I love reading self-defence posts on Facebook, forums and blogs that are wrong with everything they say and do, why? Because it reminds me of just how bad the advice out there is.

I should be angry or saddened about this, but I am not, those days are long gone, the online battles in forums and groups made me realise that you can take a horse to water but you can’t make it drink!

So what makes people wrong? The number one factor, in my opinion, is that they have a vastly overinflated view of their ability when compared with an attacker.

Yep, that is pretty much it, they all think a fight will be over in seconds and with them as the victor.

It is not their fault, this feeling of superiority has been growing for a long time within them. It starts with the training they have and then it can be cemented with a  few ‘real life’ experiences.

The truth is that there are a lot of people out there with serious skills and that your future attacker could be one of those who is a better fighter than you.

In this article, we will be explaining how to deal with one or many of these dangerous opponents.

Ready, let’s do this.


Why Skilled People Fight

‘People with skills stay at home’. This is a quote a coach of mine says, and he is true, for the vast majority of individuals, if they have skills they tend to be cool guys and girls, and they do not want to fight.

However, there are three factors that turn this idea on to its head.

  1. People With Some Skills Tend To Fight More
  2. Young People With Skills Will Fight If The Opportunity Presents Itself.
  3. Not All Skilled People Are Martial Artists

Ok so this is deep so let me explain.

When people first start training, they soon gain a lot of new skills. They punch harder; they get fitter and realise they have the skills to cause someone quite a bit of harm.

This is the basis of martial arts, we allow newcomers to get into the structure of the art slowly, they are never thrown into the deep end from day one, or they would never come back.

The result is you have a human being who has ‘enhanced’ their natural fighting ability.

At this point one of three things happen, the student quits because they don’t like it anymore, they quit because it starts to get a lot tougher as they start training and sparring with more experienced martial artists or they stay and carry on with their journey in the Martial Arts.

Martial Arts are not easy, and there are thousands of people who got to brown belt and gave up, or they did ‘some MMA or boxing’.

It is these people that I have found who are quick to get into fights because they have ‘some skill’.

The other group are young people. It does not take a genius to figure out that young people get into fights because they are going to try and prove themselves to others. I have seen a lot of people in their late teens or early twenties that have skills ‘devastate’ unskilled people that ‘crossed their paths’ in the wrong way.

Finally, we have the most dangerous group of skilled attackers that can cause you issues. This group I often refer to as the product of their environment.

These are people who have not had formal training yet as result of how they have been raised they are both skilled and have issues with anger.

These are the children that grew up in a violent home, or in an area where it was survival of the fittest. They have learned through trial and error, watching videos and YouTube how to grapple and punch, and they are experienced in real life violence having seen it and used it themselves.

It is these people that you meet up in the town centres on nights out. These are people that you would never meet normally except in a pub or club.

Ok so we know that people with skills can and do fight, how are you going to deal with them?

Well first off you need to be able to spot them.


How To Spot A Skilled Attacker

As a police officer deployed in the city centre a lot I was able to observe the behaviour of thousands of people, this gave me an unusual insight into self-defence.

What I learned was there is a pattern to highly skilled attackers that you can spot.

Here are some ways:

1. Physical Appearance

Anyone who trains regularly or has done should have some physical signs, not always but often. These tend to be broader shoulders, and they have an athletic appearance.

There are other signs to look out for such as ‘broken noses’, cauliflower ears if you have excellent eyesight perhaps you can see disfigured fingers or knuckles.

There are often more subtle signs as well. The way they carry themselves is a clue. They move in a different manner, oozing confidence as they walk or stand. Over time you learn to spot this ‘look’. It reminds you of how a Lion walks.

2.  Play Fighting

Yes, I know this sounds a bit odd, but these people actually try and play fight when they have had a drink. This playful sparring gives a lot of clues away, and you can start to see skill level easily.

3. Eye Stalking

A violent predator with bad intentions will be looking for an excuse and a target. You can tell in their eyes and a good way to spot these is to find them in the corner of a bar or club with their eyes looking around them at the same time as being in a  ‘bladed stance’.


How To Handle A Skilled Attacker: When They Want To Attack You

Ok, so we know how to spot these people but what happens if you have an experienced opponent wanting to fight you?

The first thing you have to become is a difficult target. By creating angles, using body mechanics and movement you will change the game.

This is a unique part of Defence Lab. If you have ever trained in DL, you will have seen the crazy angles, shapes and unusual strikes. A skilled attacker usually has a set type of experience, and this gives you an edge.

You will have heard ‘never grapple a grappler or try and out strike a striker’. The same applies in street fights/ self-defence situations. Never play their game.

If they are trying to drag you to the ground so they can kick you in the head (an often used tactic by street fighters), do everything you can not to go down even if you have superb ground skills.

If they are throwing haymakers at you, cover up (use your Shapes) and use the shapes as your weapons.

If they are coming straight at you, move to the side.

The first response most people try and do in a self-defence situation is to fight fire with fire. They hit you; you hit them back, they try and kick you, guess what you do the same, they want to go to the ground, you try and take them down.

Try and do the opposite and you will find that this takes them out of their game.

When you make the fight ‘harder’ for the opponent, this is a real ego killer because they will have believed this was going to be an ‘easy victory’. They never saw themselves having problems, and with only the slightest amount of effort, you can easily make them re-think.

Of course, this requires you to have a good level of ability yourself.

The next aspect in a street fight with a skilled attacker is to make them respect your power.

