Some traditional kung fu self defence techniques

Discussion in 'Self Defence' started by Tom bayley, Mar 22, 2020.

  1. Tom bayley

    Tom bayley Valued Member

    Self defence techniques from Southern Shoalin - hung gar kuen kung fu.

    the key to self defence is

    • to avoid fighting unless you decide that it is necessary to protect your life or those you care about.
    • to avoid escalating the level of violence in a fight in order to best protect yourself and others.
    • to escape from a fight when possible.
    The techniques are arranged in order of increasing escalation from the attacker.

    Note some of these techniques employ kicking the opponent when they are on the ground. This is done to give the defender the opportunity to get away. When possible it is best to stomp on the muscle of a limb. this will make it easier for you to escape. Never kick or stomp to the head of anyone who is on the ground. This can kill.

    01 Self-defence escape from a wrist grab.

    02 Self-defence escape from a wrist grab then counter with an arm bar.

    03 Self-defence block or slip a punch trap leg and take down.

    04 Self-defence block or slip a punch and kick to groin.

    05 Self-defence block or slip a punch and slap to groin.

    06 Self-defence evade kick and kick standing leg.

    06 Self defence evade kick and kick standing leg

    07 Self-defence trap punch with butterfly and armbar.

    07 Self defence trap punch with butterfly and armbar

    08 Self-defence headbutt.

    08 Self defence headbutt

    09 Self-defence throw from head control.

    09 Self defence throw from head control

    10 Self-defence throw with cranes wing. Note the kick at the end is to the collar bone.

    10 Self defence throw with cranes wing
  2. Tom bayley

    Tom bayley Valued Member

    01 self defence from a wrist grab - relaxed break off

  3. Tom bayley

    Tom bayley Valued Member

    Is there anybody here ?
  4. axelb

    axelb Master of Office Chair Fu

    What is your observations on these techniques, and do you think there are any items that could be modified to make more efficient?
  5. Tom bayley

    Tom bayley Valued Member

    1. techniques are performed for demonstration purposes. Space was left to see what was going on. in application some of these (but not all) should be performed much closer to the body of the attacker. The cranes wing throw for example. The techniques are not demonstrated with percussive impact. this can have a considerable impact on the effectiveness - e.g strike to carotid sinus to set up the head control during the cranes wing throw.

    2. In terms of efficient - depends what you mean. the break off from a wrist grab efficient in terms of ergonomics. it is efficient in that it allows the defender to break away, to set up a defensive wall and not to escalate. it is also the only one that i personally used to defend myself in the real world.

    3. slip the punch, while slapping the groin, and running like hell is efficient ergonomically. it is efficient tactically. it is simple and places little load on the brain so is efficient in using limited thinking capacity in a stressful situation.

    4. the head butt only works in this way for a short person against a tall one but it is ridiculously effective for use as a balance break.

    Happy to hear your thoughts on - how to refine or alter techniques shown, or suggestions for alternatives that you feel could be as good or better.
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2020
  6. Aegis

    Aegis River Guardian Admin Supporter

    Would definitely prefer to see videos rather than slideshows of stills, as that allows for more dynamic observation of the techniques.
    axelb and Pretty In Pink like this.
  7. Tom bayley

    Tom bayley Valued Member

    Swings and roundabouts - I chose slideshows as good way of slowing down the techniques and breaking them into steps to see what is going on. I take your point about my cinematography on board. But I was more interested in actually discussing the techniques themselves.
  8. aaradia

    aaradia Choy Li Fut and Yang Tai Chi Chuan Student Moderator Supporter

    Ok, so I picked one at random. (#4) No offense, but since you asked, I don't like it personally.

    Kicking while grabbing the person in seems like an off balanced place to be. The defender in that video looks like she isn't in a strong balanced position to kick like that. Also risks jamming up the kick pulling in at that close range. While grabbing the arm, the opponent might rush in, especially since he is being pulled in. Seems to me like the defender is not in a good strong balanced position for what she is setting up. Leaving a good possibility of being pushed off balance.

