Defang or Decapitate?

gpseymour

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I posted this same question on FMATalk, but thought it would be interesting to get the response of folks over here too. Over on that forum someone posted a pretty cool videoclip titled "Defang" of a couple of Filipino soldiers going at each other with bare rattan and no protection. Pretty soon one guy got his hand cracked so hard he couldn't continue.

Anyway, when sparring or considering self-defense scenarios, do you favor going for the hand, the head, or both? Which do you feel is easer to hit? I know my instructor can nail either on me. Sometimes getting both in one shot! But then he is much better than I am. So in short, if your life depended on the outcome, do you try to defang or decapitate???
As with most things...it depends. If I'm playing at range, defanging may be more available. As range closes, I'm more likely to go for the head (and use my free arm, or other stick, to defend). I think I tend to get overly focused on their stick, so I'm probably more likely to go for defanging, overall.
 

Danny T

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As with most things...it depends. If I'm playing at range, defanging may be more available. As range closes, I'm more likely to go for the head (and use my free arm, or other stick, to defend). I think I tend to get overly focused on their stick, so I'm probably more likely to go for defanging, overall.
Absolutely. Range is of high importance for tactical applications.
 
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geezer

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As with most things...it depends. If I'm playing at range, defanging may be more available. As range closes, I'm more likely to go for the head (and use my free arm, or other stick, to defend). I think I tend to get overly focused on their stick, so I'm probably more likely to go for defanging, overall.

There's an important distinction that can be made between "defanging" and "disarming". "Defanging" can simply refer to targeting the hand or arm whereas "disarming" often includes some complex and risky techniques to force your opponent to release his weapon.

Hitting the hand can cause an opponent to drop his weapon, or not. Or it can just reduce his dexterity and effectiveness with his weapon. Or it can knock his weapon aside and create an opening. Whatever. ....But very useful.

On the other hand (pardon the pun!) ...most disarming techniques, those intended specifically to remove an opponent's weapon, are risky, and will have a lower percentage of success in a full-on fighting situation. Sometimes they just kinda fall into place, but IMO that's the exception. If you watch a lot of contact stick fighting videos, this seems to the case for most people. When going all out, more people slip and drop their own stick than get disarmed by conscious intent.

So, I mainly train disarms because they are fun, look cool and are an entertaining technical challenge. And there are a couple that do seem to pop up and sorta "fall into place" when playing in the studio. Heres one:

 

Ivan

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I posted this same question on FMATalk, but thought it would be interesting to get the response of folks over here too. Over on that forum someone posted a pretty cool videoclip titled "Defang" of a couple of Filipino soldiers going at each other with bare rattan and no protection. Pretty soon one guy got his hand cracked so hard he couldn't continue.

Anyway, when sparring or considering self-defense scenarios, do you favor going for the hand, the head, or both? Which do you feel is easer to hit? I know my instructor can nail either on me. Sometimes getting both in one shot! But then he is much better than I am. So in short, if your life depended on the outcome, do you try to defang or decapitate???
The hand is much easier and faster to move than the head. Therefore, it is much easier for you to use your hand to hit their head, than your hand to hit their hand. So in sparring, I always go for the head. This is only for weaponless sparring though. I have never done sparring with weapons, sadly.
 
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geezer

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The hand is much easier and faster to move than the head. Therefore, it is much easier for you to use your hand to hit their head, than your hand to hit their hand....

Ivan, with a weapon, often the same slashing stroke can target both the hand and the head. One stroke can hit both targets.

A weapon with some length, like a 24-30 inch long stick can cover a lot more area, generating a lot more speed and power than a similar movement using the hand alone. So imagine, for example, swinging a stick in a simple, overhand figure-8 pattern with the center-point or "X" in the middle of the figure-8 focused on your opponent's center. That single movement threatens his head and chest and the hands.
 

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In many Chinese weapon such as Miao Diao, double edge sword, staff, ..., it all have technique that attack opponent's weapon holding arm.

