I was asked to set up a basic...

Gerry Seymour

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The applicable part is that a broken/damaged hand caused by punching doesn't necessarily mean that all is lost - there are degrees of broken which may or may not disable that hand. I didn't notice I'd damaged my hand until it started swelling later in the day.

Would an adult feel more debilitating pain from the same injury?

My view on palm vs. fist is that a swinging 'slap' type open palm is definitely a more natural action for most people and takes little in the way of training to learn to aim. But once you get toward a 'direct' palm heel strike - more like a jab/cross action - then the chance of a more severe wrist injury increases greatly.



I only really included it so I could make my partly sarcastic statistical analysis...

But that said, while my assailant was still 'a kid' he was older, bigger, stronger and had a bully reputation. He was used to picking his targets based on the fact (he thought) he could easily overpower them. Is that really so different to every adult attacker? Surely not every attack (simple or sexual) starts with the assailant 'squaring up' to his/her intended victim.

A kick to the face from that position was a new surprise for him - while an adult might not cry about it the situational shock will likely work a whole lot better than an elbow that they've probably shaken off many times before.

Maybe I'm wrong about that, maybe it's possible to train in a few hours a smiley slight girl to deliver an elbow strike to a larger attacker's abdomen with sufficient force to disrupt them while said girl is off balance and under stress and their assailant is tensed in 'fight mode' - as shown in multiple videos where the instructor grabs a giggling girl from behind, leaning over her so she's fully upright then says "oof" and lets go when she gently taps him with her elbow.

A shoe in the face (delivered from a more 'real' position, where you're already leaning backwards and probably holding the attacker's arm that's around your neck) might just be enough 'shock and awe' to let the victim cry and run away instead.


Thing is, I'm far from an expert - everything I've said might be complete bs (it's only able to be substantiated by my experiences in those particular situations)...
You make a good point that a broken hand doesn't cost much in the moment if you break it with a fight-ending strike.
 

Gerry Seymour

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If you have to teach a fist, don't try to teach a punch. It's just not going to work. I think we agree on that much?

If you're running with a small enough group you could possibly assess which ones have the natural propensity to make a fist and a direct punch and those who don't and short term train accordingly.

Trying to teach a punch to someone with a 'slap' mindset is not a good idea.

But, is trying to teach a 'slap' to a person with a 'clench and jab' natural reaction any better?

Again, no expert, this is why I think large audience self defence short courses are fundamentally flawed.




As for the other points, I apologise as I now see I failed to explain properly...

Through my 3 personal examples there was only one knock out, and that was me. The two fisticuffs moments were between 15 year olds (easier to ko than a full adult yes, but a bit above 'kiddy' range).

The instance where I got a punch in - an attack was caught, a counter was made. That counter (which was probably as much push as actual impact, notwithstanding my fractured hand) was enough to get him off balance and fall over, while at the same time giving his accomplices slight pause for thought. In a 'street' scenario that pause is a good head start with the running and shouting.

The kick didn't result in a ko either - what it resulted in was more like "wtf, where did that come from? what just happened?" - again, a good running/shouting head start.
You hit upon one of the potential issues for classes like this. There's not enough time to customize training to individuals (for instance one of my long-term students had 8 years of Shotokan, so I didn't bother to teach him any strikes - just adapted his application). My experience with these classes is that people with a clinch-and-jab mindset don't tend to show up. The vast majority will be folks who are predisposed to slaps, or not particularly predisposed to hitting with any organization at all.
 

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The point about force behind a palm strike vs. a punch - that really depends on how that force is being measured. (Disclaimer: I haven't looked at the provided link...)

If it's simply 'weight behind it' then they're likely to be very close, and if you're measuring 'knockout power' based on a random placement on the head there's not much in it. That's because the actual weapon becomes the skull against the brain.

Anywhere else though, it's different. A palm to the ribs will spread the force from the strike over multiple ribs because you're dealing with maybe 6 square inches. A punch of the same force though, that's down to 2 square inches, so the force over area is 3 times greater.

Here's a very extreme example - get a hypodermic needle and measure the force required to pierce skin. Now get a brick and apply the same force (you'll have to support the majority of the brick's weight) - does the brick break the skin?

The area over which the force is applied is instrumental in assessing how much damage anything can cause.

I think pdg has a good point about identifying those who aren't good fist strikers from those who aren't good slappers and teach them what will work best for them. Even identifying which students are which will take more class time, but I think would pay off for the students in the long run

At MOST this will be a whopping 16 hour course over days. Perhaps as short as 8-10 compressed into 2 days. It's all about time management

If someone is an instinctive slap wielder you won't convert them to punching even if you spend the whole 16 hours on that single subject.

The inverse is also true though, my sister (who has had no training whatsoever, never even an hour sd "class") is an instinctive puncher. If she was to attend a short course where she was compelled to palm it wouldn't work. At best, in a stress situation, it would be forgotten and she'd punch - at worst though, it'd make her question her instinct ("but I've been told that's wrong") and that delay might stop her getting any strike in at all. When does a good intention become a disservice?


