Coming from a boxing background it was very difficult, no I mean impossible to think or consider that there are more powerful options for striking than a cross, hook or uppercut.
I mean I have lost count of the amount of strikes I have seen in boxing where people are 'out cold' from one of those shots. However I had to 'feel' a hammer strike before I could believe it!
It was actually at a Defence Lab seminar that I got to experience my first hammer strike and that was the moment I was hooked! The sheer power transmitted through the pad and I know that the shot would have caused untold damage had it been in my face. But that wasnt the real reason I was so impressed, it was the speed it was delivered with. This was lighting fast!!!
I have been around the block. 17 years in the police, a boxer, a Judo player and I was even a pro boxing official working at world title events but despite this when I saw the Hammer's from Defence Lab in action I was blown away. Then Just when I thought I couldn't be blown away any more Andy Norman and Paul Strauther just sent me into orbit with this next aspect!
In Defence Lab the Hammer strike or Hammer fist plays an important part of the training but it is part of a larger technical curriculum that has over 200 drills from standing alone and at this seminar Andy and Paul showed me the Hammer in combination. You see its at this point that the imitators of the DL shapes became just that- 'Bad Copies' because Andy showed the depth of the system in a few seconds.
It was like reading a whole book and learning that you have just only read the introduction- that's how I felt about my life in self defence training at that point! and that's why I am on a mission to master Defence Lab and become an instructor. Not because I think its cool (which it is) but because it works and works well!
In Defence Lab the Hammer strikes roll just like I used to throw hooks and straights in boxing, its like being a child in a sweet shop. All of a sudden I have been given strikes more powerful than my other techniques but it is the unique way that Defence lab uses them that is why they are so magical.
If you take what we refer to as Shape 1 for example. From here you can block, crash or enter and then flow into a range of combinations that would leave anyone in a heap on the floor. However this is all done from a position or shape that protects the head!
This is what the people that try and copy DL don't seem to understand. The depth that each technique has could require a lifetime to study, yet a student can be really effective in a short space of time!
Lets take a look at some video of DL Roma and its Lead Instructor Dorian Colombi in action showing a variety of techniques:
I am sure you can now start to see the Hammers in action and in combination with the shapes. Now add another 198 drills and variations and you are starting to get a grasp of just how amazing and powerful the Defence Lab training is.
The power behind the Hammer strike has a lot to do with the way our body generates power. The basic straight right punch used in boxing has a range of issues that make it a very difficult to actually perform. For starters you have to take your punch and push it in a straight line. This requires a large quantity of control and body mechanics, without the body mechanics the strike simply wont be powerful. However the hammer is a natural movement. Our arms follow a very natural path as all that really is required is for us to straighten our arm as we swing it downwards.
Just look at the ability to use a sledge hammer. Yes I know that this a piece of equipment but the mechanics remain the same, the strike is using a very natural muscular movement beacsue we contract our arms as we lift the hammer and then straighten as we deliver the hammer . Our arm is designed to bend and straighten which is why we have biceps and triceps!
Now when you start to add the Defence Lab body mechanics to this strike we see the potential of the power of this strike, but putting it all together is the key to Defence Lab and it takes time and training!
If you own DL Pack 1 then you will have seen the DL ground training and how it uses Hammer strikes. If not then we have an old video showing Defence Lab founder Andy Norman in action and using his Hammer strikes. Now since this Video Andy changed his training to make it much better and gave birth to Defence Lab but you will see the early steps in this evolution in this video. You will also get to see Andy nailing hammer fists in combination. We have placed these 3 videos on here for pure value!
Now I Know that this will wet your appetite because its pure class, but Andy Norman has evolved this type of training to another level!! You are seeing footage form a long long time ago so imagine just what it is like now.
But we also understand that Defence Labs are not everywhere, no matter how much we would like them to be growth takes time. For this reason we have created an on line university that goes live very soon!!!
In this on line facility you will get to see Andy Norman in action along with the rest of Team Storm and you will be blown away with what you see but more importantly you will see some amazing drills and techniques that will take your hammers and the rest of your game to a new level.
To finish off I will let you see some footage of a Defence Lab workshop and again you will see Hammers in action!
The bottom line is that Hammer strikes are amazing and DL has taken them to a new level. The hammers got me hooked and I know if you try DL then you will be too!!
