Monday, June 11, 2018

Rodney King's Crazy Monkey Defense System seminar - 10 June 2018

The seminar was held are George Adams' gym in Lakemba. Thanks to George for arranging the seminar and to his students for their friendly and welcoming attitude.

Seminar group

The best place to get an idea of Rodney's background and qualifications to teach personal defence, and an overview of his system and its rationale, is on these websites:

Rodney's website
Crazy Monkey Defense website

Suffice to say he is very well qualified.


We face our opponent, one foot forward.

Our feet need to be wider than our hips for the fundamental concept of balance. When moving, we never want to end up with our feet narrower, or crossed up, as our balance and ability to defend or strike will be compromised.

We should be up on the toes of our back foot. Both feet face forwards at the opponent. We need to be able to drive forward from the back foot without adjustment. Turning the back foot out to the side is a  giant no-no.

We pull our stomach in and try to pull our upper body down into our hips, rounding our shoulders to pull our elbows down and in to protect our flanks.

Our shoulders are raised and our chin and head pulled down to hide and protect our neck and jaw. The neck and throat cannot easily be conditioned and must be protected.

If your head is up and you get hit on the side of the jaw, the shock tends to go up into the brain. With the proper CM stance, the shock will go down through the body into the ground.

Hands are up near the cheekbones, protecting the face, for now.


We do not want to compromise our balance, or ability to move again, defend or hit. Movements should in general be small. Better several small steps preserving the integrity of our stance rather than one big step which compromises balance or stance integrity.

For an orthodox fighter (L foot forward), forward movement requires us to push off the back R foot, and take a small step with the L foot, always coming back to the same stance. The same applies to stepping to our L or circling anticlockwise. Make sure the back foot comes back to the correct stance every time when drilling, do not let it drag and compromise the stance.

For the orthodox fighter to move back, push off with the front L foot, step with the R, bring the L foot back to the correct stance again. Same for moving to the R or circling clockwise. As before, take small steps and make sure each steps lands you back in the correct stance.

Forming a Fist

A proper fist is formed by pointing the fingers outward laterally (for the L hand point the fingers out to the L), then closing the fist, keeping the forearm muscles tight. If done properly, this will prevent the wrist from bending forward and collapsing.

You can test this by forming a fist without pointing the fingers outward and having a partner trying to bend your wrist with his hands. It will be bendable if you do not align the fingers as discussed, but if done correctly with the fingers pointed out first, your pratner should be unable to bend your wrist.

Jab and Cross

The jab should be thrown with the chin kept on the chest, so it is tucked securely behind the deltoid of the punching arm, and thus safe from counter punches.

The cross requires you to open your hips so the rear hip can come forward behind the punch. An orthodox fighter should step his L foot slightly to the L to allow the R hip to move. Turn the L foot slightly in so it still faces the opponent. Bend the R knee and allow the stance to drop slightly as you throw the cross. Remember once again to keep shoulders lifted, head and chin tucked and keep the chin hidden behind the deltoid of the punching arm. Always finish in the proper stance, retaining stance integrity and balance.

If throwing the jab cross combo, step the L foot out as above with the jab to set up the cross that follows.

Drill: Jab/cross on focus mitts or Thai pads, bare handed. Partner should move around and hide and flash the pads each time, so the puncher can work movement, timing, and distancing. Use broken rhythm.


Against hooks to the head

From their position down near the cheekbones, slide your hand up and grab the back of your head. Hide your chin and lock everything in tight. You need to grab the back of your head as the target may be anywhere from the jaw to knockout points on the back of your head. After blocking the punch return your hand immediately to the guard position.

For most of the drills, you want a defence position with your hands touching your head, up near the hairline. With gloves on, the fingers of the palm side of your gloves should be on your head, without gloves, your palms and fingers are on your hairline as if running your hands through your hair. do not take your hands off your head while defending - you will end up hitting yourself in the head or leaving gaps to get hit through.

