Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Weapons of Self Defense - The Backfist

Begin by bending the arm away from the target

ne of the most practical strikes in self defense is the backfist. It’s powered by a simple hinge joint movement of the elbow that can be directed against various targets 360 degrees.

But that’s just the start. The real power – and speed – behind the backfist comes from a rapid shift of the major muscles of the body into the direction of the target. The feet, legs, hips waist, back, etc. are all involved.

The backfist was a favourite in Karate tournaments across North America in the 70’s and 80’s. A competitor would stay just out of range then quickly shift into the opponent’s space with just a flick of the lead arm. The technique became so fast that fighters would cover several feet in a split second with a jumping backfist – again with the lead arm.

Many Kung Fu systems power the backfist by starting with a wide rotation of the waist and arm away from the target. The arm stays loose and relaxed; speed and power come from torquing the waist from the opposite side into the direction of the target.

Let’s look at some of the more popular forms of the backfist -

Sideways strike with the back of the fist

1.  Bend the arm back toward your chest. Snap the arm out toward the target. It’s that simple. For power twist your body into the strike and/or lean slightly toward the target. Hit with the back of the fist (you can also hit with the back of the forearm or the wrist).

A backfist strike between the eyes
 2.  Bend the arm back so that the palm faces the floor. Snap the arm out like a lid opening toward the target. This can be combined with elbow and forearm strikes. Targets – between the eyebrows, the eyes, the collarbone, the sternum, the back of an attackers hand when he’s grasping your wrist…

Drive the fist up under the chin

3.  A more unusual form of the backfist, one found in Karate and in Long Fist Kung Fu, contains a vertical swinging motion from the floor up. In Kung Fu, this movement can be used to trap an attacker’s arm if the attacker decides to block.

Targets – the groin, under the chin, the elbow from below.

A more advanced method is to snap the wrist upward just before the backfist strikes the target.

The most advanced method is to strike at a pressure point with one or both of the knuckles on the back of the hand. Suggested targets – the temple, the side of the neck, the orbital bone around the eyes, the depression at the outer end of the eyebrow, just above the elbow on an attacker’s arm…

Backfist strikes are also useful in combination with other types of strikes and kicks. As you practise, combine your backfist strikes with a barrage of claws, palm heels and elbows. If done correctly, an attacker will feel as though he’s being defended against by 4 people at once who are swinging at him from all sides!



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