Punches to the Head - an Anonymous Perspective

In continuing to deal with an Anonymous poster who has misgivings about a drill I featured in "Do-san: Defending Against Straight Blast Punches to the Face", I am including portions of his initial post and a video I have pulled off youtube to highlight elements in his post that are legitimate. While I have communicated that I don't particularly like his tone (nor the manner he's taken to Pat from Mokuren Dojo), there is some value to what Anonymous is getting at, and we should bear this in mind while we continue our own training.

The drill itself shows a response to a basic traditional punch thrown iteratively to the defender. The defender is shown deflecting the oncoming arm off centreline using the blade of the forearm. The forearm is rotated 90 degrees back and forth around centerline catching the striking limb from the outside.

Anonymous: I can’t say I’m impressed with this drill. For one the attacker’s punch is fully extended before he even reaches the defender’s face meaning she’ll never get hit even if she does nothing, what’s the point of defending attacks that’ll never connect anyway? With a good defense his fist should pass over your shoulder nearly missing your head, this is clearly not the case here. My second problem with this is that she seems to grab while parrying: this is dangerous since he’ll be able to pull you off balance when he retracts his arm (presumably into another strike), that is if she indeed would be able to grab if he would actually mount some decent attacks: you do not leave your arm dangling after you extended and attacks should be fluid and smooth, not mechanical like in the video.

In the following video I got off youtube, you can see karate students fighting against boxers. To their credit, the karate fighters are performing technically sound moves -- but to engage a boxer using such rules of engagement as you see below is not advantageous as you can see in the following video. This supports what Anonymous is saying - most traditional schools do not deal very well with even the simplest of attacks. A fight with a boxer would be a wake up call. Indeed.

Such a simple match up between a karate or other hard style type martial arts and boxing replicating the same conditions above would find any of us hard pressed to do better than the karateka in the video.

To better enjoy hard style techniques, kicks should have been done to the knee and groin area, attacks or counters should have been to gap close and throw the boxers, even to fight at close range for a takedown. No controls were used and there was certainly no accelerative gap closing that some sportive karate camps use to good effect. Upper body coverage was also very sparse.

The following is a video of a sparring match between boxer and kickboxer. The kickboxer here dominates the boxer -- he goes for the legs early and consistently. It can be said however that the kickboxer does seem to have experience boxing - from the way he covers and the way he's moving. But still, it shows some benefits of using legs.

Anonymous: If you think what I said is wrong than state your own reasons and we can actually have a discussion. If you cannot take criticism and expect everyone to just agree with you and sing your praise then you shouldn’t be voicing your opinions on the internet, let alone putting up videos of any of your techniques.

Yes, Anonymous didn't really say I was full of s***. But to my credit I have ensured all of the Anonymous postings make it on the blog, and in fact I have even agreed to various fundamental areas of his argument. I am not even saying that he is wrong. My position is that he is looking at this particular drill in isolation of our entire program - and assuming we ... namely, I don't know my stuff. Such a perspective as offered by this blog does not accurately give the entire context in which we build basic skills nor does it help Anonymous really learn anything that is of value to himself.

Anonymous: I certainly don’t need to discuss MA with people who only practice pretend, pre-arranged fighting

Anonymous: If this is how you and your students train you’re in for a rude awakening, I wish you good luck if you do get into a fight with someone that doesn’t want to play by your rules and actually knows how to throw a decent punch.

I will reserve my right to continue to voice my opinions on the internet.

This blog takes maybe 10 or so minutes of my time every post. I have to pick out what I want to write about, run through it quickly, and that's it. You can see many of my posts are rush jobs, but this is a resource that I'm building for my own needs. If I am full of s***, anyone can come and critisize (I am happy to post all comments). If you don't enjoy reading the posts, don't read.

Related Links
Do-san: Defending Against Straight Blast Punches to the Face
Do-san: Defending Against Straight Blast Punches to the Face (Original Post)
Getting Punched in the Nose

Anyone in the mood to sing praises? I've not heard singing on my blog.


Colin Wee
Taekwondo Blog at Joong Do Kwan. [Subscribe using email or RSS feeds] [Tkd Sitemap]. Colin is a martial art instructor with 25 years of experience across three continents. Colin leads a small Traditional Taekwondo group for adults in Perth, Western Australia.

