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efreysson
04-24-2009, 09:08 PM
I'm certainly no expert on the subject, but from what I understand several well-known martial arts have over time become too rigid and formalized to be truly effective in real-life combat.
I'm writing low-tech fantasy stories, and am wondering how to handle those scenes where people fight with bare hands. So what I'm wondering is: What are the basic features in common with the most effective martial arts styles? Do the best ones teach really powerful blows and kicks, or strikes at vulnerable spots, or bending joints, or whatever?

And since "what's the situation" comes up a lot when I'm asking these kinds of things, my primary concern is how a warrior might fight when disarmed in melee combat, or when there isn't time to draw a sword, but also what women might be taught to defend themselves (and thoroughly maim the assailant, since guardsmen are rarely within easy distance). Also, I have special-agent types who are trained in assassination and guerilla warfare since childhood, and so might often have to resort to their bare hands.

Sophia
04-24-2009, 09:30 PM
I don't have personal experience, but I can suggest a site that might help. Steve Morris (http://www.morrisnoholdsbarred.co.uk/07mainpage.htm) aims to train his martial arts students to be effective real-life fighters. There is a wealth of information on the site.

Kitty Pryde
04-24-2009, 09:31 PM
Why not look at martial arts systems used by modern militaries? Like Krav maga, kapap, MCMAP. They are designed more for Killing Ur Doods than for training for formal sparring/fitness/self-defense/fun/whatever.

The only martial art i know that women were historically trained in to defend themselves is the naginata (a long, lightweight, sharp weapon). Modern practice is mainly for formalized sparring or stylized performance.

DL Hegel
04-24-2009, 10:14 PM
I'm certainly no expert on the subject, but from what I understand several well-known martial arts have over time become too rigid and formalized to be truly effective in real-life combat.
I'm writing low-tech fantasy stories, and am wondering how to handle those scenes where people fight with bare hands. So what I'm wondering is: What are the basic features in common with the most effective martial arts styles? Do the best ones teach really powerful blows and kicks, or strikes at vulnerable spots, or bending joints, or whatever?

And since "what's the situation" comes up a lot when I'm asking these kinds of things, my primary concern is how a warrior might fight when disarmed in melee combat, or when there isn't time to draw a sword, but also what women might be taught to defend themselves (and thoroughly maim the assailant, since guardsmen are rarely within easy distance). Also, I have special-agent types who are trained in assassination and guerilla warfare since childhood, and so might often have to resort to their bare hands.


Sweet spots---ha ha---yes joints and nerve clusters---these would be the place you would hit to disable or cripple your enemy.

Martial Arts Styles all have good points for self-defense---the ones that are geared towards street fighting---would have more specifics on the hows---but are less beneficial as far as the true mental aspects of martial arts.

The main thing as a real martial artist you never want to ever have to use your martial art in defense---but you can if forced.

I suggest if you want to examples of street fighting mixed with
martial arts---watch some jackie chan movies. He uses both aspects and transistions beautifully---Rumble in the Bronx---is a good one.

Please PM with specific questions and I will gladly answer them later this afternoon and provide you with links---when I'm on a computer---I'm posting from my phone.

Manix
04-24-2009, 10:31 PM
Heh, yeah. There are definitely degrees of "pressure" points, joint-locks and such, meant for merely controlling your opponent, all the way through strikes to vital targets, such as groin, temple, etc. to incapacitate then on to the hard-core--take them out for good. I went to a seminar where a tenth-degree black belt showed us how to kill a guy seventeen times over with the same knife (just make sure he was good and dead...) He was a Viet Nam vet who now trains military personnel how to kill. It was not for the faint of heart.

Manix
04-24-2009, 10:32 PM
Oh, and yeah, women can learn those skills too. It's not all just Kung Fu panda stuff :tongue

efreysson
04-24-2009, 10:51 PM
Martial Arts Styles all have good points for self-defense---the ones that are geared towards street fighting---would have more specifics on the hows---but are less beneficial as far as the true mental aspects of martial arts.

The main thing as a real martial artist you never want to ever have to use your martial art in defense---but you can if forced.


Well, I don't care about mentality. I'm writing a brutal world, where fighting is about winning and killing, not defending yourself long enough for the cops to break things up.

Ms.rachel
04-24-2009, 11:25 PM
I studied a form of karate for a while that was all about centers (of gravity) the idea being that you want to keep your body aligned and through out the other persons alignment or center...even just subtle movements can help do this. Weapons in hand are dealt with as an extension of the hand. mostly blocks are used, adding in arm bars or twists to take the persons body and distort it. etc. I hope that makes sense.

its all about first and formost moving , getting out of the way of the persons body not focusing on say the fist they are aiming at you or the weapon it holds. watching their body for clues as to which way they will move and moving first. Using their bodies momentum against them.

50 Foot Ant
04-25-2009, 01:27 AM
Well, I don't care about mentality. I'm writing a brutal world, where fighting is about winning and killing, not defending yourself long enough for the cops to break things up
Check out the Brazillian hand to hand combat style. It's brutal, ugly, and fast.

Also, check out US Army combatives, another up close and "kill and get moving" style that focuses on killing or disabling your opponent as fast as possible.

Check out the stuff that the German Special Forces, and the French Commando learn. Those are brutal.

Oh, and let's not forget the SAS.

quixote100104
04-25-2009, 07:10 PM
So what I'm wondering is: What are the basic features in common with the most effective martial arts styles? Do the best ones teach really powerful blows and kicks, or strikes at vulnerable spots, or bending joints, or whatever?

I'm no expert, but I have some training and have both talked and thought a great deal about the subject, from RW, literary and role-playing perspectives, so here's my two cents:

First, the key word in practical close combat is 'close'. Nobody is comfortable with an uncontrolled opponent inside the reach of their arms. Most people will attempt to open up space by moving away from a sudden advance. Even a skilled opponent who is not well trained in grappling will likely do so, often launching an attack in the process, but with their focus on getting "breathing room". A well trained grappler will immediately attempt to put you under control or otherwise neutralize you and it's here you'll have the hardest fight. Regardless, being in close neutralizes a lot of options. Most people rely on visual cues in a fight, while in close you have to relay primarily on touch. Most people don't have enough training in body dynamics to generate a really effective blow that close, nor to position themselves to deliver it. And serious fighting that close happens fast. You've trained for this and have a plan, they probably haven't and don't. And before they can adapt, you finish them.

Second, as you enter, you take control of a limb, preferably an arm but a leg can work. Most people lead with one or the other side in a fight and some martial artists 'blade', meaning that they face nearly perpendicular to an attacker, presenting one arm and leg to the opponent. Those lead legs are primarily on defense, prepared to counter attacks and test or wear down the opponent with fast, light blows. Most of your power attacks in this style will come off the rear. When entering, you have to protect yourself from attack and get a hold of one of those limbs, either immobilizing it with a lock or immediately applying leverage to take the opponent to the ground. Assuming that you do the former, you now have a potentially significant advantage. You've neutralized one limb and, as long as you control it, you can feel attempts by the opponent to move and gain insights into what he's trying to do. You also make it very difficult for the other limbs to effectively strike you. At this range, even with both hands occupied with controlling the opponent, your elbows and knees can do a lot of damage. And, in a terminal (i.e. fatal) encounter, you really only have to daze them long enough to free your hands for the 1-3 second process of breaking their neck or delivering a lethal blow to the head/neck region.

If you take them to the ground, your primany objective should be to manuver them facedown, sharply limiting both thier ability to defend and attack. Once this is accomplished, you can either restrain them or, if the circumstances dictate, easily immobilize/kill them. On a human, their entire spinal column and several vital organs are availible to the strongest atack a human can deliver, the straight downward 'stomp' and their ribs, the rest of thier vital organs and head are availible to very strong kicks.

If you both go to the ground together, things get complicated, but the principles remain the same: control, stun, incapacitate.

There's plenty of good material out there in books and online about specific vital points, but the most basic idea is this: bring the hard parts of your bidy forcefully into contact with the soft parts of theirs. You can learn a lot about this simply exploring your own body with your fingers.

As to women learning all this: absolutely. The dojo I spent the most time at specialized in women's self defense, though guys were allowed too. I helped with training the ladies and I can tell you first hand that any reasonably fit, sound woman who is willing to make the commitment to train hard can become as dangerous as any man. The only real difference I've observed is that, due to general advantage in mass, strength and reach that men have over women and a socialization process that makes us generally more aggressive, a woman defending herself against a man for real must be ruthless. Unless she's highly trained, a woman's primary advantage against an aggressive male is his tendancy to underestimate her and, once that advantage is lost, she can get into trouble real quick. She needs to put him down fast and in such a way as to strongly discurage him from getting up again anytime soon.

semilargeintestine
04-25-2009, 07:41 PM
Krav Maga no question. Groin, eyes, back of the neck. These are the target points. There are MANY combinations that start with a kick to the crotch.

Skip to 5:00 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0xUjrZ3zXKU&feature=related) to see how they train civilians. The military does it with machine guns.

Mute the music because it's terrible, but it's a good demo (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cEHLVIq3cyA). Notice all the groin and eye shots. Also notice that when you take a weapon from someone, you use it to beat them senseless.

Tsu Dho Nimh
04-26-2009, 04:59 AM
What are the basic features in common with the most effective martial arts styles? Do the best ones teach really powerful blows and kicks, or strikes at vulnerable spots, or bending joints, or whatever?

I took ju-jitsu combined with some other self-defence for women. They emphasized quick low-strength disabling techniques - break something real fast and get out of there, or take advantage of the attacker's momentary lapse of concentration from a painful but temporary move to break something that will make attacking you impossible.

Someone takes a clumsy or drunken swing, block the swing by grabbing their wrist and pull their arm in the direction of the swing ... and as their elbow gets in range, push it real hard in the direction it should not bend. Something will break, at the wrist or elbow.

We were also taught the "grapevine" for close-contact situations - put one of your leg between the attacker's legs, above the knee. Wrap your leg around theirs (going to the outside of their knee) until the top of your foot is touching the inside of their lower leg. Then forcefully KICK your leg straight. This puts tremendous lateral force on their knee and the bones near the knee. The force a small woman can exert is well above the lateral force required to break a bone or dislocate the knee of a really big guy - it's not a force the knee is designed to handle.

Something will dislocate or break or both and they will probably never walk right again. We practiced it on a dummy ... it's too easy to break something so we were not allowed to do it for real. It was a "trust us, this will work" move.

If you see them coming, back up, acting terrified, to get them to come towards you, then kick the assailant's knee. A hard kick backwards to the leg they have most of their weight on. The knee will dislocate backwards, or the tibia will fracture right under the knee. Then you run like hell, and they will not chase you.

I've had to do both defenses, on two separate occasions. You will hear and feel the attacker's bones break and ligaments tear.

efreysson
04-27-2009, 02:54 AM
I took ju-jitsu combined with some other self-defence for women. They emphasized quick low-strength disabling techniques - break something real fast and get out of there, or take advantage of the attacker's momentary lapse of concentration from a painful but temporary move to break something that will make attacking you impossible.

Someone takes a clumsy or drunken swing, block the swing by grabbing their wrist and pull their arm in the direction of the swing ... and as their elbow gets in range, push it real hard in the direction it should not bend. Something will break, at the wrist or elbow.....

etc
etc


Whoa. Interesting and brutal stuff. I didn't realize the human body was so easy to break. I guess I owe some action movies an apology. :)

Thanks for the help.

semilargeintestine
04-27-2009, 03:19 AM
I took ju-jitsu combined with some other self-defence for women. They emphasized quick low-strength disabling techniques - break something real fast and get out of there, or take advantage of the attacker's momentary lapse of concentration from a painful but temporary move to break something that will make attacking you impossible.

Someone takes a clumsy or drunken swing, block the swing by grabbing their wrist and pull their arm in the direction of the swing ... and as their elbow gets in range, push it real hard in the direction it should not bend. Something will break, at the wrist or elbow.

We were also taught the "grapevine" for close-contact situations - put one of your leg between the attacker's legs, above the knee. Wrap your leg around theirs (going to the outside of their knee) until the top of your foot is touching the inside of their lower leg. Then forcefully KICK your leg straight. This puts tremendous lateral force on their knee and the bones near the knee. The force a small woman can exert is well above the lateral force required to break a bone or dislocate the knee of a really big guy - it's not a force the knee is designed to handle.

Something will dislocate or break or both and they will probably never walk right again. We practiced it on a dummy ... it's too easy to break something so we were not allowed to do it for real. It was a "trust us, this will work" move.

If you see them coming, back up, acting terrified, to get them to come towards you, then kick the assailant's knee. A hard kick backwards to the leg they have most of their weight on. The knee will dislocate backwards, or the tibia will fracture right under the knee. Then you run like hell, and they will not chase you.

I've had to do both defenses, on two separate occasions. You will hear and feel the attacker's bones break and ligaments tear.

I've studied brazilian jiu jitsu and judo for about 8 years now. It is amazing in one-on-one combat, and definitely beats anything for taking someone out without necessarily hurting them (although you can do that too). But it doesn't work when there is more than one assailant. The second you take someone to the ground, his friend stomps your head. That's why I learned Krav Maga. B''H, I never have had to use it, but I have it just in case the situation arises. I'm going home at the end of the day no matter what.

Summonere
04-27-2009, 11:54 PM
… what I'm wondering is: What are the basic features in common with the most effective martial arts styles? Do the best ones teach really powerful blows and kicks, or strikes at vulnerable spots, or bending joints, or whatever?

Yes to the second sentence, which is where you‘ll find your common, basic features, or, in other words, the things that are most easily learned, executed, and effective. The key to most of these is to strike a crippling blow as fast as possible. This often occurs when the attacker closes with his opponent or when the defender, in the course of his defense, moves inside his attacker’s reach. These blows may be ankle or knee breaks, thereby destroying mobility, or they may be breaks of the hand, wrist, or elbow, destroying the usefulness of the limb. They may in turn be nerve strikes that destroy the usefulness of a limb, or eye rakes/gouges/pokes that destroy vision. Once the defender is inside his opponent’s reach, the heavy striking weapons are knees and elbows, though certainly other strikes may be employed at various distances to attack the throat and various nerve plexuses (the oft-mentioned solar-plexus and brachial-plexus, for instance). Joint locks/breaks are also common fodder, and a very common idea among the styles I’m familiar with is to avoid going to the ground for the very reasons that semilargeintestine mentioned. And, as quixote100104 pointed out, the objective is to stun, control, or destroy the opponent.

Common features that aren‘t so martial arty seeming:


Situational awareness. (Be aware of what is happening around you and who is around you).
Avoidance. (If you don’t have to fight, don’t. As Bruce Lee put it, learn the art of fighting without fighting.)
Planning and preparation.(Have a plan and prepare yourself to carry it out. This is often simpler than it may seem. Perusing the fire-escape routes in your hotel when you arrive is just as useful as carrying a flashlight on your keychain, jogging regularly a few days a week, learning Krav Maga, or deciding what to do if that big, mean-looking guy striding up to your car while you‘re stopped at an intersection knocks out said car window with the brick he has in his knobby hand.)
Mindset. (Understand that, yes, bad things really can happen to you, and that your determination to prevail may determine the outcome.)


More martial arty ones:


Three ranges. (Versions of close, middle, long, and what to do at each.)
Move off of your opponent’s line of attack (also known as “Get out of the way!” and “Get off the X,” or, “Don‘t just stand there and let him hit you!”)
Do not merely “defend,” but “attack.” (Offense is easier than defense.)
Simple is better. (Choose the simple techniques over the complicated, e.g. eye pokes and groin kicks versus Van Damme‘s skyward-leaping and helicopter-blade-like twirling hook kick.)
Stay on your feet. (You don’t want to be used like a soccer ball if you get knocked down, and you certainly don’t want to find yourself "successfully" choking out a bad guy while his four buddies take turns sticking knives into your neck.)
Use anything that gives you an advantage over your attacker(s). (Gun, knife, handful of dirt, rock, stick, jawbone of an ass…)


Even more martial arty ones that seem commonly shared:


Elbow strikes
Knee strikes
Forearm strikes
Fist strikes
Heel hand strikes
Thai kick
Knee breaks
Elbow breaks
Shin kick
Eye poke
Groin kick
Foot stomp
Basic joint locks for wrist, arm, leg, shoulder
Hold breaks
Chokes
Throws


And now for a few examples of what you may see if a goon launches a face-mashing punch at practitioners of the following:

A Silat practitioner might break a fist punching at his head by bouncing it off his pointy elbow, then attack the brachial nerve of the offending arm with a gunting strike, break the elbow of the attacker’s now broken-handed and nerve-damaged arm, break the attacker’s knee on the same side as the already nerve-damaged and multiply broken arm, then scoop the neck and break that, too.

