Monday, 11 May 2009

A Great Self Defence Technique

Everybody wants to be confident enough to defend themselves usefully on the street. People often pay lot so money to attend self defence courses, seminars and other events to learn basic street survival tactics. There is one technique however, that is so basic and so easy to learn that many do not even think about it, but can go a long way.

It can be refereed to as the guarding stance. When one realises that a possible attacker is getting a bit too close for there comfort, he/she simply steps forward slightly and places one arm in front, hand on the chest. (A picture of it can be seen below on the cover of Geoff Thompson’s book, The Fence) Although it looks like nothing that can save oneself against an attack, it can definitely provide benefits. Some of these benefits are outlined below.

Increase hand speed with a speed bag.

It stops the attacker from getting close to you – By holding up your arm, it stops the attacker from getting in close to you. He/she may be carrying a weapon and this simple barrier will stop them for using the weapon against vital targets.

Will act as an antenna – Against two or more attackers, your guarding hand can act as an antenna to keep track of where the person being guarded is moving, while you focus your sight on another attacker.

Allows you to easily take a fighting stance - By lunging one leg forward at the same time you guard your opponent, you can easily adopt a stance which you may be familiar, well balanced and comfortable with if the confrontation becomes a fight.

Can stop an attack – The one problem about blocks in reality is that they can sometimes be performed too late. By guarding your opponent, one can very easily stop an opponents strike if thrown, just by simply pushing on his/her chest.

Can draw attention away from other techniques – By guarding your opponent, you are able to draw his/her concentration away from your other limbs, which can be used to strike your opponent if needed.

It is a great set up – By holding one arm forward, in this case guarding an attacker, one can generate a lot of power to strike with the opposite arm. Just like in boxing, by setting up a powerful straight punch, one may throw a jab punch forward first. Also, this helps in “finding” the target in order to carry out a successful punch.

Obviously this guarding position must be taken subtly and in a way where your attacker does not know your intentions. Security workers and police officers sometimes adopt this stance, whilst looking slightly away from there opponents all the while keeping full concentration on them. This is very subtle as the attacker gets distracted by them looking away. When practising this strategy find what works for you. Chances are, when you put your arm up, he/she will push it down or to the side. That’s fine, just keep putting it up subtly whenever that happens. Although this is a simple strategy to protect oneself it still needs relevant practise with in a realistic fashion.

Geoff Thompson calls this technique the fence and has written a very insightful book about its application and effectiveness. If you are interested in learning amore about it, I recommend you check out his book.


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Adam @ Low Tech Combat said...

Great post! When i first learnt about 'the fence' i wondered what I had done without it. It really is a fundamental tactic to use in all encounters.

Anonymous said...

Could be useful, one thing though: if he has a weapon (especially a knife) and you hold out one arm like that he'll just cut it and then proceed to your vital targets. The inside of the arm (exposed veins, muscles) is a vital target btw. To me distance still reigns supreme: if he can't reach me he can't hurt me and I'll see his attacks coming. Still, for close-in situations it's a good idea, as long as you react instantly as soon as he goes for a hidden weapon.

Anonymous said...

I think it was in Bruce Lee's movie the Chinese Connection that he used both hands as a fence while fighting multiple opponents.

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