Self Defence in Times of Trouble

My two free Self Defence Courses for Seniors went well recently with nearly 70 attendees.

I already have a waiting list for the next one which I will organise later towards the end of this year.

I’ve had a lot of media attention:

  • Channel 9’s A Current Affair
  • Channel 7 News
  • ABC News
  • 4BC Brisbane
  • The Courier Mail
  • Sunshine Coast Daily
  • Noosa Today
  • Your Time Magazine

Thank you to all the presenters, interviewers and crew and my great team of Combat Self Defence students and instructors who assisted me on the courses and also gave up their valuable time to be there.

Here is one of the reports (its a few pages but worth the read!) written by Garry Reynolds who is a reporter of ‘YOUR TIME” magazine who participated in the course and was himself interviewed on the TV and Radio about the course.

Self-defence for seniors in times of trouble
By Garry Reynolds

John Kerr died on Hasting Street, at Noosa Heads, while doing his usual early morning Sunday walk. Source: NCA Newswire.
After police launched a murder investigation when John Kerr, 87, was found unconscious with severe facial injuries and died on the tourist strip at Noosa Heads at 6am on Sunday 18 June, locals have responded strongly.

A week later, about 500 people gathered at the nearby beach for a community remembrance walk before observing a minute’s silence and laying flowers.
Subsequently, a Gympie Man has been charged with murder.

Meanwhile, several locals have taken proactive measures to minimise the risk of a repeat security threat.

Combat Self Defence Instructor, Martin Day, has received a big response to his offer of free self-defence awareness and training courses for seniors in conjunction with Noosa Leisure Centre.
An Army veteran of 20 years, Martin served in an elite fighting unit in the British Army. He has been teaching for 40 years and is a Grandmaster 8th Dan.
He says: “It’s a fact of life that we need to be situationally aware as we go about our daily lives, and no-one should live in fear.”

The highly experienced instructor points out that the courses focus on how to avoid being perceived as a victim, combined with confidence building.
Other practical measures include a range of intuitive actions to stop an attacker coupled with employing rapid alert codes.
Martin Day reiterates that the thoughts of the organisers of the course are with Mr Kerr’s family and friends and that seniors interested in securing a place in the free course should call 5448 2383 to book a place.

Notes from the course plus Martin’s comments during the course

Martin Day demonstrates self-defence techniques with colleague, Paul, while Russel, Current Affair’s cameraman, closes in on the action. Source: Selina Ellis.

Well over 60 seniors attended two sessions of the free course offered by Martin Day including myself. I found it valuable in preparing myself mentally and physically to avoid and deal with a threatening situation. Martin offered a range of strategies backed by practical counter measures to diffuse an attack. Channel 9 television’s Current Affair were there to follow up on the story of ordinary senior men and women preparing themselves to avoid from becoming a victim of an unprovoked attack.

Martin Day focused on five main aspects in helping seniors protect themselves:
1. Principles to apply to reduce the risk of becoming a victim.
2. Principles to apply once engaged in self-defence action.
3. Awareness of target points to effectively repel an attacker.
4. Awareness of common street attack scenarios to prepare to defend against.
5. Colour code alertness levels to focus your most appropriate practiced response.

1. Principles to Reduce the Risk of becoming a Victim.


Martin Day emphasised that the most important weapon a senior has in their protection armoury is their brain.

He says it should come into play every day by seniors staying alert. They can do this firstly by being aware of their surroundings and the people or hazards within. This can be done calmly without being alarmed and presenting themselves as a potential victim.

Martin recommends that seniors always carry their mobile phone with them. It should have emergency numbers readily accessible as well as have friends and family contacts. He stresses it is advantageous to wear a fall monitor or wrist phone which will ring emergency responders and your close contacts providing your location automatically.

In reference to using our brain as seniors, he reminds us to use our age to advantage underpinned by extensive life experience to listen to our intuition and gut feelings. This helps us to sum up situations we are in every time we venture out or someone comes to our home.

