Monday, 14 July 2014

Self Defense - Single Hand Push From The Front

Matthew Page pushes Sensei Shontell Whalen

simple one handed push from the front can sometimes be as dangerous as a kick or a punch.

“Really?” you might ask. “Certainly being pushed by someone feels demeaning. I’d get upset if someone did that to me. But dangerous? – that’s far from likely.”

Not if you happen to fall as a result. You may end up with a broken limb, or worse, you could strike your head against the floor. What appears to be a simple push might also be a set up for a more dangerous attack to follow.

Today, I want to look at a basic one handed push from the front. There are a number of reasons for such an attack –

1.     To intimidate you. A push acts as a physical warning – you must comply or else. The force is directed at your centre of balance – and at the very heart of your self-confidence. It may also be accompanied by taunts and verbal threats, by aggressive posturing and the like.
2.    To force you to move you into a certain direction either with the purpose of making you leave or to contain you, unwillingly, in a designated space.

3.     To set you up, physically and mentally, for a more serious attack.

There are three basic ways to respond to a push from the front. All involve redirecting the attacker’s force – shifting to the left, stepping straight back or shifting to the right. Two other methods do exist….standing your ground or pushing straight back against the attacker. Both of these involve the use of “internal” power and/or “iron body” type of training. 

Let's concentrate on probably the easiest method – stepping backward.

Shontell steps backward, redirecting the attacker's force downward.
(I'm trying to be serious - but everyone keeps on smiling in these pictures!)

1.     Let’s imagine that the attacker is pushing with his right hand. Trap the back of his hand/wrist with your left hand. (In realistic, “war art” Kung Fu and in “old school” Karate, this trapping hand action would come down so quickly – and with such a “whip like” quality to it – that even the lightest strike will do some serious damage to the delicate bones of the attacker’s hand).

2.    Step backward at the same time while bringing the full force of your right forearm down across his forearm. Stepping with the direction of his force allows you to maintain your balance while at the same time pulling him off balance. In a way, you’re using the attacker’s momentum against him.

The attacker is now on the ground and under Shontell's control

1.     Once his arm is struck, he’ll collapse downward. If you strike down on his arm and curve your forearm toward you, you’ll pull his face within striking distance of a knee kick. Or an elbow strike to the back of his head. If you target the middle of his forearm with your downward strike (along the radius bone between the thumb and elbow), he’ll experience a surge of pain and numbness – all good things if you’re trying to get away.

There are, of course, further applications. Folding his arm up (as you see in the photo) can lead to a variety of locks…finger and thumb holds, wrist locks, techniques on the elbow and shoulder, and so on.

Or you may simply leave the attacker in the dust without hurting him. Perhaps, by then, he’s learned his lesson, with his ego a bit diminished but his health still intact.

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