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Sensei Jeff Sawyer Knife Defence Seminar

We arrived on a very wet and windy Saturday afternoon to what was promised to be the best knife defence course CFTS had ever had.

As we arrived, Sensei Sawyer greeted everyone personally while we had chance to view display boards showing facts and figures about knives and knife crime, as well as some rather explicit photos showing the results of knife attacks. Very sobering, especially considering the number of knife crimes involving teenagers.

The training session started with Sensei Sawyer giving a formal introduction and a little more information about himself, his background and considerable experience. At that point we all knew that we were in for a great, if challenging, afternoon!

Before the physical side started Sensei told us one of the most important things we would learn, the importance of shouting “KNIFE - RUN” if anyone ever sees someone with a knife. The easiest way to defend against it is not to be there!

Next we looked at the 6 different ways we could expect a knife attack, practicing these movements to get used to them, staying relaxes and with correct application of hips.

Then we covered some theory about frame of mind, the expectation to get cut if someone attacks you with a knife but ‘small for large’ – accept the small cut where you can take it rather than get cut somewhere vital.

More physical training followed, with defences against various knife threats to the neck. From an observers point of view some of these looked rather painful!

More theory was explained about changing the perception of yourself if attacked, being more animal, filling space with vocalisations. ‘Tiger eyes’ was a term used – make the person attacking you realise they’ve made a mistake. ‘Monkey on a track’, the ability to size up a situation as quickly as possible when met with the unexpected was also explained to us.

Then came more physical training, against a back handed knife slash. If you thought the last group were painful, these were even more so!

Throughout Sensei introduced us to other terms like “If you have to fight, fight” and “If you aren’t fighting for your life, why are you fighting?” These statements really made us think.

Then Sensei covered some of the legal sides of knives, what are legal and illegal to carry, as well as the law in relations to stop and search powers of the police. If they stop and search you and you have a knife of a certain length or type, chances are you’ll be arrested!

In addition Sensei also explained that under common law we can pre-emptively strike without having been hit, hurt or touched if we believe we (or someone we are with) is in imminent danger of being hurt by that person.

There is simply not enough space here to cover everything we did! The course was educational with easy to remember terms that made us all think, and the physical side ensured everyone had a few bruises and aches and pains the next day. Educational and painful, what more could you want from a course?!

Was it the best knife defence course CFTS had ever had? Personally, I think so.

We were also emailed by Master Sawyer shortly after the course:

Dear Sensei Kidby,

Just a quick message to thank you for the opportunity to take the seminar for you, and for the great welcome I received . It was a pleasure to meet and train with you and your students - who in terms of their behaviour, abilities, commitment and spirit are genuinely a credit to you. I really enjoyed the day and I hope you and your people did too. I have a couple of favours to ask: Could you please ask the people who attended to write something about the course please? What they write can be long, short or even one line. Please make sure that they understand that some of the testimonials will be used for publicity (don't want to mislead anyone)! If you and others are happy to do this, the testimonials can be sent to you by e-mail ( ) which maybe you could then kindly redirect to me.

Also is it possible that I can see the photos / video and any write up that's done about the course please? Many Thanks,

Master Jeff Sawyer

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