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Dan Djurdjevic said…
The problem as I see it from the "karate vs. boxing" videos is two-fold.

You are right that the "rules of engagement" favour the boxers.

However the bigger problem is that the karateka are, subconsciously, starting to play the boxer's game. I see them skipping, throwing jabs etc. - in other words, doing what the boxer does, but not as well.

I don't see them in what I call the melee range; I don't see them using deflections (hard to deflect on the forearm when your opponent has big gloves, but anyway).

I don't see them landing front kicks - the mainstay of karate/tkd and easily applied against the boxer PROVIDED you stay in the melee range (they are trying to execute techniques from a distance, and therefore miss every time).
Colin Wee said…
However the bigger problem is that the karateka are, subconsciously, starting to play the boxer's game.

That is powerful and insightful, Dan. It's something which any pragmatic fighter should be aware of -- fighting by someone else's gameplan doesn't allow you to draw on your own strengths.


supergroup7 said…
Colin, in those videos I didn't see the Karate practitioners using their kicks effectively.. even the body, and head high ones. Maybe I lack experience, but to me it looked like they were just tapping their opponent's body lightly rather than slamming them. I didn't see that little pause of movement that happens to your opponent when a kick lands solidly, and forces them to absorb the impact, and/or adjust their weight to compensate. They sometimes also allowed the boxer to come within punching distance and didn't react with anything. If someone is that close to you, it's a good idea to do something about it. In my opinion, a couple of videos does not an argument win. For me it's not the style, but the Artist.

As for people visiting blogs and saying nasty things.. I've been contemplating that kind of thing lately. I've noticed how easy it is, in our open, international, quick communication tool of the internet to have various people pop into an effort, and give their opinions. Not all opinions are delivered in a respectful manner. However, I think that it could be expected to see that people who train to fight may or may not be working on improving on their character. Some Dojo/Sensei have high expectations that demand humility, honor, respect, and compassion from their black belts based on that Style's Dojo Oaths, in addition to skill, and ability to fight. Other Instructors focus on an individual's ability to conquer their opponent, and are not concerned about whether the Black belt is filled with self-pride, disdain, and disgust at other styles, and violent aggression towards any challenge. In fact, they actually encourage this kind of behavior. Many Martial Arts movies have brought forth this Yin/Yang concept wherein One's ability to fight has to equal One's ability to withhold themselves from fighting, and have shown the painful, and disastrous fruits that happen when we cannot control our minds as well as we control our bodies. The messages offered to you by Anonymous could have been delivered in a way that acknowledged the value, and wisdom presented by your work, and offering various points of concern to consider. It has always been my experience that you, Colin, are quick to accept different viewpoints, and to see the value in constructive criticism.

So many people are against videos being placed on the internet concerning Martial Arts. Why? What threat is there to someone sharing what they are working with? In fact, with open eyes, and minds, we can see things in other's videos that we may find of value to ourselves. We might notice that this person uses a technique in a different way than we would have, and that option starts to click in our heads as possibilities. What would music be like if we did not share our songs? My children's world view has grown beyond what I used to have thanks to the internet. I grew up only knowing what I could experience in my local area, but my children? They are dancing to songs from Yugoslavia, and singing to songs from Japan, they are aware of what is happening in India, and have friends in New Zealand. I believe that the time is gone for us to live in our little personal circle of knowledge... hiding our secret knowledge from others so that we can have better or more than others as was done in the past. The positive action of placing such information as you have done on this forum, Colin, is how the realm of Martial Arts is going to grow for future generations.
Colin Wee said…
Thanks, Mir.

You're spot-on-the-money. One or two videos don't tell the whole story. Yes the kicks didn't hurt the boxers and placed them within pounding range. I myself would fight a very different fight in that circumstance.

As for me taking criticism on board - I appreciate your compliment. Life is too short not to draw value from any exchange.

In defence of Anonymous, he wasn't as rude or as irritating as I know some web warriors can be. He knew what he was talking about, and I appreciated him putting in effort to say what he needed to say. Doesn't matter if he chooses anonymity - on one level he's correct. Wisdom and courtesy however leave somewhat to be desired.

Appreciate the response. :-)