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Defending Against a Tackle

by Mark Mireles and Loren W. Christensen
Excerpted from Total Defense: Grappling and Striking Defenses Against Common Street Attacks

Elements of the Tackle

The man’s anger goes from 0 to 100 in a heartbeat. He lowers his head, then shoulder charges like he's still on his high school football team and you’re his personal tackling dummy.

In street fighting jargon, this mad charge is called "rush and tackle," a technique that is nearly as common as the overhand right. Perfected in bars, dance clubs, and most other places booze flows in abundance, the rush and tackle is one of those gross muscle moves that is practically innate whenever and wherever tempers flare.

Your authors have seen the rush and tackle done in minor scraps and we've seen it used in the most violent of crimes. We know of one police officer who was rushed and tackled, taken to the ground, disarmed by the attacker, and executed with his own gun.

Positioning is Everything

There are three things you must remember for self-defense: position, position, and position. Defending against a tackle becomes relatively easy when you see how the attacker positions himself for the pre-assault (the rush) and how he positions himself for the hands-on phase (the tackle). Once you identify these, you must exploit them.

Let's look at a few elements of the tackle we discussed in Chapter One, "Defending against the overhand right." You learned to:

• Keep your head up.

• Keep your back straight.

• Get lower by bending your knees.

• Drive into and through the attacker.

• Collect the knees.

Because you know the elements of a good tackle, you're able to quickly evaluate the form of someone about to do it to you. Fortunately, most people don’t know how to tackle properly. Common errors are:

• The attacker puts his head down when rushing in.

• To get lower, he bends too far forward at the waist.

• He encircles your waist.

• The attacker doesn't drive through with his legs.

When you can recognize bad form and then execute the following techniques, you will have a big advantage when defending against this common attack.

The Post

The simplest defense against the rush and tackle is to keep the attacker at arm's distance. Consider this wrestling rule:

Contact = Control

Distance = Escape

You and the attacker have opposite objectives: Yours is to create distance and the attacker's is to get in close. To keep distance, you must use your hands, and the best way to do that is with a post, a simple move that involves extending your arms and slamming your hands onto the attacker's shoulders as he bulls into you. Posting allows you to either thwart the tackle or establish a superior position at arm's length so that you can then flow into a counter or escape. Think of a post as a double-palm strike that delivers shocking impact through the attacker's body. Your entire takedown macro-plan is based on the principle of creating distance, a simple concept that doesn't take great skill but is nonetheless often overlooked.

The above article is copyrighted by the author. All rights reserved.

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