combat, kung fu, martial arts, mixed martial arts, self defense, Terre Haute

Redirection in Self-defense Situations: Combat Martial Arts.

Jason, I read somewhere that there are martial arts that teach redirection of opponents rather than hurting them. Do you teach that?  And, is that possible?

Redirection in self-defense training has to be understood in context of the situation you find yourself.  Firstly, if someone forces you to defend yourself and your loved ones, you must hurt them.  Now, don’t get me wrong, not every situation requires the same response.  (That’s why you won’t see me making any videos on how to respond to a jab or a knife attack.  One size doesn’t fit every situation.)  But, you must be prepared to do whatever you have to to protect yourself and those around you.  If you aren’t, you may find yourself on the losing end of a really bad situation.

Consider this:  You’re with your children at the park when two guys come up and try to harm you.  Will you just redirect their bodies until they give up?  (Can you….?)  And, can you do that without jeopardizing your children in the process?  What if they have a weapon?  These are serious questions to ask now – before something happens – so you can honestly prepare for them.  (Did you know that, here in Indiana, over 60% of fights involve a weapon of some sort?)

That said, redirection has its place in every system of martial arts that I’ve trained in.  One of the most common is to redirect the enemy into a wall or other environmental weapon that will harm them.  I’ll give you an example of a situation that I witnessed:

John Doe (we’ll call him for privacy purposes) was out with his friends when someone came up slandering him.  This slanderer, while appearing alone and too drunk to make much of a fight any situation, continued to force the situation; until, he reached out and grabbed John’s shirt-collar and pulled him backward, into a punch.

Multiple attackers cut off their victim’s space.

John, quickly turned and redirected the next punch from his attacker, throwing his attacker into a nearby table.  But, John’s attacker wasn’t done.  He picked up a knife from the table (they were in a sports pub that served food), jumped to his feet, and began swinging the knife at John repeatedly. . . .  To make matters worse, the attacker had friends who were standing nearby to cut off John’s space to escape.

Because John did not take advantage of his redirection and forcefully stop his attacker, the attacker came back with a weapon to continue the fight in a more harmful manner.

Situations, like this one, are why everyone at the Yost Wing Chun Kung Fu Academy learns empty-hand and weapons use and defense training for combat or tactical fighting situations.  Without honestly looking at these situations and preparing ourselves for the worse, we cannot fulfill our oblations to our family and community when/if the situation requires us to act. Me and my school will not short-change our students or lie to them.  We will work to help those who want to help themselves be prepared for the worst, while hoping we never have to use it.

Are there other uses for redirection besides using things around you as a weapon?

Sure.  You yourself.  For example, for someone trying to defend against a person with a longer reach, redirection helps you reach your opponent immediately, to deal that blow (or series of blows) necessary to end the attack.

Redirection is a useful tool, but not in place of harming your opponent.  You must end the attack where it started with that person or group of people who started the violence.

If this sounds like something you’d like to learn, contact us at or (812) 229-4097.  And learn why we say you’ll Never Again™ (or Never™ if never been attacked) be a victim of someone else’s stupidity.

Empower yourself to life!™
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