This sounds easy, but you want to hurt them in a way that sucks their ego and makes them think ‘oh no, what have I got myself into’.

If you are training DL techniques, elbows into the nose and mouth will do the trick as you smash and enter, but if not consider that a broken nose or tooth quickly gets their attention.

So if you think about it, you have refused to ‘play their game’ and just got the first ‘points on the board’ and inflicted harm.

Do you see how this is a better strategy than just saying ‘I would knock them out, or hit them hard’?

So what happens next?

By this point, (and it happens in split seconds) you will have totally destroyed the ego of a skilled attacker, and in my experience, they often look for a ‘bail out’.

They will back away and rethink, often looking for an excuse not to fight you.

This is where you need to stop legally because if you start to attack them, it becomes very difficult (in UK law) to justify self-defence.

Now I appreciate the negative people out there will say you should ‘go for the knockout’. Firstly that is absurd; you do not need to KO someone to win a street self-defence situation, you need to place them in a position where they are beaten and know it.

Secondly, not everyone can be knocked out easily. These one punch KO’s do not happen as often as people think.

So you need to be selective about your shots!



So there you have it, a quick look at how to deal with a skilled attacker.

There is no such thing as a 100% effective technique but you can really reduce the skill of anyone by refusing to go with their plan, fight back in the opposite fashion and you will find that their skill levels are not as impressive as they seem when things do not go to their plan!

Thanks for reading


If you go to Facebook or YouTube, you will see no end of experts teaching self-defence techniques, and the vast majority of the instructors are older guys who are telling you exactly how they would deal with an attack based on their own experiences and opinions.

The issue is that most of these situations you see on video are ‘surgical’. A man grabs an arm; you do this and then, etc.

You get the idea.

The reality of self-defence is far different. It is chaos, and if you are still training for these nice clean situation, you are not preparing for reality.

Check out the video below to see real violence in action; this is a 100 man brawl that took place in a  British Pub recently. That is the reality!

Ok so most fights have far fewer people involved, but this is the way it goes. In the street, the Marquis of Queensberry rules are out and ‘kick’ em, when they are down, is in!

So we have put together a list of 5 signs you need to watch out for to check if your self-defence training is out of date


1. You Only Train One on One

Groups attack people on their own because there is a diminished responsibility and a far higher chance of victory, which sucks if you are on the receiving end.

You can hit like a sledgehammer, be able to Oma Plata an Elephant and you can even crap lighting itself. None of it matters if you give the person on your blind side a free shot!

If you only train for one on one situations, you are missing out on what self-defence is all about, being in the worst situation possible and that starts with being outnumbered.

99% of martial arts train for one on one situations and spend years doing so when you need to start with multiple attackers from day one.


2. You Are Spending Too Much Time on Edged Weapons

We all love getting out the rubber knives and testing ourselves against a half-hearted attack from our training partner. It fills our ego with a sense of pride in our skills.

Training with a knife is very enjoyable and yes it does have a part in training, but it is a critical mistake to focus on worrying if the attacker does or does not have a knife on them.

Sadly too many instructors spend far too much time installing fear that everyone is ‘tooled up’ when they are walking around the streets.

This is not true.

The truth is that people carry knives for reasons that are far too complicated to go into here, however, if you lead a sensible life and live in an area with moderate to low crime the odds of you ever meeting someone with a knife on them reduces dramatically.

By taking basic crime prevention measures such as not walking home alone etc., you automatically reduce the risk of any knife related situations.

Now that is not to say you shouldn’t train knife defence because you should, but it needs to be put into perspective.

An example of this are instructors who try and test if you could tell if someone has a knife on them. This really doesn’t matter because they could have a knuckle duster on them which can be every bit as dangerous as a knife (some even have blades on them), they could have a broken bottle, a screwdriver or anything else.

So once again, you might be able to easily deal with a knife attacker because you spent 99% of your training doing this, but that is a really poor use of training time if you come unstuck against two unarmed and unskilled attackers that can finish you off in seconds.

Knife defence is sexy stuff, we know that, but you need to place it amongst your training and not let it dominate.


3. You’re Not Fit (and not getting any fitter)

If you have been going to self-defence training for a while now and that belly is not shrinking, and you are not getting any fitter you need to look at two areas.

  1. Your Lifestyle and 2. Your Training.

Like it or not fitness is a part of self-defence and if you are not fit enough to fight you are wasting your time learning because you will not have the fitness levels to perform the techniques under any degree of pressure.

If you are drinking 10 pints of beer a week and eating burgers as one of your five a day, then no amount of training will help.

Yet, a lot of self defence classes do not push the class and spend more time talking than they do training.

If that is your class leave and go and find another!


4. You Can’t Defend Off Your Back

“Never go to the ground in a street fight” blah, blah, blah!

I have heard this more times than I have had hot dinners.

However, it fails to take one thing into account, ‘what if your attacker puts you there!’

Grappling is now embedded into culture (it always was if we are honest) and therefore people are bringing those skills into the street, so regardless of if you say you will never go to the ground you need to learn how to fight off your back!


5. You Never Do Grappling/ Striking And Grappling

Ok, so this follows on from the not fighting off your back.

I do know people that are great in self-defence and train to fight off their backs, but this is where it stops.

A lot of this tends to be as a result of the audience/ students. In a female dominated class people stop at the old ‘fight off your back rape defence situation’.

The thing is, grappling is not one dimensional. You need to fight off your backs, knees, sides and also if you end up on the ground you need to know how to get up safely. This is all part of real grappling for the street.

The ‘I will never fight on the ground’ is all well and good until you end up down there.

Now you might not be learning all that due to an instructor’s lack of knowledge but as Andy Norman says ‘ If you can fight like Mike Tyson on your feet, you need to be able to fight like Tyson on your back, your knees and in all positions’.



You sign up for self-defence training, and you expect it to work. However what you often sign up for is the views and opinions/ experiences of the instructor.

This is not the same as learning self defence for the modern world.

If you really want to be able to protect yourself, you need to be less romantic about your systems and instead train for reality. If your current training is not meeting those goals, it is time to move.

Thanks for reading


I have trained martial arts for the vast majority of my life, and I have seen a lot of real violence.

Yet there is one aspect of self-defence that virtually no one ever talks about, the street kerb!

I am not sure why people never speak about one of the most sneaky and destructive elements of self-defence but it simply never comes up. I have seen street kerbs fell the biggest of fighters, change the entire complexity of a fight and also cause life changing injury.

So in this article, we will look at how you can train for the dreaded street kerb in self-defence situations.


Why Kerbs Hurt and Catch Us Out

Ok, who hasn’t tripped on a kerb and then tried to look cool afterwards, I know I have. The reason is that these little blocks of concrete are usually out of our visual field and if we are distracted we can easily be caught out

Tripping on a kerb is pretty harmless in everyday life, but in a self-defence situation, it can be a game changer. So this is an example of what can happen.

You are attacked in the street by a less skilled opponent. After he swings and misses, he grabs onto your chest and pushes you backwards.

He is drunk, overweight and has an attitude problem and simply due to his weight he manages to push you back slightly.

Suddenly your heel gets caught on the kerb, and you fall banging your head on the concrete, dazed and with blood coming out of your head the next thing you feel is the impact of the drunk guy’s size 10 in your face!

You were not defeated by a better fighter but by a tiny piece of concrete!

Ok I know that is quite a dramatic tale but the danger of street kerbs is rarely appreciated because so few attribute them as having any factor in the success or failure of self-defence situations.

However having viewed numerous real assaults and seen even more on CCTV footage I can tell you that they do play a major part in turning the tide of an altercation, especially when alcohol is involved.

Of course tripping over them is just one area, Kerbs present a serious issue as a secondary danger.

If you are knocked over anywhere near a kerb, your body can receive a  serious injury to the head or body if you land badly.

Simply put those little pieces of concrete we see every day can be dangerous!

So how can you train for this?


Going Old School

In Judo and many other contact martial arts, stepping out of the combat zone will receive a penalty, and this is something you can train for.

Training for this develops environmental awareness as no one wants to lose on penalty points.

But in self-defence situations we do not worry about penalty points so how can you start to develop environmental awareness in a location such as a church hall?

There are a few ways to do this and here are the simple ways.


1. Create Matted Training Areas

Rather than have people train on mats, instead lay them in the outline of a square so that the middle is the floor of the training location and the mats create a square outline.

The mats are the raised payment, and the edge is the kerb. By trying this, the coach can start to look at where your feet are during the drills and if you get caught out, let you know.

With some effort, you can start to use what boxers call ‘ring craft’ to make sure you are never near the kerb.


2. Focus Pad Throw Down

This is another sneaky low-cost way to improve environmental training. When you are training simply place focus pads down and a line, try and have no more than 10 in a line.

The great thing about this drill is that if the students knock into the pads and move the line, we can safely say their feet would have clipped the kerb.


3. The Line of Belts

If you have any karate or Judo belts, you can train the same concept by tying the belts together.


What Does This Achieve?

The aim of this is not really to tell a student ‘you would have fallen over’. We do not know this for sure.

The real aim of this is to teach a student that there are environmental hazards in a self-defence situation and they need not only to be aware of multiple opponents and weapons but also where they are standing.

No one said self-defence was going to be easy!

So what other dangers does this exercise help with?

Imagine you are fighting in a subway station. Clearly, the tracks/ drop down onto the track is a risk area you need to focus on.

If you get attacked on pavement, you need to think about the road. People do get run over while fighting!

Also, what if you are a security officer and end up tackling someone on a  walkway or roof, one wrong step and you could fall off the roof.

The list can go on!

When you are training at a gym or dojo it is really easy to be removed from the dangers of an environment; however, you still need to try and teach students about the risks (without exposing them to any).

With a little imagination, you can start to develop awareness of dangers that are well out of your visual field.


Thanks for reading


Defence Lab has grown quickly.  We have Labs all over the world, but even with our current number of labs, we just can not meet the global demand for our training information.

It was for this reason that Andy Norman decided to create the most comprehensive self-defence training system in the world today and make it available online.

This idea gave birth to the Defence Lab Virtual HQ.

Filmed using state of the art camera technology, multiple angles and awesome sound. This training programme is like nothing seen before in self-defence.

So what is it about?

Once you join the monthly membership programme, you will receive access to week one. The HQ uses ‘drip feed’ technology so that you will never be overwhelmed with information.  Month 1 comes at you with a fantastic 64 videos alone, so we will be bringing you the videos to you in the correct learning order.

This means that you will be able to learn at your speed but also in the right order. Building layer upon layer of technique and knowledge.

But what is it? Fighting? Self-defence? MMA? KFM? Or JKD?

This is the great part; Defence Lab has been called many things over the years by people who have never experienced what we do, now everyone has the chance to see what makes us so unique in our approach to street effective self defence.

You will see our unique approach to learning and also learn techniques never before seen on camera anywhere.

But does Andy Norman teach?

