Tim Cartmell’s Standing Grappling Escapes and Counters DVD
Reviewed by Brian L. Kennedy
Headlocks and bear hugs, chokes and tackles: you see them in schoolyards, back alleys and bars, wherever fights occur in the real world. The reality is that most fights, street altercations or self defense situations; whatever phrase one wishes to use, will quickly end up in some kind of standing grappling situation. Tim Cartmell’s Standing Grappling Escapes and Counters DVD addresses that reality. And it addresses it with leverage based techniques that allow realistic practice against fully resisting opponents.
This DVD is outstanding. Although I can not claim to have “seen them all” in my 30 years of martial arts experience, I have seen a fair number of books, manuals, movies, videos and DVD dealing with “self defense”. The majority of them, I am sorry to say, can best be described as “formulas for disaster”. Mr. Cartmell’s DVD is on the contrary a formula for success. This is due in large part to the fact that leverage based techniques, which is what this DVD is devoted to, will work the same against any opponent, regardless of their size or strength. Although strikes maybe effective in escaping holds, core techniques should be based on leverage only, removing the unpredictability of the effects of shrikes.
Practicality and “Practice-ability”
What really makes this DVD so valuable is that the techniques are practical. Now that buzz word, “practical”, is often used in connection with self defense techniques and it may or may not be true. But the techniques presented in this DVD are truly practical and you will not need to take my word for it or anyone else’s word for it. You will be able to see for your self how practical the techniques are because the techniques are also “practice-able”. That is a word I made up to describe the fact that the techniques taught in Mr. Cartmell’s DVD can be practiced full force in training against fully resisting opponents. The reason being, the techniques are grappling based, so if you have mats and training partners who can safely fall; then you have all you need to test these techniques for yourself.
Escape that haunting feeling
The nature of the techniques, that they can be practiced full speed and power against fully resisting opponents of different sizes and strengths, allows you to escape that “haunting feeling” that against a really big, strong, psycho guy—this move would not work. It is the bane of self defense techniques that they may look real fine in the book, look real good in the magazine or work like a charm when demonstrated by the teacher against a helpful crash test dummy, but in the clutch they do not work at all. The upshot being that many martial artists, or people just trying to get some self defense skills, often correctly feel that the techniques they learn will not work when you really need for the move to work. The techniques taught on this DVD will go a long way towards giving you confidence in your abilities and escape the haunting feeling that you will not be able to defend yourself when you have too.
What is covered in the DVD
As Mr. Cartmell says; this DVD will show you how to “deal with the most common attacks: head locks, body locks, grabs and tackles. This DVD covers the basic principles of base, proper application of leverage, methods of escaping from all types of standing holds as well as efficient methods of counter-attack. None of the techniques taught involve striking….There are no foot stomps, head butts, strikes to genital areas, poking the eyes or groin grabs on the DVD…All techniques taught are based on leverage.. The DVD covers the most important aspects of defense in great detail, including: the very important initial reaction to any type of grappling attack, the universal principles of leverage that will work regardless of you opponent’s size.
Counters and follow up techniques that will allow you to simply control or, if need be incapacitate your opponent, based on the situation. It includes thorough coverage of all major standing grappling attacks.”
Mr. Cartmell’s credentials
Tim Cartmell is a lineage holder in several systems of Chinese martial arts and a Black Belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Mr. Cartmell is an Asian full-contact fighting champion, a submissions wrestling champion, two time winner of the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Pan American games, and is a seven time winner of the Copa Pacifica de Jiu Jitsu. He is the owner and head instructor at the Shen Wu Academy in southern California.
Beyond these considerable achievements, Mr. Cartmell has the ability to look at a system of martial arts and distill the core, the essence, of what makes that art function. He is then able to communicate this core essence to others. Put simply Mr. Cartmell is an outstanding analyst of martial arts and an outstanding teacher of martial arts. He is able to see the essence of a problem and communicate the solution in a way that is understandable to anyone. An example of this comes out in the DVD when Mr. Cartmell explains two essential points of grappling defense, which are the opponents “dead angles” and how your weight is sat in relation to the dead angles.
The DVD is very well filmed. Mr. Cartmell is an articulate instructor who is at ease in front of the camera. There are reverse views of the techniques and there are text overlays which do an outstanding job of highlighting the key points of the technique.
Where to buy the DVD
The DVD is available directly from Plum Publishers and a clip of the DVD is available on YouTube at:
About the reviewer:
Brian L. Kennedy started his study of Chinese martial arts in 1976. He is the co-author of Chinese Martial Arts Training Manuals: A Historical Survey. He writes for Kung Fu Taichi magazine and has lived in Taiwan for the past 15 years.