Showing posts from July, 2012

That first punch: can you really "block" it?

Introduction: that nasty first punch

I recently had my attention averted to a blog post of the (always interesting!) Wim Demeere, ie. "How not to block a punch". I find myself agreeing with pretty much all of what Wim has to say, but I have my own gloss on the issue – particularly as it relates to that all important first punch that people so often face.

First, let's have a look at the video that Wim critiques. I have embedded it below:

A video featuring an assortment of punches to the face – all of which are unanswered – and a particular practitioner's answer to how to "block" such punches.
"It's not possible to block this sort of punch – and here's the evidence!"

The first thing people think of when watching a video like this is to question whether it is at all possible to "block" such a punch. They will draw distinctions of the kind I make later in this article under the heading "What about the practitioner in the first …

A sense of perspective: why (and how) I write this blog

Okay, so I talk a lot. I mean a lot. All my family, friends and students know this. Reading this blog, you would also know this because I write as I speak.

So we (my friends and I) laugh about it. That's the way I am, and I cannot change, any more than a leopard can change its spots. Nor do I believe I should try. As John Fowles' character "Conchis" said in "The Magus":"Be true to yourself".I used to wonder what that expression meant, but in recent years I've come to understand what Fowles (speaking though his character) was trying to say: you can't be somebody you aren't. Not only would this be futile (because, logically, you can't be someone else), but it would also constitute an attempt to lie to yourself (which is also, ultimately, impossible).

That's not to say that you shouldn't try to improve yourself, the quality of your work and/or your general behaviour; we should all strive to do this. But you shouldn't…

Elbow locks: an introduction


In writing my preceding article "The ikkyo projection", I became aware of need to address the (rather basic) question: "How should one go about locking an opponent's elbow"?

Elbow locks are among the most common techniques in grappling - both in standup and ground fighting. Please note that in this article I'll be covering the type of elbow lock is commonly known as an "arm bar" - ie. a simple hyperextension of the elbow. I'll cover more elaborate twists of the elbow, eg. the "kimura" or "figure 4", another time.

Furthermore, in this article I don't propose to analyse ground fighting, at least to any great extent. My primary purpose here is to write an adjunct to my previous article which relates to controlling your opponent's elbow in standup fighting. However I think it goes without saying that the basic principles I cover here are equally applicable both in standup and ground fighting.

So what ar…