Slam Dance! Self Defense Delusion & A Concrete Slap in the Face

By Jehiah Burchfield, TCB Instructor

One of the hardest things you can hit someone with, or be hit with, is the entire planet. Whether the covering at your particular locale at the time happens to be asphalt, concrete, grass, or just plain old dirt, there is something distinctly unforgiving about the earth when your (comparatively) soft body runs into it. Add to that the tendency of many humans to either land in such a way that their body hits first, followed shortly thereafter (in a violent, whipping fashion) by their skull, or to try to break their fall by posting with an unfortunate appendage, which is then injured in the process and doesn’t do what they intended anyway. We see this in football, in funny YoutTube clips of home video mishaps, and we all experienced it in various skinned knees and elbows throughout childhood. Falling and injuring a hip is even a significant health risk for the elderly…but what does this have to do with self-defense?

I would argue that the misperception of how common this problem is when a physical altercation occurs is one of the biggest weaknesses in so-called “self-defense” instruction today. This includes much of what passes for “Women’s self-defense” classes, or the many YouTube videos on the topic out there, and also encapsulates a lot of material that is marketed as more “combative” in nature, whose target audience is supposedly very concerned with reality when it comes to the physicality of what happens in fights.

Let me be blunt about two things real quick, and then flesh out some ideas from there:   1) Unless you have trained in a very specific environment, it is probably a lot easier than you think to pick you up and slam you on your skull, and 2) If that happens to you, it is quite likely you will be rendered unable to defend yourself, which means you are rolling the dice on what an attacker chooses to do next.

Sound scary? Well, it can be sobering for sure. Now…let me back up and preemptively state that everything I am writing about in this post is based on the presupposition that a physical altercation is taking place. I am not addressing tactics of prevention, verbal de-escalation, initiation of force, legal considerations, none of that. I am simply isolating the physical considerations. Those considerations add up to this-very commonly, what is taught as the primary focus in a clinching or grabbing type of scenario will get you promptly slammed on the deck, and the highest probability outcome of that is that you will be seriously injured or at a significant disadvantage.

So what exactly am I talking about? Don’t believe me? Let’s look at some examples and start talking specifics. Before we get into “combative” style instruction (I will treat this as a broad general category), let’s start with Women’s Self-defense (WSD). Ever seen any videos suggesting some sort of heel stomp, eye poke, head-butt or ear slap, or maybe a backwards kick to the groin once she’s lifted into the air?

Let’s take a look at how quickly these sorts of things transpire in real life. Below this paragraph, I have a link to a video of a young lady who has, among other things, a very poor understanding of tactics and strategy. But, she also has been blessed with a large measure of luck because she actually survives this ride relatively unscathed considering some of the results we will see later. None of those points are the subject of this conversation, though, just pay attention to how much time there is once her target decides to initiate a grab around her torso (you can start about 30 seconds into the video if you want). See if there is ample opportunity to recall the details of a WSD seminar and put them to use. See if you think she has leverage to pull off any sort of lock or strike or “move” in retaliation.

Here is our first educational link:


Did you notice what happened there? Did you see an opportunity for a slick, fight-ending strike that she could slip in on her attacker? If not, why not? If she wanted to launch any sort of response what would she have to regain first? What was her main problem to solve?

One of the most basic things that has to happen if someone gets ahold of you is that you have to get your base arranged properly. This will primarily have to do with hip movement-specifically, getting your hips down, and creating distance between your hips and theirs. In positions that resemble what wrestlers call a “double leg” takedown, this kind of response is referred to as a “sprawl”, and in the more bear-hug-looking attacks, which we would generally call the family of “body lock takedowns” the response will still involve a level change and retraction of the hips, along with various turning motions, frames, arm positions, etc. but the bottom line is that without immediately reacting by addressing the problem of base, you run the risk of taking a violent, dangerous ride.

This takes timing and it takes practice, even against mediocre opponents. All the other intricacies and “cool move” details are irrelevant if you don’t have clear understanding and good habits formed based on this priority. This is where I part ways with so many of the more “combative” videos I see, whether they are meant to instruct for empty hand self-defense, or to show weapon retention, defense or offense, too often it is very clear that the instructors are simply not spending much time dealing with true resistance or else they would know that the real priorities are simpler, you just have to put a lot more work into them. To illustrate these points, here is a video showing a very simple ending to an altercation that one of the parties thought was going to be considerably more complex:


It appears that the moment of the clinch has not been a part of this person’s training landscape very often. The priorities are wrong, and the uncomfortable result of misunderstanding in this case was instant unconsciousness from a cold tile floor. Same guy would be much, much harder to take down with a little bit of training that was based on a more realistic understanding of how fights happen. If you get pulled up off your base immediately like that, you’re going to get tossed with ease.