Martin is particularly emphatic that we employ our maturity to avoid allowing our ego to overtake our alertness if for instance someone bumps us in a supermarket or is aggressive while driving. We should restrain our feelings of indignation or feeling compelled to telling them off or return aggression in road rage. Martin says: “Swallow your ego and apologise. If the perpetrator remains aggressive put them off guard by saying “Don’t I know you from somewhere?” to defuse them and make them wary of you.”

Martin reiterates that on the road pull to the side where possible and let that tailgater pass. He emphasises:

“Do not let them follow you home where they may return in future to stalk you. Seek a well-lit service station, a McDonald’s, or a police station to receive support and protection. Park your car so you can get a quick getaway. Stay in the car alerting key contacts on your phone about where you are and what you are doing if your pursuer is nearby. Otherwise, if the coast is clear, carry your keys grasped tightly between your fingers to use as a potential weapon after you exit the car to seek refuge inside the business establishment or police station should your pursuers be likely to return.”


Martin Day stresses that it is important for seniors to avoid placing themselves in a position where they not only look a vulnerable target and are, in fact, vulnerable and be compelled to defend themselves. He says: “Don’t let your ego make you walk into trouble by insisting on exercising your rights or offer people with objectionable public behaviour your unsolicited advice. If you are insistent, report the behaviour anonymously to the authorities through a crime stopper hotline when you are safe.

“If you are walking along the street and see potential trouble ahead, cross to the other side but don’t turn your back. Only seek to return from whence you came when you have ascertained it is safe to do so.”

If avoidance fails, this is where Martin’s training comes into practice. He says: “Should you find yourself in a rapidly evolving hazardous situation, you must position yourself so that you have options to move, escape, or act in self-defence.”


In the self-defence mode, Martin couldn’t emphasise more pointedly that distancing from the attacker is critical both in not only resisting their initial foray but in taking the initiative to close on and injure the attacker before they break down your defence and disable you from responding.

He says succinctly: “Action beats reaction – so do not allow a person to invade your space!
Remember the mantra of there being three distances when being approached by a stranger seeking assistance.”

Martin says the three distances are: “Less than a metre is dangerous.

You should distance at least by to 1-1.5 metres as this allows you to react.
Then distance by greater than 1.5 metres to act and allow you to control the situation.”

He continues: “You can initiate control by not backing away where you are off balance but moving forward decisively to close the distance now to defend yourself and not wait for the attacker to continue to advance on you.

You need to have kinetic energy on your side to outweigh any initial advantage they may have in surprise, size, or strength.

This is where using your alert brain and preparatory training replaces fear and vulnerability with action to reverse the initiative. You move onto the front foot to attack them in their most vulnerable areas as part of your defensive armoury.

It is time to quickly turn the tables to preserve your life and limb!”


Martin Day says: “Be conscious of your brain as the main self-defence weapon, when it identifies potential hazards, it will cause an Adrenalin release. This will kick start the central nervous system into hyper readiness to launch into a fight or flight response.”

Martin emphasises that this where awareness and training needs to cut in as it will be difficult to respond in a controlled manner in this hyper state.

He says: “The idea is to overwrite our pre-set nervous system response with self-defence principles and practices. Definitely no uncontrolled hitting and hoping. This becomes self-defeating rather than self-defence.”

“Preparation and practice are the key measures. Identify and practice strikes to pressure points and vulnerable areas. Remember, it is too easy to break hands and wrists if you strike incorrectly or hit a bony structure, ”

Martin warns.

If you have not conditioned your fists and wrists for striking, Martin recommends using your elbows and knees as they are already strong.

These responses will then become part of your fight or flight response and will automatically target effectively in moving from reactive self-defence to proactive self-offence to improve your chances of avoiding severe injury or worse.

