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Bri Thai
2/03/2004 5:16am,
Shredder UK Seminar Review

Richard Dimitri, founder of Senshido, recently came over to the UK from Canada to teach two Senshido seminars (31st Jan &1st Feb 2004). The first was for women, and was Rape Prevention. This is a review of the second, and this was predominantly about the original Shredder, Senshido’s best known innovation to date.

The seminar was scheduled for 5 hours, starting at 11am. The training area was quite a centrally located dojo in London and, as such, was a little difficult to find by car. If he comes over again and teaches at the same dojo my big recommendation is go by Tube Train as London Bridge Station is about a 5 min walk away (but, I’m reliably informed, feels about 20 minutes on the way back.

Rich, along with the two guys who helped organises the event (Adam and Les) were on hand to personally welcome people on arrival. A nice touch that helped put people at their ease. There was a large matted area, though the structure of the building necessitated a large stone pillar in the middle. That didn’t really matter. The organisers had limited the numbers allowed to attend, so it didn’t get too crowded.

The seminar started a few minutes late, but Rich went straight into some background information about both himself and then the Shredder itself. He has this unique way of expressing himself, like a mixture of master tactician, stand up comedian and Black Belt in swearing……and it established a very positive tone for the whole event. Illustrating his ideas with real stories went a long way in keeping everyone’s interest. Being funny AND serious at the same time is a skill that not many possess, and he put it to good use throughout the day.

There was no official warm up, and no killer exercise programme. I was pleased with this. I know how to exercise/warm up, and didn’t want part of my entrance fee being taken up by this. We were all here for the technical side, and that’s what we got. The drills did start of easy though, so we didn’t go full throttle whilst still “cold”.

It’s surprising just how many drills we actually went through on the day. The session flew past but now, looking at my notes, there are reams of entries. Richard doesn’t really bother giving drills names, so it is hard to document what he had us physically doing. I don’t want to go into too much detail anyway, as it is hard to put them into words – they have to be seen to get an understanding of them.

Suffice to say the activity ranged from gently brushing our partners’ face with the fingers, up through slow Shredder drilling, and onto Shredding against full takedown attempts, as well as knife attacks. This culminated to a final ‘free form’ drill where both you and your partner attempted to shred and counter-shred, putting to use everything shown from reflex response to biting and growling. The additions of ear pulling, biting, spitting, finger breaking etc. really helps bring the Shredder alive. Even if your hands are temporarily immobilised on his face, the flinch caused by these things freed them up again very quickly. And the growling when biting… That certainly turns up the volume in more ways than one. Nasty, basic and brutal.

Looking around some of the people there were getting really into it. Bodies were flying about, and faces began to look a little red. For the most part Rich demonstrated on Les and Adam. They got the reddest faces of the day. I was all ready to volunteer for a while and ease their burden. But I was just too shy to put myself forwards…….

The most impressive element for me is the way Rich puts his stuff to the test so readily. Nothing is choreographed, so Les and Adam go at him hard. Then Rich asked “are there any dedicated grapplers here?” Some guy raised his hand. It seems this lad has been grappling for about 6 years, and he certainly looked the part. He was about a head taller, and towered over many people there. “Take me down as hard and as fast as you can” says Rich. Our friend needed no further encouragement. He went for it, big time. Rich was defending with a partial shred. He did go to the floor and was underneath for a time. But not for long. Within a couple of seconds his partial shred had reversed the situation, and the grappler was left with a red face. Not through embarrassment, he did well. It was just..…. red. Whilst rolling around on the floor the second time they banged into the wall, this is where Rich sustained his first (visible) tag of the day. I find it so refreshing that here is someone that takes it to the finish, no stop start “that didn’t work”. He just deals with it, “Less torque, more shred”. It’s so nice to have someone whom is humble enough to admit that even you can get one on him, and he doesn’t hide the fact that he’s human too, not some super Ninja assassin. Like he says, that’s for the movies. But, even so, he wasn’t submitted and a real full power Shred would have been very ugly.

Senshido methods are practised as realistically as possible. People attack each other. This is so different from the “one step half baked punch” demonstrations seen in so many arts. And if something goes wrong? Ignore it, and carry on reacting to what is happening. He emphasised that there are no combinations. No set pieces. The confrontation starts, and you take it as it comes.

It occurred to me that Classical Martial Arts can be likened to Classical Music. It’s all very nice, has beautiful sounds and can be played straight out of the book. But the only creativity is from the person who wrote the tune. Richard kicks the classical into touch. He plays Jazz, and spontaneously goes where the music takes him.

