Knock me out

Two events happened during jitsu training yesterday which led to the creation of this post.

1) I went in to punch someone, whose resultant block caused me to punch myself in my own mouth.  My punch was admittedly sloppy and I was annoyed at myself.  (My annoyance being mostly because of the blood spill over a clean gi, it takes forever to dry gi’s in the damp city I live in.)
2) Watching a novice stand a good distance from me attempting to punch my face.  Arm locked out, sloppy lean forward, but still ending two inches short of my nose.

Now with the second point I wish to add the proviso that I was the same when I started learning martial arts.  In fact my punches are still generally poor, likely to lead to those who learn attacking martial arts creasing up with laughter.

The martial arts I learn are defensive ones.  We learn how to deal with attackers.  We are not in the business of becoming the attacker.  BUT…. how the heck are meant to learn to defend properly if we can’t produce a decent attack?  Our senior grades all know how to attack properly.  I am relieved that the do hold back on me because having seen how they merrily seem to try and beat each other senseless I  can emphatically say I am not ready for that.  (I respect my limitations.)

We don’t specifically teach people to punch or kick.  It is not part of our remit.  Or should it be?  Or should we expand our repertoire and go elsewhere to learn the finer details of this techniques?

I imagine learning to attack properly takes as much time as learning to defend properly.  Though if I were to go and seek out the best place for developing my punches I am not 100% sure where to start.

  • Karate seems an obvious choice, but I think would conflict too much with my aikido and jitsu.
  • Boxing?  Or do the gloves influence the actions too much?
  • Muay Thai?  Boxing gloves argument.  Plus I don’t think I have that sort of attitude.
  • Silat?  <Whimper>
  • Krav Maga?

I look at the above list and I mentally look for the exit door.  The truth is that as much as I like my martial arts the thought of training to deliberately hurt someone who has done nothing to me goes against some core inner principle.  Sure, if you are going to try and run off with my handbag which is mostly filled with old bus tickets and snotty tissues…


If you are determined to try and inflict injury on me or my loved ones for a reason which is not salvageable then I have no hesitation in using what I have learned.  But to go up and provoke an attack?  That is not me.

Yet if I and my fellow jitsuka and aikidoka don’t learn to attack properly then we are never going to learn defense properly.  So at some point I am going to have to swallow my reservations and utter those words, “how do I deliver a strong effective punch?”

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