We have a thread going on the Pramek forum about learning to take a punch, and training methods that teach taking punches. Join the forum and jump in on the conversation today!)
So, let’s look at ‘training someone to take a punch’ biomechanically.
For the purpose of this, I’m going to get pretty technical because if we look at strikes as something other than a strike, we remove the emotional attachment to a strike and see it simply for what it is – an object in space that has a trajectory and point of impact, instead of a Kali or Krav Maga strike, which would lead to looking at a technique.
1. Impact- momentary displacement of kinematics units. Generally .03 seconds or less.
2. Displacement – prolonged displacement of kinematic units. Generally .03 seconds or more.
There is a difference here. Impact is momentary – it is a contact that connects for a brief moment of time, it creates a momentary displacement. Think of a strike that impacts your chest, but that is it. A displacement is going to be a prolonged, longer than .03 second…think of a a grab that causes a displacement that is prolonged, like someone pushing you and their contact is prolonged as they push.
Let’s segment it and break it down based on training types.
These are two different types of contact to train for. A jab is different than a push.
Impact, like a jab, is best deflected, cut, or blocked because it’s delivery is different. Wedge (cut into), inclined plane (act to allow force to move around or deflect), screw (cut into force, rotate inward projected force). Someone projects their kinematic units at you (foot, hand), you react with a principle accordingly.
Displacement, like a push, is best worked around because it has made it to the body. Wedge (cut or hold), screw (cut into hold, rotate to trap or remove quickly), lever (rotate immediate kinematic units around displacement), wheel & axle (rotate body around displacement).
Someone who is grabbing will use a different movement pattern than a person who is impacting. The recruitment of biokinematic elements is different as they will use their weapon (the hand) different. The delivery mechanism is different, the platform is different.
Now we have determined the nature of the contact, the principles to be used, and the GMP of the person who is attacking.
Now we look at neurology, in a shallow dive.
Let’s look at the question, considering this, as to how to address ‘taking a punch’. First, we have to train the mind to recognize the nervous system initial flinch, or vunerable area reaction. Then, we have to train the mind to control the body. We have to first get the student used to impacts tot he eyes, nose, mouth, throat, solar plexus, groin, shins. This is well seen in many arts – poking, slapping, light punches and kicks which leads to more training, like faints from a distance or lunges that create a flinch, which leads to progressive training (which will be in our manual) to realize the flinch in real time in difficult training (speed, impact, tension). Program the primary areas where the nervous system’s protective reaction will take place. Get them used to the flinch, and either remove the flinch, operate post flinch (training a thumb to the eye) or operate from a modified flinch. Example, strike to the eyes, neurolgoyically program the body to wedge when it flinches.
We can move from that to ribs, shoulders, hips, etc., and train the student to work with the impact and use principles.
This is all part of proper contact training – progressively getting a student used to what impact will do, and then working with this.
Displacement is no different – teaching a student to utilize principles in action with the machines that come from a displacement (like a grab or push).
Now, about training people to ‘take punches’.
We see that instead of punch (there are a million kinds), it is always best to look at things from not the terminology of punch, but impact or displacement.
Proper exposure to contact training will create a sense of awareness and lessen the nervous reactions, fear of injury or pain, etc., for the student.
Within fighting methods (outside of general temepring training like above) I teach students to move with impact and displacement to dissipate the amount of force being applied to the body, yes. This should always be taught – after they learn how to wedge, screw, inclined plane in interaction with the incoming force projection. That’s the technical term for a first or knife coming at you 🙂 haha.
Prolonged exposure to contact training will create a mindset that impact is ok. As I was once told, ‘You are not here to learn to get punched, you are here to learn not to get hurt. Act accordingly.’ A premium should be placed on not being there for the contact, movements that dissipate the effects of impact and displacement, and principles to address when they do occur. When we train students to repeatedly be hit, unbeknownst to the teacher, it creates a psychological feedback to the student that impact is ok, because there is no negative feedback from it. Even in the beginning, when there is negative feedback, the more it happens and is allowed to happen, the more positive feedback on contact is created because the student has few ramifications to the stimuli (getting hit). It becomes acceptable to be contacted.
The true ramifications of really being contacted are horrible because they can not be duplicated in training unless you’re willing to thumb an eye out, stab someone or cut them, have 5 people jump on them when they go down.
Physiologically – take the jaw, carotid nerve, solar plexus, or brachial plexus. The jaw structure and density of the jaw, which protects the ‘knock out nerve’ can not be increased. Prolonged periods of training a student to take light and medium impacts, they will become more susceptible to positive feedback that ‘i can take a punch’, which in makes them susceptible to putting their guard down, opening these areas because in training they are willing to do so. You can’t test these physiological spots in training without sever damage to the student – so it’s avoided. Why train them in a fighting method stance or movement that will actually test this in real life when the negative feedback is being knocked out.
Fighting method: Eric nailed this: ‘But really the safe primary focus should be to avoid or deflect the attack. In less than optimum conditions, in a dark alley, or when caught by surprise, you are better off to assume a weapon.’ You have to assume the person will have a knife or shank or club. That’s why we use principles…1 tool for 10 jobs, so it doesn’t matter – we use a wedge against a punch, knife, or club. We have to train to recognize that allowing impact in real situation will open the student up to brass knuckles or a knuckle duster, a knife or shank, or hand held razor to name a few. Ask someone who is a cop in an urban area if they will allow someone to get near them, and the answer is no. You don’t see the razor they had in their mouth or taped in their wrist underneath that large watch band. This is why there is always a mad scramble to control hands and bodies, and stay away from them. What is in them? You don’t know – so why train to find out? You simply can’t let someone impact you – you don’t know what you are being impacted with.
Synopsis: Contact training has it’s place in the neurological, psychological, and physical training of a student. It, in Pramek, does not have a place in the training of a acceptable damage in a fighting method as it allows the body to be damaged, even if momentarily.