Thursday, 28 June 2012

Practising Self Defense

A great partner for practising at home

ecently, I’ve started making small suggestions that self defense should be practised. In order to make your self defense techniques effective and adaptable in any situation, they must become second nature.

In other words, the skills have to become part of you.

It’s much like searching for the right tool when the time comes. However, a real self defense situation doesn’t allow you to rummage all day through a tool box or inside a closet or behind a shed.

That tool, that skill, has to be at your fingertips right away!

Some of you may not feel inclined to join a regular martial arts class. But you probably have a desire to improve your skills – and the confidence in your ability to use them if you have to.

To some extent, regular practise sessions at home can solve that problem. Even solo practise, where you hone your skills on your own, can achieve some results.

That’s why I recommend that you either invest in or build a mook jong (wooden dummy).

A variety of wooden (or high intensity plastic) dummies are available online. Diagrams with exact measurements are also readily available. In fact, there are now so many varieties to fit any space big or small either in a house or an apartment.

A basic cross palm block


Let’s discuss some basic techniques – 

1.  To start, there are 3 basic angles – your left side of the dummy’s right arm (angle B); the centre between the dummy’s arms (angle A); and your right side of the dummy’s left arm (angle C). Today you’ll be constantly moving from one angle to the other.

2.  Please begin by facing the dummy straight on. Hold your hands up in a guard position the way you might if you were being attacked. Try a simple left palm block, sideways against the outside of the dummy’s right arm while shifting to angle B. Now shift across to the opposoite side - angle C -  blocking his left arm with your right palm.

Do this back and forth in a relaxed fashion. Please don’t try to slap hard. You want to develop a relaxed, springy feel to your self defense.

3.  Next, perform the same exercise (blocking with the left palm while stepping into angle B) – while at the same time striking the dummy with a right palm at the level of the dummy’s head.

Now you’re learning to block and counter-strike at the same time…while moving across the 3 angles. Once you’ve struck the dummy from angle B, shift across A to angle C. Simultaneously block with the right palm and strike the dummy with the left palm. Practise this back and forth between the angles.

Practising a similar simultaneous block-strike, this time with a live partner


4.  The next level still involves the same exercise. This time, however, substitute a right kick to the dummy’s knee at the same time as you perform your left slapping block as you enter angle B. Use the opposite hand and leg for angle C. As before, please move back and forth between the angles.

Simultaneous block-kick


5.  Finally, combine all of the above. As you enter angle B, slap block with the left hand, palm strike with the right hand and kick with the right leg…all at the same time. Opposite hands and legs for angle C please.

You can see how a practise session can be designed from a very basic block to more sophisticated combinations.

Eventually, begin substituting various blocks, strikes and kicks for the basic skills I’ve discussed today.

The mook jong wooden dummy is an amazing tool that can help you build fluid skills of self defense. I’ll talk some more about it in future posts!

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