Until next time shifters
Most people have no idea what happens in a fight or self defence situation however let me tell you that it ain't pretty.
Lets take the average street fight. You are out on the town with the girlfriend or your mates and its the end of the evening. Straight to the kebab house we go.
So here we are ordering a large lamb kebab and some idiot who has decided to cause trouble has taken offence at YOU. I mean this cant be happening to you, here you are at the end of a great night out and this guy who is coked up and drunk wants to fight with you. All you really want to do is eat your food and go home.
Then it happens........ He swings a punch at your head and instinctively you hit the Obliterater (People who own DL pack 1 will know what this is) and the guy is out cold. Your hammer and strike did the job and all those months training DL were worth it. But wait a second...... you have a guy out cold at your feet and you hear those police sirens coming. What do you do now?
The video below is a 'kebab shop fight' that you need to watch and study to see real violence in action. You will see and learn a great deal from this because you will see how the dynamics of a fight quickly change and innocent bystanders can get hurt
The subject of self defence is vast, and just a random stroll on the internet will serve up more experts on the subject and I have heard every type of bravado you can imagine but I have never seen a comfortable defendant in a crown court. Yet if you get the aftermath of a fight wrong that's exactly where you will be, no matter if you were in the right or wrong.
Now lets be clear this isnt a lesson in the legal aspect of self defence which differs country to country. This instead a lesson in moral and ethical self protection and we will address some key issues. So lets get back to our original scenario.
1. The Man is out Cold!! Do you stay or do you go?
This is a situation that you need to address at the time but I ask you this, if you flee the scene do you look guilty or innocent?
2. Do you Offer the Male first Aid if You Know it or If you Dont What could Happen to You?
3. What If He Gets Up Again and Still Wants to Fight?
The above questions are ignored by 99% of the worlds martial arts experts but here at Defence Lab we need to focus on the things that are important to our students and this goes far beyond just being a self defence lesson you attend each week. Defence Lab offers the ability to learn online both for free at Andy Norman.tv and also via this blog.
When you defend yourself you inflict physical damage on another human being and regardless of if you are justified or not this is actually still an assault. The only reason you can justify this is self defence.
Now put yourself into the shoes of a cop, you arrive at this kebab house and find a guy knocked out on the floor and you standing there over him. What would be your first thought? Would you really think that you were the innocent person or the guilty one?
I think you can understand. But what if you had left prior to the police arrival but later tracked down because of the CCTV in the kebab house. Do you think that it would be easy to explain that you were the victim?
I am not saying that this is an easy situation but it happens and it happens a lot. This guy has just attacked you and you used reasonable force to defend yourself and now he is the victim, it doesn't seem right and it isn't but you need to take action to sort this out.
Firstly don't panic! This is the worst thing you can do.
Yes this wasn't a great thing that has happened but it has so we need to find a way of letting the truth about this incident be easily discovered. However dont expect all the random strangers watching to all the police and tell them that it was you that was attacked first, trust me they will be thinking of getting home and eating their kebab and not proving your innocence. So what should we do?
Get out your phone and politely ask to video them, ask them for their name and address and say what they saw. It might be a few words like "John Smith from 41 Liverpool street and that guy attacked you first". Or you can simply get the notes application out on your phone and get their names. But when you have adrenaline rushing through your body your hands may be shaking and being able to type may not be possible so video may be a great option.
This may sound un realistic but this type of thing is excellent and given that your phone is likely to have video function you should get this sorted asap to help justify why you have just KO'd a guy!!
Whatever way you look at it your aim should be to preserve your life first however what about the attackers?
Now the macho attitude is "so what", but what would happen if he had a serious injury? What if you have a first aid qualification and you did nothing?
This may sound over dramatic but unless you have been to crown court you will not understand just how these details can make a difference. Just by showing that you actually considered treating for first aid but couldnt because of X,Y,Z may go a long way to helping build your case for self defence. We are not saying you should or shouldnt treat for first aid, the circumstances will dictate everything but consider it.
This next video is very disturbing.
The story is of a female named Nikki Brewer. She was attacked and suffered life changing injuries but even despite the police catching him he walked free either due to a police error or a loop hole. Read the article here and watch the video below
You might go out this weekend and not be looking for any trouble and don't want any, but sadly due to the world having an abundance of not very nice people you desire for a great and trouble free night out may not go to plan.
