Brian Kagen pick: “Punch on the street or not?” from

“Im not totally convinced one way or the other. I haven’t been sold on either side of the argument as of yet. Should you punch on the street or use the open hand or palm strikes in stead? There are a number of considerations.

First, if you use punching a lot in your training, it is highly likely that you will use punching if you get caught up in a real altercation on the street because when the body is in this stressful environment, it behaves how it is trained to behave… generally. ‘You tend to fight how you train’ is a well used phrase.

This means that if you train a certain way, it is almost impossible to have the expectation that you will consciously be able to choose to fight in a different way in the heat of the moment. You cant, the body will just react, there is little to no conscious thought. ”

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  1. Taisho says:

    Unless you do a lot of this?

  2. Keoni May says:

    In my earlier years, I pounded my knuckles into deformity with Karate, and did a lot of professional boxing. As time went on, I saw more openings for grappling techniques. As I got older, I saw opportunities for grabbing.

    During my career (nightclub & law enforcement), when fighting for my life, I used any technique in my tool box, that happened to be the better technique at that moment. That included a fist, an open hand, a kick, a choke, a throw, a restraint, etc.

    I believe it is up to the individual to have a good tool box.

  3. Good points. A boxing guard is rule oriented. It only protects areas that are legal boxing targets. It also costs visibility. An implication is that effective sport boxing punches CAN be more visible than might work well in a real situation. This says nothing of the signal that a guard gives your opponent. Obviously assuming a guard announces intention. Less obviously, just as schools of swordsmanship have distinctive en guarde (ken kamae) stances so too do striking arts. If, for one reason or other, aikidoka have to assume a guard, it tends to look like a form of swordsmanship. Surprise.

    As for what to hit with, there are a few basics that seem to work pretty well. Back knuckle isn’t too hard on the hands if delivered to the face/head, and can be surprisingly quick. In closing distance an elbow can quickly follow (kaiten-nage, uchi maware). Fingers in the eyes and throat are effective if used judiciously. Fists work well for the abdomen and solar plexus. Daito-ryu double punch shows up in a surprising number of places. Open hand works well for lifting type strikes, as to the crotch. Tegatana shows up in a lot of ushiro techniques where the target is unseen, and as used in kokyunage, can be naturally followed by an elbow. Shomen and yokomen uchi seem to work best if there’s something IN your hand. Have never trained enough to break much with them. In all events, for aikido purposes, the relative positions and motions of the bodies involved will suggest appropriate atemi.

    But don’t get carried away. Punching is rarely decisive. Pinning is rarely indecisive. Atemi are for guidance and assistance in doing what WE do – rapid control of the situation.

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