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Andy Norman and the Temple of Chaos

Andy Norman and The Temple of Chaos

It sounds like the title of a movie but it isn't. However it is one of the most important training philosophies of  Defence Lab.

The reason I personally first got into Defence Lab training is because it offered me something I have never seen  before, a  realistic chance to experience chaos! 

Now I  know  what some of our readers who don't train Defence Lab will  say "we  train for chaos too". I respect this I truly do, however in my own personal journey of martial  arts I have never seen anyone do it like Defence Lab do! Today's article is a look through the doors of the Temple of Chaos and an invitation for you to come inside if you dare!!!

Have you ever seen a group attack a person? If not then you will be surprised at what happens. I have seen large grown men with skills taken down  by smaller and less skilful people who then use the man's head as a soccer ball. Scary thing having a pack of Hyenas coming after you. 

A 'pack attack' isn't pretty. Very often you will be dragged to the floor by the man you didn't see behind you. They say its the punch that you don't see coming that knocks you out and pack attacks can  bring  down the  biggest and toughest of us.

Why are Pack/Group Attacks So Hard to Deal With?

Part​ of  the reason  that group  attacks are so tough to deal with is that trying to mount a defence  of any kind of offence is really tough. You look at one person and you  have no idea what is going on behind you. That's when the  glass bottle smashes against your head  and you hit the deck.

I have always known that ​dealing with violence is seriously difficult. It doesn't matter if its one on one, three on one or eight on one,  Fighting 'aint' easy! So when I came across  DL I was blown away, why? Because from lesson one I was placed in a position I didnt like- against multiple opponents and this is The Temple of Chaos

Now  just think about this ​for a second, I have done Judo, Boxing even No Holds  Barred stuff, yet within 3 minutes of my first Defence Lab class  I was really uncomfortable, I  was stressed and I knew at that exact minute all my years training was vastly reduced! I had 5 people hitting me with pads and I  was  taking shots all over my body, all over my head and every time I turned I got hit. When I turned to the person hitting me  I took a shot from behind. 

In my head I was thinking  "this shouldn't be happening​".  My entire life of martial  arts training  was reduced to nothing  in 3 minutes!!! and make no mistake I would  have come off  badly in  reality. My boxers guard had serious flaws and I had no other solutions  to this situation.

So what happened? Once it was all over I was a shell of a martial artist. My skills  and abilities rendered useless ​and  it made me question everything I knew about self defence. Trust me, after 20 years that was a lot of questions!

Now I was kind of lucky really, because my first Defence Lab class was actually taken by Andy Norman himself, so Andy was there on hand to teach me and within a few minutes  I  was shown a totally different  method to defend  myself in that same situation. Boom  we  went again and this time it was a totally different experience,  I was able to block the  shots coming in and felt really safe. That was until Andy  told us to go to our knees and backs!! Here we were  again! Reduced to a beginner in a few  seconds.

It was a humbling experience​. The moment you realise that your training has serious flaws  and those flaws were exposed within the first 10 minutes of the lesson.

From that moment I was hooked. DL was my thing and if you are a DL  student then you will also have felt  that same feeling I had.​  

I had  entered Andy Norman's Temple of  Chaos and realised that when  the  s##t hits the fan my traditional training was lacking​. Defence Lab blew me away because it showed me that after 20 years of training I had huge areas that I needed to improve on! However you need to experience the Temple of Chaos for yourself to see the holes in your own training. 

The Day Andy Norman Let Me Hit Him as Hard As I Could​

I couldn't believe he said it. This was just like fight club, Andy Norman had just said "I want you to hit me as hard as you can!!" So I did  hit him as hard as I could and he smiled!!!

OK now lets put this into perspective for a second​. I weigh 90 kilos and  I hit hard. So when Andy said "hit me" I expected to send him flying across the room.

Boom first punch, boom I do  it again and  he didn't move!!​ I hit him  with about 10 shots and  he covered  and took them as if it was a fly  touching him. This was Defence Lab training at its  best. How many instructors will let you hit them  as  hard as you can to show you their stuff  works? Not many but Andy Norman did this. It was an impressive thing to do and see but this isnt because Andy has super powers, it is the techniques of Defence Lab, and you too can learn how to do this as well. it is actually one of the  basic drills of DL.

Now if you are reading this and you are a DL student then you know all  of what I have written. Your heads might be nodding ​because you understand just how special DL is. If that is happening that's great, however so many haven't yet experienced Defence Lab so if you are reading this and you have never experienced Defence Lab then go to  and find you local Lab and come down and enter the Temple of Chaos. This is the only way you are going to see just what makes DL so special and you will see just how your own training holds  up in the temple!

And if you want to see Defence Lab in action and also  the Temple of Chaos then go and buy the DNA Fight Pack  or ​you  can even get free Defence Lab Videos at Andy Norman's official website.

