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Here's my notes from our "Shredder Seminar" on Sat., Mar. 24th, 2012.

was a 90-minute self-defense seminar for men & women of all skill levels. The
purpose was to introduce participants to one of the most effective unarmed
self-defense tactics for close quarters combat - the "Shredder". Developed
by Canadian self-defense trainer Richard Dimitri, the Shredder is a rapid
barrage of short range strikes, rakes, rips, gouges, and neck cranks that
completely overwhelms an assailant. It's advantage is that it can be learned in
a short time and can offer a powerful self-defense tactic to even smaller,
weaker or less trained individuals. It will often be difficult for a smaller
person to knockout a larger opponent with punches & kicks, throw them, joint
lock them, or choke them out. However, a smaller person can always injure a
larger opponent with attacks to the soft tissues of the face & neck - i.e. eye
gouge, trachea crush, jugular pinch, ear rip, fishhook, face rake, neck bite,
The man demonstrating the Shredder in this clip is the concept's creator,
Richard Dimitri. As you can see, he can safely demonstrate it by not fully
applying the rakes, rips & gouges to his partner's face. Essentially, he is just
simulating these deadly tactics by vigorously rubbing his partner's face and
twisting his partner's head in different directions. This low-force application
of the Shredder is referred to as "face wiping" or "face washing".
For beginners, it's necessary to slow the action down and occasionally "freeze
frame" the situation so they can understand which of their body weapons are
closest to the targets on their attacker's body. This is referred to as "tool &
target development". This is well illustrated in this second clip, which works
from an initial start where both attacker & defender are standing with their
palms out & touching - something known as the "Mirror Drill". As you can see
from the clip, slowing the action down in the initial phase of training allows you
to easily determine what opening your partner is presenting and how you could
attack them:
When you first start practicing the Shredder, you probably won't be able to

think of the wide range of attacks Richard Dimitri demonstrated in that clip.
You'll most likely concentrate on just wiping your training partner's face
rapidly and twisting their neck, and that's really the most important way to
start. The face wiping is very disorienting, and the neck twists break their
balance and often make your partner bend over or fall to the floor. Once
you've put them on the defensive, you're better able to see the openings to
insert strikes like headbutts, elbows, hammerfists, palm strikes, knees, foot
stomps, etc. And since you've got control of their head and you've put them
off-balance with the neck twists, you can also take this opportunity to bounce
their head off any nearby hard object (a brick wall, table, car, street sign,
window pane, etc.) or toss them down so their head hits the ground quite
One of the most important parts of the Shredder is "trapping" or "anchoring"
- i.e. you must get close to your opponent and get a hold of them so they can't
easily disengage after your first couple attacks. If they do, they can recover
and then renew their attack. You must inflict enough damage to them that
they are unable to continue their attack, or at least enough to cause them to
fall to the ground which will allow you the opportunity to escape & run away.
Typically, trapping them is done by either (1) grabbing the back of their head
with one hand (known in wrestling as a "neck tie"), (2) wrapping your arm OVER
their upper arm (known as an "overhook"), or (3) wrapping your arm around
their head/face (like a front, side or rear headlock). It can also be done by (4)
wrapping your arm UNDER their upper arm & grabbing their shoulder (known
as an "underhook") or (5) wrapping around their waist & grabbing their ribs or
lat muscle(known as a "seatbelt"), although this makes it harder for the
trapping hand to transition into a facial attack.
Initially, we practiced using the Shredder off the "passive stance" - it's
similar to a standard kickboxing stance with the hands held up, but they're
open, palms out. This gives the impression, "Hey, calm down. I don't want to
fight," and it allows you a chance to talk the person down. This is a good
stance to use in any real-life altercation that you fear may turn violent. If you
can't defuse the situation, having your hands up allows you to block your

