Classic Strikes FAQs

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Classic Strikes FAQs

Post  Dennis M on Sun Aug 20, 2006 5:40 am

Firstly, I want to clarify exactly what it is we teach. Everything is based on direct experience, not theory.. I teach from the experience gained working in front-line security, firstly on Liverpool doors, then on VIP Protection teams for numerous high-threat entities.Every technique has been used operationally by me. That is the only way I can honestly offer self-protection training. Anything else is just theoretical.
I do not teach World War Two Combatives. I do, however, have a serious interest in them, and use WW-2 concepts as teaching models to augment our programs. In fact, the authentic WW-2 instructors are all now deceased, so really anyone currently claiming to teach WW-2 methods is at least one generation away from the real thing.
Let’s go on to look at some specific techniques,the questions are extracted from previous threads elsewhere......

THE CHINJAB

Q-Hi Dennis

I just read your story about Terry O'Neil using the Chin Jab as a pre-emptive strike and I was curious if you could answer a few questions.

I've practiced the Chin Jab quite a bit on my Spar-Pro, and I've seen enough and read enough to be somewhat sure as to how to throw it correctly. However, I've always felt that in order to really blast somebody with it, you couldn't be square-on with the person, but slightly off to the side. When I'm squared up and throw the chin jab it tends to hit the side of the jaw as opposed to directly under and in front. Obviously I could compensate by taking a step to the side before delivering, but for pre-emptive purposes I feel this is telegraphic.

Assuming you are squared up with someone, using a proper fence with your lead left hand, and you have say, 2 feet between you, do you have any favored ways in which to launch the strike in order to prevent telegraphing, yet doing it properly? I feel like I have to be REALLY close and almost completely to his side in order to do it correctly, and like I said, I feel this is telegraphing.

Oh, and one last question. Do you drive the chin jab all the way through like a shot put, or do you want to snap it in and out somewhat like a punch? And do you feel the chin jab is more effective at producing a KO over the punch?


A-Hey, no problem about a long question... that's what the forum is about.
Using the chinjab as a pre-emptive can be really effective. Some thoughts;-
Firstly, hitting at an angle isn't a problem... it still works, and in fact was taught widely.
2] I teach to drive through the target. The strike itself may travel only 6" before contact, so the follow through is desirable. In wartime application they tried for a rapid rotation of the head, with potential spinal injury.
Using the principle of "moving your body in the strike" (one of Bob Kasper's notable SWAMP concepts) uncoil from the legs as you accelerate through the target.
3] To apply the chinjab pre-emptively I am partial to adapting Geoff's "listening fence" which puts you offset and neatly lines up the strike.
Using your Spar-Pro, you could train doing this, with concurrent verbalisation "Sorry mate, can't hear you...smack!"
I feel that the chinjab can be more effective than the punch, because it requires less accuracy. Anyway, I don't teach punching for a variety of reasons.
Let me know if this helps
Den

Q-Thanks for your reply Dennis.

For some reason, I find the chin jab awkward to perform. Maybe it's because I come from such a strong punching background that the mechanics in performing a chin jab are different than performing, say, a right cross. In fact, when I practice Palm strikes, I find myself throwing them like you would a right cross, but with an open hand which results in my upper part of my palm hitting the target first and making it less effective. In order to try and keep the strike as close to the chin jab as possible, I'll launch the strike from waist level so that it takes an upward path towards the jaw as supposed to straight in, but it still doesn't resemble a textbook chin jab with the arm bent at 90 degrees and the hand flexed backwards.

How do you rate(assuming you've seen it) Jim Grover's combatives videos(his first series) demonstration of the chin jab? Although I felt the tapes were excellent, when he performed the chin jab on the Spar Pro, it looked as though he was performing a fast push on the chin while trapping the right arm which made me question its KO potential. I had no doubt in its ability to damage the neck, but it didn't appear to have a snap to it like a punch needs for the KO. Have you seen the videos?


A-I'm a big believer in doing what works for you. Maybe the chinjab isn't for you. This stuff isn't carved in stone.... just because the chinjab is in our syllabus doesn't mean you have to do it.
If you don't feel you have the technique down on your SparPro, an ideal device for Chinjab, than perhaps go with another technique.
One good technique, that you have really acquired and feel confidant about, is worth ten questionable techniques.
From what I hear, Kelly McCann doesn't teach that big "shovelling" chinjab any more... but perhaps others can confirm this.
The way I teach chinjab is a very short direct technique, which comes from his lower peripheral vision and within his reactionary gap. It usually lifts both heels clear off the ground, from a short 6" strike.

