R.A.T.C.A.B-The How’s and Why’s of the principles for the JLD self-defence system

R.A.T.C.A.B-The How’s and Why’s of the principles for the JLD self-defence system

The How’s and Why’s of the principles for the JLD self-defence system


Remove Attack, Take Control, Attack Back.

I’ll start with the abbreviation R.A.T.C.A.B it doesn’t evoke fear and sounds funny but it’s not designed for that it’s designed to be easily remembered like the self defence system it’s the foundation for, being dyslexic I try and keep everything simple and easily remembered. I’ve heard other systems use different names that sound more aggressive but they don’t always get to the point. As an instructor I want my students to easily remember the principles and apply them effectively so if they ever have to use them its second nature.  I’m not saying that I’m the only one getting this right as I think no one system is correct and certain systems suit different people and there’s always that punchers chance that will defeat the most trained of people. But as a student you must always ask why? You are doing something and don’t take it for gospel because the guy with the all the stripes on his belt and multi coloured Gi or the scary looking guy with the skin head says so. If they can’t answer you why then I would be worried. That’s why I’m willing to openly discuss the theories and principles I use in the JLD self defence syllabus.

Remove/Redirect (Reduce) Attack.

How- Move off line of the attack this will effectively remove the attack and its effects. The type of attack will determine how you move and were you move. In the case of a surprise attack we train our flinch response or our body’s automatic reaction to the attack to redirect or reduce the attacks effect.

Why- We train to move off line of the attack because simply if you’re not there you can’t get hit and we can take advantage of the attacks intent. Blocking relies on strength and timing which can be ineffective in stressful situations. Your body has this survival mechanism so why not use it instead of training against it.

Take Control

How- We use control points (some systems call these reference points and they are exactly the same thing) as a point where we feel comfortable and know what to do next and have control over the situation. Hence control points.

Why- An attack will happen quickly and no two are the same. So the quicker you get to a point where you feel more in control the better. These control point’s give you a familiar point where you know what to do next while reducing the attacker’s ability to attack back or disengage. At this point you should be asking yourself why don’t we want the attacker to disengage. We keep control for the opposite reason some systems disengage at this point. Because this system is designed for the general public and has no military or law enforcement applications we keep control so the attacker doesn’t have time to reset or deploy a weapon and attack again, they get one chance and one chance only.

Some systems want to disengage so they can deploy a weapon ( tasor, baton, gun) to give them the upper hand. We don’t because we don’t want this done to us so we keep control. As I said not all systems suit everyone. Plus the control points can be used to help setup more effective striking.

Attack Back

How-We attack back with intent to overload the brain and cause psychological weakness. By disturbing balance and attacking the senses using intermittent pain on targets of opportunity with gross motor skills.

Why- This is the point where the victim becomes the victor and the psychological aspect of the attack changes. This is good for you as you are no longer the victim and you have taken control of the situation putting the attacker on the back foot and making them feel weak.

I will talk over the theory of each aspect we use to attack back and why we incorporate each approach.

Disturbing balance- As I mentioned earlier our body has a survival mechanism and also an equilibrium. So when that’s under attack it needs to reset before it can do anything else. So by keeping someone off balance and disturbing their equilibrium overload’s the brain so the attacker can’t attack back because the brain’s main objective is to regain this equilibrium. We disturb the attacker’s balance by attacking the bodies balance points and taking advantage of the fact the body can only be strong in one direction at a time.

Attack the senses- This is a double pronged attack. One physical the other is psychological.

Psychologically by attacking the target of opportunity you are turning the tables on the attacker and making them feel vulnerable and weak. By shouting and screaming or growling (using a war cry in essence) will help with this. As humans we are born with two primal fears they are loud noises and falling the rest we develop as we go through life. So by being loud and keeping the attacker off balance we are essentially using the two primal fears against them. Giving them the victim mentality.

Physically these attacks have instant effects and reactions. In a self defence scenario this is paramount. As soon as you attack the targets of opportunity the body’s automatic response is to try and control the source of the pain so they will bring their hands to try and defend this, overloading the brain so the attacker can’t think about anything else.


Intermittent pain- This works on a couple of levels. A barrage of attacks to all parts of the body would be an example of this. Causing a multitude of pain signals to the brain causing it to overload.

This can also be done by vibrating attacks or continually moving a single part of the body. (eg joint locks, hands on the face ect) The body has the ability to deal with a source of constant pain and allow you to do something else. If you repeatedly reminded the brain the pain is there it can only deal with this situation.

Next time you get a bruise from training push and hold it. This will hurt to start with but then you’ll be able to deal with it. After rapidly push it and see the difference. This is the same principle.

About Daniel

• Mixed martial art training • Self defence classes/ Pad work classes • Nutritional advice/programme writing • Postural analysis • Body MOT • Sport specific training (martial arts) • 1:1 personal training • Kettlebell Training (strength/endurance)

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