Technique Discussion: Striking Serpents Head:Front Bearhug, Arms Free

MJS

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1. An attacker at 12 o'clock grabs you in a bear hug leaving your arms free.

2. Step your right foot back to 6 o'clock into a left neutral bow facing 12 o'clock, simultaneously cock your right hand at chest level as a half-fist (palm up) and execute a left inverted backfist to your attacker's left temple or jaw.

3. Grab your attacker's hair with your left hand, utilizing an achored elbow to expose the neck.

4. Shift into a left forward bow as you torque your right hand and execute a right snapping half-fist (now palm down) to your attacker's throat.

5. Cross out towards 4:30.

A video clip for visual aid:

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Thoughts, comments? Does anyone do anything different? If so, what? This is what I would consider a tech. defending against a 'grappling' type attack, so as always, this discussion is open to non-Kenpoists as well. :)
 
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Inkspill

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I would eat someone alive if they tried to defend against my tackle with the technique done as demonstrated in the video. even the dudes in the video have doubt, the guy in the blue gi even calls it "striking the serpent's head" you're not striking the serpent's head, your weapon is a striking serpent's head - they state this technique is not useful against people bigger than them! the blue gi guy even says "miraculously" in a sarcastic way.

he says "as the dude comes in to tackle" it's not a tackle, it's an arms free bear hug. he's trying to pick you up. he also says it's "a good way to knock your cousin back if he's drunk without having to knock his throat out", then why is the finishing strike a half knuckle to the throat?!?! also, he pulls his head back, but doesn't anchor his elbow, and then he lifts his elbow up to strike the throat. his basics are incorrect.

also, the martial arts are supposed to be useful for everybody of any size. done this way, of course they won't stop somebody bigger. look how far they have to reach over to hit the guy's left side. the way they perform it here is impractical and illogical and not effective, especially not against a wrestler or even somebody who's played football or watched ufc even, we can't rely on the attacker having no knowledge or skill with a tackle. if he didn't know how to tackle he's not likely to use it, just like the guys in the video, they have doubt in the technique and aren't likely to use it. that tells me if someone is trying to tackle me, they have some idea and probably some confidence in their attack. someone attacking you isn't likely to use their worst attack/use an attack they have doubt in!

he's coming in hard so we need a braced angle and a weapon to immediately injure the attacker and deflect him, might as well deflect him into the correct position to be struck by the left inverted hooking back knuckle as that's the weapon we've decided to use. if you let him come in like that, it's too late. why would we wait for the guy to grab us? look at wrestling, if they wait for the guy to get his hands on them like that they are going down most likely


here's how we do it. from a non obvious stance, slide your R foot toward 6 o clock into a left forward bow as you execute a right inward horizontal heel palm strike to his L TMJ to deflect his forward momentum toward 7 o clock.

immediately execute a left inverted hooking back knuckle strike (the striking serpent's head) to his L temple/mastoid while your R hand cocks into a half fist at your solar plexus level.

without hesitation have your L hand grab/hook his hair/nose/chin and pull down/back (anchoring the elbow) and execute a thrusting inverted half fist to his throat.

left front crossover toward 4/5 o clock and cover out.


we direct his head into position for the left inverted hook with the right inward horizontal heel palm strike. there is also a 'hidden move' within the left inverted hook strike.
 
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MJS

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Gee, 1 reply and 100+ views. *shrug* I was hoping to get more Kenpo people commenting, as well as maybe a grappler or 2. :) *Calling SteveBJJ and Chris Parker* :D

Anyways...Inkspill...thanks for your reply. :) Never heard of doing this tech starting off with a right palm strike. I'll have to play with that. :) As for the defense...whie this isn't a typical double leg shoot, I could see someone with little or no grappling exp. attempting to clinch and try to sweep the person, such as we saw in the clip.

I pretty much do the tech. as shown in the clip. IMO though, I think its important to deal with the inital attack first, as Doc Chapel suggests, and then worry about the rest. In other words, if the person is giving you a realistic attack, you're probably going to be pushed back a step or 2, thus the need to deal with that. Of course, its highly unlikely the attacker is going to stand there, while you do this tech., so I think at some point, its important to add in the realism, ie: the attacker continuing to move you, trying to take you down, etc.
 

bushidomartialarts

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A couple of things:

I have to respectfully disagree with Inkspill. This will work against a tackle from a normal dude - not a linebacker or anything. In our school we teach it against a tackle (more likely than an arms-free front bearhug) and focus on the footwork. That first step back needs to settle your weight and give you a wide base. You can also pitch your upper body forward to get the "sprawl" effect used in wrestling and MMA.