Q-Den, you know I'm a big palm-heel advocate and we've discussed this topic in the past. I was wondering if you could delineate your reasons for not teaching punching for all to see and learn from (along with anything else you'd like to add in). :-) Hey, I'm all eyes and I'm sure everyone else who reads your viewpoints are (or will be) too. :-)

A-Punching is very natural and easy to learn, however for combatives we don't teach it:
1] Punching the head is hitting a spherical bony mass with a spherical bony mass.... technique has to be quite precise to transmit shock without glancing off.(Most punching is head punching, as body shots are low percentage)
2] Very easy to damage your hand... and in the short term you might need that hand for weapon manipulation (Bodyguard/police role)
3] Long term, you can cut your hand on his teeth, human bite is worse than animal bite... I've seen a hand swell to the size of a boxing glove within hours. A guy I worked with damaged his bone marrow punching the head and lost the top joint of his thumb.
4] Blood born pathogens are a concern. There are a lot of intravenous drug users infected with various loathsome diseases and they form a significant percentage of the population that you're likely to be punching. You could end up at best with six months of worry, at worst with a fatal disease.
5] The argument is academic, since open hand strikes are easy to learn, don't damage your hand, and transmit impact very well.
There are a lot of superb punchers out there. I've worked with many, with extensive street KO records. Most have severely damaged hands.
Only my opinion. Hope this makes sense
.............Regarding the KO potential of the chinjab,or any technique, I'm a believer in the empirical approach.
I tend to think that the chinjab delivers a KO, by violently shaking the brain. In fact if you analyze the action it may swish the brain in a spiral. Like a boxing punc, it targets the jaw, the mechanically efficient lever to move the cranium. Very effective.
However, this is just speculation. What matters is that the chinjab works. In our "field applications" it does what Fairbain, Apllegate and others claimed. That 6" KO is not theory.
J, I'm an enthusiastic proponent of specificity in support exercises for strikes. A great one for chinjab is pushups with Softballs. I incorporate these into a circuit training drill, claw pushups on softballs, alternating with chinjabs on the head target.
Cheers,
Den
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Q-Hi Dennis,
I was talking to slackbladder last night and we were discussing certain techniques and their effectiveness.
The chin jab looks such a powerful technique. When you work the doors and hit someone with it do you have to "hold back" somewhat on the power? It just seems like a full blooded shot would snap someones neck in two?


A-Because it is delivered from very close, and only travels 6"-8" there is no need to hold back.
Actually, I insist on full power, full comittment with every strike.
If you are not justified in using 100%, then use something else.
There has been speculation of causing spinal dislocation with the Chinjab. Never heard of it actually happening in the street.
Den
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Q-Another Chin-Jab question for you if you don't mind.
I was just reading some of Fairbairn's stuff, and he mentioned that power was not as crucial in the blow as hand positioning was. He said that if the hand was flexed back far enough then it would resemble a rock and that power was not really important. Any truth to this? Is power not that important in getting a KO with the Chin-Jab as long as your hand is positioned properly?


A-My take on this:
1] Hand formation is critical, wrist locked BEFORE impact.
2] What Fairbairn may have meant about power, is don't try for a long, telegraphed action to generate power. A good Chinjab travels 6"-8" and the impact generated is sufficient.... it hits "from nowhere". Done correctly, in my experience, it's a KO.
Den
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Re: Classic Strikes FAQs

Post  Dennis M on Sun Aug 20, 2006 6:11 am

THE TIGER'S CLAW


Q-When going through the classics (Get Tough, etc,)once more, i noticed that the tiger claw wasn't mentioned. i can be wrong of course, but the only reference to the claw i could find was in the 'close combat files', where it was described as the most effective blow ever or something like that. but that was one passage only. Does this mean that the tiger claw was not taught seriously during ww2? I know that several contemporary instructors are very fond of it, so i guess it is effective..

Another question that raised my mind concerned the knee chin jab combination. Both Fairbairn and Applegate give a lot of credit to this combo, but from ww2 on it seems rather forgotten. Is it simply a little known sequence or is it not that great in reality?

Does someone has any thoughts?


A-Fairbairn introduced the Tiger's Claw during his service as instructor for the OSS. You are correct in that it didn't appear in the program before then.
It is an intriguing speculation as to where WEF developed the blow. We do know that he rated it highly.
To me it's an indication that even at his age and status he was still open to ideas, still developing the program.
The chinjab/knee, or, knee/chinjab is still taught, by McCann, Kasper and ourselves.
Den
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Q-A few months ago, I remember you posting something in regards to teaching the Chin Jab and Elbow if you only had a limited number of techniques to teach a novice.

I was curious, why did you pick the Chin Jab over the Tiger Claw. I would think that with the way the Tiger claw fits to any area of the head, that it had more versatility than the Chin Jab.

Any thoughts?


A-That's why questions about what to teach if limited to i/2/7 techniques are difficult. There is always a good reason to include something else.
For me Elbow strike is a must. The Tiger's Claw is our long-range hand option, so it makes sense to include that in the package to cover more eventualities. But then AxeHand does a lot, and Hammerfist is totally aggressive.
Actually, I prefer to teach the whole syllabus and let the trainees decide what they prefer.
Den
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Q-How important is it to strike with the actual heel of the palm when attacking the head for a KO? Can the strike still be effective(I'm talking about straight shots, not slaps) if contact was made with the ENTIRE flat of the hand assuming the delivery method was sound?

Also, have you found with your students that there is a tendancy to "push" with palm strikes as opposed to striking with snap etc. because of the natural motion of shoving/pushing with an open hand that many people are familiar with since childhood?


