Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The bigger they are the harder they fall…really???

The next meeting / training clinic of Taiho Jutsu Minnesota is 2/25/12 at Mankato Martial Arts in Mankato MN
The training topic of the month is Takedowns.  As I’ve mentioned before besides training these clinics are designed to allow trainers and operators to brain storm ideas and solutions to problems encountered in the field. 
Skull sweat, thinking, problem solving, pressure testing – banging out solutions.
I can never guarantee that other trainers will bring up issues they are having at the class.  So I take an issue I am facing and incorporate into the lesson plan.
Last month the discussion topic was developing ways to actively train watching for and reacting to pre-attack indicators.  The results of that generated my last two blogs.
This time, to further foster brainstorming and garner more input from other Instructors I’m going to e-mail the Taiho Jutsu Minnesota network the discussion topic / question ahead of time.  And post it here as well.  That way they will have a couple of weeks to think about it before the training and I’m not just springing it on them.
Those of you reading this that will not be at the training in Mankato feel free to include your ideas on the comment section.  I’d like to your feedback on this too.
"Turn around and put your hands behind your back  - bub"

Discussion Topic: Fighting outside your weight class
The bigger they are the harder they fall

Most Law Enforcement DT Instructors and Military Combatives instructors are large males in good physical condition.  Traditionally these men are set in front of a recruit class as an exemplar.  This is what you should strive to be.  These men generally have been successful in the field and have returned to teach what has worked for them.

Returned to teach what has worked for large men in good physical condition. 
That is who trained most of us, and that is what they have trained us in.

Today’s topic of discussion -
What do you teach:
  • Small stature operators
  • Out of shape operators
  • Older operators
That works to control aggressive, large men, in good physical condition who want to harm them?

Ideally everyone in Law Enforcement and the Military would be lean and mean.  Unfortunately anyone who has taught these groups knows that is not the case.

Operators outside the large fit male demographic will have difficulty with techniques and strategies that only work for large fit males – duh

Many things can be overcome through hard work and training.  However, Operators who put themselves outside that demographic due to poor lifestyle choices have proven they will not do the hard work necessary on their own.

As Instructors we take on a large responsibility.  We take on the responsibility to keep our guys safe.  Even those guys that won’t take that responsibility for themselves.  If they get hurt or killed we will have to live with the question – what else could I have done to help them?

You can push for higher standards and testing.  You can push for more training.  But what can you do right now with the resources you have?

For civilian instructors that train Law Enforcement / Military, who is your nightmare opponent?
 - Bigger
OK, how much bigger?
– 3 weight classes up

UFC weight classes:
  • Heavyweight               - Over 205 lbs. to 265 lbs.
  • Light Heavyweight      - Over 185 lbs. to 205 lbs.
  • Middleweight              - Over 170 lbs. to 185 lbs.
  • Welterweight              - Over 155 lbs. to 170 lbs.
  • Lightweight                 - Over 145 lbs. to 155 lbs.

So 60 to 100 pounds heavier
 - Stronger
OK, How much stronger?
 - Meaner – disregards the rules, wants to hurt you
Fighting this guy would suck!

Now let’s give him the 1st attack by surprise from behind.

Do you have anything that can handle this nightmare?
This nightmare is what women face every minute of every day. 

If you don’t have anything that can beat that nightmare opponent, what are you teaching as women’s self defense?  What are you teaching cops?

The terms “fighting” and “weight class” have sport connotations.  The purpose of the question is to get Instructors out of a sports mind set.
Originally Judo had no weight classes.  You learned what worked for you against opponents of all different sizes.

I am not advocating complex Judo throws for Law Enforcement.
However, I hope asking these question and the training that results from striving to answer them will help operators:
  • Discover the principles of what makes those throws possible. 
  • Be able to teach those principles to others. 
  • And that the people they teach are able to use those principles to improvise / spontaneously create throws under pressure against a resisting subject that is larger than them.

I look foreward to your input on this.
Train hard, train smart, be safe


  1. good diagnosis of problem ---- CHICAGO POLICE CONTROL Tactics address the problem !!! We are the POLICE S.A.F.E.T.Y System as devised by a Secret service agent and a chicago police officer.

  2. Being always paired up with guys 4-5 weigh classes higher than me, I can testify to what you teach works. That foot sweep was pretty sweet ;-) And I especially love that you always cover the "what ifs" so when something does not go the way you wanted to (usually never does) you have something handed out to you on a platter.

  3. Being a big guy, over 205 lbs, I still am intimidated by larger more aggressive opponents. I fully understand the difficulties which can arise from these situations, and try and mentally prepare myself for these situations. With that said, when faced with a larger, faster, stronger opponent, I try to employ tactics which use this as my advantage, such as foot sweeps, hand throws, and trips. I try to stay away from any techniques which expose my back, neck, or head. I never under estimate my opponent, no matter what size they are, confidence is key, but cockiness will get you killed or badly injuried.