Kenpo Budokan Karate: White Belt: Lessons: 12 Stick or Club Swung to the Side of the Body

Stick or Club Swung to the Side of the Body (十級短棒護身術)

While knives and guns have their own level of issues which may arise, clubs and sticks are a bit more prevalent and therefore much more likely to be seen in a self defense situation. The goals with this technique are to get you comfortable with the mechanics of club attacks, as well as understanding how best to defend yourself in these situations. You’ll see, just as with the other attacks, the goal of the technique is to ensure you have proper range to the target and are moving in such a manner as to give you the best possibility of success.

Unlike the gun and knife attacks to this point, this attack is the first dynamic attack you see within the CMATOS system. You meet force with force, and use your distance jamming the attack to your advantage. You need to be fully committed to this technique and ensure that the attacker is fully committed to their attack motion to prevent unintentional injury to yourself or others during the movement.


The base attack is for a baseball like swing coming from the left (swinging to the attackers right).

  1. As soon as you notice that the attacker is committed to the swing, close the gap by diving into the attacker and jamming their ability to fully swing the weapon.
  2. Quickly drive several knees to the attacker’s midsection or groin to drive them off balance
  3. Drive an elbow to the back of their head
  4. Grab the club out of their hand and escape outwards


Range is very important in this technique as well as your timing. When someone is swinging a club at you, you have three choices – 1. Move out of the way. 2. Move into the attacker. 3. Get hit. As we talk in the environmental awareness lesson, you only should move where you have visibility – which means stepping backwards to avoid the swing is highly advised against. You may trip over something, stumble, or walk into a wall – preventing you from avoiding the attack. In addition, in a self defense situation, especially involving moving parts, it’s very difficult to judge the length of the weapon being used, so judging how far you have to move backwards is a problem. You do know the distance between you and the attacker and can visually judge the distance between yourself and them. If the attacker is close enough to hit you with the club (swing), they should be close enough for you to be able to close the distance during the swinging motion.

The next thing to understand about this technique, is all about jamming the attacker. If they are using 2 hands to swing the club, you should now be in a position outside their body with the front of the body facing you – exposing a plethora of targets on the opponent. Just as in previous lessons, you should use the targets of opportunity here when striking. The attacker is not likely to try and stay in a single place for long, so you must quickly move into the knees to start breaking down the attacker’s defenses – this is followed up by an elbow to the back of the attacker’s head. Striking hard enough in this area will knock out the opponent. If they aren’t knocked out with the strike, the strike should be enough to daze them sufficiently to allow you to re-grip the club and escape out of the grapple with limited trouble.

Be mindful that this move and technique must be done at full speed and at full power in order to be effective. Don’t practice too long slowly, but move to the reactionary part of the practice as soon as possible.

Things to Work On

You are not looking to grapple the opponent in this move, and should avoid getting yourself in a grappling situation when executing this movement. If they have used two hands to swing against you, you should be relatively safe from this as you will be outside both of their arms. On the other hand, if they drop the club, they could quickly transition into a grapple or a tackle, so you need to be mindful of their movements and reactions during the technique to prevent any complications. This is why you need to move quickly into the offensive with the knees so that the attacker is forced to assume a defensive posture rather than being on the offensive.

Other things to consider are the threat of multiple attackers. In many situations involving a club or stick, the attacker may not be alone, but because they have the most imposing weapon, they are usually the ones to strike first. If this is the case, you should make sure to position the attacker between yourself and the other attackers so you are not caught blindsided by other attackers in the mix.

Concluding Thoughts

Although this move is relatively straight forward, there are a lot of things that can go potentially wrong when dealing with an attacker with a weapon. You need to practice as much as possible, and more importantly you need to have your techniques reviewed by a trained instructor to ensure that your positioning, footwork, and technique are adequate. We don’t want students who just watch the video and practice a few times to go out there and get injured because they weren’t well prepared to deal with the situation. This is why we stress not only working with a partner, but also making sure you are getting regular checkups with your instructor to make sure any issues you have in performing the technique are addressed. Although we provide online distance learning lessons, we highly recommend training with us or with another instructor in person as the immediate and meaningful feedback you get during these sessions is going to be much more valuable than just watching videos on the internet.

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