A JKD guy might parry an initial punch and gouge eyes on the fly (driving forward off the parry), then trip the blinded guy and look for more opponents. Then again, he might simply lean away from the punch and groin punt.

A Combatives guy might parry, block, or slip an initial punch and club the villain in the throat.

A Thai boxer might parry the initial punch, clinch with the attacker, hammer a bunch of elbows into the temples, jaw, and face, pound some knees into groin, throw the attacker to the ground, jump up and down on him a few times.

The point is that the “best” styles share similar features, which should allow their practitioners to deal with as many defensive problems as possible as quickly and decisively as possible. Here’s why:

The less time the defender spends in a fight, the less he’ll get hurt. Thus the objective is to end fights as quickly as possible.

Those things said…

William Gibson skipped all this sort of truck in, I think, Pattern Recognition, in which his protagonist employed a simple series of blunt-force trauma techniques taught to her by a long-time prison guard. Get close. Head butt. Knees to groin. Heel hand to face. Smash and bash. Nothing overly technical, and only just enough to make us believe that the character could take care of herself in some situations.

Thus in a low-tech fantasy, I’d think your characters, too, would smash and bash. At least the disarmed warriors would, and they’d only do that if they couldn’t up-arm, which simply means that they’d use anything at hand, were it available, before they’d go bare-handed against armed opponents. A cooking pot plucked by bail from glowing coals, for instance, might prove useful. Or a garden rake. (Then again, you might want to write about a super expert who could, empty-handed, defeat a dozen men armed with knives and axes and swords.)

Women might be similarly prepared, perhaps, with eye-gouges, shin, knee, and groin kicks, biting, and the use of anything at hand that gives them an advantage (frying pan, knitting needle, who knows…).

Guerrilla warfare and assassinations are usually carried out on the sly. Avoidance of detection is what usually makes them successful, so bare-handed up-close and in-person violence is perhaps the least likely means of operation (unless, of course, the story demands otherwise). Poisoning has a long well-used history, as well as the occasional ambushes and unfortunate accidents.

That's all I can think of at the moment. Maybe someone will come along and correct a few things. :)

Tsu Dho Nimh
04-28-2009, 06:21 AM
Whoa. Interesting and brutal stuff. I didn't realize the human body was so easy to break. I guess I owe some action movies an apology. :)

Thanks for the help.

Ask any orthopedic surgeon or ski patroller.Your bones are amazingly strong in one direction - and really fragile in the other. You can fracture your wrists by breaking your fall with your hands. It's an instinctive self-protective motion, and I patch up 50 or more of them a year and ship them off for X-rays and bone setting.

StephanieFox
04-28-2009, 06:44 AM
My husband teaches martial arts, especially practical Tai Chi. Most people think of Tai Chi as kind of a meditation exercise or something like yoga, but it's really dangerous in the right hands (pun intended.)

Each kind of martial arts has an advantage in certain situations and with certain kinds of people, and the best practicioners know at least four or five kinds which they can mix and match as needed. David (my husband) can take down guys much taller and bigger than he is (which at 5'3" is pretty much everybody but me.)

He also teaches stick and sword fighting, which is part of Tai Chi.

dgiharris
04-29-2009, 08:09 AM
I used to do martial arts in college,

to answer your question


What are the basic features in common with the most effective martial arts styles? Do the best ones teach really powerful blows and kicks, or strikes at vulnerable spots, or bending joints, or whatever?

Its best to divide (non weapon) martial arts into three categories.

Striking Arts Dirty Boxing, Mauy Thai, Taekwondo....: Refered to as "stand up" and consists of various punches, kicks, elbows, knees, and shin strikes.

Pros: The best art for fighting multiple opponents, best art that keeps the option of 'fleeing' avialable. Possible to incapacitate opponent(s) with quick strike to vulnerable areas.

Cons: Extremely difficult to keep a skilled opponent from turning "stand up" into grappling. Once grappling begins, Strike Arts are usually vulnerable.

