Palm Strike -- my favorite first defense technique

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Palm Strike -- my favorite first defense technique

Postby hthom » Tue Dec 10, 2013 9:18 pm

This is becoming a habit, posting something after a workout. But here I am.

For those non-Uechi readers, palm strike is one of our common Uechi Ryu techniques. Our three main katas do not have punches, but plenty of palms.

I know that various people have various opinions, mine are based on my bad boys days doing my thing in Boston's Combat Zone and elsewhere.

Oops, I should say this first: Don't get into a fight if it is not absolutely necessary. Avoidance, back off, let it go, give him what he wants, be the gentleman that you are, but if all else fails and he is about to attack, then here it goes-----

Before I go any further, let me repeat here that kata techniques do not have to be executed exactly as in the katas during a real self defense situation.

Let me repeat here also that unless one practices the techniques specifically selected beforehand for use in a real street type situation and practice them repeatedly, probably no effective techniques will out during a crisis. Of course I am referring to us normal folks here and excluded those guys who fight all the time because they are so used to it.

The hundred fancy techniques and thirty katas are great for demonstrations but will just be useless during a real street-type situation due to the infamous chemical-cocktails unless you select a few and practice them for that purpose. The fancy concepts and textbook theories won't do anyone any good during a street-type situation. The fancy kata movements won't miraculously jump out to save anyone's whatever, unless--- (read on).

If you haven't done it yet, don't worry. Do it asap. Pick may be three or four at most, techniques that you feel are most comfortable with; the safest to use; the most effective in "most" self defense situations without the need for much accuracy whatsoever, then select the one that you can execute most devastatingly during a sudden attack to concentrate on. Now you have something you can use as your "primary carry" so to speak. Practice it repeatedly until it can come out without thinking during an attack by the bad guy.

As I inferred, there is no one technique that can counter effectively against all sudden attacks. Therefore you need to consider what are some of the most common sudden attacks and concentrate on the one attack that is most widely used by street thugs. Practicing too many defenses against too many different attacks will again, confuse you during the "chemical cocktail" and you will most likely be a sitting duck.

Nothing wrong with practicing defenses against numerous different attacks though-- but you need a "primary carry". One that would be most effective against an attack from most attackers. Of course you should also practice several other techniques against different type of attacks in case that bad guy tries to be fancy. I would say practice one for a right sucker punch (the most common), one for a left sucker punch, one for a takedown and one for a kick.

And to the naysayers who spout that one should not come up with Defense-A against Attack-B, I generally agree with you but this is not what I am talking about here. I do not rely on using different defense against different attacks anyway simply because I just can't remember even the most simple things. What? A knife attack and you do this then grab that and do a wrist lock and tap him on his nerve point and ----, wut? Fugetaboutit!

OK, so my first immediate defense movement is a palm strike. Yours can be anything you like as long as it meets the conditions I mentioned above.

Before I forget, never stop with just one counter strike. Do at least three continuously, then more if needed or if possible. Stop when he is down or give up or you will risk legal consequences that are designed to protect everyone but you.

Coincidently, GEM's December Newsletter also mentioned the three movements concept: https://vimeo.com/80546734 (Password is: space0202. Is it OK to give out the pw?)

So, just for information or use it as my suggestion anyway, my sequence of movements against a sudden attack (say a right sucker punch):

1. Step forward with a left block toward his sucker punch and simultaneously blast a palm strike (with the lower palm area) at his nose (straight on if he is about your height, if he is much taller, no mercy here because big guys aren't supposed to attack little harmless guys like us so, blast the palm strike upward at an angle from the bottom of his nose).
2. Follow up with a left palm strike to his right ear area (less chances of missing his entire head if aiming for his temple), anywhere in the ear area would be good.
3. Then follow up with an elbow to his chest area if he is a tall guy. Elbow his neck if he is about your height.
4. Then blast an upper cut to his liver. From this point on, knee butt, groin strike, whatever-----

Of course you will need to practice the movements repeatedly to get into the muscle memory. Can't do them with a real person or a heavy bag though so, good old Bob again. Alternate the height at 5"-10" and 6'-3" and blast away.

