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Requirements: All the previous, plus techniques #31 to 40 inclusive.


Study defenses against ten major surprise unarmed attacks from behind. Starting the study of defenses against armed attacks and its scope. Same guidelines.


Rarely does one expect an attack from behind without turning to face it. Common sense dictates that anyone considering the possibility of a surprise attack from behind, should take steps to avoid it.

#31. Overarm Bearhug from Behind. (Fig 31-1,2,3,4,5)

Whether the Bear hug is placed high or low, the response is the same.

"Before." As soon as D feels A's arms around his, he lifts the elbows bent, forearms parallel to the body (key point). Simultaneously, D drops the hips, steps to the right with his right foot, which he sets in line with A's feet, and follows with the left; he then pivots to the rear left on the ball of the right foot, his left foot describing a wide arc. Now D is on A's right side facing in the opposite direction. D slides his right foot behind A's right foot and retaliates with an elbow jab below A's ribs. This sideways sliding and pivoting motion is fundamental and must be mastered before proceeding further. Properly performed it will take A by complete surprise.

"Secured" D stomps with his left heel A's left instep and butts A with the back of his skull. This will result in A lifting his left foot. At the same time D bends his arms and encircles tightly A's forearms from below, while rounding his back for better contact. D now does a jumping "split" propelling his left (stomping) foot forward and thrusting backward his right leg, to the outside of A's right ankle, D's right toes must point down and slightly in, exactly as for a "Leg Drive". D's weight is mainly on his left leg, which is bent, so that the knee is above the toes. He completes the motion by dropping the hips very low, and sharply twisting the body to the right. This will shake A off D's back and may throw him down. D must place himself so that, in the final phase of the technique, his right side is in a straight or a concave line. In other terms, his right buttock must not protrude at such angle as to prevent A from falling.

The "before" technique is also applicable here, taking advantage of A's reaction to D's initial blow.

#32. Underarm Bearhug from Behind. (Fig 32-1,2,3)

A has enlaced D's body and attempts to lift him before throwing him down. D prevents this by encircling from the outside A's right leg with his own. At the same time, utilizing A's lift, he lifts his left leg high to kick A's right knee with his left heel, simultaneously attempting to butt A's head with the back of his skull. D loosens further A's grip, if necessary, by striking the back of A's hands with a knuckle fist*, or by pressing his thumb on the point between A's thumb and forefinger. Then D slides his right foot downward along A's right calf, behind the heel, and throws him with a "Knee Throw" as follows: D pushes sharply back with his buttocks and, grabbing A's right heel with two hands, sits on A's knee. As A starts falling back, D lifts his right leg with both hands and delivers a kick with the left heel to A's groin; D then steps over A's right leg with his left leg and walks around A's right side to come behind his head and finish as in #19.**

#33. Two Hands Against Two Wrists from Behind. (Fig 33-1,2)

D stomps A's left instep with the left heel and proceeds as in #31 "before". Make sure to keep the arms well rounded as you move. The right wrist is liberated during the last part of the technique by an extension of D's right forearm and open hand, which breaks A's thumb-forefinger grip. Similar retaliation as in #31 "before". The shorter A the more D must bend his knees.

*Formed by closing a tight fist, with the second knuckle of the middle finger protruding.

**The apparent complexity of this technique aims at training D to use blows, pressure points, holds, and throws in a continuous flowing manner.


#34. Elbow Pin from Behind. (Fig 34-1,2)

"Before." As per #31

"Secured." D turns his palms so they face A, stomps A's right instep with his right heel and, pivoting on the left foot, he moves his right foot forward* first then around and to the left, in a wide arc. In the process he pulls his right elbow free. The pull must come from the hips through the .shoulder, and D's right arm most remain relaxed at all times. It should slide through A's grip as through a shirt sleeve. D is now on A's left side, but facing in the opposite direction. He throws A with a "Leg Drive" by grasping with his right hand A's hair (in training A's back collar) and pulling up, away, and down in a continuous motion. D does not bother to liberate his left arm from A's grip, but using his left hand, he first lilts up then pushes A's left sleeve (arm) down in a circular forward motion. Retaliation on the fallen A may take one of the previously described fortes.

#35. Nelson (Full or Half). (Fig 35-1,2)

D may prevent A from securing such hold by keeping the body relaxed and erect, while pushing shoulders and arms down, or by pressing the tips of the bunched fingers of one hand against his forehead, elbow pointing straight ahead.

Should the hold be secured, or about to be secured, D stomps with his left heel A's instep and slides his right foot to the right; his left foot following to come around and behind A's feet in an arc. D bends at the waist dropping the hips, and enlaces both A's legs behind the knees. He acts as though he wanted to lift A by squatting. Then, with his left hip against A's right hip, D pivots sharply to the right while he throws A's legs to the left, breaking thus his grip. As A falls, D retains control of his left arm and finishes as usual by extending A's arm and kicking his side. It is not necessary for D to lift A in order to throw him.

