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When I was eleven, I was attacked by two adults while walking home from a mornings fishing at the local boating lake just outside Newport. The attackers were never caught and if I am honest with you, it messed my head up for a year or two.

When I eventually decided to address my fears I started looking into martial arts to give me the confidence and techniques to hopefully rebuild my confidence and give me a few skills.

In the early years I tried various styles, I wasn’t interested in grading and the likes, I just wanted to learn how to protect myself. On reflection some of the stuff I was taught could of put me in more danger.  It was just too complex and was honed for maybe the dojo or give new students the wow factor. However That said I did learn some very effective techniques especially from Goshinkwai Ju Jutsu in the earlier years (before I discovered Muay Thai)

After a few years training in various styles I discovered Muay Thai (Thai Boxing) and that is still my core art.  I favoured the offensive skills this art provided, the ability to use hands, elbows, knees, clinch and kicks, however maybe more importantly, it also conditioned me physically and mentally.

Muay Thai taught me the importance of damage limitation (how to cover up), what it was like to be hit and how to cope with it (as this seems to be strangely missing from a lot of systems out there). 

Unfortunately, there is every chance this could happen, if you can’t firstly escape, or secondly you miss your opportunity to launch a pre-emptive strike.

I carry a lot of these principles over to my self-protection training, however I do separate Muay Thai from self-protection/defence.  One is a fighting art and  as a Muay Thai fighter in the ring it’s two fighters trained in a fighting art. Street self-defence is different, you’re not fighting in a traditional manner, you have to approach the scenario from a different angle, there are no referees, you haven’t warmed up and stretched, you won’t have the lighting or space of a boxing ring. your attacker will not be aiming to fight you, more like overload your senses very quickly and destroy you using every dirty trick he knows.

Controlling and managing range will need to be done in an instant before they escalate their violence. Very often there is alcohol in the scenario as well as potentially lots of other impact factors.

There are lots of variations on attack rituals


What I will say however the offensive/defensive capabilities of Muay Thai used in a self-protection situation can be very overwhelming to an attacker.

I discuss Mind-set and the most difficult of all – Controlling yourself, emotions and hopefully install the confidence to if necessary, cope with and neutralise a person who you will  NOT hug you with respect after a ring fight, but  who possibly wants to seriously hurt you for reasons only known to them, and more likely carry on hurting and kicking you when they have beat you to the ground..  Can you see the difference? 

Again, as I said you can still utilise the powerful basic tools of Thai Boxing (which are as effective as ever) as well as other effective add-ons but your not Thai Boxing – It’s a totally different scenario.


Over the last 25 years I have worked in various sectors where you are often subjected to aggression and violence and I have witnessed and been on the end of aggression and violence many times.

I have taught people from many sectors from young children  (anti snatch drills) to youngsters  at colleges and schools, security staff, retail staff, close protection staff, Drs, nurses, magistrates, probation officers, teachers, members of the public just wanting to stay safe or people rebuilding their confidence after an attack.

I am a massive believer in trying to read situations, risk assessment, pre-attack rituals and insight.  Is it gratuitous violence? (drunken/stimulant fuelled  or someone who just thrives on violence ) maybe it’s material incentive gain? (muggers etc) or predatory, resentful, rejected motivation (often against females by stalker profiles or ex partners)  Learn how to read body language, make sense of gut feelings/intuition, impact factors (e.g alcohol, drugs, crowds etc) de-escalation skills, escape/ and avoidance if possible. Getting into right mindset.

However here is the bedrock…. If you can’t de-escalate, escape or avoid the situation how to use a few powerful realistic gross motor driven techniques to overwhelm your attacker.

It is also important to have insight into the lawfulness of self-defence and reasonable force (1967 criminal law act  section 3) 

I try to enlighten students regarding their ‘honest believe’ and ‘reasonable in the circumstances’ and if necessary? Their absolute right to use reasonable force to protect themselves and or others.

I won’t sell you short or go down the fancy nonsense route, that’s not my style, I know all too well what it’s like to be the victim of an attack. I will give you realistic direct options which can be effective under heavy stress.

The bottom line is this.

 It’s not about showing you what I can do, but more about showing and teaching you what YOU CAN DO.

So if you want more info please do give me a call.

2 hour 'Stay Safe' seminars are taught every quarter at So8 gym.

Please call Ian for upcoming dates

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