Recently, a discussion on a writer’s group I’m part of had a link to an article on fighting for writers. The article was somewhat misleading, as it mostly had to do with what’s called an active shooter situation, and not fighting.

So, I thought I’d write an article on actual fighting, since to my surprise not every writer knows Kung Fu or Karate.

Fighting techniques

Fighting techniques fall into two groups – armed and unarmed. I’ll spend some time dealing with unarmed first. I’m going to use some Asian terminology, because we speak from what we know.

Unarmed fighting techniques fall into three categories – Atemi-Waza (percussive strikes and kicks), Nage-Waza (grappling/throwing), and Chin Na (joint locks/pins). I’ll admit, I don’t remember  the Japanese term for Chin Na, so I borrowed from the Chinese for it.

Every fight can essentially be broken down into these three categories. Untutored fighters will often lead into grappling (nage), with the occasional punch thrown. The more violent an attacker is, the more they will resort to Atemi techniques over Nage. Watch two boys fight on a school playground, and you’ll see them automatically grapple ineffectively. scrapes, fat lips and bruises are the most common results.

In the martial art Aikido, the attacker is called the Uke, and the defender is called the Nage. Notice it’s the same word for grappling. When I talk later about Aikido, I’ll explain why.

Street Brawling

Street Brawling is usually the term for untutored fighters, who don’t know how to fight. Street brawling is done often by the removing of a jacket or coat, then the lowering of the head of the attacker (Uke) and a charge. The other merely has to lower his body weight and divert the attack downward to put the attacker face first in the dust. Just grab the shoulders of the charging person, push down and drop your weight. Step back, bow, and walk away humbly while they lick their fat lip and wonder what happened.

If the person is particularly aggressive, they will try to lead with punches. It’s a rare untrained fighter who will attempt to maintain their feet while delivering a series of punches. Most of them walk away victorious, aware only their hands are hurting. Later they’ll discover they will have broken bones in what’s called a “Boxer’s fracture”. It takes about three days for this fracture to heal.

In the street fight, staying on your feet equals survival. If you end on your back, it’s a bad place (writer’s everywhere are taking notes).

Many people have watched MMA fights, and think they know how to do them from watching them. It’s not true, and it can lead to embarrassing results. It can also lead to jail time, since even an improper execution of certain techniques can leave the defender with permanent injury. I’ll talk more on MMA, and I’ll give you a definition of it guaranteed to anger every MMA brawler.

Trained fighting

Boxing. This is the first trained fighting art we’ll deal with. Boxing consists of three basic moves – jab, cross and uppercut. The uppercut is an underhanded movement, from belt line upwards. The entire idea is to wear out the opponent, lead them in with jabs and crosses until they make a mistake and enter in – and you lash them with an uppercut straight into the jaw. This interrupts the signals from the brain momentarily, and the boxer is out cold.

The Cross is a cross body punch, although I don’t think the concept of center line is taught in boxing (I knew it from Wing Chun kung fu). The idea is that you’re hitting full strength, arm extended and almost locked. This, by the way, led to permanent injury to US Navy personnel in China during the Boxer Rebellion – the Asian response to this kind of punch is to attack the elbow when you lock it. Professional boxers since the 1960’s have learned to keep a slight bend in the elbow when hitting with the cross.

There’s a video I’ve seen of a martial artist opposing a pro boxer. The Martial artist was employing a secret form of Kung Fu known as Fu Jow Pai, or Black Tiger Style. It wasn’t a fight, it was butchery. I think the martial artist was Uri Candaelen – if anyone has a copy of this film, please contact me! The pro boxer I’m assuming is awake by now, and wondering what happened. Those people that think boxing will always beat Karate or Kung Fu, take note.

The jab is what it sounds like – the first 30 seconds of every boxing match is entirely jabs, if the person knows what they’re doing. Watch a boxing match and you’ll see it. It’s a close punch to the body or the mouth where you slightly extend the arm, and pull it back right away. Jabs wear down, cross punishes and opens defenses, uppercut finishes. That’s the strategy. Fast punching is done entirely from a series of jabs. A strategic boxer will add in a cross to a series of jabs in an almost musical rhythm, like a cymbal crash. The reason is the opponent will be caught up in the jabs and not expect the cross.

Amateur and Professional boxers spend a lot of time building up endurance and cardio. It takes a lot of stamina to endure many rounds of boxing, and pro boxers will lose weight in every fight.

Tomorrow – we cover wrestling, and move into martial arts!