If I were to choose one aspect of Martial Arts training above all others then Body Alarm Reaction (BAR) would be it. This is the most misunderstood subject and yet the most important.

Many people have discussed over the years the psychological and physiological aspects of a fight situation. The fight or flight syndrome. The chemical reactions that occur within the body when faced with danger and or potentially dangerous situations.

To my knowledge, no-one has addressed the problem of counteracting these adverse reactions. BAR successfully counteracts all of these physiological and psychological reactions.

First you need to understand what is happening. Let’s take a simple example;

You are in the chip shop on a Saturday night and some idiot decides it is time for you to take a beating. Leaving aside the whys and wherefores of choosing you as his target, let’s analyse what happens next.

Your attacker has already gone through the tunnel of decision making; Can I beat this guy? Will I get hurt? He has assessed the potential risks to himself and decided he will win. He must have, no-one picks a fight they think they will lose!

His body has already gone through the adrenal rush, the panic, the tunnel vision etc. He has already experienced the fight or flight syndrome. He has already experienced all those things that together we think of as fear, not only has he experienced it all, he has decided to get you.

He is heading towards the light at the end of the tunnel.

Well, BAR, transforms that light at the end of the tunnel to the headlight of you charging towards him. It puts your attacker right back at the beginning of that decision

process, it buys you time! Time is a commodity that you desperately need and rarely have in a fight.

From the experience of hundreds of Doorman, Martial Artists and members of the public that have been taught BAR, the average time that has been gained is up to 6 seconds.

In other words, once you put BAR into your opponent, he is unable to react or fight back for anywhere up to 6 seconds. Just imagine what can happen in 6 seconds!

You will know when you experience it. You will never forget the feeling. We have detailed for you the best way to train BAR and the best follow ups to use for people with no training in the martial arts whatsoever.

How to practice BAR

Basically there are only two ways to utilise BAR. They are;

  • Pre-Emptively
  • Reactively

In other words, either you are reacting to an attack and use BAR or you are aware that an attack is imminent and you pre-emptively strike first. The effects and the result are the same.

First train pre-emptively as detailed in the next photo section. Please note the use of safety equipment.


Stand opposite your training partner as in fig BAR1

Figure BAR 1 and 2

Photo 1 Attacker shouts and threatens.

Have your partner shout and threaten you. Make sure you “feel” that adrenal rush and that your training partner gets “angry”.

Photo 2  Immediately slap your partner on top of the head with both hands.

Then have your partner raise his hand when he feels that he is ready to carry on fighting. Start this exercise at low power levels for the defender and gradually increase the power and intent. The attacker must attack like he means it.


Have your training partner shout, swear, threaten and grab you viciously by the lapel or T Shirt. The millisecond the grab occurs, BAR him as shown in Figs bar1a and bar2a. You MUST completely ignore the grabbing hands and just hit with BAR immediately. Again get your training partner to tell you when he feels ok to continue. You should be getting about 3 to 5 seconds of time now.

Figure BAR 3 and 4

In the next sequence your training partner must grab and try to punch you in the face with everything he has. See Figs bar4 and bar5

You MUST completely ignore the grabbing hand, completely ignore the punching hand and just dive straight in with BAR.

Countless times I have seen trained Martial Artists try to deal with a grabbing hand and bang! Lights out! They are unconscious before they can do anything.

The hands of the attacker move too fast for you to do anything with them at this range. A big Saturday night special that was telegraphed can be blocked, but nothing else can be blocked at this range.

Figure BAR 4 and 5

You should now have your training partner dizzy for about 6 seconds or even have him collapsing due to the shock involved. Once you increase your power levels to about 30% most people pass out in practice. You need about double that for real!

Here is a more detailed “reactive scenario”. The attacker is throwing many punches. The defender “palms down” moves off at an angle and attacks back with BAR at the first opportunity.

This is the most difficult scenario to train, but train it you must. No matter how horrible it may seem or how frightening it may seem, it is still only about half as frightening as the real thing. So, get out of that comfort zone and train it.

Palmdown Figure 2 and 3

Photo 1 Palm Down the attacking arms

Photo 2 Whilst moving away and off at an angle

Palmdown Figure 4 and 5

Photo 3 Look for an opening

Photo 4 A good follow up strike

Palmdown Figure 6 and 7

Photo 5 and take it…

Photo 6 A good follow up strike

Have the attacker launch a ferocious attack with multiple punches. Utilise the principles of the previous chapter to Palm Down and dive in with both hands to BAR your opponent on the head.

REMEMBER the attacker MUST attack with the ferocity and venom of a real street encounter and you MUST defend with the same.

The attacker should be “out of action” for up to 6 seconds. Sometimes the attacker will be in that much shock that he will simply fall over. Sometimes we have known attackers to simply pass out through shock.

I can not stress the importance of getting BAR into your opponent. It is of paramount importance, above everything else.

Just imagine that you are faced with the biggest, baddest meanest guy in the whole neighbourhood. You BAR him and buy yourself up to 6 seconds before he is recovered enough to go for you. In 6 seconds you can be away from the situation with a 40 metre head start. You could be in your car and away. If the need is there you could have ample time to deliver the blow required to finish the situation.

If you do not BAR this guy, he is going to rip you to pieces. Hitting someone much bigger and much stronger and much more able will probably lead to you getting a more severe beating. REMEMBER: Big fish still eat little fish!

That is why there are weight limits in Boxing. That is why you don’t see many 5ft 100lb bullies hanging around pubs and clubs.

BAR helps to make that Big Fish a Little Fish for a few seconds. It helps to even the score for a few seconds. You MUST do something when you have bought yourself some time though. To simply stand there and admire your handiwork will result in a beating for you when the guy has recovered.

The best advice is to get away from a trouble situation as quickly as you possibly can. If there is no immediate escape then unfortunately Now You Are Fighting.

Detailed below is an example sequence of how to utilise BAR along with the other principles detailed in this book. The use of several weak areas are shown as examples of what can be done.

Usually only one or two weak areas are required in any situation. You would use whichever is right at the time and what feels right for you.Palmdown Figure 8 and 9

Photo 7 The initial threat

Photo 8 A reactive BAR strike to the head

Palmdown Figure 10 and 11

Photo 9 Followed by a football kick to the inside ankle

Photo 10 then a controlling head grab and kick to the groin

Palmdown Figure 12 and 13

Photo 11 A hammer fist is delivered to the back of the head

Photo 12 The head is then grabbed and pushed to the floor

Palmdown Figure 14 and 15

Photo 13 The face is smashed into the floor

Photo 14 The face is smashed into the floor