Real life fights are dirty and unpredictable – there are no rules. In a real life scenario people will defend themselves in any way they can – biting, groin attacks, head butting, and hair grabbing are all common place. Competitions, however, are bound by rules and restrictions. They may be a great way to test your skills against a worthy opponent, but they are typically against competitors of the same weight, age, and capability. This is far  different to the real world (real life fights ain’t like in the movies).

Punching, striking (elbows, head-butts, pushing) and kicking (including knees) represent the primary kinds of blunt force trauma attacks used in one on one empty-hand encounters and can be applied from in front, behind or on the ground. These type of attacks are catalogued in Hanshi Patrick McCarthy 36 fundamental Habitual Acts of Physical Violence theory (HAPV). It’s important to understand these physical acts, the anatomical targets, body mechanics and the associated Pre-Determined Response that result.

Being able to strike is not enough. Understanding the mechanics of strikes is far more important, giving you the ability to protect yourself against being struck by an aggressive opponent. Comprehending different defence techniques including distractions (eg. blocks, interception, spitting, groin shots and even yelling) allows one to protect vulnerable parts of the body, head/face, jaw, stomach, testicles, body and legs. And when applied correctly defensive techniques can actually be used as offensive weapons!!

There are 5 application principals;

1. Location – where you apply technique
2. Tool – which body part you use (eg. fist, leg)
3. Angle – The angle at which the technique is applied
4. Direction – What direction the force is travelling
5. Intensity – The amount of power required to get a specific result

Some examples of KU drills

1 2 3 4

In addition, Hanshi McCarthy regularly advocates his tool box theory.

“It’s better to have as many tools in the toolbox and never need to use them rather than just having a hammer as not every opponent is a nail”

Hanshi McCarthy

These tools are all building blocks and with greater experience you start connecting these tools (building blocks) together, expanding the possibilities.



Learning a new technique requires thorough and systematic progression through a number of stages. Initially, when we are introduced to a new technique, passive resistance helps us to refine it by working through the principles that make the technique effective. Once you can display correct application of the technique, the intensity can be gradually increased to a point where fill aggressive resistance is applied.

Practicing against opponents of different weight, size, speed, and ability, in different environments and situations is crucial to add realism to a fight situation as well as fine tuning the principals in a practical condition.

Awareness is crucial to effective self-defence – awareness of yourself, awareness of your opponent’s intentions and awareness of your environment.

Practice, practice… and even more practice is the best way of equipping yourself to best handle a violent encounter.

Website Powered by

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: