The self-defence world is full of opinions, and this joke sums it up.

“How many self-defence instructors does it take to screw in a light bulb?”

“The answer is 100. One to change the bulb and 99 to say it would not work on the street.”

I could go online right now and check Facebook or a forum and see people talking about what would or wouldn’t work in a real self-defence situation.

Sadly I am on the end of the conversations where people with zero experience in real violence try and tell me (an ex-cop of 17  years) what does and does not work in real life.

However, even after years of self-defence training, real experience and martial arts competitions; it took just one Defence Lab drill to make me see how vulnerable I was.

The drill?

Defence Lab calls it the four-man box.

What Is The 4 Man Box


Can you hit hard?

If so that is great. Now, have a training partner stand in front of you with the pads and hit them as hard as you can.

This gives you a really good feeling that you can protect yourself.

Now go and grab three other training partners and have them stand at the sides and behind you.

Give them a set of focus mitts and tell them to see if they can hit you while you still hit the pads of the guy in front.


Now I know what will happen when you do this with 99% of self-defence training; the answer is you will get hit, a lot!

OK so these are just focused pads, but in 1 minute and using just one drill you will see that your training is ineffective when confronted with more than one attacker.

This is a sobering thought for anyone and to be honest, this is now the industry standard test.

So what happens when you put your current training through this drill?

Right now you might be imagining your current skill set and think “I would grab here, move this way or do this”.

Stop thinking like this.

Self-defence has one simple truth; If they hit you hard, in the head, it is all over!

Once the ‘lights are out’ you can no longer defend yourself.

There is no escaping from this.

I have used this drill numerous times over the years to educate people on ‘what works’ and every time I use the drill people look shocked.

It is as if you have just reduced them to 5 years of age and stolen their puppy.

The thing is, I too was like that.

When I first tried the four-man box, I remember driving home and thinking to myself that my skill set sucked and if I was ever confronted by a group I hope they attacked me in a single file line.

So what is the solution?

Train For Reality Not Fantasy

Some time ago I heard an instructor talking about how all techniques should work with the idea the attacker has a knife.

I watched a demo of their slick skills which they had honed and then said: “OK that’s great, lets try that with four people, who all have knives.”

The instructor said straight away “but it won’t work with four people.”

And that was my point entirely. The minute you add numbers to the self-defence situation, it becomes more complicated.

This is the sad truth about the self-defence industry; people sell the ideal world.

They are selling the ‘if you grab here, do this and that’ then you will be safe and win.

The reality is that every self-defence situation could end your life. You could get hit by one punch and be knocked out, hit your head on the floor on the way down.

You could be stabbed by multiple attackers.

The attacker could have a knuckle duster

The list goes on, and the amount of potential variables in self-defence are staggering.

This is one of the core reasons I chose Defence Lab and what separates it from 99% of the other systems out there.

There is no ‘sell’ of what works and what doesn’t.

There is the investigation.

This is why we are called Defence Lab. It is a laboratory of self-defence.

Every Lab is a place where people can learn what does and doesn’t work, without the risk of being hurt and the 4 man box is just one example of this area of study.

The founder of Defence Lab is Andy Norman, and if you have ever met or spent time with Andy, you will know why he is considered one of the best self-defence instructors of all time.

Andy spends lots of time looking at situations, experimenting and checking out what works, and how things work when you add some pressure.

It is this approach that has lead to the constant innovation of Defence Lab as can be seen with techniques such as the Razor and many others.

For the first time, you are going to be able to learn the drills and techniques of  Defence Lab from anywhere in the world when the new Defence Lab online university goes live! It is within the programme you will start to see why so many people are training and teaching Defence Lab.

So what should you do now?

Go out and test your training by placing yourself in the 4 man box. Ask yourself how many times you are hit, could you survive with your current level of training and what options do you have?

The DL Online Lab is coming very soon, get ready for something truly special and until then check out the 4 man box below in this DL clip: