6 Week Self Defence Life Skill programme for Essex School

Mid way through the 2016 / 2017 school summer term I received a call from an Independent school asking about how I could develop a series of self defence personal safety classes for their pupils. Obviously I was keen to work with them and quickly arranged a meeting with the school to better understand the requirements and to tailor a course for them.

Following all the usual DBS and PL Insurance checks etc. I commenced a 6 week course of one hour sessions running for 3 groups of 15 in one evening. We have just completed week 4 and are now on half term but excited to deliver weeks 5 and 6 of the course I have put together for the pupils.

The 6 week course covers techniques in both theory and practical skills including:

Personal safety – Do’s and Don’ts with mobile phones, earphones
Reasonable force
Attack vs Fight
Different types of an Attack
Mindset of an Attacker
D.E.F.O.F. – 5 Stages of an attack

Using your voice #StayBack
Distance and Movement
Body Positioning into Dead side
Take down
Gift Wrap and Box (floor techniques)
Knife defence
Handle bar

In an attack, not getting hurt and surviving is winning. With this in mind, the importance of good avoidance skills in the form of effective movement, breakaway skills and an impenetrable guard cannot be underestimated.
Many attacks and encounters either start or end up with grabbing, pushing and pulling. Effective clinching or grappling means that you can use and manipulate this process. Grappling and clinching is also a highly effective way of avoiding being hit and therefore avoiding injury. It is also a precursor to an attack ending up on the floor.

This initial 6 weeks covers some basic techniques, there are many more techniques for both standing and floor.

If you are involved with an educational organisation or looking for a team building / group activity and would like information regarding a single taster session or a multi session event please contact me via details below.

Richard Mitchener
Reality based Self Defence training in Essex with SDF Essex

07798 628 207



Grapevine Essex (2017)

Grapevine Essex Logo

Earlier this summer, I received an email from the brilliant Grapevine Essex group requesting another self defence, personal safety and anti-bullying session in Chelmsford towards the end of July. Although the session covered some similar yet very important skills to those taught last year, there were a number of familiar faces in the group as well as some new attendees. This time i included more role playing with scenarios involving mobile phone safety as well as examples of wallet and purse safety. Both theory and practical skills were discussed and practiced, particularly a couple of standing techniques that help wth safety and awareness using the voice, the importance of distance and protecting the head. Various aspects of an attack were also discussed within the group.

How lucky am I? This group is fantastic; members, staff and carers show huge commitment towards undertaking different projects and activities, the focus on members sharing different experiences is a credit. Everyone had fun and we covered some important life skills.

Thank you to everyone who attended, I loved spending 3 hours with this group it is so rewarding and great fun. Thank you again for your time and for re booking with SDF Essex.

This is Grapevine Essex review / testimonial from the first session in 2016…

Grapevine Essex Self Defence Group Event in Chelmsford

Grapevine Essex is a charity which provides fully supported recreational and educational activities for adults with learning difficulties in Essex. We approached Richard from the Combat Academy, Chelmsford, to run a self-defence class for some of our members over the Easter break. They had to fill in a medical questionnaire in advance so that Richard was well aware of any possible problems which could arise. To begin with, we had a question and answer session on what constitutes bullying and Continue Reading

Mary Schultz, Grapevine Essex.

I had a tweet following their 2017 session link detailed below….


If you would like to find out more contact Richard Mitchener the Owner / Instructor of SDF Essex ….07798 628 207



Grapevine Essex (2016)

Grapevine Essex Logo

Following a cheeky tweet from me @SDFEssex to @GrapevineEssex a few months ago, I carried out a taster session at Boswells School, Chelmsford, over the school Easter holidays for 15 of Grapevine Essex’s members.

Grapevine Essex is a charity which provides fully supported recreational and educational activities for adults with learning difficulties in Essex.

