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Modern Combatives Group - Annual Close Quarter Combat Training Day 2010 - Review/Article

Every year a diverse group of martial artists, combative exponents and self protection practitioners from across the UK gather to attend the Modern Combatives Group annual close combat training day. 

The practitioners come from a varied background and over recent years have included BCA instructors, security industry personnel, bodyguard’s, private investigators, ex-military, emergency services personnel, law enforcement, as well as ordinary citizens concerned with their own self protection on the street. 

We don’t advertise the MCG training day’s widely.  Instead invitation to attend is through word of mouth and recommendation of a fellow MCG member.  We run a closed door policy and it is one that has paid off over the years, by keeping the numbers small we offer a more concise learning experience.  However, for the right person with the right attitude and commitment we gladly extend a welcoming hand 

The MCG close combat day’s give the attendees the chance to share knowledge, experiences and skills of fighting at close quarters! 

This year saw the MCG’s 6thAnnual Close Combat training day and took place on Saturday the 7thof August at our usual venue of the “hut” on the Wirral, Merseyside. 

One of the fundamental principles of the MCG is that we train, study, practise, and learn to deal with the ever changing and shifting trends of modern day threats.  That is its primary goal – to always adapt, evolve and sustain the latest information that threatens our personal protection. 

Because its members are active in a wide range of environments that can on occasion bring them into various states of physical conflict, they are always keeping abreast of the latest range of personal and corporate security threats and how they operate in the real world. 

That is why the Modern Combatives Group is ALWAYS constantly shifting and adapting to these situations and environments, and fundamentally we owe it to ourselves to train to counter the “next big thing” in personal security threats. 

There are many groups (and indeed TMA’s) out there that are still “locked” into a bygone age of WW2 era combatives and don’t (or won’t) develop strategies needed for the modern-age. The Modern Combatives Group recognises that the methodology of “attacks” (and more importantly how to train for them) has changed too over time. 

These days you are more than likely to find groups of almost “feral” gangs attacking the unaware, street assaults that consists of taking people to the ground and “pounding them”, armed assaults with all manner of weapons, car-jackings in major cities, and attacks on company employees and staff at various retail environments.  Street criminals and their tactics have themselves evolved in to related areas of crime and violence.  That is why it is our duty as modern combative exponents to evolve and be as cutting edge as we can be. 

When you enter our training hut you are met with all the paraphernalia to go around beating each other up.  The musty smelling room is filled with punch bags, focus mitts, shooting targets, impact pads, sticks and a wide range of training knives and test cutting “dummies”.  Occasionally if we’re very lucky we’ll even add in some crash mats to soften the blow!


After a brief chance to catch up with old friends (and introduce some new ones) the day started with an assessment of modern day personal security threats and how they can impact on our personal protection planning.  As always first we cover the strategy, then we supplement it with the tactics.


Street Smart Personal Security Skills:

This topic looked at multiple target placement shots – the optimum place to strike for the best effect whether that be a KO or to disable an opponent. At the MCG we call this “feeding the machine” (for an overview of this subject there is an article on our web-site) in other words we want to hit high value targets, correctly and as often as possible. 

There seems to be a trend at the moment with everyone trying to “micro-manage” power, usually at the detriment of concise and effective targeting of a chosen striking tool.  Therefore our methods combine ballistic power striking coupled with accurate shot placement, rather than the “swinging out and hoping it lands” principles that fail to offer a serious forward planning outcome. 

We also discussed – and in some cases dismissed – the so called “effectiveness” of certain techniques that have been propagated as 100% proof over recent years.  This is something that we have highlighted time and again on corporate training courses that we have run, where people new to self protection are sometimes duped into believing that a certain technique has the magic bullet effect 

Our aim is to give them a quick (and sometimes harsh) reality check, but also for them to question and test out each and every technique to see if it stands the test of resistance, pressure and effectiveness.  Every person engaged in combative training has a duty to themselves to NOT take at face value the merits of a chosen technique just because “its always been that way.”  Only dead fish go with the flow, and if the technique and its application don’t pass muster then it should be relegated to the trash can. 


Street Boxing and Grappling:

The “Feeding the Machine” tutorial culminated in a series of practical street boxing, open hand combative striking and close range grappling drills designed to present constant pressure to an attacker and take him out of the game ASAP. As ever we looked at the elements of STRIKING TOOLS - POWER – FOOTWORK - TARGETING to build on the combative tactics building blocks. 

The final combat boxing stress drill was designed to make everybody go weak at the knees and have them sucking in gulps of air by the end of it all.  I’m happy to say it achieved its desired result and no one collapsed (although there were a few close calls).  It loosened everybody up nicely and got them in the right frame of mind for what was to come.


Rapid Action Takedowns/Defensive Tactics:

We then moved onto various skills and tactics required for rapid action takedowns, this was particularly relevant as a percentage of our group have worked in various roles in front-line security – from dealing with members of the public, doorman, retail security through to close protection operators – and the need to take an aggressor out of the picture rapidly is sometimes more preferable than impact striking. 

R.A.T.’s are a lower force option than straight in power shots and present the operator with a less lethal option which can be “upgraded” to more extreme violence as and when the situation requires it. 