Until next time Shape Shifters!! ​


Tactics- Why Self Defence Tactics Matter and How To Develop Your Own

Do you watch Game of Thrones? If not then its the worlds biggest TV show based on the books by George R.R. Martin and it has developed a huge following. It is the story of the mysterious land where everyone wants to be king and every one uses a range of tactics to get what they want!

Whilst the show has a lot of action the real drama unfolds as the many plots and​ agendas start to be unveiled and come to pass. So in essence it is all about tactics!

Self Defence, life and business is no different and you need tactics to survive!

Tactics- The Brain Work of Fighting​

If ​you train at Defence Lab or any other self defence system then tactics will form part of what you train. However behind this you will need to start to think about your own tactics because everyone is different. DL for you will be different than DL for another because we are unique, we are human beings of all shapes and sizes and our opponents come in all shapes and sizes too. You need to consider how your techniques would be affected with a taller, shorter or stronger opponent..

As your journey in self defence training starts to expand your mind will naturally try and consider 'realistic' application of that self defence training. You will start to look at what you are doing and gauge how it will work 'in a real life situation'. It is that very thought process that fuels the constant on line forum debates of 'which martial art is best for self defence' or 'what techniques work'. 

The truth is that every technique could work but not ​all will work! It is only via training that you will be able to expand your mind to see the potential variations that exist. The more skilful you become then the more tactical options that you will have at your disposal and you guessed it this only comes from regular and consistant training

Andy Norman​ the founder of Defence Lab exposed himself to training in a variety of martial arts and you can see a picture of him above with BJJ legend Rigan Machado, it was from that exposure he was able to grow his own knowledge and this combined with his life experiences has resulted in the amazing Defence Lab. In short Andy earned his knowledge and skills from years of hard work and training! and just like Andy you too are on your own journey now! 

But as much as we would all like it, Andy is not likely to be there as you face 2 street thugs on a Friday night! So it comes down to you! ​How you react, what techniques you  employ and even what you say all comes down to you and there is no one else that is accountable.

Would You Walk Down the Alley?​

The above image is a dark alley? Would you walk down it? Maybe, maybe not a lot depends on yourself however have you ever considered what techniques you would use if you were attacked in the alley?

​I'm guessing you havent, however now is the time to start and it is from these inner conversations that the tactical part of your brain will grow. The brain like anything else is a muscle and via exercising it will develop. So how do you actually improve your tactical brain?

Well part of this is training, we have already said this however another part is visualisation. This cannot be underestimated. When you are training it is yourself that makes the training 'real'. It is only via your mental attitude that your training will develop and you will see those improvements in your technique.

A good boxer wont just hit a punch bag, instead they 'see' their opponent. When doing shadow work you shouldnt just see the room, instead you should start to see the alleyway, the 4 guys walking towards you with bottles or the 10 guys kicking you in your head as you are on the floor. ​ Make the training real in your mind!

Footage form the DNA training pack

​The great thing about developing tactics is that you can start to train this all the time, even out of class. When your sitting down in a restaurant consider what you would do if a person attacked you when you are seated at a table. As you are walking along the road then think what would you do if a car suddenly pulled along side you and 3 guys got out and started to attack you. All of these situations have happened in real life to lots of people! 

The mental visualisation allows you to train out of class, and no one will ever know what you are doing. ​

The Correct Mental Attitude in Business, Martial Arts and Life!​

The reality is that you are unlikely to ever have to use your skills in real life and that's great! However there are people out there who are nasty, we know this. Your physical training​ will prepare you for this, however equally important is that you have the right mental attitude. This in itself will help you to lead a healthy and happy life.

​Walk into any D Lab across the globe and you will find the same amazing training environment that mixes hard work with great fun! You will see people pushing themselves to learn skills to keep them safe but having fun at the same time. 

You wont find any attitudes or egos in Defence Lab, the purpose it to train hard and have fun at the same time. We welcome newcomers into the Lab like old friends and it this approach which is taking DL to new levels of growth.

Having the right attitude mentally is a tactic in itself. Are you the type who looks for trouble? Are you the type of person who is angry all the time? If that's the case then this mental attitude will seriously effect you and potentially ruin you. It will have a negative impact on your life, your business and of course your martial arts training!

If you have ever met any of the Defence Lab team you will know that they are extremely professional ​and positive. This is the Defence Lab way and right now we are looking for more people with that same type of attitude. 

This weekend we have a unique opportunity for you to find out more about our training and ​in particular our instructor training because there is going to be an exclusive webinar for people in the UK who are interested in becoming an instructor. All you need to do is click here and register. it takes place this Sunday and places are limited so book up now!

Its Your Journey Start It Today​

Now although tactics are hugely important ​with regards to self defence situations and training it is also important to have a plan for you overall training.

There are lots of people out there who have moved from one martial art to another and have never settled and in the end they become that person 'who did some martial arts'. However your journey can be so much more than that and your Defence Lab Instructor is there to help you make the most of that journey. They will help you to define and reach your goals. You might just want to get to the level of Black belt, pass your next grading or perhaps you want to become an instructor. Either way Defence Lab wants you to succeed.

