Question what type of person you are likely to encounter on the street and the manner in which he might attack. Is it reasonable that you will defend against a spinning back kick or ridge hand strike, for example? Although these techniques are powerful, they only work if your opponent fights using karate. Is it reasonable that your opponent will fight using traditional karate moves on the street? Street attacks may not be clean. Your opponent will not throw one straight punch that you can sidestep or block. He will not swing at you with a knife exposed from several feet away.
How much force is needed in order to deter a person intent on hurting you? Will one good strike do the job? What should you do when you discover that this one strike failed to do damage? What type of 52 Blocks follow-up technique will you use? How fast can your assailant cover distance? If your 52 Blocks instructor doesn’t bring these issues to your attention, you may get a false sense of security: This was supposed to work!
1. A single strike seldom stops an assailant intent on hurting you. Learn 52 Blocks multiple strike combinations. Drill at least five strikes, then 10.
2. Relate multiple strikes to endurance. Throwing 20 strikes when under pressure to perform is very tiring. If the combination fails to stop your opponent, you might not have the energy to continue. How can you economize 52 Blocks striking?
Seasoned martial artists, too, get sloppy and imprecise with their techniques when they are overwhelmed. In a kickboxing match, for example, two fighters in seemingly superb shape and bulging muscles might be unable to do any significant damage to each other in the ring. A lengthy strike combination will tire you in seconds, especially if you don’t train for quick multiple strikes with regularity. When you get tired, your defense also becomes worthless. If you were to learn just one single and highly effective strike, what type of strike would you learn? Remember that kicks are more tiring to throw than strikes, because the legs are heavier than the arms and not as precise as the hands.
You must also learn how to block an attack effectively:
1. What does it take to stop an attacker?
2. What types of full force strikes can you realistically block?
3. Exactly how stiff does your block or parry need to be in order to have the desired effect?
Experiment with blocks until you gain realistic insight. A wimpy block is not good enough against an opponent who swings at you with full intent. Practice with intent even when practicing with a partner. Use forearm pads to protect against injuries, then swing at your partner with considerable force and allow him to practice realistic blocking techniques.
Intellectual understanding and physical proficiency are two different things. Always think about what happens next. If you shove an attacker in the chest, you may avoid his first grab attempt. But how likely is this shove to stop him? If he is angered, how do you deal with his comeback?