Self Defense Principles Not Techniques: Control by Head and Hinge

When you control the opponent’s head, you control the body; where the head goes, the body follows. This can be as basic as pulling down the head to control the height zone, so it’s more difficult for the opponent to hit you or kick you.

Even better if you can control head and hinge, meaning head and joint; at the joint you can manipulate the opponent. Above is an example of hitting the hip joint and controlling the head at the same time; you can pull him all the way to the ground with this technique.

There are various techniques that show how to control the opponent by the hinge and head to manipulate him, throw him and cancel him and his attack.

Spreading Branch

Spreading Branch is a technique against a bear hug from behind with your arms pinned. You are at a definite disadvantage in this position; your back is to your opponent, you can’t fight him very well unless you face him, and your arms are restricted. A good part of this technique is based in getting out of this difficult spot, facing your opponent and freeing yourself.

As always when you are grabbed, you pin his weapons, get on top; with your left arm and hand you pin his arms; you drop your weight and turn sideways to better face him and get a base so he can’t pick you up and dump you and you have a foundation from which to work; you sweep his right leg with your right leg, at a 45 degree angle to spread his legs, disturb his base and deliver a hammer-fist strike to his groin to “loosen” him up. You pull his arm off you and back-knuckle his face and grab his head; you then drag him by the head to the front of you and knee his face and then drop an overhead downward elbow on his spine or neck or base of the skull: Most Available Target (MAT).

Defying the Storm

Defying the Storm is against a round-house, or forehand, club attack. You start off by stepping into the attack and blocking the arm at the bicep and wrist or arm with two chopping or sword-hand blocks. You grab the wrist with your left hand and grab the elbow with the right and do a push-pull, pushing at the wrist and pulling on the elbow joint; then you grab at the shoulder joint with your right and do another push-pull at the joint and insert a quick elbow into the attacker’s face. Using the shoulder or elbow hinge and hanging onto the wrist, you push at the wrist and pull on elbow and shoulder to drive the opponent’s face down and bring his arm straight up so that it is now vertical. Normally, in the Ideal Phase of the technique, you would drive a knee into the attacker’s body and then drop an elbow on the spine; however, here we’ve changed the technique to show how head and hinge is used to manipulate and control the opponent. With his shoulder joint locked, Joe here is pictured spinning James clockwise by pushing the head to the left and pulling the arm to the right; a circle at two ends working in unison; James is dropped to the ground and Joe ends the technique with a break on the arm, across the knee.

Joe pulls on the elbow which brings James forward and off balance.

Joe ends the technique with a break on the arm and claw through the eyes.

This video shows the straight (Ideal Phase) technique without the throw.


Dominating Circles

In Dominating Circles the attacker approaches you, is off-set to your right and grabs you by the right shoulder with his right hand, preparing to launch an attack. You pin his hand with your left, step behind him with your left foot and then lift and set your right foot behind his right leg as you circle your arm up and over and on top of his right arm. You sweep his right leg with your right leg as you strike his face with your right hand; you then switch your right hand to his right wrist and control his head with your left hand, guiding him face-first to the ground while cinching in the hammer lock on his right arm for added control. So, by controling the head and elbow and shoulder hinges, or joints, you manipulate the opponent to the ground.

Getting the opponent at the angle of disturbance, to unbalance him, by buckling his leg, aids in manipulating him further.

So we have shown how both head and hinge can be used to manipulate and control the opponent, to check him, to throw him and end the fight.

Kenpo techniques are rich with principles and examination is necessary for understanding all the lessons within a single technique; the better you understand the principles of techniques, the better you can perform them and the better you can apply principles across the board in different situations and positions and you will understand what works and why from those positions.

 Combat Strategy covers power principles examined in this article, including the variations on the push-pull or Opposing Forces effect. Valuable book for learning the intricacies of movement, principles and strategy in combat.


Bruce Lee Teachings


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