Archives for November 2009

Offensive Open Hand Techniques

There are as many Offensive Open Hand Techniques as you have the imagination to create. Students tend to like the class because there are a lot of takedowns and breaks. In fact one of my old time Florida students affectionately referred to the Offensive Open Hand Techniques class as “The neck breaking class”. I will list a couple of techniques here. To see more either attend a class or workshop or buy our DVD on Open Hand Basics.

The Open Hand - Basics of Attack & DefenseAfter doing one of the Open Hand techniques described in the last section you should be in an excellent position to offensively act. Let’s say that you swipe their punching arm and are now standing in a position where you can turn them a little and be able to see their back. Take your other hand and go straight for their head. Now you can either smack it head on or slap across it whichever one will suit your purposes the best. If you step behind them while striking their head then in both cases it becomes a real possibility of being a neck break. If you choose to use your second hand as a swipe while you are stepping behind them then you have the option of throwing them and/or taking them down into what we in Silat call a kinjit. You can also choose to turn the neck break into a back break. With another adjustment of your Open Hands as they come down you can also put them into a hold where you have the option to break their neck, back or arm at any time.

If you use slap and cut against a punch where you end up on the outside of their arm and body then it is very easy to take your first hand and use it to break their arm or to knock them out by slapping the back of the head. So you would slap across with your first hand. Raise your second hand to replace your first hand and then your first hand would now go to the arm break or back of the head for the knockout.

If you use slap and cut against a punch where you end up on the inside of their arm and body (like for instance when you are defending against a big haymaker type hook punch) then it is very easy to take your first hand and use it to drive their head up and back to break the nose, jaw or neck or to knock them out by striking the chin or nose straight up and straight back towards the brain. Just a note: The nose does not go through the brain but if you are in imminent danger and lethal force is called for then you want to hit as if you were going to be able to drive the nose through the brain and such a hit will cause death. So, please do not use this illegally, unnecessarily or unwisely. In other words this should only happen to save the life of you or your loved ones.

There are many many more Open hand Offensive techniques and a lot of them are to detailed to describe in this format but the ones that I have listed here are a good start.

Open Hand Methods

Clear’s Silat Open Hand Methods include swiping which is a block or parry for a beginner and a pressure point strike or a break for a more advanced student. Essentially it just looks like a slap and in many ways it is just a slap. If you turn your body a little towards the direction you are slapping it is not to difficult to learn how to put your body weight into it and then it becomes powerful.

We also use the Open hand and actually part of the forearm to do an Open Hand Method we call a cut which is basically a slicing motion of the hand and arm. This is designed to make initial contact and brush the attackers incoming punching arm so that their attack can be redirected with very little force. This technique tends to take a little more training and is much easier to show than to explain in writing.

The Open Hand - Basics of Attack & DefenseThere is also slap and cut. I have heard this technique referred to the Jewel of Java because every Javanese style contains this particular Open Hand method / technique somewhere within their system. First, you slap across your body making contact with their incoming punch and then you raise your remaining hand to replace the contact you already have on their arm with your first hand. This is the defensive use. On the offense you would then take hand # 1 and it would be doing something offensively as soon as hand # 2 makes contact with the attackers arm. For simple applications it can be an arm break or a strike to the back of the head whichever is best or seems best at the time.

Open Hand Methods can be swiping methods that join or that cut. Joining is usually done to a straight punch and cuts are usually used on haymaker type hooks. Slap and cut can be used on both straight punches and haymaker type hooks and will work well against most head and upper body shots.

5 Reasons The Open Hand Will Beat The Fist Every Time

Clear’s Silat first few classes tend to be about Open Hand Techniques.  First Open Hands for Defense is taught and then Open Hands for Offense.  It does not mean that we would use them defensively or separately most of the time.  I have found that it is just simpler to teach and for the student to learn when approached in this manner.

So, to begin with I will explain some of the basic value of the Open Hand Techniques as compared to a fist.

The Open Hand covers more Surface area

Relaxed Open Hand Techniques cover and contact more surface area than a punch. One benefit of this is that more of the power of an open hand strike will be delivered to the target. A punch will tend to slide or skid on contact which means less power is being delivered.

The Open Hand is More Powerful

Open hand techniques tend to transmit less blunt trauma (unless specifically directed to do so as in a palm heel strike) but tend to transfer shock much more easily.  Hitting the head with a blow that transmits shock inside the head almost always results in a knockout blow to the recipient.

