Haydn Ellis will be a guest blogger on our Blog Section. He will relate stories from his martial arts experiences, as well as providing pieces on training and the mental side of martial arts. He is the trainer of elite athletes, adapting and using philosophies learned within the martial arts. He previously wrote for the popular website Brutal Training and is the author of the book Raoul Kent: A Life of Mastery. Enjoy…
Back from the Dead
One night, not long after my first grading, I found myself sparring a black belt I hadn’t met before. As a low ranked fighter I had mostly sparred in a light to medium contact environment since my skills were raw and my defence poor.
My shorter opponent was fearsome to behold. Tattoos marked his huge forearms and he had done the fastest push ups I had ever seen during the warm up. I began the bout in my usual fashion, with a flurry of kicks that, for the first time, were very easily evaded and in some cases blocked away. My opponent seemed annoyed at my brashness and stepped in throwing a single punch to my sternum. My pathetic attempt at a block was knocked away and I was hit the hardest I have ever been.
From the book, Raoul Kent: A Life of Mastery,
I was unconscious from the blow even before I had hit the ground. Not only was I KO’d, but I had had the wind knocked out of me as well. There I was, unconscious and not breathing from a punch to the mid section. I remember coming to with Raoul’s knee in my back and his hands on my shoulders. “You have to be very careful with that resuscitation technique,” he said. “It can kill you if applied to a conscious person.”
Raoul had a vast knowledge of resuscitation techniques. With the Kentokan school being a no padding, largely full contact environment with few rules, these techniques were often required. There were two instances where Raoul even brought students back from the brink of death.
In the first instance, during judo sparring, Raoul noticed one student underneath another but not moving. Raoul threw the active student aside, who had been applying a strangle. The unconscious student had failed to tap out and had gone to sleep without his adversary realising he was no longer struggling. The strangle had been applied for so long that the unconscious student’s face was now blue and he wasn’t breathing.
With only a minute or two remaining before the student died Raoul quickly set to work. With a cough, a huge intake of breath and bewildered look on his face the student returned to the land of the living. “You only had seconds remaining,” Raoul said as he smiled.
In the only other instance where Raoul resuscitated a dying student the circumstances were somewhat different. A group of young men had been attending class for a short time. Much to Raoul’s displeasure they were disrespectful, lazy and disruptive. One night, Raoul had had enough. Targeting the ring leader, Raoul grabbed a sleeve and pulled him over. “Come here you,” he hissed.
Raoul then delivered a lightening fast strike to the young man’s chest, stopping his heart from beating. He collapsed to the ground unconscious. His friends looked on in horror. “He’s not breathing,” yelled one. “Help him,” he cried, with tears beginning to roll down his cheeks.
“Why?” replied Raoul. “He was disrupting the class.”
Raoul knew exactly how long he had before the man’s death would be irreversible. With only moments left he knelt down and used techniques to restart the heart beating again. The group of young men never returned and Raoul’s terrified students never stepped out of line.