I have spent close on two decades developing and refining Crazy Monkey Defense (CMD) from humble hand defense movements, to an integrated combat athletic inspired street fighting system. The creation of CMD was predominantly inspired by my several years working outside the doors of some of the roughest nightclubs in the inner city of Johannesburg.
In fact it was on a night working the doors that changed my outlook on fighting forever. As I watched a group of guys attack another on the curb outside a nightclub called the Doors (no pun intended), on Marshall Street in Johannesburg City. I was struck by how one guy who being overwhelmed by the guys attacking him, covered up his face with his arms. He survived the onslaught and then proceeded to turn that fight around and won. I don’t think he had any idea what he was doing, but rather, he simply defaulted to a cover response as a means to survive.
Up until that night outside the club watching that fight, I like everyone else defended strikes with pats, slips, bobs, weaves and traditional blocking as seen in Karate. Well to my surprise, they didn’t work that well in real fights. So that very next week I started experimenting with the idea of ‘covering’ in my Academy. As such the subsequent defensive patterns I now teach as part of the CMD System has become one of its most notable features.
Crazy Monkey Defense both in its defensive capabilities as well as the system itself has gone through many iterations over the past two decades. What I present in this series on CMD is how the system looks now. I cannot forget though, the thousands of hours I spent refining what most people I teach now take for granted. I walked into a lot of punches, made many tactical errors in fights on the street, and suffered countless injuries to get the system to where it is today. It is by far one my greatest life’s achievements. I am passionate about it. I love it. And it is an integral part of my life to this day.
What Is Crazy Monkey Defense?
Crazy Monkey CM) was inspired by and tested on the street. It was never developed or intended for combat sports, although those with insight and seeing its value have used it to great effect in that domain. Crucially, Crazy Monkey (CM) is not just hand defense. While the hand defense is an important component of the system, it is only one part of a strategically developed fighting approach (which I hope to show throughout this series).
To me, Crazy Monkey is a method of sharpening the tools required for the fight. I have set up CM in a way so that it can be trained weekly. Students come in each week, and through the process we offer in our sessions, they sharpen and maintain the fighting tools they will need for self-protection. Fighting tools are a perishable skill, there is no way getting around maintaining them.
Crazy Monkey sharpens these necessary fight tools through a progressive sparring approach. I have developed many different ways of sparring in CMD (one on one, multiple attackers etc). This is largely dependent on what I/and my students want to work on, but in the end, without working against a resisting, uncooperative opponent, training means little — or at best becomes a workout — but not a fighting discipline.
I know first hand surviving the mean unforgiving streets of Johannesburg, that most of what is taught and presented under the label of ‘Reality Based Self-Defense’ isn’t close to reality at all. Most of it is just utter nonsense, garbage. I have never fought to survive, or seen anyone else do the same in the way it’s portrayed on YouTube by these self-proclaimed ‘Self-Defense Experts.’
Watch any real fight out on the street (there’s tons of them to watch on YouTube) and what you will see is something that resembles bad boxing, bad kickboxing, and bad grappling. This is why in CM, when I say we develop the correct tools for the fight, while keeping them sharp — what I mean by those tools is good boxing, good kicks, and good clinch skills — with the necessary adjustments required for deployability in a interpersonal violent encounter.
In as nutshell then:
How The Name Came About
Obviously no introduction to CM would be complete without answering questions, “How did the name come about?”
It was around 1999 and one of my good friends had been on a Safari. At the Monday training class he was retelling a story from that trip. He talked about these “crazy monkeys” he had seen, getting into a fight with an invading troop. He noticed that they defended themselves from incoming attacks in a similar way to how we did our hand defence.
Not having a name at the time for what we were doing, everyone standing around suggested thats what we should call it, “Crazy Monkey.” The rest as they says is history and the name has stuck.
About This Series
I thought it would be both informative and fun to present this series in a way as I would teach someone coming into my Academy. In the following parts of the series, look at it in that light, as a progressive approach starting at zero, to slowly and methodically building a proficient fighting platform.
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PPS. If I could recommend one course to get right now, get your hands on my Bareknuckle CM Boxing Course. I will teach you key insights to learning how to kick ass. Second to that, my course on Self-Preservation is a must have.