Way back when I was a kid watching Batman and Robin, I was trying to figure out how to throw a knockout punch. I figured from watching the shows that you had to pull your hand way back and swing as hard as you could! My childhood version of fighting was a bit off but I did know that knocking someone out was a good way to win a fight or in self-defense, live to fight another day.
But on this website for years I have focused on those who did not know how to fight, trying to uplift them and motivate them to learn how to fight, but if not that – at least take a short-term self-defense course. So in a manner of speaking I have dumbed down this website. Well as I get older I realize that I am not helping anyone by showing a few good moves and telling people that they can do this with a self-defense class. Perhaps but likely not.
So today’s topic of how to throw a knockout punch is a good example. For self-defense I would have told people to throw an eye shot or half-fist to the throat or a kick to the groin if someone attacked them. Now what would I do? I would just knockout the offending attacker and be done with it.
Is knocking someone out hard? For me? No. For an untrained fighter? Yes. An untrained fighter will need an edge to survive an attack. For me it is unlucky for the attacker to pick me as a victim because likely he will not realize I can fight and give me advantages. But even if he does not, (give me advantages) my go to move is to knock him out and figure out what happened later.
Today I’m starting to develop my youtube channel for My Self-Defense Bog, (MySelfDefenseBlog) where I can upload short videos showing some moves. The videos will be short and to the point at hand. Here is the first in that effort. I’ll go into more detail below after.
You live in a city or country where you cannot carry a gun and your car breaks down. Your cell phone is out of juice but you see a store a couple of blocks down the street. Earlier in the day you had attended martial arts training and still have a trunk full of weapons. Now you see a bunch of guys approaching talking garbage.
I know this is a contrived situation but I had to figure out a way that one might legally have spears, staffs, swords, daggers, clubs, tomahawks, and such to talk about the differences in fighting methods. Before we get going into this discussion I would like to mention my expertise is with unarmed combat (Kenpo Karate or Eastern Martial Arts (EMA) if you will). While I have always had an idea how to use improvised weapons (I understand Kenpo staff fighting methods) , I’ve only started practicing improvised weapons and historical European weapons (HEMA) in the last year or two.
I’ll will try to limit this discussion to the differences I see at each distance. To start lets take an unrealistic view of how an unarmed man might fight a long sword attack.
One of the fighter’s dilemmas is what happens when you grow old? I’ve written about this before but I want to take a slightly different tact other than entertaining the thought that old men will fight as good as young men. This is a case of diminishing returns. The older a man gets – the more his skill, strength, and stamina leaves him.
Specifically someone used to fighting any kind of sport karate (point sparring, continuous sparring, full contact or kick boxing, and even mma) will notice all of the hungry young pups giving the oldsters a run for their money. If an older fighter has not made the transition from fighter to coach at some point – what will be left? That is the point of this article. But first watch an old guy letting his gloves do the talking. I don’t know if there is any colorful language as these are not English speakers.
Wow that is quite a mouthful – Eastern MA compared to Historical European MA vs Olympic Fencing? Many might not understand the differences and to be truthful – it is hard to see the difference between Eastern vs Western martial arts. Is East Japan Kenpo, Okinawan Karate, Korean Tae Kwon Do, or Chinese Kung Fu? or we talking some Mongolian wrestling or Greko Roman wrestling? Are we speaking Turkish oil wrestling? All might be argued as the “East.”
How about HEMA (historical European martial arts) or Western martial arts maybe? If so what does that entail? So just the French and English Saber or does it include the Turkish Saber? So you see when we talk terms it is easy to be confused. I’ll state what I mean.
What I usually refer as martial arts to me used to mean Japan and China region martial arts. You see in America the word martial arts pretty much became that. Even though boxing and wrestling are “martial” and “art” in the sense that a fighter has to be creative to be good at fighting. The thing about martial arts is they have evolved to modern fighting methods that work better.
HEMA is easy to describe as it is using sword fighting as described in the old manuals by masters. Some use the word “military” swords but I tend to use the word “real” swords. People who train with HEMA try to fight they way sword masters of old did (you know when they last fought with swords). Today we don’t fight with swords so there is no real equivalent or next generation masters.
Or is there? One Olympic event is called foil, eppe or sabre fencing. This is a modern method with really light strips of metal (you cannot really call them swords). Arguably the foil & eppe were supposed to be trainers for the small sword but I don’t see the use of the sabre. The Olympian sabre is too light to be used the same way as real military saber. It is about the same as modern day point fighting. You cannot strike some areas and electric scoring is employed.
We also have the Olympics that have Tae Kwon Do (Korean karate like) karate in the games. Funny thing is the practitioners think it is fighting but to me it is playing. True if you get kicked with one of those kicks – it will do real damage, but if you are a trained fighter – there is not much chance of that – at least for me when I was younger. They score more point for kicks as they get more complex. Even though a knock out is a knock out is a knock out – not matter if a punch or kick or fancy jump spinning kick to the head. So it is a game.
So in both WMA and HMEA you have older methods but in WMA you also have newer methods. In HEMA not having modern methods is the point. I mean soldiers do not use swords in battle. As the styles of swords changed over the years – the sword method (except for the manuals) died out. Watch this video for an overview of the differences between historical and modern fencing and I’ll add my thoughts about karate and why I like HEMA.
When I was a kid watching Batman and Robin, I used to see the dynamic duo picking up common objects laying around and use them as weapons! I mean the bad guys already had weapons of some kind before they attacked. The really cool thing about an improvised weapon is it can even the odds and take the advantage away from your attacker!
In this article I will talk about improvised weapons and how one might add some of these into your sparring workouts. Why would a martial artist want to train with common object as weapons? Why not train with only traditional martial arts weapons? The short answer is you have to improvise with what you have if attacked. Take a look at this video I found that does a good job of sparring with weapons but not so much realism when it goes to the ground (more on that later).
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When I was a kid I used to watch old karate movies and I used to see the master punch the bad guy and he would go flying! As a gullible kid it seemed that karate punches were almost magical. As I grew up and learned a bit of karate – I learned how to break boards and bricks and thought I had a good punch. I mean all of the board and bricks were scared of me.
That was always the argument when I first got into karate – did boxing or karate have the most powerful punch. Boxers thought they did and the formal karate guys thought the did. Well I’m not going to sway any boxers opinions here but in this article I’m going to discus boxing vs karate punches, where the power is generated and some differences. And I will give away my secret to throwing a really power punch… relax.. more on that later but first here is a video that frames the question very aptly.
As you might know from reading this website I tend to focus on self-defense over martial arts (MA). Martial arts are interesting to me in the various forms such as studio sparring, tournment fighting (back in the days of the legal groin kicks), sport (boxing, mma, kick boxing) and what I started karate lessons for – self-defense so many years ago.
So while sport MA are fun to watch – they have no basis in reality as they have rules. I hear some of you yelling to the screen that (insert sport here) works in the street (insert expletive here)! I want you to know that I think any top fighter in any sport will do ok on the street. I don’t disagree.
But – with rules you leave out targets that I as a self-defense practitioner can take advantage of – for instance the groin, eyes, throat, knees and such. I also know some of you have iron nuts and not man (or even a woman) can harm you… sure they are… I’ve stopped listening to fairy tails when I was a boy. So lets agree to disagree on this point and get to the point of this post.
Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA) daggar training is one type of improvised martial arts training we are starting to use. Here is a video of some basic HEMA dagger sparring for your perusal and then I’ll speak how Kenpo Karate initial movement can blend effectively to make the dagger an effective improvised weapon.