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Tau's picture
The Neck Strike (Why We Don't Do It)

Neck strikes, as in shuto. Highly effective but potentially very dangerous.

I present my thoughts on this subject: 


PASmith's picture

Is there an "acceptable" level of pressure that can be applied here do you think? Only the slow and steady pressure of a strangle? Nothing sharp or fast?

I too like the shuto cover/flinch into arm control and neck strike and show it as an application of the first knifehand guarding block moves of TKD pattern Dan gun (with follow up index/face push and punch). I sometimes like to pause the combination and do "continuation sparring" from certain points to build in failures and problem solving. "What happens if?" type things.

For example if the neck strike has not worked sufficiently well the opponent will still be combative and so might try and pull their arm back to punch again (and so we test the arm control/wrap).  Maybe try to crush the "frame" of the knifehand into a bear hug (so we test the angle and structure of the frame). Or even try to drop own and grab the legs (so we test being repsonsive to energy and moving the feet and framing on the neck to maintain space).

How much can we drill this stuff by "framing" on the neck in this way? So not an out and out strike per se but certainly varying degrees pressure in that area (how much pressure depends on how much energy both people are putting into it).


Heath White
Heath White's picture

I always train knifehands by striking the collarbone.  You can put a decently sharp amount of pressure there and the partner just has to "know" they've been struck.

Zach Zinn
Zach Zinn's picture

Places I am always super careful with in any kind of application training are the occipital area, and striking or manipulating the neck.

The thing about training with only "framing" is that the timing is totally different. I have tried a couple things, including a neck protector thing once, it wasn't good enough to make me want to use it regularly!

There are somethings that just require substitution in training, and honestly I feel like using them as frames instead of strikes just has to be "good enough".

With my guys I spent alot of time developing a kind of relaxed and fluid method so that there is less chance of twitchy impact for this kind of work. It's not perfect, but it does give the chance to apply some techniques of this sort in a 'live' manner (albeit not terribly intense) with decreased injury risk.

From my point of view Kata wise, at least in Goju Ryu Kata, there is almost always a follow up following the neck strike, so not an assumption that it worked.