This is sad but a fact of life. It doesnt matter if you wanted to get involved or not, that doesnt matter. You are there and you need to think about YOUR future.
If you train in Defence Lab then you will have a great set of skills to help you but the aftermath of a fight will be strange ground. How you react is going to be key. Like we said dont panic but above all realise that if you start screaming or shouting then it reflects on how you have dealt with this situation. If you start pulling your shirt off and being all angry it will be a little harder to convince people that the hammer strike you just smashed a guys face with was done in self defence.
The below video shows the classic shirt off situation. Who looks the idiot?
Ok now we are onto the serious side. You have attacked in self defence but the guy who attacked you is on his way to the hospital and the police are taking you to a cell.
Its the height of unfair isnt it! But this is where 99% of people go wrong. The police do not arrest and say you are guilty, instead this is an opportunity to preserve evidence and get further evidence. Arresting you should the logical step so they can get witness statements and also examine CCTV. They wont let you go home because they need to get to the bottom of this and do it when everyone is sober.
When you get arrested in the UK you will have a rights and entitlements and this includes speaking with a solicitor. It is a process, plain and simple but so many people resist being arrested even if they have actually done nothing wrong. So remain calm and let things get sorted.
Most people dont consider what happens after a self defence situation, they never give it a thought, but by reading this you have.
Now life is not set or fixed and self defence situations arent either. You will have to judge any situation as you find it but consider how you will explain what you have done!
To finish off we will show you some street fight footage that shows a dynamic incident.
Until next time shape shifters:
The current Google definition of the word Evolution is:
evolution ˌ noun
|synonyms:||Darwinism, natural selection "early ecologists were not interested in evolution"|
|synonyms:||development, advancement, growth, rise, progress, progression,expansion, extension, unfolding; More|
We live in an era where martial arts systems suddenly appear and everyone jumps on the band wagon calling things 'new'. In actual fact there is nothing new in the martial arts instead we live in a constant system of evolution.
The mistake of course is that people assume that because the way a martial art presents itself may be 'new' then the substance behind that art is also new. However this is not the truth, instead we are actually seeing an evolution take place, behind a new martial art is years of training and development.
For those that don't know, Defence Lab has a long history with the art of Jeet Kune Do as its founder Andy Norman studied extensively under JKD Legend Bob Breen.
Andy would often make a huge journey to train with Bob and Andy's martial art later developed as he co founded the Keysi Fighting Method. However after 14 years of KFM Andy took the next step and launched Defence Lab.
What happened is simple, Andy and his team gradually evolved what they were doing and in the process of evolution Defence Lab was born. Its not as if the past was forgotten or all the years of JKD training was suddenly replaced, no it simply 'evolved' or to make it even more simple it gradually improved.
Hold on, I know what you are thinking- "but those styles are perfect they don't need to evolve". Sadly that is the view of a lot of people these days, and it is a self limiting view that is holding the arts back.
It is great knowing where you have come from and also showing respect to that art or system however there is nothing wrong with taking things forward onto a new path, if you look back at the various off shoots of Kung Fu we see this has happened throughout history.
Phil Norman is a well know Jeet Kune Do expert, a former MMA fighter and his victory in TV's Gladiators has resulted in him being known as one of the fittest combat athletes on the planet. However his combat system called Ghost is a classic example of innovation.
Phil has taken things from various arts, evolved them, adapted them and added to them to create what some will say is new but I am sure Phil will say is the result of years of his own personal education and evolution. Check out the video below to see it in action:
MMA fighters, boxers and other martial artists are now seeking out Phil because he has a system that is delivering results for those that use it. However without the innovation that Phil has delivered Ghost would not be here at all! Innovation is to be encouraged and not attacked on the internet by keyboard warriors.
The ultimate question that is being faced by many martial artists now is whether they should convert to Defence Lab from their existing style. After all how can they abandon their styles or systems? Isnt that selling out?
Well if DL was just a martial art then you could argue that it could be, however DL is so much more as innovation runs throughout everything they do.
