Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Realistic training & some tips!

One of my main influences and instructors, Dave Turton, teaches a very valid training concept which he calls “The Sandwich Theory” when it comes to training your self-defence realistically. The point he is trying to get across with this, is that all situations have a start, middle or finish (thinking about a sandwich first slice of bread, filling, second slice, now I am getting hungry, mmm, ham, cheese and pickle, lovely) Sorry, got distracted there.

Getting back to the point, most martial arts systems teach how to defend against attacks, usually in the manner of “the attacker grabs you, you do this defence”, “when the attacker punches, you do this”. Now if we relate this to a sandwich all we are getting here is the filling.

Now this can be beneficial when we are trying to introduce, teach and learn a new technique but eventually you will have to put it into application in a more realistic scenario (and if you’re not doing scenario training, why not?).

Once you have mastered the basic defence you will need to introduce the first slice of bread, in a self-defence situation this is more often than not a verbal opening. Right now you are probably saying what about muggings or ambush attacks? They may not include any verbal and you’re correct but this is where your awareness training comes in to play. Train for these too, but please do not discount training the early stages of an altercation; by doing so you will be losing vital chances to train not only your fence, but also training how to verbally diffuse a situation amongst other things. Have your training partner verbally assault you, this introduces a good bit of pressure and raises your adrenaline levels. Have them push and shove you whilst you practise trying to talk your way out or set up a pre-emptive strike.

Remember we are trying to control the whole situation, not just the physical attack.

Also train how you will finish your defence. Remember, we are training for self-defence and our priority is to get home safely. We want to be able to escape from the situation as quickly as we can.

If we have controlled the altercation verbally, by using the fence and controlling the space and distance around and between us and the attacker, we may be able to escape without it going physical. That is great, job done. But also think about your physical response. How have you controlled your attacker? If you have used an impact technique you may well be able to escape with- out getting tied up and grappling, but if you have ended up grappling and have finished your defence with a lock, or submission hold for example how do you escape from that safely? Have you tied yourself up grappling with the attacker so much you cannot deal with another attacker suddenly coming in? Have you tied yourself up whilst trying to control your attacker so much that to release him would put yourself back into danger? These are all points that you need to consider.

I hope this has given you something to think about. Anyway, moving on at this time of year everyone likes to go out, have a few drinks but it is important that you always keep your safety in mind. I would like to close this blog by offering a few safety tips:

Plan your night out and journey to and from your destination, make sure you let people know where you are going to be and when you expect to get home.
Never accept a drink from anyone you do not completely trust.

Know your limits when it comes to how much alcohol you can handle, don’t be pressured in to drinking more if you feel you have had enough.

Think about how you are going to get home at the end of the night, pre-book your taxi with a reputable company. Better still, try to get one of your friends not to drink so they can drive and drop everyone home safely, or arrange a friend or a member of your family to pick you up. If you’re arranging a pre-booked taxi get the cab firm to text you the make of car and the registration number so you know you are getting in the correct cab. If you’re a lady, then request a female driver if possible.

Make sure you have a number of a couple of taxi firms on you, have them stored in your phone and also written down and stored in your purse / wallet in case you lose your phone or the battery runs out.

Ensure your phone is fully charged and you have credit if on a pre-pay phone.
Trust your instincts.

I do not want to make you paranoid but just a little awareness can make this party season a little safer and hopefully allow you to enjoy it to the full.
As usual, I welcome any comments and questions.

I would like to wish all my readers a very Merry Christmas and a prosperous 2012.

Have fun and remember to stay safe.


 To find out more about Rider Martial Arts visit: http://www.ridermartialarts.webs.com
 You can e-mail Stuart at: stuart.rider@hotmail.co.uk

Friday, 11 November 2011

The Healing Arts

Well I missed the last submission date for my blog due to having quite a large workload from University, but hopefully this won’t happen that often.
I have decided to make this blog tie in with what I am studying at Uni and my martial arts as I feel they are two sides of the same coin.
I am currently in my 2nd year studying Complementary Healthcare B.A. (Hons.) specialising in Aromatherapy. For those that do not know me, I am already trained in various holistic therapies including massage, reiki, reflexology and aromatherapy but as is my nature I have decided to pursue this to a higher level.