The answer to this is YES. Andy is showing everything in step by step. The man that taught Liam Neeson both in film and in his spare time, trained Tom Cruise and Christian Bale is now teaching you.

Andy has spent a lifetime training and teaching martial arts, and this experimentation and knowledge have allowed Defence Lab to grow into an amazing street combat system.

So what is inside?

Once logged in you will find a number of folders, each folder containing videos, and we add more every week.

Andy himself has prepared a superb walk through of the contents which you can watch in the link below.

But before you go and do this, remember this. We have added some material that you can access right now to give you a taste of the Virtual HQ at zero cost.

That’s right…free!

All you need to do is go and check it out and click the sales page for more information and access the free content.

So click here and check out our Virtual HQ system, you will not be disappointed.


Whenever we see an action film, we often see the central star take on a gang of machete-wielding thugs with nothing but his bare hands.

And yes while in our dinner times we would like to imagine ourselves as Jack Reacher, Jason Bourne and Ethan Hunt, sadly we aren’t.

For me, this is one of the major roadblocks to self-defence skill, a lack of awareness.

If you were to ask self-defence instructors about awareness most would talk about being aware of their surroundings and people following them etc.

While that is one way of looking at this, awareness actually starts with the self-defence student being self-aware of their capabilities compared with the ability of the attackers and guess what.

Your abilities change!


Would You Challenge A Guy With A Knife?

This is a question I do like to offer up to students from time to time. It starts like this:


  1. Would you challenge a man with a knife?

The answers I get can be “no” to, “it depends on XYZ”.

So I ask a variation.


  1. Would You Challenge A Man With A Knife Who Had It Out And Was Threatening Another Man?

This scenario changes things because a lot of people now start to think about the battle for their safety and the moral decision to get involved.


  1. Would You Challenge A Man With A Knife Who Was Threatening Another Man (Who Had His Kids With Him?)

Again this gets people thinking; most say yes at this point because they feel a need to help the man and also protect his children.


  1. Would You Challenge A Man With A Knife In Any Of Those Situations If You Were Drunk?

The final part of this series of questions encourages them to think of how they might react if heavily intoxicated.

I always start off with alcohol, but I also go on to use injury, illness and also the presence of a wife, partner, children, etc.

This exercise I have found strips away the bravado because it forces people to think about their safety and also the safety/consequences of their actions to others when their ability is compromised.

In the end, I often get asked what I would do. To which I always have one reply.

I never engage in a situation willingly unless I am 100% confident that I have the physical capability to deal with that situation, or that by doing nothing, serious harm could come to a vulnerable person that I could have prevented.

Ok, so what does this mean?

In a nutshell, If I do not get involved in anything unless there is a vulnerable person on the receiving end, and by a vulnerable person I do mean someone significantly weaker than myself, be it male or female, adult or child.

I do not possess magic powers that make my skin able to stop a blade penetrating it. I have a wife and kids who depend on me.

Now 99% of martial artists might read this and hit ‘ego overload.’ and talk about how they would jump in and help anyone, so let me tell this true story:

Some years ago I was made aware of a man who was stabbed. The story goes like this:

The man was an ex-soldier and was great at boxing and martial arts. He was out one night with friends and on his way back home (he was walking alone) he came across a man hitting a woman.

The ex-soldier was very drunk but saw the female as being vulnerable so he went across and told the male to stop. This man then pulled out a knife and stabbed the ex-soldier.

A witness then saw the female kick the ex-soldier repeatedly in the head while he was on the ground before they both fled in a taxi.

The ex-soldier survived, and the couple were never found. This is a real story of why you shouldn’t always leap into every situation.

You need to assess what is happening, albeit do it quickly.

But what can you do if you cannot fight/ get involved?

Simple, be an excellent witness.


How To Be A Great Witness

Self-defence is much like being a lifeguard. You can’t save anyone if you drown!

In self-defence, the term drowning can be changed to ‘are killed or hurt’.

So you need to be clear, if you intervene you must ensure that you have shouted up for backup before you jump in or even if you don’t.

By backup, I do mean ‘call the police’.

In almost every western country in the world, the police record phone calls to themselves and have an emergency response time of around 5 to 10 minutes but often a lot sooner.

So your phone call both acts as a call for support and also as a reference to say what was going on and that your intentions were positive no matter what happens.

This is a must do, no matter what is happening! Always put your safety first so make sure you have help on its way. Help for you and everyone that is.

After this comes the key decision time, do you get involved or not and remember what I said earlier:

Never engage in a situation willingly unless you are 100% confident that you have the physical capability to deal with that situation, or that by doing nothing harm could come to a vulnerable person. (instructors need to be wary about creating false confidence too)

So the scenario is simple. You are walking down the road (drunk), and you see a gang of 5 men attacking another man.

Let’s break this down.

You are drunk

You are outnumbered

You have no idea if they have weapons

At this point, you must be a good witness and not get involved so call the police.

However, this might change after you have called the police and you see that the man is unconscious, and you are now watching the men stamp on his head. As you know this is how people get killed so (having called the police) you decide to shout at the attackers and tell them to stop.

At this time one of three things will happen.

  1. They stop and run
  2. They turn on you
  3. They carry on anyway.

In each of these situations, you need to have done one thing, have a mental description of the attackers before the next stage (the police might ask you on the phone for these details, so being fast at getting them down is a good plan)


Building A Description

In any situation, you need to have the skill to quickly gain a good description and be able to recall that.

Fortunately, this is a skill you can work on time and time again and have fun with it.

