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Combatives on BOB and Striking Pad


We performed these on the dummy and a pad, but I highly recommend practicing on a partner also (not full force, of course).  Kelly McCann talks about Combatives being 90 percent attitude.  Especially when you are performing on pads and dummies, hit like you mean it.  I try to visualize the scenario as I perform the techniques.  The training must evolve into something more dynamic and realistic with emotional content.  I often wonder, if someone cannot even let loose on pads or a dummy, what will happen if they are confronted with a life or death situation?


Drill 1


  1. Block the haymaker.  This looks like a Thai boxing cover. 
  2. Chop (axehand) to the neck/side of the neck. 
  3. Swivel punch to the midsection (really engage those hips!)
  4. If the assailant is down, stomp on his leg (could be a break here).  If not, you can continue on with a myriad of other techniques.


Drill 2


  1. Thai cover
  2. Chop
  3. Face smash (cup your hand like you are palming a grapefruit and get those fingers in his eyes)
  4. Kick to shin


Drill 3


  1. From a guard stance (maybe you have your protective fence), move right into the short chop to the windpipe (maybe it goes to his face, too).  I step in and drive forward—I think my foot even drives into the ground.
  2. Long chop (more power here with your hip rotation)
  3. Vertical chop to side of neck/top of the shoulder—you need power, so use your strong arm, just like throwing a cross


Drill 4 (On Pads)


We used the long cylindrical pad for this one so students could practice the face smash (it really hurts on BOB).


  1. Thai cover
  2. Chop
  3. Face smash
  4. Low side kick


Drill 5


  1. From your protective fence, a flick to the eyes
  2. Face smash
  3. Left horizontal or snap elbow
  4. Right horizontal or snap elbow


Drill 6


  1. Flick to the eyes
  2. Palm heel strike to the nose
  3. Knee to the groin or body
  4. He is down, stomp the leg (we stomped on pads) and drive through with your heel


Drill 7


  1. Chin jab (with the heel of your palm, drive through his chin much like you would with an uppercut)
  2. Immediately go to the face smash and push him to the ground

Single Stick Drills on BOB


Try performing these for timed rounds.  Begin light and then try adding some power.  If you are feeling froggy, try the left side, too:


  1. X pattern: Angle 1, Angle 2, Thrust to the throat
  2. Angle 1, Angle 2, Angle 1, Backhand (hit and retract) to the chin
  3. Angle 1, Angle 2, Angle 3 (horizontal), Angle 6 (thrust to throat/area of collarbone)
  4. Angle 1, Angle 2, Angle 7 (like Angle 6, opposite side)
  5. Angle 1, Angle 2, Thrust to ribs and drag it across the body (Think of a sword here.  It penetrates the body and you turn your wrist counterclockwise to lead into the slash (or drag) across the midsection.)

Blog on Threat Indicators and Personal Safety


I wanted to share a good article on threat indicators.  We talked about some of these the other night in class.  The author, Thomas Gerace, a cop and martial artist, shares his insight on body language of a potential aggressor and what it can mean to you.  Do take the time to check it out:

Sticks, Knives and Hubud


This drill is fun, though a little tricky to explain.  We begin with sticks:


  1. Angle 1, Angle 2, Angle 1
  2. Feeder feeds backhand to the head, you defend with a roof block
  3. You follow up with Angle 1, he performs an inside deflection and disarms you
  4. He still has his stick, and goes to Hubud, and on the second beat after his attack, you disarm him
  5. You both go back to Hubud, empty-hand


After practicing for a bit back and forth, we add on:


  1. From Hubud, he flows into an arm drag.  With that arm pulled across his body, and as he is turning his body clockwise, he uppercuts (under the arm)
  2. He is heading for the armbar, but you draw a knife and slash (reverse grip)
  3. He evades and you thrust the knife (high line)
  4. He can block with two hands, or block and hit (palm strike to the face works well here)
  5. He strips the knife

Knife Draw, Slash and Thrust


Self-Offense Tips


I was recently reviewing one of my instructor’s tapes on combatives: Jim Grover’s Situational “Self-Offense” A Hard-Core Guide to Offense-Based Defensive Tactics.  Jim Grover (a pseudonym for Kelly McCann), is a specialist in combatives and high risk environment skills and is owner/operator of the Crucible, which provides this training to the US Government and military.  Please read more about him on his website: or visit his company’s website:  The information on this video is phenomenal and extremely practical—nothing fancy here.  Hard-core is an understatement!  This is the kind of stuff that will truly help you win in a violent encounter, and as you know, we are all about winning in Gutterfighting.


I wanted to share some of the tips at the end of the video because I think they have great value and apply to our main objectives in Gutterfighting:


  • Final confirmation of an assault will generally come in the form of injury to you.  Be alert and stay focused.


  • Don’t watch your opponent’s eyes; they can’t hurt you.  Focus on the real danger: his hands, which can hit, hold weapons, etc.


  • Disarming doesn’t necessarily mean taking the weapon away from a person.  You can disarm him by making it impossible for him to use the weapon through injury or unconsciousness.


  • Martial arts is something you do with somebody.  Combatives is something you do to somebody or on somebody.


  • You will most likely be attacked when the conditions most favor your attacker and least favor you.


  • Understand the concept of branching: if a technique is not working, go immediately to another one instead of trying the same thing over and over again.


  • In a fight, maintain the combative attitude.  Any fight is 10% technique and 90% attitude.  The superior combative mindset will win.


  • Keep it simple; if a technique can’t be performed while under the physiological effects of imminent danger, it is useless.


  • A fight is, by its very nature, a struggle.  Your techniques must be effective against an opponent who will be fighting and struggling against you every step of the way.


In class, we have talked about the effects of extreme stress on the body and how that, in turn, affects our motor skills.  Once your heart rate goes through the roof, you can only rely on your gross motor skills—think of big movements.  Combatives focuses on these kinds of simple, uncomplicated techniques, which is why they are so valuable in any violent confrontation.


We also talk about failure drills.  If your technique is not working, MOVE ON TO SOMETHING ELSE.  The definition of crazy is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result!


Lastly, we talk a lot about gearing our minds towards winning, or as Grover calls it, the “superior combative mindset”.  You may have all the fancy skills in the world, but if your mind is not prepared for the fight and all that it entails, your chances of being the victor are slim to none.


Remember to stay in Condition Yellow (being alert, maintaining 360 degree security) as soon as you walk out your front door—this is the best way to avoid the fight.  When avoidance is impossible, fight hard and fight to win.