    1. Better option would be to pull in harder and down a bit, setting up a knee, preferably to the face if pulling down hard enough. If not, whatever is open.One doesn't always get to choose the optimal target. It would still be a stronger balanced position if timed right. I still don't like it much, but not as awkward and the set up is better for a close range leg move like a knee than the front kick.

    2. Better yet, move sideways and in while slipping. Either in with a Sei Ping Ma or kicking the L leg back into a Ding Ji Ma sideways. Still grab the arm, and then do a joint lock on the elbow of the opponent. Use the L arm on the attackers elbow, which you position with that right arm grab. You are then in a better position to then let go, maybe kick out the opponent's knee from an angle, then run away.
    axelb likes this.
  9. Tom bayley

    Tom bayley Valued Member

    The defender has slid out and back. note the pick up is right hand to right hand.

    Standing leg is well planted. kicker is in balance. target is off balance.

    Yes this is a potential risk. it depends on getting the target off balance. if they are off balance great. if not then do something else.

    Yes. but the defender has slipped to the side. if the attacker moves in the defender has the option of a side attack to the knee or to run. as you point out

    It might be a fault with my camerawork but the defender is off line, in balance, and has the attacker off balance. This is as good a time as any to kick the attacker in the groin.
  10. Tom bayley

    Tom bayley Valued Member

    stepping in and going for a balance break grapple straight away is a lot of commitment. it also requires a good level of technical skill to apply. if it goes wrong it leaves the defender in a lot of trouble.

    in the original option. the defender slips off line and backwards. as long as they get one part right the punch misses. they go for a soft intercept of the striking hand. if it goes wrong they are off line and out of range so again they dont get hit. if it works they get to go for the grab. if that works they get to pull the opponent of balance and if that works they get to kick the opponent in the groin. it is simple. it is practical and has a lot of built in fail safes.
  11. Tom bayley

    Tom bayley Valued Member

    Absolutely no offence taken. this is a discussion forum. it is where one would expect ideas to be analysed and discussed. Your comments showed that you have taken the time to look at the videos and to carefully craft a response. thank you for this.
  12. Tom bayley

    Tom bayley Valued Member


    Healthy criticism is vital for the survival of any discussion site. Recently the activity on this site has declined significantly. I suggest that this is because of the balance of the criticism. It is essential to point out weaknesses, and the threats posed by weaknesses in martial arts. Failure to do this puts peoples well-being at risk particularly in the area of self-defence.

    I am happy and grateful to hear all observations from members of this site. Including the negative comments. I am grateful that people take the time and effort to frame a considered response to my posts.

    At the same time it is important to get other people to want to post on the site. If there is a perception that the site is overly negative it will put people off and people will stop visiting. To counter this I suggest using the S.W.O.T format for analysis of the techniques on this thread.

    S - Strengths are the immediate actual benefits that an action brings.

    W – Weaknesses are the immediate actual harms that an action brings.

    O – Opportunities are the potential benefits that the action could lead to in the future.

    T - Threats are the potential harms that an action could lead to in the future.

    This approach can still produce an analysis that on balance is negative. But because it is balanced and transparent it appears fairer to the reader. I suggest this would be less of a deterrent to other people thinking of posting.

    In terms of looking at the techniques posted above I would also suggest making a point of distinguishing between

    · The appropriateness of the choice of technique for self-defence. Often under discussed.


    · Technical proficiency of application. Always to be improved.
  13. Simon

    Simon Moved on Admin Supporter MAP 2017 Koyo Award

    I think the danger is in labelling a technique as "for self defence."

    Immediately we look at a technique as a one stop shop. That is to say it'll work for an opportunist mugger, a sexual assault, reactive aggression, someone on drugs or alcohol and so on.

    As we all know self defence starts way before any physical confrontation and the problem with showing a technique is that given time constraints you are unable to address why a certain technique has been chosen for discussion.

    As an example a simple wrist lock escape with an eye jab to disable the attacker may be a technique we all demonstrate in class, however, the same technique against an opportunist mugger may just escalate the level of violence from someone who just wanted to steal a purse and run.

    Again this is something that isn't easily explained in a 20 second video, especially when we don't use sound.

