Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Self Defense - Back Against a Wall

A typical defensive posture

’ve always believed that self defense skills should be adaptable to a wide range of situations and environments.

Fast, furious and flexible…realistic self defense has no boundaries. You carry the skills with you wherever you go.

That’s why I teach my students to defend themselves while standing, walking, sitting, lying on the ground, sitting in a car, traveling on a bus. Anywhere.

And yes, we adapt our fluid skills to when we find ourselves pinned against a wall. Or a fence. Or against the side of a car.

In self defense, a wall can become both an enemy and a friend. You can become trapped against a wall – and any force applied against you will be absorbed completely by your body, much like an object caught in a vice. A blow to the head will be much more dangerous. Your head may ricochet off the wall, causing a double impact to the brain. Or with your head pressed up against the wall, the brain may absorb up to 100% of the force of the blow.

Nevertheless, if you learn to redirect that same force by shifting sideways a wall may become your personal weapon.  And it may provide you with enough time to escape.

Please allow me to discuss a few key points –

When blocking, try to move away from the force of the blow


1.  Place one side of your body slightly ahead of you. This creates depth in your defense allowing for less chance of being “flattened” against a wall. Depth can also diffuse some of the impact of a blow because that impact now has to travel across a greater distance. By placing one side forward, it makes it more difficult for an attacker to control all of you...because he has access to only a part of you. Plus there's the added benefit of being able to move sideways quickly and smoothly. You can't do that with your back flat against a wall!

2.  Placing one leg slightly ahead of the other allows for three additional skills – being better able to protect the groin (with the lead leg), kicking with the lead leg, and putting power into your strikes by shifting your weight from the back leg to the front leg.

3.  Your hands should be in such a position that you can protect your face, throat, heart, lungs, etc. Your hand posture should be both defensive and offensive, allowing for any type of counter-attack…a push, a hair grab, a claw to the attacker’s groin.

The defender twists to one side


1.  From your defensive posture, you should be able to move smoothly to the left or to the right. Usually an attack comes from 3 directions – from the front, from the left side or from the right side.

An attack can also come from 3 levels – high (or jodan as it’s called in the Japanese martial arts), middle (chudan) or low (gedan). There are 2 types of attacks – a hold or a kick/strike. Of course an attacker can also combine a hold with a strike. An attacker can also employ the 3 directions, 3 heights and two types of attacks with… a weapon in his hand!

2.  Move away from the pressure or force of the attack. If for example, the attacker chokes you directly from the front, attack his eyes, throat or groin, then shift to one side. If he strikes you from your left side, block while shifting to your right side. Always try to redirect him into the wall.

There is a lot more to this topic - targets on the attacker's body, strikes and kicks you might use during such an attack and what you can do once the attacker finds himself up against the wall. I'll touch on all of these in a future post.

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