“The most realistic self defence system in the UK today”
In this article I’m going to look at how devastating power can be developed by anyone, regardless of their size or gender, if they understand the basic science involved in striking and get their bio-mechanics right.
Power striking is emphasised throughout the British Krav Maga curricula because we believe it is essential to end the fight as swiftly as possible.
We do this thorough the immediate and aggressive use of powerful combatives. The more power a Kravist can deliver to his or her opponent in a real-life situation then the more effective the strike is likely to be and the greater the impact on the attacker.
This can be especially devastating when you consider the mindset of your attacker who is expecting an easy victory and is unprepared for the overwhelming force he has unleashed upon himself by attacking you. Not only will you get inside his OODA Loop because of the multiple strikes you deliver will overwhelm his ability to react, but his mindset will quickly change because of the pain your strikes will have inflicted on him which he wasn’t expecting.
His mindset will change from one of dominance to one of self-preservation once he realises that you are not the soft target he was expecting and that you are able to defend yourself with unexpected aggression and power. That of course, is assuming you haven’t knocked him out in the process, in which case he won’t be thinking very much until he comes around by which time you will be safely out of the danger zone.
This is why in our Krav classes you will often hear me call for “Mass on Target” when we’re practicing our combatives. If you learn to strike using your whole mass, then you will increase the Force of your strike which in turn will make your strike more powerful.
This means that even if you are quite physically slight you should still be able to develop sufficient power to inflict significant damage to your opponent. Krav Maga is based on this principle which is why it is such an effective self-defence system.
So now we have a basic understanding of the science involved in power striking, let’s take a look at the bio-mechanics.
The development of the correct striking bio-mechanics is crucial for powerful striking.
To achieve sound striking bio-mechanics one needs to:
- Use Your Body Mass – You must move your entire body to get the maximum weight (force) behind your strike. You achieve this by ‘bursting‘ or stepping into your strike ideally timing your foot fall with the landing of your blow – the so called Dempsey drop or falling step to ensure maximum mass on target.
- Use Your Hips – Full body rotation through the hips will ensure the power generated from your legs is used in your strike. It will also ensure your strikes are ‘fully loaded’ allowing for maximum acceleration of the blow.
- Use Your Legs – The biggest muscles in your body will generate the most power. People who punch only with their arms will never punch with real power.
- Use Your Feet – The ‘striking kinetic chain’ starts when you drive off from your feet. If you get the bio-mechanics right it flows up through your legs, into your hips through your shoulders and down your striking arm. Allow your feet to pivot to increase rotation during a strike as a means of loading the next strike.
- Stay Inside Your Range – Don’t reach. Your strongest strike doesn’t land when your arms are fully out-stretched. Your punch hits harder when it lands a bit shorter than your full range of motion.
- Strike Through Your Target – Aim to strike thorough your target ensuring maximum energy transfer from your strike. For example, when striking to the head you should try to strike through your opponent’s face towards the back of their head rather than snapping your strike back on making contact.
- Use Movement to Create Angles – Good movement will create more space and power striking opportunities.
- Remain Relaxed – Ensuring your striking limb remains relaxed until the point of impact when it should be tensed will ensure that your strike is delivered with as much speed (velocity) as possible. Exhaling sharply at point of impact is a useful way of doing this.
Being able to strike with devastating power is a fundamental element of Krav Maga and key to your development as a Kravist. The only way to acquire this skill is through a sound understanding of the basic science and bio-mechanics involved and regular practice in class and at home.