Author: Manny OG
Target Awareness vs. Technique Focus
Understanding the difference between “target” and ”technique” is an important concept that goes to the heart of this course. Knowing where to strike (the “target”) is the key. How to strike that target is simply a matter of which technique you use.
Here’s what we mean by that and it may help explain why some experienced martial artists (who may know hundreds of very cool fight techniques), can and often do, have their asses handed to them in a street fight.
Your focus of attention must be on scanning specific targets rather than specific techniques. The reality is that you can have sloppy technique, but still win a fight because you had good target awareness. Because (like we said), a sloppy punch to the side of the neck is far better than a beautifully executed high reverse round-house kick that misses the target.
Few real-world fights are won with “pretty” techniques. That’s Hollywood fantasy. Down here in the real world the fighter who wins is the guy who quickly and effectively attacks “high value” targets.
But don’t get us wrong – technique is crucial. It’s actually comforting when you realize you’ve got BOTH bases covered – that is, you’ve got a solid understanding of an opponent’s most vulnerable targets AND an arsenal of highly effective techniques to take advantage of the target.
The idea is to concentrate on first things first. And the first step is to choose a target – the second is to choose which technique you’ll use on said target. We see too many guys endlessly practicing some silly move without ever considering what target they would use it on. When “crunch” time hits – when they’re facing a real opponent in the real world – their mind races to remember that special technique. Don’t fall into this trap. Instead, be the guy who’s instantly evaluating your opponent’s weak spots and looking for targets of opportunity.
Here are SIX high-value targets, some of which I’ve already covered earlier. But we’ve added a couple more.
Eyes – The eyes are extremely vulnerable targets to attack. The good news is that – when it comes to eyes – we’re all essentially playing on a level field. I mean, a larger more aggressive opponent doesn’t have eyes any more tough than yours. Take advantage of this “equalizer”. Dirt in the eyes or a simple eye jab can be extremely effective against a larger, more aggressive opponent.
Throat – Another effective target is the front of the throat. A hard punch straight to the throat can often mean “game over”. On the other hand, throwing a fist to the throat can be somewhat tricky as you’ve got to deliver a fairly accurate punch. A fist simply doesn’t fit very well under the chin. A better solution is to form your hand into a “C” and deliver a quick shot under his chin and into his throat. He’ll be instantly on the ground gagging. Of course, you’ve got to be careful – you can easily crush someone’s windpipe and
kill them with a shot like that. So you wouldn’t use this against a rude waiter.
Solar Plexus – This is the soft spot just below the “breast bone” or sternum. A well placed shot to the solar plexus can instantly “knock the breath” outta him because it sends the diaphragm into spasm. This target is best used when he’s not expecting it (like while your opponent’s still talking crap), as a tightening of the stomach muscles will protect the diaphragm.
Neck – Here’s one we gave you earlier, but it’s a good one. The side of the neck has a bundle of “wiring” running to the brain, which means one good shot to the side to the neck can mean “lights out” for your opponent. The shoulder and head offer a natural “funnel” that’ll guide your hand directly into his neck – which means it’s a “high percentage” shot.
Groin – Now you’d think this would be the number one protected spot on any man’s body – especially since every “self-defense” class on earth teaches you to kick for the groin. Even a poorly executed kick to the groin – one that doesn’t “connect” — will still often shock your opponent into an internal dialogue that “freezes” him.
Inside knee – The knees are a favorite (and “illegal”) target of kickboxers because they understand just how delicate the structure of the knee is. One good shot to the knee means “taking his wheels out” which means that even if he’s still pissed off and willing to fight, his knee won’t cooperate. It’ll continue to buckle on him like a broken crutch – and that puts him in a bad spot (which is exactly where you want him by the way).
Outside thigh – Another favorite target of Muay Thai fighters is to kick the nerve running down the outside of the thigh (lateral femoral nerve). Even a well-conditioned fighter can’t stand more than a couple good shin kicks to this nerve before buckling. Very painful… very effective.
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