Training in UCM is, for the reasons outlined in Theory, hard and intensive. There is an emphasis on developing powerful strikes in order to end a confrontation quickly and decisively, although grappling methods are also studied in case they are ever needed.
Techniques can be categorized as follows:
- Hand strikes
- Knees, Elbows and Head
- Trapping and Gripping
- Throws and Takedowns
The aim of training is to become as effective as possible in a confrontation, if a physical intervention becomes necessary. Techniques therefore need to be LIMITED in number, EASY to learn and retain, and EFFECTIVE UNDER STRESS. Training is designed to make these techniques HABITUAL and AUTOMATIC.
Most self-defence classes show many different defences against many different attacks, which can cause a dilution in a student’s effectiveness when realistic pressure is applied. The UCM approach is therefore more akin to Boxing or MMA training.
If we take Boxing as an example, its effectiveness is not due to the number of techniques (essentially there is only the Jab, Straight, Hook and Uppercut and their variations); rather it is the repetitive training that ingrains these basic techniques in the boxer, and allows him or her to use them automatically when under the pressure of a real fight.
Much of UCM training is based around developing power on striking pads, focus mitts, and the all-important ‘head target’, as well as combat fitness and conditioning training.
Any combat method, if it to be effective, also needs to be tested under pressure. In martial combat sports there is sparring and competitive fighting. In UCM there are ‘full-contact role-play scenarios’. These take the place of traditional sparring and are more relevant to self defence in that they are situational – fights do not just take place but are the result of various different stages including posturing, dialogue, pushing/shoving, etc. These elements are included in UCM ‘sparring’, and better prepares a student for real-life – not just in making what they do effective, but also in exercising judgement as to whether a situation should become physical in the first place.
To cause more stress and disorientation, training can take place with flashing lights or in darkness, with loud music, or against multiple opponents.
UCM techniques are limited in number and easy to learn – but the training drills that make the techniques (and the person!) effective are almost endless.