Miao-Diao-ap-1.gif
 

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The hand is much easier and faster to move than the head. Therefore, it is much easier for you to use your hand to hit their head, than your hand to hit their hand. So in sparring, I always go for the head. This is only for weaponless sparring though. I have never done sparring with weapons, sadly.

Yeah but they are further away and so have to give up position to get in range to strike.

 
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geezer

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Ivan, with a weapon, often the same slashing stroke can target both the hand and the head. One stroke can hit both targets.

Correction: One stroke has the potential of striking either target. A "two-fer" (hitting both) would be pure luck, at least for me!

At the very least, if distance and timing is good, you do menace both targets, and that in itself is useful.
 
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geezer

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In many Chinese weapon such as Miao Diao, double edge sword, staff, ..., it all have technique that attack opponent's weapon holding arm.

Miao-Diao-ap-1.gif
Nice GIF. This attack is equally found in FMA and HEMA. Even if black doesn't "defang" blue or seriously damage blue's hands, he has gained superior position and control of blue's weapon. Look how black is set up for the next move. Perhaps an upward slash to blue's throat ...and "game over!"
 

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Defang until/unless you have a chance to go in and decapitate.

(or striking eyes/temple/back of head/neck depending on what's available or the weapon you are using.)
 

Kung Fu Wang

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This attack is equally found in FMA and HEMA.
When I was 11, my brother in law taught me a staff form "劈手竿(Pi Shou Gan) - hand striking staff". The main technique is to slide my staff along my opponent's staff and hit my opponent's hand. Every day I used my staff to "slide" along a small tree trunk.

Some CMA weapon are very civilized. The 1st move of our dagger form is to use the dagger handle to strike on opponent's chest to give him a warning (don't mess with me. I have a dagger).

To cut your opponent's hand, or hit him instead of kill him can be very civilized solution.

dagger-start.gif
 
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Tony Dismukes

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So, I mainly train disarms because they are fun, look cool and are an entertaining technical challenge. And there are a couple that do seem to pop up and sorta "fall into place" when playing in the studio. Heres one:


I really like what I've seen of Burton Richardson's material. He seems to have a good handle on how to make techniques functional.
 

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I'm thinking about this question and reading all of your responses above and trying to figure out what it is that "I'd do." Since I don't train weapons, having made the informed decision about myself & my luck with these kinds of things a long, long time ago that the one time in my life when I'd Really, really need the sword/stick/knife/whatever thing it was... I'd have put it down on the other side of the couch as the bad guy burst into the room (Oops)... I've only got my hands, feet & head and the stuff between them to use.

So... that being said... As stated above, what comes in range is what I deal with, and I don't try to force things.... if the guy has a weapon, then of course I move away from the weapon, the weapon side, if at all possible which does two things, increases his distance he's got to cover to apply the weapon on me... and gives me more time to deal with it as he's forced to move to counter it. Otherwise, I end up behind him and his weapon is made moot.

As for the tricky disarms, I know a few of them and I agree that they are a bit too ...tricky. They do fall into place sometimes out of nowhere almost, while training... which I think is a bit misleading as nobody is Really training full-tilt boogie trying to kill you in the school, so I think it's a false positive result.

But... the basic, simple stuff where you're attacking the attacking limb, as long as you don't manage to slice up your own bod dealing with it if there's a blade...that stuff could be considered de-fanging, I think. That's where I almost always begin... sort of "tearing off the arms and legs to get to the head" sort of concept. If the guy swings/stabs at you and you manage to let him have his arm back with a broken bone in it... that limb, at least, is effectively de-fanged... even a significant enough bruising strike could get you to much the same place.

The above being where I start, operating with whatevver limb it is that they "give me" that I can "get at," I do still find myself frequently behind the guy for a moment... at which point if they were really intending badness on me I'd go for the decapitation option, figuratively speaking, if workable. Drop them backwards on their head, there's quite a few throwing techniques which do that, dropping them back on your knee, blowing out some ribs or even the spine, neck breaks... available if in the right position. I'd consider those decapitation moves. Not saying they're easy, or won't get you in legal trouble, just saying they might be there. And... if they Are there and you Are in a situation where you need that level of force to stop the situation, you go that way and do it.
 