On the morning we discussed personal safety, anti bullying, reasonable force (don’t become the bad person) and other aspects of self defence.
Once the risk assessment and warm up was completed we had a couple of hours of fun learning some role play and very effective practical techniques that really work. We discussed the importance of using our voice, what to shout and when, creating a safe distance, protecting our heads etc.
What was very special about the session was how all participating members / carers and staff were positive and encouraging in all aspects of what we covered. I had so much fun seeing everyone’s faces beaming and their appreciation at the end made me feel proud of what I teach, which is truly life changing.

Towards the end I was even taught a few dance moves by one member, although I fear he picked up the self defence moves better than I did with busting out some dance shapes.

What SDF Essex Instructor teaches is Simply Brilliant. It helps to build self esteem, confidence and fitness.

Ladies Circle Chelmsford

Split image of all the members of the Ladies Circle Chelmsford

In early November 2015, SDF Essex delivered a corporate self defence taster session to a group of 9 women from Ladies Circle, a modern, vibrant club for women.

I delivered a structured and tailored two-hour session focussing on the groups specific learning preferences.

The fun evening commenced with some self defence theory covering personal safety, the 4C model and DEFOF.

After an initial SDF Essex warm up the gloves and thai pads came out and the ladies all got stuck in. They were taught the importance of voice commands, learnt an array of techniques – the Fence, Guard, Clinch and Anaconda – finishing with an overview of knife defence skills.
Everyone had a great time with lots of giggles and appreciation of the techniques being taught.

“Thanks Richard SDF Essex for the self defence taster tonight! #CircleTime‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬ #Chelmsford #TrySomethingNew”

‘Benefit’ of SDF Essex Self Defence

Girl practicing incapacitation technique with instructor
Split image of semester of students at Combat Academy

Benefit Cosmetics UK & Ireland Head Office, were keen to arrange ‘Self Defence taster sessions’ for a number of their staff. I ran 3 early evening sessions, splitting out Theory for all on the Monday from 2 Practical sessions on the following 2 evenings. All sessions were held at

Benefit’s new Head Office in Chelmsford, Essex (Very Bright, Pink decor!).

The interactive Theory session focused on Reality Based Self Defence, Reasonable Force, Different forms of attack, Stages of a violent crime, Personal safety, Duty of care to an attacker, Compliance in training and SDF Essex unique NLP learned responses. All in an enjoyable, relaxed and fun environment.

Whilst setting up the practical sessions a number of the Benefit team commented on how much everyone had enjoyed the Theory and couldn’t wait for the next bit.

The Practical sessions took the form of a quick warm up then learning the techniques of creating distance, voice commands, head protection, clinching, restraining, taking an attacker to the ground in a controlled way and creating the ability to escape.

We also covered some limited Knife defence on both days at the client’s request.

All the sessions were really good fun, some of the staff took to the challenge very quickly, especially when the Boxing gloves and Thai Pads came out. Simulating an attack on work colleagues / friends / lunch partners generated lots of grinning faces! You could see the team spirit and camaraderie between the troops, it was excellent!

The sessions created lots of laughter and giggles, whilst developing the very important life skill of Self Defence.

As usual people come to these sessions with mixed abilities and comfortability, but all had great fun and learnt some valuable techniques. By the second practical session I was told that there had been lots of emails flying around the office about how good the training was and it had been the subject of many positive conversations throughout the day.

What a fantastic few nights with a great team, who were keen to pose for a quick photo session at the end!

A further bonus for all those completing these sessions is that they are now welcome to attend my regular weekly sessions at Great Baddow recreational ground in Chelmsford.

Dib Dib Dob

March 2015 I received a phone call to help 1st Great Baddow Cubs with an activity badge, which I was more than happy to help. Over a couple of weeks I attended and covered some techniques with the enthusiastic young men, wow can they use their voices to create awareness.

All the cubs received their activity badge – Congrats Well Done.

Canvey Island Women’s Group

Recently I was asked to offer a brief taster session for a mature Women’s group in Canvey Island in Essex. Covering mainly theory personal safety in this session, we discussed mobile phone safety, the group were so much fun and very welcoming.