opponent's attempt to strike your head or grab you, and it also allows you to
quickly counterattack them. Quite often, if an aggressive person feels they
can intimidate you, they'll get very close, almost face-to-face. If you have
your hands up, you can slam a palm strike into their face and start applying the
Shredder before they have time to react.
This is how we initially practiced using the Shredder:
(1) you have your hands up in a passive stance,
(2) the opponent gets up in your face & makes an aggressive or threatening
(3) you simultaneously wrap their arm to trap them & palm strike their chin,
then rake their face,
(4) you unwrap your other arm from theirs and use it to now wrap their head &
grab their face,
(5) you begin to simulate a series of rakes, rips & gouges to their neck & face
with your hands using a "face wiping" motion.
For the "face wiping" motion - which simulates both the initial palm strike and
the subsequent rake of the fingernails across the opponent's face - our hand
can be oriented in one of five basic ways:
(1) Palm Striking Sideways from the Left, Then Raking Back Right-to-Left
(2) Palm Striking Straight Up Under the Chin or Nose, Then Raking Down
(3) Palm Striking Sideways from the Right, Then Raking Back Left-to-Right
(4) Reaching Over the Opponent's Head (used if they're bent over), Then
Raking Up
(5) Wrapping the Opponent's Head, Then Raking From the Far Side
The rake of the fingers across the face also usually twists the opponent's
neck, which helps to break their balance and forces them to turn.
An important part of the Shredder is getting behind your opponent, a position
known as "chest-to-back". This is very effective because it drastically limits
your opponent's ability to counterattack you. It's fairly easy to punch & grab
someone standing right in front of you, but it's much more difficult to hit or

grab someone behind you. Neck twists usually force the opponent to turn and
give you their back, although wrestling moves like the "arm drag" and "duck
Sometimes, your opponent may not be close enough for you to immediately
enter the Shredder, and so for these cases we practiced "entering" - a.k.a.
"closing" or "bridging the gap" - with a rapid flurry of strikes. For those
familiar with Wing Chun or Jeet Kune Do (JKD), the technique was similar to
the "straight blast" demonstrated in this clip:
- Straight Blast Demo:
We trained this entry using the Muay Thai pads as the target, just like we
train the jab/cross combo in kickboxing. However, we used a variation known
as the "Palm Blast", where you hit with the palms of the hands rather than
closed fists. This is better from a street self-defense perspective, since you
avoid the risk of breaking your knuckles and you increase the likelihood of
poking your opponent in the eyes with your fingers which will make them flinch.
Once the students forced their opponent to back pedal with their palm blast,
they wrapped their opponent's arm & got their other hand in the opponent's
face, and then began to shred as before.
Once the students managed to successfully enter with the palm blast & start
shredding, we practiced having the pad-holding partner try to get away by
pushing on their shredding partner with the pads. This forced the shredding
partner to stay close and continue to trap them by wrapping the head or arm
so they couldn't disengage and recover enough to attack them back.
One common way that an opponent may try to prevent you from entering into
close range is simply raising their arms to shield themselves from the palm
blast and just push you away from them when you try to get close enough to
shred. To deal with this, we practiced using two different JKD-style hand
trapping entries to get past the opponent's raised arms. These entries were

the same-side "slap hit" (known in JKD as a pak sao) and the cross-side "pull
hit" (known in JKD as a lop sau). The goal was simply to knock the opponent's
raised arm aside and simultaneously drive the other hand into their face, and
then initiate the Shredder.
In cases where the opponent was directly in front of you, we found it wasn't
uncommon for the opponent to try to disengage by bending over at the waist.
This allows you to put them in a position similar to a front headlock. However,
the object should not be to simply headlock them and hold on. This wouldn't
work against a larger, stronger adversary, and would leave you open to having
your legs grabbed or (for men) being struck in the groin. Instead, you keep
your hands in their face and continue to shred them. I demonstrated how you
can use your hands to twist their head to the side & then pull up on their neck,
which produces a powerful "neck crank" - known as a "front face lock" - that is
very painful and can damage your opponent's cervical spine. (Here's a clip
showing how to apply the front face lock:
Another common way the pad-holding partner would try to disengage from the
Shredder is by turning around and then bending over. If you're focused on
keeping your hands in their face, you may accidentally end up hopping on the
person's back. This would leave you vulnerable of being thrown to the ground.
To prevent this, we found that it was often better to move back around to
your partner's side so you could continue to keep your hands in their face.
This way, you could still trap & shred them, often getting them in a position
similar to a side headlock.
In addition to turning away or bending over, a very common way an opponent
will try to stop your shredding is by grabbing your hands and pulling them off
their face. The best way to counter this is to fingerlock them as soon as you
see their hands come up, but BEFORE they grab your wrists. The best way to
break a person's fingers is to only grab one or two of them, not three or four
fingers and not the thumb. When you grab too many fingers they can resist

