Jab-Cross Sixty-Four

In Uncategorized on May 6, 2010 at 4:36 am

Simple Self-Defense Striking

By Antonio Graceffo

In a spy novel I read in the 80’s, it said that part of the hand-to-hand combat training given to Russian special operatives was a drill which consisted of eighty punches a minute. The idea was, when training special ops or other military people you don’t have years to dedicate to fight training. You can’t teach them to be Muhammad Bruce Lee. But, if they are attacked and they react by throwing 80 punches a minute, targeted on the face and throat of their assailant, they should be able to escape.

As I said, it was a novel. And I haven’t verified the story. But the idea made sense. Not everyone is a professional fighter. And not everyone is willing to spend three hours per day training. So, when I am teaching a short course for police or military, these are the kind of ideas I have to think of. How can we take normal people and give them enough skills over the course of a day or a week, to effectively defend themselves?

Now that I am working with Kru Jak Othman at his Muay Thai gym in Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia, I see how Kru Jak was faced with a similar problem. Many people enjoy watching Muay Thai and MMA on the internet. And now that there will be some Malaysian fighters on the TV show, “The Contender Asia,” Muay Thai has become even more popular in Malaysia. People join the class because they want to fight. Or, more accurately, because they think they want to fight. But at the end of the day, only a very small percentage of people would ever put in the hours and months required to prepare themselves for a professional fight. And frankly, most people don’t need to. They just need a fun way to get fit, make friends, and learn some self defense.

With this in mind, Kru Jak modified the professional Muay Thai training and made it into drills which were accessible to normal people. In my Muay Thai or Khmer Boxing training, I do between four and six rounds of pad work per day, in the ring, with my coach. The coach wears the Thai pads or sometimes boxing coache’s mitts. He calls out combinations, and I hit. He corrects my performance and we continue. The idea is that pad work builds cardio and strength, but also technique, and timing. One important aspect of pad work is learning to throw combinations, instead of single punches. The coach may call out, “jab, cross, two right kicks” or “hook, hook, knee, knee, push kick.”

The coach would do four to six rounds with me, and then do rounds with each of the other five or so guys who train at that level.

But in a martial arts school where you have twenty five students in a class, it wouldn’t be possible for a single coach to take everyone on the pads. So, students have to learn to hold pads for each other. The combinations also have to be somewhat simplified, so beginning students can follow along.

This all leads to the development of the simplest, but most physically demanding combination in the Kru Jak repertoire, jab-cross sixty-four. Students are paired up, one holding pads, one hitting. The teacher calls out the simple combinations. “jab-cross”, “jab-cross, move out”. The combinations get more involved as they train: “jab-cross two, lead kick two.” Finally, they reach the dreaded moment when the teacher shouts, “Jab-cross sixty-four.” The students throw sixty-four repetitions of jab-cross, or 128 punches.

Throwing 128 punches in succession is hard for a firs timer. And when students finally build up enough that they can complete the exercise, they feel good about themselves. Their self-confidence goes up, and the probability of them ever being a victim goes down.

Kru Jak told me about one of his female students who found herself in a date-rape situation. At just the right moment, her training kicked in, and she threw jab-cross sixty-four, her assailant was hospitalized.

The girl in question wasn’t a professional fighter. She didn’t know all of the intricate techniques that Steven Segal could do, but she hit a man with sixty-four jab crosses that she had been practicing three times per week for a period of months.

At the end of the day, anyone who throws sixty-four punches in quick succession is probably going to win the fight.

For the more advanced students, and for my own training, I have added a drill of one-hundred kicks. If you could mess up an attacker with 64 jab crosses, imagine what one-hundred kicks would do to someone.

For effective self-defense the most important thing is simple techniques that you practice over and over again. In a crisis situation, you won’t have time to think. Only those techniques that you trained will come out as a natural reaction.

There is nothing simpler to understand than jab-cross sixty-four and practicing it is simply a matter of practicing it.

Antonio Graceffo is a martial arts and adventure author living in Asia. He is the author of the book, “The Monk from Brooklyn” and the host of the web TV show, “Martial Arts Odyssey,” which traces his ongoing journey through Asia, learning martial arts in various countries.

See all of Antonio’s videos on his youtube channel, brooklynmonk1, send him a friend request or subscribe.

Antonio is also on twitter, with the name, Brooklyn Monk. Follow his adventures and tweets.

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If you can help, thank you so much. If you can’t help, don’t worry about it. I know things are tough out there. But, either way, please keep watching and enjoying Martial Arts Odyssey. I never wanted this to become a huge business, and I wanted everyone in the world to be able to watch for free.


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