About Clinton Raymond Frieslaar

Global Head of the International South African Institute of Unarmed Combat Owner of CR FRIESLAAR Intellectual Property Consultancy SASSETA and International Training Academy (ITA) accredited Advanced Handgun (pistol), Pump Action, Rifle and Carbine Instructor for Business purposes use, Range Officer, Firearms Instructor, Assessor

Reality Based Training

During my time in the South African police service I observed that the most common weapon of assault has become the knife. Many law enforcement officers and security personnel often encounter suspects with knives and don’t really know how to deal with it. Many are stabbed or cut as result because of a tug of war to control the blade and not the hand or arm controlling the blade.

Law enforcement officers and security personnel may develop a false sense of security because they carry a side-arm. However, research has shown that a knife attacker can cover 2 or 3 metres before the officer has time to draw his weapon. In testing these scenarios the officer would have been killed. For law enforcement and security officers, learning how to use their side-arm in close range combat is imperative for survival.

The most critical issue to address when teaching anyone (from civilians to law enforcement officers to military personnel) is scenario based instruction – basically trainees must be taught to use their combatives training under some form of reality based stress. Psychological studies on learning have shown that the recall of memories is contextual. Basically, if all your training is in a sanitised and structured enviroment then your chances of remembering your training are smaller than if you had been trained in a realistic scenario.

For defending against a knife attack the trainee needs to be able to either draw his (or her) weapon whilst evading or deflecting the knife attack, or be able to deflect, control and restrain the knife attacker without drawing his/her weapon. The same applies when an officer is being attacked by an unarmed attacker; in close range combat law enforcement and security personnel have themselves been disarmed (this happened to an ADT officer just last week – iafrica.com News).

Reality stress doesn’t just apply to confronting an unarmed or knife attacker, it applies equally to using your firearm under fire. Almost all prior firearm training can be almost worthless unless you are practicing while someone is fighting with or shooting back at you! After learning firearm mechanics and marksmanship skills, all gun training should be conducted under stress with the trainee being the target of incoming “rounds”. I don’t care if it is just a tennis ball machine pumping sporadic balls,  paintball or even a rubber band gun! But something needs to be firing back at you to learn more, realistic gun fighting techniques.

In summary, all training (especially for law enforcement and security officers who are exposed to dangerous situations on a daily basis) must include some reality or scenario based training.

Fight Hard, Fight Smart But Fight Dirty.

The Grappler

I receive many requests from students and private persons to teach them to grapple. It is strange how many requests I receive from other martial artists to train them in the art of grappling. Now this is an honour to me but I always ask them the same question. Why do you want to grapple, what purpose would it serve you and what do you intend to do with the skills once taught? Many say that it is a good form of exercise others want to get into the cage fighting scene.

As a martial artist I strongly believe that everyone should learn the basics of grappling or groundwork as it is traditionally known. Not many fighters like going to the ground and many feel confident enough to win a fight standing up. This is often also a case of being overconfident in ones abilities.

It is great if all fights could be won standing up however there is always the possibility that this may not be the case. Now, many may disagree that fights do not often go to the ground but by being realistic you will realise that most fights do…you may get knocked down, slip and fall, trip, be tackled to the ground, be taken down MMA style, be thrown to the ground, be held hostage and forced to lay down, etc.

Now all of the above takes the fight to the ground. You may not always be in control of a situation and ultimately land up on the ground in one way or another. Also remember that you don’t always have to fight and you may go to the ground as a sign of surrendering or defeat. I strongly encourage everyone no matter what your level of skill may be, no matter how many fights you have won, no matter how big or strong you are or what Dan grading or years of training you may have, that you must have a basic knowledge of groundwork / grappling.

A skilled grappler/ground fighter can easily overcome most attackers and turn a situation over. A disadvantage could then be turned over to become an advantage.

Groundwork/grappling is an important skill that should be taught to all women and children. Females especially as this is the one place an attacker will always take them to……..the ground.

If it is a sexual attack then this is where a fight will end up with the victim either on their backs or stomachs face down in the dirt. That is why it is important that any martial artist have a basic knowledge as how to defend themselves off the ground. You need not be very skilful in grappling but a basic understanding of evading, controlling and manipulating an attacker could save your life and provide you with a window of opportunity to get away.

It is often perceived that a fight is lost once you are on your back on the ground or knocked to the ground. An attacker feels in control when the victim hits the dirt….this is where a basic understanding of the grappling arts can become a BIG surprise to any attacker. The overconfidence and belief of defeat on the side of the attacker can easily be swayed to their peril.

