Student Ranks

Grading Criteria and Rank Meaning

 

(Please note that grading is optional and not obligatory. The emphasis is on you willingly taking on challenge and experiencing  accomplishment through your own abilities and attributes. Grading is not about competing or out-doing your fellow students)

Students begin training without any rank. There are three levels of ability to be reached. Each new level is attained by attending a ‘Pressure-Test Grading’ at the appropriate point in the student’s training. This is a test of knowledge, physical skill and psychological attributes that takes place over several hours. If the student is successful in passing, they will be certified at their new level. These grades are recognized by the British Combat Association, with each certificate being officially stamped by the BCA. 

Note that all physical and psychological skills and attributes are tested UNDER PRESSURE. Students will not be asked to demonstrate at their own pace against imaginary targets – the pace will be set in most cases by a resisting partner/opponent. Students may also be asked to demonstrate again the skills and attributes tested in the previous grading.  


Level 1 

Technical ability must be demonstrated in:

All long-range strikes (forward and reverse). Specifically, good form, power and repeatability will be looked for.

Tactical skills that must be demonstrated are:

- The Fence and pre-emption.

- Offensive and defensive positional skills (namely: indexing, clearing, fending and  covering)

- Mobility (standing)

Understanding and application of the following strategical considerations must be shown:

- Constant offensive pressure

- Controlling the rate of fire

- Target selection (understanding primary and secondary targets) 

The specific psychological attributes that will be tested are:

Aggression, tenacity and present-minded self-awareness

The theoretical portion of the exam will be concerned with:

Tactical awareness and the law (UK) in relation to self defence

Skill must be demonstrated in the following ‘Low-Force Options’:

- Pre-emption with the aim of both containing and relocating the subject

- Anti-grappling

A Level 1 student is not a white-belt equivalent or a beginner. A Level 1 student is more comparable to most black-belts of the traditional martial arts with regards to their self-protection capabilities. This person has the tools and knowledge to survive the most common types of street crime. 

 

Level 2

Technical ability must be demonstrated in:

- Close quarter strikes (forward and reverse). Specifically, good form, power and repeatability will be looked for.

- Close quarter inserts

Tactical skills that must be demonstrated are:

Offensive and defensive positional skills (namely: trapping, closing, sprawling, 360-awareness and the ‘tactical tie-up’)

Understanding and application of the following strategical consideration must be shown: 

Instant positive reaction 

The specific psychological attribute that will be tested is: 

‘Instant positive reaction’ (yes, it’s the same as above)

The theoretical portion of the exam will be concerned with: 

Pre-contact psychology and conflict management

Skill must be demonstrated in the following ‘Low-Force Options’: 

- Counter-grappling to takedown

- Ground containment

A Level 2 student has not only the physical skills but the psychological attributes of a fighter – someone who can defend themselves by outwitting and/or physically dominating their would-be attacker. This person has ingrained the attributes necessary for instinctively performing under pressure.


Level 3

Technical ability must be demonstrated in:

All grounded strikes (forward, reverse, upper body and lower body – and from all positions). Specifically, good form, power and repeatability will be looked for.

Tactical skills that must be demonstrated are:

Escaping from ‘worst case scenario’ positions to a standing position

Gaining dominant position

Tactical ‘get-ups’

Mobility (grounded)

Landing 

The specific psychological attribute that will be tested is:

Violent intent

The theoretical portion of the exam will be concerned with:

- The adrenaline release process 

- The psychology of violence

- Moral and ethical issues that come with self-protection training

Skill must be demonstrated in the following ‘Low-Force Options’:

Third party intervention (to containment and relocation of the attacker)

A Level 3 student is no longer just a student. This person has demonstrated time and again an instinctive ability to effectively deal with all forms of violence. A Level 3 individual’s nervous system is hardwired to react effectively to any form of violence; without any need for conscious thought or recollection, this person is a potentially dangerous individual whose moral understanding provides the balance necessary for counteracting their level of fighting skill.

A Level 3 student potentially has an instructor-level understanding of Self Protection.



Note: While there is no mention of weapons in the above grading descriptions - weapons defence is indeed involved. Defence against weapons and defence against an unarmed attack require the same skills and attributes from the student, and so the student should expect a simulated weapons-based attack at any point in the grading.