The other thing we focus on is the head control after the ear strike. Keep your elbow close to your hip so you can keep the neck compressed as you pull it backward. Once you break him down using the head control, you can take a microsecond to choose whether you're going to destroy his trachea or use a palm strike or nose tweak to finish the encounter.
 

Thesemindz

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When I first learned this technique we called it “Cutting the Hugger's Throat,” but where I teach now we call it “Striking Serpent's Head.” Either way, we do it differently from how it is portrayed in the video clip.


STRIKING SERPENT'S HEAD
Attack: Pressing Front Bearhug (Arms Free) from 12 o'clock
Defender: Begin in Natural Stance

Attacker hits Defender Chest to Chest from 12 o'clock and presses Defender back towards 6 o'clock as arms come up and around Defender's Torso to complete Bearhug technique.

  1. Step back with Right Foot to Left Side Horse Stance, establishing a Base and a 12-6 Strong Line against your Opponent's forward pressure, bisecting his stance across his Centerline, as you,
  2. Execute a Left Inward Hooking Backknuckle Strike to the Base of the Opponent's Skull drawing his upper body forward while snapping his head back and exposing his face With a,
  3. Right Palm Heel Thrust Strike to the Opponent's Face (Front of the Nose, [Opposing Force]).
  4. Execute a Left Downward Pulling Check to Opponent's Hair (Alternative Targets: Collar, Eyebrow Ridge, Ocular Cavity), anchoring your Left Elbow and pulling Opponent's head back and away, exposing the throat, as you chamber your Right Hand (Palm Up) at your Right Hip.
  5. In Place Pivot to a left Neutral Bow as you execute a Right Half Fist Snapping Punch to the Opponent's Throat (crushing the Trachea causing internal bleeding, difficulty with breathing, and possible choking death, [Stress and Shock]).
  6. Return to Left Side Horse Stance as you pull down sharply on Opponent with Left Hand, drawing him away from your body and towards the floor.
  7. Coverout to 5 o'clock.
When teaching this technique I teach the context as everything from a staggering drunk in a bar to a high standing tackle like you would see in a Sumo match. The student's practice against increasing force and resistance while focusing on establishing and maintaining a solid base and controlling the opponent with the initial shocking strikes and the follow up pull down check. We practice using that Pull Down Check to control the opponent's height and depth, as well as grafting from the Palm Strike to blocking maneuvers if the opponent should try to raise his arms to strike. You can also flow from the opponent's Centerline into a Trip or Throw by rotating the Right Hip towards 9 o'clock with a Reverse Pivot Step.

This technique has a lot of good stuff in it. I don't particularly care for the way they performed it in the video, but that's just not the way I was taught it. Maybe their version has value and teaches different important lessons. This is just the way I teach it.


-Rob
 
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MJS

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Since when is this tech supposed to be against a tackle?
Sean

I learned it as a front bearhug, arms free. As I said in one of my posts, I suppose it could be used against a tackle.
 

Touch Of Death

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I learned it as a front bearhug, arms free. As I said in one of my posts, I suppose it could be used against a tackle.
I've always considered SSH to be against a momentarily static situation, where you are about to be picked up, or as the beginning effort for a vertical-T Takedown. As for a tackle, not so much.
Sean
 

K-man

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With the attacker's head on my right side I would probably lift his head with my right hand, thumb straight in the eye, and hit with left heel palm as his head comes up. Opportunity to use a well directed knee here too.

My first option, if I saw him coming, would be to step back 45 deg, taking him down with hands behind the head (yama uke) and striking with both foreams (heavy hands technique) to the shoulder blades. :asian:
 

bushidomartialarts

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I've always considered SSH to be against a momentarily static situation, where you are about to be picked up, or as the beginning effort for a vertical-T Takedown. As for a tackle, not so much.
Sean

We teach it against what you describe, and as a response to a tackle with some slight modifications to the opening move.
 

SenseiMattKlein

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This technique also works against a headlock from the side. Can pull the opponents hair or two fingers under their nose to lift head and create the space for the half fist.
 

hongkongfooey

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As always it's a front bear hug attempt. If the tech is for a front bear hug arms free, then apply a front bear hug and squeeze the defender, make him actually break the hold.
 
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MJS

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I've always considered SSH to be against a momentarily static situation, where you are about to be picked up, or as the beginning effort for a vertical-T Takedown. As for a tackle, not so much.
Sean

So basically, for the tackles, you're using the ram techs? Thats cool. :) Like I said I think you'd see a more standard tackle coming from someone with a grappling background. Then again, if someone with a grappling background was going to attempt a takedown, it'd probably be more along the lines of a double leg, than anything hgiher on the body. I said tackle, with the assumption that it was an average Joe grabbing you.
 

