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dhogsette's picture
Low Block Kihon Combination Drill--Lapel Grab Defense


I'm currently teaching a karate physical education course at the college where I teach. I'm focusing on self-protection content, application of basic techniques, and beginner forms. This is the second semester I'm teaching it, and it has become very popular with the students. They really enjoy applying techniques and learning what the movements mean in difference contexts. It's a joy to teach, and a nice break from the normal academic courses I teach (not that this class isn't "academic," but you know what I mean--kicking, screaming, and punching target mitts is great fun compared to lecturing on this and that...) Anyway, in this video, we are exploring possible ways to use a low block combination as a defense against attempted lapel grabs and successful grabs. I haven't figured out yet how to translate it into a pad drill--still working on that. May have to focus on specific bits and drill them separately on the mitts.



Iain Abernethy
Iain Abernethy's picture

Thanks for sharing Dave. I agree that being something people don’t want to hold onto is the best way to escape a grip (“being the angry cat” is the phrase I use for that). I like the repeated impacting so that the enemy has no option but to release at least one hand to stop taking damage.

From a bunkai perspective, I also like the use of the “chamber” as slap. Always important to use the full movement and to adapt (open handing the hand in this case) as appropriate.

Even if the sweeping arm is not able to disrupt the enemy’s posture, it still get’s both of your arms above the enemy’s (dominate the attack line) and gives tactile awareness of any release of grip.

Lots of good stuff in that video. Thanks once again for sharing.

All the best,


Neil Babbage
Neil Babbage's picture

Good stuff. The only question / observation I have is the hand under the nose to push the head back. It looks from the video (on my tiny phone screen) that you have your hand over his mouth - opening up for a bite. Personally I prefer to teach having the hand the other way up so none of it is over the assailant's mouth

dhogsette's picture

Thanks so much for the feedback, Iain and Neil. I generally try to teach my students multiple ways of grabbing the face for these types of techniques. Ideally, thumb under the nose and fingers in the eyes. For these beginners, I was just trying to introduce them to the concept of how sensitive the nose can be and how it can be leveraged to move the head and thus reposition the body.

I do talk about how in the heat of combat/battle, with fear responses and adrenaline pumping through the body, it can be difficult to control fine motor skills, and that getting the exact positioning may not always happen. But, if they can at least get their hand in the enemy's face and crank back on the nose, face, eyes, or grab the hair and pull back, it will most likely work. Also, that action is relatively fast, and the hand isn't necessarily near the mouth for a long period of time. Though that is an important consideration, I think the likelihood of a bite may be rather low, but that is indeed something to keep in mind.

Thanks again!