For you to create just one second for a window of opportunity is more than enough to turn things into your favour. This is where the most basic knowledge of ground fighting/grappling comes into play. Thus for any person out there interested in self defence please get a basic training session at least in grappling/ground fighting to empower yourself both on your feet and in the dirt .

Take care everyone and enjoy the dirt in your face and in your hair.

Grappling is fun…its one way to LOVE your attacker before you incapacitate them….


The Best Fighting System

Bruce Lee vs. Chuck Norris

Bruce Lee vs. Chuck Norris

I am often asked by students, friends and family which martial arts form do I regard as being the best. Is it FMA, BJJ, traditional karate, MMA, judo, boxing, kick boxing, muay thai, etc?

This is often a question many a martial artist or any fighting form instructor is faced with. It is often a very sensitive topic that could place one in a situation that you would rather not be in. Sometimes it is a trick question to attract unwanted intentional confrontation to discredit a particular or variety of fighting forms.

The next question is, “Are you the best or are you better than another instructor?”

Both of these questions should be answered with great humility and care so as not too, firstly, discredit any form of fighting, criticise their techniques, negatively compare other techniques to your own, to belittle any of them or their instructors and more importantly the founders and masters.

It is after all common knowledge that no matter what system of fighting art you do that somewhere in the syllabus it has adopted something from some other form. So by discrediting another you are in fact discrediting your own system.

No fighting form can truly say that they are pure and unique to any other. All come from a common birth place and use the same weapons whether it is a foot, hand or toe.

Many may argue and say that this is incorrect but I beg them to prove me wrong.

A true martial artist keeps an open mind, spirit and is in complete harmony with himself and system. There may be shortfalls but these are not unique to one, but to all.

My answers to the above questions are always the same and it would never change.

I always respond in the same way with great enthusiasm.

No two fighting forms or instructors are the same. No fighting form is better than the other.
I am not better than any one else and I regard myself a student of all fighting forms even my own.

It is not whether the one fighting form is better than the other or whether one fighter or instructor is the best.

It all boils down to what fighting form is best for you.

One student may be happier with boxing and the other judo. The individual needs to explore a variety of fighting forms to decide which system best suites him and in essence not just choose a system merely because opinionated individuals nominate one form better than the other.

Go out there and experience a variety of forms and decide which system best suites your character.

There is no one system that is the best.

It is the student who needs to decide what is best for him or her.

May you all enjoy the wanders of martial arts in the true warrior spirit.

Respect, honor, humility, dedication and hard work.

The Glistening Blade


How many times have you not seen or heard of someone being attacked and the choice of weapon was a knife? A glistening blade that shimmers in the light.

It is true that many are afraid of any confrontation when faced with a knife. The first thing that hits is a state of panic and next the mind takes over and throws the senses into complete confusion. It is true that it is a menacing implement that can cause death and severe injury. However, when you look at it as a mere extension of the attackers hand it is nothing more than that. The important thing in a knife fight is to always keep an eye on the blade or always be aware of where it is and where it is going. Once you have mastered this the follow up is easy.

By knowing the path of the blade or anticipating its path or more importantly moving it into the path you choose, makes disarming your assailant easier. There are no rules in knife fighting and no strict form either. Many fighting styles have distinct patterns but in reality these are never followed.

A skilled knife fighter would never follow the same line twice and always adapts his/her fight to the situation. Hence the blade never follows the same orbit.

Street knife fighters would often use a t-shirt, jersey, jacket or any material to cover the leading arm. This has two important features.

Firstly it is used as a form of shield to protect the leading arm. This arm is used to deflect the blade, absorb a slash or stab and even latch on to the blade. Secondly it can be used as a decoy to distract the opponent.

When faced with a blade I always say that you should have the unfair advantage over the blade. Rap the leading arm in a shield as above or grab any item close by and use as a weapon. If your attacker comes at you with a blade, you go at him with a spade.

My point is that it does not mean that because you are a skilled fighter, whether in close quarter combat or unarmed combat, that you should stick to those skills. You may be skilled but that should not stop you from using a weapon to defend yourself.

