You might think that you need to have a high degree of athleticism to defend yourself against an attacker, you don’t. Also, when you need to defend yourself, remember your objective is to “take them out;” not “take them on.” These were part of the messages imparted by Geoff “Tank” Todd when he spoke to the Pattaya City Expats Club on September 25. His topic was “Self Defence Tactics and Strategies for Men and Women.”
Tank has been involved in teaching military close quarters combat and self defence for over 20 years and is the owner and Director of Training of the Todd Group; based in New Zealand, the oldest private contract training provider of European military armed and unarmed combat globally. He does contract training for military police and the close protection industry. His work has taken him all over the world.
Geoff “Tank” Todd spoke to the Pattaya City Expats Club on August 25. His topic was “Self Defence Tactics and Strategies for Men and Women.”
Tank explained that he came from a working class background. He said that his father left the family when he was quite young, so he had to learn on his own to defend himself. He initially undertook training from Harry Baldock, the New Zealand Army’s primary unarmed combat instructor in WWII; eventually taking over the Baldock institute in 1986 on Harry’s retirement when it became the Todd Group.
He said much of his training was from Charles Nelson between 1985 and 1998 in New York City at Nelson’s School of Self Defense. Tank noted that Nelson served with the USMC in WWII where he was a senior hand to hand combat instructor. Tank said that on his first visit to the school, he learned more in 20 minutes watching classes than he had learned in the previous 20 years in New Zealand. Over the years, Tank has trained under or worked with some of the biggest names in unarmed combat, including Colonel Rex Applegate (formerly with the OSS, forerunner of the CIA) and Eric Sykes (involved in the development of military close combat during the Second World War). His experience with Thailand came in 1991 when he came here to give a course and decided to build up a Thai clientele.
Tank explained that in self defence, the trick is to find simple but effective ways to defend yourself. Gross motor skills – the kind everyone develops in early childhood – are all that you need. In fact, he briefly showed why jujitsu or karate type moves are really not that useful for self defence. Perfecting only a few skills are sufficient. Tank recommends that people use their legs first because they provide you with your farthest reach, and that you go for the lower leg of your attacker. Another good tactic, he said, is to step away from the threat. For example, if you are directly facing your attacker, turn sideways so as to present as small a target as possible and that prevents the attacker from hugging your body. Also, he advised that you use simple techniques; don’t try to mimic the movements of your attacker.
When you need to defend yourself, remember your objective is to “take them out;” not “take them on”, Tank said.
He also mentioned that after turning your body away from the attacker, you should place your hand on the back of your neck; using the hand that lets your elbow point toward the threat. This provides protection to the base of your neck from either blows or falling down thus avoiding serious injury to the beginning of the spinal cord; which causes more serious problems then blows to or hitting your head.
Tank said that you do not need to be an athlete to adequately defend yourself. He has trained disabled persons, including blind people, and that he has developed a self-defence course for women. The course for women in addition to defensive moves includes assessing their risks and learning how to plug any gaps in their personal security. Tank said that he teaches women how to do what is necessary to get away from an attacker, including striking a male’s most vulnerable areas. He mentioned that after developing these courses, he found some of the moves to be beneficial to add to his military close combat courses.
Another thing he said is that when dealing with a high-risk situation, practice breath control. It is a very important factor in your ability to ward off an attack. Breath control helps you control your adrenaline rush and heart rate. It involves breathing in through nose and out through the mouth – that way warm air enters the lungs, which helps control adrenaline and heart rate better. To learn more about Tank and the training his group provides, visit his website at: www.toddgroup.com. According to the website, Tank is running a specialist course in Thailand from 22 September to 2 October 2013 on close personal protection.
After Tank’s presentation Master of Ceremonies Richard Silverberg brought everyone up to date on upcoming events, then called on Roy Albiston to conduct the interesting and informative open forum where questions are asked and answered about Expat living in Thailand.
To learn more about the Pattaya City Expats Club and all their activities, visit: www.pattayacityexpatsclub .com.
Photos by Urasin “Wat” Khantaraphan.
Tank advises: “After turning your body away from the attacker, you should place your hand on the back of your neck; using the hand that lets your elbow point toward the threat. This provides protection to the base of your neck from either blows or falling down thus avoiding serious injury to the beginning of the spinal cord; which causes more serious problems then blows to or hitting your head.”
Member Jim Jones presents Tank with a Certificate of Appreciation, as thanks for his very useful presentation.
Chair Pat Koester talks about an upcoming day trip to Bangkok for PCEC members and friends.