US Army Combatives

4-3 Short Punches and Strikes

4-3. SHORT PUNCHES AND STRIKES

During medium-range combat, punches and strikes are usually short because of the close distance between fighters. Power is generated by using the entire body mass in motion behind all punches and strikes.

a. Hands as Weapons. A knowledge of hand-to-hand combat fighting provides the fighter another means to accomplish his mission. Hands can become deadly weapons when used by a skilled fighter.

(1) Punch to solar plexus. The defender uses this punch for close-in fighting when the opponent rushes or tries to grab him. The defender puts his full weight and force behind the punch and strikes his opponent in the solar plexus (Figure 4-2), knocking the breath out of his lungs. The defender can then follow-up with a knee to the groin, or he can use other disabling blows to vital areas.

(2) Thumb strike to throat. The defender uses the thumb strike to the throat (Figure 4-3) as an effective technique when an opponent is rushing him or trying to grab him. The defender thrusts his right arm and thumb out and strikes his opponent in the throat-larynx area while holding his left hand high for protection. He can follow up with a disabling blow to his opponent’s vital areas.

(3) Thumb strike to shoulder joint. The opponent rushes the defender and tries to grab him. The defender strikes the opponent’s shoulder joint or upper pectoral muscle with his fist or thumb (Figure 4-4). This technique is painful and renders the opponent’s arm numb. The defender then follows up with a disabling movement.

  • (4) Hammer-fit strike to face. The opponent rushes the defender. The defender counters by rotating his body in the direction of his opponent and by striking him in the temple, ear, or face (Figure 4-5). The defender follows up with kicks to the groin or hand strikes to his opponent’s other vital areas.
  • (5) Hammer-fist strike to side of neck. The defender catches his opponent off guard, rotates at the waist to generate power, and strikes his opponent on the side of the neck (carotid artery) (Figure 4-6) with his hand clenched into a fist. This strike can cause muscle spasms at the least and may knock his opponent unconscious.

  • (6) Hammer fist to pectoral muscle. When the opponent tries to grapple with the defender, the defender counters by forcefully striking his opponent in the pectoral muscle (Figure 4-7). This blow stuns the opponent, and the defender immediately follows up with a disabling blow to a vital area of his opponent’s body.
  • (7) Hook punch to solar plexus or floating ribs. The opponent tries to wrestle the defender to the ground. The defender counters with a short hook punch to his opponent’s solar plexus or floating ribs (Figure 4-8). A sharply delivered blow can puncture or collapse a lung. The defender then follows up with a combination of blows to his opponent’s vital areas.
  • (8) Uppercut to chin. The defender steps between his opponent’s arms and strikes with an uppercut punch (Figure 4-9) to the chin or jaw. The defender then follows up with blows to his opponent’s vital areas.
  • (9) Knife-hand strike to side of neck. The defender executes a knife-hand strike to the side of his opponent’s neck (Figure 4-10) the same way as the hammer-fist strike (Figure 4-6, page 4-11) except he uses the edge of his striking hand.
  • (10) Knife-hand strike to radial nerve. The opponent tries to strike the defender with a punch. The defender counters by striking his opponent on the top of the forearm just below the elbow (radial nerve) (Figure 4-11) and uses a follow-up technique to disable his opponent.

  • (11) Palm-heel strike to chin. The opponent tries to surprise the defender by lunging at him. The defender quickly counters by striking his opponent with a palm-heel strike to the chin (Figure 4-12), using maximum force.
  • (12) Palm-heel strike to solar plexus. The defender meets his opponent’s rush by striking him with a palm-heel strike to the solar plexus (Figure 4-13). The defender then executes a follow-up technique to his opponent’s vital organs.

  • (13) Palm-heel strike to kidneys. The defender grasps his opponent from behind by the collar and pulls him off balance. He quickly follows up with a hard palm-heel strike to the opponent’s kidney (Figure 4-14). The defender can then take down his opponent with a follow-up technique to the back of his knee.

b. Elbows as Weapons. The elbows are also formidable weapons; tremendous striking power can be generated from them. The point of the elbow should be the point of impact. The elbows are strongest when kept in front of the body and in alignment with the shoulder joint; that is, never strike with the elbow out to the side of the body.

  • (1) Elbow strikes. When properly executed, elbow strikes (Figures 4-15 through 4-21, pages 4-18 through 4-22) render an opponent ineffective. When using elbow strikes, execute them quickly, powerfully, and repetitively until the opponent is disabled.
  • (2) Repetitive elbow strikes. The attacker on the right throws a punch (Figure 4-22, Step 1).

The defender counters with an elbow strike to the biceps (Figure 4-22, Step 2). The attacker follows with a punch from his other arm.

The defender again counters with an elbow strike to the shoulder joint (Figure 4-22, Step 3). He next strikes with an elbow from the opposite side to the throat.

c. Knees as Weapons. When the knees are used to strike opponents, they are especially potent weapons and are hard to defend or protect against. Great power is generated by thrusting the hips in with a knee strike; however, use the point of the knee as the impact surface. All knee strikes should be executed repetitively until the opponent is disabled. The following techniques are the most effective way to overpower or disable the opponent.

(1) Front knee strike. When an opponent tries to grapple with the defender, the defender strikes his opponent in the stomach or solar plexus with his knee (Figure 4-23). This stuns the opponent and the defender can follow up with another technique.

(2) Knee strike to outside of thigh. The defender delivers a knee strike to the outside of his opponent’s thigh (common peroneal nerve) (Figure 4-24). This strike causes intense pain and renders the opponent’s leg ineffective.

(3) knee strike to inside of thigh. An effective technique for close-in grappling is when the defender delivers a knee strike to the inside of his opponent’s thigh (peroneal nerve) (Figure 4-25). The defender then executes a follow-up technique to a vital point.

(4) Knee strike to groin. The knee strike to the groin is effective during close-in grappling. The defender gains control by grabbing his opponent’s head, hair, ears, or shoulders and strikes him in the groin with his knee (Figure 4-26).

(5) Knee strike to face. The defender controls his opponent by grabbing behind his head with both hands and forcefully pushing his head down. At the same time, the defender brings his knee up and smashes the opponent in the face (Figure 4-27). When properly executed, the knee strike to the face is a devastating technique that can cause serious injury to the opponent.


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