What’s this got to do with martial arts you may be asking, and that is a good question. As already mentioned I see my martial arts and complementary and alternative therapies as the two sides of the same coin.

Traditionally martial arts have always gone hand in hand. As an instructor who focuses on the self-defence / protection aspects of martial arts, I believe that self-defence starts with the “self” and not only includes developing your awareness and physical skills but should also include defending against poor health and the general aches and pains of growing older.

 If we briefly look at traditional arts then we know that Tai Chi and Chi Kung are popular arts that emphasise health; other arts also include healing methods as part of their system. Take Inosanto Kali, this art is divided in to 12 areas of training, with the 12th area including healing into the curriculum. I would just like to add that I have no personal experience of the healing methods taught in this area but have trained in the past within this art. When I was training in Kali, my Instructor at the time, Guro Ralph Jones, had as a requirement that any student who wanted to be an instructor had to gain a first aid certificate. This he felt was the minimum requirement and probably the closest most students in the west would have access to without having to spend years studying a healing art. Ju-Jitsu and Judo used to teach Kuatsu as part of the art and unfortunately these methods I feel are dying out and becoming a lost art within the martial arts.

Do I believe, everyone should look to learning these methods? Absolutely not. All I am trying to do is get people thinking and hopefully investigate how they can develop to become a more complete and holistic martial artist.

As usual, I welcome any comments and questions.

Stay safe, stay healthy and have fun


To find out more about Rider Martial Arts visit: http://www.ridermartialarts.webs.com/
You can e-mail Stuart at: stuart.rider@hotmail.co.uk

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

On the Soap Box!

Thanks for taking the time to read my thoughts, this month I want to get something off my chest. There are a number of things that bug the hell out of me about the martial arts, or more specifically- certain groups of martial artists.

The first group is people who watch a clip on YouTube (or similar sites) and go on and tell you that an art or system is a load of rubbish and won’t work in the cage, on the street etc. How can you tell from a clip that can last for anything from 30 seconds up to 10 minutes? You just cannot do it. You can get an understanding of the person(s) skill level performing on the video but you cannot get an in depth knowledge of the art in that time.

Personally I have respect for ALL martial arts. What annoys me is when groups and individuals promote their art(s) as something they are not. For example, competitive arts that claim they are also the ultimate self defence system and then only teach ring based, rules restricted methods without teaching other aspects of self
defence/self protection such as verbal de-escalation, awareness, avoidance etc.

However, if the art is promoted in the context of what they are and what they can teach you, sport, traditional methods, self protection and so on, then they will get my respect. This does not mean that I will want to train for any length of time in that art but I may give it a try, just to see what they are about. When looking at other arts what I am looking for ultimately is the principles and concepts that they teach, rather than just the techniques. It is these principles that I will take away and see if I can integrate them in what I already know and understand.

This kind of leads me on to one of my other bug bears - people that insist that this does not work or that does not work. How many times have you heard people say, “Well you don’t see it being used in cage fighting so it can’t work.” Sorry but complete crap. Yeah this is a great testing ground but not the only one out there.

Quick example, not the best one but it will get the point across: Before UFC 129, if you had asked an MMA fighter if a jumping front kick would work in the cage, I reckon the majority would have answered no. But we saw Machida knock out Randy Couture with it. Let’s look at it from a different perspective, would a jumping front kick work in a street environment, who can say, perhaps, you may not be able to pull it off in a ram packed night club or if you’re wearing slightly restrictive clothing, high heels (you get the point) but you may be able to pull it off if you are just out of the gym, dojo, still slightly pumped from training, warmed up then yeah who can say it can’t be pulled off. These examples are a little extreme but hopefully it is getting my point across.

Ok, that’s me off my soap box. More next month, till then stay safe, train hard and have fun!

To find out more about Rider Martial Arts visit: http://www.ridermartialarts.webs.com/
 You can e-mail Stuart at: stuart.rider@hotmail.co.uk

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Thinking outside the box...

