Archives for December 2009

5 Steps of Stealing the Energy

Phase 1 - Vol 2Stealing the Energy requires a few steps to properly perform.

1. A stealing the energy hit is performed in a manner whereby the whole body weight is transferred through the hit so that if I weigh 170 pounds then 170 pounds gets transferred to and through the point of contact.

2. The hit needs to have blistering speed. You need to be loose and moving before executing the stealing the energy hit. If you tense anywhere before the hit it is literally robbing the speed from the technique.

3. The the hit needs to accelerate on the way to the point of impact and then the strike needs to retract back twice as fast as it went in. For beginners to learn the strike it is often easier for them to go up on their toes while they are preparing to strike and then to drop (like squatting) when executing the strike. As soon as you feel solid impact on the opponents arm then immediately retract your striking hand as if you had touched a hot stove while bouncing back up on your toes.

4. The impact needs to be penetrating. What this means is that you do not hit to the surface of the target but instead you hit several inches into the target. I often use the analogy of dribbling a basketball and then you dribble in such a way that the basketball bounces high into the air after it impacts the floor. To do this you must mentally hit the basketball with more “through” force so that the force will transfer into a high bounce. This is the way to hit the arm for a stealing the energy hit.

5. The loose moving quality, whole body weight transfer, blistering speed, body bounce and penetrating through the target all have to be coordinated so that the force gets transferred into and through the attackers limb.

If you are going to practice a basketball is a good tool and on a willing partner you can use a serious forearm pad to help you work out the basic details of the strike.

Our test for students to graduate from Phase 2 of our program is that they have to hit a forearm pad and leave red hand / finger marks on the arm of the instructor who is wearing the pad (through the pad) which means that the practitioner can transfer force completely through the pad.

This would be an arm break or worse if the bare arm were to be struck like this. This is also the beginning requirement for students to learn more advanced transfer of energy strikes.

Silat – Stealing the Energy

In Clear’s Silat Stealing the Energy refers to a specific kind of open hand strike designed to immediately stop an attacker. Performed correctly this strike is so stunningly forceful and powerful that once contact is made with an incoming punch the impact instantly and completely interrupts the attacker’s ability to continue the strike due to the overwhelming pain.

This is not some kind of metaphysical strike whereby you now have taken the other person’s power for your own.

Phase 1 - Vol 2Stealing the energy is a strike that literally works because the would be attacker has been hit with so much force that for a brief moment they simply cannot continue their hit or do much of anything else due to the amount of trauma that has been imparted.

Performed correctly a stealing the energy hit is powerful enough that for a moment the recipient can not think about anything else other than the pain and trauma they just received. Part of the reason the strike works is due to the mental interruption the strike causes to the recipient. I often tell students to think of the person who is attacking as bringing the thunder. In slang terms this strike “steals their thunder”. This is the first type of heavy hand and mind stopping hit taught in our program.

Intermediate students can use a stealing the energy strike to literally break an attackers arm on the first contact. It is possible for a large and physically gifted beginning student to cause an arm break as a result of very properly performing the stealing the energy strike. Advanced students can hit an attackers arm and cause the arm break and knock out an opponent and / or cause an immediate whiplash injury from a properly executed stealing the energy strike.

Due to its ability to break bone etc this strike is not for a friendly boxing match or other such sporting encounter. This strike is for life and death encounters and is the kind of strike that may be needed in a serious knife defense situation.

Photo by rooymans2000

Silat Hubud

I have seen many different spellings for the Hubud drill including Hubbud, habud and Habbud. If you have been practicing some of the techniques in the other posts regarding this drill then by now you are beginning to get a feel of the reason for the tying action name of this drill.

silat-habudAfter performing a brush Hair and then the extended arm underneath technique then you can use the extended arm to grab them and then break their arm. As you turn your extended arm over and slide it up the action causes the opponents arm to be driven into your hand. As soon as your palm makes contact with their arm you hook your fingers over their arm and then use your other hand or your forearm or elbow to execute an elbow break on them. This is of course assuming that they are punching on the same side of your head as the Brush Hair that you are using.

silat-breakYou can also use the hand that you can break with to suppress their arm against their body and trap it. You should step forward and keep pressure so that they cannot easily escape. At this point your other hand is free and you can hit them wherever you want with it.

There are other techniques that easily come out of the drill but I have essentially explained the primary moves that comprise the drill.

Phase 1 - Vol 2Of course to do the drill you will not break your partners arm or suppress their arm across their body so that at the point where you throw your punch you let them go and they then do the Hubud drill back and you and your partner can continue to do the drill. I recommend practicing the techniques as much or more than the drill so that you do not become to complacent thereby letting someone who just tried to really take your head off have another shot at you unnecessarily because you let them go.

At the same time practice Habud enough so that you get fast at the drill. It will help to build your coordination for other aspects of the art and it will also help you to develop your positioning skills.

Silat – Buong

A Buong is another Silat technique that can be found in Hubud. Buong refers to the idea of passing an arm so that we go from being on the inside position of a puncher’s arm to being on the outside position of the arm. Of course you can also use a buong to get from the outside to the inside position of their arm. In Silat we usually refer to this idea of changing by moving their arm as a buong or a throw away technique.

Phase 1 - Vol 2A good time to use a buong is when the opponent throws a punch at our head and we cover up with a Brush Hair. We are now on the inside position. As soon as you feel the contact with your Brush Hair arm then drop your arm over their arm thereby draping it and in a large circular type movement, off of the drop, toss their arm across so that it either breaks their arm by trapping it next to your body or sends it away and turns their entire body into the direction that you just sent their arm. Now, if performed properly you are once again standing behind them with complete access to their back.

