SMAA: Royce Gracie Jiujitsu + Okinawan  Karate & Kobudo
Teaching Martial Arts in London since 1992!
Life Skills through Martial Arts...

SMAA: Sherbourne Martial Arts Academy  

Hombu Dojo for the WKKJO: 

Helping people discover what they are capable of accomplishing...

Self-Defense/Self-Protection/Personal Security

If you are interested in effective self-defense taught in a safe environment then contact Simon Sherbourne at [email protected]

Training Considerations:

Please wear appropriate clothing for training: t-shirt, MMA shorts, track pants, & bring water to drink every 20 - 30 minutes for hydration. There can be no sharp items on your clothing such as zippers and or buttons as they may puncture the mats...

Our Program at a Glance

The Self-Defense program at SMAA adopts a comprehensive approach to the concept of self-protection.  Our program is “reality-driven” and built upon a foundation in research-based occurrences and responses that range from conversational diversion, progressing to physical avoidance, counters, and restraint techniques for unarmed and armed situations (club, knife, and firearms).  The governing concept of the SMAA Self-Defense Program is that our principles and techniques must embrace a practical application of your knowledge to an imperfect world where we are exposed to aggression and violence – a world that you cannot always control. At SMAA we strive to research and “stress-test” all of our techniques to ensure that they are viable in a variety of real-world encounters. Our “simulation-based” training will also help you to explore the application of our techniques in a variety of scenarios, and develop the level of proficiency needed to address real-world violence.

Reality-Driven Self-Defense

Many people are familiar with terms such as “military combatives” or "hand to hand combat" which can be described as lethal or non-lethal physical confrontation between two or more people at very close range (strikes, kicks, grabs, throws, and restraints) that does not involve the use of firearms or similar weapons that can be used by an aggressor from a distance.  However, what many people may not understand is that h2h training also includes tactics to address thrusting, cutting, striking weapons used at close range such as clubs, knives or any other object(s) that may serve to harm another being.  Our program will teach you strategies to address threats from both armed, and unarmed assailants, as well as multiple threat/attacker scenarios – scenarios that are very common in today’s urban environment.

Distance and Range

Distance and range are also important considerations for all self-defense/self-protection strategies.  For example, police training tactics often cite the “Tueller Drill”  (or the “21' Rule”) as the basis for using lethal force when a suspect threatens with a knife (or similar weapon) and closes his/her distance.  Proximity to the aggressor is a critical consideration at all times when assessing options during an aggressive encounter – particularly when the aggressor displays a weapon.  At SMAA, the importance of distance and range are discussed, and strategies are provided to address threats of this magnitude.

Intangible Skills of Self-Defense

Your choice of response must also consider a number of other critical factors, including legal considerations for your actions, reputational consequences of violence, and the ways in which modern social media can impact public opinions regarding the outcome.   At SMAA, we focus on both the tangible (physical) and intangible (non-physical) skills needed to manage violent encounters, so that the student has a strong foundation, and possesses the reasonable judgement needed to make the best choices possible in any aggressive encounter.

Threat Management
We realize that any situation could escalate to a higher level threat, therefore it is important to be mindful at all times of changes in your environment and the variety of threats posed by others, as well as the exposure you present in a given situation.  This is the only way to act appropriately, and in a timely manner, in order to minimize harm and damages. 

1 - Low level threat

2 - Low-Medium level threat

3 - Medium level threat

4 - Medium-high level threat

5 - High level threat

Sensory Response Training (SRT) - Unique to SMAA

developed by: Simon Sherbourne and David Hassin

Many forms of violence occur in situations where a target is experiencing some sort of compromise to their senses (sound and sight are the primary senses relied upon to assess and respond to threats).  This loss of sensory input often occurs due to “adrenal stress” when the hypothalamus region of the brain signals our adrenal glands to send a surge of adrenalin through the body, which floods the large muscle groups with blood and oxygen in order to naturally prepare our bodies for a “fight or flight” response to imminent danger.  Adrenal stress can cause a significant loss of fine motor coordination, overall tenseness in the body, as well  as extreme tunnel vision and an overall erosion of our other senses.  This sensory erosion will significantly limit your abilities during an actual violent encounter, even though you may be highly proficient with your self-defense techniques.

In addition to the impact of adrenal stress, the violent act against you may also include a direct assault to these senses in order to confuse or gain advantage. Examples such as: someone turning off the breakers in your house/building, or shining a flashlight in your eyes, or playing loud music, or blindfolding the target.  These and other similar situations are analyzed and addressed in Sensory Response Training.

SRT puts the trainee in a safe training environment where his/her senses are limited, and responses can be pressure-tested during self-defense scenarios in order to heighten the trainee’s effectiveness with limited sensory input.  Over time trainees improve their ability and speed when assessing and responding to threats in circumstances where their senses may be inhibited.

For the children we have cosmic Jiujitsu and self-defense where students experiment with applications while experiencing interference with their senses (sight and sound/hearing).  Adult classes focus on greater understanding and a wider breadth of applications. 

Listed below are the skill sets to focus on to address the various levels of threat, and some websites to refer to regarding indicators of threats:

At SMAA, we focus on these strategies and concepts … and much more.

  • Avoid circumstances that place your personal safety at risk;

  • Recognize the behaviors and situations that may pose high risk to your personal safety;

  • Recognize the signs of an imminent attack;

  • Strike pre-emptively to defend yourself if deemed necessary;

  • Learn to defend yourself when assaulted with punches and kicks

  • Learn strategies and techniques to address assault with a: knife, club, or a firearm:

  • Learn how avoid or escape take-downs, chokes, and various restraints and holds;

  • Learn how to address/defend and escape once you have been taken to the ground and more.

If you are interested in effective self-defense taught in a safe environment then contact Simon Sherbourne at [email protected]

Training Considerations:

Reminder: Please wear appropriate clothing for training: t-shirt, MMA shorts, track pants, & bring water to drink every 20 - 30 minutes for hydration. There can be no sharp items on your clothing such as zippers and or buttons as they may puncture the mats...