So here goes:

Simply start at the top and work your way down.

Hair: Colour, style, length

Forehead: Was it big, wrinkled, had lines, etc

Eyebrows: Thick

Eyes: Colour, did they have glasses, etc

Nose: A thick nose, broken, flat

Cheekbones: High, chubby etc

Mouth:What were the lips like, anything distinctive

Teeth: Goofy, dirty, missing etc

Chin: short, large, double

Facial hair: Beard, moustache,trimmed or not


Face shape




Body type: Stocky, athletic, etc





Voice: Accent etc


Anything distinctive that would stand out

Make of clothing

Distance from you

Amount of time you saw them for

Do you wear glasses

Was there an obstruction to your vision


What lighting was it: Day or night, street lighting, etc.

There is a huge range of possible factors, and I am certain to have missed some, but you get the point.

You do not always nor can always get involved in a physical situation, but you can to the best of your ability be a good witness.

I cannot tell you how many times I took statements from people (when I was a police officer) and asked them what the attacker looked like. The reply often was “Err I don’t know.”

Anyone that is teaching self-defence needs also to educate people on how to become a great witness. Because this can be  just as important as learning how to fight!

Practise with a friend when you are out to see if you can describe a person in as much detail as possible with a few seconds of looking.

Have fun with it, but remember this is an essential skill!

Thanks for reading


If you took 100 self-defence instructors into a room and asked them for the definition of self-defence, you would get 100 different answers.

But for the purpose of this article, we are not going to discuss how you got into the situation, how you could avoid it or even if it is morally right. Nope, this article is simply going to tell you how to win any fight in 3 easy steps.


Let’s do this.


Step 1: Hit Hard

I have a particular irritant in self-defence in that 99.9% of people teaching have never experienced the reality of self-defence, yet are so strong on their opinions of what does or does not work.

So here is the first step, hit hard!

It doesn’t come any more straightforward than this so let me explain in detail.

I have witnessed hundreds of fights in my previous role in law enforcement, how? Because for years, I stood in town centres during the periods of the night when violence is more likely to occur.

One of the key things I observed was that no matter who started a fight, the one who landed the hardest strikes on target ended up the winner.

I use the term winner very loosely because in truth a winner can be the one getting arrested but in this article, we are not going ‘there’.

So how can you hit hard? Well, this is something you have to work on, but if you don’t drag your ass to training or train at home then hitting hard will never happen.


Step 2: Hit On Target

Sounds easy, hitting the face of another person. In reality, it is less than easy.

In any self-defence situation, you will find out quickly that a lot of opponents can hit very hard. This is, partly an illusion because a bare knuckle fist smashed into your face is rarely experienced, so it feels like a freight train.

The other aspect is that there are a lot of ‘handy’ people out there who did some boxing or martial arts but quit after they learned how to hit.

So you have to make every strike count! There is no point having the power of Mike Tyson if you can’t find the target.

Sparring and focus pad work are essential in this area because you need to be able to hit the spot with your strikes. If you train at home here is another tip.

Get a tennis ball and some string, put two holes either side of the ball and rope the string through and then hang the ball from a  washing line or a ceiling.

Then spend a few minutes each day working on techniques.


Step 3: Do Not Get Hit

Ok so now we are at the third step, but the one overlooked by many.

Imagine two cars going head on at 40 mph. What happens when they crash? The stronger/ heaviest car with the best safety features will be the vehicle that the occupants have the greatest chance of surviving in.

Self-defence is pretty similar. For example, if I went toe to toe/ head to head with a top boxer I would lose.

The solution is to build in some safety features to your fighting style. A classic example of this is the DL shapes system and body mechanics.

The shapes are designed to protect your head, and the body mechanics are the equivalent of a formula one steering system.

By learning how to move your body, you can get ‘off the road’ and hit your opponent with power and speed.  Also by using the ‘shapes’, you are taking your ‘car safety features’ from a family saloon to one of those trucks we see on the Mad Max films!


Step 4: Make Your Fitness Last

I have been fit enough to box and fat enough to get into a weight loss club and back again on numerous occasions.

Such is life! Injuries, work,  illness booze and food all can add up to flab collecting around your gut. However, I honestly believe you need to be fit enough to fight if your life depended on it.

This is a tough concept for people to grasp, after all, how fit do you need to be for self-defence? In truth, you do not know.

The only thing you can do is train as hard as you can. If you have a serious knee injury, that stops you going to classes you need to invest in some home training kit and do what you can.

This is never an ‘all or nothing’ situation.

However, when it comes to a real fight there are things to avoid doing that will help your fitness to last.

  1. Breathe: Sounds simple enough but people rarely learn to breathe while striking, make sure you practise this is in training!
  1. If you use a technique, go 100%. This again sounds simple enough, but so often I have seen people go in with 50% power because they are worried they might hurt ‘someone’. Sorry folks you are in a fight, this is not sparring. If you go 50%, you will likely have to use more strikes, expend more energy, and this gives your opponent a chance to hit you back!


Step 5: Use Your Best Techniques

This is one area that 99% of people never consider. What their best/ most effective techniques are.

Do you have a powerful hammer strike? Or are your elbow strikes the equivalent of having a baseball bat in your face, or perhaps you can deliver punches that are as fast as Vitor Belfort in his prime?

It does not matter what your ‘technique’ is but when the sh#t hits the fan it is not the time to ‘try something’.

Do yourself a favour and decide now what your most powerful and efficient techniques are and take those to the next level. It doesn’t mean that you will not learn or even use other techniques, but it makes no sense having 1000 techniques you perform with little power and skill.