A-The important thing is to lock the wrist, completely flex the wrist so that it is locked back. In training, contact is made with the heel of the palm, and the finger-tips. In application, you hardly ever get perfection, due to the shape of the target (head) and target movement. However, by training for overkill, we get enough to still do the job, ie generate massive impact, shake the brain, induce KO. To sum up, with a correctly locked hand, full/partial striking surface doesn't really matter.
Your second point, regarding pushing, is overcome by modelling the correct strike. The trainees never see a push, only fast, shock-impact strikes.
However, doing various pad drills we sometimes see the guys use pushes, to fend off an encroaching threat. We address this in debriefing. It's OK to push if that's the deliberate intent, as a "safe separation" technique, but not if the intent was to strike.
Hope that answers your question
................. James F contributed the following to the discussion
"The most common injury occurs when you strike with the last two knuckles. The 5th metacarpal breaks (between the knuckles of the middle finger and pinkie), commonly referred to as a boxer's fracture," states James Prattas, MD of Metropolitan Hospital in NYC. Dr. Prattas, also a martial artist stated, "I can't think of any reason to strike with a fist over using a palm strike."

"A fracture will take 6-8 weeks to heal, while a sprain (tear in ligament) could take up to 6 months to heal. Rehabilitation could take 3-4 months, according to Faye Grant, a Registered Occupational Therapist, from the Hand Therapy Center, in Floral Park, NY.

Police officers who seriously injured their hands during a violent confrontation were asked if they thought they could get a solid grip on their firearms after the injury. The answer was sometimes, "I don't know," but most often just, "No."

"Grip strength comes from the ulnar side (pinky side) of the hand. A boxer's fracture would significantly affect your grip. Try to hold anything with a handle without using your fourth finger," says Stuart Kandel, Orthopedic Surgeon from Bay Shore, NY. "It would be much easier to disarm an officer who received this fracture."

The Medical Doctors, Physical Therapists and Occupational Therapists the author interviewed all agreed that with the palm strike done correctly the chances of injuring the hand are slim. "The position of Maximum Boney stability in the hand is the close-pack position which is full extension of the hand. Full extension of the hand is the palm strike position," according to Bill Partridge, Physical Therapist of Nassau/Suffolk Physical Therapy in Syosset, NY.

Taking shooting and/or firearm retention into consideration, the palm strike seems to be the logical choice of strikes.

Another serious health related problem we have to consider is cutting the knuckles on the perpetrator's teeth. Punches are usually directed to the head area including the face. The mouth is something you definitely want to avoid. However the teeth may be struck inadvertently. "Everyone you encounter violently has AIDS, until proven otherwise, humans have the most infectious mouths, once you break skin you are introducing all those germs to your body", says Dr. Prattas. "The heel of the palm making impact with the mouth distributes contact area equally making it difficult to break skin if the teeth are struck. With a punch, one knuckle may hit the teeth, breaking skin easily.""The skin on the Dorsal side (top of the hand) is easily cut because it is very thin. The opposite is true of the skin on the palm," says O.T.R. Faye Grant.

According to Dr. Kandel, "When you open your hand from a fist tendons pull back. If the knuckles are cut when a full taut fist strikes teeth the act of opening the hand pulls bacteria in. Serious infection can set in 24-48 hours later".

Germs do not fester as easily in the fleshy palm of the hand as they do in the knuckles. There have been cases where cuts caused by human teeth on knuckles resulted in the hand being surgically removed to stop the spread of Gangrene.
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Den
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Q-I have one more follow up question for the tiger claw pretty please Dennis.

When punching, I was always told to have good snap in my punches in order to get a KO. This was achieved by punching through the target and bringing the punching hand back as quick as possible.

Does the same hold true for the palm strike? From the combatives videos I've seen the tiger claw/palm strike looks like more of a very fast push on the target with tons of follow through. Is this correct? Are the delivery mechanics behind a punch and a tiger claw/palm different?
Thanks again.


A-I suppose you could use the TC as a jab, with speedy retraction, but this seems to me to be more applicable for a fight , where you may be trying to create an opening, set the guy up, get him on the back foot.
Our concept is more where you are trying to overwhelm him, no interchange, just an all out onslaught . For this reason we use momentum and weight-transfer behind the blow.It shouldn't be a push, it's a jolt.
Does this make sense?
Den
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Q-Thanks Dennis. Yes, I think it makes sense. I'm just trying to get the mechanics down as best I can.

I guess the question I was trying to ask is how similar the mechanics for a tiger claw to a punch were. As I said previously, it looked as though the chin jab/claw/palm had excessive follow through as though you were trying knock his head off his shoulders. I used the phrase "fast push" because I would discern a "jolt" to be a quick smash into the face with a quick retraction, like a short uppercut.

To further elaborate, I'll use an analogy to maybe better explain my question. Let's say there is a large pumpkin sitting on a table. The table is high enough so that the pumpkin is the same height as your head. If you were throwing the strike at the pumpkin, would you snap the strike in, hoping to split the pumpkin open, or would you look to thrust through the pumpkin and send it flying it into the opposite wall? Are we imagining that we are trying to get a rebound/shockwave effect with the blow when we hit the head, or are we imagining we are striking through to the extent that we hope we decapitate the assailant?
Am I making sense, or are you scratching your head?


A-[Scratching my head]...The object is to shake the brain. Both speed and mass are important to achieving this.
There are several possible strikes, snapping, cutting and sinking. A snap-strike to the head can be effective. However, I tend to just go for sinking the strike in, transmitting all weight, trying for that fast jolt which gets the head moving from zero to maximum in the shortest time.
Is this any clearer?
You are making sense, by the way; it's just that I haven't gone into so much detail on this. It actually makes this clearer for myself too.
Den
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Q-trying for that fast jolt which gets the head moving from zero to maximum in the shortest time.
Now, I get it. That little bit about the head moving from zero to maximum in a short time said it best.

Thanks again Dennis.

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A-Last night in work I saw a pretty good example of what might be termed a natural Tiger's Claw. A woman stromed out of the departing crowd and clocked a guy goodstyle. She actually struck with a slightly curving action, something between a Tiger and a Slap, but it hit hard. She aimed for his face and he turned his head slightly. She put everything in to it, and although the guy didn't drop he was stunned. She was going to follow up but the lads caught her and seperated them.
Cheers,
Den
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Q-Hi Dennis
when you throw your Tiger claw/palm strike, do you target any specific area, or just the head in general?
Thanks


A-The target is the head, from any angle. If we hit the side or back of the head it's all about impact. Hitting the face has a bonus of a possible eye hit, but it's still based on KO by impact.
Cheers,
Den
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Q-Den,

I've been working the T.C in training recently and wanted to get some clarity on the reason for the hand contortion.
During "Combatives II" you made some points about the benefits of striking with the hand oriented slightly back and fingers tucked in tight. You also said that some time ago you trained it like more of a face smash with the hand open in a natural position but then discovered that "Fairbairn was right" and that more power is generated with the correct hand position. This is my query then. Is it the rigidity of the hand that helps to increase power on impact (like the axe hand to prevent cupping) or is it because the surface area is smaller?
Please clear that one up for me. Also, is Grover's face smash an authentic WW2 strike or something he has devised, like your slap?
Thanks for your time!


A-Regarding the hand formation, it's not so much a question of power, as wrist pressure. Holding the fingers in a claw, as taught by Fairbairn and his colleagues, seems to reduce strain on the wrist joint.
Not sure about the "Jim Grover" technique. I understand he has changed some techniques since his first tape, binning some methods.
Cheers,
Den
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Q-Hi Dennis
What's your opinion/experience with the lead hand Tiger Claw? I imagine it's a good technique to attack the eyes. Any suggested/preferred follow up strikes?


A-Lead hand Tiger's Claw is a very worthwhile technique. We emphasise shock-impact, so use it primarily for KO.. the eyes being a secondary target.
Follow-ups? Well my view is that follow-ups and combinations are situational. I know there are people who teach the concept of "predictable reaction" and thus have set follow-ups. We play "what-ifs". What if he's rocked back... what if he's doubled up... what if you only get a glancing blow and he's still piling in? We can work a variety of successive strikes to deal with each possibility.
A training drill using focus mitts is the partner flashes the mitts for the initial strike, then presents a different target-angle for the follow up(s. This produces a highly reactive training experience...... think you should experiment with all the mechanics of applying body dynamics for power.
In padwork we will often do several reps with each type, then finish with your own favourite.
For me, the drop-step does the job
Check six
Den


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Re: Classic Strikes FAQs

Post  Dennis M on Sun Aug 20, 2006 9:45 am

AXEHAND STRIKES


Q-Hello Mika,
Hope this doesn't appear too stupid a question mate.
In your experience with the Axhand does it take a lot of power to gain a KO? I mean could you achieve good results with short,snappy multiples, or do you need a big swing?
I have been following your advice from the seminar and have been going round ax handing stuff including my forearms and it fcuking hurts


A-[from Mika]
Short snaps to sensitve points work fine...especially great sucsess has been reported when the side of the chin and the side of the neck has been hit...but as you said the short ones work best when thrown in violent hacking multiples..just hacking your way trough his face,guard what ever comes in the way:-)
I have not seen the long swing to the side of the neck used more than a few times...the last one was a hefty guy around 280-300 lbs he dropped like a rock...got us worried for a while as he really was hard to wake up.
The guy who employed it is a regular guy with very limited training who weighs around 180lbs...I was surprised in noticing him employing it.
Hope that helps brother!
/Mika
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Q-Brill mate, another add on question if I may? are there any supplementary exercises, like tricep kickbacks w/dumbells you would recommend? Or just stick to compound lifts/general conditioning stuff and of course hitting things

A-Hitting things has been the thing that has real brought out the blow for me.
And working the short snaps on bean/shot and later bullet bags.........[striking sequence]...Much easier to do this in person than trying to describe it in writing....But here is the first and easy one..Right hand vertical hack( collarbone) followed by horizontal( side of neck) flow in with left and do vertical followed by horizontal...and just keep going, combine this with forward driving movement (stomping) and tear the opponent down...pretty muck like a JKD staight blast.
Get a cheap iron palm bag (usually found in kung fu shops) fill it with gravel or aqaurium rocks/sand...a bit more give than a board+ some of these bags come with eyelets so that you can hang em up on walls or suspend from the ceiling..
Works wonders in my experience.
/Mika
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A- [from Den]....Regarding supplementary exercises for the AxeHand [or any strike], weight training is great for building up muscles if the trainee is lacking strength. Beyond that, the best type of weight training is explosive action.
I have talked about Terry O'Neill violently hurling a barbell into a stack of mats to generate this explosive power.
Plyometric exercises are also excellent [as you already know]
But the best training is hittinh impact targets, some heavy, some light.
.....At Camp Get Tough in Sweden, James presented a module on "training with equipment"
As a follow-on Mika discussed some of his equipment, including the gravel filled bean-bag discussed above. I wandered over to try iy out, and that bag was hard! I train on impact targets filled with rubber or foam, so striking that bag filled with stones was eye opening.
I wouldn't advise starting out on gravel, a progression is best. However, for those serious about training, then I'd recommend getting a sturdy canvas bag and some gravel, and having fun.
Never strike a solid, non-resiliant target.... that's just a recipe for physical injury in long-term training. There is just enough "give" in the gravel to avoid damage. Mika whacks that thing hard and he can still do embroidery.
Cheers,
Den
Cheers,
Den
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Q-Hi Dennis
How do you rate the vertical axe hand thrown with the similar mechanics of a hammerfist?