having the fingers bent back, and the thumb is fairly strong and hard to
break. Of course, sometimes you might not be able to get the fingerlock in
time and the opponent will grab one or both of your wrists, controlling you and
temporarily stopping the Shredder.
Lastly, we covered how to use different "body weapons" (headbutt, knee, kick,
bite) if an opponent grabs both your wrists, making them let go in order to
(re-)initiate the Shredder. If you always assume you need your hands free to
attack, you might freak out in a situation where someone grabbed both your
wrists. But as I showed the students, you can make the opponent let go by
kneeing or snap kicking their groin, stomp kicking their shin or instep,
headbutting their face, biting their face/neck/shoulder, or biting into their
fingers or wrist. Once your opponent lets go with at least one hand, you can
then begin to rake, rip & gouge with it and flow into the Shredder.
This seminar was a good introduction to the Shredder concept, and within a
little over 90 minutes the students were all able to grasp the concept and
apply it on a moderately resisting partner. I plan on running several more
Shredder seminars over the summer, and I urge anyone interested to come
and check them out. Each seminar will review the basics of how to employ the
Shredder, but it will also introduce some new drills and it will cover some
different scenarios like using the Shredder against an armed opponent,
against multiple opponents, or while wrestling on the ground. This means that
it's still useful to attend another Shredder seminar even if you've been to one
of them already.
Defense against weapons has always been a heated topic among martial artists
and self-defense practitioners. Opinions vary based on style, background and
experience, but the seriousness of the subject requires that everyone think
about it because trying an ineffective H2HC technique in real street
fights can get you killed.

One critic of commonly taught weapons defenses inhand-to-handcombat training is Montreal-based Richard Dimitri, founder
ofsenshido. Richard Dimtri notes that many H2HC instructors would rather
modify reality to fit their system than adapt their system to fit real life.
Example: the H2HC training partner who attacks in a manner that makes the
defense work or who holds his weapon in a position that makes it easy to
execute the prescribed disarm.

In contrast, attacks in real street fights involve chaotic, ballistic motions, and
real attackers move rapidly before, during and after the assault. They retract
their knives after thrusting and slashing and follow up with more thrusts and
slashes. When they hold their blades stationary to rob or threaten you, they
rarely do so in a manner that lends itself to picture-perfect disarming.
Senshido Founder Richard Dimitris Approach to Increasing the Real in Real
Street Fights
The first step toward overcoming that deficiency in ones H2HC training,
Richard Dimitri says, is to restructure your H2HC training so your partner
really tries to stab or shoot you. Its also crucial to create the emotional
conditions that exist in a real street fight. To do that, you need a partner who
issues verbal threats and who behaves and reacts the way real criminals do in
real street fights.
The first component of an effective defense is awareness not just
awareness of your general environment but also awareness of pre-assault
indicators and the rituals of violence, Richard Dimitri says. You must be able
to recognize the situational and behavioral elements that precede an armed
attack in real street fights, along with the body language and movements.
Before attempting to disarm a thug using H2HC techniques, it helps to
distract him. To do that successfully, you must first figure out what he wants
because that will determine what you need to say or do. Richard Dimitri
recommends asking the assailant a question that forces him to think, thus
creating a momentary hesitation. It will permit you to use your hands in a
manner thats consistent with the behavior he expects from someone whos

terrified. What appears to be a pleading gesture on your part can be an

excellent way to maneuver your hands closer to his weapon.
When it comes to physical responses, senshido founder Richard Dimitri
advocates learning principles rather than specific H2HC defenses. Planning to
use specific H2HC defenses is problematic, he says, for two reasons: You need
to learn a technique for every possible situation, and remembering and
effectively executing the right H2HC technique in a split second is nearly
impossible in real street fights.
The shortcoming is exacerbated by instructors of self-defense training who
create unnatural situations in the dojo to make their techniques work. For
example, if your partner attacks you in a realistic manner, with his knife
moving quickly and changing from a slash to a thrust or from one angle to
another, its unrealistic to expect that you can discern the angle of attack and
apply the appropriate response. Thats why you need to have general H2HC
principles that work against a variety of offenses that you may encounter in
real street fights.
Some of Richard Dimitris H2HC strategies for knife defense depend on
whether the weapon is stationary or moving, while others apply to all
situations. Common to both is the need to avoid getting cut in a vital area
(neck, heart, inner thigh, etc.), even if it means placing a less-critical body
part in the path of the blade.
Next, Richard Dimitri says, you must clear your body. That means ascertaining
how the knife has to move to hurt you and then shifting in the opposite
direction to get out of harms way. You should also attempt to seize the
attackers arm and pin it against something to stabilize the weapon and
prevent it from damaging you. Securing the knife need not occupy both your
hands for the rest of the fight; once you have control of it, you can briefly let
go with one hand and strike a vital area. As soon as you do that, however, you
should go back to securing the weapon.
Finally, you need to neutralize him using the most effective means available.
Aim to inflict maximum injury so he concentrates on the pain rather than on
attacking you.

Injury Potential During H2HC in Real Street Fights

Martial artists love to argue over whether you should expect to get cut during
a knife attack. Although some claim its defeatist to tell yourself youll be
injured, senshido founder Richard Dimitri says you should anticipate getting
sliced so you dont freeze or panic if it happens.
He relates a story about getting slashed across the chest with a knife back
when he was new to the martial arts. He stopped to look at the gash before
re-engaging. Afterward, he realized that if the knifer had been more
competent, hed have taken advantage of Richard Dimitris momentary
distraction and finished him.
Appropriate Response to Injury in H2HC
Dont buy into claims that youll pass out or die if you get stabbed in a specific
spot, Richard Dimitri says. If it happens, it happens, but you can often keep on
How does that translate to H2HC training for real street fights? Never quit.
Even if you sustain a fatal stab with a rubber knife, continue to fight back.
In real street fights, according to Richard Dimtri, people survive knife attacks
some of which involve multiple stabs and slashes all the time.
Senshido Founder Richard Dimitris Principles for H2HC in Real Street Fights
Many of the H2HC principles Richard Dimitri teaches in senshido for nullifying
a static attack hold true for knives and firearms. Whether youre held at
knifepoint or gunpoint, its essential to employ a passive stance that has your
hands moving slowly in a manner thats congruous with someone whos scared.
During this time, your adversary will be extremely aware and tense while he
measures your ability to resist. If you make any sudden moves, you could be
stabbed or shot.
One of the most important parts of weapons defense against a static attack is
playing along with the attacker to cultivate a false sense of security and
distract him. Efforts to verbally de-escalate the tension will likely lower his
guard and bolster his ego. Then, if you need to get physical and use H2HC
techniques, hell be less prepared to react.

This concept forms the foundation of Richard Dimitris behavioral approach to

self-defense, and its emphasized throughout senshido.
H2HC Options in Real Street Fights
If you find yourself facing a static knife attack at a distance, running away is
usually the best option. Grabbing an improvised weapon is also good, as long as
doing so doesnt leave you open to your opponents rush.
Because you cant realistically expect to discern the nature of a moving knife
attack and then select and execute the proper defense, its even more
important to follow Richard Dimitris belief that H2HC principles trump H2HC
On the subject of trying to control the weapon versus attacking the attacker
in H2HC, he leans toward controlling the weapon. However, if thats not
immediately doable, you should switch to an H2HC plan that takes advantage
of whatever your opponent makes available attacking his weapon hand,
overwhelming him withstrikes or decimating him with the senshido shredder
When facing a dynamic knife attack, assume a posture that makes it hard for
the blade to reach your vital areas, Richard Dimitri says. Your chin should be
tucked and your shoulders raised to protect your neck and throat. Your arms
should be up in a boxing-style stance with the backs of your arms toward the
knife and your hands closed.
Your ability to block his offensive moves is but a minor obstacle for the
assailant, H2HC expert Richard Dimitri says. After his strikes are stopped a
few times at most hell start stabbing from another angle. Thats why
Richard Dimitri advocates jamming his arm against his body or otherwise
grabbing it and anchoring it to arrest the knifes movement.
A firm anchor involves wrapping the limb and cupping the elbow while pinning it
to your body. As soon as the knife is stabilized, pummel the attacker to put
him on the defensive. Then hell be more concerned with avoiding what youre
doing to him than with attacking you.
Jamming in Real Street Fights

