Please take a look at Articles on self-defense/conflict/violence for introductions to the references found in the bibliography page.

Please take a look at my bibliography if you do not see a proper reference to a post.

Please take a look at my Notable Quotes

Hey, Attention on Deck!

Hey, NOTHING here is PERSONAL, get over it - Teach Me and I will Learn!

When you begin to feel like you are a tough guy, a warrior, a master of the martial arts or that you have lived a tough life, just take a moment and get some perspective with the following:

I've stopped knives that were coming to disembowel me

I've clawed for my gun while bullets ripped past me

I've dodged as someone tried to put an ax in my skull

I've fought screaming steel and left rubber on the road to avoid death

I've clawed broken glass out of my body after their opening attack failed

I've spit blood and body parts and broke strangle holds before gouging eyes

I've charged into fires, fought through blizzards and run from tornados

I've survived being hunted by gangs, killers and contract killers

The streets were my home, I hunted in the night and was hunted in turn

Please don't brag to me that you're a survivor because someone hit you. And don't tell me how 'tough' you are because of your training. As much as I've been through I know people who have survived much, much worse. - Marc MacYoung


The postings on this blog are my interpretation of readings, studies and experiences therefore errors and omissions are mine and mine alone. The content surrounding the extracts of books, see bibliography on this blog site, are also mine and mine alone therefore errors and omissions are also mine and mine alone and therefore why I highly recommended one read, study, research and fact find the material for clarity. My effort here is self-clarity toward a fuller understanding of the subject matter. See the bibliography for information on the books. Please make note that this article/post is my personal analysis of the subject and the information used was chosen or picked by me. It is not an analysis piece because it lacks complete and comprehensive research, it was not adequately and completely investigated and it is not balanced, i.e., it is my personal view without the views of others including subject experts, etc. Look at this as “Infotainment rather then expert research.” This is an opinion/editorial article/post meant to persuade the reader to think, decide and accept or reject my premise. It is an attempt to cause change or reinforce attitudes, beliefs and values as they apply to martial arts and/or self-defense. It is merely a commentary on the subject in the particular article presented.

Note: I will endevor to provide a bibliography and italicize any direct quotes from the materials I use for this blog. If there are mistakes, errors, and/or omissions, I take full responsibility for them as they are mine and mine alone. If you find any mistakes, errors, and/or omissions please comment and let me know along with the correct information and/or sources.

“What you are reading right now is a blog. It’s written and posted by me, because I want to. I get no financial remuneration for writing it. I don’t have to meet anyone’s criteria in order to post it. Not only I don’t have an employer or publisher, but I’m not even constrained by having to please an audience. If people won’t like it, they won’t read it, but I won’t lose anything by it. Provided I don’t break any laws (libel, incitement to violence, etc.), I can post whatever I want. This means that I can write openly and honestly, however controversial my opinions may be. It also means that I could write total bullshit; there is no quality control. I could be biased. I could be insane. I could be trolling. … not all sources are equivalent, and all sources have their pros and cons. These needs to be taken into account when evaluating information, and all information should be evaluated. - God’s Bastard, Sourcing Sources (this applies to this and other blogs by me as well; if you follow the idea's, advice or information you are on your own, don't come crying to me, it is all on you do do the work to make sure it works for you!)

“You should prepare yourself to dedicate at least five or six years to your training and practice to understand the philosophy and physiokinetics of martial arts and karate so that you can understand the true spirit of everything and dedicate your mind, body and spirit to the discipline of the art.” - cejames (note: you are on your own, make sure you get expert hands-on guidance in all things martial and self-defense)

“All I say is by way of discourse, and nothing by way of advice. I should not speak so boldly if it were my due to be believed.” - Montaigne

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Punch vs. Strike

Click for larger view.
I have used both punching and striking in the same content (interchangeably) and find that this is not correct. Ok, so now I will correct it. There is a difference between a punch and a strike.

A punch involves the closed fist and punching with the fore-knuckles, i.e. karate punch, and a strike involves the open hand such as a slap to the head, an open handed back hand to the face, or the use of the open hand, the elbow, the forearm or both elbow and forearm.

Use the strike to hit a target, pass beyond to a possible additional attack or block or parry or back to a defensive position, etc. No wasted motion and it should be followed by another technique, don't just to a ippon kumite move by stopping and expecting it to finish the job.

Both the punch and strike may be used as a prelude to your overall goal of stopping the encounter as quickly as you can. You may punch to open a path to a disruption of their structure and balance or a strike to move yourself into the next step of your overall multiple processes to stop the encounter, etc.

This leads to the maxim in martial arts of hard/soft-soft/hard. Marc MacYoung on the Animal list asked me if I knew what he meant and then at my request elucidated. It means use a hard, fist, against soft targets; a soft, strike/slap, against hard targets.

Know this, if you think your makiwara training along with tameshiwara will condition your fist, knuckles, fingers, bones of hand against breakage when you hit a hard bone then think again. The punch is best used against those vital points that are the weak, cracks in armor of body, points of the body while using an open hand against those hard targets, i.e. face, so you don't break your hand. It is worth the time and effort to research this maxim and incorporate it into your training and practice.

I advocate the use of both makiwara and heavy bag. Both serve a purpose in teaching a person how to apply powerful techniques and those training tools are invaluable to that goal. It is worth the time and effort to search out and find those training examples for both if your martial system is a fighting system, i.e. not sport, not tournament, but school yard or street type fights (to a point because violent predatory stuff is another ball game altogether!)

p.s. It was interesting to hear the definition of Mr. MacYoung's reference to punch and strike because I remember using both in sparring, etc. over the years as an instructor yet never heard that maxim till now. Always learning something new and exciting.

Sutrisno, Tristan, MacYoung, Marc and Gordon, Dianna. "Becoming a Complete Martial Artist: Error Detection in Self Defense and the Martial Arts." Lyons Press. Connecticut. 2005.


SueC said...

Hi Charles, I was never sure of the difference between a punch and a strike, I'd assumed that striking included kicks as well as punches, but now I know.

I had heard of the hard to soft, soft to hard approach but it's a lot easier said than done to remember it when executing a technique. So much to learn!!!!

Charles James said...

Thanks Sue, your comments are always welcome.

Yes, basics and fundamentals are a never ending process.