November 2012

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Written By Raymond Horwitz

Combat-hapkido creator and Black Belt Hall of Fame member John Pellegrini is one of the world’s leading authorities on hand-to-hand combat. In this video, he demonstrates the combat-hapkido method for defending against a throat grab!

In a street attack, things can get ugly real fast. An attacker can reach for your throat, aiming to either stop you in your tracks and take your wallet or aiming to stop you in your tracks permanently.

During military combat situations, such an attack is usually aimed at the latter conclusion.

So self-defense moves such as those used in combat hapkido are designed to quickly immobilize an opponent and render their attack ineffective — as demonstrated in this video:

COMBAT-HAPKIDO TECHNIQUES VIDEO John Pellegrini Shows You Self-Defense Moves to Use Against a Throat Grab

The attack in this video is staged slowly for demonstration purposes, but John Pellegrini’s response via fast self-defense moves is anything but slow. He immediately deflects the course of the opponent’s outreached arm at a speed sufficient to counter a full-speed attack.

“He tries to attack me … you know, grab me by the throat or punch me or whatever … I’m going to move [his arm] this way,” John Pellegrini explains as he launches into combat-hapkido self-defense moves that immediately remove him from the line of fire, as it were, and to the outside of the attacker’s grip.

Once he’s on the outside, he can then use further techniques to hit the opponent’s support structure to start the immobilization process.

“I’m going to attack the leg that supports the weight of the body while I hit the face,” John Pellegrini says, explaining the next stage of this scenario. The simultaneous buckling of the leg coupled with the facial impact sends the opponent to the ground quickly and decisively.

While it may seem obvious, John Pellegrini stresses that speedy reflexes and protection of vital points are essential training points for effective execution of combat-hapkido techniques. “The logical thing to do is protect your windpipe,” he says. “Most other courses of action can leave you incapacitated. Since you never know what’s coming, it’s best to use what warriors call mushin, or the ‘mind of no mind.’ Don’t form in your mind [an image of] what’s going to happen. Instead, keep it clear so you can react and adapt without hesitation.”

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by Kelly McCann Photos by Peter Lueders

“Good to go” is a common military colloquialism indicating readiness. Are you physically good to go for performance of self-defense moves during an unexpected, violent street confrontation? Physical fitness is one of the essential preparedness prerequisites.

What’s considered adequately fit in regard to defending yourself? How can it be quantified? On the no-to-low end of the spectrum, some believe fitness is irrelevant because combative techniques are supposed to incapacitate an attacker so quickly.

“Supposed to,” hmm? That’s a pretty naive perspective.

The results of any techniques are always conditional on the street because of myriad variables that are out of your control. You can’t depend on technique, power and luck always aligning perfectly to achieve a desired outcome; “guaranteed to succeed” is a dangerous appraisal of any technique, tactic or weapon.

Middle-grounders believe fitness is a requirement for effective self-defense moves and achieve their personal concept of it in different ways — from running to weightlifting to cross-training. Although well-intentioned and generally fit, some in this group may find that their conditioning program failed to adequately prepare them for the demanding and specific physical requirements of a snot-slinging fight for their life.

Those who believe fitness is essential and maintain extraordinary levels of it are generally conditioning hounds anyway — whether they practice combativesor not. Even in this group, some may miss the mark in achieving the specific fitness level necessary for a nasty physical confrontation in a parking garage.

Attack situations generally require a period of intense physical exertion lasting less than three minutes. There are exceptions, of course — a protracted struggle to prevent a rape in an isolated environment, for example — but street attacks are normally quick, brutal events intended to overwhelm the victim. They tend not to be slow, sustained incidents requiring “long distance” physical endurance. During an attack, you’ll rely primarily on fast-twitch muscles for speed, power and plyometric explosiveness.

