The old grab them by the hair and punch them, only out done by jersey attack (ie. Having your shirt pulled over your head and then punched)! Does anybody ever really grab somebody by the hair to punch them? I have only seen three or four actual street fights in my time (altercations that when beyond pushing or one punch) and one of them was in fact a grab the hair and punch attack.
The video below from our jiu-jitsu distance education program shows one of the first ways we learn to deal with this type of attack.
No matter what the situation is there are some basic principles of self-defence, they are as follows:
Don’t let yourself be in a situation where you need to defend yourself in the first place.
This is the most important concept of self-defence BUT not always possible. Don’t be in places where you will likely need to defend yourself. (ie don’t wear your Toronto Maple Leafs jersey to a Montreal Canadians game). Fairly common since right.
If you find yourself in a situation that may require you to defend yourself get out of there as quickly as possible.
Sometimes situations just develop too quickly or unfold not how you expected them to. Don’t wait for things to escalate, get clear as soon as you feel the rising tension if at all possible. Don’t let your ego (and yes we all have one) get you into trouble you don’t need. Now if you’re with family or friends getting clear may not be easy or even possible.
Always assume your attacker is armed
Just because you do not see a knife or gun does not mean that they do not have one. Always, always assume they are armed.
Stop your attackers attack before it starts!
Watch their body language it will tell you a lot about what’s about to happen. Are they closing their fists? Is their body tensing up getting ready to strike? Look for the signs. Once you know you’re going to be into it, strike first, strike fast and strike hard. End the fight before it starts. Your attacker is looking for an upper body response (ie punch) from you so a low line attack (kick) to the knee or groin is likely your best choice. Some people would call this starting the fight but I disagree, the fight was already started, you just through the first “punch” (and hopefully the last). Keep yourself safe first and worry about other people’s perception second, though be aware that some people will view you as starting the fight because you acted first.
Stop your attackers attack
This can be done in many ways.
Avoiding the attack
Blocking the attack
A combination of the above
The option above is the last one, the combination, so long as one of the options is the counter attack. When you attack you leave yourself open to counter attack. When an attacker punches he leaves that whole side of his body open; He’s committed to his course action and defending your counter attack becomes very difficult. A counter attack combined with a block or avoiding the attack is very powerful, BUT your counter attack MUST take place at the same time as their attack. Do NOT block / avoid then attack, start your attack AS you block / avoid. The Jukoshin syllabus has many instances where we imply the block / avoid counter attack.
Put them on the ground
Now that you have them hurt / distracted by your pre-emptive or counter attack, put them on the ground, hard. Remember the ground hits harder than you do. How do you get them there, throws or joint locks are the most common way (of which the Jukoshin syllabus has many). Once on the ground give them a final hit to make sure they stay down until you can get clear.
Don’t hang around, get out of there to a safe location / distance. Why chance it that they may get up and attack you all over again. You just when through all that hard work to keep yourself safe don’t waste it by staying in harm’s way. It should also be noted that should your attacker need medical help that you need to get it for them, once you get clear and are safe.
These are the basic principles that you will see within the Jukoshin Ryu Jiu-jitsu syllabus and one of the reasons the Jukoshin system is so effective.
Jamie Rickard (Sensei)
Koketsu Kai – Tiger’s Den Jiu-jitsu and Grappling