Monday, April 7, 2008

Sucker Punch, 4 (Defense Against)

Continued from "Sucker Punch, 3 (Overhand right, hook)"

Let's consider the defense against a sucker punch:

The stranger approaches. Your spidey sense sends a shiver down the back of your neck. You have a pretty good idea what's coming. What do you do about it?

Even if you know it's coming, the sucker punch can catch you flat-footed. You want to be ready, so first, you go into the non-challenging defensive posture. Second, you draw a psychological line in the metaphorical dirt. Third, you remain alert so your Startle Response can set you into motion as soon as the orc makes his move.

At this point, classical martial arts (and their derivative self-defense systems) will tell you to block the punch and then strike back (punch, kick, elbow, etc.). Wing Chun and Bruce Lee's Jeet Kune Do recommend that you begin your counterstrike BEFORE you begin your block (or check). These systems can work, but they require years of practice before you become proficient.

You must learn five or six basic blocks. Then you must learn to do them with both hands. Then you must learn to respond with the block that is appropriate to various attacks. Then you must practice, practice, practice until the responses become automatic.

This is the path followed by most martial arts. This is also why someone who has trained for two or three years and thinks he's proficient will often take a beating at the hands of a street predator. The punch lands before he can choose which of ten or twelve responses he is going to make.

If you choose this approach, you can succeed, but not right away. You must train intensively for automaticity of response. Moreover, it will take a long time for you to become proficient against the surprise attack of the sucker puncher.

OR . . . you can build on your natural responses and develop a single technique that you can use against any sucker punch. You can reach an acceptable level of proficiency at this in days or weeks, rather than years. If you are a martial artist, you can use this to augment rather than replace the moves you learned in your style. If you are a non-martial artist, begin with this and then, if you feel the need, add other moves to it.

I will give you the details of this technique in "Sucker Punch, 5 (Defense Against)"

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