Home of America's first Mixed Martial Art Training Method for the Entire Family
The primary source of information for A.S.P. Kickboxing is taken directly from:
Kickboxing - A Safe Sport, A Deadly Defense, by E. S. Baltazzi, Chas. E. Tuttle, Rutland VT, publishers, 1976; second printing 1981; third printing 1984. [OUT OF PRINT]
The use of the feet in various forms of armed and unarmed fighting goes back to the dawn of mankind. It is as natural a reaction as the use of the fists. Pankration, a form of all-out weaponless fighting, was part of the early Olympic games and included kicking, punching, wrestling holds, chokes and joint twisting techniques. However, after many a contestant lost his life, it came under fire as alien to the spirit of the games and was discontinued. Many systems of kickboxing were developed in various countries. Any claim that kickboxing as a form of fighting has been invented by a given people, oriental or occidental, is inconsistent with historic facts. All its elements were known since time immemorial. They have simply been put together in different ways to yield systems appropriate to the time and place of their inception. Kickboxing, as described in this book, is such a system in its own right and has all the attributes of a sport and of a fighting art; it is so devised that it can be practiced safely by a broad cross section of the public. It is neither karate nor savate, although it has greater similarities to the latter. The elements are the same, since, as mentioned above, no one can truthfully claim to have invented them; the systematic approach is vastly different as will soon become apparent. Kickboxing may be practiced as a sport and as a means of self-defense. Since the knowledge concerning the sport of kickboxing can be readily used for self-defense, we shall deal with it first before describing self-defensive applications. The kickboxer has the advantage of training in a fine and complete sport and at the same time in a most efficacious form of self-defense. Kickboxing is part of the A.S.P. (American Self-Protection) system.
1.1 THE SPORT OF KICKBOXING: FUN FOR EVERYONE
All fighting arts are based on five principles, namely, distance, direction and timing for attack and defense, plus momentum and leverage for developing and utilizing power efficiently. Training develops the balance, coordination, accuracy and speed necessary to apply these principles. Safety in training is essential and should not be neglected in the practice of any sport. On the other hand, in self defense one should always be guided by the concept adopted by most civilized countries, namely, that the severity of a defensive technique should be proportional to the potential effect of the specific attack it aims to foil. Our method of training is accessible to everyone in good health who is willing to exert himself moderately. An entire family can thus practice together, deriving great physical and mental benefits and having a lot of fun. Kickboxing training, as we practice it, may be compared to fencing with all four limbs and, as in fencing, we score by touch (light contact).
Because of their importance, some brief comments concerning the five principles mentioned above are in order.
2.1 PRINCIPLES OF THE FIGHTING ARTS EXPLAINED
Distance: The ability to judge accurately the distance from which an attack can be successfully landed, or evaded, is so important as to be an absolute necessity. Obviously, if you are out of the range of an attack you do not have to worry about it. On the other hand, if you do not judge accurately the proper distance, you will reach your opponent or will foil his attacks only by chance. Direction: When an opponent attacks in your direction and, after he is committed to that direction, you change your position dodging his attack, you may be able to unbalance him and to find an opening. For instance, suppose you are facing an opponent as he attacks and, as the attack is about to reach you, you evade it by pivoting on your right foot toward the rear left, assuming a position parallel to the direction of the attack. Then you will not only be safe from it, but also able to upset your opponent's balance and to retaliate powerfully. Also, you should be able to judge his position when your attack will reach him, exactly as if you were shooting at a moving target. Timing: No attack or defense can be successful without proper timing. Speed is important for timing. Occasionally, appropriate timing gives the impression of speed. A good sense of distance, direction and timing is necessary for accuracy in attack and in defense. Momentum and leverage: Both momentum and leverage serve to develop power, either for delivering a blow or kick, or for breaking a hold. Gathering momentum in order to swiftly transfer it onto a small area of your opponent's body develops penetrating power and is the principle behind the so-called "focused" blows and kicks.
2.2 PRIORITIES AND DEFINITIONS
In kickboxing we start by training in the application of the five principles mentioned earlier. The techniques we learn initially are to be viewed from this standpoint. Taken individually, out of context, they will not be properly understood, much as if the student of a musical instrument would consider playing the scales as a goal in itself and not as a means to an end. We keep things simple. The careful observer will easily recognize that in all foot fighting arts only a few kicks and blows are commonly used. Victory goes to the contestant who has more accuracy, speed in attack and in defense, stamina, power, better general knowledge and correct attitudes. Before proceeding any further, we shall define certain terms which are repeatedly used in the text.