Jamming shouldnt be confused with blocking, parrying or passing. Jamming

entails slamming your forearms or hands into the attackers knife arm with the
goal of immobilizing it. Jams are preferred because theyre gross-motor
movements and can be used on a variety of H2HC attacks in real street fights.
Ideally, one of your hands should jam the biceps of his thrusting arm and the
other his wrist. Make sure you drive forward with your whole body. Using only
your arms is weak and leaves you overextended and vulnerable.
Moving in to jam the knife might get you cut, but it offers the best chance of
controlling the weapon, thus minimizing the overall damage while getting you
into position for the shredder from Richard Dimtris art of senshido.
The shredder is a spontaneous fusillade of gross-motor attacks such as eye
gouges, face rakes, ear and nose rips, bites, hair pulls, neck wrenches and
throat crushes. The onslaught also can include elbows, head butts and other
close-range assaults, making it perfect for real street fights.
As soon as you pin the knife arm against his body, use one hand to keep it
there. With the other one, attack his eyes or throat.
If the knife isnt within jamming range, Richard Dimitri says, you must attack
him as viciously as possible. Your aim is to make him more concerned with
defending himself than with stabbing you, thus reversing the predator/prey
If hes outside traffic range the distance at which both parties are close
enough to hit each other remain far enough back to force him to telegraph
his intentions before he can get to you.
If hes close but not lunging toward you, Richard Dimitri favors throwing quick,
low-line kicks to get him to back off or to distract him before you drive
forward with a jamming technique. Kick with the leg thats closest to him.
H2HC in Real Street Fights Involving Firearms
Against a firearm, remember that youre facing a projectile weapon that has
an extended range, which makes it more dangerous in some respects. However,
because the bullet can come out of the barrel only one way, the muzzle must
be pointed at you to inflict damage. And since a gun is held steady when its

used the attacker doesnt wave it around like a knife its easier to grab or
divert at close range in real street fights.
You must be close to the gunman before you can disarm him. If the firearm
isnt within reach, youll need to bridge the gap using dialogue. Say something
that will elicit his interest, then distract him and get him to lower his guard.
Remain passive; dont challenge or threaten him.
For example, you might point to your pocket and say, My spare cash is here;
Ill give it all to you if you want. Meanwhile, you edge closer to the gunman,
making sure to move your hands in a manner thats consistent with being
scared while you offer him the money.
Then grab the gun and direct the muzzle away from you. If youre near other
people, try not to point it in their direction, either. That consideration is
often overlooked in the dojo, where disarms may be effected without concern
for bystanders that may be present during the H2HC of real street fights.
Although an H2HC knife defense that involves grabbing the attackers wrist is
permissible because its tough for the opponent to stab, such a strategy wont
work for gun defense in real street fights. The reason: Even if you control the
wrist, he can probably bend it enough to shoot you. You must seize the hand or
the weapon. Once thats done, explode with counterattacks.
Richard Dimitri knows that when it comes to H2HC weapons defense in real
street fights, there are no guarantees. However, if you concentrate on the
facets of fighting described above, youll be better able to turn the tables on
an attacker when you otherwise wouldnt have stood a chance.

The 5 Principles of Physical Retaliation AKA The Shredder

Once struck, there are generally 5 different reactions a human being will have
after getting struck. The individual who has been struck can react in one or
more of these ways. In no particular order they are:
1. To create distance.The individual hit will back up and move away to
regroup or protect themselves.

