Ranges of combat

We can think of several ranges of conflict. The earlier you eliminate a potential threat, the less opportunity they will have to hurt you.

Range 5 – Verbal
While people keep talking, they aren’t hurting you or your friends. Non-violence is more powerful than violence.
Avoid situations that are likely to progress into violence. Where people are in drug-affected (alcohol included), they are more likely to be dangerous, and less likely to reason with you. Don’t allow your pride to cause you harm.
Insulting people directly will tend to get them angry. Often other people will provoke violence through mouthing-off. It doesn’t matter how good you are, you never know what can happen. Group fighting is always dangerous. Other people might join in just to get into a fight!
Agree with people. Let them feel like they’ve won. You want to have no damage caused to yourself, no damage to your friends, and to cause the minimum of harm in doing so.

Range 4 – Kicking
Kicking provides your first physical line of defence. Be aware that in kicking, you are halving your balance and making you vulnerable to losing your balance. Many would recommend that you don’t kick above your own waist height in a self-defence situation. There are some common facets of kicking at Blue Belt level:

  • All Blue Belt level kicks involve high knee lifts. Raise the (bent) kicking leg to at least the level of your waist, before kicking.
  • Always move your bodyweight towards the target. This helps you use the mass of your body to cause damage, rather than just your leg.
  • Land precisely after the kick with a strong guard, stable stance and good balance. It is especially important to keep your guard high to protect against counterattacks.

Distinguish between snap and thrust kicks. A snap kick is thrown to stun an opponent by causing a jarring type of impact. Very little body weight is used, the leg being replaced as quickly as possible. A thrust kick is delivered with the full body weight behind the kick.

    When using a front kick, ensure that you pull your toes back, push forward with your hips as well as your arms and involve your upper body through exercise.
    1. Push shoulder forward 2. Raise knee 3. Kick 4. Retract 5. Return to start position
    Variations Push kick, groin kick
    Delivered to the leg, the ribs or the head, the round kick is potentially devastating.
    Pivot your support leg, point your kicking leg toes and kick with the shin. Enhance power by putting more body weight into techniques.
    Firstly, move your arm, then bend the knee tight while rotating the hip. As the hip rotates so that the shin is approximately horizontal, pivot weight towards target.
    On making contact with the target, quickly retract the kick and be ready to strike again.
    1. Move shoulder 2. Pivot 3. Push knee towards target 4. Extend leg 5. Retract leg 6. Return to start position

Range 3 – Punches
Consider what types of punches can be put together effectively.

  • Straight Punch
    Target: Head or body
    Variations: Jab, Cross, Overhand
    The classic punch: ensure that you use it only as is necessary. To prepare a fist, bend the knuckles from the finger-tips at the first knuckle, until they are fully bent. At this stage, have the thumb lock the other fingers into place.
  • Palm Heel
    Target: Head (fingers up), Body (fingers side), Groin (fingers low).
    Weapon Pull fingers back and strike with the base of open palms, in much the same way as you might use punches.
  • Hammer Fist
    Target Groin, neck, floating ribs, back, temple, face, forehead.
    Weapon Form hand into a fist. Strike with “little finger side” of hand. Useful for striking hard or heavy targets through the tendency for the striker feeling more comfortable hitting hard.
  • Ear Slap
    Target: Ears
    Slightly cup your hands and slap them onto the target’s ears.

Blocks Using Your Hands

  • Wear on your Guard
    With a strong guard, you’ll be able to wear many attacks on your hands. This is an important first line of defence, though is certainly only the beginning.
  • Slip
    Push the attacker’s hand off course, moving your head to the outside of their attacking arm. For example, you might slip a right cross by pushing their arm with your left hand and moving to your body to the left.
  • Ka Cae – Circular Hand Block
    Generally opposite to the slip in direction, you go ‘inside’ their attack. If a right cross was coming towards you, you could use your left hand to make a small counter-clockwise circle, pushing the attacker’s hand off target.
  • Head Evasion
    Duck downwards, particularly if accompanied with stepping in and to the side. Move your head sideways, out of the way of the attack. Move your head away from the attack. Always keep your hands high – you just don’t know when your opponent will pick your evasive technique, or you’ll get their attack wrong!
  • High Block
    Imagine that you are looking upwards into the sun. You might hold your hand between your eyes and the sun, to block out some of the light. Similarly, we can imagine a high block stopping a downwards directed strike, for instance with a piece of wood. Correct execution: forearm goes upwards like an uppercut until the hand is at the right height, when the elbow turns outwards sharply, making the forearm 45º to the vertical.
  • Middle Block
    Block across with your forearm vertical. Both across the body, with the little finger side, and away from the body, with the thumb side, are correct. The range of motion varies according to speed: the more wind up on the block, the more powerful and damaging it will be to an attacker.
  • Low Block
    Place your hand in front of your face with the elbow close to the body. Deliver the block by extending your arm sharply, such that the elbow joint has an angle of around 150º.

Range 2 – Elbows and Knees

  • Blocks Using Your Hands
  • Head Butt
    Strike with the hairline; select the softest target possible.
  • Flat Elbow
    Weapon Palm faces the target, parallel with the forearm. Flat elbows are horizontal, and very similar to a boxing hook, save for the elbow position. Strike with the point of the elbow. The forearm itself is also and effective weapon.
    Main targets: jaw, cheekbone
  • Overhand Elbow
    Extend the shoulder joint through its range of motion as close as is possible to vertical. Palm faces the target, parallel with the forearm. Strike with the point of the elbow. The forearm itself is also and effective weapon.
    Main targets: collar bone, face.
  • Uppercut Elbow
    Strike upwards under the jaw with your elbow. Very circular technique; maximise power by involving your shoulder and body weight.
  • Knee
    Target: Head (fingers up), Body (fingers side), Groin (fingers low).
    Variations: Straight Knee, Side-slapping Knee
    Knees are amongst the most deadly techniques available. By raising your knee towards the target area (eg head or chest), while pulling down on their head, compounds the damage.
    Guard position Cross your wrists behind the neck of the person you are grappling. From here, you can control their body weight by dynamically changing your orientation and execute many knees. Keep the opponent close (their head trapped to your chest and hips aligned) to you to maximise your control – create distance to deliver knees by switching back.
    Compound the Damage Striking the same target several times to increase the amount of damage done to a single target. With a weakened target it becomes easier to cause more serious and painful damage.

Range 1 – Grappling

  • Take Downs
    Push your opponent’s upper body one way and their legs the opposite direction, and they will fall over. Think about techniques that allow you to push and pull in the same motion.
    Pushing and pulling can allow you to spin your opponent around. Look to spin them to put them off balance. Grab on tight, drop your weight and turn around – try it out!
  • Use of Body Weight
    Your body weight is your greatest asset. Use your body weight to enhance the amount of damage that your techniques cause, and to maintain control of a situation.
    Consider where you are balanced. Generally, this will be in a deep, strong stance.
    Unfortunately, you also need mobility: you need to practise moving between stances.