Considering (what I assume to be) the nature of this course, you're not doing it as a striking lesson. I imagine you should be covering situational awareness, de-escalation and all the other buzzwords - so you'll have a couple of hours left for the physical side.

Personally, I'd start the striking portion with "hit this pad", and see how they do it...
 

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You make a good point that a broken hand doesn't cost much in the moment if you break it with a fight-ending strike.

Although, like I said there's degrees of broken. If you crack your scaphoid you might not notice it while the adrenaline is pumping and probably be able to continue punching. Still broken though.

If 3 metacarpals snap and make a bid for freedom through the back of your hand, that's probably game over ;)

You hit upon one of the potential issues for classes like this. There's not enough time to customize training to individuals ........ My experience with these classes is that people with a clinch-and-jab mindset don't tend to show up. The vast majority will be folks who are predisposed to slaps, or not particularly predisposed to hitting with any organization at all.

If there's not enough time to even partially tailor it, should striking (over just saying hit/claw/bite) be covered at all?

Is it correct to try getting someone with no predisposition to hit in any way to hit in any way?
 

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Although, like I said there's degrees of broken. If you crack your scaphoid you might not notice it while the adrenaline is pumping and probably be able to continue punching. Still broken though.

If 3 metacarpals snap and make a bid for freedom through the back of your hand, that's probably game over ;)



If there's not enough time to even partially tailor it, should striking (over just saying hit/claw/bite) be covered at all?

Is it correct to try getting someone with no predisposition to hit in any way to hit in any way?
If they have no predisposition to hitting, at all, they are unlikely to get to hitting in that amount of time. I used the term "with any organization" on purpose - as long as they are predisposed to hitting, I can improve the "how" and organization of it a bit. The really timid, all I can probably do in a short course is improve the chance that they'll connect. They need more time and effort to overcome that habit and build something useful. For those folks, I want to give them a taste of the training, so they can make an intelligent decision as to whether they're interested in digging deeper.
 

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If they have no predisposition to hitting, at all, they are unlikely to get to hitting in that amount of time. I used the term "with any organization" on purpose - as long as they are predisposed to hitting, I can improve the "how" and organization of it a bit. The really timid, all I can probably do in a short course is improve the chance that they'll connect. They need more time and effort to overcome that habit and build something useful. For those folks, I want to give them a taste of the training, so they can make an intelligent decision as to whether they're interested in digging deeper.

If it's marketed like that then that's perfectly fine.

If the customers are coming into it knowing it's about self awareness etc. with a little bit of physical self defence (as well as being a bit of a primer to advance) - that's great.

If that's the format the OP was intending, brilliant.

The type that really rile me are "learn to defeat any attacker in 3 easy classes"...

I'm not entirely sure there's much of a middle ground.
 

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As an aside:

Now that the term "SD" has been used so much, I'm getting "SD event" adverts...

Screenshot_20180223-162116.png
 

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The problem is that the KO "win" is based on an age where the KO itself is easier to achieve due to the nature of human development. Outside of that range the chances for a KO are greatly reduced. If they are reduced then you are FAR more likely to have a conscious opponent while you now have one broken hand, a weakness they can now exploit. When you add in the fact it is easier to teach the palm, and this is about a short term self defense classes, it seems illogical to teach the punch due to both dynamics.

One also has to remember that fighting "instincts" improve with experience/age. So say you are doing a straight shot to the face. The instinct to cover and lower the head becomes more firmly imbeded in adults that are used to conflict than with kids, so you get what this video shows early on...


Hey video guy. How about you put your head in exactly the same position you did when he punched.

And then we will see what happens to your palm strike.
 

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If it's marketed like that then that's perfectly fine.

If the customers are coming into it knowing it's about self awareness etc. with a little bit of physical self defence (as well as being a bit of a primer to advance) - that's great.

If that's the format the OP was intending, brilliant.

The type that really rile me are "learn to defeat any attacker in 3 easy classes"...

I'm not entirely sure there's much of a middle ground.
Yeah, that kind of marketing hype chafes me, too.
 
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If it's marketed like that then that's perfectly fine.

If the customers are coming into it knowing it's about self awareness etc. with a little bit of physical self defence (as well as being a bit of a primer to advance) - that's great.

If that's the format the OP was intending, brilliant.

The type that really rile me are "learn to defeat any attacker in 3 easy classes"...

I'm not entirely sure there's much of a middle ground.
What you speak of is exactly what I am talking about. I would NEVER think I could teach someone, in as little as 8 hours, how to really fight. My premise is "avoid, respond, run" not "fight to drop them". So it's primarily about doing everything you can to avoid the situation to start. If that fails basic and easy to learn techniques that can (nothing is certain) create an opening to flee. That way they gain some sense of empowerment/confidence (which is part of "target hardening", which is part of "avoid" imo). Then ram home the point that it is about escaping/running away.
 
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