Elbows, Knees, Shutos and Head Butts.

One of the first things I got excited about while training in Kenpo was the drilling in the use of these weapons.

All of these strikes are in Karate, but outside of their use in Kata, you don't see them practiced much.

This is a shame as these are powerful self defense techniques and are essential in close quarter combat.

I recommend that all artist make an effort to drill in these techniques. Use them while training in Ippon Kumite. Drill in their use while practicing various self defense techniques. Practice close quarter combat attacking and countering attacking with them.

If you want to take your art beyond the sport aspect, hard training in these four weapons will dramatically improve your ability to defend yourself and add to the total grasp of your art.

Learn real self defense


Your karate strikes can be made more effective in many ways:

1. Use your body - As an example you could punch by moving just your arm and possibly hit reasonably hard but it makes far more sense to practice better techniques. Practice a stance that will give you a firm base to punch from, the punch starts right down from the foot where a twisting motion is initiated, push your knee, push your hips, rotate at the waist and rotate your shoulders all whilst extending your arm to punch. It is a way to focus more muscle into a punch than just arm speed.

2. Brace your Target - This can be done by the person being against a wall or floor or even brace the Target yourself by holding the person or limb in place whilst striking. Basically, you do not want them to move away from the strike so hold the target in place or even pull it towards the strike.

3. Strike through the Target - Don't aim at the Target but aim approximately 6 to 8 inches through it.

4. Time on Target - Don't pull your strikes back too quickly. Your strike is kept in contact for a count this helps create a maximum transfer of Energy. Striking with a larger surface also gives a better transfer of energy.

5. Over loading - Strike several times to the same target. If you are targeting a motor nerve for example the repeated strikes in the same area will shut the limb down and stop it from working properly or at all.

6. Target Weak or Senstive Areas - Many people know the obvious targets such as eyes, nose, solar plexus, groin, thighs, shins and insteps.

7. Shouting - Helps you focus on your energy into your Karate Strikes.

Shouting alone serves many purposes:

1. Startle the Attacker.

2. Attract Attention of passers by.

3. Create witnesses to the Attack.

4. Tenses your abdominal region which will stop you being winded if you're hit at the same time.

5. Helps you focus energy into your karate strikes.

As a general striking rule strike with hard to soft and soft to hard - For example:

1. Elbows to Ribs

2. Knee to Thigh

3. Knee to groin

4. Head to Nose

5. Palms to head

Avoid punching to the head if possible. It's so easy to break knuckles and fingers as the head is so hard and these days most people's hands are pretty soft. There is also the risk of someone transmitting nasty infections or even HIV or hepatitis via puncture wounds from the teeth to the knuckles. You can hit just has hard with the palm of your hand with much less risk of injury to yourself.

Further Targeting and Striking

When working with these sensitive areas, pressure points or motor nerve points, full on karate strikes would cause lasting damage and even 5% strikes can have an effect on people, sometimes there is even a delay before the reaction. Due to this, we are very careful. Striking these areas can have the effect of shutting down that limb and can also cause unconsciousness. Be warned that strikes to the Throat could cause permanent damage to the throat and even result in death so this must be treated very cautiously in Training and only used in a true Self Defense situation. The same caution is necessary with strikes to the eyes, you must treat this with total caution in training and only use firm karate strikes in a real Self Defense situation.

Train Smart - Fightwize!

Malcolm Bale
Head Instructor of Alberta Self Defense -
3rd Degree Blackbelt in Jiu-Jitsu
Author of "The Essential Elements of Self Defense"

"Is Karate Effective On The Street"

This is a question you see posted on many different forums. This was my response to one such posting, feel free to comment if you agree or disagree.

The question isn't valid. If I chop you across the front of the throat, yes it works, if you hit me in the head with a bat, no it doesn't. Question should be "Can karate be an effective form of Self Defense?"

Even asked in this manner is not completely correct. Lets try: "Are punches in the face, kicks in the groin, stomps on the knees, strikes to the throat, pokes in the eyes, hammer fists to the nose, knees and elbows to the head and joint breaking techniques really effective on the street? What do you think?

I'm trying to make a point. If a grappler walks into a dojo and says "Hey lets spar a little" I'm probably going to end up on the ground in a very uncomfortable position.

If someone confronts me on the "street" I'm not going to "spar" with him, I will stomp the knees, poke the eyes, strike the throat, kick the groin and maybe if i react swiftly, with power and speed and control the situation before my opponent can get started, maybe my "karate" will be effective.

If a boxer lands a solid hook on a grapplers chin and knocks him out, is grappling an ineffective art?

If a football player runs head on into a boxer an flattens him out, is football now the most effective art on the street?

Maybe the question should be "Are you effective on the street?"

I believe trained properly anyone can be effective and I also believe everyone can be beat.

Here you can learn powerful effective basic self defence techniques for yourself or to teach to your family.
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