A-Axehand, in general is quite under-rated by many practitioners. The vertical version is even more under-estimated. It is an enormously powerful strike.

When thrown as a follow up, when you can use the full arc, the vertical strike delivers terrific impact.
Like the Hammerfist, it can be used to a crouching assailant, targeting the neck, spine, kidneys.
I think some of the lads prefer Hammerfist, because on the flat pads we use, it's easier on your hands. On a human target, [which as we've noted before, doesn't tend to have big flats] Axehand is fine.
Den
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Q-I've found that while the Axe Hand is probably one of the most effective striking techniques in existence...I find that it's difficult for most beginning students to pick up initially, especially my female students. In my own personal experience, I find that it takes quite a bit of training in order to toughen the fleshy-padded area for striking. I find that it's much easier to learn and apply hammerfist strikes and forearm strikes. People just seem to pick them up easier. Is there any way to learn and apply the Axe Hand quickly and safely? Thanks

A-I'd suggest starting the AxeHand on the focus mitts initially. These are usually more resiliant than a Thai pad for example.
At home I've made a specific target for Axehands, with a cylindrical section, which replicates human anatomy and takes pressure off the fingers.
Den
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Q-Hi Dennis
I was fooling around with a lead hand axe hand and a rear hand elbow combo the other day and it seemed to flow nicely with good speed and power.
If I recall, you say you don't generally teach combos because there is no way of knowing how the person will react to the initial blow, however in this combo, the quick axe hand with the lead hand seems like a nice way to get close very quick for a solid elbow. Of course I'm going completely on theory here as I'm still a novice with many of the combatives' strikes, but I wanted to get your thoughts on this combo. Have you, or anyone you know had success with it? Is it viable?


A-I strongly believe in combos....just not in set, choreographed sequences, for the reasons you mention.
There are various short, logical sequences that are good to work on.
We often throw a technique, for example AxeHand, then add various follow-up options in turn. That rear elbow would fit nicely.
McCann's "Cycling" is also a very good type of combo, very aggressive, very powerful. I like it a lot
Den
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Q-Yes, I've seen McCann's tapes, in fact, I have them!
His cycling principle looks pretty solid to me, although I'm not that big of a fan of the hammerfist for a few reasons. However, I think the beauty of the "cycling" principle is that after the lead hand face smash, you could probably insert any strike in afterwards i.e palm heel, slap etc.
It seems to me that "cycling" would be ideal if you did not get a chance to get a full blown pre-emptive KO shot in, and needed a back up plan.
Dennis, Thanks for the response! Like I said, I really like this combo. It feels very natural to me.


A-One the things I like to do when training combos, is to link techniques of varying type. For example, a slap folled by elbow. This combines a whippy action with a heavy, power-strike.
The "Cycling" combo also links two different types of strike.
I believe this is important, to train the brain in these varied programs.
Another consideration is the delivery of multiple strikes with the same arm; for times when one of your arms is grabbed, or otherwise out of action.
Cheers,
Den
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Q-When you say a slap followed by an elbow, do you mean say, a slap with the right, then an elbow with the left? Or did you mean a backhand slap with the left and an elbow with the right? BTW, one combo I like with only one arm is an elbow or slap with the right, then immediately whip back with the same arm for an axe hand.

A-Slap/elbow; we do both. Left backhand slap + RT elbow. Also, left palm-slap/same side elbow.
Den
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Re: Classic Strikes FAQs

Post  Dennis M on Sun Aug 20, 2006 10:29 am

SLAPS

Q-Hi Dennis
What percent of your slaps would you say ended in KO's? Have you ever had anyone simply shrug a slap off and come forward?


A-I've no idea about percentages. I never paid much attention to details during the time I was busiest applying this stuff. Terry O'Neill kept notes every day, I never did, and I didn't dwell much on it at all.
I've never seen anyone shrug off a slap, although given the givens of human combat, it could certainly happen. A wwek or so ago, one of the lads was grabbed from behind and pulled round, he turned the motion into a slap and KO the guy...no aiming, no thinking, just a nice effect.
I've seen a slap delivered with no intent, a gentle "behave yourself" tap, drop a guy!
It's an interesting business.........Back to your original question; all the attacks on our syllabus are the high-percentage strikes. Anything that tended to fail too much, or didn't work for me, was rejected. Example being Front kick. It can be a good technique, but never worked well for me. It was OK as a stopper-kick, to keep a rushing attacker back, but never put guys down with regularity. That's me. The only really successful applications of front kick I saw were by Gary Spiers.
On the other hand, there are techniques I've done with repeated success that are not in the syllabus, because they don't work for the majority, or can't be taught in a reasonable time.
I can only honestly offer techniques that I have full confidence in. Nothing is taught because "it's in the syllabus"
Den
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Q-Dennis
On your version of the slap, do you keep your hand completely relaxed throughout, or do you tighten it up on impact?