The Open Hand is Safer

Open Hands are much less likely to get injured when punching a hard object such as a wall or someones head.  When throwing a punch Knuckles and other parts of the hand are often broke due to impact and the hard nature of most punching methods.

The Open Hand is more Versatile

Open Hand Techniques lend themselves to a greater amount of versatility than a fist.  An Open Hand can easily become anything such as a finger jab or a grab or even a fist on the way to the intended target. 

A fist can almost exclusively be used as a fist and is at the very least awkward for most people to use as anything else.

The Open Hand is Faster

With a little training the average person can easily and rapidly throw 3 full ballistic speed and power Open Hand strikes (like playing the bongo drums) in under 1 second and can maintain it for at least 20 seconds. 

That means a minimum of 60 full power strikes in under 20 seconds with versatility and reasonable choice of where to place the hit (again like hitting the bongo drums).

There are very few if any punchers in the world who can match this speed and power with their punches (including professional world class boxers) and when the punches are thrown this fast there is no versatility.  All of the punches must be to a small target straight ahead.

Silat Groundfighting Techniques

In the last post I wrote about beginning Clear’s Silat Groundfighting Techniques. There are many different Pentjak Silat and Kun Tao Silat / Kuntao Silat groundfighting techniques and some complete Silat Groundfighting styles such as Harimau.

There are many different styles of Harimau and Harimau has become the general term for the groundfighting portion of most Silat arts in the archipelago. The most famous or known style of Harimau in the island chain is Ground Tiger which is mostly found in Malaysia but has spread to practically all of Micronesia.

Clear’s Silat curriculum does include some Harimau but our more advanced Silat groundfighting techniques / method is primarily Monkey. This is partly due to Sigung Clear’s primary Kung Fu teacher Tyrone Jackson being a Monkey stylist and his nickname was the Fearless Monkey and Sigung Clear’s primary Kun Tao Silat / kuntao Silat teacher being Uncle Bill (Willem de Thouars) who spent part of his youth fighting with a monkey at the direction of one of his teachers. Both men teach (taught in the case of Tyrone who regrettably passed away a few years ago) many different styles but more often than not the monkey style shines through and is imparted to anyone who studies with them long term. I have been very fortunate to learn from both men and God must have intended for me to learn some Monkey style because I have been exposed to it now for just over 30 years.

Anyway, some basic techniques for a person on the ground who is fighting a standing attacker include.

  1. Stomp and use the heels of your feet to break their toes and feet.
  2. Use your heels to break the ligaments and tendons around their ankles.
  3. Use your feet to rake through their knee cap.
  4. Use the point of your toe to hit them in the testicles / groin area.
  5. Use your legs to strike them with your heels or your shin to take them down to the ground
  6. As they try to step in on you Wrap one of their legs with both of yours and take them down to the ground.
  7. When dropping them to the ground try to cause their knee and whatever other hard parts you can to impact with the ground hard enough to cause a break.
  8. After knocking / dropping them to the ground turn so that your legs are over them and then pound them as fast and hard as you can with your heels.
  9. After 8. kick them off and use your kick to roll away. Use the momentum of your roll to get up off of the ground in one single non-stop motion. Then Run.

Silat Groundfighting against a Standing Attacker

There are quite a few different styles and methods of Silat Groundfighting and a few of them are against a Standing Attacker. In Clear’s Silat beginning Phase I program we start out by showing how someone with very little training can be formidable using a specific method of Silat Groundfighting against a Standing Attacker.

There are a few essential basics that one should know in order to be functionally effective in this kind of situation. I will list those essentials here.

  1. At any time in a fight you can end up on the ground or find yourself going to the ground. This may be due to the attacker doing something or trying to do something but it can also be due to an uneven or slippery surface such as dirt or a wet and slick wooden floor.
  2. Do not struggle against going to the ground. If you find yourself falling or in danger of being taken down then immediately choose to go to the ground. Go to the ground as if you had planned on it and use the act of going to the ground to your complete advantage. Often this will surprise the attacker and allow you an opportunity to take them out right then and there.
  3. Once you are on the ground stay coiled like a rattle snake for mobility and striking power.
  4. Use your legs as the primary striking tool.
  5. Fight with the intention to break your attackers legs.
  6. Get up as soon as you can without risking your safety in the process.

More on Clear’s Silat Groundfighting Techniques next time.

Clear’s Silat is now on Facebook & Twitter

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we will be adding content to both of these sites over the next couple weeks.

