Andrew Janson - Rapid Arnis London

Discussion in 'Interviews' started by Simon, Feb 28, 2016.

  1. Simon

    Simon Moved on Admin Supporter MAP 2017 Koyo Award


    Andrew, thank you for giving up your time to meet a few of the MAP MOD Team to discuss your thoughts on the Martial Arts.

    Many of us got our interest in Martial Arts through either Bruce Lee or Sho Kosugi films, or because we were bullied at school. What was it that got you started?

    I was always getting into fights as a youth, mainly due to some very questionable decision-making, but most of the time had the size and strength to deal with what came along. What I didn't have at that time was technique, discipline, or very sound judgement.

    The fact was that I liked to fight, so at the first possible opportunity I enrolled in a club (regarded by a lot of my mates as the toughest club in town) to learn how to do it better. As well as learning a number of different ways to damage people, I learned control, humility and clarity.

    It gave me perspective on the life I was living and the people around me, and through my training I realised I didn't have anything to prove and stopped getting into scraps.

    The bio on your website says you are a Krav Maga Combatives instructor. How do you find the empty hands syllabus compares to that of Eskrima?

    Perhaps the biggest problem with Krav Maga, and indeed all martial arts, is that over time the testing aspect has been eroded or removed to benefit the commercial aspect. In my opinion training should be a 4-stage process of drills, skills, testing and review/repair and that's certainly something we do in my schools.

    Martial Arts have been watered down and some of the problem is the instructors who teach to make a living: Hard pressure testing can drive away students and in the classes I teach, it's no surprise that the harder the testing gets, the smaller the class becomes. Thankfully I prefer teaching smaller classes, since that allows me to deliver a better standard of coaching. Other instructors may have other priorities though.

    Ultimately then, the testing phase sorts out the wheat from the chaff and keeps class sizes manageable.

    The students who remain are tested regularly, to varying degrees physically and mentally - sometimes on a weekly basis. It's important we know they can fight their way out of the pit.

    The majority "test" when the sun is shining: Conditions are perfect, the gyms are nice and clean, clothing is comfortable and so on. True pressure testing should take you outside of your comfort zone though.

    What used to happen before arts were watered down is people trained for rainy days: Effectively because their lives would depend on it. The more urgent your ability to fight was, the more rigorously it would have to be tested to make sure you were capable when the time came. As our environment has changed, so too has our perception of violence and the way we prepare for it. If our understanding of "violence" is influenced by fantasy and general disconnection, then the way we prepare for it will be influenced by that same understanding.

    So given the exposure you've had to many arts, is there one you favour at certain ranges?

    I would say it depends how the style is trained and what testing environment the student is exposed to. As such, I can't say one art necessarily trumps another in any context.

    You specialise in edged weapons. What is your approach in class and what is the split between the art and a more realistic approach?

    Good question.

    The starting point is training v reality. First off we look at concealment and access: It's no good having a concealed knife if you've not drilled accessing it.

    As I've mentioned before it's no good just drilling for sunny days. We need to practice for rainy days - performing under pressure.

    I had a incident abroad where an attacker tried to access a weapon during a confrontation and (luckily) couldn't do it quick enough. I was able to access my weapon and was on him before he could react. It was a profound reminder of the importance of training to draw under pressure, and it is no surprise that every armed culture and system around the world emphasises training from the draw.

    Angles and movement is another principle that is paramount.

    Anyone teaching edged weapons should look at real-life case studies on order to create a system based on best practice and fact. Many arts are based on lists of techniques and drills being passed on from teacher to student, without anyone really knowing why. Rather than trying to shoehorn relatively redundant doctrine into various fantasy scenarios, a relevant and concise edged weapons programme should address actual incidents of edged weapon violence and develop from there. Reverse-engineering, if you will.

    In addition to using edged weapons we teach how to deal with edged weapon attacks and train the most efficient method. An encounter must be ended as quickly as possible. At close range, every second that goes by is a second you are incurring damage. If you take 5 seconds to control someone's arm that is 5 seconds of frenzied attack you are dealing with. Getting some strikes of your own in during that time will allow you to buy yourself a bigger window to work in, but you are still going to have to end it - preferably sooner rather than later.

    An edged weapons syllabus should include how to deal with major haemorrhaging and how to use things like clothing as improvised bandaging when bandages aren't available. With recent active-shooter incidents in Europe, more people are being switched on to this idea generally, but I'd say we are well behind where we should be in addressing the issue of catastrophic bleeds. Especially considering how simple it is to train for this, and how exsanguination is the most likely cause of death in penetrating injuries.

    Another thing we teach is weapon retention - in both a holstered and weapon-drawn context.

    If you can please elaborate on your security work, which I know you do in this country, as well as abroad.

    In the security industry, I work as an Operations Manager across Europe and Asia. I also cover asset recruitment and training.

    MAP Note. At this point Andy did elaborate slightly in regard to the type of clients he has, but didn't mention names. This type of work requires complete confidentiality and trust, so we'll respect that and we didn't press the subject during the interview.

    Just as pressure testing is required in the martial arts it is also true for the security industry, as is high level certification. Even during a minor confrontation stepping in at the wrong time can completely undermine and embarrass the client, and so for a professional role in the industry, it is important that a candidate's ability to exercise sound and timely judgement is tested and assessed.

    You studied security and risk management at University. What lead you into this field and is this the subject you cover in your consultancy work?

    Security and Risk Management are directly relevant to the consultancy work I do. Prior to my SRM course I studied Social Anthropology at university, which then led to opportunities within the security industry and various specialised areas. Through my passion for training and study, I made a number of reliable contacts around the globe and sought to improve my professional qualifications, and armed/unarmed skills.

    Andrew, many thanks for your time. Thank you also for supporting the MAP Meet in 205 and we'll see you again at the 2016 Meet.

    [ame=""]Rapid Arnis highlights - YouTube[/ame]

    If you are interested in training with Andrew, you can contact him through his website.
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2016
  2. John Titchen

    John Titchen Still Learning Supporter

    Great interview. Very interesting! I'm looking forward to working with Andrew again at the MAP Meet in May.
  3. Unreal Combat

    Unreal Combat Valued Member

    Nice interview. Should do more of these as it's always nice to see more about a member than just a username and an avatar.
  4. Janno

    Janno Valued Member

    Thanks for the interview Simon - it was great meeting up with you and the gang, and i look forward to seeing you and our fellow MAPpers in May :)
  5. Simon

    Simon Moved on Admin Supporter MAP 2017 Koyo Award

    Thank you to Andrew for taking to time to go through the questions again and elaborate on some of his answers.

    Much appreciated.
  6. Mushroom

    Mushroom De-powered to come back better than before.

    Always a pleasure to sit and listen to the vast knowledge that Janno has.

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