Nick Hughes DVDs

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Nick Hughes DVDs

Post  Guest on Tue Aug 22, 2006 12:50 pm

Nick Hughes - French Foreign Legion and Military Combative #1

Intro

This is the first part of a 6 DVD series outlining methods developed and taught by Nick Hughes, ex bouncer, French Foreign Legionnaire, Private Detective, Martial Arts Instructor etc. Volume 1 incorporates work regarding stances, hand techniques and power development.

Production values

Generally good. Much better than the “get a mate to point a camera at you” style of others. Good picture and sound quality. Nice safety advice and clear disclaimer. The introduction and opening credits are a little lengthy at 3 minutes. Overall the DVD lasted for an hour.

Presentation

Filmed out in the woods, with other guys in the background occasionally helping out and demonstrating. I did think that one or two of them looked a little stiff though, and don’t know their skill levels. Nick is an imposing figure at 6 feet 8 inches, along with bald head, goatee beard and combat pants….. These combat pants can be a little off putting, as they’re usually worn by out of shape fatties pretending to be Special Forces experts. Nick gets away with it. He isn’t fat and HAS worked with Special Forces. And it is outlining military styles after all. Overall this is quite professional in comparison with other works in the field.

Content

I was a little sceptical about what I was going to see in this DVD. Nick and I have had many a row about the values of “traditional” martial arts. Though I now realise that we both had a different interpretation of what we meant by “traditional”, I was still concerned that I might be tuning in to watch people marching about like robots whilst in their pyjamas. Luckily I was wrong!

Nick had a concern that I may find it too “basic” but, on the contrary, I don’t think I could understand his more advanced stuff without seeing and understanding where he is actually coming from.

i) Stance

Nice to see common sense theories demonstrated. Nick works in principles rather than absolutes, i.e. follow these general principles and its ok, rather than the “do it exactly the way I do” approach of some teachers Even early on his stance work has an emphasis on being able to deal with multiple opponents, and both his stance and methods of changing direction and moving seem very workable under stress. Again, no definitive fancy footwork, just move in accordance with principles.

I was particularly interested in what he calls “screening.” He is keen to not only be covered when in a stance, but also covered when getting into the stance in the first place, or when moving. He incorporates what I can only describe as a “double parrying” action, where the rear arm and the lead arm each sweep across the upper body and head, protecting you from any incoming blow. Interestingly, though he does believe in forward drive, he also acknowledges the value in an initial backward movement to allow more time and space to deal with any oncoming attack. I’ll be putting on my head gear and getting people to swing at me full power to test this “screening” out. I hope it works… maybe I’ll start out with little people!

ii) Open hand blows

Nick demonstrates a selection of open handed blows, including variants of the palm heel, edge of hand, hammer fist and web hand. He includes the odd contentious detail here and there, but does put good arguments forwards to justify the versions that he advocates.

He does not reject punching at all, as long as the method is trained and used correctly, including some knuckle conditioning. If people aren’t prepared to do this extra training, then he advises that they stick with the open hand.

iii) Power Development.

Again his theories were credible, including the importance of strength and speed, striking through the target, acceleration and visualisation. He uses a version of the drop step for many lead hand shots, and brings the rear leg forwards to add power to his rear hand blows.

iv) Drills

I fail to see the value in the passive use of focus mitts, where the partner merely keeps them held up in a static position allowing the trainee to hit whenever they want to. Nick agrees, and his drills include ingenious ways of making the trainee work to get the strike in, reacting to a visual stimulus rather than it all being made too easy. There were some good drills that would allow even a total beginner to begin to use these pads productively.

I felt that punching was a little over emphasised though, as almost all the power development and drills were done with the closed fist. The military combative tag is, in my view, a little under-mined when there is an over emphasis on boxing, but that is a personal opinion. But I do think his drills could have involved more open hand work, especially with the blows that are not similar to boxing mechanics.

Overall

This was a professionally produced piece of work, and something that had enough info for a complete beginner to get started. It is also of interest to the more experienced trainee, to see Nick’s own perspective on the subject. He’s certainly given me a few things to try out.

I would have like to see a little more of Nick going full out, and then seen that again in slow motion. The only slow motion in the film was of Nick casualty demonstrating a few punching options, and I couldn’t see the value in a replay of that at all. But that is a very minor point.

I can certainly recommend this to people interested in Nick’s take on real fighting. There is nothing in it that I saw as useless at all. Though there are things that I wouldn’t use myself I can certainly see the value in them and have no doubt that they would work.

This has been an appetiser for me. He’s already given me a fresh insight into things in this basic tape. I really wonder where things will lead when he gets into his more advanced stuff, and intend to find out!


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Re: Nick Hughes DVDs

Post  Lee Morrison on Sun Oct 07, 2007 1:50 am

Gotta say, I really liked this set of DVD's real world experience just flows out of Nick and manifests itself into a very competent instructional program than builds upon itself.
I recommend it.

Peace...

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Re: Nick Hughes DVDs

Post  PaulRichard on Sun Oct 07, 2007 2:38 am

I've got it, excellent series.

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Re: Nick Hughes DVDs

Post  Gappy on Sun Oct 07, 2007 3:10 am

'Basics' can mean different things for different people, but this was an excellent 'basics' series.

I echo the comments above - very good series of instructional dvds.
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Re: Nick Hughes DVDs

Post  PaulRichard on Wed Oct 10, 2007 12:08 pm

If Brian doesn't mind me using his review as a template and Nick doesn't mind me having a go i might write a review for the second in the series, it'll give me something creative to do and hopefully motivate me to write these damm articles.

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Re: Nick Hughes DVDs

Post  Guest on Wed Oct 10, 2007 2:38 pm

I don't mind at all mate!

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