According to Tim Larkin, Black Belt’s 2011 Self-Defense Instructor of the Year, “Violence is rarely the answer, but when it is, it’s the only answer.” This idea is fundamental to the self-defense technique training paradigm of his fighting system, Target Focus Training — a system that can improve your street-survival readiness.
“It all comes down to one question,” Tim Larkin says. “When do you have to take action on the street?”
Target Focus Training contains a set of principles and self-defense technique responses to situations that, as Tim Larkin explained in a recent Black Belt article on street-fighting tips, “help you make better decisions about how to use violence. … We believe that if you truly feel threatened, you can’t afford to use any fighting method that doesn’t produce an injury.”
MARTIAL ARTS TRAINING VIDEOS
Tim Larkin Teaches Street-Fighting Tips Incorporating Bodyweight in Self-Defense Techniques
For this installment in Black Belt’s ongoing series of martial arts training videos, Tim Larkin offers street-fighting tips using bodyweight as a means to stop an attacker before he can inflict injury on you. In the first segment of this martial arts training video, the attacker is on the ground on all fours, opening up some vital points for execution of a self-defense technique.
“What we do [in Target Focus Training],” Tim Larkin explains, “is train from all different angles. Say we’re learning the ring of the neck — we’re learning to strike the back of the neck, the side of the neck and the throat. This [position] is one of the profiles we put people in.”
As his self-defense technique demonstration partner assumes a position on all-fours, Tim Larkin readily acknowledges, “A lot of people go, ‘Whoa! Why would I ever kick a guy on the ground like this? This is really bad. So what I do is, I put them in there and I’ll sit there and say, ‘OK, you gotta step close, you gotta use your shin, you’re gonna come in, you’re gonna kick him to the throat and you’re gonna come right out and then you’re gonna follow him up.’”
Tim Larkin’s physical demonstration of his theoretical explanation depicts a key concept in Target Focus Training’s street-fighting tips arsenal: the delivery of one’s bodyweight to one of your opponent’s vital points, resulting in an injury that renders the opponent nonfunctional. A standard neck strike of this nature would often include an immediate leg retraction following the shin kick, but Tim Larkin’s version of the self-defense technique capitalizes on the shin kick’s inherent momentum by plowing the leg forward until his body has moved past the target’s original location.
“[And people say], ‘Why would you ever do that?’ [To explain, I do] the same scenario again,” Tim Larkin says. “[This time], he’s reaching for [a] gun. Most people would jump and wrestle with the gun at that point. What I’m trying to get my people to do is [realize that his brain] is what makes this guy dangerous.”
The Target Focus Training approach to such self-defense techniques opens the palette of vital targets from the standard go-to options of eyes, throat and groin, inviting the exploitation of other zones such as, in this case, the neck. “The reason [a lot of arts tend to be obsessed with striking the eyes, throat and groin] is those three targets don’t require bodyweight to injure. Instructors do that with female students all the time, and it’s a huge disservice. You don’t ever want to limit anybody by saying, ‘Here’s the top three.’”
The second half of this street-fighting tips video shows a scenario in which the ground opponent is moving toward a gun. In Tim Larkin’s self-defense technique training, he teaches the defender to use his bodyweight to strike parts of the body to inflict injury rather than just pain to make the opponent physically unable to continue posing a threat. “Pain is too much of a variable for us,” Tim Larkin says. “What we strive for [in Target Focus Training] is injury. We want a radiologist to look at the X-ray and say, ‘I don’t care what this guy is feeling; that part of the body isn’t going to work anymore.’”
As a setup in this particular martial arts training-video scenario, the threat is not necessarily the gun but whether the attacker obtains the gun. Therefore, Tim Larkin’s street-fighting tips encourage the objective of injury infliction sufficient to take the opponent’s progress out of commission. In this case, a shin kick to the throat temporarily takes out the opponent’s breathing apparatus, shocks an area near his head and disrupts his progress toward the gun.
In Tim Larkin’s execution of this self-defense technique with full-bodyweight application, the opponent is literally taken off course and moved out of the threat zone — and thus away from the likelihood of achieving his true threat potential. “[The gun] is useless to him if he hasn’t got it yet,” Tim Larkin explains. “So here it’s better to use my time to injure him. [By doing so], all the threats go away. Everything on him goes away at this point. [The gun's] useless to him and all his body parts are useless to him.”
For more information about Tim Larkin and Target Focus Training, visit targetfocustraining.com.
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