Remember, an unfair advantage in any fight is always better




new ISAIUC logo

Welcome to the International South African Institute of Unarmed Combat
Experts in Self Defence, Law Enforcement Training, Hand-to-Hand Combat and the home of South African Atemi-Jujitsu
Official representatives of Soke Ben Mängels in Africa

Soke Ben Mangels

Ben Mangles_Teaching

Soke Ben Mängels is the founder and honorary life member of the South African Institute of Unarmed Combat. He started his career in 1954 as a young police officer in Durban, South Africa. He soon learned that the rough and tough sailors were a force to be reckoned with, so began his training in Kodokwan Jujitsu. He discovered that what was taught in the dojo was not how things happened in real life. Most techniques were just not effective when dealing with street-wise sailors. This prompted Soke Mängels to analyse and modify techniques to suit the reality of the streets and dockyards of Durban. Keeping It Real has always been Soke Mängels’s central philosophy.

Soon after obtaining his black belt in Kodokwan Jujitsu, he obtained a black belt in Judo, and became a South African middleweight Judo champion. Soke Mängels then progressed to Karate, obtaining a black began Shotokan Karate. Here he was frustrated with Karate’s inability to deal with a grappler or competent Jujitsu or Judo fighter (years later kick-boxers would have the same problem when confronted with Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu).

The solution for Soke Mängels was to develop his own system, so taking the best from various Martial Arts (Jujitsu, Karate, Judo, wrestling and boxing), he created what he now calls Atemi-Jujitsu. Soke Mängels used to say that his system was best described as “Street” Karate; a fighting system that could be used in real life situations.

Soke Mängels became an officer in the South African Police and Captain in the South African Air Force. He was at times the chief Close Quarters Combat (CQB) instructor to elite special forces units, including the South African Army Commandos, South African Naval Marines, and British Special Air Service (SAS).

In 1981, Soke Mängels established the South African Institute of Unarmed Combat (SAIUC) in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, establishing several schools (dojos) in South Africa. When Soke Mängels emigrated to the US he handed the SAIUC over to Shihan Thaya Moodaley (7th Dan Atemi-Jujitsu) who had been training with him for almost a quarter of a century.

Soke Ben’s resume is impressive: he was appointed National Director of the International Combat Military Advisors Group (ICMAG) (an international body of ex-specialist servicemen that trains military and police anti-terrorist units), president of the International Association of Close Combat Instructors (IACCI),  senior advisor to the American Martial Arts Association (AMAA) and representative for South African to the Combat Military Advisors Group. The World British Federation of Martial Arts recently promoted Captain Ben Mangels, to 10th Dan in Jiu-Jitsu. Ben has also been inducted into the US Martial Arts Hall of Fame.

Soke Ben teaches that unarmed combat does not make someone unbeatable. He compares it to being thrown overboard, you might not be a strong swimmer capable of swimming to shore, but if you have had some basic swimming training you might be able to hold out until rescued, With some training, your odds of surviving are better than if you had no training at all.

Additional Reading:

Marine Corp Martial Arts Program (MCMAP) in Focus

The Marine Corps Martial Arts Program was developed by the US Marine Corps to combine existing and new hand-to-hand and Close Quarters Combat (CQC) techniques with morale and team-building functions and instruction. MCMAP trains Marines in unarmed combat, edged weapons, weapons of opportunity, and rifle and bayonet techniques. MCMAP also stresses the responsible use of force, leadership, and teamwork. MCMAP differs from previous Marine Corp CQC programs as it also includes non-lethal techniques for use in UN peacekeeping operations.

MCMAP comes from an evolution of hand-to-hand combat training dating back to the creation of the Marine Corps. Captain Samuel Nicholas formed two battalions of Continental Marines on 10 November 1775 in Philadelphia as naval infantry. Bayonet and cutlass techniques were the mainstay of Marine CQC arsenal. During World War I these bayonet techniques were supplemented with unarmed combat techniques. Between WWI and WWII, Colonel Anthony J. Biddle began the creation of standardized bayonet and CQC techniques based on boxing, wrestling, and fencing. Around the same time, Captains W. M. Greene and Samuel B. Griffith began including martial arts techniques from Chinese American Marines and brought this knowledge to other Marines throughout the Marine Corps.

In 1956 Gunnery Sergeant Bill Miller developed a new Marine CQC curriculum. The program from various martial arts styles such as Okinawan karate, judo, and jujutsu. This programme evolved into the LINE System in the early 1980s. The LINE System was found to be lacking in non-lethal techniques necessary for use in in UN peacekeeping operations. The result was MCMAP which was implemented in 2000.

