Why Go Headfirst into an Attack?

If someone has launched a tirade, a strike, a threatening motion ... what do you do? You could step back and retreat. You could stand your ground and deflect. And you could surge in and counter.

It would probably come as no surprise to you that many hard style martial artists (Karate, Taekwondo, etc) would probably choose the second option - stand, deflect and probably counter. Most beginners and inexperienced artists the first - retreat, regroup and counter. However, a pragmatic and less risky option than is usually understood is option 3 - surge in and simultaneously counter. The first two options are safer. You recognise the threat and deal with it. The problem is that the threat will quickly escalate because your attractiveness as a target has just increased. The third option however takes the fight to the opponent and forces him to deal with an aggressive response whilst his defences are down.

At Taekwondo class last night, we practiced using a fold for a middle block to cover and deflect an ongoing punch from opposite side while surging in. Standing in a backbalance and moving forward into more-or-less a forebalance means you step a little off centreline which sets you up to deflect and then eventually counter. But most beginners respond to the forward pressure of that initial strike and step too far off - outside of the centreline attack.

Unfortunately whilst this is great for a specific centreline attack, it increases the probability that you'll walk right into a roundhouse punch coming from a same side attack. What I'm saying is that if you normally step from a back balance to the front stance, this shift gives you a good chance to counter either a front centreline attack or a roundhouse haymaker. If you however step too far off fearing the front strike and you miss-read the strike in the first place, you open yourself up to a powerful swipe to the side of the head.

Stepping forward and bringing yourself into the wedge between your opponent's both arms allows you to counter either weapon whilst retaliating.

The drill followed up with middle block to the second punch, and trap for a third with simultaneous strike to the face with back hand.

Colin Wee
Taekwondo Techniques, Patterns, and Applications at the Traditional Taekwondo Blog. [Subscribe using email or RSS feeds] [Tkd Sitemap]


Michele said…
Hi Colin - Happy New Year!

Great drill. We spend a lot of time working combinations to improve timing and distance. I like option 3 - "surge in and simultaneously counter".
Colin Wee said…
Thanks Michele! And certainly it has got to be fast enough so that no one eats a sandwich before the punch lands!!! :-) Thanks for posting. Regards, Colin

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