Self-defence guru Mo Teague on how to be a hard target

Laura Williams

WHAT I’ve come to realise after 10 years in the fitness industry is that good self defence is more than kicking like the girls in Charlie’s Angels.

There are many self-defence options available to both men and women in the capital but what’s becoming increasingly popular is “intelligent self-defence”. This is as much about being aware, vigilant, intuitive, and sometimes a bit humble, as it is about a well-aimed kick to the groin.

One of the market leaders in this area is the Hard Target Defence System devised by Mo Teague (pictured), a man with a 30 year martial arts background. Mo spent 15 years in one of the military’s most elite forces and was a member of the Guardian Angels. Oh, and he also appeared on Danny Dyer’s Deadliest Men (as one of the deadliest men obviously). Enough said.

These days Mo spends his time training everyone from vulnerable housewives to bouncers, bodyguards, and members of law enforcement agencies. Mo’s ethos is that good self defence is 90 per cent about prevention. Here are his top tips for walking the streets of London safely.


1) Be a Hard Target. A Hard Target is aware and inaccessible. Perpetrators seek victims who are easy prey.
2) Remember the Hard Target USP : “Read, Recognise and Respond”. Always be aware of what’s happening around you; identify and recognise the level of potential threats. You always have more time than you think to weigh up your options. Don’t go into denial: “He came from nowhere” just doesn’t happen.
3) Context is king. Does it look right? Should this kind of thing be going on? Be aware of the abnormal and the absence of the normal. In Iraq, the British troops are always concerned when they see a field of three-legged goats (a sure sign of landmines); in Belfast, closed windows in a tenement block in the height of summer often signalled an imminent bomb blast.
4) Leave your ego at home – it could kill you. Don’t make decisions or take actions based upon bravado or ego.
5) Know your PINS (Pre-incident Indicators). Violence and conflict can largely be predicted and often the best self-defence strategies involve no physicality. Trust your instinct; it’s based more on reality than you think (during a Hard Target seminar you get to “map” the cycle of violence in a scientific way).

The Hard Target System offers weekend seminars as well as specialist courses; prices start from £120. For more information visit

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