You may recall that we recently went to see Defence Lab instructor and Franchise owner Mikey Wright. This man went from working in a warehouse to running a Lab with over 140 students. However before Mikey became a DL instructor he was a Systema teacher. Ask Mikey and he will tell you that he loves Systema, he taught it and still to this day enjoys it. However he converted to become a DL instructor when he saw the power of Defence Lab. Not just in the techniques they use but in the business training they supply.
If you have ever been to a Defence Lab business course you will know exactly what Defence Lab is all about. Andy Norman has created an amazing system that if you follow you will enjoy a great future in martial arts instruction. I personally have been to several of them and each time I am blown away. Firstly they are hosted at a stunning hotel and then they mix training in techniques with advanced training in business and if DL needs to bring in an expert they do!
Is this selling out?
Certainly not. You are joining a business that is delivering results for both the customer and the instructor and only recently we have had a team of Jeet Kune Do instructors and students convert to DL. Why? the same reason other people have, they want to deliver a great product and earn a good living.
No one bats an eye lid when a personal trainer opens up a cross fit box do they. Yet we know that in the personal training business there has been a lot of negativity towards cross fits methods. No one cares because people know that cross fit is delivering results for both its clients and its 'box' owners because of its business model.
Defence Lab is in the business of delivering results if you work hard and follow the method laid out then that same success that Mikey Wright has enjoyed can be yours.
That's right you dont know Defence Lab yet, which is why Andy Norman and his team have already put together a great on line resource in their DNA Pack 1 and we are going to see the launch of their amazing online university soon. This is a way for you to get to know Defence Lab and what its about.
However if you are currently a martial arts instructor with a good attitude , a Jeet Kune Do instructor, a Karate Instructor, a boxing coach or anything else where you have some students already but you want to earn a full time living teaching martial arts but cant seem to be able to do so , well DL may just be the right thing for you to do!
Some people are happy teaching 10 guys and girls each week in a garage, they enjoy it and that's cool but if you want a full time martial arts business you need a full time martial arts business system!
The question is simple. Each week do you go out and teach your system of martial arts, no matter if its just you and 2 students? Do you teach that system because you are convinced it is the best thing to teach? Would you teach that system even though you lose money every year doing so?
If the answer is yes and you are happy then thats great. However if the answer is yes and you arent happy perhaps you need to see if your system teaches you.
Does your system teach you how to get new students? Does your system provide new and fresh material all the time? Does your system provide regular free training from the source so that you can maintain and increase your levels of skill and business ability? Defence Lab does.
Todays article looked at how martial arts needs innovation and how Defence Lab and its cross branding partners are at the forefront of that.
If this has inspired you to consider a Defence Lab franchise then please go to Defence Lab.com and ask for information. There are millions of people out there not training in martial arts or self defence, with Defence Lab we give you a system that is bringing those people into our great industry each week.
Remember innovation is not to be feared- it is to be embraced!
I remember it like it was yesterday. The offender who was being arrested managed to get his mouth by my forearm and I couldnt see what was going on as I was trying to pry the offenders hands behind his back. At that time I felt it.
It started to feel like a warm sensation at first, but within a split second that warming increased as did the pressure I felt on my arm and then pain, an odd pain to be honest I had nothing to really compare it with and Ill be honest I didn’t recognise what was going on.
In a Police Career that saw me punched, head butted, kicked and stamped on I had always managed to avoid being bitten, yet this one night someone managed to achieve what others had tried so often but failed miserably to do.
I pulled my arm back quickly and as I did the I felt my skin rip. I pulled it back and it was like that scene in Flash Gordon where Flash sticks his arm into the tree Stump with the poisonous creature. I looked down at my arm and assessed the damage- I had been bitten by another human being!
The damage wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be and after gaining control of the suspect I had time to really look at the injury and it was to hospital I went.
A few months later I was with Andy Norman and showed him what had happened and how it had happened. Within seconds he had Paul Strauther (one of DL's best) onto the floor and replicating the situation. Sure enough within a minute Andy Norman had shown me a technique that would have prevented my arm from being bitten that night!
It shouldn’t have been surprised me after all I had been exposed to Andy Norman's training for some years now via magazines and videos, he seems to have a self defence solution to everything. Sadly due to competing demands on my time I had never trained Defence Lab until that night where Andy Showed me the technique, I was hooked from that day!