You need to mentally focus on what you want from your training ​so that you get the most out of your experience. So sit down and have a think about what you want and go for it! There are only the limitations you place upon yourself.

To Finish off we have a quote that explains Tactics. It comes from the Art of War by Sun Tzu:

"Everyone Knows the form by which I am victorious, but no one knows the form by which I ensure Victory"​

Your tactics​ will ensure your victory in life, self defence and in business, so its time to start developing some of your own. Other people wont know your own tactics, they are like a personal play book just for you but others will see your success. So when you face off against those 3 men in the alleyway and afterwards you look back at them crumpled on the floor, give a thought to that quote!

Until next time keep Shape Shifting​

Accelerated Skill- How Defence Lab Students Develop Skill Faster Than Average

So here I was a few weeks ago at the Defence Lab Instructor training weekend when I saw a guy training. His movement looked really sharp, shifting shapes like a true veteran but his face didn't look very familiar to me and I wondered why I hadn't seen him before?

I got asking some of the team how long he had been training to which they replied "2 Months!"

This is not uncommon with Defence Lab students, I  have seen it time and time again. People moving through the various ranges with real style after just a few hours. But how does a Defence Lab Student develop these skills faster than the average martial art? What makes them different?​

Andy Norman

​If you have ever met Andy Norman the founder of Defence Lab you will understand why so many people follow him. He is the real deal when it comes to martial arts but some would say that his real genius is that he is able to create training programmes that take  people from zero experience and give them exceptional self defence skills in the shortest time possible and then the training just grows and grows. It is these results that are keeping DL students coming back for more. 

When people pay money for a service they expect results and when it comes to DL people dont just see the results they feel them. The training programmes created by Andy and his team have been forged with many hours of training often in the middle of the night with Paul Strauther and Grek and the rest of Team Storm. It is this refining and experimentation that has created the DL training programme that exists and expands across the Labs today. 

There is a mistaken belief that it takes a life time to develop skill​.  People such as  Tim Ferriss have turned this idea on its head. It is through optimised training programmes that skill can be acquired quickly through regular practise. We have seen people with no experience in martial arts look amazing after a months of training, and after a few years? Well lets just say that we have seen a few jaws drop when they start to shape shift and go through the gears

However even if you are already a DL student you can still make huge gains in your training on top of our optimised training routines​. How? By keeping a training journal.

Your training journal or diary really can make a difference in how you process the training you have received ​in class. I have done this personally for years no matter what system I have trained in. 

Our advice is for you to go out and get yourself a note book. This book is your own personal interpretation and is for your eyes only. Fill it in after class and with as much detail you can recall about the drills you did, the techniques you worked on and ​how you felt.

Then during your off days you can refer to this training diary to do some home practise if you want to. Before your next class you can look at your diary and your mind is refreshed and is ready for training​. This soon compounds over time and before you know it your skills are soon improving at super speed.

Defence Lab uses some really cutting edge training tools. From our regular instructor weekends where we deliver training to ensure we maintain and improve our standards to our on line university (which is out soon) and of course our on line DNA Pack​ which you can purchase on line today. Quality runs through everything we do. Take a look at the youtube video below to see action from one of our instructor events.

So if you are thinking of coming to a DL class you will be amazed how quickly your skills progress, and for those already training ​and looking to advance even more quickly then use a training diary and also consider the on line material we supply. 

However ultimately a lot comes down to having the right attitude, one that makes you open to learning and one that I'm glad too say is embedded ​in DL training from the outset. 

So do you have a training diary or are you considering buying one? If so feel free to comment below.

Welcome To Shape Shifter- The Blog of Defence Lab


Hi folks, and on behalf of the Defence Lab Team we would like to officially introduce our newest member. Our Shape Shifter blog.

This is the new on line hub to communicate to the world our vision for Defence Lab. This is where we will build our ever growing on line community, after all great relationships are built by great communication and this is what this blog will achieve. 

Shape Shifter will tell the world more about Defence Lab because we know there are a lot of questions and huge interest from across the globe

In  2 years Defence Lab has grown from a small number of schools or ‘Labs’ as we call them to a global brand. We now have Labs across the world in places such as Rome, New York, Spain, Mexico and of course the UK.  

The purpose of this blog is to bring you cutting edge articles, to tell you about events going on and of course to get you involved. 

So what do we have to offer you all today. Well you will be able to follow us on Google plus, Like us on face book and also subscribe to our YouTube channel all with the click of a few buttons simply by clicking on our social icons on the top right of this post.

You can also sign up for our newsletter by signing up in the boxes on display when you access our site and also in the right column. By being on the newsletter you will be getting more information about DL, you will never miss and article and from time to time we will let you know of any special offers we have. 

You will find a great deal of information about DL across the social pages and we will be bringing you the first of our articles later this week. 

So once again welcome to Shape Shifter, this is just the beginning!