The Hook, The Hammer-Fist & The Invisible Fence (diary entry)

Hook palm 215.05.19


Wednesday’s first lesson saw the continuation my summer term course for Kingham Hill School on Self-Defence. Today’s focus was entirely on the hook. This was largely delivered as an open-hand strike although variations with the more classic punch were also offered for those who had more experience.


We warmed up with a series of ground exercises for a change. This also segued into the transitional warm-up that followed. Movement is such a key thing in combat that it is important to get safe manoeuvring and understanding of strong positioning. When this type of training is done, even early on in a lesson, it quickly exposes vital conditioning weaknesses. Getting off the ground efficiently, even when your heart rate is high and you are out breath, is a foundational physical skill for able-bodied self-defence training. Transitional work through postures would have a big role play in today’s pressure test.


I then introduced the hook of Mo Teague’s “Invisible Fence”. This technique was first publically shown on the first of my two documentaries back in 2005 when I interviewed Mo. Mo described the Invisible Fence as a means for setting a non-physical boundary. It usually worked in the same way as a staggered fence whereby the person moves back a short distance to draw in a potential attacker. The Invisible Fence facilitates as a spread arm passive hand posture to show submissiveness which sets up a strike coming outside of an attacker’s peripheral vision. The hook or power slap works well from this position.


Upon introducing the hook we looked at rotating the body and moving the head over the leg. In boxing terms the strike is a rear hand punch and usually has to be properly set up or only thrown inside range. However, from a pre-emptive perspective the conditions are very different and the set up comes from the apparently passive gesture.


We then pressure-tested the strike using the Gypsy Game, where two partners clasp hands and strike with their free hand. Head cages and boxing gloves are worn for those who want a bit more pressure. The game moves through different postures when called. The exercise brings problems with obstructions as well as balance and defence.


Finally we looked at a multiple attack situation that made use of round strikes. Here the student is interviewed by an antagonist whilst a secondary antagonist attacks from an offline position. The offline hammer-fist is an effective tool that can be used to send momentum into the hook, first striking the offline attack and then back to the first antagonist.

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