It is often referred to as the concrete arena, however in my experience this is certainly not the case. I have defended myself in bars, bedrooms, kitchens, cars, bathrooms, nightclubs, doorways, cells and even a cinema once. I can tell you this, the human body doesn't bounce very well off any of these.
Any cop, in any corner of the planet will be able to tell you a vast collection of stories that involve them fighting incredible odds. Taking on drug induced and alcohol fuelled maniacs that wanted to beat them to a pulp. The cops almost always prevail and get through their shift but after a few years the injuries always star to appear. I have lost count of the number of cops I know with injuries as a result of the 'job', some were serious like broken bones, broken jaws and in certain circumstances serious injury.
The video below is the incident where by a female UK police officer was badly assaulted and you need to watch it to see what I mean.
The goal of any cop is to get home safe to their family and sometimes this is hard to do. Bad guys see cops not as human but as a uniform, an object and the opposition! Often all there is between freedom and jail is a single cop! The video above is a classic example of this situation and it is only now that I look back and ask myself "is there a better way of doing things?"
I found Defence Lab after I finished being a cop, however that doesnt stop me from seeing just why every cop could benefit from Defence Lab training and I'm going to try and explain why:
Defence Lab is built for purpose,it is not a traditional martial art that has been modified. No,DL was built for self defence and this alone, therefore its techniques are not sport based, they are designed for self defence. However the learning environment is what sets it apart from other martial arts. Whilst they might be called classes, the actual term is 'Lab'. Therefore the learning environment is akin to a laboratory- the students bring their experiences in and this is a key aspect of learning.
Another key component is the individuality of the training, there is no "I cant do that" instead there is more of a "you must learn how to survive" training mentality. It starts from day one when you are surrounded by 5 pad holders and feel shots coming down on you, whilst you might not have a clue what to do at first, very quickly you have to find a solution (with the help of DL training) to the situation. There is no "put your hand here, then grab this, then do that". This training is very much alive, it is responsive because basically if you cant get up or protect yourself from 5 pad holders you know that you wont do it in real life. It is this sobering thought that if you were on duty alone and surrounded that you wouldn't make it home to your family.
This is of course the worst case scenario but its a very possible one, and if you aren't training from day one for the worst then perhaps your training is not realistic. Defence Lab really shows your vulnerability to yourself from day one in a manner which is both safe and fun to train. This is the genius behind Defence Lab!
Most people will be familiar with the hammer fist strike and the head cover position that people have associated with DL. We know it though as a collection of shapes we make with the hands and arms to give both a protective base and the ability to return fire. This one development by Andy Norman gives any person regardless of their size or strength the ability to stay alive, even in the face of amazing and overwhelming odds.
The issue though is that people see a few minutes of video clips and then think they can do the same, they think they know it all, but really how could you know a technique from a few seconds of video. This results in a lot of imitation but just like copied products they never stand up to scrutiny- to learn exactly how to do what DL do you have to learn from 'you guessed it' DL!
The same goes for the Hammer fist strikes, sure many martial arts use them, however Defence Lab has taken this to a new level and created a system of self defence that makes even the smallest person able to defend themselves and deliver explosive power when the person needs it.
Now I didn't have access to DL when I was a cop but I know that due to its growth many cops are coming to Defence Lab and its easy to see why. It is taking the self defence skills of cops to the next level, it is giving them solutions to the worst case scenarios because Defence Lab instructors are experts in self defence and Defence Lab itself is a system of training that really works!!!
I wish I had Defence Lab training when I was a cop, maybe I wouldn't have been bitten that night and perhaps other officers might fair a little better with these skills behind them.
Until Next Time Shapeshifters
We have talked about the magic of Defence Lab plenty of times on this blog, however lets really make it clear today. Defence Lab is all about people!!! Real people.
When Andy Norman set about creating his vision of self defence training we now know as Defence Lab he did so with a healthy goal and surrounded himself with people with the right attitudes. Andy himself very often talks about building a great team!
The end result is that Defence Lab has grown globally and its not out of luck. You see Defence Lab has a simple approach that started with Andy Norman and its called friendship. His team are no different, in fact this is what makes Defence Lab so special, it invests in people and gives back ten fold!
