Archive for WWII combatives

To Punch or Not to Punch?

Posted in Commentary, Resources and Product Reviews with tags , , , on December 19, 2010 by bigstickcombat

Devastated by a Single "Jersey Shore" Punch

In the discussion on Jeet Kune Do, Dan Inosanto, Ted Wong, Teri Tom and the straight punch, reader Miguel Gutierrez of GEACOM S.O.U.T. reminds me of an important point –punching may not be the most effective street technique.

Miguel explains that after fracturing his hand in a street altercation, his talks with bouncers and others who had fought in real life revealed that hand injuries are more common than many people realize. His answer is to go to the WWII era combatives, and the methods found in classics like “Kill or Be Killed,” which rely less on punching.

Even though in real life people do get knocked out on the street with punches, like in the “One Shot” Jersey Shore episode, it is still a valid question: Are punches valid on the street? Does punching pose as serious a risk to the puncher as to the person being hit?


Is punching better suited to the ring than the street? Is the effectiveness of boxing as a style

Old School Hand Conditioning

dependent upon some type of hand protection? This may be why so many of the classical styles emphasized hand/fist conditioning, like the makiwara board.

In downtown Cebu City I train in a small gym. The equipment is basic and much of it is handmade. There is a punching bag, but it’s harder than a rock. I wrap my fists, but I still have to go easy on my punches because it’s too easy to injure my knuckles. However, I find I can do my rear elbow shot  repeatedly, full force, without problems. The lesson for me is that if it comes down to combat on the street and I am trying to shut someone down via blunt force trauma to the skull, an elbow is a better choice than a fist.

Let me raise an idea that might not have occurred to you. As I write this, there is snow on the ground, and it is not out of place for a person to wear gloves. Why not buy gloves that enable you to hit harder?

Gloves with Hard Knuckle Protectors

For instance, at Amazon, you can buy Kevlar gloves with hard knuckle protectors. With these, you could punch freely with less worry about injuring your hand. You can also buy cut -resistant gloves. I also saw a protective, cut-resistant sleeve. Citizens can buy knife and bullet proof jackets and clothing.

Should these items be on your Christmas wish list?