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American Kenpo Karate Club
Delayed Sword


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American Kenpo Karate Club

Home Study Course


Yellow Belt

Self Defense Requirements

#1 Delayed Sword


The Attack:

A right hand grab to your left shoulder or lapel.


Lesson Notes:

An attacker grabs your left lapel with his right arm. Why would someone grab your lapel? In most cases, this is in preparation for a punch with the other hand. It is also used as a means of intimidation. The grab itself is not dangerous unless it begins to upset your balance. So, as you begin your self-defense technique, don't focus your attention solely upon the grab. Be aware of it, but be mindful of the opponent's other weapons and his intent.


The Defense:

1a. Maintain Balance

In order to prevent the opponent from upsetting your balance, you must first place yourself in a stable position. Do this by stepping back with your left leg. As you do so, you will notice two things occurring. First, you are moving away from your opponent. By increasing the distance between yourself and your opponent, you will have greater time in which to react if he attempts another attack. Second, you will notice that the distance between your legs increase and your center of gravity lowers toward the ground as you bend your knees. This will increase your stability along his line of force if he attempts to push or pull with the grabbing hand.


1b. Decreasing Targets

As you step back with your left foot in the previous step, turn your shoulders naturally on a 45` angle. Your right shoulder will face 1:30 and your left shoulder will be facing 7:30. This will limit the targets you present to your opponent. In addition to facing your shoulders on a 45` angle, point your feet on a 45` angle as well facing 10:30. This will further increase your stability and limit your target exposure below your waist. As you stand in this position, keep as equal weight distribution on your feet.


The combined actions of the first two steps will place you in the most widely used fighting stance in American Kenpo. This is known as a neutral bow.  Since the right leg is closer to the opponent, it is known as a right neutral bow stance.


1c. Attacking the Attack

Simultaneous with the action of stepping back and turning your shoulders, strike with your right arm in an inward motion to the lower forearm of the opponents grabbing hand. If performed correctly, you will strike to the radial nerve of the opponent thus temporarily paralyzing his arm. This action is known as a right inward hammerfist strike.


1d. The Vigilant Hand

What about the left hand? Should your left arm simply hang at your side and do nothing? Absolutely not! Since your left arm is essentially inactive throughout this technique, we will place it in a position in which it can be readily used. Position your left open hand below your right elbow. This will protect the otherwise open area and place it in a position of readiness. This is known as a cover.



2a. Preventing Further Action

So far the opponent has only grabbed us. We know this is often a prelude to another attack. So how can we prevent him from delivering a punch or kick? Is there a way of preventing one or more of his actions with a single movement? Well, there is. It all depends on where you strike.


Since your right leg is close to the opponent and will reach him first, kick with the ball of your right foot to the opponents groin or bladder. This is known as a right front snapping ball kick.


When you kick the opponent in the groin/bladder region, his natural reaction to the pain will be to bend forward at the waist. This action coupled with the excruciating pain will prevent him from punching or kicking.


2b. Keep Him Guarded

During the kick, do not move your hands! Keep your right arm in its final position (following the strike), as this is now a checking hand and is in position for the final strike. Also keep your left hand in its covering position.



3a. Strike with Your Entire Body

The final strike will be delivered by your right hand, but the strike will be backed up by the weight of your entire body. How do we do this? By planting your foot to the ground at the same time as you strike. After the kick, allow your foot to snap back and plant you foot back in its original position. At the same time, have your arm travel toward the opponents neck (his right side) and strike in an outward, downward, and diagonal motion to the opponents neck using the edge of your right hand. This strike in known as a right outward downward diagonal handsword strike.


3b. Return to Your Position

As soon as the strike is delivered, quickly snap your hand back to its original position. This will:

1.      Prevent it from being grabbed.

2.      Place it in a position of readiness to be used again if needed.

3.      Guard against any intentional or unintentional action.


Suggestions for Further Study

1.      Try this technique against a right hand push. Does it work?

2.      Try it against a right punch. Are there any changes?

3.      Never sacrifice form for speed. In the end, you will weaken your strikes and miss your targets.


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