I assume we all know that punching someone's head with your fist is a no no, right? Unless you are wearing gloves. (I learned the hard way as mentioned in one of my old posts).

If there are questions on the effectiveness of palm strikes, look up some of the old Pancrase fights before folks started wearing gloves in MMA matches. Here is a sample of Bas Ruten using the palm strike in some of his fights. There are plenty more:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uiGQIh-6Kdo
Last edited by hthom on Wed Dec 11, 2013 2:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Palm Strike -- my favorite first defense technique

Postby Josann » Wed Dec 11, 2013 9:43 am

Excellent post. Reminds me of Tony Blauer's explanation of Hick's Law which is part of decision making.
A self defense situation may not resemble a toe to toe fight, and the best fighter may not be the one who wins or walks away from it. I trained for 2 years wiht a ju jitsu teacher who stressed that self defense is different from fighting/sparring. Different skill set.

Uechi is perfect for ingraining a few "go to" defenses that could come out when needed. John McSweeney, a kempo guy from their early days stressed the daily practice of 10 moves to ingrain and hardwire.

8 kata and diligent study should make uechi the perfect system for this. We may need to be less polite in our training and willing to pre-emptivley strike in a crisis.
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Re: Palm Strike -- my favorite first defense technique

Postby Stryke » Thu Dec 12, 2013 4:57 am

Good post, my favorite too.

And on having a few sharp tools, and on having a blast I typically drill flurrys of four minimum, built of kotikitae again........

Love it
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Re: Palm Strike -- my favorite first defense technique

Postby Bill Glasheen » Thu Dec 12, 2013 5:53 am

I'm a big fan of palm strikes done with all the force of my core. Bas Ruten has a wicked streetfight demeanor. No equipment needed.

I also note the use of Uechi's shoken sukuiage uke. I've always felt that technique was meant not for legs as much as it is for head/neck when a person leans in. It's absolutely scary what can be done with the right foundation and leverage. Ruten's consistent use of that confirms my suspicion. Throw in his brutal knee strikes and you basically have a Uechi man.

It doesn't hurt that Bas Ruten is built like a brick sheethouse and appears to have the athleticism of a gymnast. There's nothing weak about him.

- Bill
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Re: Palm Strike -- my favorite first defense technique

Postby Josann » Thu Dec 12, 2013 9:40 am

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-9Qg0iQHxQM

Lot's of good stuff in this....
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Re: Palm Strike -- my favorite first defense technique

Postby hthom » Thu Dec 12, 2013 4:02 pm

Bas Ruten, my all time favorite ever. He was doing those techniques so unbelievably well 30+ years ago and some of the MMA big-names nowadays try to pretend that they came up with the stuff.

Haven't seen him for a while. Hope he remains healthy and doing well.
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Re: Palm Strike -- my favorite first defense technique

Postby Van Canna » Tue Dec 17, 2013 5:56 pm

Of course you should also practice several other techniques against different type of attacks in case that bad guy tries to be fancy. I would say practice one for a right sucker punch (the most common), one for a left sucker punch, one for a takedown and one for a kick.



Good practice, though I am a firm believer that there isn't much of a defense against sucker punches unless you can 'sense' something about someone in your close proximity.

If you have no sort of 'advance warning' …even the flinch 'reactive 'spear' concept of Tony Blauer is marginal at best.

If you 'sense' something 'not right' about anyone closing in on you, then positioning and distancing is the best…followed by 'off line' response action as part of a possible counter…or by pre-emption if legally justified.

Watching for 'body language' tell tales…is helpful_ like if you see someone looking around as he approaches you…then you need to take some kind of action.
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Re: Palm Strike -- my favorite first defense technique

Postby Van Canna » Tue Dec 17, 2013 6:02 pm

Something else to keep in mind is what you will be like after taking some kind of a hit that dazes and confuses you.

