In light of the post I recently wrote on the importance of having a framework — a go-to strategy — for dealing with a wide range of attacks, I figured some might ask, “so what does that look like to you?”

I’ll use hand strikes as my example, although the tactic forthcoming can apply to virtually anything. Haymakers and slaps will be the most common type of assault on anyone. Trying to go toe-to-toe with someone who is bigger, stronger, and possibly faster than you isn’t a good idea, even if you are skilled. The longer you spend exchanging blows the more tired you get and the more likely you are to get hit — hard. Read: knocked out. Not to mention you could get slugged by one of his buddies or some random violence-monger.

The object of effective self-defense is to end the fight as quickly as possible. So I would teach one simple technique: Stuff, Snare, Strike. The three “Ss,” if you will.

1. Stuff.

There are multiple ways to stuff, or jam, a technique. First of all, you have to move into the attack, not away from it. You have to burst right in and jam that technique at its origin so that it either becomes weakened or deactivated entirely.

An example of an attempt to stuff or smother an attack before it starts.

An example of an attempt to stuff or smother an attack before it starts.

2. Snare.

Once you’ve deactivated a technique like a punch, it won’t stay that way. So you have to make sure you can put one weapon out of commission and ensure greater control of the others to mitigate damage to yourself. In terms of punches or other hand strikes, you should get hold of that hand. An instructor once told me, “once you’ve got hold of a limb it’s yours until you give it back — it belongs to you!” You would do well to think of it this way. Snare the arm, establish control by making space and angling off the line of attack, and don’t let go until the threat is neutralized.

An example of the type of stuff & snare I teach and would use. Put up the elbow to cover your head and simultaneously burst in to thwart the attack, wrap ping the attacker’s arm above the elbow. The initial punch is rendered useless but the wedge created by the cover elbow.

An example of the type of stuff & snare I teach and would use. Put up the elbow to cover your head and simultaneously burst in to thwart the attack, wrap ping the attacker’s arm above the elbow. The initial punch is rendered useless but the wedge created by the cover elbow.

3. Strike.

Tangling up yourself an arm won’t end the fight. The attacker won’t be so impressed with your cool kung fu move that he instantly surrenders. You need to do something to end the fight. So while you’re from that position of control, hit him! I prefer elbow strikes from here. Knees, or a combination of elbows and knees, is also an excellent option.

[youtube id=”dQJXYX6FqEA”]

The above video is a dynamic demonstration of a variation on my Triple-S tactic. In this version, he does not wrap the arm. His snare is less secure, but more flexible.

Conclusion

You might ask, “are you sure this will work for any in-fighting situation?” For the most part, yes, the principle applies to almost everything. It might need some modification for some circumstances, but those circumstances are not likely to show up in a real fight. Other people practice this counter and that counter and this is how you deal with that but if it’s this then you do that. Me, I know exactly what I’m going to do if my attacker throws a punch or almost anything else: Stuff, Snare, Strike.