A-The arm is relaxed, so that it whips. The hand is firm; not so relaxed that it's floppy, but also not rigidly tensed.
Cheers,
Den
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Q-Dennis
Have you ever used slaps as follow up strikes and had success, or do you primarily use them for pre-emption?


A-Mainly as a pre-emptive, but also in the mix. I can recall turning and hitting a second guy with a slap as he moved in.
Also, I've used a lot of slaps to a covered-up/crouching target......A US police technique, taught widely at one stage, was the "Gerber Slap". If a subject resisted arrest, a hefty slap to the back of the head really scrambled the computer...........The reason I said that the Gerber Slap "was taught.....at one stage" is that I was taught it at only one event, and it was discussed as having been used, rather than currently used.
Most of the guys over there go for the neck-stun or the knee-to-thigh to achieve the required distraction.
Remember, this is cop stuff, not Combatives! The standard Slap is a full-on KO strike, not a distraction.
Den
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Q-I remember a good thread about the backhandslap.
Some people were worried about hurting their hand.
After a few good strikes with the back of my hand against my heavy bag or the pads it is usually painfull and red. After practicing Peter Consterdines backhandslap I naturally tried to turn my hand so my thumb points down. It's easier to push trough on impact or maybe grab him.
I have another problem with the edge of hand blow. If I do the short version with the dropstep it goes relatively well but the longer version with the follow trough hurt my fingers. I always make sure my hand is rigid and there is no space between my fingers but it still hurts. What do I do wrong?


A-The problem is that the impact targets have large, flat surfaces, whereas the human body is mainly curved. Strikes which are designed to work best on the real body may be problematic on pads or mitts.
Ensure that you are making contact with the edge of hand, not the fingers.
Cheers,
Den
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Q-Hi Dennis, I have been enjoying the Masterclass DVD and have a similar question to Nick regarding the backhand slap. I have also seen Peter Consterdine performing this in the Powerstrike video.
Clearly a great technique but I am aware of all those little bones on the back of the hand and how they can hurt like hell, for example when you drive a knuckle into them to release someone else's grip.
As I'm now a convert to the open hand stuff I just need to understand if the backhand slap is safer than a traditional closed fist or where the dangers are if any, have you any negative experiences with this technique ?


A- agree you can hurt your hand doing Backhand slaps to a SparPro. This is because the head of the dummy has very little give. Focus mitts are better for training slaps.Don't train your strikes on any equipment which hurts. This causes a mental hesitation, and the more you train the more you'll start holding back.
On a human, no problem. I've never injured my hand with the backhand slap. [I have injured my knuckles when I used to punch]
I once caught the doorjamb on the way to the target and that did hurt!
Den
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Q-How do you rate the two handed slap against both sides of the ears/neck/jaw? I've seen it in a few combatives videos done with simultaneous cupped hands, and I remember reading it in one of Jamie Okeefe's books where he said he preferred doing it with two flat hands to both sides of the neck.
Any thoughts?


A-The two-handed slap is derived from the wartime "ThunderClap".
Lee Morrison outlines it well in his manual, and includes the Jamie O'Keefe variation to the neck.
I'd say it's a good option, especially in a clinch type situation where space is limited.
We generally teach it as an incidental strike when going for the Thai-clamp.
Cheers,
Den
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Q-Hi Dennis
You demonstrated this on sunday and I like the technique but as you know I am quite short, do you think I would get as much effect against a taller opponent


A-Obviously you must tailor any technique to your own circumstance. However, most aggressors tend to crouch somewhat, so that brings the target down a bit. The rule is, it must work for you.
Den
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Q-Hiya Dennis, a few questions if you don't mind mate
A long long time ago on this forum, you told us that your most widely used techniques, were slaps and elbows. How did you arrive by these two moves? I know you worked the doors, so was it a matter of trial and error, or did someone say try this, etc. Also how much of your usage of these techniques has to do with potential legal comebacks (slaps supposedly look less brutal than punches etc).
Finally the elbow, whereas all the big guns seem to rate the slap - the elbow seems to have a mixed bag of opinion. For example Geoff doesn't seem all that enamoured with elbows, yet yourself, Peter Consterdine, I think Dave Turton etc as well rate them?
I'm just flummoxed why such a simple technique cannot be usuable for everyone (jumping spinning back kick it ain't, after all).