Now let’s talk about an area in which MMA training offers a very specific strength. In the preceding paragraph I mentioned two commonalities to maintaining your base so that you don’t take a ride-both included moving your hips back. I also mentioned moving at angle, and that is definitely good, but let’s stay with the sprawling idea for the moment. There will often come a time where you can’t just move your hips back because you run into some solid object in the environment (wall, vehicle, etc.), and this is exactly the problem that MMA athletes encounter when an opponent runs them into the cage wall.

Working off the cage is an art unto itself with specific goals and drills, and I think any good self-defense training should spend some time familiarizing students with this. Also, as always, you have to put in time working it to be good at it-you won’t just magically remember things when the excrement hits the cooling device. So, am I just selling MMA training? Do we have real world examples of this being practical? I’m glad you asked! And yes, we do!

Check out the belligerent fellow in the following video to see how much of a detriment it can be to get run into a solid object and lose control of your hips-in this case it is an instant fight-ender, all because his reactions are poor. Lucky for him, it’s the good guy doing the “rendering unconscious” because this situation could go terribly wrong if his opponent had bad intentions.


Now, that’s a knockout! I told you the planet hits hard J.

In summary, there are many more videos I could show to make these points, but the best way for anyone to understand them is to go get some training themselves so that they have their own experience to inform them. I would encourage you to do just that. Having misinformed ideas about what you would like to happen if you were ever in a self-defense situation might feel good, but it can be dangerous if you’re ever called upon to take action in reality. Regardless, I think those of us who have a more accurate understanding of that reality have a responsibility to speak about it in a way that (hopefully) is interesting, informative, or fuels the curiosity of those who might want to seek further training.

Go work on your clinch!

Clean Sweep at Cagefights in Cassville!

MMA Knockout Cory Ralston TCB


TCB’S Cory “Honey Badger” Ralston waving his opponent to stand back up last night right before the finish. All of our fighters brought home wins. We could not be more proud. Hard work and dedication always pay off.


Anthony Lupica – 1st Rd TKO (title fight)
Cal Tolbert – 1st Rd KO
Rick Swearingen – 27 second submission
Steven Hunter – 1st Rd TKO
After a night of competition in the cage like last night and grappling competition today you can’t help but be inspired and ready for a new week of training with all of the TCB crew!

Join us Monday!
5am kickboxing fitness
8am boxing/MMA
3pm boxing/kickboxing
5pm kids cage monsters
6pm boxing
730 BJJ


Updated facility photos. Work in progress coming to completion.










Traditional Gi Jiu Jitsu every Mon, Wed, and Friday night.

Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday night we have the honor of hosting Professor Mike Harris for some traditional Gi Jiu Jitsu training. Whether your goal is fitness, cage fighting or you would like to focus solely on Jiu Jitsu, you are doing your self a disservice by not taking advantage of this training. Professor Harris is not only a quality black belt but more importantly a great person.

Professor Mike Harris

Professor Mike Harris


BJJ tournament Saturday day, 9 boxers competing a state away Saturday night, concealed carry class on Sunday!

Good lil weekend for TCB!

Traditional Gi Jiu Jitsu every Mon, Wed and Friday.

Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday night we have the honor of hosting Professor Mike Harris for some traditional Gi Jiu Jitsu training. Whether your goal is fitness, cage fighting  or you would like to focus solely on Jiu Jitsu you are doing your self a disservice by not taking advantage of this training. Professor Harris is not only a quality black belt but more importantly a great person.

Professor Mike Harris

Professor Mike Harris

Orange Belt Testing


Congratulations to Aryanna Kimball, Alexis Vidal, Xander Kimball and Ethan Vidal on their promotions to Orange belt. I am proud of you guys.

TCB members and friends make trip to Moore/OKC to drop off supplies.

We will be making relief trips to Moore for however long until we are no longer needed. Donations can be dropped off at gym. Water, diapers, first aid, blankets, pillows, toiletries, non perishable foods, ect are needed. Let’s make it happen!

Shout out to BCFC for their generous donation this morning along Josh Reed’s donation for covering fuel cost.



