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MASTERCLASS PRO takes our Masterclasses to the next level.

Learn how to take the individual self defence techniques and strikes you study in our Masterclass feature and merge them into natural and effective combinations in MASTERCLASS PRO.

Study how you can mix and match different upper and lower body strikes, with different ranges and angles of attack.

This MASTERCLASS PRO covers a scenario where you’ve either lost your balance and fallen, or been pushed back onto the floor by your opponent. It shows you how to land safely, stand up quickly and (in this case) protect yourself against a subsequent circular punch towards your head and deliver an immediate strike after blocking the punch.





The soft break-fall backwards - or; how to fall backwards when one or two feet are still in contact with the ground - is key for three purposes; 1. To fall without injury, 2. To fall ready to fight and 3. To fall ready to move on the floor if required or immediately stand up.

This is how you optimise a soft break-fall backwards:

When balance is lost, to fall as safely and as ready-to-fight as possible, apply the following biomechanics - from head to feet:

Drop chin down towards chest (to avoid head bouncing onto the floor). Keep this head position whilst falling and whilst on the ground.

Move hands up in front of your torso, with elbows in front of your lower chest/abdomen (to avoid elbows bouncing onto the floor and with hands up ready to protect you on landing. Keep hands in this position throughout the fall.

DO NOT use your hands to ‘soften’ the landing by putting your palms down towards the floor. Your body weight (and additionally, that of an attacker connected to you) can damage or break one or all of your wrist/elbow/shoulder joints.

Lower your glutes (as if you’re sitting down) towards the ground, aiming to fall on an angle to the side connecting with the floor with only one side of the glutes.

Continue the fall by rolling on the same side along the back (to protect the spine from uneven surfaces or objects on the floor) until the shoulders connect.

Exhale on impact to prevent being winded.

Stop the movement by keeping the opposite foot onto the floor throughout the falling motion (to avoid the momentum forcing you to roll fully over).

The falling-side foot should be moved back into a position with the knee out and sole of the foot in a 90° angle with the heel close to the opposite knee with toes out, protecting the groin from a kick, whilst recoiled and ready to kick any attacker in front of you if required.

To stand up facing forwards to deal with any threat facing you:

Maintain the on-the floor foot close to your gluteus as you drop your opposite hand and forearm onto the floor, again close to your body.

As you drop your hand and forearm down, roll your body towards your bent knee, 45 degrees to the side (not straight forward and up) until you can elevate your body up from the floor, with only your on-the-floor foot and opposite palm touching the ground. Maintain your other arm up throughout to protect your torso and head. Lift your body up.

Retract your elevated and bent left leg between your other foot and on-the floor palm, underneath your elevated body, before pushing off with your on-the-floor leg backwards to create further space between you and any threat.

Land with one foot forward, other foot a bit further back and on your ball of the foot, feet around shoulder width apart in a well-balanced position, with your hands up and in front of you. You are now positioned to fight if needed.


From a hands up position in front of you and away (to create a shield in front of your face and preventing the aggressor to get too close), send your forearm matching the circular hand strike diagonally outwards with your elbow low and wrist high (securing a longer shield with the forearm covering up to your head height).

This is an aggressive strike movement, hitting hard with the outside bony part of your forearm near the wrist against the opponent’s wrist.

Executed with your elbows locked at c. 90 degrees or so, it is aimed at inflicting sufficient pain to the inside forearm tendons near the attacker’s wrist to open the palm (if it holds a weapon) if possible.

The other hand remain in front of you to protect your face and stay ready to strike if necessary.

Recoil the striking hand immediately to the starting position in front of you upon impact, or:


A natural follow-up to a strike against a circular punch towards your head is to strike with the same arm immediately after the strike with an inward horizontal forearm strike.

Keeping an bend in the elbow of the arm you just struck with, where your arm should now be ‘locked’ at the shoulders and elbow, rock solid and the entire arm from shoulder to hand is now ready to be used as a complete striking force. Keep your fingers straight and not clenched into a fist.

Send this locked arm frame inwards to connect with the inside part of your forearm (bony part) either into your opponent’s face or side of the neck around the jawline height. The connection point can either be the side of the neck near the carotid artery or onto the face itself, dependent of where the opponent places their head at the time.

Aim for the jawline height to give you some margin of error either way. Use the striking arm’s shoulder to push into the strike to aid your body mass movement so it’s not just an arm-only motion.

Breathe out as you strike and still keep the other hand up and between your head and the opponent’s head as you connect, enabling this arm to be ready for any further strikes, such as an open palm hand strike to the face (SEE MASTERCLASS: OPEN PALM HAND STRIKE), a forward elbow to the face (SEE MASTERCLASS: ELBOW STRIKES) or just to repeat the inward horizontal forearm strike with the other arm as the opponent’s head moves towards it.

Aim to ‘go through’ the target by 10-20cm (aim beyond the target) and recoil fast on connection to transfer maximum energy. If you’re able to pivot your upper body into the strike, you will also put more mass into the strike to make it more powerful.

This inward horizontal arm strike may be slightly angled up or down depending on the height difference between you and your opponent at the moment of striking.

Pictures: Following their soft break-fall backwards, stand up safely, strike against the circular punch and immediately use the striking arm to follow up with a strike towards your attacker's face or neck. Follow up with further strikes as required.

Breathe out as you strike.

The final inward arm strike can also easily be replaced by a circular open palm hand strike to the ear. Learn this strike in MASTERCLASS: CIRCULAR IOPEN PALM HAND STRIKE (TO EAR).

Exit to a safe place after strikes, or continue with necessary self protection action if unable to leave the opponent due to e.g. confined areas, restricted access or with third parties.

Further strikes are then available if needed. See our MASTERCLASSES and MASTERCLASS PRO for options.

Find all our MASTERCLASS PRO articles by clicking on the theme selection on the website home page. Chose MASTERCLASS for individual strikes and techniques.

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