Lesson 5 – How to defend yourself

A brief summary

Let’s recap what you have learned in this course (in relation to combat preparation):

  • Body awakening – You have learned how to start to train your body (read Lesson 1.3 and Lesson 1.4)
  • Body conditioning – You have learned what the fundamental physical and technical exercises are (read Lesson 3.5 and Lesson 3.6)
  • Fighting technique – You have learned the basics of the guard stance, how to punch and how to kick ( read Lesson 5.2, Lesson 5.3, Lesson 5.4)

Note – This article has been asked by one of our Core Course practitioners on Patreon (see how to attend our home study classes here Learn Kung Fu online: a beginner-to-expert course).

Naturally what we have seen so far is not the combat system of 6 Dragons Kung Fu, it is simply the first introduction to it.

Before continuing

Kung Fu is not a theoretical reading, if there is something that you did not understand (and above all that you have not trained):

  • Do not start any kind of practical fighting test (eg. sparring); at this stage (if you are a beginner), you are absolutely not prepared
  • Go back and carefully study the previous lessons (ask questions in the comments if necessary)
  • Find the time to train consistently by performing the proposed exercises (every day, it does not matter how long)

A note by Master Kongling – 6 Dragons Kung Fu (and all the other martial arts in general) achieve their effectiveness only through hard and intelligent dedication, in all other cases (watching videos, imagining, reading, etc.) we remain in the dangerous field of dream / fantasy.

Your first defensive technique

A note by Master Kongling – Even in this case remains valid the speech made for the other techniques learned in this chapter: for now, we are not thinking in terms of personal defense, we are only preparing the foundation to start building the “palace” of your martial preparation.

For educational purposes we will see a classic parry technique, useful (for example), against a direct punch:

  • Guard stance – We start from the guard stance described in lesson 5.2 (it does not matter what your advanced leg is, for simplicity let’s imagine the left one)
  • The attack – The opponent reaches the attacking distance and throws a direct punch toward our nose (let’s imagine a right-hand fist similar to the one described in lesson 5.3)
  • Exit the trajectory – The first thing to do is to exit the trajectory of attack (everything else is “relatively” secondary); while you are dodging, as always, the guard remains high
  • Body direction – It is possible to go both to the right (inside) both to the left (outside) but for a beginner, the second choice is a must (it makes you “safe” from any subsequent attacks)
  • Body movement – First moves the advanced foot, then the rest of the body follows it (harmoniously); this is not forcibly the only (or the best) thing to do but it is one of the most simple
  • The rotation of the torso – The entire torso must rotate in direction of the fist (to the right in this case); this gives your parry the correct amount of power to oppose to the incoming fist (otherwise the arm’s strength could be not enough)
  • The parry arm – We can start with both the right arm or the left (depending on what we want to do after) but for a beginner, it is more reasonable to opt for the side closest to the opposing limb (in this case the right)
  • The first parry movement – Keeping the guard, the nearest forearm (the right, as we said) moves in direction of the fist (to the right) and impacts the opponent’s forearm (preferably not on the hand, it is the most dangerous area); for a beginner, the more the contact is similar to a cross, the better it is
  • The second arm movement – The left hand opens (if it is not already) and following the current body motion (to the right), it goes to push the opponent’s attacking arm
  • The push direction – While our first (right) arm pushes only in direction of the opponent’s arm (to the right), the second (left) arm also pushes in the downward direction (to open a space for an eventual counterattack, with the right hand)

A note by Master Kongling – This is a (didactic) solid parry, a better version of it is the one where the first arm rotates on the opponent’s attacking forearm to channel and deviate backward its inertia.

How to start to train the defense

If you have not yet found a training partner (read 5 effective ways to find a training partner) for now, you can replace the attack of a human arm with:

  • A rubber tube (fixed at shoulder height)
  • The branch of a tree
  • A Wing Chun wooden dummy (read The Wing Chun dummy)
  • Even the doors of an old wardrobe

A note by Master Kongling – Remember, if a non-reactive target (read Convert into training targets “each” kind of object) can be a good alternative at a very early stage of the study, as we go along, a person with whom to train will become increasingly indispensable (for drills, sparring, etc.). If you practice 6 Dragons Kung Fu for health, fitness and / or wellness you can even follow the entire course individually (it can be a choice) but if you truyly want to learn to fight: you have to fight (read Why martial arts do not work: 5 reasons).

If instead you already have a person willing to share your passion for Kung Fu but you are a beginner (you or your partners), remember not to exaggerate in terms of strength and speed: without experience, patience and conditioning, the risk of getting hurt is always lurking.

Training tips

Training the mechanics of the parry we mentioned, it is important to:

  • Practice symmetrically (attacking arms, guard stances and defending arms) keeping the percentage of the use of the right side balanced with the left one
  • Perform even large but well-defined movements (only when the basic motion is clean you can begin to make it smaller and store it in your muscle memory, read The muscle memory)
  • Go slowly but be harmonious, your movements must be consequential, speed must come from precision and fluidity, not from muscular effort
  • Do not try (during the exit phase) to move the head first and then the feet (it is a very common error); if you want to move the whole body (and not just to dodge with the head), you must start from the foot
  • As soon as you begin the parry motion with your arms, leave any tension in favor of maximum relaxation (this will grant you access to your maximum speed)
  • Concentrate stiffness and tension after the moment of contact with the opponent’s limb (read How to acquire the Soft Touch skill); even if in training you do not notice it, during a fight the attacks arrive with great power and to stop / deviate them it is necessary remarkable conditioning
  • Do not use your hands to grab the opponent’s arm, it is useless if you do not plan a throw or a constriction technique (etc.), it slows down your action
  • Do not delude yourself by thinking to know this type of movements after having tried them 10 times (it would be ridiculous); in this phase, you should repeat this defense sequence (alternating the arms) at least 100 times per training session

A note by Master Kongling – Obviously the idea of 100 repetitions per training session is also valid for the punch and kick seen in the last lessons.

In-depth articles

<< Lesson 5.4IndexLesson 5.6 >>

Author: Master Kongling

Founder of 6 Dragons Kung Fu.

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