Maai Hyoshi Overseas

This page will endeavour to document the experiences of Maai Hyoshi members as they train and compete overseas.

ISR Matrix, Subject Control & Foundation Skills Program 

By Sensei Stephen Clark

On March 11th 2010 I travelled to Brisbane, Australia to complete the ISR Matrix Hostile Subject Control, Foundation Skills Program.

This was being run as part of Tactical Week in Brisbane for Military, Law Enforcement and Security Staff to upgrade their knowledge and skills in a variety of areas, I was only going for the ISR Program. 

What is ISR Matrix 

It is an integrated Defensive Tactics Program for Law Enforcement, Military and Security staff that can also be used for self defence by civilians as well as by professionals.  The course I attended was Foundation Skills, which is suitable for civilians, with other courses available for specific Military, Police applications.    


It was designed by coaches from the Straight Blast Gym in the USA, and contains tactics taken from Jeet Kune Do and BJJ amongst others.

Interception being a key element of Jeet Kune Do tactics, it also takes the ability of being able to transition from position to position from BJJ but applies it to all phases of combat, not just the ground element. 

The nine core movements of the system are interchangeable allowing the user the ability to transition quickly whilst dealing with strong resistance from an attacker.

There were no joint locks or striking taught, and the nine core movements can all be applied safely and without injury thus saving one against any legal issues arriving over excessive use of force. It is a fluid and dynamic system allowing the user to escalate or de-escalate and to disengage if required. Due to the simplicity of the movements it can be practised at full speed without risk of serious injury which could not be done if striking and locks are used. 

The Training 

As we learned the movements we drilled them repetitively into muscle memory practising in pairs and also in line drills, the training was at times very physical with new techniques being introduced at the right times to give us rest and a bit of breathing space. Once we had learned the movements stronger resistance and pressure was applied allowing us to experience the effectiveness of the ISR Matrix at a much higher level than most defensive tactics are taught.  T-shirts were quickly soaked in sweat and I changed mine 2 to 3 times a day and consumed 4 pump bottles of water on the first day, but we were still able to apply the movements under pressure effectively even when tired and exhausted.

We also trained to be aware of our surroundings and other attackers. This  also included  training in the dark with strobe lights and loud music to simulate the nightclub environment where a lot of fights and assaults take place. 



The Forklift is the ISR interpretation of The Fence with the hands face up and elbows in tight to the body, giving a position that is non-threatening but giving the ability to move quickly and naturally to the interceptive stage.

The primary interceptor is the Helmet, an example of structural self defence (similar to the Foxhole) the front hand grips the back of the neck - to protect from knockout strikes from the rear, with the forearms  and biceps from both arms protecting the temples and chin (the knockout triangle) from being struck.

Secondary interceptors are The Arm drag and The Dive, the arm drag entry leads to stabilizers of the arm and back, whilst the dive, though it is used as an interceptor can also be used to escape or tactically disengage to call for help or to draw weapons. 


The Underhook and Pike is the primary stabilizer of the system and allows good control and the ability to transition to a number of positions based on the reactions of the opponent.

The Harness, often used after the armdrag, (can be transitioned from any of the other techniques), is the same hold used by surf rescue swimmers and is safe to use without fear of legal consequences for using choke holds, it also allows good control as you break the opponents balance moving into takedowns.

The Wristweave is a capture or control of the wrist that allows good overall control of the attackers arm without the application of pressure to the joints and can be used as an escort technique or transitioned into takedowns or control positions or if necessary back to another stabilizer. 


Most, if not all of the Stabilizers can be moved to the S – Position, which kind of looks similar to standing next to the opponent with his arm between your legs before moving into a BJJ armbar, as the system is designed for law enforcement, military and security applications the transition is then into a position where the subject can be handcuffed and controlled for re-location.  Unlike the grappling systems ISR does not use the hooks in movements with the feet, preferring to use rides with feet on top to manipulate a persons legs and also to allow quick movement to deal with multiple attackers. 


The ISR Matrix is a simple effective system suitable not only for the Professional whose life depends on the skills he has but also for self protection for the street without any excess gloss or flashy techniques that create more problems than they solve.

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