Any Martial Artists out there?

Okay, so I had a few questions that only someone who knew what they were doing could answer. I might be able to find them in a book, but it's always better to ask someone "live" and I figured with the range of interests present, maybe someone here could help me.

Anyway, I have two questions at the moment, if anyone can answer them:

1) When fighting someone of superior physical strength is it better to get distance between you or get in up close? Why?

2) I watch those people that can crack wood on TV, and I wonder: what does it take to do that? Body weight, gravity, termites?

Forums: 
kawaiikune's picture

Embodiment

do you just mean breaking boards? If so, anyone can do it. We actually hosted a show where we had karate experts explain how it was done, demonstrate it, and then have elderly members of the audience come up and do it (among other people). They use special boards with certain specifications (it's not like they're breaking 2x4s), and they have someone hold the board (or put it up on cement blocks) so they are striking with the grain. Then, the trick is just to punch through the board, so that you don't pull your punches. Pick a point on the opposite side of the board and punch that. The force of your punch or kick or whatever can easily break that.

If multiple boards are being broken, they are usually separated by a pencil or other spacer. That way, it's not like you're just breaking a board that's twice as thick. You just meet the same resistance twice (or however many times). You do have to hit a little harder because hitting the first board slows you down for the second board, but it's not like you're trying to break a block of wood that's three inches thick. This is the way I understood it from that presentation, anyway, but someone who is *actually* a martial artist might have something to say on the subject.

Capriox's picture

Embodiment

Not that most people here will run into such a chance, but if you ever do, try holding a board while someone breaks it. It's such a neat feeling when it's done correctly. It feels like the board almost disintegrates in your hand, more of a poof! sensation than the thwack/smack of impact you'd expect (again with the idea of striking *thru* the object rather than at it). It's easy to understand with a good background in biomechanics, but the sheer "nifty" of some techniques makes understand why the ancient explanation of a spiritual 'chi' force was and is still popular.

faile486's picture

Petitioner

I didn't stick with martial arts long enough to answer your first question. For the second one though, a lot of the bigger/thicker stacks is gravity, or some other kind of trick. For instance, there was a guy who used to crack slabs of ice. They were fairly thick, and they'd be layered on top of each other with cinder blocks in between. He only broke the first one, gravity did the rest.

Capriox's picture

Embodiment

I'm sure Davik and possibly Slagar will be chiming in shortly, but here's my opinion to start...

1) totally depends on what you're doing. Going to do a lovely energy-efficient aikido type move, or a beautifully leveraged judo type throw? Laws of physics say get in close. It's also better to be "inside" the point of impact of a circular attack (swinging punches, roundhouse kicks, etc.) so you don't get hit with the peak force of the hit. However, you don't want to get in all up-close an personal if it means their next move is gonna be grabbing you in a bear hug or picking you up off your feet! Or maybe I should say, yes, you might want to get in close for some techniques/evasions, but you don't want to stay there hanging out. And if you're just trying to avoid getting clobbered by a big 'un, by all means, just stay out of his or her reach! Avoiding/running away from a fighting situation is self-defense strategy numero uno anyways.

And if you throw ground-grappling (jujitsu/wrestling) scenarios into the mix, that makes it even more complicated... Wink

2) it takes force, technique, and a certain amount of pain-tolerance. Force = mass x acceleration. Technique is just focusing/aiming your force so it isn't wasted on anything except what you want it to do (i.e. hitting the board directly with the force vs. at an angle). Pain-tolerance is a combination of mental masochism and nerve-damage.

Swedgin's picture

with Capriox on 1). It depends on you and the opponent. As someone who wrestled "heavyweight" in high school and college I would very much appreciate it when a smaller opponent would try to "get inside" on me. Less chasing, more quick victories. I took kung-fu later on because I didn't know as much about what to do when fighting against people who wouldn't let me put my banana hands on them. So...it depends on background as much as anything. Though, I would suggest for smaller fighters that staying away and using probable advantages in conditioning is the way to go. My sifu (who I had 5 inches and 100 lbs on) would more or less let me bludgeon him in front of his younger classes, being careful not to let me to any real damage (we fought full contact w/conditioning) until I tired out, and then he would go to work on me. Fatigue will mitigate offensive advantages in many cases.

Laureril's picture

Supplicant

I've done some martial arts, but I'm by no means an expert. This is based on what I know from Tae-Kwon-Do and some basic Self-defense classes

1) I'm going to assume that we're not bringing anything like improvised weapons into the question. I'm also understanding this to be a fairly dire situation, not a sparring match.

