FENCE CONCEPTS – By Al Peasland

Foreword courtesy of Geoff Thompson

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The great thing about placing yourself into a very violent arena is that you learn reliable survival techniques very quickly.

You simply have to.

There is no room in reality for hypothesise; technique is either effective or you end up on a stretcher at the A&E, or worse still a slab at the mortuary.

It has happened. It happens. Unfortunately it will happen again.

People die in violent altercations you know!

That’s what I did…. (no I didn’t die!) I placed my bones into the ultimate arena to see if my technique passed the acid test. Actually it was more drastic than that; I entered the pavement arena to see if I passed the ultimate acid test.

Fortunately I did (pass). Mostly because I adapted and forged myself and my technique to accommodate an arena that was as savage as it was unrelenting.

I learned many things during that time; that pre-emption was the only consistently effective physical technique, blocks, counters and traps are useless, intention is all powerful and violence is ultimately futile.

I also learnt that all of the prolifically effective fighters I met had one thing in common; they all used The Fence as the controlling factor between them and an adversary. They didn’t call it the fence of course (that was my job), in fact most of them were not even aware that they were using a fence. What they had developed was both unconscious and innate, perhaps the by-product of facing severe and prolonged physical threat.

Many years later, when I started teaching survival techniques, the fence was a critical part of my curriculum and even though it was hardly known back then it soon caught on.

Now it’s hard to pick up a martial arts magazine without tripping over a photo-shoot of someone doing the fence (in their own inimitable way).

This is both pleasing and slightly unsettling.

Pleasing because I know that (conceptually) the fence first found life in Coventry, England. More specifically the term was coined at my own martial arts club where a small group of dedicated folk hungry for some combative honesty gave birth to a whole new era of reality training.

Unsettling (ever so slightly) because most of what I see in the martial arts arena today does not really represent The Fence that I conceived, wrote about and taught. It offers instead a poor watered down facsimile of the real thing.

The fence is a technique that could one day – if learned and practised diligently – save your life. To me it is (nothing less than) my front line in any potentially violent altercation. It allows me to control that all important gap between myself and my potential assailant.

As we all should know, if you control the gap, you control the fight.

And now I am delighted to say, at twenty years of age, the fence is about to be re-born. This time in the guise of an excellent book/ DVD combination produced by Al Peasland, my uke, my brother my very close friend. And I couldn’t be happier. Not only has Al committed his vast and practically unequalled knowledge to print, he has done what any good pioneer should do, he has gone out into the world and first tested it for himself. This then is not a book that simply copies what has been written and told before. Al took the knowledge he gained from me in thousands of hours of blood and snot instruction and subjected it to 7 years of pressure-testing on the nightclub doors of a city (Coventry) that was once polled as being the most violent in Europe for its size and population.

That is why this book is important.

It is why I endorse it.

It is why this book may at some time prove life saving.

This is a great read, the most comprehensive book on the fence in the world today.

Read it, learn from it and make it your own.

Geoff Thompson. Coventry, England.

17.6.08

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