I was doing my best not to laugh at one point. For one hour the mat was split into two, and some kids had their martial arts lesson. But Rich was in full flow! There was no stopping him! With only a curtain separating the two groups, Rich is giving it his “So just blast the f’**ker!” and “So this [email protected]@d is going to get [email protected]@ked up man!” etc. Those kids will talk for ages about that nasty man with the evil tongue.

Looking around, everyone seemed to be picking the Shredder up. My training partner, Justin, hadn’t seen it before. I could tell a real difference in the later shreds as opposed to his first attempts. It is quick to learn. But Richard looked in a different league. He made it look so easy, and serves as a reminder that simply knowing how to do it may not be enough. You need to fine tune the skills and practice applying them in many different scenarios. Here are a few notes from Justin himself, a guy new to reality based concepts with a TMA background –

“Before coming to the seminar I realised that it was a good idea to bone up. I knew what the shredder was in principle, but boy oh boy it was a whole world away from the drills that we did.

I feel like I grew here, the initial trepidation of grabbing a ahem large opponent by the ear very quickly turned into a mounting biting spitting shred fest! That’s not to say it wasn’t enjoyable to be shredded as well, it very startling to have what you know and love from the past 8 years of training literally shredded in seconds. Brian even developed his personal favourite the two eared head throw and I found that it is mandatory that we are always pushing to the limits what we know, and that we need to learn to let go of that which doesn’t work.

This is the first time I have learned anything that I knew I could use when I walked out of the Dojo, its dizzying to have this sort of knowledge, almost like your walking around with a loaded uzi stashed in your pants.

That said, whilst the basic concept is easy to learn and effective against the uninitiated, it will take practise and plenty of courage to get to the ‘Dimitri’ level. That level is more psychological than physical, its having the confidence to say “hit me hard anyway you want” and knowing that you can deal with it. Personally I have a lot of deprogramming to do, 8 years of robotic head blocks has tainted my twitch response with a dangerous bias for the ‘Nike’ defence.”

I think Rich could improve future seminars though. Firstly I would recommend a little more attention to safety. Getting people to check that they have taken their jewellery off, that their fingernails are not too long or dirty, pointing out the potential hazards in the room etc. (like the stone pillar and the mirrors). This would appear a little more polished and help keep people injury free. As you can gather, I’m one of those annoying “Health and Safety” types. Also I would ensure that people regularly changed partners. He certainly didn’t have an objection to people doing so but, for the most part, people stayed with their friends. It would add to the learning experience if they had to work on strangers in my view. There would be dangers though, as there are plenty of idiots attending fighting arts seminars (none apparent yesterday to my knowledge). So the supervision would have to be top notch to weed them out.

All the people I spoke to were very complimentary about the day. I didn’t see or hear anyone complain about any part of it. People were displaying bruises, cuts and abrasions afterwards. Suffice to say the looks we received on gambolling into the pub afterwards were far from complimentary. I’ve been working on the Shredder for a while, but the day really honed my skills further. It was well worth the money, and even worth driving around London totally lost.

All in all a great training day. Many thanks to Rich himself, and to Les and Adam for putting it together. I am a fussy sort and not easy to please. But, if Rich comes over to the UK again, I will move mountains to be there. It was informative, fun and great training.

2/03/2004 5:32am,

New one on me. Anyone care to explain?
Scrach that... just looked at the senshido website.

Now I'm not doubting the efficacy of it, but basing everything about that concept? It seems a bit limiting.

I'd much rather just add that as another tool into what I currently have.


2/03/2004 5:50am,
What is a shredder? Technique? Partial Shredder? Somebody help a CMA man out here...

2/03/2004 7:52am,
Yeah I was going to ask the same thing... I have no idea what they actually were doing from that description...

Matt W.
2/03/2004 8:39am,
The Shredder = Magically stop any attack by... STICKING YOUR HANDS IN THEIR FACE!!!!





2/03/2004 8:52am,
See this thread:

Personally, I think the T3H SHR3DD3R could easily be defeated by The Ninja Turtles, but who has those handy?

How much are you being paid to endorse this nonesense?

BTW, Thanks for the new sig.

2/03/2004 8:53am,

Err, so you are supposed to tear the opponent's face off with your fingernails, and break his teeth by putting your thumb in his mouth?

2/03/2004 10:02am,

Unique to Senshido, the Shredder has been referred to by most as a revolutionary and innovative offensive tactic and concept as well as "The Missing Link in Martial Arts and Self Defense".