This module was one of the high-lights of the day as it gave the participants the chance to share knowledge about how to get the best from the techniques, as well as offering real time experience from those that had performed them in extreme circumstances. 

The takedown section ended with impact weapon defensive tactics for those who might on occasion have to work with the tactical baton/ASP, etc.  Great fun and lots of hard work as we introduced takedowns, chokes and locks into the equation.  By the end of the module there were more than a few swollen throats and aching ribs! 


Multiple Attackers and Team Tactics:

One of our long time members Andy G took the next module on dealing with multiple attackers and team tactics.  Although we have covered multiple attacker training many times over the years, Andy’s module was one I personally was looking forward too with relish. 

It seems blatantly obvious that “bad guys” like to learn and adapt too, and in a very real sense we are, as self protection practitioners, always playing “tactical catch-up” to the latest gang strategy or street tactic.  They develop a skill, we have to discover how to counter it, and so on and so forth. 

Andy laid down the basic strategy of dealing with a multiple or mob attacks, namely that it’s a very scary worst case scenario with no easy solution, and if you can’t get out of there double quick you don’t want to fight a gang all at once, but rather one at a time in a linear route. Hit and move, hit and move was the order of the day and one that pays dividends when you have adversaries coming at you from the front, side, behind and those blindsiding you. 

This module included a wide range of physically draining stress drills of having to deal with overwhelming force by means of deception, body positioning, pre-emption, and at time pure naked aggression and force that puts the attackers on the back foot giving you enough time to “blast” through their barrier.  A great module that everybody got something from and one we’ll definitely be re-visiting at a future seminar. 


Knife Combatives:

The morning ended with a follow on from last year’s training, namely the second module of our knife combatives program. This time utilising the defensive applications of edged weapon usage which included blade fending and counter-cutting, as well as various drills introducing an edged weapon in a close range grappling situation. 

As ever with close range knife work we work from a realistic and practical application, rather than going through a range of “martial arts” drills, and this is usually borne out by the wide range of bruises on show at the end of the pressure drills 


Close Combat Concealed Pistol Skills:

The CCCP was the module that everyone was eager to get stuck into, and one that was to take up the rest of the day! 

We are fortunate to have had over the years at the MCG several experienced firearms practitioners that has enabled us to present a comprehensive and well thought out introduction to the combat pistol. 

Several of the guys attending had never had the opportunity to train in any kind of firearms related material, so it gave us the chance to pass on our experiences.  In many ways having so many people unfamiliar to pistol work was a plus as they were basically “blank sheets” to start working on and didn’t have to start unlearning bad habits. 

We have conducted this shooting program several times overseas – working with live weapons - but obviously because of UK firearms restrictions we utilise high-end air-soft training weapons to get it as close as we can to the real thing. This is vital when running ECQ shooting drills with training partners.  

However, our attitude is that we can be as professional as we choose to be, and it was drilled into the people attending that we would take all precautions and have the proper respect for the weapons that we were using as though they were ACTUAL firearms as opposed to training weapons.  It’s a good mindset to instil into new people being instructed in pistol work and one that can pay dividends over time. 

Starting with the primary skills such as operational roles, mindset, safety, concealed carry options, technical proficiency and ballistics, we then moved the training onto to look at the various stances, draw stroke and shooting positions. 

Believing that what grows well grows slowly we took our time to get the guys to an acceptable level before we upped the scale and started introducing “live-fire” shooting drills.  

For those that thought that this was going to be a paper target shooting exercise, well they were quickly wised-up.  We classify this as “street fighting with handguns” rather just taking pot-shots with no physical interaction involved. 

There is a world of difference between shooting at a static paper target and having to deal with (and fire at) a live adversary getting ready to gut you with a knife, and this was borne out in several force on force (FOF) stress drills. 

Again everybody learned a lot from the CCCP introduction program and I’m sure its one we will be returning to again and again over the years.  We, literally, had a blast! 


Vehicle Combatives and Defensive Driving Tactics:

The day finished with a look at the use of combatives whilst operating in or around a vehicle.  

I worked out recently that I have spent half of my working adult life operating in and around vehicles during private security and close protection projects to conducting informal “meetings” and running surveillance jobs in a variety of vehicles in a wide range of environments – some unproblematic, some decidedly hostile.  Not to mention the amount of driving as part of day to day life from one end of the country to the other or even something as simple as parking in the local supermarket or multi-storey!!  Each presents its own individual security issues. 

We looked at the operational requirements needed when approaching, entering and/or exiting a stationary vehicle in a potentially hostile environment, namely our situational awareness and personal security protocols.  This goes back to our original point of adapting to modern threats and with the spate of car jackings, roadside muggings and robberies this was a relevant topic for the day. 

The tutorial was followed by a series of close range power striking drills and applications of weapons skills to remove an attacker from the access points to the vehicle and facilitate an escape. 

Thanks for assistance and information on this module must go to “Big” Dave P, who has more practical fighting experience (20 years +) in or around vehicles than many of the “street fighting” RBSD instructors of today.



