Using Nails in a Fight, Effective of Ineffective?

Discussion in 'General Self Defense' started by Kane, Feb 14, 2005.

  1. Kane

    Kane Black Belt

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    Many describe using nails in a street fight the woman's way of fighting. However, does that mean it won't work? Would you use your nails in a street fight? Usually if you use your nails to strike, you might be able to cut your attacker. However you might break a nail in the process which can be somewhat painful as well.

    I think I would use mine in grappling. Every grip I make I would use my nails and sink it into whatever move (armbar, choke, ect.) I am doing. I don't think I would use it strike, because breaking a nail might not be the wisest (well that is if your life is not at stake, then it is maybe okay).

    Also does anyone in hear sharpen their nails just for self-defense? Sound strange to me, but it might no be a bad idea.
     
  2. GAB

    GAB 3rd Black Belt

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    Hi Kane,
    :rolleyes:
    I like to carry a 16 penny nail around in my watch pocket, since I am a carpenter I know what a nail will do to you... I recommend them highly...

    You have to watch out for us old guys we have lots of tricks...:)

    Regards, Gary
     
    • Funny Funny x 1
  3. digitalronin

    digitalronin Green Belt

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    You can pound some into a louisville slugger and make a nasty club out of of them ....
    oh u mean human nails :( rake the eyes and follow with something with a bit more impact
     
  4. bignick

    bignick Senior Master

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    My judo instructor has told me of when he was stationed in japan he'd heard stories about Chinise Martial Arts practitioners sharpening their nails. But I have none to speak of so it's not really an option for me. Plus, training on a regular basis you'd think the nails would break or end up scratching yourself or your partners.
     
  5. Knifehand

    Knifehand Guest

    LOL:boing1:
     
  6. mj-hi-yah

    mj-hi-yah Senior Master

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    When we teach Women's Self Defense we recommend using your nails or keys held between your fingers to rake across your attackers face (eyes). This way if he is caught, the authorities can match up the distance between keys held between your fingers to the marks left on the attacker. Also your nails or keys will contain your attacker's DNA...so you shouldn't wash them without going to the police to give a sample first.
     
  7. Cruentus

    Cruentus Grandmaster

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    I am going to express a difference of opinion here, so please don't take offense.

    If you want to "win" on the street, I don't suggest doing things that will create only superficial damage or a little pain. Scratching the nails or raking with a key would fall into this category.

    Most likely if someone has the nuts to attack you, they think that they'll win. They may have size, strength, weapons, numbers, sheer aggressiveness, or any number of things in their favor. Superficial damage or any technique reliant only on "pain complaince" is just not enough to stop someone geared up to hurt you.

    Who wins the fight is who brings the most, first. In other words, you need to create as much trauma as quickly as possible to stop the threat enough to allow you to escape.

    Eye gauges are great for creating trauma, but a simple claw or thumb gauge (nails or not) with intent to severely damage is enough to do the trick, and is more efficient and effective then trying to scratch with nails or keys.

    Paul
     
  8. MA-Caver

    MA-Caver Sr. Grandmaster

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    (Human) nails are definitely a fine way to go if one doesn't have them manicured or trimmed (or bitten down). I've used my nails in "for-real" fights before and I'll say they are highly effective. They'll leave a mark that'll stick around for weeks if you gouge/scratch deeply enough, it'll remind the guy/attacker not to mess with you again.
    As for strengthening nails. I've a friend who is considered one of the top classical (acoustic) guitarists in the country. He never uses a pick and has his nails long. I've seen him pick up an ordinary house brick using just the nails and not the fingertips. They're strong. He says the secret... "eat lots of jello". Apparently gelatin provides the necessary ...umm, whatever, that strengthens the nails. Since the man practices four hours daily (no kidding) on his guitar using only his nails and they maintain their shape and don't flake or chip... I'd say he's found a good way to keep his nails the way they're supposed to.
    So there are ways to keep your nails strong and as an "additional weapon" without the worry of breaking.
    But then when you're in a "for-real" fight you shouldn't even worry about going all prissy and breaking a nail. Just do it and bear the pain later. ... you did/do want to win that/those fight(a) didn't/don't you??