Instead, work on your strengths and know them, so when it happens for real, you bring your A game.



So there we have five steps for winning any fight. The sound simple enough but how many instructors focus on this?

In every Defence Lab class, you will have a chance to develop power, work on your accuracy and improve your fitness. The Defence Lab strikes are designed to hit with power, and we have a range of techniques for every type of body size and shape so you are sure to find a technique that you will take to, like a  duck to water.

Check out our labs and book in for a session today!



As most of you know each year we hold a summer BBQ for you all, for free, as a way of saying thanks for being great students and a part of our defence lab community.

We will hold it on Saturday September 10th at Worcester woods country Park as usual.

Address and map:

We will be there at 12:00 and food will be ready around 13:00.

You are welcome to bring the family along and also any games you would like to bring!

If you have any dietary requirements please tell us prior, we will have a separate BBQ to cook alternative food on away from the meat!

Last year was awesome and this time it’s a bit later so more people can attend after the holiday season 👍

All the best and hope to see you there!

Rich, Martin, Mandy and Martin.
DL Worcester and Malvern.


You run a successful business, employ some great people and all is well. Then the phone rings, and it is an employee who can’t come in because they were attacked on their way home last night.

Sure, almost every type of human resources issue has come across your desk but not this one. You never considered it a possibility that one of your staff was attacked on their way home from work.

The rest of the team start getting nervous about walking to their cars, and suddenly you consider investing in security cameras,personal alarms and maybe self defence training, but why wait until then?

Many occupations are at risk of violence in the workplace these days. According to the UK Health and Safety Executive:

“There were estimated 569,000 incidents of violence at work according to the 2014/15 CSEW, comprising 308,000 assaults and 261,000 threats.”

The aspect of self-defence does not only affect business owners or managers. If you are self-employed, you are also at risk.


Life Changing Or Life Altering Violence

If you head over to the land of Facebook or YouTube, you will see an endless supply of videos showing everything from carjacking defence to ‘anti-kidnap’ techniques.

It is almost as if every type of self-defence instructor tries to ‘sell’ the worst case scenarios to try and hook more people. In actual truth, I have found those videos to be more off-putting and damaging to the self-defence industry.

People cannot relate to machine gun wielding maniacs when they are thinking about heading to the local bar with friends on Friday night. However it is those venues and environments that life altering injuries happen, let me explain.

To most people, the term ‘life changing’ is scary and so it should be. Change is to become something completely different, and when it comes to physical assault, this could mean to get blinded by a glass smashed into your face, or even suffer a severe head injury that causes brain damage. This level of injury can and does happen to people on a regular basis.

However, in my experience, I have found life ‘altering’ injuries far more widespread.

For example, I once knew a man that was a self-employed Gas Engineer. He loved his job and every day he set off installing home heating systems. Then one weekend his friend was celebrating a 30th birthday to which he was invited and off the group went to the local town centre.

After consuming a few beers, one of the group got into an issue with another man at the bar, and this escalated, and as the group left the bar, a fight broke out. The gas engineer was attacked and suffered a broken jaw, arm and shoulder as a result.

Now this might seem like a simple case of recovering from injuries, and all is well. However because of the nature of the injuries and the surgery required to fix them it was anticipated that he would not be able to work for six months.

So let us consider this; that is six months without income, six months trying to find money. No holiday for the family, no money for rent or the mortgage and the list goes on.

I know of a young female that was glassed on a night out because of mistaken identity and I know of an older man that lost all his front teeth due to being punched in the face repeatedly while out for a quiet drink with his friends.

Now these are injuries that we can get over. However, they have implications. They can and do ‘alter’ our lives both on a physical standpoint an emotional one.


What You Can Do


It is true that a little bit of self-defence training goes a long way, however, having no self-defence training goes nowhere.

The Defence Lab syllabus has been shown to provide effective self-defence tips in just a few hours of training due to the nature of our techniques.

So check out our pages to find an instructor near you and get in touch with them. They will be able to help you to book an efficient training programme for your staff that fits into your busy work schedule.


Do you ‘sell’ self-defence lessons? If so you are part of a tiny community.

Like it or not people do not think they need to learn self-defence.

People want to go to the pub, eat pizza and relax. Learning to protect themselves or their loved ones is far from their mind.

So when you ask people if they ‘want to learn self-defence’ you might get a yes but in all honesty, when you tell them the cost they look less than keen and yet again you have lost a potential student.

It may be a bitter pill to swallow, but the real reason people do not take self-defence lessons is nothing to do with the art, the system or even the person.

It is all down to you!

You have failed. Not because you aren’t a good teacher, you simply are not a good promoter of self-defence and in this article we are going to teach you how to change this.


Why Selling Self-Defence Is Not Evil

‘You are a phoney’, ‘You are a fraud.’, ‘You are just in it for the money’.

These are all comments I have heard said about people that make a good living teaching self-defence.

I have also heard people who do make a great living from self-defence telling others that ‘you just need to be a good teacher and not a sales person.’

Well, let’s clear this up right now. Selling is not evil, it is one of the finest professions in the world.

I am sitting right now at my table writing this article on my laptop. The laptop was ‘sold to me’ by a sales person and because of that sale you get to read the article. The sales person also made money so he will then spend his money on goods and services in the area that they live, the computer firm will make a profit so they can afford to pay their staff.

You get the idea; the world economy works because people sell.

So why would it be wrong to sell self-defence?