This is Brennan Horn, he does private training sessions with Aaron. He is an all star baseball player and a standout athlete. Aaron calls him “spark plug” most of the time. Since he has been cross training in boxing his baseball performance has improved dramatically. He is a natural athlete an a joy to train. He is my athlete of the month not just for kids but for all ages. What he lacks in height and weight he more than makes up for with attitude and intensity. Brennan is going places and TCB is proud to be behind him.

ALL CURRENT TCB MEMBERS, PLEASE READ…WHY WE DO WHAT WE DO.!/2011/03/art-of-panantukan-filipino-boxing.html

Panantukan is a term many of Guro Dan Inosanto’s Instructors used when describing the empty hand striking arts of the Philippines. The other commonly used term was Sikaran, but back in the 70’s many martial artist thought Guro Inosanto was saying Shotokan, which is a martial art from Japan and entirely different. So to differentiate the arts, many of his Instructors told him to use the term Panantukan. The term Pangamut was also used for empty hand aspects of Filipino Martial Arts but it’s original use was “highly skilled” with both weapons AND empty hands.

Filipinos have always been skilled boxers. Coming from the use of weapons, they understood the need for footwork. The great Muhammod Ali, famous for his footwork, traveled to the Philippines where he returned with great footwork. These Filipino boxers kept their hands in close to the body and face to keep them from getting hit or cut by weapons. They used body shifting, head movement and footwork. These were elements that were unseen by American boxers until the time of the American occupation of the Philippines. During which time the American soldiers introduced boxing as a sport and more humane way of setteling disputes. Filipinos took to this sport with gusto. This lead to many famous Filipino boxers back in the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s. You can review my notes on older posts in this blog for more information on boxers from that era.

In fact, when you look at boxing now, you are seeing a version of Panantukan. The early pioneers of Western Boxing had the upright or leaned back posture of European Boxing. With hands held out away from the body, palms up in what we refer to as the “John Sullivan” stance. In contrast to what boxing began to look like when the Americans met the Filipino! After that, boxing was never the same, boxers used footwork, not shuffleing. They kept their hands up and in tight, not extended as before. They moved their heads and shifted the body. None of that had ever happend in boxing before the Filipino influence. You can still see a difference today in American Boxing vs. European Boxing. It’s not as pronounced as before, but they still don’t look or move quite like the American version of today.

Today Panantukan is considred to be one of the most well rounded and versitle striking systems in the martial arts world. It includes the use of destructions to the arms and legs, making it hard for the opponent to punch, parry or move. It uses a wide variety of strikes, from punches, to eye jabs, forearm strikes, elbows, even head butts. For this reason many people like to use the term “Dirty Boxing” when they talk about Panantukan, however, it’s only dirty if you are thinking of it in terms of sport! If you are talking about real fighting nothing is dirty, just effective and non effective! The art also includes the use of gaining control of the opponent by grabbing the neck, pushing to off-balance and even stepping on his foot! All to gain advantage and put yourself in a postition to hit more effectively and so he can hit less effectively.

One of the questions I get alot is “Why not just use Western Boxing?” True, there a great many things about boxing as it is practiced today that are useful. Hard conditioning, the toughness one gains through that hard training, being able to generate tons of power, along with footwork, head movement and speed. So why do anything else? Well, one of the reasons why boxers wear gloves is to protect their hands. It’s not to protect the opponent! If that were the case there would be no knockouts! No, gloves simply protect the boxers hands, that’s it. What happens when a boxer gets in a fight on the street and hits someone without a glove? Ask Iron Mike! Every fight he got into on the street, he broke his hand. Why? Because boxers generate so much power with each punch that the human hand can’t withstand the force, so when smashed against a head, it breaks. Now of course the head gets smashed too! So yes, they might knock him out, but now what? You got a broken hand, one bad guy down and two to go! Hard to keep fighting with a broken hand, or draw a weapon or dial for 911 or stop bleeding from a wound. If that boxer would have slapped him, he’d still be KO’d but his hand wouldn’t be broken! So what we want is to have the modern benefits of a boxer, fast, tough, great shape, great footwork and body mechanics, head movement, etc. but also have the versatility of the old Panantukan style, hitting in clinch, elbows, headbutts, forearms strikes, knees, thumbing the eyes, that kind of fighting will be much more useful, keep you in the fight longer and you will be able to to it even if your sick, old or injured.

So, if your looking for a practical martial art, a great phyical fitness program, a cultural aspect of the Philippines or something that’s just fun to do, Panantukan is a great art that can fill those needs. I have found it to be very rewarding and it has helped my skill level to raise consistantly over the years.