You Need to Know How to Block Knee Strikes!

Black Belt - - Combatives - BY KELLY McCANN

Street thugs aren’t lim­ited to us­ing only their hands and el­bows when they fight; they’ll throw knees, as well. Be­cause knee strikes use the most pow­er­ful mus­cles in the body, it’s im­por­tant to know how to block them. K nee strikes are among the most ver­sa­tile in­fight­ing tech­niques. They’re hard to see be­cause they’re used at very close range and come from be­low your line of vi­sion. The strikes are pow­er­ful and can in­jure you even if you’re just try­ing to block them.

In a stand­ing face-to-face con­fronta­tion, you’ve got to pro­tect your groin from un­ex­pected knee strikes. If you’ve been beaten down or are dou­bled over, you’ve got to pro­tect your tho­racic cav­ity and face from knee strikes. If you take a hard shot and get knocked to your knees, you’ve got to pro­tect your head and face from your at­tacker’s knees. Let’s start by dis­cussing how to block knee strikes to your tho­racic cav­ity and ab­domen while you’re still stand­ing.

TO EX­E­CUTE: Bend over — yeah, I know, bad things al­ways seem to start with that. Your train­ing part­ner will check the back of your neck and grab the back of your shirt. Have him fire his knee straight up into your chest, a tech­nique I call a “knee

lift.” Keep your fore­arms in front of your chest and stom­ach. Point your el­bows at your waist. Don’t hold your fore­arms against your body. An­gle them away slightly to ab­sorb the im­pact of his strikes.

As your train­ing part­ner in­creases his power and speed, drop one or both of your el­bow points into his thigh as it comes up. You’ll cause him a lot of pain when you drive your el­bows into his mus­cles. In fact, the harder he throws his knees, the worse it is for him.

THE NEXT MOST COM­MON knee strike you’re likely to en­counter — and have to pro­tect your­self from — is a short­range knee to the groin. In con­trast to a knee lift, a straight knee is aimed di­rectly at a per­pen­dic­u­lar tar­get: your groin. It’s an abrupt strike that’s dif­fi­cult to deal with. Since it’s one of the most com­mon at­tacks, it’s worth spend­ing some time prac­tic­ing how to block it.

First, if you’re that close to a threat, you should be there on your terms. Why are you face to face with your hips flat to your at­tacker’s and vul­ner­a­ble to a groin strike in the first place? Be­cause it’s not a per­fect world and shit hap­pens. In an ideal sit­u­a­tion, you wouldn’t let any­one get in your face if he’s threat­en­ing you. At a min­i­mum, if some­one closed on you to get in your face, you’d punch out one hand to stif­farm his chest and use the space you just cre­ated to get in guard. But de­spite your best ef­forts, you may still find your­self within groin-strike range. You’ll only be able to make sim­ple, gross-mo­tor move­ments to avoid his knee.

TO EX­E­CUTE: Put on your cup. Stand in the box and as­sume a hands-up palms-out in­dex po­si­tion. Have your train­ing part­ner get in­side the box with you and get in your face. He should blast his knee straight for­ward, tar­get­ing your groin.

Twist your hips to ei­ther side. You’ll take the shot on your thigh, but you will have avoided a direct and pow­er­ful strike to your groin. Rec­og­nize that your twist cham­bered you for an im­me­di­ate re­tal­ia­tory slash­ing el­bow — which is per­fect for this range.

AN­OTHER NAT­U­RAL street fighter’s tool you need to be able to de­fend against is a knee to the head af­ter you’ve been knocked down. Some­times, when peo­ple get hit hard, they’ll stum­ble and “take a knee.” A half-knocked-out vic­tim, kneel­ing on the ground, presents a per­fect op­por­tu­nity for a knee to the head.

As I’ve said, knee strikes are pow­er­ful. Catch­ing one in the face can stop the show. Even worse, it’s likely an at­tacker is us­ing a knee to the head af­ter you’ve al­ready been hurt, so you need to work on mas­ter­ing the block.

TO EX­E­CUTE: Take a knee. Have your train­ing part­ner check the back of your neck and lay his fore­arm along your back, grab­bing your shirt. He should slowly, and with lit­tle power, try to strike you in the head with his knee.

Treat his knee thrust as you would any strike. Keep your hands up and ar­tic­u­late your up­per body, ad­just­ing your hands and fore­arms to put as much mass as pos­si­ble be­tween his knee and your head.

As you grow more con­fi­dent, put on your head­gear and have your part­ner put on his cup. Take a knee and have him in­crease his power and speed when he tries to knee your head. De­fend but cap­i­tal­ize on the ob­vi­ous op­por­tu­nity to strike his groin us­ing un­armed dou­ble- tap tim­ing. You’ll be at pre­cisely the right height to throw a pow­er­ful punch or spear­ing el­bow straight to his fam­ily jewels. This was ex­cerpted from Kelly McCann’s Com­bat­ives for Street Sur­vival. Or­der your copy of this best-sell­ing book at black­belt­mag .com/store.

1-2. As Jack knees my mid­sec­tion, I pro­tect my­self with both fore­arms, and when­ever I can, I ro­tate my el­bows down into his thighs. Pretty painful for Jack to deal with.

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