2.2.1 Distance Full-Distance: Opponent can be reached with the foot only, leg in full extension. Half-Distance: Opponent can be reached with the fist, arm fully or half-extended. Close Distance: Opponent is closer than in the above cases.
2.2.2 Method Guard: Defensive position taken by a contestant before any exchange of blows and/or kicks, or after such an exchange. Punches and Kicks: Means for attack. Parry (or Deflection): Attack is deflected from its target, but its momentum is not stopped. Block: Attack is stopped in its trajectory. We try to avoid blocks. Dodge: Attack is evaded by moving the whole body or some part of it without necessarily establishing contact with the attacker. Dodges are better than parries and blocks, because they leave the hands and legs free, allowing for strong retaliations. Return: Returning an attack which has been parried, dodged, or has landed before opponent returns to the guard position. Counter Attack (or Counter): Attack which starts after the opponent's attack, but lands before, going through his guard. Stop-Punch (or Stop-Kick): A punch (or kick) starting after but landing before the opponent's attack, with simultaneous blocking of the latter. Feint: A misleading action of the eyes, fists, feet or body directed at the opponent.
2.2.3 Decision The outcome of a match can be as follows: a. Draw. b. Victory on points. c. Opponent forfeits match. d. Referee stops match for obvious inferiority of one opponent, sickness, wound, or other sufficient reason. e. Disqualification of one opponent, or both.
2.3 SCORING BY TOUCH. TARGETS
Touch in our system means exactly what it says: light contact. Since we wear boxing gloves, there is a considerable degree of safety not only in training, but also in the competitive aspects of kickboxing. Adapting this knowledge for use in self-defense is relatively simple. Another safety factor stems from the fact that we do not believe in teaching beginners the so called "focused" or penetrating punches and kicks. Indeed, when a person is conditioned at the early stages of his training to use such blows only, he will tend to use them indiscriminately for self defense also. In the practice of the sport, the danger of landing a "focused" blow is most certainly undesirable, while in self-defense a well-placed kick in one of the many vulnerable areas of the human body does not have to be "focused" in order to be painful or even damaging. Should one attempt to pull his blows too soon, they will have little effect, while if he does not, they may be unnecessarily damaging, or even lethal, in which case he assumes considerable legal liability. Against a moving target such as the human body "focusing" affords little control. Now, if one masters first the use of ordinary kicks and blows in full balance and then learns "focusing," he has the choice not only of the target, but also of the type and force of the kick or blow he is going to deliver. We believe that this freedom of choice is invaluable. In kickboxing competition we use boxing gloves, mouth-guards and protective cups as mandatory equipment. Other protective equipment is optional, but except for shin guards its use is not encouraged. Soft leather boxing shoes or ankle-high tennis shoes may be worn. Target areas are: For Punches: The head and the torso down to the hipline. For Kicks: Same (with the exclusion of the head, neck and knees) plus the inner thighs and shinbones down to the beginning of the instep. Scoring is only by touch. Each match consists of two three-minute rounds, with possible extension in case of a draw. Appendix I is devoted to kickboxing competition rules.
2.4 A METHOD FOR SAFE AND MEANINGFUL TRAINING
One of the main differences between fighting arts and sports is that in the latter one has to abide by rules and conventions necessary for safe practice. It follows, then, that unless attacks and defenses are realistic and closely duplicate situations, the self defensive aspects of a sport are of questionable usefulness. Besides the safety aspects in the practice of a sport, the legal aspects of its use as a means of self-defense must be carefully considered. The severity of a defensive technique must not be out of proportion to the potential effect of the attack. For instance, if someone pushes you, you do not have the right to retaliate with a focused kick to the groin. For a sport to be useful as a means of self defense, it must meet rather contradictory requirements. Although it is difficult to teach anyone to use his judgment, the task becomes somewhat easier if he has been conditioned to techniques with built-in multiple choices. This is one of our basic guidelines, and we have already mentioned its application in relation to training in the use of non-focused and focused kicks. The motions of the human body and their possible combinations are almost infinite in number. It is much easier to devise a complicated system than a meaningful yet simple one. Throughout our system we use basically only a few versatile motions; these, by repetition, become conditioned reflexes and thus are retained much longer by the student. We also are striving for completeness, in the sense that we are looking at the human being as a whole in a very practical way. Besides specific conditioning exercises for kickboxing, we have in our system body-mind coordination exercises, of which we shall give selected examples.
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