What is "The Fence"?

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Discussion' started by Amber, Jan 3, 2011.

  1. Amber

    Amber Valued Member

    Despite three years in martial arts, I've never actually read any of Geoff Thompson's books. I find them offensive in their descriptions and I feel like I'm being lied to when I've tried to read them.

    So, I'd like to get an idea of what the concept of "The Fence" is. It seems like it should be pretty important, but I really can't be bothered trying to go through another one of Thompson's books to get it.
  2. Hatamoto

    Hatamoto Beardy Man Kenobi Supporter

    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T6OJnZG3joA"]YouTube - The Fence - Geoff Thompson - Clip 1[/ame]
  3. Killa_Gorillas

    Killa_Gorillas Banned Banned

    In what way?
  4. righty

    righty Valued Member

    How do you know they are offensive etc. what you have "never actually read any of Geoff Thompson's books"?
  5. Amber

    Amber Valued Member

    Killa_Gorillas; a few things irk me. I'll provide a few quotes from the first couple of chapters of my most recent attempt Dead or Alive: The Choice is Yours

    This is ******** and we all know it. Crime has not "shifted out of the darkness" or whatever, it has always been the same. The only thing that has changed is reporting.

    It's one thing to make readers aware that violent crime often occurs in daylight, and in public places. This is important for them to know. It's a completely different thing to lie to the readers face about how crime has evolved.

    There were a few, less obvious points he made, but that was the major one I found.

    My breaking point, however was this quote;
    I don't think I need to point out why this offends me. Before this, I figured I could push through the lies. After this, I decided Thompson was a jerk and I don't need to read a book that's just going to hurt me to learn some decent self-defense.

    Righty; what I mean is I've never read them past the second or third chapters

    Maybe because I'm too much of a pussy to take it =P

    Hatamoto; thanks so much for that. He sure waffled on a bit at the start, but I've got an idea of what the fence is now. Thanks!

    EDIT: Copy-pasted the same quote twice, have replaced the second quote as I originally intended.
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2011
  6. Mitch

    Mitch Lord Mitch of MAP Admin

    Please avoid profanity on MAP :)

    Those quotes are identical, did you mean to quote something else?

  7. Amber

    Amber Valued Member

    Sorry, will do.

    Yes, meant to quote something else. An edit is in order.
  8. righty

    righty Valued Member

    Are you really serious?

    That first quote is from the first paragraph from the first chapter of that book. A criqitue of a book is pretty useless unless you have made the effort to go and read through the whole book.

    Sure I can understand why you may find offence at that second one if you take the quote in isolation. But really, I won't let that get away from the more important message being delivered. This is the entire paragraph.

    What he is saying is that women are less likely to hold and maintain threatening eye contact.

    And guess what. That quote isn't even in my edition of the book. Which edition are you reading?
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2011
  9. Southpaw535

    Southpaw535 Well-Known Member Moderator Supporter

    Interesting, Marc Macyoung's site goes the complete opposite way and says they're more likely to carry on. Makes me wonder where they get the science for this stuff.
  10. Amber

    Amber Valued Member

    Righty; I don't believe I have ever written a review of the book. I chose not to read it, because I was only interested in a small amount of information. The book alienated me, so I discontinued reading it. I've never suggested anyone else not read the book; and from what I can gather, some of the parts I don't like from it are recieved quite well from other martial artists.

    I only asked for some information on The Fence. I never intended for this topic to become a discussion of the book itself.
  11. Hatamoto

    Hatamoto Beardy Man Kenobi Supporter

    Whatever his narration on psychology and sociology, does it negate the rest of the book ie, the levels of awareness, effects of adrenaline and how to stop it overwhelming you so much, and so on)? The case studies are interesting, if hard to read (the rape/murder one is the only part of the book I've not yet read, couldn't face it at the time but I should reread that book) and generally I'd say it's well worth tolerating a few bits that you disagree with that you can look up to verify yourself.

    I love Geoff's books, been reading them for a long time, but lent one to the lady and she said he was preachy. To each their own. I think the majority of it is well worth reading still. Though the info is out there now, there are other sources, so if you don't like his style you can find the same elsewhere.
  12. ArthurKing

    ArthurKing Valued Member

    I can see why Geoff T might irritate you, he is often sexist in language and i have to say that books like Red Mist (his attempt at fiction) come across as being quite adolescant in their attitiude towards women. However, you are throwing out the baby with the bathwater, Geoff has had a lot of experience of dealing with real violence on a day to day basis- try his autobiography, it struck me as a pretty real account of a violent life and i don't remember it being particularly sexist but it may be (as i imagine the world of night club bouncers probably is/was).
    For me, Geoff was the first MA guy i read who talked about things emotional, in particular the aftermath of violence ('the black dog' of depression) but also about more practical technical problems like how to adjust Karate to make it work on the street and, of course, the fence.
    If you dont like his style, dont read him, or skim to the 'practical' sections and leave the rest.
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2011
  13. Al Peasland

    Al Peasland Valued Member

    Hi Amber

    To answer your question on What is the Fence? - let me see if I can help a little

    The Fence is a way of managing your personal space and gaining controlling of a confrontational situation so as to buy yourself a few extra seconds in which to take action.

    At a very basic level it means having a psychological or physical barrier between you and your opponent/attacker - often taught using your hands as a way of creating this barrier and to help keep the attacker at a safer distance from you.

    It is something that should look and feel natural - and not necessarily you stood with your arms stretched out in front of you - ala Frankensteins Monster! (something I see taught alot and imho, it's wrong)

    The aim of using a "Fence" technique and strategy is to enable you to take charge of a situation, ideally without your attacker realising it - which is why your Fence needs to be natural.

    I would go further to say that the use of putting your hands up in front of you in different positions should really be trained as a trigger for you to switch your brain into the right state of awareness - and when you can do that automatically, you often don't even need your hands out in front of you.

    I wrote Fence Concepts a few years ago to better explain this whole subject.

    There's some links here and some testimonials - that may be of interest.




    I also produced a DVD which covers the same subject but is perhaps easier to follow than the book as "still pictures" in a book make it difficult to explain the fluidity of a good Fence technique

    Apologies that this is a Trailer for the DVD and not a full explanation of the Fence Concepts - but hope it helps a little

  14. John Titchen

    John Titchen Still Learning Supporter

    Hi Amber,

    Geoff Thompson does tend a little towards hyperbole, but he is still a source of good practical information. If you still have access to Dead or Alive I would urge you to continue reading. You are sensible enough to think about what is said, what to take on board and what to ignore.

    Hatamoto's video and Al Peasland's post should give you a firm grounding in the fence.

    If Geoff offends you, I'd recommend trying these books as alternatives:

    Gavin De Becker, Protecting the Gift
    Gavin De Becker, The Gift of Fear
    Grossman, On Combat
    Ellen Snortland, Beauty Bites Beast (I personally found this book a difficult to read because of its attitudes to men and women)
    Rory Miller, Meditations on Violence
  15. slipthejab

    slipthejab Hark, a vagrant! Supporter

    What did you find offensive? lol... I can't see how you're arrivin' at that. Much of his stuff is very standard in door work and bouncing. And.... it's bang on.

    doh! You've bloody well answered it above. Still not seein' why that put you off so much. It's relatively minor. But hey if it doesn't float your boat it doesn't float your boat.
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2011

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