003
the course began at 9:30 Dennis Martin arrived and the place started really buzzing. Gathering everyone together Den gave the safety talk then had four of the Potential Instructors run through the Vital Pyramid. Consisting of "Mindset, Tactics, Skills and Kit"
Mark G started off the course by giving us an excellent presentation of the course of W.E. Fairbairn's Career and the evolution of his system from Defendu to Gutterfighting
Then we had another presentation on Fitness for Combatives paying particular attention to the importance of Stretching. A very well researched presentation.

Next we had a physical arm-up conducted by Brian. Tough exercises starting with shuttle sprints, Circle running and following commands at the same time (changing direction, side to side running, turning around etc to quicken reactions) this was a gruelling Warm-up and is a hallmark of Den Martin's courses!

Positive Affirmations followed "I will do whatever it takes"
Den stressed the importance of proper recovery breathing, Upright posture, breath in though nose, hold for 5 seconds then breath out through the mouth.

As we were doing this he explained that the warm-ups were "time-economical" designed to warm every part of the body in a short timescale and with limited room.
Pad work followed with re-familiarisation of Knee, Elbow and Tiger Claw strikes being conducted.

This was followed by Lee Morrison giving a presentation on some of the Lesser Known Strikes of WW2 this was based on influences from Charlie Nelson and Dennis Brinkley. This module covered various closed fist knuckle to flat strikes from various Chinese systems and some of Charlie's specialties.

Next up Patrick Ryan ran through his presentation on "Combat Kicking", front kick, inside edge of the boot, pivot kick, front and roundhouse knee. Patrick really knew how to get power into his techniques and he showed everyone how to get a great deal more impact power in his techniques.

The first part of the Stress Inoculation tests began with what Den called ''Vasbyte''
Taken from a South African word meaning "to bite down" it's meaning is very similar to the Japanese word "Ganbarru" meaning "Gut's, Hold Out". Vasbyte was a fatigue drill to get us used to fighting when we really didn't feel like it or up to it!

7 exercises at 7 stations, when you finished doing the given exercise you had to strike 10 reps of the given strikes on the pads. Very fatiguing, everyone was feeling the burn and giving it their all.

Organised chaos is what anyone looking in would have thought had they seen the next drill which was to stimulate aggression in the recipient. This basically consists of groups of 3, with a big pad and a padded safety stick. One guy holding the pad another holding the stick and the third guy doing the drill in the middle. The third man works 10 perfect strikes
followed by 10 fast strikes on the pad to pre-tire the muscles then a final 10 all-out strikes are counted out by the pad man.

On the very last set the Stickman starts beating the striker with the padded stick all over the head and body while another guy is pulling and pushing him, holding his clothes and body and verbally abusing him as he is being ragged around.

After the strikes the guys swap roles. Stickman is also the Safety Enforcer who shouts, "Check, Check, Check" if he needs to stop the drill. "Stop" is not used, as it's a common word that you don't want to use in a drill. What you do in the Gym you do in the street.

It was perfect madness organised chaos. Tommo bust a stick over one of the lad's head and all I could see from them were 3 happy laughing faces. These were very determined people giving their all. No holding back.

The Pain Drill was next again in groups of 3's
Den ran through the whole concept of the History and Development of the Kubotan. He even related some of his own experiences with ""The Instrument of Attitude Adjustment"

Kubotan man, Pad Man and Striker, the striker had a pain compliance hold put on him by the man with the kubotan and had to do three strikes to the pad whilst the hold was on. The pain was intense but it was an interesting thing to find that not only could you fight through the pain but that the pain made your strikes harder! Short-circuiting the body's natural stop's it really did the job! 3 strikes then swap over

Den explained that the morning had been about Pain and Fatigue - two of the biggest things you have to overcome in yourself in a fight. As someone once wrote (It was actually Master Po but don't laugh) "It's not a fight until you want to give up, but can't" Another important lesson learned.

Situational Control was next up and as Den explained
"WW2 gave us the curriculum but we live in different times. Situational Control is the bridge which allows us to evaluate and respond effectively to situations as they arise"

Body Language, we all understand on a subliminal level. All of us are putting out signals which can be picked up on. It can be very useful.
Proxemics was the term used to define our own bubble of personal space and the fact that some sociopaths have extremely large ideas of personal space. You can get too close for their comfort even though you think you are in talking range. This might lead to trouble!

