While I enjoy watching a fighter pull off a fancy kick in an MMA bout, I still know that pulling off such moves is the exception and not the rule, and I’m still an admirer of simple practical moves that work. These practical moves include strikes with the heel of the palm, low-line kicks, fingers to the eyes, and use of hard weapons like knees, elbows and head-butts.
Another strike that works well – particularly on soft targets, like the throat – is the half-fist strike. You can shoot it in as the aggressor comes in to attack you, or if he’s grabbed you, or you might block a punch and shoot the strike into his throat. Point is, the throat is a soft target, vital for breathing, and a decent strike to the throat tends to stop a person at least long enough for you to get away or follow up with something else; most people respond in some way to having their throat hit. Of course, this strike is potentially lethal, because a ruptured windpipe means the person can’t get air and won’t be able to breathe.
Fingers or thumbs right into the eyes are also devastating. Just to brush the eye-ball can incapacitate a person for awhile.
Check out this fight in which fingers to the eyes ended the match abruptly.
Using the knee to strike is also effective, especially when shot up into the groin, but if the attacker ends up bent over, a knee into his face is very effective. The knee is a very hard weapon and works well at close-range.
Consider how MMA/UFC fighter Lyoto Machida uses knees effectively, actually putting his opponent – Tito Ortiz – down at about 2:10 in this video.
Low-line kicks are also effective, because you don’t risk having your leg grabbed, they are harder to block than a higher kick and you have better balance when compared to kicking high. Basically you’re on one foot for less time with a low kick. You can keep an attacker at bay with low kicks or end the fight quickly (if necessary) by kicking the knee joint and dislocating or breaking it.
Striking with the heel of the palm is also a very good technique because the weapon is hard and there is no danger of hurting your hand when using it, unlike punching with the fist; if you punch with the fist you risk breaking your knuckles, fingers or even your wrist.
The open-handed heel palm strike can be thrown straight in like a boxer’s cross or horizontally like a boxer’s hook punch; only you are striking with the heel of the palm, of course. A heel palm strike landing on the jaw, temple, nose, chin or philtrum nerve is definitely a stunner and can be very devastating.
Here is a good review of various effective strikes, including a “horizontal heel palm” strike which is thrown like a boxer’s hook punch.
The elbow is a hard and compact weapon, well-suited for close quarters combat. An elbow to the face is devastating, used in such arts as Muay Thai effectively in full-contact matches.
See UFC Champ Anderson Silva use an elbow very effectively.
A head-butt right into the face is brutal; the top of the head towards the rear is very hard and when smashed against a nose, the nose loses. This is a good technique when someone is too close to you and isn’t giving you space, like grabbing you from behind in a bear hug; shoot your head back right into his face and it will take a lot of fight out of him. If you are grappling from the front, you can slam a head butt right into his face too. Of course, this is generally a close-quarters weapon.
Here the head was used successfully:
A good forearm strike to the side of the neck where the carotid artery runs is a good potential knockout strike; or a good one landing along the mastoid near the back of the ear, or landing it at the base of the back of the skull, are also devastating. It jars the brain, screws up the flow of blood to the brain and can knock someone out.
So, these are some very strong striking techniques that can do immediate damage and even end a confrontation abruptly. Which is what you want to do, because the longer you’re fighting someone the greater the chance the outcome will not be good for you.
I have been training in martial arts since the early 1980s and have a 2nd degree Black Belt in Kenpo and have training in Eskrima. I believe everyone has a right to defend themselves by any effective means necessary.