Shielding: The Last resort in blocking

Excerpted from Defensive Tactics by Loren W. Christensen


This is a favorite among boxers and mixed martial artists. They favor it over any other block because they don’t have to commit their arm to swat away an attack. So why shouldn’t we use it all the time? Because it really hurts! A full-contact fighter hits his opponent’s bare arms with relatively cushy gloves, and even that hurts. Being hit with bare knuckles hurts much more and could, because of the many sensitive nerves therein, debilitate the arm.

While shielding is an excellent block, I suggest using it as a last resort. I call it an “Eeek! block” because the attacker strikes out so quickly or suddenly that your only option is to take the blow on a limb to shield a precious target, such as your face or ribs.

Head shield

From your hands-up stance, raise your arm to shield the side of your head. Make sure to press your arm against it. You don’t want your unsupported arm struck and then driven into your skull.

Press both arms against your head when defending against a suspect flailing with both of his fists.

Body shield

Squish your upper body down and press your forearm against your side.

Shield with both arms when the suspect flails.

Incorporate blocking into your training as you work on other material throughout this book. Block your training partner’s punch or push, and then either step back and retrieve one of your belt weapons, or lunge forward with a counter hit or grappling move. Make blocking part of your regular training so that it’s there for you when you need it.

10 Low Cost Marketing Ideas for Martial Arts Schools

Marketing your school does not have to be expensive. The Marketing chapter of the Low Cost Marketing for the Martial Art School gives you 100s of ways to recruit new students and retain current students with little or no cash expenditure. If you implement even one third of the ideas over the course of the next year, your school will grow and thrive like never before. Below are 10 sample ideasto get you started.

2. Create a Product Display. A product display can be as simple as pinning up patches, headbands and pins on a bulletin board or as complex as furnishing a glass display case. The important part is how it looks. Use your imagination to create a low cost display of the supplies and equipment students can buy at the school. If you have time, create monthly themes in your display. Be sure to include item names, descriptions, sizes and prices. And don’t forget to secure the items (or permanently mark them in some way) so they don’t “walk away.

3. Have a free giveaway. For example, everyone who drops by to tour your school and pick up information receives a free headband, key chain, sticker, trading card, poster or patch. The gift does not have to be expensive, especially if the recipients are children.

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How to Use a Near Side Arm Sweep to Take an Assailant Down

Excerpted from Street Stoppers: The Martial Arts Most Devastating Trips, Sweeps, and Throws for Real Fighting by Loren W. Christensen and Mark Mireles

It’s common for a fighter to “eat it” when trying to force a leg sweep. Remember, if you have to force a technique the move might not be the best one for the situation. Using the hands to sweep is a great example of thinking outside the box, which you sometimes have to do to survive in the street. Hand sweeps are not only effective, but are often safer since you don’t have to make a major commitment with your leg. On the down side, they are not as powerful as leg sweeps.

Nearside Arm Sweep

1. From the over-under position, drive your upper body into the attacker’s chest to immobilize him on his heels. Enter at an oblique 45-degree angle, dropping your left arm under his body to hook his knee.

2. Pull backward with the hook and drive your upper body forward.

2a. Close-up of hand and chest pressure.

3. He falls to the lawn.

Q & A: Sang H. Kim on How to Improve Your Weaker Leg for Kicking

Reader Question:

My name is Daniel and I would like to ask you for some advice on how to improve kicking with my weaker leg. I can execute well balanced kicks with my stronger leg but I can't seem to do so with the other leg. Thank you.

Yours sincerely,


Answer from Sang H. Kim:

Dear Daniel,

Here are the steps you can take to improve your weaker leg kicking:

1. Stretch the weak leg muscles well before kicking to warm-up and prevent possible injuries.

2. Strengthen your weaker leg by doing very slow controlled kicks wearing a light (2 to 5 pound) ankle weight. Start with the lightest weight and work your way up.

3. When practicing kicking in the air, choose a specific target before you kick. Do 10 to 15 repetitions of each kick with your weak leg whenever your practice to improve your flexibility and control.

4. Practice 3 sets of each kick on a heavy bag or handheld target at each practice session to develop power.

5. Work on the above four suggestions consistently, at least 3 times per week. You should begin to see results in a few weeks.

6. Set specific goals (like you want to do a front kick at head height) and track your progress in your training diary or notebook.

7. Every two weeks re-evaluate your progress and goals using your training notes and your observations.


Sang H. Kim