The Shredder is a physical retaliation concept that is comprised of several short, traumatic offences such as eye gouging, ear ripping, palm striking, raking, biting, elbowing, spitting, throat crushing and neck and head cranks and manipulations. It is a spontaneous barrage of gross motor skills where the targets are manifested by your attacker's panicked attempt at defensive disengagement. Ghosting footwork, anchoring, and forward pressure are also integral elements for delivery of the assault. The Shredder is behaviorally and scientifically rooted. It is not a technique.

The great thing about the Shredder is that it is based on what mother nature already instilled in you. It enhances the use of your natural tools during the 'fight or flight' stage of the assault where the cognitive brain has been bypassed by the mid brain. Our survival mechanism is connected to what is called the autonomic nervous system, this system controls all voluntary and involuntary functions. It is also divided into 2 systems, one being the parasympathetic nervous system and the othr being the sympathetic nervous system. The parasympathetic nervous system is the one that predominates our actions and thoughts in non stressful environments. It controls fine motor skils, cognitive processing and a host of other functions related; however when threat is perceived, the sympathetic nervous system takes over which triggers the survival mehcanisms or 'fight or flight' response. The release of adrenaline by the sympathetic nervous system increases blood flow and arterial pressure causing a large amount of blood to be pumped into the larger muscles resulting in gross motor functions and applications.

The symapathetic nervous system hinders the functional use of cognitive processing, visual perfromance and fine motor skills. A century worth of scientific studies and research has shown us that under the influence of the sympathetic nervous system, only gross motor skills are performed optimally. Thus, the ambush or immediate threat introduced quickly and with minimal or no prior warning will trigger the sympathetic nervous system. This is where the Shredder comes in. The tools involved with the Shredder are all gross motor and fully functional during the high stress situation. What we've done is improve on the delivery system of these tools establishing a greater understanding of both the behavioral and psychological elements that accompany the feral and instinctive nature of such a response.

The Shredder also bypasses your opponent's reflexive response and flinch mechanism due to the repetitive, on the quarter beat, onslaught. This guarantees landing every single one of your strikes. It also offers maximum tactile sensitivity and can be applied anytime providing (in some instances) that strategic implementations are applied from the pre contact stage. The Shredder is a primary tool and tactic for any close quarter / grappling / ground fighting situations.

Psychologically, the Shredder shocks, unbalances and disorients your opponent completely, due to the savage nature of the retaliation. Akin to your hands being like magnets and your opponent's face being a piece of metal, it is far beyond your average striking combinations usually seen in the majority of systems and styles. There is no memorization of techniques involved whatsoever, it all depends on the targets made available by your opponent's reactions and your closest weapon application.

The Shredder isn't solely applicable to the head and neck areas but can also be applied to the rest of the body using a variety of natural tools. It can be used in minimum potential and maximum potential violence situations. For minimum violence potential, a more passive Shredder would be used. For maximum violence potentiality, the 'Nuclear' Shredder is required. The difference lies in the actual pressure and force applied behind each tool when striking, gouging, ripping, raking, cranking and tearing. It's the difference between a poke and a deep gouge and everything in between.

The Shredder is Senshido's primary offensive arsenal and has been used successfully every single time both in real life altercations and scenario replications. For descriptive details and instrcution on the Shredder, please refer to the Deluxe Shredder Package.

Oh dear.

Matt W.
2/03/2004 10:22am,
This takes the "eye gouge" theory of RBSD to a whole new level. It's not just a reliance on an eye gouge attack. It's whole system based on it!!!



Bri Thai
2/03/2004 1:27pm,
Well! I appreciate your honesty! Haw haw haw.

Here's a bit about myself.

I am not a Senshido instructor, and not affiliated to them in any way. I am a police officer from the UK and, though I do not work the streets at this moment in time, I did do for many yeas. I got into loads of scrapes in the process.

My background dates for nearly 25 years (I am the grand old age of 40), and includes:-

Shukokai Karate
Japanese Jiu Jitsu
Wing Chun Kung Fu
Taiho Ryu Jitsu (Police self defence)
Thai Boxing
Ground Fighting
WW2 Combatives.

Alot of the above is bollox I know, but I didn't know better at the time.

Sorry if the above review didn't explain the Shredder well enough. I'm a new poster here, and most places I post know what it is of sorts. But it is fair to say that it is not easy to appreciate it without having seen it in action.

As for Senshido - it was recommended to me by a guy on another forum. I contacted the founder via email, and he was a really nice and helpful guy. I don't buy from people who I don't like, but certainly did buy his "Shredder" tape. I was blown away by the demonstrations. Of course they could have been set ups. I am as cynical as the next man. I have seen masses of bullshit out there in the fighting arts world. But I dindn't think so on this occasion.

And now I have seen the guy in person. He picks people out of the class at random and says "Attack me any way you want to". They do, and they end up on the losing end. I thappened before my very eyes Sunday last, to many different people on the seminar.

