My primary methods of knife defense come from karate and Krav Maga. Karate, as my base art, informs how I generate power and manage distance. Krav Maga is a very street ready, scenario based system. I like what they both offer.
Despite the amount of training I’ve done, I prefer to be honest with myself: the knife is one of the deadliest tools ever created. The probability of getting cut, stabbed, and killed is very high no matter what, especially if the bad guy doesn’t want anything more than to hurt you.
That’s why when a resource comes onto my radar about dagger defense, I make sure to watch it and learn whatever I can.
Dr. Yang Jwing-Ming is a highly respected Gongfu and Chin Na practitioner. He has published many dvds and books surrounding the Chinese arts. In this particular dvd, Dr. Yang breaks down multiple traditional ways for managing a knife attack. He covers how to:
- Distance and angle the body away from attack
- Use nearby items like belts and chairs as defense
- Utilize punching and kicking defense techniques
- Utilize Chin Na techniques
- Utilize Shuai Jiao wrestling type techniques
In each section Dr. Yang discusses particular defense methods, demonstrates their use, and then has his students come out and attempt the defense. During the student practice sessions Dr. Yang steps in and offers corrections, citing problems the viewer may encounter along the way.
Here’s a video sneak peak at the quality and content of the video:
My Impressions of the DVD
For some reason a lot of martial arts products tend to be grossly overpriced for what you get. Sure, the content is a bit rare and certainly valuable, but I have some dvds that cost $30-$40 for 40 minutes of content. That’s pricey!
This dvd, while $39.95 in price, comes with over 3 hours of content. It’s not a lot of filler either. There is valuable discussion, demonstration, and a whole bunch of practice so you can observe the right and wrong ways to go about the techniques. The value-for-dollar is definitely high with this video.
As for the techniques themselves – most of them have a solid, logical foundation. For my taste, there was a lot more grabbing and manipulating than I care to do. Perhaps it’s the Krav Maga influence, but I’ve always believed in quick and rapid response striking keeping the knife away from the body while not resorting to excessive entanglement.
I personally believe a dvd like this one would certainly be worth the investment, especially if you pair it with a military or Filipino based knife system.
In regards to the host Dr. Yang Jwing-Ming:
I find him to be very pleasant and knowledgeable. He has a kind way about him that helps keep the students safe and positive during their training experience. Unlike a lot of “street pros”, Dr. Yang never talks down to the viewer or makes them feel embarassed for not knowing more about self defense. It’s a pleasure listening to him share information and thoughts about handling the dagger.
Add It To Your Library
If you’d like to add more knowledge of knife self defense to your repertoire, this is a solid and well thought out resource. Grab it here.
If you follow MMA, you’ll certainly know the name Bas Rutten. This dutch fighting legend has achieved fame with a unique combination of cage talent and stage presence.
Bas is exceptionally exuberant, quirky, and joyful in his pursuit of fighting and self defense effectiveness. He has made some popular videos which portray his take on street self defense. As a real life bouncer he’s had his share of encounters.
Now Bas is taking his efforts mainstream with a new show entitled “Punk Payback”.
Bas’s energy and enthusiasm make him “a little much” for some viewers, especially those who enjoy the discipline and structure of formal traditional arts. I personally enjoy his approach because he basses a lot of his technique and theory off of his karate background while adding his MMA experience and stripping down concepts into their most street-ready form.
He mixes humor and levity with serious skill, enough to leave little doubt about his authority on the subject matters covered.
This new show will examine real life surveillance and amateur video of street encounters, breaking down the results and having Bas recreate the situation while offering his advice on successful resolution.
Here’s the trailer:
The show is slated to air Wednesday November 2nd at 9:30(est) on Feul TV.
If you’re a traditional martial arts point fighter, you could go your whole life without experiencing a good hook punch.
If you’re a street fighter, you could see it on any given day.
There’s something about the hook punch that is naturally ingrained in the human combative complex. When tensions raise and the body experiences a dump of adrenaline, some instinct in the primordial part of our brain knows how to throw a hook punch.
Of course, a lot of the panicked and sloppy “bombs” we see are hardly efficient, but that doesn’t mean they’re ineffective. Sure, a drunk street punk may sprain his wrist while swinging his fists wildly, but all that body weight and tension can hurt or kill if it connects.
What is a Hook Punch?
Let’s step back for a moment and define what a hook punch is. I think this video featuring Anderson Silva lays it out nicely in just over 1 minute:
You’ll notice the crucial element is that the strike engages the target from a side angle rather than straight on. The punching arc can range dramatically from ultra wide, to just slightly bent.
The modern day understanding of a good hook punch derives mostly from American Boxing. The footwork (pivoting the front foot, settling on the rear, creating a snapping action) is a hallmark of good boxers and fighters like Silva.
The major difference between good boxers and street attacks is the execution of the technique. Boxers keep the hands tight in and use the hook punch when in mid-close range. The punch snaps out and back in order to maintain proper coverage of the body. Street attacks are often deep, committed swings with lots of body weight behind them.
Why Are We Assuming Hooks Are So Prevalent?
As any good geometry student will tell you, the shortest distance between any two points is a straight line. Wouldn’t it stand to reason then that most attacks occur in a linear path, like a lot of TMA striking?
The reality is…no. The arc of the hook punch feels strong to novices and therefore comes out more naturally. Furthermore, American Boxing is still a very deep part of western culture and most youths grow up with a dad/uncle/friend who is willing to show them a few moves. Therefore, in times of stress, people go back to the experience they have.
Don’t take my word for it though, just observe a handful of untrained attacks (sucker punch and street fight). I think you’ll notice a distinct trend (warning: real violence in the following videos. Nothing deadly, but caution advised).
I didn’t have to dig deep into Youtube to find these videos. If you type in “street fight” or “sucker punch fight” you’re going to see plenty of examples.
Why Is The Hook So Neglected In TMA Training?
The reality of the hook punch in real engagements, especially when sucker punching, is evident. Just as evident is the lack of proportional focus in traditional martial arts.
In a lot of TMA, we are taught the efficiency of linear striking. It stands to reason that when we work partner drills, we use those same linear strikes as a means to continue our training and development. The attacker strikes linear so as to practice his/her punch, and we defend in one manner or another.
Even TMA that are much more circular can fall victim to this because they maintain good technique when attacking. A powerful circular ridge hand or quick mawashi geri is not the same as a huge haymaker from a tense and lunging opponent.
The study of bunkai for demonstration has increased the problem as well. In order for bunkai to look orderly and organized, the attacks must be laser accurate and in time with the defender. Slapping and windmill punching from the attacker would be troublesome for the demonstrator, and disrespectful to boot.
Traditional training can be beautiful, but it can also distract from reality at times.
How Can We Avoid the Neglect?
If we conclude that the hook punch is an oft used weapon in real violence, then we should make an effort to improve our ability to handle it. Doing so is fairly easy if we take the time. To integrate more hook punch practice into your martial arts life, follow these steps:
1. Assess the amount of time you spend dealing with the hook and determine if you could benefit from more practice.
2. Learn how to throw a hook punch well…and poorly. Use the videos above and elsewhere online if you don’t have an expert in your dojo.
3. Communicate your desire to focus on the hook punch with your partner, show them the proper& improper ways to throw it, and have them attack you with it.
4. Attack slow at first so you can begin to analyze which of your techniques work and which are dangerously ineffective against the new arcs of attack.
5. Increase the speed and impact of the attack so as to feel the body weight and momentum.
6. Receive the attack from unspecified hands and at unspecified times. Remember, a sucker punch is tough to see coming so you want to practice natural response defense, not just thoughtful defense.