It’s Day 1, and you have asked me to teach you Crazy Monkey Defense.
Where do we start?
As with anyone I teach, let’s begin with the HDF Engine. HDF is an acronym that identifies 3 key starter skills you need to learn up front, before moving on. I normally teach all 3 of these in the first session.
Let’s take them in the order you would learn. As such, in this the 1st of a 3-part series, I look at the ‘H’ in the HDF acronym, namely the Hunchback Fighting Platform.
H= Hunchback Fighting Platform
Your fighting stance is your weapons delivery platform. Everything you apply in your physical skill sets will mainly come from this platform. Without the correct delivery platform, the techniques you learn will not be deployed with maximum efficiency and effectiveness. Another way to think of your fighting platform is the laying of the foundation of your house, get the foundation wrong and what you have built when facing a storm will come crumbling down.
Now every ‘system’ of martial arts has its own fighting platform, a fighting stance and there are countless variations. I created the Hunchback Stance as the weapons delivery platform for the Crazy Monkey Defense System. It’s a hybrid fighting platform drawing from my various martial arts backgrounds, but ultimately it came from real world experience fighting out on the street.
Let’s take it step by step from the bottom up.
First: Feet Placement
In the Hunchback Stance (HS), we place our feet in a forward position, with rear heal raised. This makes fighting sense, as most of what you will do when executing your striking weapons will be down wind, straight in front of you. By placing your feet in a forward position, you are not unlike a 100-meter sprinter on the starting blocks. No sprinter on those starting blocks would place their feet facing in a direction other than the direction they want to run. So is it the same for the HS, we face our feet in the direction we want to move, to strike, to fight.
In addition, having your back foot slightly raised adds spring to your step, and improves your overall movement. In other words it makes it easier to move quickly. I have never understood both feet flat on the ground in a fighting stance, to me, that’s like being stuck in the mud. The objective of any fighting platform should be to move, and orient towards the target as quick as possible. Time here is always of the essence. This is going to be much harder, if you starting from a flatfoot position. ‘Heel up’ gives you an advantage, it makes your whole body feel lighter, and increases your manoeuvrability.
Your feet are split apart. Balance between feet is 50/50. One side of the body is slightly in the lead position, while the other in the rear. But still, as you can see from the image, all weapons are available and can be accessed. Unlike side-off stances, the HS focuses on quick draw of technique. The problem with side-off stances, and or placing most of the bodies weight on one leg, is that you have to readjust the entire body system anyway to then engage certain weapons (like rear side techniques for example). In the HS, little adjustment is needed, regardless if you want to punch, elbow, knee, kick, or execute a takedown.
Second: Moving Up The Stance
Moving up the stance the focus of squaring up to the target continues. Knees are slighting bent to aid in keeping the stance light, sprung, and improves overall movement. Also, having your knees slighting bent, is a good way to keep them ‘safe’ from someone trying to kick you there. Hips face mostly in a forward position. Again, this aids in quick drawing any of the weapons available on the human fighting platform.
Stomach is pulled in, arms are pulled in and placed on the side of the chest, hands float slighting under the cheek bone, and the top part of the back is slightly popped out in order to collapse as much of the upper body as possible (i.e., the stereotypical hunchback look). All of this is done, to create a movable armoured position, while locking body parts away from the opponent as much as possible to minimise potential striking target areas.
Finally, shoulders are turtled up, neck brought in to the shoulder area, and chin tucked. What this does is stabilise the neck against shock waves created when someone attacks to that area. In addition, created that turtle position makes it far harder to be knocked out, even if your defense fails, as your neck has now practically become the thickness of your shoulder line.
Think of it this way. Imagine an M1 Abrams battle tank. It’s formidable on any battlefield, except if you take it’s ‘wheels away,’ then it’s a sitting target. The Abrams advantage of having a day/night fire on the move capability becomes obsolete. The Hunchback stance is your Abrams battle tank. Your armour is up front, as well as your main weaponry. You have manoeuvrability by keeping light on your feet, and because you are, it is far easier to adjust to a moving target. Once you bring in the ‘D’: Dive board and ‘F’: footwork aspects, you have fire on the move capability.
There is no full proof fighting stance. No matter how you stand, a motivated attacker can find a way in. The goal is to have a fighting platform that has more pros than cons. I believe the Hunchback stance falls into this category. It’s been applied on the battlefield, and out on the streets. I have used it in multiple fight engagements, and thousands of rounds of sparring. It does the job well. Plus, and crucially, it has been specifically developed to build all of CMD’s fighting tools upon it.
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.