As recommended by my friend Ian Sturrock, tonight I went for a 2 hour self defence class called Core Combatives (or C2 for short) in Cardiff. Run by Mick Coup, who has spent his career in the forces and various self protection roles.
Mick has a rather abrupt style and his colourful use of language certainly isn’t Sunday best, but he cuts straight to the point: what’s going to work in a real fight? From his lifetime of experience in martial arts he has condensed everything he’s been taught and gained first hand knowledge of, down to a very simple system of self defence.
So my first lesson consisted quite simply of this: Learning how to hit someone, in the head, hard, repeatedly! In essence that’s it. Everything else was pretty much poo poo’ed: neck strikes, body blows, jabs, kicks, keying, eye gouges, shin scrapes etc, much of the usual stuff “self defence” classes teach, all have their weaknesses it seems. The argument goes, that nothing is going to end a fight quicker, than knocking your opponent out, and that can be most effectively achieved by hitting the head, hard. And you keep going till the guy is no longer a threat.
I say “the guy” because the chances are you’ll be fighting a fella, but I have to say that I was most impressed with a woman who was in the class. At about 5 foot nothing, she had a pretty ordinary figure (i.e. she wasn’t some she-hulk or some super ripped gym junky, not even a typical Crossfit physique) yet she could pack one hell of a punch. Certainly if she’d been hitting me rather than the pads I was holding, she’d have knocked me on my ass with the first blow. If it can work for her, it can work for anyone.
Physically it wasn’t that hard. Sparing was most intense at the end and even 2 minutes of repeating hitting pads as hard as you can, is going to tire you out, and it did. It will be interesting to see how things develop, as I know that simple punches aren’t the only thing taught, however they are the mainstay: simple, short, and effective. Already I’m looking forward to next week.