Believe it or not - the answer is almost always run. Even from a gun. Most people don't have the skill to do more than graze an evading target without some serious training. Run in zig-zags and be aware of the environment

If we're talking hand to hand combat, it will probably depend on who has more training.**
-- Neither: Probably going to turn into a slugfest if you get close, and they will win that. Put some kind of obstacle in the way to avoid them charging at you. Surprise is only worth so much.
-- Just the other person: You have a huge disadvantage. GTFO and stay at range if at all possible. Obstacles are your friend. Knock over chairs, tables, trash cans, people... whatever slows them down as you run.
-- Both: It will depend on skill and martial arts style here. I'd still suggest avoidance unless you're completely confident in your ability to lay them out in one go. You may be able to wear them out if they're significantly bigger or inefficient. Bigger/Taller means longer reach, so get inside their kicking range and hit hard and fast. Bigger does NOT mean slower. I knew an ex-marine (over 6' and 200ish lbs) that got startled and whipped the guy around in a choke hold before anyone else could react.
-- Just you: Don't assume that they don't have some kind of combat experience, but if you're certain that you have some knowledge/practice and they don't, you may have the advantage. Try to avoid combat, since untrained people get desperate and desperate people flail until they hurt you. If you have to fight, make it quick and clean.

2) Depends on the type of break, but for something like a side kick or a back kick - under a month of training. Those boards typically represent the amount of force required to break a human rib. I ridge-handed one as a yellow belt. It may take a little practice and a couple tries, but the basic answer is... surprisingly little.

The trick is to kick 'through' the board.

**Edit - and what kind. I forgot to mention that if you're specialized in kicks and they're specialized in throws, your best bet is to keep them exactly in kicking range. Blum 3

Davik's picture

Embodiment

I'm going to have to disagree on the running from someone with a gun; if a person has a gun and is intent on killing you, running is just going to earn you a bullet in the back. Your typical person with a firearm will never expect to be charged; an inexperienced shooter will freeze up, allowing you to close the distance. I'm not saying you'll come out unscathed, but you stand a better chance if you get on top of them and either take the gun, or make it a coin flip who gets shot.
Hitting someone at a moderate distance doesn't take any real skill; the human torso is a damned big target. Just yesterday I took a first time shooter out to the range to learn how to shoot, and he put more than half his shots within a 6 inch circle at 25 m with 20 minutes of practice, with 80% of them inside of 8 inches. Admittedly not a moving target, but you have to figure a human body is pretty large, and a typical magazine holds ~9 rounds. If you try running against someone who knows what they're doing, you'll be dead in three; I average about a 4 inch diameter with rapid fire at 25 m, and my father averaged about an inch and a half.
That said, if someone has a knife, run away; running toward them is likely to end up with you impaling yourself.

Laureril's picture

Supplicant

Glad to know police officers are misinforming impressionable 6th grade girls. =\

Raigne's picture

Embodiment

That's reckless in my opinion. If you're unskilled in confrontations of any kind, you don't know how to tell how experienced the other person is or what their real intentions are. Your best bet is probably to just shut up and do what you're told if you're by yourself with no way to get help.

The Which's picture

Embodiment

what you're told takes you further from help (get in the car!) you should NOT do what you are told. I would rather be shot where someone might hear it than [horrible things I do not want to think about]. A gunshot wound to the abdomen is only fatal in about 10% of cases.

Also, has anyone seen that show for kids on what to do if you get kidnapped? They show these little kids how to rip wires if they get stuffed in a trunk, how to lunge for the gas/brake if they are in the front seat... I think it's a little paranoid. I would prefer my child not to grow up with a constant fear of being abducted.

ETA: found a link on my gunshot statistic (7.4%). Or this one has it at about 15%.

Raigne's picture

Embodiment

if you're somewhere you can't get help.

The Which's picture

Embodiment

But I still think running is good advice, in general (if, etc.). I'm not going to charge someone, because a) it's unlikely any assailant of mine would be smaller than I am and b) why the hell would I deliberately put myself within grabbing distance of someone who is holding a gun at me?

Charging someone with a gun might make sense if you can actually overpower them, but for a 128 pound female with no fighting experience it would just mean a pissed off assailant.

This conversation is kind of awful to me, because I'm going with the assumption that it's an attempted rape or kidnapping, which I don't like to dwell on. If it's just a mugging, I'm handing over everything I've got.

Davik's picture

Embodiment

There's definitely nothing pleasant about it; no matter what their intentions, someone pulling a gun on you is by definition awful, potential rape is even worse. The real issue is that if someone is holding a gun, they can't effectively grab you (they only have one hand free), and you don't have to overpower them, just overpower the one hand with the gun. In the best case scenario, you turn the gun on them and it's over; in the next best case, you knock the gun away and run. Even being smaller with no experience, if you hit the gun slightly toward them while you run in, the force of your body will shove the barrel toward them, and the force of the impact may set it off. It's definitely a hard to win situation, but it improves your odds. If it's just a simple mugging though, give them your money, your pin number, whatever the hell they ask for. Even with lots of experience I have no desire at all to face someone with a gun (or really even a knife, because in a knife fight you have to realize you're going to get cut, period), even if they don't know how to use it. Survival is everything; money is easy to replace, life is not.

Jacona's picture

Actually attended one of those 'self defence' classes where it was taught less for 'womynly confidence' and more for practical life situations. Like if you're walking along a road and a car pulls up and there is no one around to help you jump away from the curb and turn around, they're less likely to abandon the car and if you're out of grab range, turning a car around is difficult. Another really crazy one is that you can punch out a tail light and pull it inside the car without the driver knowing [or just kick it out if you can let it hit the ground as they drive but they might notice that one. You then got a missing tail light and a hole to stick your hand out of and wave for help!

