L3 – 9.6 Basic Striking Techniques

Basic Striking Techniques

Striking application involves using personal weapons. Personal weapons are the weapons that every security officer has available including:

  • Hands
  • Forearms
  • Elbows
  • Head
  • Feet
  • Shins
  • Knees

These are used to strike a pressure point and induce a subject to comply with given commands. In delivery, a person should strike in a way that allows the maximum amount of force to transfer to the target. This is done to avoid delivering multiple strikes, which may increase the chance of subject injury. To maximize effectiveness in delivery, use the method of “hard to soft” and “soft to hard”. For example, use the bony surface of the striking instrument (knuckles) to soft tissue (muscles), or use the soft tissue of the striking instrument (palm) to a bony area.

For the purposes of this course, the strikes will be broken down into two categories: strikes using the arms and strikes using the legs.

I     Arm Strikes

a.    Palm Strike

You can use palm strikes to stop a subject who is getting too close, posing a threat. This strike is delivered in a straight-arm fashion to the body or face of the subject. It is the body’s natural reaction to throw up the hands when attacked, and palm strikes are a continuation of this reaction. These strikes are also safer to use, as the chance of injury to your hand is marginal.

You can deliver palm strikes with either the support hand or the strong hand. The support-hand application process involves the following steps:

  1. Deliver palm strikes with the support hand using a straight arm as the subject advances toward you. Extend your hand with the fingers upward.
  2. Rotate your hips and step forward into the strike.
  3. As you strike, issue a loud verbal command to, “Get back!”
  4. Immediately resume the combat-ready stance in preparation for other strikes.

The strong-hand application process involves the following steps:

  1. When delivering palm strikes with the strong hand, the thumb should be upward. This allows the fingers of your strong hand to mold around the torso of the subject, thus reducing your chance of injury.
  2. Rotate your hips and step forward into the strike.
  3. As you strike, issue a loud verbal command to, “Get back!”
  4. Immediately resume the combat-ready stance in preparation for other strikes.

b.   Punches

Normally considered the power strike, the punch is used (Figure 9.9) to stop a subject who is getting too close, posing a threat. This strike can be delivered in a straight-arm fashion to the body or face of the subject. However, the body is a better target, so that is the primary target.

The application process involves the following steps:

  1. Close your hand into a fist with the thumb on top of the hand. Keep the thumb on top of the fist during the strike.
  2. Keep your elbows in tight to your body and deliver the punch using a straight arm. Do not rotate your wrist, or you will lose energy in the strike.
  3. Rotate your hips forward into the strike.
  4. As you strike, issue a loud verbal command to, “Get back!”
  5. Immediately resume the combat-ready stance in preparation for other strikes.

Figure 9.9: Left: Support hand punch. Right: Strong hand punch.

a.   Strikes Using Forearms

Both support-arm (Figure 9.10, left and right) and strong-arm

(Figure 9.11, left and right) forearm strikes are used when a subject has gotten in close and creating space to use other strikes is not an option. These forearm strikes should target the subject’s body and must be delivered using hip rotation to increase power. Once distance is gained, immediately use a follow-up control technique.

The application process involves the following steps:

  1. Using your support arm at a 45° angle, strike the subject’s body. This will create space which causes you to load your hips, thus giving you space to use your strong arm to strike at a 90° angle.
  2. As you strike, issue a loud verbal command to “Back away.”
  3. Immediately resume the combat-ready stance in preparation for other strikes or move to follow-up control.

Figure 9.10: Left: Support-arm forearm strike. Right: Support-arm forearm strike

Figure 9.11: Left: Strong-arm forearm strike. Right: Strong-arm forearm strike

b.   Strikes to the Rear Shoulder Area

A strike to the top of the shoulder at the base of the neck is another technique used to disorient a subject for a few moments and allow time to apply additional control techniques. The easiest way to apply this strike is from behind the subject, although it is also possible to use it from the front. This strike may be delivered with a hammer fist (Figure 9.12, left), the knife-edge of the hand (Figure 9.12, right), or the forearms.

Note: Strikes to the side of the neck should be used only when responding to a threat of serious bodily injury due to the possibility of breaking a bone in the subject’s neck.

The application process involves the following steps:

  1. Approaching from behind the subject, grasp their upper back at the top of the shoulder with the support side hand, while bumping the back of the calf muscle with the support side foot.
  2. Coming in at a 45° angle with the hammer fist or knife edge, strike the top of the shoulder at the base of the neck.
  3. Put all of your body weight and mass into the strike.
  4. As you strike, issue a loud verbal command.
  5. Immediately move to a follow-up control technique.

Figure 9.12: Left: Hammer-fist strike. Right: Knife-edge strike.