    :asian:
     
  9. Cruentus

    Cruentus Grandmaster

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    May I ask what you did exactly?
     
  10. MA-Caver

    MA-Caver Sr. Grandmaster

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    Well ... yes you may ask....


    Oh! Umm, well basically what I remember is that in jr. high school a guy kept pushing me back against a row of lockers trying to goad me into a fight. He was succeeding mostly in just pissing me off. I honestly didn't want to fight him as he outweighed me by at least 50 lbs and was two grades older than I was (being a 7th grader at the time, it was a joint jr-high/high school). He finally tired of just pushing me and tried to do the lapel grab-lift thing and that's when I grabbed around either side of his head with my hands and raked from his ears to his nose. He dropped me two-quick and that put me off balance and back against the lockers and now about facing his gut. Couple of jabs there got him staggered back enough to give me the room I needed to slip sideways out and hauling-azz down the hall to the nearest exit door.
    Next day he had two rows of scratches on one side of his face and a nice good one along another. One of the scratches was near his eye.
    For a while I was accused of "fighting like a girl" and having "nails like a girl" and being a homosexshul... fortunately one of the prettiest girls in my grade level/class kept hanging around with me and dispelling the rumor.
    The guy didn't seek payback or anything. I know I didn't hit him hard-enough in the gut to really hurt, but he must've felt them and reacted instinctively to back off. I'm guessing the fierceness of my defense was enough to let him know it wasn't a good idea to tangle with me.
    However; it didn't discourage others from trying their hand with me, and I ran a lot or got caught in a corner a lot over the next couple of months. My older brother got wind of it and managed to put a stop to it all by mixing it with the guys trying to mix it with me. Pretty soon it got around to mess with him you have to face his brother. To my memory my brother never lost a fight.
    :idunno:
    Growing pains and finally a decision to study MA. But the lesson of using my nails stuck with me. Also the lesson of my eldest brother :"There's no such thing as a fair fight!"
    :uhyeah:
     
  11. Raewyn

    Raewyn Master Black Belt

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    I dont mean to sound humourous when I say this, but in regards to nails when fighting (street reality) I have found that if your nails are not hardened enough they tend to bend backwards which causes more harm to yourself then to the person you are fighting with. They can in some circumstances be more of a hindrance then a help.
     
  12. Cruentus

    Cruentus Grandmaster

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    MACaver,

    When we look at the dynamics of the situation, we find that the circumstance involved one Jr. High Schooler trying to posture and Bully another. In your circumstance, superficial scratches with the nails worked, which is good.

    However, 2 high school kids quarelling is far different then 2 adults fighting to really hurt each other, or someone trying to hurt or kill another. I think you will agree with me at least on that much.

    If someone is trying to really hurt or kill you, I maintain that superficial attacks like "scratching" are not the options you should be employing. This is especially true if you are a woman trying to fend off a larger and stronger male. Superficial wounds will likely only piss off an aggressive attacker more so then prevent them from hurting you. If you are able to scratch at their face, then what you should be doing is gauging your fingers or thumbs through their eye sockets, or ripping their ears off, or striking with as much force as you can. Every second counts, and every second should be utilized to create the trauma necessary to stop the attacker so you can escape. No time should be wasted on tactics that create only superficial damage, as wasting time could get you killed.

    Now, I am not discrediting your experience, as every experience is a valuable learning tool. I appreciate your honesty so we could discuss the details of the matter.

    Side note: that was funny to read about your older brother. I know what your talking about, as I WAS the older brother. Nobody messed with my 2 little brothers when they were in school! :uhyeah:

    Paul
     
  13. KenpoTex

    KenpoTex Senior Master

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    Something I thought of while reading this...

