I have received quite a bit of questions regarding the differences between the outside defences and the stabbing defences when dealing with straight attacks. The answers lie in the degree of control and faster defensive and offensive ability of one type of manoeuvre versus the other. Here are some key points to remember:
1. If the hand is in a stabbing position, it will maintain contact with the opponent’s punch for longer and over a bigger surface area than the regular outside defence. During the opponent’s recoil, you will find your control better as it is maintained at the point of initial contact or around that area for longer. At a more advanced stage, reaching far over the opponent’s shoulders might also permit you to anticipate the next potential attack you will receive from that same limb. This is felt in the recoil stages when the opponent brings back the hand and begins launching a secondary attack through the initiation of the shoulder, when your arm might still be in contact with his.
2. An outside defence will almost immediately loose contact with the opponent’s attack without giving your body an opportunity to receive a tactile analysis of the strike. This means that your only indicator for the next attack is visual. This is very important because a tactile and visual confirmation provides 200% potential of a specific attack. If I have contact with the opponent and I feel his shoulder move but I also see that it is moving, I am that much more certain of the incoming attack. You can make the analogy with the head defence and body defence of any defensive technique. 100% defence is good but 200% defence is better.
3. Prioritizing techniques that force the body to better defend itself is also a main difference. A stabbing defence forces the head to go down and the trapezius muscle to elevate even in beginner students with not much conditioning for this type of technique. This motion is further intensified with the proper head defence and ear to bicep checkpoint you should see in a stabbing defence. Moreover, in this particular case, it just so happens that this technique also prioritizes a faster counterattack. Just as you are forcing the head down, you are also forcing the shoulder of your free arm (that one that will give the counterattack) forward. Again, even without much conditioning, the defendant will automatically go forward because the technique requires them to stab versus to deflect. In a conditioned student, the hips and legs (that are supposed to be straight) will also activate, sending the shoulder even further which will accelerate the counterattack even faster. This type of pattern is not present in the regular outside defences.
4. Besides the increase defensive ability from the arm, the head will be better protected and be ready to absorb an incoming strike during a technical failure or troubleshooting. It is important to note that while a stabbing technique is “better” than an outside defence, it is better because we have a good idea of the incoming attack and are defending from a prepared physical and psychological position. Notice how we are dealing with straight punches to the face with little or no variation in terms of height. We are also not dealing with hook attacks to the ribs where the stabbing motion would prove quite ineffective. (While stabbing, you are doing a great job protecting your head but the nature and momentum of the straight arm eliminates the possibly to defend your ribs) All of this to say that an outside defence is more of a “Jack of all trades” defence with medium defensive and offensive capabilities while a stabbing defence is a highly specific yet highly offensive and defensive technique. You can make the analogy with the defences versus the straight punch. If you are unsure of height, area of impact, use your forearm. If you are sure of height and area of impact, use your hand since it requires less energy and it is much faster. For outsides defences, if I am wrong, I can also intercept a hook attack to the face or ribs and have a better chance to recover, while a stabbing defence not so much.
5. Aggressiveness. Overall mental change in student perception and solution to this attack. You must go forward. This is not always the case in outside defences.
Krav Maga West Island
Self-Defense & Martial Arts Dollard-des- Ormeaux, Montreal