It was an amazing class for just understanding how to get away and fight dirty. The teacher was this little tough lady who would pound the message of "if you know martial arts or any fighting arts great, just remember if you meet someone smart, sober and 60 lbs heavier then you and they're sitting on you back, it doesn't matter what you know. Its all about not being in that position in the first place." Eminently sensible to me Smile

Davik's picture

Embodiment

I have to wonder if this is based on the assumption that the person wants something other than your life. If someone with a gun asks for my wallet, unless they look like they don't have a clue how to use it, I have no problem dropping my money, my watch, and booking it while they pick it up. If someone is set on killing you however, fleeing is a bad idea.
That said, if I drop my wallet and they immediately try to pick it up while I'm still there... well, I always carry a quick open knife; there's a good chance I might just decide it's a safer bet to carve them ear to ear. It's like anything else, gauge the ability of your opponent, and I think one of the main things that people should learn, even if they don't take martial arts, are the signs of whether someone knows what they're doing.
A knife held saber style in the front hand, probably not very good. A knife held saber style in the back hand, probably pretty good. Anyone holding reverse saber and looking like they're going for a downward stab, obviously an idiot. Someone on the balls of their feet, knife held reverse saber in the back hand along the arm close to their body: you're probably going to die if you take them on.
As far as guns: any gun held sideways, definitely an idiot; may not even know how to take the safety off. A gun held all the way out at arm's length in the front hand while close to you, probably doesn't know what they're doing. Someone with a gun held more in towards their body, while still being close to you, somewhat more competent, but not a master. Someone outside your reach with a gun held in a two handed teacup grip aimed at your center of mass: there's not a thing you can do except take up religion.

Raigne's picture

Embodiment

stance and how the weapon's being held in my post, but I don't know enough about it myself. For a handgun, I know one hand's worse than two, and I know how to hold a rifle/shotgun, and that's about it. :x

Edit: By which I mean, the one below where I mention recoil.

Davik's picture

Embodiment

In general, one hand is worse than two, but there are exceptions. The way my father always shot, and which I've experimented with, is left hand on the hip, shoulders pointed to the target, right hand straight out, sighting along the arm to the gun. It's not terribly practical for combat usage, but is wonderful for absorbing recoil without ruining your aim. Since he could, when practicing a lot, put 9/10 in the 10 ring for timed rapid fire with a .45, I have to have some respect for it. I just wouldn't expect to see anyone try to use it on the street.

Jacona's picture

Davik I am sure you know how to handle yourself with a knife, but I am thinking that if you are attacked and are just carrying a camp knife of a flick sort, and have no idea what you're doing. There is a real risk of having it not only taken away from you but also used against you. Not to mention in many areas a single hand operable knife is illegal, to ensure the safety of the police forces.

Davik's picture

Embodiment

Yeah, I didn't learn until after I moved that my knife was illegal in Baltimore, if not the entire state of Maryland.

Katie's picture

Embodiment

Quote:
Not to mention in many areas a single hand operable knife is illegal, to ensure the safety of the police forces.

See, this is stupid. Most people the police are going after to give a rip what's legal. OTOH, there maybe would be a lot fewer whatevers if people carried knives and knew how to use them. Just my never to be humble opinion. Blum 3

Raigne's picture

Embodiment

despite being a liberal, I am quite happy with gun control the way it is, thank you very much. It's insane to want it to be even more restrictive.

This also applies to DRM in music and video games only punishing the people to who bought a legit copy, but it seems silly to compare the two, doesn't it?

Jacona's picture

If there wasn't a law saying that the knife style is illegal, then they would be for sale more readily in stores leading to a larger supply for those happy knife toting fight spoilers. Also as a singled out weapon it will carry a higher penalty in either custody time, or fine meaning there is a deterrent for it's use. In the end it's a law there to make sure when the police officer is handcuffing a suspect they can't flick out a concealed knife with their other hand and stab them. But the law can also deter it's use.

Samaris's picture

Supplicant

This discussion is getting quite intense, and as I am clueless about knives and guns, will someone please explain what all these holds are? The front hand-back hand-reverse sabre bit? The gun holds I figured out...
And because I'm so clueless, I'm very confused about all of this... Everyone seems to know what they're talking about, but most of it seems contradictory. Is it better to run from a gun? I always heard a belly wound was fatal.. I would really love some detailed explanations, or advice on where to get said detailed explanations from! Sad

The Which's picture

Embodiment

Is that a bellywound isn't usually fatal Smile

In robberies where someone is shot at, they are only hit in 18% of the cases, and only 8% of those wounds are fatal. That's means just over ONE PERCENT of shootings during robberies results in death.
(Kleck, 225-227)

