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Lana: Evolution #1
Adapting Agonistics Principles for the Female Defender
It is not often that we get females and or self-defense students interested in agonistics. The following case ranks as both, and shall hopefully provide a useful case study for coaches who might handle this type of fighter in the future. Our arrangement with the host school is essentially a barter agreement, with us providing free training for self-defense students in return for training space. The host is providing us with training space in hopes that this supplementary activity will grow. Hence this case, as with coaching white-collar boxers, is a priority.
Lana is a tall young woman, with slight upper body and athletic lower body, who has approached us concerning ‘the art’ of ‘sticks and stones’ and ‘sharp pointy objects’ as well as ‘practical self-defense.’ She did state, as she walked into the host school, “I took karate once for a few months and gained some belts without learning a thing. It was obviously a cash operation.”
She then told me that she had fenced for a while, “You touch a shoulder and it’s over. It did not hold my interest.”
When I asked Lana what her goals were she answered, “No belts, no points—ability.”
If I had closed my eyes and listened to her through a monster truck muffler I might well have been excused for thinking I was talking to another frustrated hockey player, yearning for a more authentic outlet for his need to ‘crush his enemies, to see them driven before him, and to hear the lamentations of da vomen!'
Lana appears to have thought this course of action out thoroughly. I have now spent 4 hours working with her over the course of two sessions. It was an auspicious time for her to begin as I am sidelined with wrist injuries just now and was able to focus on her while the men ripped into each other in preparation for the upcoming agon.
My Evaluation of Lana as a Combatant
I always evaluate females with an expressed interest in self-defense on a ‘male’ scale, as individual men and groups of male youths are their most likely attackers.
1. At 5’ 8” Lana has reach parity with the typical aggressor.
2. Her legs are slightly stronger than those of a male youth.
3. Her upper-body is typically female, placing her at about the 30% percentile among male youths.
4. Her biomechanical recall [coachability] is in the top 10% of women and places her at about the 60% mark among men and male teens.
5. She is highly intelligent and picks up counts and patterns quickly.
6. Her physical instincts tend toward the self-defeating female norm.
7. Lana has already purchased sparring gear, and has suggested I ‘bring it on’ in reference to contact training.
1. We should train Lana as a combatant, but with caution due to her low bone density and slight body mass.
2. Her coachability and leg strength should enable the development of blunt force techniques, with caution, as there has been a lumbar injury.
3. Training with a stable of full-contact fighters should enable her to attain stop-gap proficiency with empty hands; functional effectiveness with light bunts; and controllable lethality with small blades within 12 months, barring injuries or training breaks.
Evolution #1 [2 hour format]
1. One hour of blade evolutions, based on the ‘straight eight’, supplemented by FMA counts, agonistics drills, coached sparring, and free sparring. At least one solo home session a week will be required to progress on pace.
2. 20 minutes of short stick work, based on the ‘crooked seven’, the roof whack, and the lateral lunge slide. We will use 12-14 inch rods to train for using hand umbrellas and rolled magazines.
3. 20 minutes of stick work, based on the ‘crooked seven’, the brutal salsa, the outside reverse triangle, and the U-combination. Some forearm conditioning and footwork will need to be done at home to progress on pace.
4. 20 minutes of empty hand work, based on slide-boxing, goon-surfing, and spearing, supplemented by bag work and cut-off punch drills. She will have to do hand conditioning with a rice bucket at home to be able to spear effectively.
I sincerely hope, that by this time next year, Lana will be at Evolution #3, and shanking the shit out of novice men and able to handle light stick sparring.
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