In Pure Krav Maga when drilling blocks we need to remember the following: To improve reflexes and to test our calibration of the limits of the reaction time we attempt to slap our training partners on the sides of the head and body or pat them in the center of the chest or forehead in quick non projected manner while taking a short or long step into the hot zone. If we try this drill while close to our opponents, we might notice that it is hard to determine which arm he is striking with and at times mess up our inside defenses and block with the same hand instead of the preferred mirror hand.
We can call it 360 or instinctive Deflections. Originally 360 degree terminology was designated to circular attacks only. But I prefer to used it as peripheral defense and actually start with straight punches deflection practice and move in for circular attacks deflections. It just completes the picture faster.
Then we move to Instinctive 360 Outward Blocks: We divide a circle around our bodies for 8 times 45 degree angle - 4 for each arm. We add another 2 for each side and they cover the same area of the side of the torso.
Defense no. 1 our forearm is placed parallel above our head covering downward blows.
Defense no 2 our forearm is placed parallel to the top of our head and tip of the shoulder. It protects blows to the clavicle.
Defense no. 3 our forearm is placed parallel to our ear defending blows to the side of the head.
Defense no. 4 our elbow is attached to our ribs and our forearm is protruding 45 degrees outward and forward protecting the side of the torso.
Defense no. 5 our elbow is raised up from a neutral position arms to the side of the body, so that our forearm is parallel to the side of our torso protecting the side of the torso.
Defense no. 6 is the same as no. 5 but we slide our feet backward and our torso leans forward at 45 degrees. This is to block the attacker’s wrist without getting a poke of a knife instinctively as last resort motion.
Defense no. 7 the middle of our forearm is pointed downward as we slide our feet backwards and we tilt our torso forward same as defense no. 6 to block the attacker’s wrist but avoid getting stabbed with his blade.
Outside Deflection vs. Head Shots:
When your arms are crossed over your body the most efficient block is outward deflection coupled with counter attack or when the attacker approaches from your side. From combat training stance cross your front arm over your belt and your cross arm over your front shoulder. As the attacker executing a straight punch, you flip your front hand’s thumb down rolling the middle of the forearm under the attacker’s wrist in an upward motion while you lower your head a bit. You then execute a cross punch as a counter attack. If you happened to catch your attacker on his dead-side, as you block you can grab his wrist and pull his arm down to your hip stepping forward with your cross leg and executing a knife hand strike to his temple or his kidney.
Inside Deflections Head Shots:
For inside deflection we prefer the mirror hand as after the block we get some protection not being exposed to the opponent’s now cross hand. We call it moving towards the opponent’s dead-side!
If we stand with one foot in front and the other in the back as it usually is when we move or lunge we need to be concerned only with the front arm of the attacker for straight punches. This is because if he would attack with his cross hand he would skip the opportunity to attack with a more efficient reach – his front hand! So if we stand with the same stance as our opponent – left foot forward, we need to watch for the attacker’s front wrist as he advancing into the hotzone. We would block it with our cross hand (the one in the back) and counter with our front striking his chin or other pressure point in the head. If he decided to use his cross hand as he is moving in, we should have already executed our counter attack as we were waiting for his front hand strike which never arrived.
If the attacker is hitting with his front hand and we are both in the same stance left leg forward we move forward for the counter attack instead of to his dead side. That means we are sort of half back to back as we both execute a drop punch but the defender role is deflecting and using a drop punch for his counter attack.
If our attacker is standing with an opposite stance to our stance i.e. with his right foot forward while we stand with our left foot forward, again we need to watch for his front hand mostly and as he move into the hotzone we again use our mirror hand for deflection which in this case is the front hand as we want to move into his dead-side. However in this case our counter attack would be to his floating rib because if he retracts his punch it would block the route to his head. In this scenario after the deflection we want to forget about the deflection and not follow his wrist. Instead we lunge forward before his possible retreat or move so and hit his front floating rib with our cross hand.
After we got that, we could use the same practice with the addition of a combination after the counter of two hooks, or one hook and an uppercut according to the feasibility of reach.
As we deflect we move our heads in the opposite directions and our deflection just until our back of the hand is in proximity of our opposite cheek. This allows us not to waste any excess time while continuing into our counter attack. In addition if our block is following our attacker too much it would block our cross or front hand from counter attacking.
