You Need to Know How to Block Knee Strikes!
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.