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I don't do much stick work, my wife does. But I do a fairly good amount of work with a knife

I will always defang if the opportunity presents itself. I've found that it almost always does.
 

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Laughed my butt off!

I'm not very good with Arnis or Escrima, despite being taught by Remy Presas himself. It was only four days, but it was four days all day long. Wasn't even a seminar, he was working with one of my Instructors and I got a call to "get your butt over here right now." So I did.

Showed everything he taught us to my wife, who for some reason, just took to it. Within a year, she was way better than I was.

Remy had an assistant, his last name was Hoffman. Even now, a zillion years later, if I ever run into him I am going to take his stick and make him into a popsicle.

I can't defang with a stick or bare handed at all. God, I suck at it. But with a knife I feel I can defang anyone, even if I'm getting smashed in the process.
 

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Yeah but they are further away and so have to give up position to get in range to strike.

Perhaps, but there are little striking techniques that target the hands of an opponent, rmphasis on striking not locks, grapples etc. The only striking technique I can think of for targeting an opponent’s hand is striking the top of their hand with your knuckle caps hard enough to fracture some of their tinier bones there.
 

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Perhaps, but there are little striking techniques that target the hands of an opponent, rmphasis on striking not locks, grapples etc. The only striking technique I can think of for targeting an opponent’s hand is striking the top of their hand with your knuckle caps hard enough to fracture some of their tinier bones there.

Gunting. But I think that is because the tool used is pretty inefficient. Where a stick or a knife is a lot better at striking limbs and does more damage.
 

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I am not experienced with full speed sparring in FMA yet, and in fact I haven't trained FMA very much, so I speak less from specific experience and more from cumulative intuition/understanding:

I likely don't know what I'd do. It depends on range and timing and reflexes, and whether or not I see/feel the opportunity to disarm, defang, or attack some central target.

Having a Wing Chun background, I am cautious of chasing hands and prefer to threaten the opponent's core in some way, especially if the range is such that both you and your opponent are in range to threaten eachother's head or torso. Chasing the hands or the weapon is a good way to get cut/hit/stabbed. In my short time practicing HEMA, this is something I made good use of against less experienced practitioners, who tend to cut to the sword rather than the target. If you're swinging at my weapon, you're not threatening me in any way, so I just move my weapon out of the way, avoiding/ignoring yours and attacking you at the same time. It's pretty easy to tell when someone is chasing the hand or weapon and do this.

In random weapons sparring, mostly in the context of knife defense, but also a little bit of light stick sparring under pressure (the latter I have done far less of), the disarms that I pull off have mostly been those which just "fell into place." Some of them I went for and succeeded, some of them I just "found", and some of them were accidental. My very first disarm in sparring ever, in fact, was accidental: in one of my Wing Chun classes someone asked about knife defense, and we paired up and practiced knife versus empty hand, where both attacker and defender were free to do anything. Welp, one of my very first instinctive reactions to a stab that came in was inside pak-sao (slapping the inside of the wrist). The shock bent my attacker's wrist and caused the knife to go flying out of his hand. Successful and completely accidental disarm. I didn't even intend to do an inside pak-sao either -- I usually avoid that as it leaves you exposed to your opponent's rear hand. But it was in position to deal with the threat, and it did!

Not just with disarms, but with all techniques in general: I find that the more I "go" for a given technique, the less likely it is to succeed. The techniques that work are those that come out naturally when the situation presents itself, and my approach is to just try to train in such a way that I learn to put two and two together and recognize opportunities that are presented to me. Of course, training more complex techniques such as disarms with increased resistance and/or speed is important too. This sort of practice has to be done carefully though because if the opponent can resist freely and you're limited to just one technique, of course your opponent knows what you're going to do and can easily stop you from doing it. That's what I dislike about most knife defense "debunking" videos you tend to see: of course some technique that you've hardly trained before isn't going to work when your opponent is resisting fully, you're limited to a single technique, and he even knows what you're going to do. You need to be able to respond freely as well, and that means having a tool box of techniques and well trained reflexes, and flowing into whatever is suitable when you do counter resistance or something doesn't work.
 

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