A Little About Combat Strategy

When we watch martial arts in movies or TV shows or YouTube clips, we tend to see a lot of kicking and punching. That is kind of the hallmark of the visual representation of martial arts.

In a real self defense situation, while punching and kicking do have their place, and can serve you, it is best and safest to neutralize any type of striking exchange with a clinch. A clinch is basically a hug! 

When you have clinched the opponent, you have dramatically decreased their striking arsenal. They cannot effectively punch or kick at you when you are hugged on to them tightly. You have essentially taken their fight away from them. It is an incredible technical concept!

Now, once you have them in the clinch, their behaviors are quite predictable. And with each predictable behavior comes an effective response. Let's go through some, shall we?

1. If they decide to try to punch you while you are clinched onto them, they will have to lean back a little bit. In that lean, you drop your shoulder into their chest and pull their hips in, and that is called a "Body Fold Takedown".

2. If they decide to try to push on you, they have to stabilize their stance, so that means their stance is wider. In that case, hook their leg, dip your shoulder into them, and turn, and that is called the "Leg Hook Takedown".

3. If they decide to bring their hips away in an attempt to escape out of the clinch, walk your hands up to the back of their shoulders, bring both of your feet up next to theirs, then squat, shoot back, and wrap your legs around them, and then one at a time, wrap one arm around the back of their neck, and another on one of their arms. This is called "Pulling Guard".

4. If they decide to try to wrap your head/neck out of desperation, you pop your head up like a turtle, turn around, get to their back, then bring one foot up next to theirs, and straighten the other leg out, while blocking their other foot and pull them down. This is called the "Rear Takedown".

5. If they break out of the clinch somehow, and it is hard to get back into the clinch, drop down, grab and pull behind their knees, put your foot in between theirs, and drive your shoulder into their midsection. This is called the "Double Leg Takedown".

These are all extremely effective strategies. They are not the flashiest moves, but they work very reliably well. These are all concepts that come from Gracie Jiu Jitsu. We teach and practice these concepts at Austin Kung-Fu Academy. In addition to the great training you get in traditional Kung-Fu, we want everyone to have a very reliable self defense strategy that doesn't involve too much of the kicking and punching, but rather work more towards neutralizing, controlling, and exhausting aggressive energy, rather than over-power it.

A Yard is Hard, An Inch is a Cinch

Whenever we'd like to achieve something, either for ourselves, or our children, it is important to set goals. 

The problem is, often times the goals are either too over-reaching, or too vague. When we have goals that are too over-reaching, we often set ourselves up for disappointment. An example of this is trying to make a basket from half court, without even trying to make a basket from up close! When we have goals that are too vague, then, we end up with vague results. An example of this is saying you want to be good at Kung-Fu. Well, what does that mean, exactly? What does that look like? 

The solution is simple:
Make it specific, make it simple, and make a lot of them!

It's a lot easier to reach a smaller, simpler goal. It is specific, and within grasp. After you achieve that goal, make the next goal to build on top of that. The key is to make them small and achievable so that you feel success! It is very important that you feel success, and keep building on those successes! In the world of Behaviorist Psychology, this is referred to as the "Law of Successive Approximations".

This is why we have all the different belt colors in martial arts! 

Dr. BJ Fogg, a professor of Experimental Psychology at Stanford University, said to have "mini celebrations" for these mini victories! He said that it is very important that you reward yourself for any achievement that you make towards developing more productive habits towards your end goal. These mini celebration can be as simple as doing a little fist pump and saying, "YES! I DID IT!" And then move into the next goal.

Anything is achievable when you break it into small pieces. Too much at one time can lead to disappointment. Goals that are vague don't allow for a clear path towards what you want.

At Austin Kung-Fu Academy, we are all about everyone feeling those mini victories, on their path to the big one!