Monday, July 11, 2016

Karate For Fighting 1

Several readers have asked me over the years to summarize what karate I would use for self-defense. Easy enough task, let's dig into that this week.

First, let's look at the techniques of karate that I would actually use. All techniques described will be based on an orthodox fighting posture. That is to say, left hand and left foot in front; and right hand and right foot to the rear.

Choku-zuki - straight punch (left)
Gyaku-zuki - reverse punch (right)
Jun-zuki - lunge punch or advancing punch

Mae-geri - front kick
Mawashi-geri - round kick
Mae-geri kekomi - front thrust kick

No doubt, there are many more effective strikes and kicks. However, these form the base from which many effective combos are built. Additionally, most other strikes and kicks are highly situational, whereas these movements have broad application.

Body movement - tai-sabaki
Head & shoulder movement
Bouncing on feet
Ducks & slips
Lunge step directly toward opponent (large left step)
Advancing step directly toward opponent (elongated walking step)
Cutting off (advancing toward where opponent will be)
Retreat from opponent
Lateral movement to change distance / angle (basically any angled movement or movement to the side from your front / rear orientation).

Guard position:

Essentially like this. Maybe hold the hands a bit higher.

Simply put - stay out of range until you wish to engage. Use retreats and lateral movement to maintain a distance of greater than two-arms' length.

Engage when you are ready - either with:
- A designed "stop:" that is, retreat to draw opponent in. When the timing and distance are right, strike and move out of range again. A boxing coach might call this "counter-punching."
- A lunging attack. Large step forward with the left leg leading directly to a punch or kick.
- An advancing step. This is an elongated walking step. Use with a punch or kick.
- Distance play. As you and your opponent both cautiously play with the distance, pick a precision attack to use. Be prepared to follow up if it lands or disengage if it fails to land.

Get out of Dodge! Any time the distance was controlled by the opponent, get out of there. It is natural to move backwards. A skilled fighter will move laterally, as it is more unpredictable and, therefore, more difficult to follow. Be prepared to use:
- Counter punching
- Inside strikes
- Clinch work
- Off-balancing techniques
- Footwork and head movement

He who controls the distance controls the fight.
Engage when you want to. Disengage when you don't want to.

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