Ok, I hope your enjoying the blogs so far. This one will hopefully get you thinking a little bit and looking at your training slightly differently.
First of all, I have a question for you. Ultimately, how many ranges of fighting are there? Long range, medium Range and close range or do you break it down into, kicking, punching, trapping, vertical grappling and ground fighting? 
You can even add verbal range or if you want to think outside the box, long range weapons. But for the sake of this blog let's rein it in a little. So, what is your answer, 3, 4,5? Want to know the right answer, ONE, yes that is right, ONE. Ultimately there is ONE range of fighting. Why? Because at the end of the day you are either fighting or you're not, end of. All the other ranges, kicking, punching etc are just ranges to develop yourself as a martial artist, combat athlete; however you want to view yourself. Remember though, my focus is to give you the edge on the street and here we cannot stick to the rules. We need to think outside of the box.
Just to make it easier, let me give you a couple of examples. The first one is a little extreme but it gets the point across.
You are in a fight and your opponent throws a kick at you which you just happen to catch. Your response is to take a bite of their leg. So which range are you in, Kicking or grappling? Neither...you are in fighting range. Another example, you are on your back and your attacker is in your guard, you need to get to your feet asap and start to kick him (back heel, you can picture it) in his kidneys. I ask you again, what range are you in, ground grappling or just fighting on the ground or just fighting. I hope you can see where I am now coming from. Try not to limit yourself and your perspective of fighting by being influenced by trends, arts and having a narrow mind. 
The different ranges of combat everyone talks about are there just as a way to develop oneself in whatever art they train. Breaking down the different weapons in ones arsenal into ranges allows it easier to train individual principles, techniques and tools. It is the integration of these that will make you a more complete martial artist.
I am going to leave it there for this month as I also want to make this the theme for next month's blog and expand on my thoughts some more. But as always I welcome any questions you may have.
Until then, stay safe, train safe and have fun.

To find out more about Rider Martial Arts visit: http://www.ridermartialarts.webs.com/
 You can e-mail Stuart at: stuart.rider@hotmail.co.uk

Monday, 5 September 2011


Just one of the principles I teach is that of “Adapt – Apply-Create” . This is one of the many principles drummed into me whilst training with Dave Turton. What I intend with this blog is to go into each of them briefly. I say briefly as there are many layers to these principles, if people like what they read though, just get in touch and I can go into them in more depth if requested.
So, starting with the first of these “Adapt”.  It is vital that each technique we are taught is adapted to suit us, the individual, be it something as basic as stances through to how you “apply” any specific  technique. Another point we must remember is that we must “adapt” what we are training for it to work in the environment that we need them to. Quick example, if you only train within a combative sport arena, (boxing, mma, kick boxing etc) then will these sports prepare you to defend yourself against someone trying to gut you open with a Stanley blade?  Don’t get me wrong, training in these arts will make you a good fighter but fighting, self protection and self defence are different, require different training, yes there are crossovers but you will need to “adapt” techniques, training methods and principles for them to be more effective for your favoured (or required) environment.
“Apply” – With any tool or technique in your arsenal you must be able to apply the technique against a resisting opponent. Each and every move should be trained gradually against increasing levels of pressure in order for one to be able to apply them effectively. This is where pressure testing comes in. We are not talking jumping straight in with “Animal Day” style pressure testing. There are many levels of pressure testing we can incorporate into our training. Restrictive sparring is just one of the methods used within the Rider Martial Arts System. Basic drills such as using specific techniques only. A quick example, using a lead straight (Jab) in sparring or only being able to submit your partner using a rear naked strangle. Doing drills like this will make your weaker techniques stronger and make you a better martial artist. Without the ability to “apply” your techniques, then you are wasting your time.
“Create” – One of the most restricting training methods is where students are expected to learn specific  follow ups for their self defence training, let me give you an example of what I mean:-
Attacker grabs you in a front strangle, you react with a palm heel strike, round elbow and finish with a knee strike! (or something similar) anyway once this is learnt you are then expected to remember and perform this ad-nauseam at every grading, class etc.
I term this as alphabet learning and is something that I really only teach to absolute beginners. Once they have been training for a while I expect them to become more creative and not follow an A,B,C,D, routine. Instead they should be using an A, B whatever free flow method.
Another way of becoming more creative in your training is by having a good training partner. It is vital that your partner reacts in a way that is congruent to what you’re doing. Another quick example, your opening move is a groin shot, a good partner should react in a way that represents  being struck in the groin, ie staggering away, dropping to the floor, bending over to protect this area, something that is a natural reaction. This allows you to “adapt” to the situation and become creative. An incorrect response / follow up would be opening with a groin shot and following up with a jab / cross finish, (yeah great on the pads for attribute development but not when training for correct application of tools for a self defence scenario).  Why, because in reality your opponent should not still be standing tall directly in front of you. Much more likely that they have moved away from you and so you need to adapt to this situation, apply foot work etc to close the distance or run away and create from the situation as determined by how the opponent has reacted to your opening move.
Anyway, that was just a brief intro to these principles. I hope you get where i am coming from, feel free to contact me if you want to discuss this further.
Until next time, stay safe and have fun.

