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The Lateral Head Stroke
The Mechanics of Scoring the Stick-fighting Master Stroke
© 2015 James LaFond
In stick fighting the only probable ‘kill’ shot [meaning a one stroke disabling hit] is the lateral stroke to the ear/temple area. The target zone ranges from the base of the jaw at the hinge under the ear to the temple above and forward of the ear. A few weeks ago when Charles and I were training on the bag he noted that a true lateral follow through stroke is not possible with a forehand, only with the backhand, and that this must be delivered from farther out, and that it is telegraphed relative to the more obscure chopping forehand.
Charles is absolutely right. In fact, trying to keep the stick on a lateral path through a target above or below the elbow over-stresses the ligaments in the elbow, eventually causing them to become loose and prone to serious injury. While a true lateral follow through backhand is cleanly possible without stressing the elbow, the forehand stroke must describe a downward arc at or after impact.
The term ‘lateral,’ in this case, refers to the point of impact being perpendicular with the flat, and most vulnerable, side of the head. As the forehand stroke is pulled into the body and assisted with a pivot, step, or lunge, the energy is being pulled down toward the hip as your elbow closes against your body, and then the knee begins to drop or rotate the hip, followed [in case of a pivot] by the foot rotating the knee.
Please be aware of this in future videos, and note that the shorter the weapon the truer the lateral path through the target can be achieved. With 14 inch sticks the lateral shock can be delivered through the head, with the downward arc beginning mid face, as the shorter weapon can be held on path longer without stressing the elbow. For practice with flashlights and rolled magazines, sawing an escrima stick in half, and then practicing floor and bag strokes is very useful.
Note that blades may be held to true lateral longer with out as much reduction in effect and less strain on the elbow due to the wedge action of the blade, and the effect of the separating mass on the blade path.
Please keep in mind, when stroking a head in a survival situation, that hitting below the ear to the jaw is preferred over striking the temple or ear, which is more likely to result in death and is no more debilitating that striking the hinge of the jaw. Remember that nothing is more dangerous to your freedom and your life than the body of a criminal, which is now a protected species of predator, for whose death defenders may be held liable. If being attacked by more than one aggressor, do not begin smacking the temple or ear until after the first jaw is broken. You do not want to drop one with a lethal head shot and then have the others instantly morph into witnesses to your violent racist attack. If you drop one man and they still persist, then start delivering kill shots to the ear and temple, the temple being a sweet shot as it affects balance and sight.
I repeat if you drop a member of an aggressive group, and they keep coming, then it is on, and for keeps. Now is the time to take lives, because yours will be taken. Hoodlums delivering recreational beatings and playing the knockout game do not persist after one has been dropped. Those who persist are intent on maiming and killing from the legal safety afforded the violent actor among a group. The crime of killing in our society is just as much a crime of being an individual as it is of violence. No society has forsworn violence, yet all societies currently ruling men deny, in some way, the right of the individual to use violence.
When forced to act as that individual, do so with a care that extends beyond the immediate tactical situation.
Agon 2015
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