Friday, January 18, 2008


Okay, let’s play a quick little game that’s sure to improve your self-defense skills.

It’s really quite easy to play and almost anyone can do it, regardless of their ability or expertise in the martial arts.

First, watch the short clip below. It’s from a video called, “Self Defense Against Attacks From All Directions.” Available at

The video clip provides us with 5 European martial artists showing us self defense techniques from a variety of styles, including Penchak Silat, Jeet Kune Do, Kali, and Tae Kwon Do.

The presenters each show us multiple ways of handling the same type of defense situation as it is practiced in their particular discipline. In this clip, we see how the martial artists would handle a two-person attack or an attack with a weapon.

Now, here’s how we play the game;

First, watch the entire clip and pick out one technique that you really don’t like; something that you think wouldn’t work ‘in real-life.’ There’s probably at least one move out of the bunch that doesn’t seem realistic.

Now, ask yourself, “How could I make that technique work?”

What would you do to improve it? Would you move differently? Strike another target? Grapple instead of strike? (Or vice-versa?)

Even though we practice and drill our techniques a certain way in class, there’s always the possibility that during the chaos of a fight, we might find ourselves in an unfamiliar position. By playing this mental game, we allow ourselves to think our way out of a bad situation.

Go ahead and try it!

Now, let’s play the game again, only this time find a move that you really like; something that you think you would actually try to do in a fight. Remember, there’s five diverse styles represented here, so there’s bound to be something appealing to you.

Now, (here’s the fun part) ask yourself, “What would I do to improve that technique?”

Even though you feel it’s a good move, there’s probably still a little room for improvement. What would you tweak?

Would you change the timing? Could you simplify the movement? Is there an opening somewhere that needs to be defended? How could the attacker counter you?….

Be creative and please post your thoughts in the ‘comments’ section below.

Here’s how I’d play:


One of the moves that I really didn’t like much took place 36 seconds into the clip. In it the guy in red (I don’t know his style - it doesn’t matter) is approached by the side and from behind.

He first hit’s the guy to his side with a strike to the chest (that doesn’t even seem to phase him) then gives the guy behind him a back kick (which luckily drops him), before finishing up by blocking a roundhouse kick and countering with a groin kick.

I don’t think his initial strike was very strong and believe that he would be in big trouble if his back kick fails to drop the man behind him.

If I were in his situation, I would try to attack the man behind me first with a reverse elbow (if close) or a spinning backfist (if further away).

While striking, I would move myself out of range of the other attacker and attempt to place the man behind me between us. I would angle off to his left and continue punishing him with elbows and strikes to the neck and head keeping him between myself and the other attacker. I would finish with a low kick to the leg, sending him down.

Then I would rush the other attacker, sweeping his base leg as he attempted the roundhouse kick and run away before either of them could get up… At least that’s the way it plays out in my mind.


At 54 seconds into the clip, one guy’s arms are grabbed by two attackers. He groin kicks the opponent on his right, then side kicks the opponent on his left. (Pretty good so far.)

Then he does a really cool punch-release to get out of the right opponent’s hold. With his right hand now free, he traps over the other opponent’s arm and lets loose with a right punch to the neck.

He then kinda arm bars as he moves off of the angle of attack to escape.
A really good technique, I think.

If I had to change anything, I guess it would be the fact that he puts an awful lot of confidence in the groin kick taking out the right attacker. (It might work… but then again, if he misses, that guy will be on him quick!)

I think that rather than attempt the kinda arm bar and moving off angle, he should pull the left opponent over into his buddy. (He could still control the arm while he does this.)

This way, if the right opponent is still able to fight, they both end up tangled together. (Or, if he’s on the ground holding his groin, ‘Lefty’ ends up tripping over him.) Allowing the defender to escape.

Also, I think that I'd change the target of the side kick lower into the leg. A rib shot is okay, but I think that a hard kick to the kneecap has a better chance of dropping the attacker.

What do you think? Are my ideas any good?

What would YOU DO?

Let’s play!




Patrick Parker said...

I tried to comment on this a while ago and my computer glitched and lost it. Now the world will never know my pithy wisdom. Ah well... I'll try to re-create it...

My favorite move: 31 seconds into the film the guy arc-kicks one guy in the nuts as he throws his hat in the face of the other. Adding a jacket fail to the head, he ducks and runs. About the only thing that would have made this better is to step out from between the two guys after kicking dude in the nuts and before the jacket flail. Y'all can see in the following link why nutkick is not my favorite fight strategy - a good start, but don't bet your life on it.

My least favorite: 1:09 into the clip, Taekwan dodo uses a spin back kick against a dude with a knife that is frantically slashing at him. Come on! perhaps the only worse was 2-3 clips later when the TKD dude took the knife guy to the ground. We do a good bit of anything-goes knife simulation in my aikido class and the onlything that has saved some of us some of the time is avoid, evade, brush-off, do not engage, and maybe (secondarily) as a target of opportunity, palmheel uner the chin (shomenate).

cool thread-starter, Rick. I'm looking forward to seeing other comments.

Bob Patterson said...

Don't like:

1:11 the guy who does that high kick to the head. Pretty risky IMO. Second place would be the taekwondo guy that goes to the ground. Bad in general with multiple attackers and even worse if you practice an art that's mostly stand-up.


The taekwondo guys use nothing but low kicks (mid-section or lower). If you're gonna kick in a street situation that's probably the way to go. Tied for that would be 30 seconds in with the guy in the tan clothing. He does what you should do: Deliver a technique and get the hell out of there!

What I like or would use? The guy in the tan again. He does a good job of using everyday items (i.e., a coat and his hat) to distract and then follow up with an attack.


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