High-High-Low Combination: An Example

An important concept in self-defense, when delivering physical force to another human being, is to overwhelm the opponent byrefusing him the ability to focus properly.  One way to take the initiative (and to keep it) in a fight is to hit the opponent in rapid succession from different directions in different areas of the body.  This produces a “rag doll” effect in which the opponent moves first one way, then another, then back again, confusing him and denying him the opportunity to counter.

The photos below are stills from a single technique sequence.  In the first photo, I am just starting to step forward.  The first strike is an edge-of hand blow.  I am moving from a neutral stance…


…and as I step, my guard is coming up as my right hand starts to move:


The camera has rendered my right hand an arm as a blur as I lash out and whip my hand in a tight arc that uses both my arm and my wrist…


…to acclerate my whipping edge-of-hand blow towards the opponent’s neck:


The blow lands solidly in the neck of the Body Opponent Bag.  As it does so, I have completed my step, cork-screwing it into the floor in a drop-step that brings my body weight into play as part of the blow.  I also torque my hips slightly.


The shock of the blow causes my striking hand to rebound as I whip it back and down.  My goal is to reorient the limb so that I can immediately strike with it again.


My left arm has moved way from my body slightly to give me more space to protect myself in case my opponent tries to counter while my right arm  moves low.  In one fluid motion, my right arm comes from the opponent’s neck, to down across my body, to…


…start whipping up to the opposite side of the opponent’s body.


The goal here is speed more than power, so I don’t do much in the way of shifting or hip torque.  I’m not trying to load up the opposite strike; I’m just whipping it up and in to take advantage of the fact that the opponent is hopefully just now starting to think about the first blow.


I hit BOB solidly (though more lightly than the first, loaded, whipping edge-of-hand blow) on the opposite side of his neck. I now need to retract my right arm, quickly, down across my body…


…which is both guarding me low and enabling me to load up for a power punch to his ribs.


Again as part of the same (hopefully) fluid motion, I’m starting to torque into my already planted foot and use that as my “root” to deliver the punch on that same side.


The punch starts to move and my arm starts to blur in the camera’s view.  You can see the slight sinking in my stance as I corkscrew down into that already planted root leg, the forward leg here:


The strike lands, and BOB rocks back as my punch strikes his imaginary ribs. I’m even lower now than in the previous photograph, having reached the end of my torque-and-corkscrew to power the punch.


Finally, as I retract my punch slightly (and very quickly, using the “hot stove” metaphor — your punch lands and strikes through the target but does not linger on the surface of the target, as if punching a hot surface) BOB settles back into position, having bounced back from my punch.


There are endless combinations of techniques that could be used to apply this same principle.  the key is to strike both low and high, from different directions, in order to confuse and overwhelm the person you’re fighting.  It’s not a complex idea; it doesn’t need to be.  It works well, however, and should be come second nature in practice.

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