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One of the primary concerns of people who are interested in self defense is how to defend against an attacker who is committed and who continually presses a brutal attack whether the intended victim of the attack resists or not. This attack is labeled the blitz, committed, or real attack in many discussions of self defense. In truth, there are many different real attacks seen on the street. The negotiated attack, or the give me that and I wont shoot/stab/hurt you attack is often seen. A fast, dedicated, attack, or blitz, is one of the more prevalent attacks, however. Because of its speed, violence, and often, unexpected nature, the blitz can be a very dangerous attack for most people. It is true that, if you continually scan for threats and are aware of your surroundings, you will be much less susceptible to a blitz attack. Less susceptible does not mean that it will not happen to you.
In general, I classify blitz attacks into two categories: smart/balanced and stupid/overcommitted. What many people define as a blitz attack is the stupid/overcommitted attack. Both attacks involve an attacker charging in with speed and throwing blows/techniques in a flurry while constantly pressing forward in order to cow his or her opponent. The difference is that the smart blitz attacker, while pressing forward, hits, retracts, grapples, etc. while maintaining his or her balance and often the ability to disengage if things are going badly. The stupid blitz attacker will throw devastating attacks which could do horrible amounts of damage if they landed, but is often very off balance if a technique misses its target and has no real plan or ability to disengage. This is not to say that a stupid blitz attack is not dangerous. Make no mistake, this type of attacker is out to seriously injure the victim, and should some of their techniques connect and the victim go down, they will delight in stomping, kicking, beating and destroying their helpless victim. The reason that I classify these attackers into the smart and stupid categories is based upon how easy it is to defend and counterattack against their respective attack vectors.
The all-out, overcommitted or stupid blitz artist is the easiest of the two types to defeat. Often these attackers will launch the attacks from several feet out, sometimes yelling to distract and terrify their prey. Many other times, though, these attackers will launch the attack only when they are directly adjacent the victim and with no warning. The key to the relatively easy defeat of these attackers is balance. A person who is throwing a flurry of relatively ill directed and wild blows, with or without a weapon, and who is constantly trying to move forward and dominate or take over the space that you are currently occupying, is going to have an awful lot to keep track of in a combat situation. Imagine it this way: you have an eight pound sledgehammer and take two steps forward and swing it with all of your might and the impetus of your forward movement, straight down at a target. What happens when I move the target and you miss? You are overbalanced and have to invest a lot of movement and effort into stopping your motion and recovering so that you do not fall to the ground or at least stumble. The overcommitted blitz attacker is in this positionhe or she must try to recover their balance if they miss. They are, in some ways, like a traditional artillery shell. Once launched, there is no guidance. If the target moves, the attack misses. While trying to restore balance and keep from falling, the attacker is vulnerable to counterattacks.
Albo Kali Silat is a martial arts system for combat, not sport. In Albo Kali Silat training, the student performs multiple drills to simulate real attacks. Both smart and stupid blitz attacks are used in drills. If there is enough interest, I will film some stupid/overcommitted blitz attacks and defenses. In this video, I focused on a smart blitz attacker armed with a knife. It is harder to defend against this type of attacker, and I thought that a video depicting this type of attacker would be more interesting for the viewer. One of the best drills that I have found in regard to blitz attacks is to first engage in sumbrada, or one for one sparring (one person attacks, the other defends, then the other attacks and the first defends). While doing sumbrada, an opponent blitz attacks, without warning, when he or she feels like conducting an attack. Since the participant is already lulled into the one-for-one exchange and is already well within range of an attack, being able to react, defend, and successfully counterattack when an opponent unexpectedly launches a flurry of attacks during this drill is difficult and is an important skill set for students to learn.
During the first few instances when my student, Chris, conducts a blitz attack in this video, it is hard to see that he has blitzed. We were moving in a sumbrada, one-for-one series, and, as soon as Chris stepped outside of that series and launched multiple attacks, I stopped his attacks and counterattacked quickly. Chris recognized that the injuries I would have inflicted on him, had my training blade been real, would have ended his ability to attack, so he stopped his attack. After a couple of these exchanges, I directed Chris to, once he had launched an attack, keep attacking until the injuries I inflicted would have stopped the attack two to three times (or more) over. After these directions, the video became a little easier to follow.
During this video, we utilized Spyderco training knives and Action Flex knife simulators (foam knives). In addition, I went empty handed against Chris when he was using the Action Flex knife, in order to demonstrate unarmed response to a knife attack. As you can see in these videos, two of the primary keys to surviving and overcoming an attack of this nature are good footwork/mobility, and skill and ability with the off (non-weapon) or checking hand. The checking hand must intercept the opponents weapon arm or the knife wielding blitz attacker will inflict deadly injuries.
I hope that you enjoyed this video. Please contact me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions regarding this video or other content on this website.
Tuhan Holloway, December 2007