Frequently Asked Questions

What is Op.3?

Op.3 (pronounced ‘op three’) is a system of unarmed combat for use in emergency situations in which one has been forced to use violence in order to protect themselves or others. It is characterised by its direct and ‘gross motor’ physical movements that are delivered by the user with aggression and a determined mind-set.

Op.3 has been designed in such a way that makes it usable by a wide range of people and applicable to just about any environment or situation. Whether the person being taught is a police officer, a soldier or a civilian who has a relatively ‘normal’ job and lifestyle – Op.3 is Op.3. Because, ultimately, violence is violence and whether the attacker is a terrorist, mugger or thug – experience has shown us what works consistently in self-defence and it’s these basic, fundamental principles that we stick to.

The developmental process (that is always continuing) revolved around first identifying the single most ‘high percentage’ method of incapacitating a human being – unarmed – and secondly looking at all ways in which this could be directly enhanced. Lastly was a process of trouble-shooting; addressing all the ‘what ifs’ that could arise during the fight that may prevent the user from delivering their counter-offensive and finding ways around them.

It is largely this ‘problem-solving’ approach that separates Op.3 from the traditional martial arts that must adhere to out-dated techniques and tactics for the sake of their art – even if more effective options may exist.

I feel it is worth mentioning that the developmental process that created Op.3 was inspired by my introduction to Mick Coup and his core combatives system. Prior to this, I was teaching what could be called a 'collection' of fairly high-percentage techniques. Through the ‘reverse engineering’ approach, this collection became the system that is Op.3

Where did the name Op.3 come from?

After formulating the unarmed combat techniques and tactics I taught into an actual system, it soon became apparent that I would need a name for it - if only for marketing purposes to be quite honest. Wanting to give it a name that had some real meaning as opposed to just sounding ‘cool’ or ‘tough’, I thought about what role physical combat should play in the bigger picture of self protection.

Consider that we are often (not always, but often) given options other than violence for our self protection. In the early phase of facing a threat, this usually means being aware of the danger and avoiding it. Our first option so to speak. The mid-phase of many situations that become violent is generally a verbal exchange, in which case we can attempt to employ our second option which is tactical communication. And so, thirdly, when the prior options have failed us or have not been given the opportunity to work, our late-phase third option is counter-violence.

‘Option three’ abbreviated = Op.3

Why the slogan ‘All Martial – No Art’?

The slogan is simply about putting things in their appropriate place. While I certainly have no problem with art or creativity in any way, I don’t feel that training that is designed as a life-saving tool against violent assault is really the place for it. We all have varying degrees of creative energy that can and should be channeled through any number of ways – training to become proficient at ‘counter-violence’ shouldn’t be one them, in my opinion.

Having trained in martial arts that were almost entirely art and which had very little martialness, I can say that trying to incorporate creative expression into this type of training only dilutes its practicality.

Consider that the word martial means ‘relating to fighting or war’. This, I feel, reveals the original purpose of even the most ‘flowery’ martial arts, with the word ‘art’ being expressive of how such training later became simply a tradition during peacetime. Having said that, the internal mind-body connection aspects of what we might be considered 'art' as training approaches the more subtle and personal emotional qualities of the student. 

Do I need to be very fit or have previous martial arts experience?

No. In order to totally ingrain a technique into the nervous system, the student goes through several phases of practicing it ranging from slow to fast/hard, from non-impactive to hitting targets full force and from scenarios with a compliant partner to drills with a resisting partner. Nobody learns without being challenged, but I am very careful not to give an individual physical challenges they can't meet.
Remember though, that fighting to defend one's self is hard, and so the training has to reflect that. If you're totally unfamiliar with physical exertion, you will struggle.  

Will I get fit?

Even if you are already experienced in a particular area of fitness (weight training, running etc) you will develop 'functional fitness'. Combat requires fitness on all levels: muscular and tendon strength, cardiovascular fitness and flexibility to name but the basics. Professional Mixed Martial Arts fighters are a perfect example of this, which is why we use many of the same training methods as them!
Even many of our warm ups are based on combative movements. Where others jog around the studio, we do footwork drills. 
But of course, the muscle we focus on developing the most, is mental muscle; the only muscle that counts in the real world.

Will I get hurt?

Because of the nature of what we are training for, there will always be that inherent risk of minor injuries. However, safety is always a priority and even our 'non-compliant' drills are highly controlled. We never 'fight' each other in the true sense of the word. 

Is it suitable for women?

Absolutely. Admittedly, the fighting arts will always attract more men than women and because human-to-human contact is an essential part of self defence training, the type of women who are attracted to and do well are usually those who are sports and fitness-oriented already.
So if you are a woman who knows that kicking and punching thin air will NOT prepare you for self defence on the street, and would like to train in a friendly non-macho environment... you'll fit right in.

Click on the picture to see Amanda doing her thing...