Next came a personal space drill with a partner to determine what out own levels of personal space were. Next Den brought up the subject of "Range" in fighting; some experts have argued that there are 8 ranges of fighting. Den explained that there were only three; Long, Middle and Close Range.

Long being just outside of kicking range
Middle being punching range
Close being Grappling rang

As he showed with John Deacon a guy can go from Long to close range in less time than it takes to blink.

We then went onto Pre Attack Clues and all of the above, Den ran through some pre attack rituals and clues to show how we could determine If someone would attack us. Looking around (Targeting or maybe Escape Glance), distraction and deception. The 1000-yard stare being a dehumanisation option employed by scum.

What Den term's "Unobtrusive Ready positions" were next on the list, the positions allow us to assess a situation and respond correctly whilst not giving the signal of being overtly defensive/combative. It can buy you the time you need to escape or pre-empt.

The Fence - "Your hands are always higher than his" Never be afraid to be rude, if it is a mistake you can always apologise. Hand Awareness - "Can you see his hands - especially his palms" Den gave us the African story: A beggar comes up with both hands in front of him, palms together like he is praying. This is the body position for asking in that locale, whilst you are distracted by looking for some change or a fag the blade comes out from in between the hands and you are carved up.

John Deacon's presentation on Deception followed. This was Artifice at its best the perfect analogy of Geoff Thompson's 4 D's "Dialogue, Deception, Distraction leading to Destruction" All artifice must be natural and common this will affect the way in which the other person views and treats you. Deception creates a normal situation where none exists.

The Fend drill was next demonstrated by the terrible trio of Si, Matt and John P
Two elbows are held like the old style boxing armadillo guard almost a cross between a guard and a fence. As the aggressor throws punches you strive to destroy his fists with your pointed elbows as you dive through his space and guard and Thai clinch onto his neck.

Another exhausting drill of one minute of punching against a partner who is in the fend position. Proves that the Fend works against most straight and looping punches. Another drill of the fend from the mount position (Ground) Fend; buck then hammer fist or elbow to finish The fend against padded assailants 3 power lines - I saw a lot of Adrenaline and Exhausted people, everyone had a go though.

When you first go through the Adrenal Stress of the Padded assailant you feel like they are 10 feet tall, all the guys went through it on their own though, none of the lads inside the suits were "helping them" - they really did it by (and for) themselves.
Surprised when Den got out his gum shield and went through it also. Total humility and confidence in his techniques, his fence was in a completely different league! Total situational control, Fence and Body language in expert mode- this was an eye-opener in itself.

This drill was all about aggression and the will to win, some serious training going on here by some serious lads.

Quote "I've been doing karate for years but I wish I'd learned this when I was 18 years old" - Tommo

Vehemence Presentation by Lee Morrison
this was all about summoning a controlled explosion of Aggression. The importance of pre-emption and forward movement (The best place for me to be is where he is now) my goal is to replace his foot steps with my own. The importance of the mind in self-protection
switching your aggression "On and off" Going from being the prey to the predator
Take the fight to them and overload them

A drill from Kelly McCann was used to demonstrate the development of the switch the pad man wears a strike shield like a rucksack for you to cycle hammer fist strikes into elbows. Using only gross motor techniques.

As the drill progressed I could see some weird and wonderful techniques coming from some peoples toolboxes! Visualisation and Intention, the importance of brining your mind into you self-protection.

Instructor Program
Den explained that only once before had he run an Instructor program and that that was in South Africa. The following lads were presented with their Instructor Certification for their hard work and study:

Mark Gittins
John Deacon
Si Squires
Steve Harper
Lee Morrison
Patrick Ryan
John Pardoe
Matt Scully

They all thanked Den and then we got onto the last part of the course - the full padded assailant training. Everyone queues up then has a go, one person going through it, two assailants and a safety checker and encourager.

No fence, just "Fend, Guard and hit" the Padded Assailant in a stand-up situation until he is dealt with, then fend another assailant from the mount until you reverse it and finish him with strikes follow this with 10 press-ups then 2 shuttles runs followed by hitting the heavy bag in straight blast style (making it touch the wall for 20 seconds) Then deal with another stand up Padded Assailant until again he is dealt with.

"Encouragement" was give all the way through by the other seminar participants, shouting all the time. When you know you are watched by everyone it feels very lonely out there.

Si, Matt and john P also did amazingly well, keeping up with the training all the way through they also fought almost 40 men in those suits one after another. A real feat of endurance and stamina. After the course we went for Chinese and beer we had a good laugh! All in all this was a great day!