Journal of Non-lethal Combatives, Feb 2002

FM 21-150, Unarmed Defense for the American Soldier, June 30, 1942, Section VI, Defenses against Kicks

Technical comments regarding illustrations provided by Mike Belzer and Joseph Svinth.
Copyright © EJMAS 2002.

 Note: So that they better match the text, the numbers of some figures may have been changed from the original.

38. FIRST DEFENSE AGAINST KICK WITH RIGHT FOOT. -- When you are just within reach of your opponent's foot, and he suddenly reaches out, attempting to kick you in the groin, you execute a side movement of your body without moving your feet. This is done by bending the left knee, straightening the right knee, and twisting the hips to the right as illustrated in Figure 33-1.

FIG 33-1

This causes your opponent's foot to miss its mark. You make no attempt to stop the force of the kick, but rather place your hands under his foot and ankle and continue his movement by lifting upward. (Figure 33-2.)

FIG 33-2

His movement plus even a slight amount of additional help by your hands will lift your opponent into the air, dropping him on his back. (Figure 33-3.)

FIG 33-3

[Technical comments -- In Figure 33-1, although the evasion is the truly essential task, Defender should maintain an erect spine and not reach as far forward as shown in the illustrations. In Figure 33-2, to prevent being thrown on his back, a trained Attacker (or one who instinctively keeps better balance by keeping his own spine erect) simply pulls his foot straight back. However, if he is unbalanced and so falls as shown in Figure 33-3, then Defender should follow up with a groin kick, in this case with the right foot.]

39. SECOND DEFENSE AGAINST KICK WITH RIGHT FOOT. -- When you are close to your opponent, and he attempt to knee you or use a short kick, you will turn your right slightly, raising your left knee to your right front as a means of protection and bring the outside edge of the sole of your shoe to catch the blow. (Figure 34-1)

FIG 34-1

When your opponent's shin makes contact with the hard edge of your shoe, the results will be painful and effective. (Figure 34-2.)

FIG 34-2

[Technical comments: In Figure 34-1, Defender should look at Attacker's neck or chest and use peripheral vision to monitor foot movement. The strike to the ankle shown in Figure 34-2 is painful, but without immediate follow-up, the moment is wasted.]

40. DEFENSE AGAINST KICK WITH LEFT FOOT. -- Since you can never be sure with which foot your opponent intends to kick, the initial side movement of your body must always be in the same direction. Therefore, your initial movement in this case will be identical to that in Figure 33-1. Figure 35-1 illustrates the movement.

FIG 35-1

The only difference is that in this case, immediately upon executing the side movement of the body, you will reach down with your right hand and catch your opponent's ankle, at the same time stepping forward with your right foot. (Figure 35-2.)

FIG 35-2

From this position, you will balance on your right foot, and lifting your left foot, strike forcibly with the calf against the back of your opponent's knee, at the same time striking him under the chin with the heel of your left hand. (Figure 35.3.)

FIG 35-3

The results are self-evident.

[Technical comments: Note palm heel to chin. When doing this technique, Defender should try to stay more upright, as if he is leaning over, as shown, then he is himself off-balanced and therefore more vulnerable. Also, Defender should step closer to Attacker's center, as ideally he and Attacker will be standing belly-to-belly as the leg sweep (ouchi gari) is made. Finally, Defender must be prepared for Attacker to resist falling by means of grabbing Defender around the neck. (Attackerís right arm will come up inside Defenderís left, as if he tries to come outside, then he will simply hasten his own fall.)]

About the Technical Commentators

Mike Belzer began practicing Kodenkan (Danzan Ryu) jujutsu at age 9, and in 1974, at age 18, he met and trained with Donn F. Draeger and Takaji Shimizu in Japan. In 1979, after returning to the US from a trip to Malaysia with Draeger, he also began studying Filipino kali under Dan Inosanto. Since 1990 he has focused his training on using "adrenal-stress conditioning" in realistic scenarios against heavily padded assailants. He is presently ranked 5-dan in Kodenkan jujutsu and apprentice instructor in kali, and serves as a consultant to the Los Angeles Police Department's Civilian Martial Arts Advisory Panel (CMAAP).

Joseph Svinth is editor of Journal of Non-lethal Combatives.

JNC Feb 2002