Alternatively, D falls back on top of A and, turning his head toward A, retaliates with an elbow drive to the solar plexus. After the grip is broken, D stands up with a back or side roll.

#36. "Mugging" Attack. (Fig 36-1,2)

In this attack A attempts to choke L with the right forearm. Assuming that A was not able to pull D to the ground at the onset of the attack, D turns his head to the right to relieve the pressure, then he puts his right hand, palm down, on A's choking arm, hangs on with his weight, and kicks him with the left heel, as he lifts his left arm straight ahead. D then sets his left foot down, close to the right, and kicks up high with the latter. As D's right leg comes down, he pivots .sharply to the right on the ball of his left foot, wrapping as far as he can, his right leg around A's right leg and, without setting his right foot down, so as to bring the weight of his body to bear on A, D performs a variation of the "Leg Drive" as follows: He slides his right leg on A's right leg in a downward spiraling motion and finishes as usual. This throw must be accompanied with a deep bend of the left knee and a forward motion of the body, as if D wanted to dive head first through the ground. Well performed, it is practically irresistible.

*NOTE: In general, after delivering a kick against an attack from the rear, D moves forward with the same foot, but sideways with the ocher foot, according to what the technique calls for.

#37. Nape Push.

Barroom style attack by grabbing the collar and the seat of the pants.

1. If there is room, D moves faster than A pushes and executes a forward roll. This will get him out in all cases. If A is directly behind D, he will receive a punishing kick.

2. If there is no room for a roll, then D moves faster than A pushes, puts his hands on the floor in a diving forward motion and kicks A with the heel to the shinbone, knee, inner thigh, or groin on the side closest to D. For instance, if A is on D's left side, D steps forward with the right foot and kicks A with the left foot.

+If A pulls on D's nape, rather than pushes, and if D has succeeded in keeping his balance, all he has to do is to pivot to the side and kick A's knee.

#38. Side Head Lock. (Fig 38-1,2,3)

"Before." Only one attack from the side is studied in basic ASP, since most attacks from the side may be reverted to attacks from the front, or the back. A is on D's right side and attempts to get D's head in a lock using his left arm. D dodges A's attempts by lifting above his right arm bent at the elbow, forearm and fingers perpendicular to the ground. Simultaneously, D tucks in his head lifting the shoulders, and slides the right foot to the right, behind A's legs. This motion deflects A's arm forward and places D behind A, from where he can retaliate either with a "Nape Throw", a forward push, or an attack with his right knee to the base of A's spine.

"Secured. " D relieves the pressure by squeezing A's waist with both arms and applying, in an upward direction, his thumb knuckle* below and slightly to the back of A's floating ribs. Taking advantage of A's reaction to pain, D clasps with his left hand his right hand, which he has inserted between his head and A's body, and drops straight down on the right knee (closest to A), simultaneously turning his head to the right. A's hold is broken, and D throws him with a "Knee Throw" by grasping his heel with the left hand, and driving his right elbow against the inside of A's left knee.

An alternative technique is to place the left foot in a circular motion between A's feet, while dropping on the right knee. This places D in front of A's left leg enabling him to apply the fundamental forms of the "Knee, or Groin Throw."

Should the initial pressure technique fail, depending on his relative position to A, D may:

a. Attempt to strike A in the eyes with his fingers.

b. Strike A's crotch from behind with a thumb knuckle fist.

c. Strike A's groin with a knuckle fist from the front. All three attacks are severe and should be used with caution only when warranted by the situation.


In basic ASP we study only a selected number of techniques chosen because they lay the foundation to more advanced knowledge.

Only weapons are considered which are used at close range, such as the knife and the revolver. Attacks with sticks and similar weapons are not described because ASP defenses against knife attacks may very well be used in such cases. As with punches and kicks, there is a world of difference between an expert using a knife or revolver and the untrained person.

The guiding principle against armed attacks is simple. Never use the techniques described here unless you absolutely have to. If it is a question of pocket money, it is not worth the risk. Only if you feel that your life, or some other very valuable attribute concerning you or those close to you is in danger should you attempt defensive techniques, Naturally, this means that you must use good judgment. How can you know if anyone with a weapon means to use it? A rule to follow is to be ready and willing to decisively take full advantage of any mistake made by the attacker. This is a hard decision to make, but your life may depend on it. Remember that mild mannered murderers are not rare.

In case of an armed assailant, it is particularly dangerous to assume that a single technique will be sufficient to subdue him. However, you increase your chances of escaping serious injury, or even death, by making sure that your first response is as decisive as possible. Always attack the eyes: no other part of the anatomy is as vulnerable. Leniency is not in order against anyone who tries to kill you. Besides, an attack to the eyes will not necessarily cause permanent damage. You must condition yourself, not only by practice, but also by thinking about striking the eyes in case of emergency. Visualize frequently any one approaching you as a dangerous assailant and see yourself attacking his eyes.