The answer is that it is not, and if you change your perspective, selling self-defence is not only ethical but essential. You are teaching people to stay safe in a world where physical violence is a part of daily life.

The sad truth is that too few self-defence instructors have spent any time learning how to sell their services, and this is an issue.


Selling Is A Transference Of Feeling

You love self-defence. You possibly started to learn about self-protection because you were bullied or assaulted and you never want another man, woman or child to feel the way you did.

It is that feeling that keeps you going day in and day out. It keeps you going when students don’t turn up. It keeps you going in the cold winters when all you want to do is stay in and keep warm.

That feeling is deep inside you; it is part of your DNA.

Now, what if I told you that you were not selling self-defence lessons. Instead, you need to find a way to transfer through words that feeling to another person.

What words would you use? What would you say to the mother with two teenage boys? What would you say to convey that feeling to the 35-year-old man who is overweight?

Your job as a self-defence instructor is to educate the potential student ethically about the benefits of your service.

You need to take that feeling in your DNA and transfer this to them.


Setting Up A Sales Mechanism

You might not know this, but the world of sales has changed. This little thing called the internet changed everything.

We don’t buy the same anymore. We research online in minutes, and if we do not get the answers, we want we go elsewhere or give up.

For the person selling self-defence lessons, this means your life got harder. You are fighting for the attention of your customers and battling for that attention is everything from cute cat videos on Facebook to the local gym promoting it’s kettlebell workout.

So when you eventually manage to get the ‘attention’ of someone who is interested in learning self-defence, what have you got for them? Do you have a dozen YouTube or Facebook videos that they can look at to see your teaching?

Do you have a website with a FAQ section? Do you have an email address, a phone number or even a free guide they can download to learn more about your classes?

Does your website answer every question they could ask about your business?

If it doesn’t, then you are risking losing the student. You want to make sure that your website answers everything they might ask you before they take that next step.


Handling Objections To Price

So you got a phone call from a prospective student, or you had a face to face meeting.

Maybe they saw your website, or maybe they didn’t. But then it starts, the objection to price:

‘I work shifts so I’m not paying full price because I can’t get there each week’.

‘It’s too expensive for me’.

‘The class down the road is much cheaper’.

Here is where you may lose the student because they are not saying no. They are simply saying that the ‘benefits’ of training with you are not larger that the pile of money you want them to hand over to you.

You have been given some fantastic feedback from them, so how are you going to use it?

I have a friend who gets angry and says ‘well that’s what it costs’.

Instead, you have another chance; they haven’t said no to you. They are asking to be convinced, and you have another chance to transfer that feeling you have for self-defence training to them.

What would I say to a person? It would depend on the audience but here is an example:

“Thanks for telling me how you feel, could I ask you what you feel is a reasonable price for training?”

“Err £30 a month.” (This is £26 less than what you charge so realise that you are not selling them £56 worth of training, but explaining the benefit of paying you £26 more)

“Ok, I totally understand. We charge £26 more than that which is over a year another £312.”

“However, that works out at just an extra £6 per week.”

“When I went on my journey in learning martial arts and self-defence I invested both time and money in learning the best system of self-defence. It is a system that I know that will keep you safe and it will give you the skills to protect yourself and your loved ones.”

“I chose to teach this system of self-defence because I want to provide something that works. It is what I train in, and my kids learn it as well. ”

” Now I am sure that you agree when it comes to your safety, and the safety of your loved ones that £6 extra is a small price to pay for a system that will help you to stay safe.”

Now you might choose to vary this yourself but breaking down the price is a great way to convincing the potential student of the benefits against cost.



‘Selling’ is part of life and it is an essential part of self-defence. If you have no students, then you have no income, and you will struggle to teach.

By becoming better at selling, you will be in a position to help more people to stay safe.

At Defence Lab, we spend time with our franchise owners to show them the best ways to gain new students. Combining our knowledge and that from franchise owners across the world, you will discover how to create a profitable self-defence business.

If you would like to learn more or be a part of Defence Lab, please get in touch.


I have been training martial arts since I was aged 8 (about 29 years).

I did karate, Jeet Kune Do, Judo, Ju Jitsu, Boxing, BJJ, Vale Tudo, Wrestling and even Aikido.

Also, I spent 17 years as a police officer.

So you could say; not only have I seen a lot of martial arts I have experienced and seen real violence.

Yet, one Defence Lab seminar changed my life so much that I now teach my son the techniques from Defence Lab.  In this article, I will explain exactly, what happened and why I now choose Defence Lab over every other self-defence system.

This is an in-depth article, and I make no apologies for this, it is designed to closely examine Defence Lab and what it offers.


The Martial Gap

If you have ever trained for the competitive sport you will know there is a basic premise; the training should be as intense and as close to the real competition as possible.

If you sprint 100 Metres, you won’t be running marathons to prepare. If you play football, you don’t practise Rugby throws.

This is evident in all sports except in training martial arts for self-defence.

If you go to any martial art, you train in the actual art.  In Judo, for example, we train in Gi’s, and practise breakfalls, throws and other techniques that are part of the art.

Self-defence is rarely addressed in Judo. There is a sort of ‘expectation’ that training in Judo will cross over and help you protect yourself.

The same applies for Aikido, Karate and a whole bunch of other arts. You go to a martial arts class and practise that art, in its form.

So, you train in martial arts for a lot of reasons but clearly an expected goal is that it should help you protect yourself. However in my experience, the real world of violence is a far cry from any martial arts class, and this creates a huge issue.

