“The most realistic self defence system in the UK today”
Geoff Thompson’s Fence is arguably one of the most important self-defence tools available to us as Kravists because it controls the distance between ourselves and our potential attacker in a non-aggressive, non-escalatory manner.
The creation of space in a self-defence context is really important because it does three things:
- It creates defendable space between you and your assailant which means your potential attacker is unable to strike you without closing the distance between you, which reduces the risk of being taken by surprise
- It buys you reaction time to counter any assault – remember action usually beats reaction every time – but your would-be assailant cannot strike without first closing the distance between you giving you time to react more effectively
- It puts a physical obstacle between you and your potential attacker.
All three together give you, the defender, an element of control in a situation that can very quickly escalate out of your control if you allow a potential attacker into your personal space during an altercation.
We achieve this at Krav Maga Cambridge by utilising the Fence. The Fence concept was originally developed by Geoff Thompson and is arguably one of the most important self-defence tools available to us because it controls the distance between you and your potential attacker in a non-aggressive, non-escalatory manner.
Geoff Thompson argues that even if you are an accomplished striker, it is pretty meaningless in a real-life situation if you lose the element of control to your potential attacker, who will then have complete freedom of action to dictate what happens next.
The Fence gives you that control by creating distance between you and your potential assailant in a natural non-threatening manner allowing the opportunity for de-escalation if possible.
The alternative is either complete compliance or further escalation usually as a result of adopting a fighting or conflict stance. A fighting stance is aggressive by nature and is likely to lead to blows being thrown.
The Fence aims to give you control by creating space in an unassuming and passive manner yet remain able to react quickly to an attack with your own combatives if needed.
The Fence position involves keeping both arms outstretched in front of you in a relaxed manner at approximately upper-chest height, with hands open not clenched and palms facing downwards and towards your assailant. This makes it difficult for your assailant to attack you without telegraphing his intent.
Ideally, you will keep the distance between you beyond normal striking distance requiring your assailant to close that space in order to strike you. His movement will act as your trigger to either immediately strike him with your own chosen combatives or to adopt an instinctive flinch type defence before striking back.
To do this you may have to take a step back and your feet should be well placed for striking should you need to do so. However, this is not always possible and under these circumstances you will have to adapt the position as best you can whilst understanding what you’re trying to achieve with it:
- Create defendable space
- Create reaction time
- Put a physical obstacle between you and your attacker
Let’s hear from the great man himself in the video clip below.