Think always in terms of minimizing the danger to you. Use common sense in avoiding places where armed attacks may occur; above all avoid being cornered, and having your movements restricted. The jumping roll described earlier is invaluable in this respect. Practice with a partner armed with a soft rubber knife, who is really meaning his attack, will easily convince you. Yelling or screaming in a long sustained way will also be of help and any realistic practice should include it. Faking a counter attack against your assailant, yelling, then rolling toward either one of his sides to land behind him is a must for effective training against knife attacks. Naturally, after mastering this technique on a smooth soft surface, you must practice it on hard surfaces, and finally on rough ground. Failure to go through these steps will result in lesser effectiveness.

When attacked by a knife wielding opponent, your first concern should be to get and stay out of reach. Your next concern should be to get hold of something which could foil the attack. If nothing is available, use items from your own clothing. A handful of sand or dirt, or a glassful of liquid to the eyes can be quite useful. Next use your feet to keep him at bay, kick fast and return even faster to a position of good balance. Failing this, use the techniques described below. Again, condition yourself to strike the EYES at the first opportunity. This applies to ALL situations when in danger to be maimed or killed. The GROIN is the next best target.

*Formed by squeezing the thumb with the fingers closed in a tight fist, so that the thumb knuckle nearest to the wrist protrudes.

#39. Downward Stabbing Attack. (Fig 39-1,2,3,4)

A attacks D, holding the knife in his right hand. We assume that evasive motion will not take D out of the dangerous area, unless he uses his arms to protect himself. A blocking action is out of the question for any one without extensive training. Timing is crucial and unless D catches A's arm at the beginning of the attack, when it has not gathered enough momentum, the attack will go through, particularly if A is stronger than D. D can achieve efficient protection by using the "Swimming Deflection" method. He thrusts his crossed arms upward in the direction of A's head, catching A's arm from under with FULLY EXTENDED arms. D's shoulders must remain relaxed so that the arms can pivot around them, guiding, not blocking, A's attack. It is immaterial which arm is uppermost as long as D does not attempt to block A. The importance of this thrust and extension cannot be overemphasized. D times this with a sliding motion of the left foot to the left, shifting his body to come close* to A's right side.

Then, in a continuous motion, D pivots to the rear right, on NOTES the ball of his left foot facing A at about 45. A's attacking right forearm will slide harmlessly on D's right arm. D's left arm bends parallel to the mat, guiding A's attacking arm from under and keeping it under control against D's chest.

From this position, keeping the elbow high, D strikes A's eyes with the fingers of his right hand. In training, D uses the same motion but deflects it upwards at a safe distance from A's eyes. Such attack results in A bringing his hands to his eyes by reflex reaction. The student will notice that either one of the maneuvers given taken alone will protect him. Indeed, the thrust of his arms, or the sidestepping and pivoting action are sufficient in themselves. This will convince him of their combined efficacy. D continues pivoting on his left foot, then slides it behind A in order to throw him with a "Nape Throw". During the fall A's right wrist is controlled by D's right hand. Chances are that A will drop the knife. If not, D takes it away by extending A's right arm and passing Is right wrist from his right to his left hand; D applies pressure with his left thumb, pointing in the direction of the knife blade, against the base of A's pinky. D first stomps Is right temple* with his right heel, and only then disarms him with the right hand, after A's reaction has loosened his grip on the knife. If D is afraid that A may renew his attack, he may slash the inside of A's wrist with the knife which is now in his possession.

Admittedly, the retaliation is severe, however, it is proportional to A's intentions.

*D must get close enough to A so that, in the event he is unable to fully control his momentum, the knife will always miss him. D may also take advantage of this situation in other ways to be described in more advanced texts.


#40. Side Slash. (Fig 40-1)

A holds the knife in his left hand and slashes from right to left.

Again the distance between A and D is short. D jumps to the left of A with the right foot, elbows bent, forearms perpendicular to the ground, establishing contact with A's arm WITHOUT BLOCKING ITS MOTION, as in #24 (Reverse Strike). To an outside observer, A seems to be pushing D to the left with his forearm. At the end of its course, D grasps A's wrist with the right hand, and attacks A's eyes with the left fingers. D throws A with a "Leg Drive" by grasping his left wrist with both hands and lifting it above A's head, toward the rear, in order to break his balance. D proceeds to retaliate and to take the knife away as above.

D may also use A's momentum to throw him by pulling at the shoulders with both hands without stopping to strike the eyes. When this technique is properly performed, A has the impression of being sucked into a void and can be thrown only by the action of D's arms. Speed and timing are of the essence and this technique provides excellent training for both. A stomping kick on A's head will end the contest. In training, stomp the mat above A's head.


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