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Drew Loto
Drew Loto's picture
Escape, avoidance, and de-escalation drills

I’ve recently found myself with a greater amount of teaching responsibility in my martial arts club than I have ever had before. Since I began training with the group, the vast majority of class time was dedicated to techniques. These techniques range from very basic block and counter sequences to much more intricate takedowns, throws, and locks. I have come to believe that, while many aspects of our club’s curriculum make for useful and good training, it is missing some very crucial things. Namely, we do not practice the non-physical aspects of self-defense. Other than occasional lip service (usually given by myself) we do not spend any time developing our skills in avoidance, escape and de-escalation. Over the summer, I read Rory Miller’s book, “Meditations on Violence”. In it, he talks about the importance of including that category of skills in the dojo. He goes on to describe one drill that I really liked, and intend to implement a version of during some of my classes. The drill is designed to simulate a social situation, involving an important dignitary and someone who is intent on causing that person harm. At some point during the role-play of the social occasion, complete with polite greetings and small talk, the assailant (armed with a training knife) will make himself known by attacking the dignitary. The dignitary must then escape the situation without serious “injuries”, either through technique, or, more likely, through getting out of the room or creating obstacles for his/her attacker.

This drill includes everything I want from a drill, it has a small level of competition to create a base-line desire to complete the drill properly (while keeping students from feeling silly), it’s challenging, and it may even be fun. Does anyone know of any other drill within a similar vein? I would like to diversify my knowledge of such exercises.

Zach Zinn
Zach Zinn's picture

If you don't own it already, also buy MIller's Drills For Sudden Violence..it's like eight dollars or something as an ebook and well worth it.

There is a section on scenario training and if I remember there are things like "The Plastic Mind" drill and similar that really altered my perspective on some things. Also his seminars are excellent too.