Defenses vs. Center Body Punches:
For center body punches we either execute inside defenses with the inner side of the forearms flipping (rotating) our thumbs forward are we roll the forearms inwards, of deflect with a downward outer forearm slide punching downward sliding our outer forearm rubbing against the attacker’s punch. We counter attack with our free hand to available pressure points as the attacker usually ducks to deliver center body punches.
When we drill defenses vs. kicks, we call it tactical entries into the hot zone. We could use the same name for defenses vs. hand strikes because we really don’t wait to block one arm or the other, but we move in and counter in the same way once we figure out in what body position the attacker is reaching the hotzone.
Against kicking however, the hips are closer to each other than the shoulder so the kick is coming from the same area. If is hard to execute extended reach double kicks fast so we don’t worry much about follow up attack with the other leg that is serving as a stand. We don’t care which leg the attacker is using and we don’t care if he kicks or not. If he is in a kicking range we would execute our tactical entry into the hotzone when he enters the hot zone from a kicking range!
We have three options according to our initial stance:
Inside defense vs. kicks:
We can only use this tactic if our arms are positioned to the sides of our bodies to allow unidirectional quick deflection. We reach to the attacker’s ankle with our front palm deflecting it inwards. At the same time our cross hand is slapping our front shoulder moving inward to remind us its ready to move back outward and counter potential hand strike as we move closer for our counter with the cross hand punch. So in fact we would start our cross hand punch from our opposite shoulder. That way our cross punch would deflect any straight punches. If such a deflection occurred it might have weakened our counter attack and we would need to follow up with a follow up counter attack. As we move in for the counter attack lunging never crossing our steps, our front arm is being lifter for an outside defense to cover our head from a circular attacks.
This inside defense we can use against any kick. We simply cross our arms. The lower arm deflect any frontal kick (could be a side kick or back kicks approaching us from the front too) while our top arm is getting ready to block anything that comes later. We don’t care if the kick is aimed to our groin, chest or chin. If the kick is aimed to our chin or chest it would come a split second later as the attacker needs more time to close a greater gap and lift his leg higher. This allows us to have the luxury of getting the cross hand ready for an outward deflection and the torso to move out of the way.
Outside Defense vs. kicks:
To execute this move we need have our arms crossed before the attacker is entering the hot zone. We will plan it for drilling, but in realistic scenarios we will not have the time to think and would need to instinctively block according to how we are positioned in relation to the attacker i.e. if we happened to have our arms crossed over our chests. As the attacker enters the hotzone while our arms are crossed over our chests, we lunge forward diagonally outward executing an inward drop punch, sliding our cross hand down close to our bodies deflecting any kick with the back of our forearms. We can use our front arm to deflect anything that comes to our head area as well on route for our counter strike.
We can use this against any kick as we move into the hotzone. There is a trick however against a side kick when we are facing the attacker’s dead-side (back). We need to punch our cross hand behind his knee downward before he extended his leg. So we lean forward as he lunges but before he kicks. That way when he kicks his heel will not reach our bodies and legs.
We can use this defense regardless to our initial arms positioning. You will find out your comfort zone for using it. As the attacker kicks we push our hips and bellies forward and to the side away from the kick. As we do this we turn our back to the kick. If we were for in front than sidewise our evasion would be more circular. That hip evasive motion propels the feet to leave the ground. We help them with an additional lunge after they started to leave the ground. As we lunge forward but in 45 degree angle away from our opponent, we lift our front knee to 90 degree while landing on our cross leg. At the same time we use the inner side of our forearm to deflect the attacker’s kick outward. That contact helps to take him out of balance and drop his kicking leg to the ground so we can kick it later. We are now positioned to the side of our attacker in a kicking range. We execute a side kick to his knee followed up with a back hand strike. We could later move in and finish it with a combination of elbow strikes and knees.
Low Circular kicks to the calves or thighs we block using block kicks and counter attacking with punches.
We also practice additional instinctive blocks as above with follow up counter attack against round house kicks / horizontal axe kicks, and slap kicks. If the kick comes to our live side we block with two inner forearms forward and counter with a back hand fist. If the kick comes to our dead-side we block with the back of our forearm at 90 degree and follow up with a front groin kick counter.
Full turn roundhouse / horizontal axe kicks with block we move in during the turn and counter with a kick to the tail bone or a strike to the back of the neck!
We need to drill all of the above individually instructed and random for intuitive response!
Always remember if the attacker feints and retreat, chase him with kicks as he cannot attack while retreating, and you don’t want to give him another chance to come back – You never know he might get lucky next time!