Touch Of Death

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So basically, for the tackles, you're using the ram techs? Thats cool. :) Like I said I think you'd see a more standard tackle coming from someone with a grappling background. Then again, if someone with a grappling background was going to attempt a takedown, it'd probably be more along the lines of a double leg, than anything hgiher on the body. I said tackle, with the assumption that it was an average Joe grabbing you.

Experience grapplers will attack with a side takedown or vertical T. It more about tripping than a tackle though. Its a take down.
Sean
 
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MJS

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Experience grapplers will attack with a side takedown or vertical T. It more about tripping than a tackle though. Its a take down.
Sean

Yup, Royce used to clinch, move to the side, and take the guy down. Of course, during practice, I've had people grab me in a bearhug, either from the front or rear, around the lower ribs, in an attempt to lift, throw, etc.
 

ATACX GYM

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There are a host of problems I see with the execution of this technique,but not with the concepts inherent in Striking Serpent's Head.The problem as I see it is in the specifics of the attack which informs the specifics of the response.In other words,we need to upgrade the quality of our training to effect a better understanding of the application of our techniques and other responses.I mean honestly...how often will we need to defend ourselves against our drunk uncle or some extra belligerent unskilled gas pump attendant? If you have to get to this rank in order to defend yourself against a HOBO,that's just SAD...

First? We have to train for this attack in scenarios where we're aware it's coming AND unaware of the impending attack.If the defender is caught unawares ("caught slippin" as we say in the hood),the attack is more likely to succeed...bear hug,tackle or not.On top of that? A dedicated attacker is likely to CONTINUE the attack and shift from tackle to bear hug to back again,oftentimes with punches and trips mixed in for good measure.If you're caught slippin,the chances of you being displaced by this attack is virtually 100%,even if the attacker is smaller and weaker than you are.Secondly,we should assume that our assailant is a mixture of linebacker and wrestler.Why? Because these are the most skilled and common archetypes of the attackers who'd use this kind of attack on the street,and their methods are mimicked by street predators (an entirely different order of attacker,usually a professional criminal and/or victimizer) so we get lotsa quality reps against the kinds of attacks that the worst of the worst criminals use too...and facing guys with this kind of skill,knowledge,mindset,and physicality will compel us to develope truly functional,confidence building methods of counterattcking using our Kenpo arsenal.Very clearly,the most prominent ("traditional") methods that are popular in Kenpo schools and on youtube frankly suck.I showed this technique as shown in the "traditional" manner to my students,and they cracked up laughing.

Thirdly: If you get hit with a tackle or bear hug from any point in a 360 degree circle around you,you have to realize that the energy of the attacker will displace you.You won't be likely to stop his attack merely by stepping back one time with one leg.That "bracing" movement won't work on one step unless your attacker is definitely incompetent.If he/she/they come with any sort of REAL intention to tackle or hug you? You WILL be driven backwards.And they'll try to rip your legs from you or unbalance you using some football,greco or street variant/combo of upper body unbalancing to take you down or slam you into a wall or something behind you that is disadvantageous for you.I've witnessed this attack succeed marvelously because the defender was driven back and over a some chairs into a table,and again when a guy was driven backwards tripped and slammed his head on a bar at a nightclub,which stunned him enough for his opponent to just rain down punches on him and a stomp for good measure before we got to him as the security detail in the place and swept him out of the establishment and into the arms of cops across the street from us.So you have to maintain balance,be aware of your environment,and you have to straight up know how to scramble using the techniques in this sequence--I call it the Kenpo scramble--plus use all the techniques in your current belt rank and all the previous ones to help resolve this matter.If you develope functionality in this? You have a HUGE advantage against most attackers and even many other martial artists because they are NOT familiar with the unusual angles of attacks,the weapons used,the targets hit,the tactics used and the oftentimes blazing speed of the Kenpo karateka.

Now,alot of us in Kenpo are magnificent at long expositions,but entirely lack anything approaching magnificence when it comes to real world application of our techniques against real world resistance.There are frankly too many instructors who give magnificent lectures that have the purpose of hoodwinking students into paying these Kenpo charlatans and believeing in the applicability of wakktastic technique.I am going to upload my videos on this technique to my youtube Channel soon,but I can tell you right now that in my ATACX GYM,we:

1) Have our assailant(s) attack us with escalating levels of energy (slow at first as we learn our responses) and we increase the energy of the attack as the skill of the defender increases.Never takes us more than a week of practice to go from no resistance to practically 100% power.Women oftentimes take like 10-14 days to get it but once they get it and it "clicks"? Lord ha'mercy that is your ANAL REGION from then on if you attack them.