2. To clinch.The individual will close the distance and latch on defensively

to the other who hit him.
3. To counter strike.The individual struck strikes back immediately (with
or without a weapon), no quarter given on the counter.
4. Drops semi or fully unconscious.The individual struck is put out of
5. Takes the shot, looks at you dead in the eye and replies:That all youve
Knowing and understanding these reactions are imperative in order to have a
contingency plan for each and every one of them. If your mind is trained to be
prepared and accordingly react to any or a combination of any of these
reactions, it will be extremely difficult to be caught off guard and ones
recovery time and natural flow are much quicker and with no hesitation.
Your mind will be ready for whatever outcome and wont go into the dreaded
assumption frame. One of the worst things one can do is assume. Ive always
said, the only 2 safe assumptions anyone can make in the face of potential
violence is that 1. Your opponent is carrying a concealed weapon and 2. Hes not
alone and hes got friends. Thats it, thats all. Any other assumption
solidifying a naturally flowing process can impede in your survival.
The key in physical retaliation is your ability to spontaneously improvise your
next move based on your attackers reaction. Your attacker will always dictate
what your next move is going to be based on the 5 possible reactions they will
have after you landed your first strike.
The following are the 5 principles of physical retaliation and they are always
applicable regardless of what style or system one practices or what the
scenario or situation may be. You will even find them applicable in the sporting
Principle # 1. Economy of motion.
Musashi said, Do nothing which is of no use. Basically, do not waste energy
on unnecessary movement. There are 2 ways of doing this.

1: Your intended natural weapon, whatever it may be whether it is a jab, kick

or submission application should be the initial point of movement prior to any
other part of the human body. If your intended strike is a left jab, then the
left fist should be the very first thing to move followed by the rest of the
arm, then body.
2: Its important for you to have a mental and philosophical reason for
everything that you do. Dont just throw a kick or punch for the sake of
throwing it. Many fighters as they circle each other feeling each other out
will unnecessarily throw something because nothing has happened yet. If it is
done with reason backed by strategy, then it is fine but a lot of times
fighters just kick or punch for the sake of it because they are sparring or
scenario replicating.
When my students spar, I randomly stop them and ask them why they did
what they did in terms of strike or combination, for the most part; they dont
have an answer. Its important for the student to understand and know why
they are doing what they are doing. This will economize on wasted motion and
help the student strategize consistently while maintaining energy.
Economy of motion also economizes on both mental and physical
energy. Energy is a key factor in survival. For the most part, stress, fear and
the adrenaline dump will cause a mental energy drain which in turn will deplete
one of physical energy rather quickly.
Principle # 2. Non Telegraphic Movement.
Non telegraphic movement ties in directly with economy of motion. This
principle basically states not to telegraph your intention to your attacker by
making any unnecessary movements or gestures prior to your initial
attack. This includes facial expressions, shift of body weight, shift of
eyesight, idiosyncratic movements prior to striking and winding up, etc.
Your attack should be explosive and sudden preferably from a verbal defusing
stage where the body language is natural and non-threatening. If youre
already engaged in the fight and your opponent is still active your attack
should still be explosive and sudden without any prior movement to initialize it
except the intended weapon of choice (whether natural weapon or actual
weapon) and the beat and rhythm should be broken and erratic in nature.