Source Wikipedia

Knife Defence Workshop

It was great to have Sensei Clinton visit our dojo in Somerset West and share some of his thoughts on knife defences. As an ex-police officer he has had first hand opportunity to see what works and what doesn’t. One of the most important lessons was how an attacker from region or culture attacks very differently than an attacker from another culture, and how knife attacks (shanking) in the prisons cannot be translated as a template for what happens in the street.

Do All Fights Go To Ground?


With the emergence of Mixed Martial Arts “cage fighting” in the early 90s and the subsequent domination of Brazillian Jiu Jitsu in this area we began to hear the claim that “all fights go to ground”. Have you stopped to question this statement? I suspect that if you are reading this article you have.  Many people have, however taken it as fact.

I personally think that the “all fights go to ground” idea is Jiu Jitsu propaganda. No one would disagree that Brazillian Jiu Jitsu changed the MMA game, but their dominance can be attributed to the lack of grappling experience on the part of “kick boxers”. Kick boxers were “fish out of water” when they encountered the grappler. Fights do go to ground and most martial artists have no idea what to do when they do go to ground; but I do not think its a given that they have to go to ground. I heard Frank Shamrock say that the ground game was dead and I assume because kick boxers are now wise to grappler tactics. I would not say that grappling, and specifically ground fighting, is dead in MMA but I do not see it being the dominating force it has been in the last.

The other point to make is is that the MMA “cage fight” is not a realistic “street” situation. The “cage fight” is a one-on-one fight that occurs in a controlled environment. That is not what happens on the street. On the  street you need to contend with a multitude of variables; potentially more than one attacker, hidden weapons, hard or dangerous ground (broken bottles, rocks) and so on. So imagine taking a fight to ground (even one-one-one) and while grappling the attacker pulls a knife and stabs you, or an accomplice whacks you on the head with a crow-bar while you struggle for submission, or you fall onto broken glass. This is one of the reasons you do not see much ground fighting in Kung Fu. As far as self defence in an urban environment is concerned, going to ground dangerous, very dangerous indeed.

So I would not take the fight to the ground unless I had no other choice. I would prefer to prevent the fight from going to ground, and this is not as impossible as others would have you believe. That said, if you are forced to the ground, whether it is one attacker or many, empty-hand or against a knife, you would be better prepared if you have been doing ground fighting. And ground fighting for self defence extends beyond the sorts of ground fighting techniques you need for “cage fighting”. In the street you need to be able to fend of multiple attackers from the ground. You need to be able to defending against knife, gun and stick attacks (and more) from the ground, in addition to the standard submission and escape from submission techniques you would encounter when wrestling on the mat.

Do all fights go to ground? I say no not always. I say do not take the fight to the ground, rather fight standing up. You do need to be able to fight on the ground, but if you want to learn ground fighting for self defence, then look beyond MMA sports.

Source: Philip’s post on www.jujutsu.co.za

Jujitsu or Jujutsu?

I have been accused of being somewhat pedantic and I guess I am, and in that light I want to get things right. For instance, I want to use the most correct Romanisation of kanji characters. When it comes to deciding whether to use Jujitsu or Jujutsu in writing on the topic there is always the toss up between what is correct and what is popular. In this case, as with much in life, what is popular is not what is correct.

So what is Jujitsu or Jujutsu? If you asked most people vaguely familiar with this martial art to translate the works in English, then they would say that it is the gentle art or gentle method. But if you search “jitsu” using www.chinalaguage.com (which provides translations in Japanese also) you would not find any reference to “Art” or “Method”. Jitsu really means truth or light and not method or art. However, if you were to search for the kanji associated with the “gentle art” you would find that the Japanse word jutsu.

The trouble is that the correct pronunciation for “ju’ is joo, while the correct pronunciation of “jutsu” is jitsu. In addition, the correct pronunciation for “jujutsu” is joojitsu. You can then see how it is that the most popluar rendering of the spelling is “jujitsu”.

If that is the case, and since I have already stated that I am rather pendantic about the correct Romanisation of kanji, then you might ask what is the reason for us using term Atemi-Jujitsu and not Atemi-Jujutsu. Well there are two reasons. The first is that it is how the founders of this system spell Atemi-Jujitsu. And the second reason is that since Jujitsu is the most popular spelling it is also the most propular spelling used when people search for information on the art, and I obviously want people to read our blog. It is one small compromise we have made in order to increase readership of our blog.

Source: Philip’s post on www.jujutsu.co.za