    In regard to this thread the techniques are perfectly good, but the issue is that term "self defence".
    axelb likes this.
  14. Tom bayley

    Tom bayley Valued Member

    It is because I do not look at techniques as a one stop shop that I think is appropriate to label some techniques as for self defence rather than others.

    All techniques have there own strengths and weaknesses, all techniques create their own opportunities and threats. As you point out context is key. Compare a low roundhouse kick and a high roundhouse kick for example. Landing a single high roundhouse is likely to end a fight, not so for a low round house. but. a high round house requires significantly more skill to perform correctly. A poorly delivered high roundhouse can servery compromise the defenders position, not so for a low round house. Therefore given the strengths weaknesses opportunities and threats of the techniques i would argue that a low roundhouse is more appropriate for a self defence situation. It can therefore legitimately be described as a self defence technique.
  15. Tom bayley

    Tom bayley Valued Member

    While I disagree with your criticism I recognise and thoroughly agree with your underlying point - it is important to emphasise that self defence techniques are not one stop shops.
  16. Simon

    Simon Moved on Admin Supporter MAP 2017 Koyo Award

    I don't think there are self defence techniques.

    To clarify there are of course verbal and posturing actions that can be labelled as such, but it's different with the actual punches, kicks etc.

    I say to my students that if I never used the term self defence again the training should still be the same high quality.

    What makes it self defence is the addition of scenario work, or maybe drilling under increased pressure.

    From that there is the discussion around the moral, legal and ethical decisions made by the student.

    It's such a hard sell, Tom, as so many don't even think self defence is necessary.

    Some of the remainder are blinkered in regard to what works and what doesn't and indeed many are sold on stuff that will just get them seriously hurt.

    On top of all that there are even differing skill sets depending on what your requirements are.

    Are you looking at the workplace, sole workers, outside the nightclub and so on?

    So many variables that posting a clip and labelling it as self defence is going to have you bat away critique from all angles.

    I've moved from posting self defence clips, to putting up information regarding the law, what constitutes reasonable force and the like.

    From there the reader can make up their own mind what to use from their own chosen art.
  17. Tom bayley

    Tom bayley Valued Member

    thanks for the reply. Many good points. I understand the approach that you have taken and why you have taken it. A strength of you approach is that it forestalls certain criticisms. an opportunity of your approach is that it leads to a wider discussion of self defence in context, situational awareness use of voice etc. A weakness of your approach is that each technique has its own strengths weaknesses opportunity and threats in different situations your approach does not overtly recognise this. A threat posed by this is that a student might chose a technique that gets them into trouble rather than one that doesn't.

    My approach is to overtly call some techniques self defence techniques. a strength of this approach is that it allows the student to build a core group of techniques that they know are appropriate for given situations. An opportunity of my approach is that it can encourage the student to think, learn and understand for themselves about what makes a technique appropriate in a given situation. I recognise the weaknesses and threats that you point out of my approach.

    when it comes to a improving a students ability to prevent harm to themselves or others I believe the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of my approach out weigh the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of your approach.
  18. Simon

    Simon Moved on Admin Supporter MAP 2017 Koyo Award

    This is incorrect.

    Strengths and weaknesses are found out in class and under pressure.

    To say that we leave a student potentially exposed to danger due to their lack of understanding is wrong.
  19. David Harrison

    David Harrison MAPper without portfolio

    Rather than posting compliant demos, which you yourself say are not how they would be done for real, and then asking people what they think of the efficacy, seems like a bit of a backward approach.

    Why not show these techniques being done in a less scripted, more alive context, with actual intent shown by attacker and defender? That way you can skip the whole "how does this look to you, in theory?" and go on to people making suggestions as to how the methods by which you sort the wheat from the chaff might be improved.

    I honestly think most people didn't comment out of politeness. There's not much to be said about this kind of compliant arm-hanging stuff without seeing it in a live context.
    axelb, Simon and icefield like this.
  20. Tom bayley

    Tom bayley Valued Member

    my question about efficiency was in response to axe lbs post bellow. he/she asked about efficiency and I asked him/her to follow up with his / her thoughts.


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