Hard Target founder Aidan Carroll was recently invited to the UK as a guest instructor on “The Fear Cure” Seminar. Anthony Somers (5th Dan) under Geoff Thompson kicked off the day with a brief introduction. Tony began the warm up with some basic clinch drills and pad work. Once the nerves had settled a little Tony then explained the importance of protecting personal space using the famous “Fence” technique.

It was a real privilege to watch Geoff Thompson’s highest graded instructor teach the “Fence” with such clarity and expertise. Tony is a pioneer of modern Combatives and a veteran of Thompson’s infamous “Animal Day” training methods.

It was obvious to all in attendance the years of knowledge Tony has under his belt, as he flowed seamlessly through his instructional, instinctively aware of the various levels of all in attendance.

Also teaching on the seminar was Gary Anderson who pressure tested the students with his ‘Bullet Man’ drills and scenario training. This was new to many of the participants and Gary did an excellent job, fully demonstrating the realities of street conflict.

Gary emphasized the importance of awareness, understanding body language signals, pre-emptive striking, verbal dissuasion skills and most importantly – keeping the ego in check and knowing when to walk away. Great work from Gary.

Our own Aidan Carroll’s module addressed the unsettling prospect of defending against an edged weapon. Knife defence tactics is a regular part of all Hard Target classes and seminars and to many of the participants, this was an area of combative training that was new to them.

With this in mind Aidan assumed that everyone is a complete beginner, this allowed all students to progress at the same level and slowly absorb the fundamentals of knife defence training.

As part of his introduction Aidan dispelled many myths often associated with knife defences. Carroll explained
“It’s not like anything you see in the movies or traditional Martial Art demonstrations, it’s ugly, unpredictable and don’t even think about trying to disarm the bad guy unless he’s unconsciousness!” Carroll continued to say “Violence is ugly, so I’m not going to do you an injustice by trying to sugar coat it with fancy fine motor skill techniques”

Aidan also underlined the importance of feigning compliancy and giving the bad guy anything that can be replaced. IE; wallet, keys, car etc., but stressed we must be willing to fight tooth and nail if a predator tries to move you or a loved one from A to B. Carroll chillingly emphasized this point by saying “point B is where bodies are found, we must never got to point B.”

With this unsettling thought, Carroll then demonstrated what to do (and what not to do) if you are being held up at knife point. Physically, he explained the technique is easy, “I can show you all how to do the defence with as little as 10-15 minutes of training. However the mental training will take many hours of pressure testing for it to become instinctive under massive adrenaline stress”. He then stressed the importance of regular pressure testing. Training the mind to become comfortable in uncomfortable situations.

Simply put…how you train is how you react.

Thanks to all who attended and for the very warm welcome. Looking forward to the next seminar.

Report by D. Brennan