A-MY FAVOURITE TECHNIQUES
When first working on the door I used a straight punch as well as the Elbow; plus various low kicks. Some time later I stopped punching, and instead used the open-hand Slap. I retained the Elbow strike.
These were the main techniques but I used others, depending whether the situation was Pre-emptive, Reactive, or, Intervention. These included Backfist, Hammerfist, Chinjab, Ridge-hand, Axe-hand and Tiger’s Claw. I also used throat attacks (“Cradle Strike”, and “Grip & Rip”) a lot.
Over the years I developed the use of the Necklock as a major pre-emptive and used it loads of times. It’s a great technique and works well for quickly subduing a violent person without injury.
SELECTION FACTORS
We now come on to the second part of your question, why these techniques and not others favoured by equally qualified instructors.
Obviously I can only speak for myself, but whether a technique works is very subjective. When I was punching I would usually put the man down, but not out. I’d then have to deal with him while he was grounded, usually by kicking/stamping. Very messy, very distressing to the public (i.e. potential witnesses), and the punch, which I delivered as a straight, usually splattered his nose, so lots of blood. Slaps achieve the KO, no muss, no fuss, and witnesses will honestly say, “he only slapped the guy” So for me slaps work best. However, Geoff has got that punch to the jaw down to an art, hits hard and accurate, drops the guy every bit as well as the slap. That level of hand-eye accuracy isn’t in my computer, so I prefer the slap,
Likewise Pete Consterdine can confidently hit the guy with a body shot, utilising double-hip, and finish the fight. I look at the guy, and while I’m confident of delivering impact I envisage hitting his arms or elbows. So, the body shot isn’t for me.
I guess we first use what we have trained on, then have confidence in it and stick to it. That’s probably more important than technical details.
Lots of stuff can work…. can you make it work for you?
Hope this answers your query
Den
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Dennis M
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Re: Classic Strikes FAQs

Post  Dennis M on Sun Aug 20, 2006 2:13 pm

THE STAB KICK

Q-Hi Dennis
In a previous thread you mentioned that your favorite kick was the stab kick and you described it as a low stamping kick. Could you elaborate a bit on the mechanics of the strike? Is it more of a side kick or an oblique kick? Is it best used as an opener or as a follow up?
Thanks

A-The Stab-kick is the Edge-of-boot-kick , or Side-kick common to Combatives.
A low side kick is found in Karate, but relies on a snapping action, with weight retained on the supporting foot
The Stab-kick commits body weight fully, smashing through the target.
Can be used forward, sidways, rear-angle. Targets, knee, shin.
Can be a first-strike, moving in on the threat. Or, can be used as a follow up, especially to head/neck area strikes.
All in all, a good tool in the armoury.
Note I don't teach/use the Savate-type oblique kick to the shin...a couple of years ago Si James and myself attended a training course where this technique was emphasised greatly. The instructor, who was trying to make a name for himself in the self protection field, told us how devastating it was, and quoted the fact that it took only eight pounds of force to break the shin bone.
He had a couple of shinguards and we formed lines and took it in turns to run up to the trainee wearing the guard and blast his shin.
This continued OK and everyone was really getting in to it and developing impact.
Then one guy ran up and kicked the target-guy on the wrong leg, the leg without the shinguard...and nothing happened. Although blasted full force the guy didn't go down, didn't go into shock, just stood there and told the trainee it was the wrong leg!
As for the "eight pounds of force" this is one of those statements we find a lot in our business, that may be factual but impractical. In some test with a bone scientists may have established the force tolerance, but this doesn't apply to the real world.
You could argue that one failure doesn't prove anything, that all techniques can fail. Agreed. It's just that I've never used that kick anyway, and I won't teach a technique I haven't used....especially one I've seen fail so dismally.
Anyway, it's no problem, there are plenty of other techniques, and we should be looking to reduce techniques in the toolbox rather than add to them.
That training course was crap, but I did learn something, even if it was a negative. A while later I noticed an advert for another training program which sounded interesting and mentioned it to Simon. He gave me a reality check by saying "it's just another day training with some wanker with no experience". This is now the test I apply to any course!
Cheers,
Den
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Here is a photo of me demonstrating the Stab-kick.

Please note, the picture is not fully accurate. Because the digital camera won't freeze action I had to pose the shot, and am retaining my balance on the supporting leg. Actually, my full weight would go into the strike.
As requested, an exercise for the Stab-kick, and all other low-line kicks.
I picked this up in Okinawa, when I was training in Goju-ryu Karate there.
You need a weight you can hook on your foot. In Okinawa they use the Ishi-sashi

.....but a modern weight training Iron boot would be ideal

Another option would be the Kettlebell, which is regaining popularity in the gym.
With the weight on your right foot, you raise that leg, until your foot is at the height of the supporting knee. It's important to ensure your balance is good in this position, because you'll be returning to it frequently.
Now extend the leg to the side, in a slow-time Stab-kick, hold for a couple of seconds, then return to the foot-raised position. Then extend your leg to the opposite direction, making an inside stamping action....again slowly. Return, then extend to the front, return, then slowly kick rearwards. Retun, then make a round kick action, again keeping the kick low, about thigh height.
If you need to, rest a few secs then repeat. After about ten sets, switch legs.
This very simple drill builds up terrific strength in the legs, and is especially beneficial in working all the ligaments, small muscles and insertals involved in these lowline kicks.
Hope the written description makes sense....it's much easier to show on a class.
Den
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Q-Dennis
To elaborate a bit, is it a hard, stamping side kick to the legs? Do you need to be sideways on to the guy to deliver it? I imagine it's a follow up strike and not a pre-emptive?