Principle # 3. Opportunity striking VIA your nearest weapon to your

opponents nearest available and most damageable target.
This principle dictates you striking without giving your opponent the
opportunity to negate, block, jam, parry, slip, evade or counter your strike. In
order to do this you need to strike with (as Bruce Lee prophetically stated in
an episode of Long Street) your nearest natural weapon to your opponents
nearest open or available target.
While doing this, repeat the word Opportunity to yourself as you begin your
strike to the moment you land your strike. If you can say the word
opportunity more than once, chances are your opponent would have had the
opportunity to react instinctively in negating your attempt to strike him and
you did not use your closest natural weapon to their closest available
target. You should only be able to say the word opportunity once at the most
by the time you reach your intended target.
This doesnt mean that your initial strike should be the knockout blow or
strike that ends the fight, although that would be ideal, it isnt always
probable. For the most part, in a real violent physical encounter, your first
strike may be just a distraction or flinch instigator which will allow you to
follow through with a more powerful or terminal (fight ender) strike.
Sometimes, a bite, pinch or spitting in the opponents face will cause a
momentary enough distraction, which will allow you to capitalize on providing
your timing is sharp. Its important however, that when you follow up after
your initial strike, you do so on the using the shortest possible time frame
between your strikes so that your opponent doesnt have the time to react and
negate your follow up strike.
(This principle is demonstrated and instructed in full detail in our Surviving
the Streets & Tool and Target DVDs available for purchase via the shop
Principle # 4. Primary Targets.
In a real fight, you need to end it as quickly as possible. In order to do that,
you have to debilitate your opponent. However, it is necessary to judge
whether the situation is a maximum potential for violence (life or death

situation) or minimum potential for violence and whether or not your opponent
is a good guy having a bad day or genuinely an asshole, as everyone can have an
off day.
A maximum potential for violence situation requires use of extreme
force. The primary targets on the human body that will debilitate any
attacker regardless of size or level of impairment, are the eyes and
throat. As human beings, we have the innate instinct to protect our eyes and
windpipe. If your opponent cant see, he cant fight, if he cant breathe, he
cant fight. Its really that simple. Even if he doesnt feel the pain, if he cant
see, hes gotta find you to reach you and hurt you. You can play Marco Polo
with that mother fucker all day. If he cant breathe, hes only got so long to go
before he succumbs to lack of oxygen.
The rest of the human body is secondary. There are no other specific targets
as there are nerve clusters everywhere on the human body. Striking the
groin, the sides of the biceps or the shin will all cause a flinch response
creating another opening allowing for an immediate follow up strike if
necessary. Strike as many places and as often as necessary in order to reach
the eyes and throat and debilitate your opponent.
If your opponent has been debilitated without you having to have struck his
eyes and/or throat, then all the more power to you; however, if your opponent
is drug or alcohol induced or if he has a high threshold of pain or if hes
emotionally disturbed or hell, all of the above; then chances are, if you havent
struck his eyes or throat in order to cause him to reflexively protect himself,
hell most probably keep coming at you.
Principle # 5. Tactile Sensitivity.
Tactile sensitivity is the ability to interpret your opponents energy through
the sense of touch. The majority of fights will start at the close quarter
range also often referred to as the trapping range. Dialogue and
communication will allow for an attacker to get in the close quarter range
without necessarily having to strike you yet. This is where the assailant has
access to lapel grabs, strangulations, shoves, tackles, headlocks, static knife
threats and attacks, intimidation tactics and more via sudden ambush. If the
fight is not dealt with at this range it might well lead to the ground or possible

Tactile sensitivity is applied the second you and your opponent have come into
physical contact together. At the close quarter, ground fighting and in close
body to body boxing range the hand is much, much quicker than the eye. If
your opponent decides to pull a knife out of his belt or back pocket while in
the clinch, you will not be able to see it but you will be able to feel and read
his body language shift through the sense of touch.
There are countless drills that help develop the tactile senses and freestyle
grappling on its own is a phenomenal way of doing so as you are constantly
trying to interpret your opponents next move through the body to body
contact. However pure grappling doesnt offer the benefits of defending
against strikes and weapons which should be added into all tactile sensitivity
drilling if self defense is the primary concern.
A good tactile sense will allow one to defend oneself better at the close
quarter and ground fighting ranges. Youll be able to feel and intercept an
oncoming attack as it develops.
Theres a story of a Tai Chi master whose tactile sensitivity was so developed
that he had a butterfly in his hand try and fly away and he followed it with his
hand until his arm could no longer extend upwards as the butterfly finally flew
off it.
The 5 principles of physical retaliation are always applicable regardless of the
situation or scenario or tools of choice once things have gotten physical. They
require proper training and mental blueprinting. Once they are acquired
however, they become unforgettable and imperishable skills, like riding a bike
and applicable to all martial arts styles or systems.