Basically, fast-twitch muscles use your body’s glycogen stores for energy during short periods of intense exertion and will fatigue quickly. Conversely, slow-twitch muscles use fat stores to provide sustained energy throughout prolonged periods of lower-intensity work and fatigue more slowly.

It’s important to understand how attacks occur, as well as how your body will physiologically respond in order to develop task-specific fitness goals. By tweaking your conditioning program, you can effectively and efficiently achieve “street fight” fitness in addition to greater general fitness. I believe street-fight fitness is best achieved through intense anaerobic interval training, but I also believe aerobic endurance training is still a requirement for general fitness.

An easy way to distinguish the two is by measuring your heart rate. It’s helpful to get a heart-rate monitor. They’re inexpensive and take the guesswork out of reaching and maintaining your target rate. Get a model with a large readout so you can attach it somewhere other than your wrist in the event you glove up to hit the heavy bag or spar.

An accurate method for determining your maximum heart rate is to subtract your age from 220. So if you’re 40, it’s 220 – 40 = 180. Low-intensity aerobic work keeps your heart beating at 65 percent of your maximum, or 180 x .65 = 117 beats per minute. In contrast, intense exertion is anaerobic at 85 percent to 95 percent of your max: 180 x .85 (or .95) = 153 (171) BPM.

An aerobic routine puts you in the zone to burn fat efficiently, is easy to sustain for long periods and can be used on your off days as a recovery workout. An anaerobic routine is much shorter in length, is also beneficial for fat burning (in the hours following your workout), requires more recovery time and is more characteristic of the physical requirements of a brawl.

If you don’t exercise, put the Twinkie down and get off your ass. Confirm your suitability to exercise with your physician, then get after it. If you do train but want to tweak your routine to specifically address overcoming physical failure during self-defense mvoes in a violent street confrontation, try including either short-duration, high-intensity interval routines or long-duration aerobic activity at least twice a week to balance out your training.

To maintain my readiness, I train four days a week, using both high-intensity interval and low-intensity endurance routines. I’m satisfied this approach is balanced, avoids overtraining, and ensures full-body fitness and task-specific, street-fight fitness.

By the way, reliance on gross-motor movements in a donnybrook is important. Above 170 BPM, it becomes difficult to perform complex, complicated or intricate-motor movements. By using combative techniques to achieve and maintain your target heart rate during interval training, you enjoy the added benefit of reinforcing your motor memory.

Arduous physical workouts also provide the intangible mental benefit of preparing you to endure pain and discomfort. The commitment necessary to maintain a consistently challenging fitness program develops your determination to prevail and generally “mans you up” — never a bad thing.

The motto of one of the special-operations units I was a member of is a Latin expression that means “prepare for the worst.” Of course, your intention is to succeed, but you should always consider failure and do everything you can in training to maximize any available advantage. Being fit is a clear advantage that you’re always likely to enjoy over “Carl the Crackhead” or “Tim the Tweaker.”

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Adapted from an article by Dr. Mark Cheng, Senior RKC Photo by Rick Hustead

In Korean martial arts video footage pulled from the Black Belt archive, hwa rang do grandmaster Taejoon Lee, author of the Korean martial arts book Hwa Rang Do: Defend, Take Down, Submit, demonstrates two visually impressive takedowns: a spinning leg-scissor takedown and submission technique and a powerful leg-grab counter.

Born out of the martial and medical wisdom of Korea’s ancient Hwarang knighthood and organized into a modern system by Black Belt Hall of Fame member Dr. Joo Bang Lee in the mid-20th century, hwa rang do encompasses the full gamut of combat techniques.

NEW KOREAN MARTIAL ARTS VIDEO Grandmaster Taejoon Lee Demonstrates a Powerful Leg-Grab Counter!

KOREAN MARTIAL ARTS VIDEO Grandmaster Taejoon Lee Demonstrates the Spinning Leg-Scissor Takedown and Submission!