I call this ‘The Martial Gap’ and it is a real problem.


Reality Bites

I spent a lot of time in the past training in what many call ‘Reality Based Self Defence’. However, while much of it is still relevant, the world has evolved.

Skill levels are higher now than ever before due in part to the global explosion of things like the UFC, K1 and submission grappling. Yet at the same time, we saw the rise of combat sports we also saw the rise of what in Britain we called ‘The ASBO Generation’.

ASBO was a term coined by the government for Anti-social behaviour orders. A court ruling that placed restrictions on people whose behaviour was utterly appalling.

This generation came with an attitude and sadly it was often one well versed with violence. In my experience, they were often children that had suffered a ‘shitty’ upbringing, but unlike the MMA fans they often developed a style of fighting that was ‘pack like’.

With little training, they would surround people and without spoken tactics, they would each play a role in bringing stronger adversaries down to the floor where they would stamp and kick the opponent into a hospitalised state.

It was during these years of reflection and education that I realised there was a huge gap in my training.

Both in terms of the martial gap and the reality gap. My training just did not match the current ‘real’ world.

This is why I ended up trying Defence Lab


The Defence Lab Feeling

I had previously tried Keysi Fighting Method (the other system co-founded by Andy Norman) however I had found that KFM was too rigid for my uses.

Without a doubt, it was excellent however the world was evolving fast and based on my experiences I felt that the old KFM was a few steps behind the curve even if it was several steps ahead of the rest.

So I went to a seminar put on by Andy Norman to experience his exciting new system called Defence Lab.

From the moment I tried DL I realised that this was not a Keysi upgrade or copy, nor was it like anything that I had seen or trained before.

At first glance, people will, of course, see similarities between KFM and Defence Lab but anyone that trains in DL know that the similarities soon vanish.

The technique side fills ‘the martial gap’ by the fact that the DL team have reverse engineered combat. By this, I mean that they have addressed the common and worst of situations and then worked backwards.

Imagine the worst scenario? A group of lads trying to kick your head in on the floor. Well, that is Defence Lab lesson one.

Two against one in a nightclub with music on and lights switched off, well that was also covered in the seminar.

What impressed me more was the disappearance of the old ‘Thinking Man’ head cover which was replaced by an extremely fluid and natural ‘shape’ system.

Now I have to say this… Had the Defence Lab seminar not delivered the goods I would never have come back.

Like I say, I am no fool. I do not train anything that I do not think has value and since that seminar I have of course trained a lot of DL classes and seminars.

Those on the fence might still be wondering exactly why or what makes it so good.


What Makes Defence Lab Special


My son is at an age where he naturally explores his relationship with violence. This is no different than what I did and the combative and playful combine to make for exciting games of wrestling and boxing between father and son.

In these games I have been very clear on the guard position I introduce to him, this is of course shape one from the DL training.

The shape itself is a basic yet solid biomechanical structure that protects the head and is an easy movement to apply even under stress. If a 6-year-old can pull it off, anyone can.

If you are not using this structure in your system or training, you are missing out. It is perhaps one of the greatest revolutions in combat training to come about on a large scale.

Those that are ready to dismiss it do so largely because they try and apply/ copy it without understanding the other associated movements and techniques that go along with it.  To do this would be like learning an arm lock and saying that grappling was rubbish if you couldn’t get it to work.

Shape one is of course just a building block of a very intricate system that has depth. There are a lot of other aspects that make DL so special that are beyond the scope of this article, but I will try to address a few.

My primary concerns in self-defence are simple.

Is the opponent trained?

Is the opponent strong?

Is the opponent armed?

Are there multiple attackers?

When you examine a variety of martial arts, we see that they seem to fail in one or more than one of these areas. Some arts never address if the attackers are trained and there is an assumption they are an averagely skilled attacker.

Defence Lab deals with all of these aspects.

I am at a skill level and point in my life that I do not NEED self-defence training, so anything I do is a choice. My children, on the other hand, will need training, and they WILL be training in Defence Lab.

Whenever I tell people this, they seem to think there could be a hidden agenda or some ‘deal’ going on. I assure you that as a parent, I want what is best for my children.

I want my son and daughter to be able to defend themselves and offer resistance to an attacker should they choose to.

This is the thing; self-defence training gives you options. It places you in a position of strength.

Other people have had the same experience as a result of a Defence Lab event or seminar:

Constantine “Doc” Theoharis went to an event put on by Tony Torres in America and here is what he had to say about the event:

“Okay everyone, we’re gonna warm-up with a scene where

you are in a disco and a fight has broken out,” Tony said.

Thus the seminar started.

With a bar-fight.

In a disco. As our warm-up.

I stood there, as happy as I could ever remember being

and thought to myself:

This DL stuff, this is the sh– !”

Mikey Wright was an experienced martial artist long before he tried Defence Lab and this is what he had to say about DL:

“I was blown away by Andy and Paul’s ability and movement I had never seen anything like it before”.


It took just one seminar for me to decide DL was the right martial art/ self-defence system for both myself and my kids.

There is nothing else like this anywhere in the world today, and I urge people to not only look at it but either invest in sessions or online training so that you can see what I mean.

You can watch a thousand clips on YouTube and still not ‘get it’.

You need the components; you need to be trained, and you need actually to try it.

You might love what you train now and love your art. No one is saying ‘give up’ what you do, but we are saying that by keeping an open mind you might not only learn something but also enjoy it.

Defence Lab works with any martial art because it never seeks to replace an art but it compliments your skill set.

Thanks for reading