Drill: Partner has focus mitts, you have boxing gloves. Partner throws slap-style hooks with the pads, you defend as above. Start light and ensure the punchee is not so pressed as to abandon good form.

Against straight punches, jabs and crosses to the head

From the defence position with hands on your head, shift your elbow into the centre, blocking the punch with the bone of the forearm or the seam of the glove. You can block a L jab with either your R or L forearm. You can block a L jab R cross combination with a L forearm and R forearm, an R and an L or two L forearms (blocking with two R forearms might be inefficient and risky). You should mix the responses to avoid becoming predictable.

Drill: Partner has focus mitts, you have boxing gloves. your partner should left his fingers and strike with the flat of the pad, rather than the forward edge, for safety. Partner throws jabs and crosses with the pads, you defend with the forearms.

You should not block punches and step straight back for more than a couple of steps. After that, start circling away to the side. You should practice circling away to both sides and mix them up while drilling so as to avoid predictability.

Our gaze should be on the "Bermuda triangle" between his shoulders and his sternum. You should not try to watch the hands. Rodney demonstrated how his reaction time to block the glove, while watching the triangle, is very much faster than when he watches the gloves.

The other value of circling is that it allows us to get a look at the wider lay of the land - other people, obstacles, exits, etc. while still keeping our attention on the opponent. As we have a tendency to "tunnel vision" under stress, and we never want to turn our heads away from the immediate threat and "Bermuda triangle", the circling can be very useful.

You will be able to move quicker from a base of movement rather than stillness. So, both move in the stance, but also keep moving your hands on your head constantly, as your reactions and movements will be faster that way. Rodney used the analogy of a tennis player waiting to receive a serve. No one stands there awaiting the serve in a horse stance.

Drill: Partner with mitts throws jabs, crosses, hooks, mixing them up. You defend and keep circling away to both sides.

Drill: Partner with mitts throws jabs, crosses, hooks in various combinations, you defend and cricle, then he holds both pads out for you to return a jab cross. Return to defending, then hold the pads up, repeat.

"Rimshot" Range

This seminar is an intro to "CM1", which works where we are at a range where he cannot hit us without taking a step, but if he does take a step, he can hit us or we can hit him. This is "Rimshot" range.

"CM2" deals with closer ranges than this. We are not ready for this yet. There are CM3 and CM4 after that.

It is important that we understand how to stay at rimshot range and  be able defend ourselves there. If we get too close, we can be hit, clinched with, taken down, etc. If we are too far away, we may not have time to close and hit or grab/smother him if he tries to access a purpose made or improvised weapon.

If we are able to "ride the storm" of his attack and retaliate with our own strikes, we need to be mindful that once we stop striking him, his automatic reaction will probably be to retaliate with strikes of his own. We need to move back out of range without giving him the opportunity to hit us while we are doing it.

As we move away, we need to jab, jab, jab to keep him from following until we are back at the relative safety of rimshot range. The jab away may be a hard push or slap to the chest rather than a punch to the head if the situation does not yet warrant punching. Much like Geoff Thompson's push away, when they start closing in on your Fence.

Drill: Similar to the previous - partner attacks with the pads, then hold them up for the jab cross. Then he presses in at you. You should circle back to rimshot range while throwing jabs. Often, only the first jab might connect.

A short video from the seminar recorded by George Adams

Progressive Stress Inoculation

It is important to start slow and ramp this stuff up at a level the student can cope with. Certainly not go at them full speed, full power from the get go. "Challenging but achievable", perhaps? As Keith Owen (IIRC) said, "If you break your toys, you don't get to play any more". This applies to training partners, and of course applies to Jiu Jitsu, and other aspects of martial arts training, as well as boxing.


We want to avoid violence. Don't make such situations a battle of egos. Try to use verbal Jiu Jitsu to defuse situations. You do not have to beat, dominate, or punish the other guy. If you cant defuse the situation with words, defend just long enough to make an exit.

If you can distract the guy and get out of there, that's SO much better than a knock down drag out confrontation where you might end up dead, or in jail. Dead hero is an overrated state.

Rodney and myself

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