Having had the demand for, and great response to, taking a shift from pure sport based submission grappling articles towards grappling applications for and within self defense, I was also asked to take a look at some of the Science of Skill self defense product offerings and provide some feedback. While some readers may currently have access to these instructional videos, others may want to know a little more about what they could find within them. I thought I would start with an easy entry-level offering in both pricing and skill set.
The following review is based on a easy-to-digest digital download called “Brutal Street Grappling Essentials” with just under a half hour run time. The download is offered at a very minimal cost of just $4 ($1/day over four days), so immediately I wasn’t too worried about dollar worth. Instead I wanted to provide a little content detail and thoughts for anyone that might find having some base techniques on hand in one place to be of value.
In a very efficient 25 minutes, Coach Dan Faggella runs through some street applicable counters to a series of common real world situations involving an aggressor. Much like the Science of Skill Youtube series from Jerry Wetzel that I have spent time analyzing over the last couple of months, Dan takes a look at when and how grappling can be used to overcome some of the unknowns of real world self defense. These unknowns can be size and strength disadvantages, pain tolerance of an attacker, levels of danger that unfold, and ability to dictate exactly where the confrontation will take place.
The first part of the instructional consists of some options to take from situations on the feet, while the second part of the video covers some techniques when you’re unable to keep the confrontation standing. A couple of the techniques are variations of techniques we recently reviewed, but the majority are techniques to slightly different situations. Either way, if you have liked some of the recent self defense techniques reviewed, you may find that having a series on one downloadable file to be an easy way to quickly access, and more importantly review for practice. Furthermore, if you have enjoyed the philosophy behind our self defense articles, you will be pleased to see more of that philosophy espoused from a different angle in Coach Dan’s instruction.
From standing, Coach Dan covers the side and front headlocks, as we did in the article Escaping Headlocks. A take of Dan’s that I always agree with in self defense application is utilizing a slight variation on the same base response across multiple scenarios. While the chess-like strategy and planning for counters-to-the-counter and variations-to-the-variation are often involved in the combat sports, a better mantra for self defense is K.I.S.S. (keep it simple stupid). This is because of the anxiety of any experience in which real fear may be a factor can result in. Anxiety and fear are not our friends when it comes to recalling and performing technique.
Coach Dan goes on to add a new technique to our awkward grab scenarios which further displays the importance of responding vs reacting, something we have touched on multiple times. As a matter of fact, what satisfied me the most about this instructional is how many of the same tenants of self defense Dan preaches that are in alignment with my own and Jerry Wetzel’s. To name a few, Coach Dan offers his own insight into range, mobility, restraint, and the element of surprise. He shows techniques that work for him (at 130 lbs) by utilizing leverage and timing over strength, and position over relying purely on pain compliance, and preaches the benefit of understanding a variety of arts in order to utilize the right technique at the right time for the situation at hand. This may lead to dialing the violence up or down.
Coach Dan mentions this concept throughout the video and explains that this is not only the goal from the get-go, but even once things have escalated, it should remain the goal. This is why we so often hear that you “should never go to the ground”. Of course, Dan recognizes that this advice alone is not adequate and where grappling fundamentals come into play in self-defense is both in reverse grappling, as well as when avoiding the takedown was unsuccessful.
In the second part of the instructional video, Coach Dan covers a series of “what to do’s” when your initial takedown defense failed or wasn’t quick enough. Dan goes right into the real goal of utilizing grappling in self defense and that is for creating options. He discusses maintaining a base, utilizing techniques that don’t require lifting a potentially much larger attacker, and when and where striking and more destructive violence may be called for. All in all, if you like what we’ve been analyzing over the last couple months, this short instructional at an easy price point is a fine addition and reference to what can be included in your self defense technique practice.
You can find the instructional information here:
Brutal Street Grappling Essentials
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Eric holds a 1st degree black belt from The Degerberg Academy of Martial Arts where he is a multi-discipline and multi-level instructor across the four pillars of the DAMA Blend (striking, grappling, self defense, weapons). Holding formal ranks in BJJ, Muay Thai, Savate, and Shorei Goju-Ryu Karate, Eric has compiled more than a decade of competition training in Western Boxing, Full Contact Kickboxing, BJJ, submission grappling, Kali/Eskrima, and Judo. An active Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu blue belt competitor, training under 8x World Champion Robson Moura, he is a member of and beginning-level instructor in the Robson Moura Nations United association. Eric received his B.A. in Psychology and a minor concentration in Theoretical Mathematics from Indiana University, where he was a member of the nationally recognized IU Judo Club, and a co-founder of the IU No Holds Barred Fighting Club (later renamed the IU MMA Club).
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