Grappling Wrestling, Judo, Gracie Jiu-Jitsu: Encompasses wrestling, entanglements, and submissions (putting opponent in situations where they yield).

Pros: Once grappling begins, the grappler has a superior advantage over the layman. Able to incapacite or submit a victim without causing damage (if desired), able to isolate joints and the neck,

Cons: Grapplers are susceptible to strikes that may cause damage prior to initiating the clench/grappling. Not effective against multiple opponents. Harder to flee/get away while grappling

Self Defense Aikido, Karate: A series of trained preset moves to a variety of situations. The moves become automatic (like tying your shoelaces)

Pros: This training enables you to engrain reflexes to various attacks making you faster and more efficient. Able to incorporate highly skilled moves into your bag of tricks.

Cons: Not effective against unanticipated situations or situations you did not pretrain/plan for. Hard to adapt to a highly dynamic situation.

Now, most martial arts mix the three categories, but almost all of them will lean one way or the other.

As for your question


What are the basic features in common with the most effective martial arts styles? Do the best ones teach really powerful blows and kicks, or strikes at vulnerable spots, or bending joints, or whatever?

This is almost impossible to answer. Fighting is the ultimate physical chess match of paper rock scissors. But there are a few things they all have in common.

1) Understanding the importance of Center Of Gravity.
2) Understanding how to use an entire muscle group for a blow
3) Understanding the importance of leverage
4) Knowing the vulnerable parts of the human body
5) Learning how to move into and out of attacks, (usually coming in at an angle, and retreating in a circlular motion)

that is pretty much what they all have in common. But there is almost an infinite amount of ways they meet the above ends. No one art is 'best' the answer will always be "It depends".

That is the best I can do in a nutshell

Good luck

Mel...

p.s. warning, if you ask a martial artist what is the best art, they will almost always say theirs is :)

euclid
06-11-2009, 06:03 PM
This thread has been very helpful to me.

What's Mixed Martial Arts?

PS Feng Shui's my favourite marital arts technique (typo intended)

Kitty Pryde
06-11-2009, 07:37 PM
This thread has been very helpful to me.

What's Mixed Martial Arts?

It's that stuff they do in UFC--basically what it sounds like, combining techniques from various different martial arts, but there are still rules. Like, in tae kwon do, you can kick someone in the stomach, and in judo you can jump on someone and do a chokehold, but in MMA you can kick someone in the stomach AND THEN jump on them and do a chokehold (AFAIK). But you can't, like, gouge their eyes out or sock em in the man-parts.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mixed_martial_arts

euclid
06-11-2009, 08:04 PM
Kitty, I'm surprised at you! I can SEE you grinning from ear to ear as you write those gruesome words. :)

Where on earth did you pick up all this highly dubious and unladylike information, for heaven's sake?

*lots of tutting, clucking sounds*

What's AFAIK? I can't keep up with all these short-forms.

Kitty Pryde
06-11-2009, 08:11 PM
Kitty, I'm surprised at you! I can SEE you grinning from ear to ear as you write those gruesome words. :)

Where on earth did you pick up all this highly dubious and unladylike information, for heaven's sake?

*lots of tutting, clucking sounds*

What's AFAIK? I can't keep up with all these short-forms.

AFAIK=as far as i know.

I'm well ladylike! :tongue I used to do both TKD and judo. I stopped in college cause I didn't like my collegiate teams as much as i liked my old dojo at home. I think kicking people around (and getting kicked around) is great fun. I can also apply a choke hold with great gusto (interesting tidbit: it's not the lack of oxygen that makes you pass out, it's the lack of blood flow in the carotid arteries. In judo at least, where you aren't trying to kill anybody, just knock em out.). My next exercise in getting kicked around will be to join a rec ice hockey team, but there's no rink close enough to my house to make it practical...

euclid
06-11-2009, 08:50 PM
I have another, related question, for the unladylike amongst you:

What forms of unarmed combat were in vogue / in use in 1960?

Tsu Dho Nimh
06-11-2009, 09:20 PM
I have another, related question, for the unladylike amongst you:

What forms of unarmed combat were in vogue / in use in 1960?

It was limited to judo and karate in the Phoenix area, with just a few studios.