Davik's picture

Embodiment

Typically in fighting someone is going to line their body up so that one leg and one shoulder are more towards the person they are fighting, as it gives stability. This gives you a front hand (closer to the enemy), and a back hand (in toward your body). I'm going to bet that there are styles I don't know of that will use a knife in the front hand, but in general it's easier to take away from someone as it's further from the center of mass. Sabre/reverse sabre refers to how you hold the kinfe; saber is similar to how you would hold a knife for typical daily use, with the blade out of the hand on the thumb side. It's typically used for either light blades for thrusting and light slashing or for very heavy blades like a machete. It's also about the only practical hold for a double-edged blade. Reverse saber is the opposite, where the blade comes out on the little finger side of the hand; this is also the only hold that I have any form of proficiency with. This hold works well for single edged slightly heavier blades or blades in the karambit style, and the blade is typically held back somewhat along the forearm. With this style you're focusing on blocking or countering with the blade, though quick back-fist strikes and close in slashes are possible. You do not, however, go all bad horror movie villain where you use some giant motion to stab from above Blum 3

As was pointed out above, however, if you don't know how to use a knife and pull one on an attacker, you're probably just going to end up on your own knife.

Samaris's picture

Supplicant

:O Thanks a lot for the info, both of you... Smile I am reeling a little, but hey, better to have more info than not enough! Smile All this talk is making me think I should resume my judo lessons... But I have a problem with my eyes, and my doc has advised that I avoid getting whacked on the head or jerking it around too much, and all the throwing and falling in judo left me slightly worried... Any suggestions for something less jerky? Smile

Lemur's picture

heh, I was wondering about the "reverse sabre," where I train we call it the icepick grip.
I'm personally more proficient with the sabre grip (we also do stick and machete, so it translates better).

As for having the knife taken away...even if you're opponent doesn't know what they're doing you're more likely to slice up your hand than not.

We're a style that holds the knife in either hand, but usually the front. We do, however, often train with both people holding knives, in which case you're going to want the extra reach it affords you. (We train under the assumption that we all carry knives on a regular basis - when my guro found out I didn't he gave me one and told me to keep it with me - as they're also a useful tool).

I'd also argue that the icepick can be a good grip with a double-edged knife if you think you might end up in close, as it makes the hooking moves a little more dangerous (I still don't like the grip in general, lack of training and a serious disadvantage when I shorten my reach).

Davik's picture

Embodiment

When I think of using an icepick as a weapon I think of holding it in sabre grip, as that is the grip I associate with stabbing motions.

I can see the benefit of having the knife in the front hand for reach, especially in a knife fight, but I generally prefer to have the knife back away where it's harder to grab or kick out of the hand. That said, I think of the knife as being largely defensive in nature, which is why I wouldn't use a double edged blade in a reverse grip. If you block with that you're likely to have the back edge of the blade shoved in to your forearm. It would be quite interesting to see your style of knife usage though; it might give me some new insight.

Of course all of this is functionally moot; the number one reason I always carry a knife is because I'm constantly using it. With working in a lab there's always something that needs to be cut, and since I often find it when I'm precariously holding something delicate with one hand the flick open knife is a necessity.

Raigne's picture

Embodiment

since when you're using an icepick the way you're supposed to, you're plunging down with it. That's how the tool's used, even if you'd hold it differently to use it as a weapon. I can't really think of another example that would parallel it. Hockey stick and golf club come to mind, but they're both held essentially the same way you'd hold a baseball bat so they don't work...

Ely's picture

Petitioner

and we call the stabbing grip...
the "Hollywood psycho", for obvious reasons. Never thought it was really useful, except to look demented (which may actually deter some opponents) Wink

Raigne's picture

Embodiment

The second you put the name of the grip there, Norman Bates flashed through my mind. Blum 3

Davik's picture

Embodiment

The issue with that psycho strike is that it's utterly worthless in a fight. Anyone worth their salt will block it at your wrist while turning your groin, throat, and/or the bottom of your sternum in to one giant hemorrhaged mess. To make that strike you have to rear up, moving that arm out of blocking position, and generally present everything vital to your opponent. It's also a very slow strike. If you use the icepick like a stiletto as a forward thrusting weapon aiming for gaps in the ribs you'd probably have more luck.

Capriox's picture

Embodiment

Before antibiotics and modern surgical techniques, belly wounds were almost always fatal. Peritonitis is an ugly way to die.

Nowadays, modern medicine can patch you up and effectively treat horrible nasty infections, so you're generally got good odds of surviving with prompt attention. The trick these days is to make sure you don't bleed to death before an ambulance gets to you.

cheery!

Samaris's picture

Supplicant

... is about the furthest word from my mind when it comes to describing this entire bit of discussion, sarcasm notwithstanding! :O Ouch...

Jacona's picture

When I did my first aid training we were repeatedly told when there is a scene of an accident make sure you scan the surrounding ares well, especially if the victims in front of you are unable to give you details. Mainly because we humans have a crazy ability that right after some sort of epic trauma can move entirely on adrenaline and painkillers in our own system for about maximum 30 seconds. Sometimes longer, sometimes shorter. There are so many stories of people with two broken femurs and a half torn off foot wandering away from car accidents to be found hours later in the median or ditch because they then passed out, away from view.
Paramedics can do miracles today, but the human body is pretty amazing all on its own.