Again, when this strike is delivered with force, there is a chance that the subject will lose consciousness. If this occurs, the subject should wake up within a few minutes. If not, lay the subject on his/her side, loosen restrictive clothing, notify emergency medical services, and monitor the subject’s breathing.

c.   Strikes to the Shoulder Joint

Strikes to the shoulder joint are used to make subjects let go of anything in their hands. They will temporarily lose the use of the hand, especially the ability to grip. This strike is delivered using a punch (Figure 9.13). It usually takes three strikes before this strike becomes effective. Since impairment will only last a short time, this strike should be followed immediately by a control technique.

The application process involves the following steps:

  1. If possible, secure the arm to stabilize the target.
  2. Use your fist to strike the shoulder joint, in the concavity just below the collarbone and rotator ball.
  3. Rotate your hips into the strike.
  4. As you strike, issue a loud verbal command.
  5. Immediately move to a follow-up control technique.

Figure 9.13: Strike to shoulder joint

II   Leg Strikes

a.   Knee Strikes

Knee strikes are used to interrupt the thought process or temporarily disable a subject. The primary target for the knee strike is the subject’s thigh, although a strike to the abdomen is acceptable, should that target present itself. Use a follow-up control technique as needed.

Knee-Strike-to-the-Thigh Technique

The knee-strike-to-the-thigh technique (Figure 9.14-9.16) will cause the subject to temporarily lose the use of the leg struck and, oftentimes, both legs. Medical complications include possible contusions to the surrounding muscles. Since the effects will only last a short time, immediately use a follow-up control technique.

The application process involves the following steps:

  1. If possible, secure the subject to stabilize the target.
  2. Strike with the front of the knee and drive it straight into the target.
  3. Rotate your hips into the strike.
  4. As you strike, issue a loud verbal command.
  5. Be prepared to deliver a second strike for better effect.
  6. Immediately move to a follow-up control technique.

Figure 9.14: Left: Knee strike from the side. Right: Knee strike from the front.

Figure 9.15: Knee strike to inside of thigh

Figure 9.16: Left: Knee strike to back of thigh. Right: Knee strike to back of thigh

b.  Knee-Strike-to-the-Abdomen Technique

The knee-strike-to-the-abdomen (solar plexus) technique (Figure 9.17) is used to stop the forward momentum of an aggressive offender. The goal is to cause physical incapacitation due to the loss of breath.

Medical complications include possible contusions to the muscle of the abdomen.

The application process involves the following steps:

  1. Stand in the combat-ready stance.
  2. Stand facing the subject with your hands held high, elbows tucked in, protecting your head and torso.
  3. Place both hands on the subject’s shoulder blade (without locking fingers) thereby pulling the upper body toward either shoulder.
  4. Deliver a knee strike to the abdominal muscles. Be prepared to deliver multiple strikes, and then move to a follow-up control technique.

Figure 9.17: Knee strike to the abdomen

As the round kick is by far the most powerful of the leg strikes, it is considered the primary kick in the defensive tactics system. The primary target for the round kick is the thigh, and it can be delivered from various angles around the subject (Figure 9.18). Let strikes should target low areas on the subject to avoid the foot or leg being grabbed by the subject.

When struck, subjects temporarily lose the use of their leg and, oftentimes, both legs for several seconds up to 30 minutes. Since the effects will only last a short time, immediately use a follow-up control technique. Forceful strikes can also temporarily disorient subjects, so be prepared to help ground them if this occurs.

The pain from this strike is intense, and a subject may often think his/her leg is broken. However, usually the only result of this strike is a bruise.

The application process involves the following steps:

  1. Approach from slightly off center, toward your strong side.
  2. Strike with the front of the shin and drive it straight into the target.
  3. Step through the front of the target to ensure hip rotation.
  4. As you strike, issue a loud verbal command.
  5. Immediately move to a follow-up control technique.

Figure 9.18: Left: Round kick from the side. Right: Round kick from the rear

c.    Front Kicks

A front kick is used to stop a subject that is coming at you. The primary target for this kick is the lower shin area, where it connects to the foot. This strike can be delivered with either the toe (Figure 9.19, left) or the instep of the foot (Figure 9.19, right).

The purpose of this strike is to cause temporary loss of use of the foot, but it can also cause a loss of the use of the entire leg. Since the effects will only last a short time, immediately use a follow-up control technique. The front kick can also be used to interrupt the subject’s thought process. When used in this manner, it weakens the subject’s resistance and affords you time to perform another technique.

The application process involves the following steps:

  1. Strike the lower shin area, where it connects to the foot.
  2. Strike with the toe or instep of your foot and drive it straight into the target.
  3. Step into the target to ensure hip rotation.
  4. As you strike, issue a loud verbal command.
  5. Immediately move to a follow-up control technique.

Figure 9.19: Left: Front kick with the toe. Right: Front kick with the instep of the foot.

III     Striking Summary

Strikes include both arm and leg strikes, which can be selected and applied based on the specific security-risk situation encountered. When applying a strike, it is important to remember to strike in a way that allows maximum force to be transferred to the target. By avoiding delivering multiple strikes, a security officer decreases the chance of injuring the subject.