This excerpt from Kelly McCann’s Combatives for Street Survival offers invaluable insight into an essential component of self-defense.
Black Belt of famer kelly maccann sounds off on combatives stirking: how and when to do it, how to amplify your effectiveness and how to engage your mind.
BUILD AND CRASH THE GAP. Continuously build gaps — space or distance — between you and your attacker to increase the power of your elbows and knees. To build the gap, get control of him and then shove him away. If you can’t push him away, push yourself away. Then violently jerk him back into your strikes. If you can’t, yank yourself back into him, leading with a knee or elbow strike. If you don’t create gaps, your strikes end up just pushing against your attacker rather than impacting on him. THINK CAR CRASH. The worst type of car accident is a head-on collision. That’s because the aggregate speed is determined by adding the speed of each vehicle. When you �ight, try to create head-on collisions. You may be wondering, “Yeah, but wouldn’t we both get hurt equally?” No, because you’re colliding your knee or elbow with his unprotected face, ribs, groin or thoracic cavity. USE FULL BODYWEIGHT. Striking is partly the application of physics. In the simplest terms, more mass moving at a higher velocity over a longer distance creates a greater impact. To take advantage of this formula, maximize each variable in it. ENGAGE MORE MASS. Always strike with your whole body and not just a limb. Exploding off your rear foot in the direction of your strike is called vaulting. It’s far more powerful than standing in place and striking with only your arm. It doesn’t matter what hits your attacker — a knee, an elbow, a �ist or an open hand — as long as it conforms to the principle of choosing the correct personal weapon. Violence of action and putting your bodyweight behind each strike are critical to generating power. CREATE MORE VELOCITY. Vaulting ampli�ies the speed with which
your body crashes into an attacker. Seeing you literally explode off your back foot and then experiencing you plowing into him can inspire fear in an attacker. Don’t step forward, pulling your weight behind you. Instead, explode off your rear foot to propel yourself into the strike. Attack with your whole body. STAY LOOSE. Consciously avoid tightening up. Breathe. Be a little sloppy. Fighting isn’t demonstrating a form for points. When you stiffen up your hand, speed is detrimentally affected, and so are your reactions. Visualizing all this helps lower your anxiety level. DEVELOP YOUR FOOTWORK AND TIMING. Ensure your bodyweight drops into your strike as it makes contact, which should occur when your lead foot lands. With some practice, this will become second nature. LOAD AND UNLOAD VIOLENTLY. In addition to the aforementioned for- mula, know that involving your hips and shoulders when you strike improves the result of your action. Maximize the kinetic-energy transfer into what you strike using rotational torque. Generate torque by twisting and then untwisting your hips and shoulders. VISUALIZE EVERY STRIKE PASSING THROUGH THE ATTACKER. No matter what technique you throw, visualize it exiting the other side of your attacker like a bullet. If you don’t, you’ll unnecessarily limit the depth of the strike, resulting in a surface impact rather than penetration. STRIKE REPETITIVELY. Called “cycling,” this refers to quickly executing the same technique two or three times. If you stagger your attacker with a right hammerfist, immediately chamber your left hand ( your “off hand”) and smash it into his face. Retract your off hand and smash his face with another hammerfist, and so on. Cycling works well with hammerfists, slashing elbows and knees. VISUALIZE. Imagine your striking hand and your off hand as pistons attached to a crankshaft ( your shoulders). As one piston reaches top dead center, the other reaches its lowest point. As the �irst starts to descend, the other ascends with equal force. No matter what, while one hand cycles, your off hand should be doing something. BE FEROCIOUS AND INTENSE. Cycling strikes is all about ferocity and intensity. If you’re moving as fast and ef�iciently — as you should be when throwing a slashing elbow — you’ll stay married to your attacker’s chest, keeping him within range even as he falls away. You’ll have plenty of time to land one or two more strikes before he hits the deck. For information about Kelly McCann’s new combatives course, which can be streamed anytime, anywhere to your digital device, visit aim�itnessnetwork .com/blackbelt. Sign up for this program and his original course and get a big discount.