Freedom in Action | Finding your own Fighting Style

One of the taglines I use for my system, the Rider Martial Arts Cross Training System or RMA-XTS is “Freedom in Action”. The system is a personal combat system that aims to develop the individual and not create clones that all move in the same way. By encouraging each individual student to find their own path is just one of the ways of promoting “Freedom in Action”
A couple of other ways that I promote “Freedom in Action” is by firstly encouraging students to look at everything they are taught with an open mind. I actively encourage questions and for students to “think outside the box”, getting them to approach their training innovatively.
Let me give you some examples of how we approach this, first of all, let us discuss ranges of combat. The age old question, how many ranges of combat are there? Three? Long, Medium and Close, some may say five, Kicking, Punching, Trapping, vertical grappling and ground grappling, what about if we add intimidation / verbal then we are up to six ranges, adding weapons into the equation can add a seventh, hopefully you can see where I am going with this. Just by looking at a simple concept such as ranges in a different way opens up a whole new way of thinking. Just to get you thinking again, what if I asked the original question again “how many ranges of combat are there?” this time instead of answering, 3, 5 or 7, I said there was one, yes just one range what would you say about that? Why would this be my answer, simple, you are either fighting or you are not. Just to make this point easier to understand, you are in vertical grappling range, let’s say in a head clinch and you use shin kicks to take out your opponents base, which range are you in, vertical grappling, kicking or are you just fighting?
To get an idea of what I am talking about here you can check out this video:

This video will also give you an example of what I am discussing in an earlier Combat Network Magazine article which can be found here, http://www.combatnetworkmagazine.com/2015/02/how-to-shut-down-your-attacker.html
Let’s move it on, keeping on the theme of ranges, let us look at trapping. I have previously written a long article elsewhere about trapping and the RMA-XTS perspective so I am not going to go in to loads of detail here but keeping within the theme of this article, I want to ask you, Which camp are you in when it comes down to trapping, does it work or does it not work? For me it depends entirely on how you view trapping. The old argument of “you don’t see trapping in cage fighting” just doesn’t cut it with me and if you believe this, then you are just not being free in your thinking, you my friend are well and truly in that box.
I would expect if you mention trapping the image most people come up with is Bruce Lee crossing hands with Bob Wall in Enter the Dragon. This type of trapping is commonly referred to as reference point trapping or another term is a hand immobilisation attack (HIA) and in my opinion does have a place. It may be a range that takes longer to become proficient at but everything that is worthwhile takes time.
Anyway, going back to thinking about trapping from outside that box, from the perspective of RMA-XTS there are many different ways we can integrate and apply trapping in to our training. We can use it when striking, locking, using standing grappling as well as on the ground. Here is a few examples for you which will hopefully clarify what I mean, a boxer clinching could be viewed trapping, a BJJ player holding someone in their guard, could this not be viewed as a form of a trap? A Thai Boxer using the neck clinch to use their knees and elbows. Or how about simply standing on some ones foot to disrupt their balance? In saying that, yes I am aware that a foot immobilisation attack (FIA) is a common variation on the HIA.
It is my opinion that all of these can be seen as a form of trapping, it may not be trapping as it is traditionally thought of but that is the beauty of looking at your training from outside the box and also not getting tied up with dogmatic approach that is often associated with the martial arts.
This is where I really start to emphasise “Freedom in Action” it is not just about having freedom in the movement that we do, it is about being individual and expressive in our approach and having the freedom to follow our own path and way of thinking.
These are just a couple of ways that I express the concept of “Freedom in Action” through my teachings of the Rider Martial Arts Cross Training System. Next time I will keep on a similar vein but will discuss the principles of Adapt – Apply – Create & Flow.
In closing I would just like to say that none of these approaches I teach are unique to RMA-XTS. I have been lucky enough to train with a number of instructors over the years who have taught me to take this path, I in turn am passing it on to my students.
As the quote goes “if I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants” and that may just be another article.

About the Author:

Stuart Rider is originally from London but now living in Fife, Scotland. He has been training in the martial arts for 25 years, and has been teaching and running his own clubs since 1999. 

Stuart holds a 3rd Dan in street Defence Combat under Dave Turton, 2nd Dan Choi Kwang Do and several other grades in other arts.

These days Stuart teaches his own system, the Rider Martial Arts Cross Training System (RMA-XTS) which is his interpretation of the various martial arts and self-defence methods he has trained in and studied over the years. Stuart also hold an honours degree from Edinburgh Napier University in Complementary Healthcare/Therapies.



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