One of the most highly anticipated events of the year was the multiple opponents masterclass, held last Saturday in Haywards Heath.
The event was really well attended and we had a good mix of adults and juniors, which is always pleasing to see!
Whist equipping those in attendance with tools, tricks and techniques to increase the odds of surviving an encounter with several opponents, I did not want anyone to leave the afternoon session with the impression that they were the latest Bruce Lee or Jackie Chan who could now be invincible in the midst of battle…. The prime target of self-defence (whether against single or multiple opponents) is to get the hell out of there, or even better don’t be there in the first place – and that was drilled in from the very beginning!
The first 45 minutes was spent in what I like to call the pre-fight and it’s a part of the ritual that fascinates me the most! After avoidance we spoke about being calm and did an exercise on breathing evenly and calmly under pressure – almost hacking our own natural tendency to raise cortisol (and take control of our fight or flight response).
We went on to partnered exercises in projecting confident body language and tone of voice as well as working on distancing and positioning ourselves favourably and being aware of the surroundings – with awareness and practice all of these elements can be incredibly subtle and it’s almost as if you’re luring your opponents into a trap where you will use the element of surprise to either rapidly retreat or remorselessly attack!
After the mental elements of the pre-fight were discussed and practiced we went on to go over the best basic and most effective in such a situation – which then led onto pad work and a long time practicing and refining combinations before finishing with some – serious, yet – fun light sparring against two or three opponents.
It was an endlessly fascinating two hours – as I kept on drilling in to those in attendance, this is not a situation you ever want to find yourself in – but as with any self defence – or even life in general – it’s better to be prepared and have some tools in your arsenal which you can bring out if absolutely necessary.