To Shred or not to Shred…
Since the term Shredder was coined, it has raised many eyebrows. The most common mistake made regarding this concept is that it is a technique or a set pattern of sequential moves that can be trained like a boxing combo. It isn't.
Let me clarify a few misconceptions regarding the Shredder. For one, although I have been accused of doing so… I have never stated that it is the end all or be all of personal protection training, not at all actually. I would like to state however, that every single individual who has 'experienced' the Shredder first hand both on an offensive and defensive level, have made it their choice conceptual tool. If I, or anyone swears by it, then it is our choice and our prerogative. Nowhere do I force it upon anyone; you want it, we'll teach it to you, you don't, no worries, it's all good. When I speak of 'experiencing' the Shredder first hand, I don't mean reading about it on a forum, a magazine, an article, or even viewing it on a tape for that matter.
Very simply stated, if you like the Shredder and it works for you, then by all means, use it. If you've experienced it and it didn't work for you, then by all means, don't use it.
Let me tell what you the Shredder is not: It is not a technique. It is not a pattern of sequential moves or a combination of any sorts. It is not a tool you decide to use at anytime of your choosing. It is not this millennium's new 'Straightblast'.
The Shredder's forte is not in it's technical retaliatory properties, it isn't about how it breaks a nose, gouges out an eye or breaks a jaw. The Shredder's forte is in its psychological traumatic abilities. It is designed to completely disorientate and unbalance (both on a physical and psychological level) an opponent. Once in motion, each improvised tool based on your opponent's reactionary movements will find their mark rapidly and savagely. Your opponent will literally have no time whatsoever to react except reflexively by attempting to do whatever is in his power to just not be there. This is largely due to the fact that the timing between each choice retaliatory tool is based on less than a half beat. Each choice tool is delivered in a fluid (flow like manner) on a quarter beat.
Imagine for a moment, sticking your face in the propeller of a helicopter in full motion… this is akin to being Shredded (metaphorically speaking of course). The beauty of the Shredder is that it can also be applied with minimal force and cause little or no injury and still be effective at subduing your opponent as it will maintain its disorienting and unbalancing features. Once in motion, the Shredder cannot be stopped or countered or intercepted by the said opponent.
I have personally done the following demo, live, dozens of times (matter of fact, it can be seen in our Get R.E.A.L. video series) where I give a participant a real blade and tell him to put it in his pocket and pull it out at anytime to stab me with it as soon as we enter the clinch zone. As the Shred begins, it is impossible for the opponent to do anything else except try and get away. Why? Because the Shredder bypasses all cognitive processing and causes instant panic and havoc. It bypasses your opponent's reflexive response and flinch mechanism due to the repetitive onslaught.
The Shredder uses tools from a spontaneous barrage of gross motor skills where the targets are manifested by your attacker's panicked attempt at defensive disengagement. It gives you a 'ghosting' (A term I borrowed from Sammy Franco) type of effect because while Shredding, you completely and totally overwhelm the individual while at the same time shifting out of his power-box leaving you virtually risk free of being struck.
The Shredder can shift you from close quarter combat to grappling with ease if you so desire. It is a perfect companion to a grappler's tool box especially when using the said range in a real fight as in coincides with any and all close quarter application type combat I.e. grappling, ground fighting, close quarter combat, and even in close boxing.
What tools are utilized in a Shred? Any and every tool at your disposal during a high stress situation. (I mention 'high stress' because all fine motor skills during a perceived threat and imminent danger are unusable due to the bypassing of the cognitive brain by the mid brain). Gross motor tools include: spitting, biting, hair pulling, clawing, raking, elbowing, kneeing, head butting, palm striking, neck cranking, rear naked chokes, etc. etc.
How do you practice the Shredder? With a training partner. The only inanimate object remotely useful to train solely the physical portion of the Shredder on is the BOB Dummy. Heavy bags, focus mitts, etc. don't do it. Since tactile sensitivity is a primary principle of the Shredder and you grossly rely on reactions, solo training the Shredder becomes for the most part… obsolete. You can however shadow Shred if you're visual enough a person to do so, this will however focus more on biomechanical application.
So… is the Shredder 'the best' thing you can do? Is it 'unbeatable'? Is there anything better out there? It depends on whom you ask. For many, including myself, it is a concept that has yet to fail. I have personally used it in almost every violent confrontation I have encountered that turned physical and it worked exactly the way I described it. So for me, I have yet to find something that suits me as well. It may not be for everyone as everyone is different; it's all a matter of personal preference I believe. Just do yourself and me a favour though, don't pass judgement on it (good or bad) until you've experienced it yourself with someone who's trained directly with me or one of my crew.
I hope this shed some light as to what the Shredder is. Please understand that the written word is left to interpretation through filtered perception, it is but 10% of communication… we do not have access to tone or body language.
Note: The Shedder is explained in detail in both the Get RE.A.L tapes and the Strategic Stick Fighting tape available through our shop section. Thank you.
Train diligently and intelligently.