A-The Stab-kick is quite versatile, you can deliver it frontally, sideways and obliquely. You can fire it from extreme close-range, or use it to close the gap [for example, in Third-party situations].
It's a good technique to have in the toolbox


[Patrick Ryan shows the Stab-kick on Lee Morrison]
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Den

Dennis M
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Re: Classic Strikes FAQs

Post  Dennis M on Sun Aug 20, 2006 2:35 pm

THE ELBOW STRIKE

Q-Dennis
Did you have a favorite way of setting up your elbow, or did you simply throw it as a single shot when you were very close to your assailant? Did you ever manage to land it when you were a bit further out?


A-I used it a lot from "Fence" positions. Can't recall launching from far range. I see the point of the "Wheeling Elbow" concept, but my use was mainly when already within close range.
I mainly swung the blow around to contact the side of face/neck..... that was the mainstay, but obviously I've used most options, including sideways blows and various types of rear-elbow strikes.
If I was limited to just one hand strike it would be the elbow.
Den
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Q-How close would you say you were when you felt comfortable launching the elbow Dennis? Could you still work a comfortable Fence? And did you usually launch it from your rear side or leading side?
Thanks again


A-quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
How close would you say you were when you felt comfortable launching the elbow Dennis? --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

A lot of the time, quite close. In clubs it's usually fairly loud, so any dialogue is usually closer than normal. This meant that the elbow was often the prime choice.
If further away, usually I'd slap.

quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Could you still work a comfortable Fence?
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I used the term "Fence" to refer to the whole gamut of Situational Control/Unobtrusive ready-positions. Sometimes the classic placatory "calm down, calm down" Fence was used; but often other applications, including some that would be spontaneous, kind of "scenario-dependant" solutions.
An example would be moving closer from a Placatory position, hands making light contact, then striking.
A favourite of mine has always been the "Thinker/Jack Benny" position, striking by whipping the leading elbow round in a tight arc.
This partially answers...

quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
And did you usually launch it from your rear side or leading side?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

...but I'd strike from the rear-foot side just as often.
I still train the elbow a lot, working from front or rear side, integrating all the ways of generating impact.

[Tony, from the Liverpool Gutterfighters, shows the strike]
Just to add a bit more....
I also used the elbow from "manhandling" situations, going from a grab to a strike.
Sometimes tried an augmented strike, with the offhand pulling the head into the strike,or, even from an arm-drag to a strike. I think these where mainly to try out different ideas we were using in training. I found that the simple, basic strike was most natural for me, and hence was used most.
Cheers,
Den
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Q-Dennis
I know that elbow is one of your preferred strikes. Were most of your elbow shots KO's? What was the usual result when you landed a good one?

A-The Elbow was/is a favourite. It's so versatile, forward, back, side, upwards, down, raking, Thai-style.....one technique gives you so much.
It's also an easy strike to learn. I'm still constantly surprised at just how much impact guys can learn to generate in a very short training time.
Without going into "war stories" the elbow has worked very well for me. For quite a while it was my main strike.
KO is easy to achieve if you commit the strike.
Cheers,
Den

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Re: Classic Strikes FAQs

Post  Dennis M on Sun Aug 20, 2006 5:10 pm

WEBHAND BLOW

Q-Dennis
Is there a trick in the way you throw this strike so you can be sure to hit the throat every time(or almost every time)? I could see my adrenaline screwing my accuracy up and the web of my hand hitting his chin


A-This is one of those techniques which I found almost instinctive. Until recently [when I developed a special target for it] it hardly trained it at all, just sometimes using a partner's vertical forearm to simulate the throat. It's very opportunistic.


[Lee Morrison demonstrates the Webhand blow on Brian Lightbody]
If you wrap your hand around your own throat you will see that it covers a wide arc. Classically, the actual "web" strikes the larynx, while the fingers/thumb impact the brachial plexus/carotid sinus.But, in reality, take what you can get. The neck has many vulnerable structures and you will likely hit some worthwhile target.
Hitting centrally to strike the larynx at a minimum should induce the gag reflex, and as seen in that scene in Spooks, put the man into a fugue state.
Having been hit in the throat I can testify that it works.
Cheers
Den

Q-I'm still concerned about the vulnerability of the thumb. How do you all cope with that? Do we have wimpy thumbs or something?

A-Since my last post on this topic I had to use the Cradle Strike. No problem with the thumb. I've never hurt my hand doing this, probably because hands are harder than throats.
If you are hitting training targets [such as SparPro] regularly it may be an idea to do some specific exercises for the hands. My favourite is Softball pushups, although there are other good exercises.
Den
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Q-Maybe a stupid question, but I really have to ask it : with the web hand/cradle blow strike, do you put your piston action on, go with a drop step thru the thug throat ( sort of ) or do you recoil ( in the speedy karate way ) ?
Or do you consider that these two versions have two different goals; the first one, to terminate, to bring the KO if possible; the second one, to create a light " disabling " momentum, an ouverture to another action, being other strikes or a control action


A-Generally, if you are justified in striking, hit as hard as you can.
The problem with a light strike is that you will get it too light, or too hard. It's very difficult to judge this.
A possible follow-up to the Webhand, logically, is the "Grip & Rip"....

Den

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