If you are friends with anyone who takes part in Defence Lab you will see something pretty regularly, them talking about how good the last class was. They talk about it after training to those who were there, they talk about it on social media and they talk about it the next day with their friends and work colleagues. But why does a self Defence Class become so infectious? The answer is the careful mix of fun and function!!
When you walk into a Defence Lab class you are welcomed, not just on your first session but on each and every session. Not just by the instructor or his team but every 'Labber' says hello and takes time to chat. Why? Well part of it has to do with the fact that Defence Lab is just bursting with positive energy. The other part is to do with the unwritten acknowledgement between students. To a DL'er each and every student helps them to improve, without other students then no Defence Lab student could ever improve. We need each other and it is this through this bond that the friendships are forged.
We all know that when you work as part of a team then great things happen, and to paraphrase Andy Norman himself "Alone is a very Lonely place to be".
So many people out there try and replicate what Andy has achieved with Defence Lab however ask Andy and he will tell you that Defence Lab is full of 'Nice People' that along with hard work has created a feeling that resonates throughout each and every Defence Lab.
Right now Andy and Team Storm have just returned from the USA Conference in New York. This is the second conference of its kind and lets look at some of the comments on Facebook:
"Back in teaching last night after a fantastic trip to New York. Great time in the company of real innovators and a wonderful team. Lots of sharing, caring and generosity of spirit plus long hard training and some kick ass martial arts. The Tri-brand of Defence Lab, Ghost and 4D Combat works so well. Shared routes but different visions and ways to achieve the same end. Thanks to Andy Norman Jose Maria Gregori FenollosaGrek and the team for the unconditional love and respect which goes both ways. This is going to transform the future of martial arts. Feel very fortunate as I got to spend lots of time with Phil Norman and the ghosters plus the DL Crew. Also great to have Steve Payne showing his skills and expertise as we roll out 4D to the next generation of instructors. Lots happening. Keep you posted." Bob Breen
"Home from an Epic trip! Didn't think we could top the last years NY conference but we did in so many ways. Didn't really see Andy's vision with the Tri Brand until now. But I am just starting to grasp the magnitude and power of the DL, 4D Ghost Tri Brand. Feeling very fortunate to be in this position and in the company of pioneering martial art experts who are supported by a team who are leading the way in the industry. The weekend was incredible awesome training, amazing networking good times with good people. Great to see old friends and new, stronger bonds and the next generation of DL, 4D and Ghost coaching and pushing the Tri Brand positively forward.
If you are not all ready make sure you are on the Ghost page to keep up to date and by all means use the comment box to post pics and comments from the weekend let me get it started.. Phil Norman
"Another amazing Defence Lab US conference done. As I reflect upon my weekend, I think of how it's not just the amazing training / physical activity and the related knowledge that is gained, but so much it's the people that make these things incredible. Such awesome energy from everyone. I truly enjoyed every single person I had the privilege to speak to and get to know. Learning, laughing, networking, making connections...it's what it's all about! Thanks to Andy Norman and the whole DL Crew for the brilliant system."
Now it's time to take action!!! Very excited for all of the big things in the works- Kate Gregori
"WMAA gang attended the Defence Lab USA conference in New York City this past weekend. The energy, camaraderie and instruction was amazing. Met and trained with some wonderful people, all there to help and push you throughout all the sessions.
Thanks to William Hartke Jr and Brandon Seiferth for their coaching throughout the weekend. Looking forward to more training sessions. You guys rock.
John Leabo and Mike Simon were great hosts. All the group from DL Lynbrook were awesome and extremely helpful through the training.
Training session with the DL crew, Ghost Elusive Fighting and 4D Combat was incredible. All the sessions opened my eyes considerably and made me realize there is always more to learn.
Another great road trip with the WMAA gang"- Craig Mason
Having a positive training attitude (PTA) is essential, there is a myth that you need to come to training angry to get the most from it. Focus is the key to improvement and you should be able to turn it on like a switch!!
When you got to DL class you will see smiling happy faces until each drill, then you see focus! It is this mix that gets DL students to grow both personally and also skilfully.
So if you want to become part of the DL Team, what are you waiting for? Go to Defence Lab.com to find your nearest Lab and come and experience both Defence Lab and our now famous training attitude for yourself, you wont be disappointed.
Until Next time Shape Shifters!!