A smack to the head can at least temporarily cause you to become light-headed, confused, and disoriented.

Here is one training trick fun to practice.

Grab a baseball bat and place one end on the ground (vertically) and then, hunching over, place your forehead on the tip of the handle. Now, keeping the bat stationary, quickly spin your body around the bat 10 times while keeping your forehead on the bat. Stand up and immediately attack a heavy bag or your padded training partner while dizzy.
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Re: Palm Strike -- my favorite first defense technique

Postby hthom » Tue Dec 17, 2013 10:13 pm

quickly spin your body around the bat 10 times

Yeah right. Funny Van, I can't even spin one time nowadays 8O

there isn't much of a defense against sucker punches unless you can 'sense' something about someone in your close proximity.

Unfortunately this is all so true. I should have prefaced my "sequence of movements against a sudden attack" by setting the stage that it is for a confrontation or a potential confrontation. Furthermore, the defender's hands should be about half way up already, in an unaggressive manner if possible, and be absolutely ready to execute that blast at any sign of attack. (But, before defending yourself, first try to at least say the right de-escalating things if possible and make sure there are witnesses or on the security camera. I was put in the back of a cruiser one time after defending myself but fortunately a brave witness came forward.)

Also, do not ever have your arms hanging down during a confrontation as I have seen so many times on videos of guys getting head butted or knocked out because of that stupidity.

If you have no sort of 'advance warning'

That's what makes things tough for us good guys. Don't mean to sound like a paranoid here but I have trained myself to the point that, whenever I walk by someone that deserves some attention, or someone walks by me and I sense the flashing yellow light, my hands are up half way already--- but unaggressively or unobtrusively--- as though I am just trying to make room or prevent myself from tripping but all the while, that blast is ready.

What the heck kind of society are we living in that degenerates to this point?

I remember my numerous trips to Bangkok in my young days roaming around the armpits of the city by myself and not once do I recall having to watch out for attackers and not once do I recall being confronted, not by thugs anyway ;-)
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Re: Palm Strike -- my favorite first defense technique

Postby jorvik » Tue Dec 17, 2013 11:59 pm

The trouble with martial arts is the older and better you get, the more paranoid you become :lol: ,threats everywhere 8O .and of course there are, potentially anyway...beginners don't see them...........easy life.
as to palm strikes, I've heard they work well to the heart and my own assumption is they would work against the kidneys etc.so maybe they should be used like a boxer uses punches .with body punches, hooks and jabs etc.....and in aikido they can be used to unbalance and throw.........so a versatile technique 8)
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Re: Palm Strike -- my favorite first defense technique

Postby Van Canna » Wed Dec 18, 2013 3:45 am

The other thing to be very aware of in my opinion is that someone who 'sucker punches' has done this before and is pretty good at it.

This also means that you can expect a 'feint' with one hand...then the real punch arrives when you are busy reacting to the 'fake'...
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Re: Palm Strike -- my favorite first defense technique

Postby hthom » Wed Dec 18, 2013 7:55 pm

How to do the palm strike? Here is how from the man Bas:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6d6YML7Mypw
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Re: Palm Strike -- my favorite first defense technique

Postby hthom » Fri Dec 20, 2013 12:21 am

From Bill
It doesn't hurt that Bas Ruten is built like a brick sheethouse and appears to have the athleticism of a gymnast. There's nothing weak about him.

Well, too bad (or for the lucky ones) we all get old sooner or later. Some of the stuff regardless how wonderful they were at the time, will come back and haunt us regardless of how tough we were. Here is the latest on Bas. Guess it is time for him to take up Tai Chi:
http://www.mmaweekly.com/bas-rutten-und ... ck-surgery
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Re: Palm Strike -- my favorite first defense technique

Postby jorvik » Sun Dec 29, 2013 7:45 pm

I have been looking at some traditional pugilism as opposed to boxing, and they tend to use other targets than those chosen by modern boxers

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7i9q6IaUCsQ

the whole series and indeed the site is worthy of further study
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