Friday, December 19, 2008

Response to Women's Self-Defense vs a Hook Punch, Part II...

Awhile back, we posted a response video on YouTube regarding a defensive move vs. a hook punch. We got a video response to our response, and it is shown below. After viewing it, I sent the link to some of my students, from green belt to black belt, and asked for commentary.

Here is the response video:

And here is some commentary from them regarding what they saw:


First, his movements were too complicated. In order to make the wind work, you have to see the punch coming and be ready to block, AND AT THE EXACT POINT OF IMPACT transition into a reverse pivot. This is very unlikely, because in an actual attack, it is highly unlikely the woman will see the punch coming until it is halfway there. I would like to see that tiny woman do the complete technique in a dark parking lot, including takedown, to Pete. [Sabum’s note: Pete is a member of our class who is large, very solid, very strong, and very tough. He is one of our test people for self-defense techniques. Saying “it would work on Pete” is a high compliment for self-defense techniques.]

Second, that technique is very one-dimensional, i.e. you have only one or two choices once you initiate the block and pivot. And after turning her back to her attacker, she ducks under his arm and then goes for the armbar takedown. The only other option after the block & pivot is to run away, which I would suggest instead of trying that unlikely armbar takedown. The NHA technique is superior because it is multi-dimensional. After the block, Ardi was "inside" of Sabumnim with all of his primary targets exposed, chiefly his face. Elbows and knees and kicks and reaps could all be applied at that point, followed up by takedowns (if necessary). The initial block also had a "stun" dimension to it unlike the wind.

In summary, the wind looks good on Youtube, and the principal of absorbing and transferring energy is correct, but I have serious doubts about its merits against a strong hook punch.


The very last one they did confirmed what I felt could happen, she had a hard time controlling his arm, and I would say she never really did have control of the arm. Then her elbow strike hit his chest every time, and her hand was higher then the point of impact which is bad form (but not knowing her rank I don't put much thought into "Her" elbow strikes). But if the man is much taller than the women it could be hard to strike him in the face, and even if I strike Pete in the chest I don't think it would make a difference.

I think it’s a high level move based on timing, and not practical for lower level students. Working in class on defenses from linear attacks (punch, grab) when I was not allowed to move my feet, I once guided Pete's hand right into my own eye. I knew it was coming and my timing was off just a hair and I ended up with one arm on the inside of Pete's arm and one on the outside of his arm, instead of both arms outside pushing the attack safely away from my own face.

I view the hook punch defense like a baseball bat defense or club, if you are on the inside of the attack (face to face) they lose quite a bit of power.

Also just a thought, could you use his opening and turn it into a sacrifice throw, without taking too much of the force of the punch? [Sabum’s Note: Yep. Matter of fact, a number of throwing arts do precisely that. We actually have techniques such as that, also. However, for women’s self-defense we wouldn’t teach them, as they are low-percentage.]


I've also watched the video several times and agree with Matt. The movements are entirely too complicated for a high percentage defensive technique. From a woman's perspective, I like to evaluate techniques based on "what can *I* do quickly, efficiently, and with as little risk to myself as possible." The technique that we use has more positive attributes than the response that Sabumnim received, as Matt pointed out. I would rarely think of a time that I would willingly turn my back on my attacker. My timing against punches is not perfect, and this technique is based on timing the pivot precisely so that the energy of the punch is absorbed and redistributed into the circle and the subsequent elbow.

Additionally, in a self defense situation against an unknown attacker, I would not willingly choose an offensive technique that leaves myself vulnerable, should it fail. The arm bar take-down (elbow break) that is chosen in the response video looks great, but if the guy is large and the placement of my arm is not precise, then I am simply going to be hanging off his arm while he turns and proceeds to wallop me. If, however, my mass is sufficient enough to take him down and I don't break the arm, I am now in a ground fighting situation. Most women are not adequately trained for that situation, and that tends to be an even more difficult situation to get quickly away to safety.

Oh, and prior to the arm bar, there is the small problem of simply lifting the attackers arm over my head to put myself in position for the arm bar. Now, I'll submit that if I time the initial move correctly, absorb the flow of the punch and transfer the energy of my spin into my elbow AND place the elbow precisely in the face of the guy, THEN I MIGHT be able to lift the arm to step under for the arm bar. HOWEVER, the take down/elbow break is dependent upon everything else being done precisely and with exquisite timing.

I like the technique that we initially learn much better. Yes, we are closing with the attacker, but we are placing ourselves in a position that allows us to have further options. Personally, I think I would prefer to block the arm (as Sabumnim and Ardi demonstrate), grab the wrist, throw the outside elbow once or twice (or three times :)) and then take out the leg in a fashion that leaves me standing and the attacker crying for mercy on the ground. I would most likely use a crumple throw in that situation. Although I love the axe kick, I know that for balance and stability, the crumple throw is more stable than the axe kick.

So, to sum up my long-winded response. I like our technique better because it is not overwhelmingly dependent upon timing, it does not force me to turn my back on my attacker, and I am not utilizing an offensive technique that is at times a low percentage technique that would leave me on the ground next to my attacker.

Sabum's Response:

One important thing to bear in mind here is that we aren't trying to compete--the point of this isn't "our technique is better that yours!" or anything like that. We aren't comparing arts, styles, or practitioners. What we are doing, hopefully, is comparing effectiveness of technique, for a given situation. In the videos below, I hope I clearly explain that what we are doing is critiquing the use of the technique, not any given person.

One thing (in addition to my commentary in the videos below) regarding the response we received: The circular movement shown is something that occurs in Hapkido, also. However, we tend to not use it vs a circular attack, particularly if we are moving to the inside. We do utilize it vs a linear attack, most often choosing to move ourselves to the attacker's outside in our rotation. Thus, the linear attack (once we deflect and move offline) has no force with which to impact us, and the outside movement makes followup techniques by the attacker extremely difficult. I may add a short video of what I mean by that in the next post here.

Here is the set of response videos we created: