Whether it’s your dream to star in the live-action “Kung Fu Panda” or you’re about to get your ass kicked in a street fight, there are a couple of simple self-defense techniques that are sure to help you not look like a fool and to guarantee you last longer than twenty seconds. You might still get your ass kicked, but at least this way you tried.
1. Control Your Center
As anyone whose ever played chess knows, if you control the center, it’s easier to attack as well as to defend. The same concept applies in a fight. Imagine a line from the tip of your head down to your groin. This is your “center line.” If it’s facing your opponent, you’re going to get the shit kicked out of you, since your entire body, particularly your vital organs and your face, is open to an attack. When your center faces your opponent, your hands are in a poor position to defend, since they have to cover a lot of space, and your legs can’t help you block kicks since lifting a foot would leave you unbalanced. Conversely, when your center is facing away at an angle from your opponent, it’s much more difficult for them to attack your stomach and kidneys. At the same time, your hands have to cover much less area, and can defend you more effectively. Moreover, your legs are mobile, allowing you to shift back and forth and side-to-side, as well as to raise a leg to defend against or avoid a kick. The second, and equally important, reason that you should control your center is that it allows you to attack more effectively. If your body is facing your opponent, you can’t generate any torque on your punches or kicks. Moreover, you can’t really attack without completely exposing yourself. Angling your body away and placing one foot in front of the other allows you to use your hips when you attack, generating far more power. You also get some extra reach when you twist, allowing you to hit your opponent from farther away.
2. Hands Up
This kid’s fighting stance fucking sucks, but at least he’s doing one thing right. What should be the most basic, obvious rule of fighting is often forgotten as soon as adrenaline kicks in. Keep your fucking hands up. There is no way to repeat this too many times. Keep. Your. Fucking. Hands. Up. As soon as one of your hands drops, you’re going to get punched in the face and you will never look beautiful again. If you’re extremely unlucky and your hand drops, your going to get kicked in the head. You don’t want to get kicked in the head, do you? Finally, if your hands are down (particularly your leading hand), you can’t really hit back, and you’ll turn into a human punching bag.
3. Kick Low
Though this guy obviously ignored Rule #2 and is half a second away from blacking out, he did one thing right. He kicked low. You are not Jet Li. Unless you are super flexible and have a blackbelt, in which case you shouldn’t bother reading this article, you’re not going to be kicking anyone in the head. You probably won’t even be kicking someone in the stomach. Unless your very comfortable with kicking, reaching all the way to someone’s stomach is going to cost you power, and they’ll probably have a good chance of blocking your kick or even catching your foot (if your foot is caught, you’re fucked). If you’re not feeling like a gentleman, aim for the balls, though this might be difficult if your opponent has also read this article and has angled his body away from yours. A more viable option is often to aim right above the knee, which is one of the most vulnerable joints in a fight since it can twist in all sorts of unpleasant ways when it gets hit. If you aim below the knee, you’ll probably hit the shinbone, which might hurt you more than your opponent. Right above the knee, though, is the quad, which is definitely softer than a bone. If you hit it with enough power, your opponent’s knee will collapse, and you’ll have a pretty firm advantage.
4. Punching Hurts
Ever hit a brick wall? Punching someone in the face doesn’t hurt that much, but it still hurts. Faces are made of bone. Your hands are made of bone. The bones in your hand are a lot easier to break than the bones in your face. When you punch someone, don’t get caught off guard by how much it hurts; it will definitely hurt them more. That said, anytime you get in a fight, even if you beat your opponent soundly, you run the risk of breaking some things in your hand.
5. Proper Punching Form
As noted above, it’s pretty easy to break your hand on a punch. Make sure that when you make a fist, you curl your fingers into your hand as tightly as possible and then tuck your thumb underneath. Do. Not. Put. It. On. The. Side. You will break literally every single bone in your hand if you do this. Also, make sure the back of your hand forms a straight line with your forearm, or you’ll snap your wrist.
6. It’s All About the Hips
Imagine a baseball player standing facing the pitcher and trying to swing at a ball without moving his hips. This is about as effective as trying to punch or kick without twisting your body. No matter how much weight you lift, your arms are probably not strong enough to cause much damage unless you throw some torque in. Every time you strike, your power should be coming from your hips and your center (control your center!) in order to maximize effectiveness, power, and speed.