If you are on the outside position of an attacker and you want to immediately gain entry to the inside position then one way to do it is to perform a buong and you will immediately be face to face with them. A nice technique here is to do the buong and bring your other hand in a slapping position to their face while you are both turning. The buong makes their entire body turn. If you are turning your entire body towards them and then make contact with your open handed slap the results will be devastating as if they had just ran into the wall.

You can also Brush Hair then raise your other arm underneath of the attackers to break their arm or to lift their arm up and across thereby cutting off their other arm so that it can not strike you because it is blocked by their first punching arm. After you move the arm up you can buong it so that they get turned across your open hand slapping technique as described above.

Silat Brush Hair

Phase 1 - Vol 2As I stated in the last post, in a typical Clear’s Silat Phase I Hubud class we normally show about 30 technique applications for the drill. The first technique in Hubud is usually Brush Hair.

One of the basic applications that we teach directly from the Hubud drill is one that we in Silat call Brush Hair. Brush Hair is performed by raising your arm up over your head as if stroking your hair with your hand starting from the front of your forehead and ending up on the back of your neck. This technique is an excellent brushing / sliding way to cause the opponents incoming punch to get diminished as it passes by your head instead of actually making contact with you. One of our students recently saved his life with this technique as he used it to ward off what he thought was a punch but was actually someone trying to cut his throat.

Brush hair is also an excellent way to get right in the opponents face. As you slide under their punch and it misses its intended target (your head) you will either be on the inside with your elbow or your arm right in their face or you will be standing on the outside of them. If you are standing on the outside position it means that as you turn towards them and bring your brush hair arm down you should be able to gain immediate access to anywhere on their back that you would like. If you are on the inside position you either let your elbow smash right into their face and they are usually surprised because they are walking right into it but they do not see it until the last second if at all.

We also use Brush Hair to cover our head so that we do not take a strong hook or haymaker directly to the head. You basically throw your arm up and turn a little so that the punch hits the boney part of your arm. Part of the technique is to ideally cause the puncher to inadvertently hit this boney part of your arm and hurt themselves so that their original punching arm / hand is out of the fight and they are now busy with their injury.

Krav Maga Reviews & Complaints

In the media over the last few years there have been more than a few raving reviews about Krav Maga and some reviews listing Krav Maga complaints.

Following is a critique of Krav Maga with some Pros & Cons.

The Definition of the words Krav Maga is Close Combat or Hand To Hand Combat. The main Krav Maga instructors in Israel take a very Jeet Kun Do approach to learning and simply want to find the best training they can that works.

In the last few years they have been studying Russian Systema, have had Michael Ryabko in to teach and have sent at least one active duty soldier to a Systema camp to learn (I was at the camp and it was a big deal because they released him from an active conflict with Lebanon at the time so that he could attend.)

So the Israeli’s do seem to be very committed to getting the best instruction they can for their troops.

However, due to the necessity to learn only what can be picked up in a very short period of time, such as in a seminar environment, a lot of advanced techniques and methods are not generally present in the art because they simply do not get past basic skills in the amount of time that is allotted for training. Also, camps and seminars tend to cover a lot of material which gives great exposure to an art form but often does not impart very many skills to the participants because very little time is spent on any one thing making retention of the material very difficult.

There are some credible Krav Maga instructors and organizations that have strict advancement requirements and make sure that their instructors have quality training. However, one of the main Krav Maga programs offered in the United States is a 2 week instructor training camp whereby participants pay to become certified instructors with only 2 weeks of training.

People can learn to defend themselves relatively quickly as in a few days or a week. To master the material in a way that you can reliably teach others to defend themselves takes a lot longer. All I can say is that this is very unfortunate and a real bad mark against the credibility of Krav Maga and that legitimate instructors pay the price for this kind of cheap marketing scheme of self defense.

Krav Maga is one of the few martial arts that spends a fair amount of time on Gun Techniques. Unfortunately two of the favorite techniques that every Krav Maga instructor that I have seen demonstrate are exceptionally likely to get you killed and was the primary reason that I never put much serious time into this art.

There does seem to be a great difference between what is taught to the Israeli military and American Civilians. Personally I go out of my way to avoid watered down versions of self defense.

In conclusion the thing I like best about Krav Maga is that the better practitioners of the art train very hard and seriously in an attempt to make sure that they can really apply what they have in a self defense situation. Of course most other serious martial artists do likewise.

I find that Krav Maga is an art still in progress and that the Israeli military is still training in other forms of martial arts to try and fill the gaps in their art.

Many other arts have been around a lot longer and are much better suited to real self defense as they have been created and modified by people who have been using their arts in conflicts for centuries as opposed to decades. Of course I always use Silat as my benchmark for what constitutes a truly effective self defense art.

This review is by no means definitive and only reflects my exposure to the art at the time of this writing.

Hubud Lubud

Hubud Lubud basically translates as tie and untie. In the physical action it means to connect or tie in with the first hand and then to connect or tie in with the second hand as we disconnect with the first hand. Then the first hand connects again while the second hand is again removed. This process of connecting and disconnecting continues until we stop the drill.

Phase 1 - Vol 2The Hubud Lubud drill teaches the practitioner how to stay connected to another person’s arm / body (presumably the opponent) while changing positions and continually flowing and tapping. The hubud Lubud drill movement is generally tapping and staying connected with the first hand until we tap and connect with the next hand. In proper execution of Hubud Lubud there is always a connection of our hand, wrist or forearm to the puncher’s arm.

Part of the intention of Hubud Lubud is to be able to feel and to some degree control the other person’s movement. The purpose is to be able to physically close off the opponent and shut them down so that we can do as we wish while they are essentially trapped.

In Clear’s Silat the way that we teach Hubud Lubud is to show about 30 or so applications for specific movements in the Hubud drill. Then we use the Hubud drill to practice the flow of movements.

More next time