Thursday, 23 July 2009

Is the Headbutt Effective for Self Defence

The techniques which we all wish would work such as spinning back roundhouse kicks, flying arms, or even fast hook punches may look impressive, but the nature of most self defence situations, points to the fact that these types of techniques are impractical for the fast, explosive and unpredictable confrontations that happen daily. One must think hard about which techniques are practical and which are not.

One which many see as being very practical for the streets is the head butt. The reason being, that it does not take years of training to learn, it is fast, it’s a close quarter technique and the head (forehead part) is strong. These are all good reasons for trying to implement the head but in a self defence situation, and although it was effective for Zinedine Zidane, is it really as effective as people think.

Below are a few reasons why the head but may not be effective.

You are not striking a still target – If you mark a spot on a motionless heavy bag and try and head but it, you may find that you will only sometimes hit that spot. Against a fast moving opponent who may be pulling you left right and centre, head butting your target may not always work, and you may find yourself missing.

Striking surface must be precise – Many times there have been instances where someone has attempted to head but with there forehead but for one reason or another they have hit with there nose, top of the skull, eye/eyebrow or somewhere else and have ended up hurting themselves.

There may be better techniques available – If you are close enough to head but, then you are close enough to knee to the groin or kick to the knee or execute some other technique which may be more effective.

You leave yourself open – In daily training, there are people who are constantly shouting, “keep your guard up”. This is because the head is the area you want to protect the most. By head butting you are doing the opposite of this and exposing it. If you are successful with the technique and it is enough to stop your attacker, great, but if it is not you leave yourself wide open to counter blows to weak and vital areas. Do you really want to take that chance?

You can ended up falling – Even with a good stable stance, which is rare to achieve in a street fight, if you execute a head but with force, you may find yourself losing balance as you throw all your weight forward and may end up on the floor. If you are involved in a multiple attack situation, this may be a very dangerous place to be.

Yes the head but can be effective, but there are also many reasons why it can not be. Many people think that because fights end up mainly as close quarter affairs than any close quarter technique is good to use. However, this is not always the case. Each technique must be thought about clearly and if YOU don’t feel comfortable with it or it is something which does not suit your fighting style, YOU should not use it. It may be good for someone else and may be branded all over the internet and magazines as effective, but if you don’t think so, don’t use it. Instead, what you should do, is think about what is effective for you and concentrate on becoming efficient with them techniques.


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Elias said...

I would have to call the headbutt an effective technique. Like you said, if you're close enough to headbutt you're close enough to use another technique. However, that doesn't mean a headbutt can't be used in conjunction with other techniques.

What you said about headbutting being risky is true, and it is also easy to defend, but if the opponent is paying attention to your other 'weapons' then you have created an opening for something as unconventional as a headbutt.

John W. Zimmer said...

Playing the devils advocate here... if one is in range to do a head butt, one or both of the combatants do not know how to fight (unless one's preference is grapping).

I usually have seen this with a couple of drunken construction workers on payday fighting over quarters on a pool table.

Granted a head butt would be effective.

MARKS said...

ELIAS & JOHN - I do think the headbutt is effective, but only when it has hit its intended target whih can be hard to do. Personally I think that every technique can come with some sort of risk of being countered or can put one in a bad situation, but I see the headbut as one that has many risks. Becuase of these risks I would prefer not to use it unless no over alternative, but each to there own I suppose. Thanks for the comments guys.

Urban Samurai said...

The headbutt is not a technique I would think of doing too often, though it does have its uses. In the case of a front over arm bearhug, were the arms are pinned and your options are limited, the headbutt is a very good initial response because you are in close anyway and you can't really miss.

I know of a guy who street fights all the time (not something I'd condone) and he has a bit of a reputation for using a flying headbutt, if you can picture that one. It seems to work for him, but only against untrained people. Try that against someone trained and you'll regret it for obvious reasons.

The comment problem is on my end, by the way. I'm having trouble with Firefox for some reason. Using a different browser here and it's working fine.

MARKS said...

URBAN SAMURAI - Completly agre with. lol. Yes, I dont think the flying head but would go well against a trained fighter. But then again, you never know...

Anonymous said...

I think the headbutt is good if you don't have any other options. My little sister is an excellent headbutter, so I know its effectivness.

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