I wonder where that ability comes from though, running to a tree after being bitten by a saber tooth tiger or something helped early cave men Smile

Capriox's picture

Embodiment

Being tackled by a sabertooth and fighting back on sheer adrenaline so that, despite the fact that you've got a mouthful of fang in your leg, you hold it together long enough to stab out it's eyes? Or just fighting back for that extra 30 seconds after being eviscerated by the sabertooth, to buy time for your kids to escape up into a tree (doesn't matter if you survive as long as your genes do!).

Darwinian speculation is fun Smile

sherinik's picture

Postulant

but only going on my own experience in various hand/eye coordination exercises, I'd agree with Davik. If I line up a shot (at anything - ball throwing, kicking, billiards, whatever) then I miss more often than I hit, but if I take it on the fly and don't overthink it, then my odds go up enormously. So totally without any experience with guns and other projectile weapons (except Space Invaders and Galaga), I'd say that up to accurate firing distance for the weapon involved, running away might be a higher likelihood of getting hit. And I can't look at a weapon and KNOW the accurate range...

Raigne's picture

Embodiment

If you've never handled one before, you might just end up injuring yourself with the recoil.

Then again, like my stepdad said, if there's some crazy prowling around, better you shoot him and end up with a dislocated shoulder...

But I agree with the not trying to aim with thrown projectiles. I can peg someone with a small rock right between the eyes at least 50% of the time without trying to line a shot up if they're standing level with me and not too far away.

Gudy's picture

Embodiment

... since I've been active, but here's my take on it, FWIW:

1) No correlation, as far as I can see. The standard advice is to keep your distance and to dart in and out. Which only actually helps when you're faster than your opponent. Distance determines what techniques each of you can apply easily, which is not that dependent on pure strength in most cases. If he's a better grappler, hold your distance. If he's got a devastating roundhouse kick, move in to boxing or grappling distance. In other words, the question I'd be asking is: What are their strengths, besides strength?

2) Technique, speed, concentration and a bit of strength/muscle tone. Most known styles depend on gravity in some way or another to keep you or the board anchored, so that one helps, too. Smile

fairnymph's picture

Embodiment

When I did Kung Fu, I found that long limbs/reach + swift agility made it worthwhile for me to be back a bit from my nearly always stronger opponents.

I think pretty much anyone can train to break boards. Smile

Carrie's picture

But what everyone is saying about 1 is true. Because I trained to kick, it would be to my advantage to be further away, but maybe not if I'm facing someone was also knows how to kick.
Believe me, I am NOT an athletic person at all, but for each belt test, we would have to break a board. I'd say I broken boards in seven different ways for tests (two with the hand, five using different kicks) And honestly, the hardest was when I was kicking down. The key, as others have said, is not hitting the board hard, but hitting the spot three inches behind the board. Also is using the proper part of your body for the hit. Using the firt, you are hitting with the flat part of the fist, no knuckles leading. Doing a roundhouse? In the training sparring I did, you hit with the top of your foot. But you better be hitting the board with the ball of your foot in you want to break the board and not your foot.
So with just a little power, and decent technique, it is easy to break a board. And Capriox is right, it can be pretty cool to hold a board for someone else, just don't flinch, as you'll make it a lot harder for the other person to break the board.

blwinteler's picture

Supplicant

on 1: when I was in sparring tournaments, I did a whole lot better with my kicks. I actually used them to get myself an opening for punches, but my kicks are my strong point. I had opponents who were better with hand strikes and did best if they got in close, so it really depends on the person. I've been matched against people almost identical to me in style. That was weird. Like a mirror almost. For that, once I realized what was going on, I could adjust. I had to use what I wasn't so good at, but knew the opponent wasn't either, and it was a surprise, so it worked out well.

Someone's picture

Postulant

I have some insight into question#1. I'm assuming here you're talking a striking-based style (as opposed to a throwing/grappling-based one. I have no real insight there, being a karate man myself). As a smaller person, your natural advantage is maneuverability and speed. So, generally, you want to keep your distance. But, of course, to hit someone you have to be close to them. The trick here is closing. If you do it wrong, you're just going to charge into whatever technique they throw at you. This is bad, and hurts way more than just being hit (I know this, being as I never quite mastered closing without getting hit by jamming techniques). So, the answer to your question is long, but practice your closing.

The other thing I have to offer you is something my sensei would always say to us: "If you're a lightweight, learn to hit like a heavyweight. If your a heavyweight, learn to move like a lightweight". Obviously, an ideal heavyweight will always hit harder than an ideal lightweight, but an ideal lightweight will hit way harder than a mediocre heavyweight.

yeah. I think that's all I've got to say.

Davik's picture

Embodiment

1) really depends on both your style and the person you're fighting; if you're the typical tae kwon do fighter, you need range to throw kicks, but if you're flexible enough, you can throw them close in. On the other hand, I've known fairly small people who were very quick and very trained in joint locks, so they got on top of someone and used their knowledge in such a way that strength was really irrelevant. It doesn't matter how strong you are if the other person has all the leverage. If you're fighting someone who uses a lot of kicks (like one black belt I sparred who had almost a foot of height on me), it can be quite useful to get in on top of them and just pummel them; I know once I got in close on the black belt he didn't stand a chance. Basically, know yourself, and know your opponent.

2) Breaking boards, concrete, etc. really just takes technique, speed, strength, and concentration, largely in that order. The momentum of the strike (mass*velocity) and the energy behind it (.5*mass*velocity^2) are both factors in breaking something, and you'll notice velocity is in both. That said you have to know how to throw your shoulders/hips (effectively adding mass) so you're not just striking with the arm/leg muscles, and you have to be focused and aiming on a spot BEHIND the target. It's easier if you have more mass to throw behind it, but even when I was only a shade over 120 lbs I broke a 2"x4" that was held vertically with a hand strike. You don't have to be big to break things Blum 3

Lemur's picture

I find it depends on your opponent.

Right now, the majority of the people I train with are larger than me (I believe I'm the second smallest in the club). They're also mostly stronger than me, being large well-conditioned men. While I've learned how to use what weight and strength I have for leverage, I can't compete in strength or reach. The guys can also take a few of my punches, whereas a solid blow from one of them would likely knock me flat.

In my case, fighting close is dangerous, but if I fight at a distance, they can hit me while still outside my reach. The best you can do then is make it a moving fight. Get inside their guard where they can't throw punches or kicks (watch out for elbows), hit hard, then get out before you get grabbed. It requires a lot of movement (luckily us smaller people are often faster - less mass to move around), and you do have to play a bit of a running game. You won't win a war of attrition against a larger person. In all cases, make sure you hit hard and fast, because you're going to be the one doing most of the moving.

In the words of my Guro: "At the beginning of the fight he's big and strong, and you're small and fast. At the end of the fight you're small and tired, but he's still big and strong."

Pedes's picture

Postulant

And that is: there is no fixed answer. It depends on many factors, beginning with your style of fighting, your skills, speed, flexibility, agility and footwork, ending with your opponents'.
When I used to train it was not easy for me. I'm 5'3" so most opponents I did and would ever encounter were bigger and stronger then I am. This shaped my fighting style considerably (it was long ago, I probably can't do it now anyway XD Nevertheless...)
I did Shotokan Karate, which likes strong deep positions. We trained in long, low positions, so it learned us to have quite a big range of one step. Since I am small I picked up a way of moving that was more in Kung-fu style; it's difficult to explain, but generally it was lighter and quite fast. Then the case of range. Of course one should start out of the bigger's arms range. Since I am small I knew my arms won't do it so with a bigger opponent I relied almost solely on legs for hits and arms and legs for defense. There IS a small advantage to being small here; it's more difficult to throw punches downwards; on the other hand they could easily kick me anywhere they wanted; yet this made reading movements a bit easier. Actually it was more difficult to me to fight people of similar size, as some of the movements I got used to would not work on them XD Also I was used to keeping a big distance so smaller people tended to bounce back to me (I could just tire them out as I used less strength-consuming way of moving lol).
The best way to attack a bigger+stronger opponent is doing it when he attacks, blocking/avoiding his hit and getting him in some vital points. This works well if you're faster and able to go from wide range into close, very fast with hits, have great reflexes and strong blocks, good technique and opponent whose technique is not as great as yours. Uh, not that easy, eh? XD Anyway if you're fast enough then the best is keeping a wider range and getting in close in the opponents attack seems to be the best way, whether you do aikido and leverage, kicks or hits.
Just remember: everybody makes mistakes; this involves both you and him.
If you're not experienced in fighting and can't read the opponent... Then make the distance as big as possible from the beginning if you can (read: run like hell!).

Capriox's picture

Embodiment

I wish someone would come up with a research-based guide to recommend different martial arts styles based on body-type and desired outcome (self-defense, improved physical fitness, martial tournament competitions, etc.). For instance, TKD is better suited to people with long limbs and lots of leg/hip flexibility (or the ability to easily gain that flexibility), especially if they want to compete in tournaments. Shotokan, with it's love of long, deep stances and uber-stable power is great for getting a powerful single punch or kick, but may or may not teach you worthwhile self-defense. And all standing martial arts need to be combined with *some* ground-fighting art in order to be a complete self-defense. Things like that, which beginners should be told before they sign-up somewhere, but often don't figure out until years later.

Granted, what you study is often limited by what's offered nearby and at reasonable prices, but still. Not all dojo/clubs/gyms and sensei/guru/guro/sifu/coaches are created equal, and it would be nice if newbies had a reference to help them figure out which ones were actually worth the time/commitment/energy/pain/money.

Lemur's picture

I believe Bullshido has some good information on their site.

Really though, you can't narrow it down even by body type. I fight in a different manner than many with my build, and it works. Other than the sport/modern/traditional break, there may be no easy way. It's mostly a matter of watching a couple classes, trying a couple classes and seeing if the style is right (and if they want you to sign a long-term contract right away? Run)

Jacob's picture

I assume that since your asking this question you probably have not had much formal or informal experience. I have never done the karate judo or whatever 100 styles there is, however I have a job where I get paid to control and beat down on people and grew up getting into perhaps many more scrapes then I should have. 9/10 times I'm bigger or as big as them. This is a huge advantage as most people don't know how to deal with someone who's bigger stronger and fast.
1. Intensity
Only people I have problems with are intense fighters most people can be wrapped up in a basic hold and controlled with ease. The people who you can immobilize limbs and have them pinned and will be trying to bash your nose in with their head are way more fun. Above anything else bringing your intensity to the situation and going full out till finished in a smart manner is the best approach.
2. why are you fighting?
I rarely have to fight as I can talk almost anybody down. Most of the time it isn't worth it to get to the point where they are going to swing at you.
3. Don't have pride. It's you or them.
I am not above using any advantage I'm given, a object, a injury, or anything that may give me advantage over you, I'm tearing on it breaking it beating you down with it. If I choose to go full out people end up in the hospital. I never feel bad about it or worry about the consequences if they choose to start shit with me I will finish it every time.
Your fighting style will differ, as it is I am happy to slug it out at range, or get in and grapple for dominance. If you don't feel like you can currently handle yourself go take a discipline, It won't prevent you from getting beat down but it can't hurt.

Raigne's picture

Embodiment

Awesome to have a different perspective, and you make some good points. Intensity made me think of attitude too. If you look like you know what you're doing, that can be effective. I think the OP was more curious about the hypothetical scenario though.

Also, you should consider creating an account!
There's lots of great benefits and we love having new members Smile

NorthwoodsMan's picture

Embodiment

Always cheat, always win. The only unfair fight is the one you lose.

The best way to win a knife fight is to not get into one.

Davik's picture

Embodiment

The best way to win a knife fight is from a thousand meters with a rifle }:)

Laureril's picture

Supplicant

To be the only one with a knife. Blum 3

Raigne's picture

Embodiment

Nuke them from orbit? Only way to be sure.

Davik's picture

Embodiment

You know, I was going to comment that I preferred to be well away from an enemy and using a weapon that created a hole you could see daylight through, but I like the way you think! Wink Hell, maybe I'll even scrap my railgun plans and just work on getting some nukes in to orbit }:)

Gudy's picture

Embodiment

... too much paperwork. Remember, E=1/2*m*v^2, so get that speed up to something nice and relativistic, or build your very own OADS.

Ely's picture

Petitioner

That's a really interesting discussion. We have a lot of knowledgeable people around, with different perspectives...

I agree with Jacob that the best way to win a fight is to talk the other out of it. Really. Confidence helps a lot, and whether you get it naturally or by martial art practice it doesn't really matter. Not fighting might not be as satisfying, especially if there was provocation on the other side, but it usually beats the alternative... Fights can get ugly real quick, especially when more than two people are involved.
Also, never take a knife out "for show" : if you're not prepared to use it, as others said, you're asking for trouble - and by putting a blade in the equation, you've just brought the trouble to a much more dangerous level.

A few years ago, I got involved in a heated argument that could have gotten quite nasty. As a dozen of us, actors, stage fighters and stunt performers, were relaxing outside a pub at the end of a two-day festival, a random guy came to an actor dozing against a wall and ...punched him in the eye, 'for laughs'. How giving a stranger a black eye can be considered a funny joke is beyond me, I'm afraid.
Anyway, voices were raised pretty quickly, and in about two minutes the guy had friends (all security guards... and an off-duty cop), and five or six of us were closing in as well. Now, take a bunch of trained but tired fighters, half of them with a fucking *sword* on the pub's table and the dagger still stuck in the belt, and tell them some small-town bullies just hit their friend and want some trouble... Let me tell you, the priority here was: calm the f... down before someone is killed.
We were very lucky to have the stunt crew with us: they were all experienced martial artists, and they kept their cool, using soothing tones and movements for thirty very, very long minutes, until the other guys decided to go find their fun elsewhere. It was a very intense moment: I still remember the fighting stances, and the angry actor we took the dagger from before the others could notice, and the balancing point where it could have all gone very wrong but didn't.

Davik's picture

Embodiment

The first lesson of any good martial arts school is avoid the fight. Stay calm, try to tone things down, walk away. I took everything that's been discussed above as what you do when you can't walk away, and you can't avoid violence. I haven't had to use any of my training outside of practice since high school, and I consider that to be a very, very good thing (especially since I had a roommate one summer who I REALLY wanted to introduce to the concept of agony Blum 3 ).

Lemur's picture

In that I've never had to use my training on the street. I'm also perfectly willing to back off and let those who insist on playing alpha have their victory.
We even train a lot of technique starting from the "Harmless hippie stance" which assumes you've first been trying to calm the other down and they've decided to get too far within your bubble.

I have, however, at the advice of those I train with, already made my decisions regarding violence: If someone wants my wallet, phone etc. they can have it, it's not worth my safety and the possibility of getting stabbed (shooting being quite unlikely here). If, however, they're interested in hurting me, well, if I'm going to be hurt it's going to be while fighting back. (Also my father's advice, given shortly before I moved to the city).

Davik's picture

Embodiment

As my dad put it, never start a fight, never throw the first punch, but if someone insists on starting a fight, be the one to end it.

jacob's picture

I do believe that is the same advice every father gives Smile

Lemur's picture

Yep, his way of looking out for his little girl.

He also said that most attackers are cowards, and aren't looking to get hurt in return. Sometimes (if you can't talk your way out) letting them know you won't go down without a fight can get you out, so I'm told.

Aelfgar's picture

Having for many years been a martial arts teacher and student, in law enforcement, a bodyguard, a bouncer, and a fight choreographer, I have to say that I have seen a lot of "action". Most of the advice here is spot on!

A few things I would like to address. The number one rule in fighting is don't. When that is not an option, whether to be close or keep your distance is entirely dependent on what "style" you have studied, and the "attitude" (or stance) taken by your opponent.

I have studied many styles, both long to medium range and medium to short. Aikido, Hapkido, and Tai Kwon Do being considered in the former category teach differing responses to a given attack than Kung Fu, Tai Chi, or Bua Gua Zhang (as they are generally considered of the latter category--though each style has elements of the other category).

Like most martial artists, I have personal biases towards some arts over others, but there is no one art that is better than another. I have learned that some arts tend to be better than others for certain people. For instance, tall energetic people with aggressive attitudes may be better suited for something like Karate or Tai Kwan Do than short less-energetic people with non-aggressive attitudes. Either way, it is still a personal choice.

On that note, the reference to facing fire-arms is also a matter of personal choice and the attitude of the attacker. Most attackers have never been to a gun range, and will likely not be able to hit a fleeing victim. That being said, I personally will likely close distance on the attacker. The closer I am, the more likely that I will be able to add another gun to my collection... right after beating the guy with his own gun until I feel better.

In short, no matter how much of a pacifist you may or may not be, I strongly urge everybody to seriously study self-defense of some sort or another. Not all such classes are good, though. So do a little research and talk to knowledgeable people about the instructor and the material. Personally, I would recommend Krav Maga for serious self defense application, or for an all-around mind/body (and self defense) attitude, find someone that teaches Tai Chi as the martial art it is intended to be (not what I call the "Old People in the Park" kind).

And always remember Rule number 2! If you must fight, fight to win. Use every "dirty trick" you can. In today's world, an attacker (especially one using a firearm) is, more often than not, not interested in leaving a witness. Only fight until you are able to flee, but if you have no option but to kill or be killed, do not be squeamish. You can worry about your morals later, but you must be alive to do so. You are not the Lone Ranger, and shooting someone in the leg is seldom going to make you safe for long. Remembering things like center mass, take-down power, and fatal strikes (I don't care if you are using a gun or a hammer fist) is the only way to think if you are in such a situation.

And though it may be in vain, I sincerely hope that none of you ever have to use any such skills. May your days be spent training in harmony with the universe, not in conflict with others.

MeiLin's picture

Most High

Hel-LO handsome! Biggrin

*making note on reader to pump for information consult...*

Raigne's picture

Embodiment

A great number of experts in various fields useful to your creations. You are lucky. Smile

MeiLin's picture

Most High

A more erudite bunch I've never met. I'm honored to have ya. Smile

jtok202's picture

I just spent some time looking over the different styles of martial arts, Now i realize why krav maga has the reputation that it does its quick, vicious, and sinks totally with my natural fighting style ( Thanks for your input now to find out how practical it is to find a teacher)
Jacob

Raigne's picture

Embodiment

Yay, you made an account! Feel free to introduce yourself in the forum too. Smile

NorthwoodsMan's picture

Embodiment

And where did you find the pic and what exactly is it??

:pirate:

jtok202's picture

The picture has dissapeared from the interwebs, I can't find it My spider can't find it I was rather dissapointed, It was found originally on YMNTD.COM during a drunken wander, It's a girl in b/w photoshop eating icecream cone with big candies but consistently freaks me and others out Smile
Jacob

Raigne's picture

Embodiment

She does seem to fall neatly into the uncanny valley. And I haven't been to ytmnd.com in a long time. I have to restrain my mind from going, "Young teenage mutant ninja..." =\

Pedes's picture

Postulant

I've become a fan XD And with your description on your profile I'm curious how your avatar looks in a bigger version XD

Anyway you remind me of what our sensei used to say "don't get into a fight, but if you do make sure the other one ends up worse than you".

Davik's picture

Embodiment

I made the mistake of watching Blood Sport when it came on tonight, and I have to see if anyone else agrees with my mini-rant. First of all, most of those "fighters" didn't know what they were doing; they kept their guards low, and generally opened themselves up to all the most damaging shots. (a multiple crescent kick without keeping your guard up? PLEASE!)

Secondly, you don't just stand there and trade blows with a skilled martial artist even if you are one. I don't care how strong you are, muscle only takes so much. I (and I don't consider myself to be more than moderately skilled) can break concrete; standing there and letting me hit you will result in multiple broken bones from each hit. So yeah, the first person to land a solid blow, generally wins. Hell, I'm not even that good, and I know at least 5 techniques or blows that cause death. So, the whole standing around trading blows to the head, neck and torso... total crap (not to mention breaking blows to the knees or debilitating blows to the groin). Anyway, needed to rant...

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