2) Our assailant(s) attack from any point in a circle drawn around us,whether we are or aren't prepared for it.We use the old Bull In The Ring drill from football and wrestling to very quickly compel skill in this drill,and it's FUN too.

3) We try to control the opponent's head as we try to shuck off the attack and defend against being tackled tripped lifted and slammed,bit,etc.It's amazing what a good Claw to the grill can do.Same for the forearm smashes that we are also taught as traditional blocks (think Star Block Set with street vicious attitude colliding with your opponents grill and head).I've hammerfisted my way out of this attack,too.I think I still have video of me sparring live with othe martial artists and scrambling witha few Cerritos College wrestlers and pulling this technique off.If so? I'll upload it.If it got lost in the move to my current place? Ahh I'll

4) We work on working our way up from the ground or off of the wall or whatever preppin for the relatively high event that our opponent takes us down and tries to transition to other attacks.

5) We work on our knee strikes,elbows (Wings in Kenpo),foot trips, Kenpo stances and use them in combination with our Movement and Agility Drills to greatly facilitate in using our attacker's energy against him. THIS IS VERY HELPFUL.We push spin trip throw etc. with lightning rapidity.I have a practice set I use and teach my students--a derivative of the Stance Set designed specifically for tripping,throwing,unbalancing,rolling,scrambling on the ground and in the clinch,etc.--that I morphed into a drill that is very helpful here.Combine this with the rest off the Striking Serpent's Head and it's very doable.I mean,giving somebody thee ole Serpent's Head to the throat while they're on the ground or you've reversed them against a wall or after you've whalloped them with thee ole Alternating Maces? Very fun for you.Very NOT fun for them.

6) I repeat all of the above against armed opponents,multifights,when I have my LEO's try do weapons retention and draw a weapon under these circumstances,escape scenarios,etc. It's lotsa fun.

7) Repeating my previous point: I'll upload my videos on this in the hopes that we can see what I'm talking about and then we can dissect this further.Whatever helpful suggestions that you may have,are VERY VERY WELCOME.
 
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girlbug2

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Bear Hug arms free:


Base out (drop to fighting stance)

Knee or kick to groin to loosen him up

Double palm heel strike to ears ("boxing" the ears) to further loosen him up--

--followed up with those hands ending in postion so that thumbs are each placed at corners of his eyes as you grasp head firmly:

gouge eyes with thumbs, simultaneously pullling his head backward (like a pez dispenser; then push head straight down; body will lead the way as he lets go

finish with combatives if needed; run
 

Touch Of Death

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Bear Hug arms free:


Base out (drop to fighting stance)

Knee or kick to groin to loosen him up

Double palm heel strike to ears ("boxing" the ears) to further loosen him up--

--followed up with those hands ending in postion so that thumbs are each placed at corners of his eyes as you grasp head firmly:

gouge eyes with thumbs, simultaneously pullling his head backward (like a pez dispenser; then push head straight down; body will lead the way as he lets go

finish with combatives if needed; run
Your description is missing a minor move or the bite from the serpents head, for those in the know.
Sean
 

ATACX GYM

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Bear Hug arms free:


Base out (drop to fighting stance)

Knee or kick to groin to loosen him up

Double palm heel strike to ears ("boxing" the ears) to further loosen him up--

--followed up with those hands ending in postion so that thumbs are each placed at corners of his eyes as you grasp head firmly:

gouge eyes with thumbs, simultaneously pullling his head backward (like a pez dispenser; then push head straight down; body will lead the way as he lets go

finish with combatives if needed; run



Me like.Except...what if he yanks you off the ground and slams you? Idk of an attacker who will bear hug you and pose.What if he drives you backward with his tackling energy and then yanks you off the ground? That "bracing leg" suggestion may work against unskilled opposition in a relatively low percentage of situations,but it won't work against anybody who's determined to mollywhop you and who secures a bear hug on you.He'll knee you,snatch you off your feet,trip you,run you backwards and tackle you,SOMETHING.

Question: won't "basing out" lead to a scramble? Cuz your opponent will still try to drive into you and may transition to a TACKLE from the bear hug.What do you think about using the Wings (not just the elbow application,the "Wing" as "under and/or over hooks") to combat the bear hug,scramble with those knees and stuff you mentioned,and THEN do the stuff that you recommended?
 

ATACX GYM

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Still waiting on a reply...did people flee the thread because of my questions? Lol.
 
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