Recognizing the attack type your opponent is using, and understanding how to react appropriately, will greatly increase your ability to defend yourself. Generally, we don’t have much time in a split-second attack to identify if there is a weapon or if it’s an unarmed attack, but we can quickly identify what kind of attack is it.
To keep it simple and practical, we have two general attack types; Straight Line attacks and Circular (or peripheral) attacks.
Straight Line Attacks – Straight line attacks are exactly as they sound. This is any attack that follows a straight line from the attacker to you. If telegraphed, these are often lunging attacks, though they aren’t always telegraphed. These attacks are often quite fast, as they have little distance to travel; the shortest distance between two points being a straight line.
- Solution – With all straight line attacks you must re-direct, and get off the centre line if possible. With these attacks, we have 3 options: 1. Re-direct the attack with, for example, a vertical sweep. 2. Move your body at an angle, or side-step, to get off the centre line. 3. Burst at a 45-degree angle to the side of the attacker. Each one of these in the moment will avoid the attack, but it is best to do them all (as you just never know).
- Examples: Straights punches and jabs, straight knife attacks or lunges, straight kicks (such as push kicks or groin kicks).
Circular Attacks – These attacks come from an outward angle towards the centre of the body. They are often, but not always, considered “power shots” with the intent of generating as much power as possible.
- Solution – With all circular attacks you must block first, especially if there is a knife. While you could just move out of the way, blocking directly interrupts the initial attack pattern. After which, we usually must burst into the opponent, attempting to apply Retzef and off-balance, cause pain, and disrupt. How we block is also important, as we must leverage the bio-mechanical strength of our body, by creating angles with our bone structure, to deal with the amount of power that is generated by circular attacks.
- Examples: Haymakers, hooks, roundhouse kicks, knees.
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