To find out more about Rider Martial Arts visit: http://www.ridermartialarts.webs.com/
 You can e-mail Stuart at: stuart.rider@hotmail.co.uk

A bit about me...

I suppose with this being my first blog I had better introduce myself. Before doing so I would like to thank Phil for inviting me to become one of the regular bloggers for Martial News. 
So, back to a bit about me and my background.  Very briefly, I have been training in the martial arts for 20+ years and studied various styles. I hold grades of various levels in different styles including Choi Kwang Do, Free Style Martial Arts, JKD, Kali and SDF Self Defence. For a number of years I was a senior representative and assessor for the Self Defence Federation under Dave Turton.
As well as my experience and qualifications in Martial Arts and Self Defence I am also qualified as a Holistic and Complementary Therapist. Under this heading i am trained in Holistic Massage, Aromatherapy and Reflexology. I am also certified as a Master / Teacher in Usui Reiki. My reason for training in these methods is that they have given me a better understanding of the human body and as such makes me more holistic as a martial artist.
These days I teach what I term as the Rider Martial Arts System, now I know that many of you will think that it is really egotistical of me to name what I teach after myself  the reason I have decided to use the name Rider Martial Arts is simple really. It is just because it is very difficult to come up with a name that describes the system that someone else is not already using in some form or another. There is No egotistical reason for using my own name, at all. If you look at other arts though you will see it is not that unusual either. Just a few examples are, Sayoc Kali, Illustrisimo Kalis, Floro Fighting System, and probably one of the most recognisable in this day and age, Gracie Ju Jitsu. Also look at many of the Chinese Arts and you will see the family name used frequently. In no way am I comparing myself or my skill level to these superb martial artists I am just pointing out that it is not uncommon. The Rider Martial Arts System is basically my personal interpretation and expression of the martial arts and self defence methods i have studied and trained in.
The methods and principles I teach are not competition orientated. We do not train for competition although with some tweeks here and there to the training methods it can and has been done. Also I do not class the system as Mixed Martial Arts (MMA). With the popularity of MMA and number of people training, fighting and instructing in MMA these days, I personally class MMA as a Combat Sport with its own identity. But there is a paradox when we are talking about the methods I teach and MMA, as both methods of combat draw from a mix of different martial arts. This however is nothing new and if you investigate various martial arts styles over history you will find this has always been done.
Just a quick note, It would have been easy for me just to mention the arts that have influenced me but I believe it is important to pay tribute and respect to the instructors that have influenced me. Their teaching manner, professionalism etc have had as much of an influence and made me the instructor I am today.
Over the coming months I intend to cover a whole range of topics that I hope you will find interesting. This will range from training methods as well as combative principles and concepts that I teach. My general thoughts about the martial arts as well as the information on Reiki and other holistic therapies. Hopefully you will find this informative and may get you thinking.

To find out more about Rider Martial Arts visit: http://www.ridermartialarts.webs.com/
 You can e-mail Stuart at: stuart.rider@hotmail.co.uk