While other arts showcase their power primarily with punches and kicks, HRD practitioners soar through the air with whirlwind hand and foot strikes, as well as grounded locks, throws and grappling moves that demonstrate the utmost finesse.

A Brief History of the Art’s Evolution as Told by Taejoon Lee

Taejoon Lee, the eldest of Joo Bang Lee’s children and heir apparent to the system, sheds light on the historical evolution of the art: “When hwa rang do first came to the United States, everyone wanted to learn how to punch and kick. The flashier moves brought in more students, so my father adjusted the curriculum and ranking system from his original Korean teaching structure to fit our new home.”

“Back then, grappling wasn’t very popular,” he continues. “People who were interested in martial arts wanted effective techniques that looked good, too. With a kick, you can generally get an idea of its power without having to feel it, but a submission technique requires experience for you to appreciate it.

“Ground grappling, by and large, isn’t as visually exciting as percussive techniques are. Just look at the way the rules have changed in the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Because spectators demanded more visual excitement, the promoters restart the fights [in a] standing position if there’s too little action on the ground.”

How Dr. Joo Bang Lee’s Art Brought Flair to Its Demonstrations

Viewing footage of HRD training and demonstrations held in Korea during the 1960s, it’s easy to see that Joo Bang Lee was right on the money. Between demonstrations of their breaking and weapons prowess, practitioners can be seen performing a plethora of joint manipulations, throws, takedowns, ground-grappling moves and submission techniques.

Taking Korean Martial Arts Into the Future

Continuing with his father’s mission to make HRD a viable and well-rounded system that meets the needs of its environment, Taejoon Lee has developed a new system for training students to survive nonlethal encounters — which, no matter what some might argue, make up the majority of self-defense situations.

The three-step process combines the joint manipulations, takedowns and throws of HRD into a defend–take-down–submit format that’s an effective alternative to knockdown–and–drag-out combat.

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by Raymond Horwitz Photo by TJ Daly

Lamar Davis — the founder of and head instructor at Hardcore Jeet Kune Do as well as the executive director/senior instructor for the Hardcore Jeet Kune Do Chinese Gung Fu Association and the co-founder of the International Wing Chun/Jeet Kune Do Alliance and the Efficient Warrior Alliance — has studied and trained in Bruce Lee’s art of jeet kune do for more than 30 years. He has been certified as a full/senior instructor by several of Bruce Lee’s original students.

In this exclusive jeet kune do video, pulled from his DVD collection Jeet Kune Do for the Advanced Practitioner, the second-generation Bruce Lee student explains and demonstrates evasive tactics in JKD moves that Bruce Lee based on boxing techniques.

JEET KUNE DO TECHNIQUES VIDEO Lamar Davis Demonstrates Jeet Kune Do Techniques That Bruce Lee Developed From Boxing Techniques

Jeet Kune Do Techniques Based on Boxing Techniques

“Most of these movements Bruce Lee took from boxing,” Lamar Davis explains in this exclusive video.

If the opponent fires lead-hand punches toward his head, Lamar Davis explains, you have the option of executing one of the basic boxing techniques adapted for JKD moves known as a “slip” (or “outside slip”). The move is simple: Move to the outside of the hand’s forward trajectory — or slip to the side, out of its path.

In boxing techniques, there is such a thing as an “inside slip,” but the jeet kune do expert warns against it. “I prefer to slip to the outside of the arm simply because you’re a little bit safer if you slip to the outside,” Lamar Davis explains.

If a punch is coming straight at your face, you have the option of snapping straight back. Among boxing techniques adapted for JKD moves, this selection is called a “backward snap” or a “snap back.”

Boxing Techniques Used by Jeet Kune Do Techniques Practitioners for Avoiding the Hook

“[An opponent might] fire a hook at my head,” Lamar Davis says, “in which case, I duck. When I duck, I bend my knees, I drop straight down, I bring my hands up to guard my head and I look at him the whole time.”

The “wrong way” to duck, Lamar Davis says, is to bend your torso forward and look downward during the movement. “When I do that, I can’t see anything,” he explains. “I don’t know what’s going on up [above] for a split second — not a good thing. That’s a good time to catch an elbow or a hammerfist to the back of the head or the upper spine.”

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by Raymond O’Dell BRUCE LEE is a registered trademark of Bruce Lee Enterprises LLC. The Bruce Lee name, image and likeness are intellectual property of Bruce Lee Enterprises LLC.

The Tao of Jeet Kune Do teaches how Bruce Lee arrived at his personal truth, which he called jeet kune do. The path he used is a clear and concise method that every martial artist can easily apply to his own search. Here’s how:

Bruce Lee Training Philosophy Concept #1

SEEK THE TRUTH

You have to consciously want to know the truth and look for it. Seek the reality of combat for yourself. Don’t rely on what your instructor, past masters or other martial artists tell you is the truth. Do your own homework. You won’t learn by copying your neighbor’s homework.

Take every opportunity to study what really takes place in an assault or self-defense situation — not just physically but mentally, too. What impact did fear, anxiety and anger have on the situation?

Bruce Lee Training Philosophy Concept #2

BECOME AWARE OF THE TRUTH

Know what you’re looking for and don’t be in denial when you discover it. Martial artists who have devoted years to training in a traditional system and practiced according to what they’ve been taught is the truth sometimes have difficulty accepting that they might have spent years studying a lie. Not only might they have studied a lie, but they also might have spent years training according to that lie.

The important thing is to not dwell on the lie. Be thankful that you’ve become aware of it, then adjust your training to what you now know is real.

Bruce Lee Training Philosophy Concept #3

PERCEIVE THE TRUTH

Perception is everything — in life and in the martial arts. Make your perceptions as total in nature as you can. Gather as many facts as possible on the subject or situation before forming a perception.

Bruce Lee Training Philosophy Concept #4

EXPERIENCE THE TRUTH

When you discover what you perceive to be a truth, put it to the test. In most cases, that means putting on the protective gear and going full contact in a realistic scenario.

This is an extremely important part of discovering the truth, one that many people fail to do. Lee was fond of saying that you cannot learn to swim without getting in the water. Likewise, you cannot learn to fight without fighting.

A word of caution about determining whether the truth you’re experimenting with has any value: If that truth involves using a new technique with which you’re unfamiliar, don’t be too hasty to discount it if it fails. We all know it takes time to master a new technique. The failure of the technique could stem from poor execution rather than poor design.

Bruce Lee Training Philosophy Concept #5

MASTER THE TRUTH

Once you’ve perceived a truth, experienced it and found it to be true, master that truth. This involves drills and repetitive execution. As you should have done while experiencing that truth, practice it from all angles against many different attackers in as many scenarios as possible. Add it to your training regimen.

Bruce Lee Training Philosophy Concept #6

FORGET THE TRUTH AND THE CARRIER OF THE TRUTH

What did Lee mean by this? If the truth you learned was punching skills, the carrier of that truth may have been boxing. Once you’ve developed your hand skills, there’s no longer a need to associate them with boxing. It was merely a vehicle to get you where you wanted to go. Boxing is a truth that belonged to whoever created it. One person’s truth may be another person’s limitation. By not being bound by this system, you avoid those limitations. You have absorbed what is useful and rejected what is useless.

Bruce Lee Training Philosophy Concept #7

REPOSE IN THE NOTHING

You cannot rest in the satisfaction of the truth that you’ve discovered because that truth will change with time. Long ago, empty-hand defense against a sword might have been a truth, but today it’s highly unlikely you’ll be attacked by someone wielding such a weapon. But a knife or baseball-bat attack is quite conceivable. The truth of a sword attack has changed — or perhaps “evolved” is a more appropriate term. The fact is, the truth you discover today may be that the truth you learned yesterday is no longer true.

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