Bagua Combat Applications of Open Hand Basics

Some application & examples of the use of the open hand in Bagua.  Advanced Bagua is taught in our silat program.

01-22-09 Combat Tai Chi Workshop

Don’t miss this exclusive Combat Tai Chi Wokshop!
Download the flyer: combat-tai-chi-workshop-01-22-10.pdf
When: Jan. 22, 23 & 24 (Fri, Sat, Sun)
10am – 6pm each day. There will be a 45 min break for lunch each day.
Where: 113 E Broadway Maryville, TN 37804
Cost: $495 per person. You must register in advance. Space is limited.
Contact: Richard Clear | (865) 379-9997 |
What: Here is a partial list of the topics that will be covered
at this workshop:

  • Fa Jing – several different Fa Jing methods including Fast & easy Short Distance Fa Jing Knockouts
  • Intro to Tai Chi Dim Mak – including Overloading the system, Blocking the System, Draining the opponents energy system and a lot more.
  • Ability to Receive Power
  • How to Move & Strike
  • Whole Body Power
  • Poison Hand Applications
  • Waving Strikes
  • Easy Takedowns
  • Simple & Fast Arm Breaks
  • Transforming Push Hands into Combative Drills
  • Speed Drills
  • Free Fighting Drills
  • Sparring
  • Fighting the Tai Chi Way
  • and much much more.

Clear’s Combat Tai Chi begins filming in January and You’re Invited!

During this workshop we will cover as much of the Combat Tai Chi program as we can. Our goal is to film 9 DVDs. (the first half of the Combat Tai Chi program)

You don’t want to miss this event! Participants will receive live hands on instruction and correction for a fraction of the cost of the DVDs.
This workshop will contain a lot of the high level hard to find information that many people spend years just trying to find, much less acquire. We highly recommend that you bring a notebook and take a lot of notes.

Plus everyone who attends the workshop will receive a %25 discount on any of the DVDs we film that weekend.

Sign Up Now!
(865) 379-9997

Stealing the Energy Q&A

Here’s the answer to a question I recieved about “stealing the energy” in phase 1 silat.

i have a question concerning the silat dvd :stealing energy and basic kilap”
is stealing the energy referring to weakening an opponent during a combat situation or taking someone’s qi for oneself? or i am missing it all here?
Thanks for the question. Stealing the Energy is a particular way of striking that immediately weakens a person due to the overwhelmingly penetrating nature of the hit. It’s a very physical technique that does require a bit of practice to correctly learn but nothing mystical. However, I do show versions of stealing energy that are more energetic in nature higher up in the program.

Violent Street Attack

When you cannot avoid a violent street attack then your response needs to be brutal and decisive.  In real street self defense there is no thought of fair play and in fact quite the opposite is true.  The main thought in training about this is to generally train and consider how brutally unfair and surprising I can be in order to take the aggressor out and get away before they even realize what I have done to them.  Remember this is a response to a violent, sickening and illegal street attack against me.  It is not a fight that I sought out or want in any way, shape or form.

I have been attacked this way approximately 15 times.  More often that not I have avoided my attackers.  But I have purposely pushed an attacker down a flight of steps.  I have pushed an attacker into oncoming traffic.  I have knocked an attacker out with an overwhelming flurry of strikes.  I have ran an attacker off at gunpoint and if he had continued to progress towards me and my wife I would have shot him dead.  My goal was and is survival and is not any attempt on my part to be the bigger he-man.  All of these situations began with my trying to avoid them.

Phase 1: Emergency Head Cover

We have a new video up on youtube. We filmed this in class last Tuesday, and we will continue to bring you new clips from class each week. Head over to our youtube channel and subscribe so you won’t miss a single video.


Deterrence is one of the important aspects of street defense.  First you try to avoid situations.  If you can not avoid a situation then you try to deter it. If you cannot deter it then end it as fast as possible.

Part of deterrence is showing that I am ready able and willing to put up a serious fight in order to defend myself. This can be done using your eyes, voice and body motion.

Your eyes need to be focused either through them or on their forehead between their eyes.  Your voice should be loud and direct with commanding tones of “Get Back” or “NO’ etc.  Your body motion (not stationary) should be similar to how you can fight and also keep the attacker at a distance.

Clear’s Silat Welcoming postures are very good for this.  They tend to convey non-verbal body language that is easily understood as “Stay back, I don’t want to fight” while also creating a barrier between you and the attacker. This kind of positioning done correctly also makes it easy for you to walk or run away if there is an opportunity to do so.