1. Principles once engaged in self-defence action.


In reinforcing the importance of posture, Martin Day states succinctly – no balance, no fight!
Posture is a two-way street in self-defence. It is important for you to maintain your own good posture while taking away the posture and balance of the attacker.
Martin points out that it is crucial to identify the attacker’s balance points and strike through the body towards the balance points. He emphasises: “You need to occupy the space of the attacker.”


Martin Day says every hand movement has a corresponding foot movement and adds: “Combining these will ensure your action will be fully effective.

Martin says the magic formula striking through the attacker’s body …. is Mass x Acceleration + Kinetic Energy=Power.

In making your strikes, Martin points out that it is not just the part of your body that attacks the striker. He stresses that: “It is your whole body being delivered through the point of contact.”

He advises: “Moving to the outside of the attacker gives you more options than being in between the attacker’s arms.”

Elbows in

Outstretched arms have minimal strength. Martin notes: “The closer you keep your elbows to your body, the stronger and more powerful you will be.

Used in conjunction with footwork and whole of body strike closeness will give you an advantage over the attacker.”

Small circles

Research shows that the brain is used to responding to backward and forward motion as well as side to side movements.

Martin stresses that: “Using circular movement when engaged with an attacker will confuse the brain response of the attacker.”

Management of space

Martin Day recommends: “Practice closing the distance by a shuffle rather than a step. Close the attacker down and target pressure points. Ensure you practice extending the distance in the same manner.

Sometimes you may want the attacker to commit to a forward movement or fall into the open space so that you can take advantage of the change in their balance points.”

1. Awareness of target points to effectively repel an attacker.

Eyes – a sharp jab, clawing or gouging to the eyes is effective.

Ears – a powerful clapping action to the ears with a slightly cupped palm will injure or bursts the eardrums causing loss of balance and nausea.

Temples – a blow on the flat area on each side of the forehead stuns the attacker.

Nose – a solid strike on the nose causes nosebleed and impaired vision.

Rotator cuff – a strike to the soft area near the rotator cuff causes severe pain and loss of movement to that arm.

Adam’s Apple – a strike here would leave the attacker choking for breath.

Under the ear – is unprotected. A strike with fist, backfist, hammer fist or elbow would be a knockout one. Similarly, a rear naked choke with pressure on the side of the neck using the inner blade of your forearm will cause loss of consciousness.

Biceps – an angled strike on the biceps is extremely painful.

Kidney Point – it is a few centimetres below the collar bone and runs across the chest. An angled strike in and across the chest causes immense pain.

Diaphragm – striking the diaphragm i.e., the lower rib area (front side) would cause difficulty in breathing.

Back of the neck and side of the spine – located to the side of where the spine joins the skull. The strike is delivered in an upward motion aimed diagonally through the skull to the opposite temple.

Solar Plexus – this is the region at the very top of the stomach area, just below the sternum. This area cannot be protected by muscle and is very vulnerable.

Kidneys – when this area is struck, the attacker will endure a shock-like sensation.

Inner and outer thighs – a ‘dead leg’ sensation can be delivered by an angular strike from a fist, knee or kick. To maximise the effect, the strike needs to be up or down.

Groin – This is a weak spot. A strike or kick here will weaken the attacker – male or female.

4 Awareness of common street attack scenarios to prepare to defend against.

1. The coward’s punch from the side or behind.
2. A swinging punch to the head.
3. Front clothing grab, one hand, followed by a punch to the head.
4. Front clothing grab, two hands, followed by a head butt.
5. Front clothing grab, two hands, followed by a knee to the groin.
6. A bottle, glass, or ashtray to the head.
7. A lashing kick to the groin or lower legs.
8. A broken bottle or glass jabbed to the face.
9. A slash with a knife, most commonly a 7-10cm lock blade knife or kitchen utility knife.
10. A head lock followed up with a choke and/or punches to the head.




(Over 1 Hour of Dynamic Action)!