You won’t find any big name “celebrity” instructors at most MCG training day’s (although we gladly invite guest instructors that we believe have something to offer), no DVD’s, internet downloads, T-shirts, coffee cups, key-rings, etc, for sale or anything of a commercial aspect.  It’s just not our kind of thing. 

But you will find people that are willing to offer their experiences and knowledge from having been there and done it for real on numerous occasions. 

There is ho “hype” surrounding the CQC training days (unlike some that claim to offer the “ultimate” the “best in the UK”, “the best in Europe”, etc, etc) they are what they are - tough, arduous and at times physically and mentally exhausting instructional programs that provide relevant information on a specific subject matter, but can tend to leave participants with a wide range of bumps, bruises, cuts, welts and the occasional black eye.  It’s a beast of a day, that is all about the learning of new skills. 

“You get out what you put in” is a phrase that I use on many occasions during instructional training.  And its very true. 

However it was pointed out to me recently, by some wit that had viewed some of our training material that “if that’s what you fellas do to guys you like, imagine what you’d do to people that you DON’T like.”  Fair point. 

The physicality of the training session is probably best summed up by one of our lads who contacted me the next day to say that he “didn’t remember being in a car crash” on the Saturday, but he obviously had the duelling scars and aches to remind him. 

If the above statement doesn’t phase you at all – well, then you sound like our type of person!  Get in touch! 

Fundamentally you can forget all the techniques, tools, methodology and experience of its members, etc, etc, the day’s greatest attribute is the ability of the people to work together as a unit with support, professionalism, good humour and an unending quest for knowledge and to share information about a chosen subject matter. 

In short the MCG training days are a success which can be summed up by one simple phrase; 


So a big thanks to all the team for making the day a success and making it so enjoyable. 

Also a warm welcome to our newest “honorary” combative team member – Mike B – who it seems can handle a Glock as well as he can handle a video camera and a Nikon!


The lads are already starting to plan out the next “bash & slash” day (how’s that for keen).  I can’t wait, roll on 2011…. 


 The Modern Combatives Group was established in 2002 and regularly trains both civilian and specialist security personnel in self protection, close quarter combatives and personal weapons skills.

 For further information please email: mcguk@live.co.uk



Promo Video available:





Copyright – MCG – August 2010

Lee Richardson
Lee Richardson's picture

<a href="mailto:Dave@Modern">Dave@Modern</a> Combatives Group wrote:

Street Smart Personal Security Skills:

We also discussed – and in some cases dismissed – the so called “effectiveness” of certain techniques that have been propagated as 100% proof over recent years.  This is something that we have highlighted time and again on corporate training courses that we have run, where people new to self protection are sometimes duped into believing that a certain technique has the magic bullet effect 

I'm intrigued by this Dave. Will you supply details of the particular techniques in question please?

Gary Chamberlain
Gary Chamberlain's picture

I'm curious too ...

I've always thought of some skills as pretty bombproof.  That's not to say they work without drilling them, but with enough mindful practise most should be able to get them sharp.


Dave@Modern Com...
Dave@Modern Combatives Group's picture


thanks for the comments.

I think the one thing you should always consider is that every technique is "bombproof" in the right application. 

Unfortunately many practitioners apply them regardless of what they are aiming to achieve, i.e. I'll do a chin-jab/knee combo a la fairbairn method - just because its in the manual. 

Doesn't matter if its not effective, because your off balance at the point of impact or with minimal power applied due to body mechanics.  And yet many people do this and take it as written in stone.

So I'd disagree with you there Gary that some things are bombproof. 

I mean we can all fine hone a technique so that we can make it work, but for this particular seminar we were looking at what was the right application for it.  You can possibly pull off a spinning back kick, but why would you in a violent confrontation when there are far more effective (and less risky) options.  Thats a base example, I know, but it illustrates the point.

The point of this module was not so much the techniques themselves but IF, WHEN and WHERE you would apply them to the best effect.  We work from the basic principles (for each technique) of:

  • APPLICATION - is it used with the correct amount of force/power/aggression
  • CONTEXT - Is it the right tool for the task at hand
  • EXPECTATION - will it achieve a realistic outcome/effect


These are the criteria that we work from.  Some examples from the day included head butts, eye gouging. knee strikes, etc, etc.  and where and how you would apply them.

 If you would like more details, well, then theres always the next training day we organise smiley

Hope that helps




Lee Richardson
Lee Richardson's picture

Sounds good Dave. Please let me know the details of the next session.

Gary Chamberlain
Gary Chamberlain's picture

<a href="mailto:Dave@Modern">Dave@Modern</a> Combatives Group wrote:

So I'd disagree with you there Gary that some things are bombproof.


I should have said, "Bombproof if properly applied".   smiley


Dave@Modern Com...
Dave@Modern Combatives Group's picture

Gary Chamberlain wrote:

I should have said, "Bombproof if properly applied".   smiley



Absolutely mate, ha, ha - I am going to nick that one and work it into the instructional bit! smiley.  Well done that man.


Lee, absolutely if you fancy popping down for the next big one, just drop me a line and we can work something out I'm sure.

Best regards