But here are a few caveats about the Shredder. He does NOT say that it is a complete system that will replace your kick boxing or your grappling. It is an EXTRA skill to add to your existing arsenal. Senshido people still train boxing/grappling.kick boxing etc. The are important attributes to develop. But they aim to be reality based, not enter the sporting arena.

No combat sport that I know of allows the fingers in your face, teeth in your throat etc approach of the Shredder. Thee is a reason for that - IT IS TOO DANGEROUS.

It is NOT just "beat all comers by eye gouging". A whole load of wankers think they can take on the Gracies merely by threatening to poke them in the eyes...... The Shredder is very different.

I will try to give you a picture of it, but it is difficult. Imagine this - Your head is being twisted and pulled, destroying your balance. Fingers are gouging at your eyes, pulling hard tearing your ears.... You cop for the odd knee strike in your groin or thigh, and your bitten, palm heeled, elbowed, etc. etc. All this occurs with a machine gun delivery, the techniques constantly flowing from one to the other. That is what the Shredder aims to do.

It doesn't claim to be rocket science. The best ideas never are. They are simple applications of existing ideas. Look again at the Gracies. An untrained eye will see them rolling around like schoolboys in a brawl. The untrained eye can't see the skill involved, unless they are on the receiving end of course.

I don't blame you all for taking the piss. I am the biggest cynic I know, and have a Black Belt in piss taking. But have a close look at the site and the forum (but please behave there, it isn't a place to just have a laugh). Look at the testimonials etc.

What I am sayihg is this - don't be easily persuaded that the Shredder is something useful. There are too many charlatans pretending to have secret Chi powers and all kinds of shite. But don't discount it without giving it a fair look at.

Anyway, thanks for the responses. I'm a fan of cynicism but, for my own protection, I always do my best to apply it fairly.

2/03/2004 1:33pm,
"nd now I have seen the guy in person. He picks people out of the class at random and says "Attack me any way you want to". They do, and they end up on the losing end. I thappened before my very eyes Sunday last, to many different people on the seminar."

& no I'm not taking any sides, but what DID these attackers do, & how do you know they weren't selected beforehand like stage magicians do...

& The question you're going to be asked is: HOW can you know that the eye gouges etc are actually effective????

Bri Thai
2/03/2004 1:34pm,
SamHarber - I've just noticed that you are in Bolton. I worked there as a Police Sergeant from 94-97. So what I hear you say.......

I am only 10 miles away. I'll keep checking the site and, if you seem a fairly sane person....., we may be able to meet and I will show you the Shredder tape. I won't demonstrate, as I am not a Snshido Instructor or anything, so their reputation should not depend on my abilities.

I think you'll be impressed with it, but who knows. If you, or anyone, wants t talk about it further (as well as on the thread), you can catch me on [email protected]

Bri Thai
2/03/2004 1:41pm,
LLL - just seen your post.

Thee were only 30 people in the seminar. During the seminar Richard went round to monitor everyone. He did these demos as he went round for anyone who asked. I didn't ask. But I did train with a guy called Justin from Traditional Karate. He changed as the day went on from a gentle soul who thought that Kata helped you learn to fight...... to a Shredding dirty fighter. I outweighed him by about 70lbs and 20 years experience, but he could take me down with the Shredder, and keep me down, by the end of the day. I did not "die" to his moves on purpose. That is another Senshido concept. Your training partner should never let you apply anything - it either works or it doesn't.

Here is another piece of info. Of course we didn't really crush each others eyeballs. We did the partial shred, where heads are shaken, faces are pulled around.... but every one can still see at the end of the day. Even this partial Shred takes its toll.

How do I know that eye gouges are effective? Well you have a point. I have never seen a person get their eye taken out. But I reasonably believe that it would go a long way to knocking their ability and resolve in a fight. And, if they keep coming, they keep getting attacked. Eyes, throat, knees, groin etc etc.

Hope that helps.

PS - regarding the Shredder Logo. As far as I can make out one of Dimitri's friends drew it for him. He stresses that you never put your fingers in the opponents mouth, but the artist is more into drawing than technical applications. In my view itdoes project an innacurate image of what the Shredder actually is, but it isn't my art, so is not my call to make.

2/03/2004 1:45pm,
Anyone on that side of the pond want to check this out?

2/03/2004 1:58pm,
We should send someone to the Toronto Seminar: http://www.senshido.com/smtlU_2.html

How 'bout it TO boys?

2/03/2004 2:01pm,
100 bucks at the door !!!!!
*pauses to catch breath and fix thong*