    How many of us have nails long enough to really gouge/rake anyway? I would venture to guess that most of you (I know I do) keep them short to avoid accidental injuries in the studio.
    something else to consider, with long nails it's kinda hard to make a proper fist. It's not too uncommon for a woman to start at the studio and in the course of training I'll notice that they're having problems punching, a lot of times it's the fact that they can't make a good fist w/o their nails digging in and/or breaking.

    just some random thoughts...
     
  14. Raewyn

    Raewyn Master Black Belt

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    I used to have long nails, but than I started training in MA and found them more of a nuisance than anything else, I either hurt someone unintentially with them or I hurt myself, either way they were are a pain in the butt, so I cut them off!!!!!!
     
  15. KenpoTess

    KenpoTess Sr. Grandmaster

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    If one of my students has long nails and is scratching people they work with .. they are told to cut em.. we in our studio keep them short.. as anyone who's been sliced by a human nail.. knows the pain and infection that soon ensues after the wound. What's under even clean nails can cause staph infection if broadcast to another via a scratch, so if you don't inflict a deadly wound to your opponent.. they may later thank you for the infection they will never forget ;)

    I would rather keep my nails trimmed to the tip of my finger than extending past -if in a confrontation they will do damage at that length if need be.
    I've worked with girls with acrylic nails (in the college groups) most of them lost a nail along with part of their own underneath and were in severe pain.. so for acrylic .. I say Definitely don't rely on them for a 'weapon'..

    This is more of a 'To each his Own' scenario.. Whatever works for you.. use what you have.
     
  16. DarrenJew

    DarrenJew Orange Belt

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    I would say a nail gouge would be totally ineffective in a real fight. When I was young just starting to take Martial Arts.... one of my former classmates decided he was going to do a surprise groin kick, I had no cup on.. we were not sparing, in fact I was in a middle of a conversation with another student when he walked up to us and kicked me in the groin. I’m adrenaline was immediately raised and I kicked him back in the groin as hard as I could. He never returned to class.... during the incident I really did not have time to feel the pain, I knew I was kicked... after everything had settled down I knew I was hurt and for the next 3 weeks I was carrying around a very large peach in my pants. After that experience, I always wore a cup in class before I've even entered the studio.

    Adrenaline is really an amazing drug… ps. I am currently happily married and have two wonderful children... so I guess the damage was not perminent. whewww......
     
  17. FearlessFreep

    FearlessFreep Senior Master

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    Being a bass guitarist, I use to keep the nails on my right hand a bit long to usefor grabbing the strings. Then I noticed in some classes that when I was making a good fist and punching hard that the nails would dig into my own palm; it left marks and it hurt. So now I keep my nails short so I can punch more effectively without causing myself damage
     
  18. KyleShort

    KyleShort Green Belt

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    This is a bit silly to me.

    Self defense is about trauma. Fighting is about pain. I knew a guy many years back that used his nails effectively in high school fights...but by design those cease when they get uncomfortable for the willing participants in the fight.

    In self defense you best not rely on something like scratching. Your nerves are dulled by heavy doses of adrenaline and you won't likely know that you were scratched until it is all over.
     
  19. Fightfan00

    Fightfan00 Orange Belt

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    I wouldnt hesitate to use my nails,poke your eye out,face gouging,or just about any dirty tactic to teach someone a lesson for trying their hand at getting me.Now i'm not saying it will always work but you do your best.
     
  20. Gin-Gin

    Gin-Gin Senior Master

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    I don't consider using fingernails in a streetfight the "woman's way" of fighting; they are just another weapon in one's arsenal to me. Hell yes, I'd use my nails in a streetfight, as well as all of my other natural weapons! Mr. Parker was often quoted as saying that "there are no rules in the street" & I agree with that. No disrespect to our LEOs, but they can't do anything for you (unless they're your MA instructor :) ) until AFTER you've been attacked. I don't keep my nails very long (because they get in they way of sparring), but they are just past my finger, & yes, the way I would use them if I were in a fight for my life, they would be an effective weapon. Clawing is very different from scratching.

    But that's my opinion. As KenpoTess said, "this is more of a 'To each his Own' scenario.. Whatever works for you.. use what you have."123
     

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