Master Jeff Sawyer Groundwork Course - November 2013

Recently in the Bunyan Centre, Bedford CFTS students and guests met up for a seminar by guest instructor Master of Ju-Jitsu Jeff Sawyer. It was his third visit to us and it was eagerly awaited by all who had trained with him previously. Jeff has over thirty years martial arts experience, mostly of Ju-Jitsu but also of many other art forms and is a qualified ABA boxing coach. Through many years of being a police officer he really has had “hands on” experience so is well qualified to deliver a self defence seminar to compliment our normal training. He was ably accompanied by Dean who himself has many years of martial arts experience including Ju-Jitsu and Kung-Fu.

It was well attended by juniors and seniors of all grades and was an interesting, exciting and fun way to explore defences on the ground. We started using a very powerful but simple cycling kicking technique to escape an attacker trying to drag you by the heels, to “cycle” and roll away. We moved on to “cycle” both vertically and horizontally to prevent further attacks, another useful and easy to learn technique, followed by your own counter to the aggressor.

Master Sawyer promotes the train of thought ‘only grapple if you have to, as it is not a good place to be'. If you end up in this situation use pressure points if you can’t cycle your way out, Do not forget though that not all pressure point techniques work on everyone , ‘change the technique to suit the situation’ Jeff went on to say, as “all the techniques used today are tried and tested by instructors and other professionals who are not afraid to demonstrate or use them or who have used them a a real situation.”

Both instructors gave great group and individual support taking delight in watching both juniors and seniors learning their own tolerance for different techniques and applications of both restraints and locks.

One comment that Master Sawyer used consistently throughout the session and one that most of us forget to do, much to the increase of our own suffering is BREATHE. “Breathe animalistically; not only is it frightening to your opponent, it also makes you strong and helps to keep your airway open.”

Much of Jeff’s self defence, whether on the ground or stood up, is in the head. To be aggressive if necessary, to appear aggressive, to think and to keep fighting until you have escaped to safety. Yet his constant advice is “If you are not fighting for your life, why are you fighting at all?”

If you didn’t go home tired after todays excellent course then you didn’t work hard enough; I was exhausted just watching, sadly not being able to train due to earlier in the day having had concussion.