About RAT

Photo of Jean Thysse and Nathi Zindela training and Garvies Beach, Bluff, South Africa
Jéan Thysse and Nathi Zindela

RAT is a no-nonsense form of self-defence, originally developed by Steven Yates for the South African Special Forces (Recces) in the late 1980’s to early 1990’s. The syllabus was later vastly expanded together with Wayne Roscherr and taught predominantly to small groups of civilian students, military personnel, police, security, VIP protection personnel, and night club doormen.

The RAT approach incorporates all aspects of hand-to-hand combat, such as:

  • striking (e.g. punches, kicks, elbow and knee strikes, finger strikes and head butts)
  • standing and ground grappling (e.g. throws, locks, holds, strangles and chokes)
  • use of and defence against weapons (specialising in implements as improvised weapons).

RAT practitioners learn to defend themselves and demonstrate knowledge and skills in a range of situations through a wide variety of practical assessment activities and are required to demonstrate appropriate behaviours and ethical values to avoid conflict.