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Straight Blast Defense: Don't Panic!

     by Keith Pascal

Those of you who follow the philosophy of Bruce Lee probably
already know about the Straight Blast. Those of you who have
gone against Jeet Kune Do practitioners (those following Bruce
Lee's philosophy) have already felt/experienced a Straight
Blast, even if you didn't know the term.

A Straight Blast is basically a rapid series of punches. Most
of the Straight Blasts that I have done or seen have been with
vertical punches. They are faster than horizontal punches,
because the fist doesn't cock all the way back to underneath
the armpit.

So, in essence, our reader, yes this article is in response to
a question posed by a young lady to Martial Arts Mastery, wants
to know what to do when someone comes at you with a barrage of
rapid-fire punches.I'll offer up some advice, but because of length
limitations of this e-zine, you won't get a complete picture. There are
other ways to take a Straight Blast, and there are other tactical
considerations too.

We need to think about three aspects of self defense when taking
a Straight Blast: timing, distance, and angles.

A lot of people panic when those quick hits come flying in. What
we need to take into consideration is that a there are a lot of
inefficient fighters out there -- they start their Straight Blasts
too early. They start punching before they have taken your initial
attack, or before they have properly attacked themselves. They
are inadvertently warning you.

Hmmm. We are starting to turn our fear, our disadvantage,
into an advantageous tactic. This is good.



Responses to Early Blasts

Depending how early they start their attack, you have several
possible responses:

    *If your attacker starts punching beyond a kicking
    distance -- if he is far away, heck, throw
    something at him. If he's stupid enough to start
    punching at you from across the street, use it to
    your advantage. Throw a handful of change in
    his face.

    *If your attacker tries to Straight Blast you from
    "no man's land" (that dangerous spot at the end of
    most sparring competitors' kicking ranges, then kick
    him. Got it? If he's in range of your kick, but not
    your punches, then kick. Take him by surprise.

    *If your attacker is just about to step into your
    punching range, and he has already started his Straight
    Blast, then take him with angles. In other words, read
    the rest of this article ;-)


You'll need precise timing with all of the above responses. Figure
out how to catch your opponent off guard. Take advantage of openings.

Taking a Straight Blast from the inside (trying to counter attack
by hitting between your attacker's arms) is tricky. And it
should only be attempted by a professional -- kidding. It is
something I teach in my martial arts class. Who knows? Maybe some
day, I'll write an article on a few of the techniques we use.



Countering From The Outside

It's much easier to counter from the outside. Personally, I step
off while coming back at my opponent with a fast series of my own
punches. That's right; I counter a Straight Blast with a Straight
Blast. Fun, isn't it?

Here are some tips to make this kind of counter more effective:

    *You need a fraction of a second to reverse the attack.
    It's easier to reverse if you have this little "breather"
    of space and/or time. You can get it by either starting
    your counter before your opponent makes contact, or by
    stepping back a bit (if you know a Wing Chun back
    stance, use it).

    *Your goal is to get your attacker to punch past you,
    while you turn back onto his center line -- did you
    ever leave it in the first place?

    *The tighter the angle, the better to slip this series
    of punches. You'll seem faster than Bruce Lee, well maybe
    not that fast, if you tighten your angles. Only move
    off as much as necessary -- not one inch more.

    *A lot of martial artists can't vary their Straight
    Blasts. They can't pick different targets -- they
    only blast on one line. This is good "for you."
    It makes it easier for me to think of defending against
    only one line of attack -- I don't get scared by the idea
    multiple hits. After all, it's only "one" line.

    *If all else fails, run away... or kick. Don't be limited by
    technique. Afraid of a Straight Blast? Kick him in the knee
    or in the shins. Sometimes it's just easier to kick, than to
    have to engage someone in close-in, hand techniques.


As I mentioned before, once I have slipped the initial onslaught of
punches by stepping off, I usually come back with a Straight Blast
of my own. I actually start punching slightly before I turn off.
Always faithful to Bruce Lee, I don't move my body before the weapon.

Once you have taken the blast, you could follow up with your own
techniques. You don't have to Straight Blast a Straight Blast.

So, what about those pros out there who don't start Straight Blasting,
until they have entered with one of the Five Ways of Attack? In other
words, what do you do against someone who doesn't give you the timing,
or any warning, that a Straight Blast is about to come?

Do I sense a need for another article?

(Thanks to Bong Sao Bec for the article suggestion)



A Martial Arts Quote for Considering
Your Straight-Blast Defense:

In Bruce Lee's Book, Striking Thoughts: Bruce Lee's Wisdom
for Daily Living, he tell a parable about a butcher (page 107).
In this story, this butcher uses the same knife for his entire
meat-cutting career. That's right; the knife lasts just about
forever -- it never loses its fine edge. One day, someone asked him
how he kept such a fine edge all those years. He responded:

    "I follow the line of the hard bone. I do not attempt to cut it,
    nor to smash it, nor to contend with it in any way. That would
    only destroy my knife."

When thinking about taking a Straight Blast, think about letting
your opponent's blast go on past you. Don't forcefully block it
out of your way -- any time you exert force off the center line,
like with a strong block, you almost create a new opening for
your attacker. Don't do it.

See if you can respond by "not contending with it in any way."
That would be a nice finesse.

BTW -- Bruce Lee goes on to explain how to apply this principle
to daily life. I think John Little did an excellent job of
arranging/editing the material in this book. I'll refer to this
book in the future.



Bonus Tip For Taking a Straight Blast

Even though the ultimate finesse is to counter the move by
letting the punches whiz past your head, I sometimes go
against the philosophy found in the above quote.
Sometimes "my" Straight Blast counter pounds the original
Blast down as I come in. I punch over the top of my
opponent's forearms.

I am still driving in and not blocking.
I am still right on center line. And I am still Straight
Blasting. I just cause a little pain while I counter.

If you'd like to read more about this technique look for the
free eBook The Tale of One-Armed Albert.

Remember, Bruce Lee also said "efficiency is anything that
And that's not just a cop out. While this tip is not
a finesse move, it does follow several of the JKD principles.

Again, write questions to me about this subject ... or not.


Readers who enjoyed the above article also liked the following article:

Pack Your Martial Arts Techniques With More Hits and Strikes

These Articles Are Just the Tip of the Iceberg

by Keith Pascal

I hope these articles are of value to you. Did you know that The Punch Papers is a collection of over 40 articles all about punching harder, faster, and more efficiently?

Plus, more new punching chpater have been added.

You really get to sink your teeth into a subject. You gain skills.

Punch Papers Book Is it time for you to punch like a professional? Click here.

This ebook is filled with great punch improvement advice. I guarantee it!


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