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.

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.

Elbow Strike Application: Arm Bar and Take Down Video

In this video, Jeff W. Rosser teaches an application for the upward elbow strike from his forthcoming book, "Combative Elbow Strikes: A Guide to Strikes, Blocks, Locks, and Take Downs." This application uses the upward elbow strike to block a haymaker followed by an arm bar to a take down. Preorder "Combative Elbow Strikes" at

See more elbow strike application videos at the Combative Elbow Strikes Youtube Channel

Roll and Strike Recovery Drill video

Veteran law enforcement officer Kevin Dillon teaches an essential self-protection drill, the Roll and Strike Drill which trains you to quickly recover from a fall and aggressively counterattack your assailant from the ground. This instructional segment is taken from the Police Combat Tactics 1 video and is part of the new Police Defensive Tactics video app