Tuesday, September 27, 2016

FightWriter's Corner - Perineum Stab (Yes, Really)

Welcome to your corner! 
Kristen Stieffel - Featured FightWriter

As this is the first FightWriter's Corner let me tell you how it works. You send in a question and the corner answers it. Simple as that. And, like any good coach, I promote my fighters. If yours is the featured question, you are the featured FightWriter. I will happily spotlight your picture and whatever professional info you would like after the post.

This month's featured FightWriter is (cue Eye of the Tiger) Kristen Stieffel. She would like to know how long it would take someone to bleed out from a perineum stab. (Pause for cringe.) Yes, there is such a knife strike.

Oh, Kristen, folks may wince when they see you next. (Take it as a compliment.) I mentioned this cut in a special FightWrite.net edition of The Geek Block and I didn't touch on the results of it. So, it's a great question. Thank you for listening, Karen!

The answer to Kristen's question is the same for all lacerations to arteries: depends on the cut.
If you look at the arteries in the thighs, they actually branch off from the abdominal aorta near(ish) the belly button. So, consider the distance between the groin and the navel. If the stab is straight up and the blade is only a few inches, the artery(ies) may not be severed. However, angled right or left, and you have yourself a colorful situation.  

How long would it take the person to be dispatched from said cut? Well, again, depends on if we have nicked the artery or gone clean through. According to Dr. Write, the name I will use for all the medical professionals I personally consult, it will not be an immediate death. It could take as much as 30 minutes - worse case scenario. However, because it would be nearly impossible to place pressure on this sort of wound, death would be inevitable. And, wether you make this cut a mortal wound or not, the results would be highly animated!

Keep those questions coming FightWriters! Until the next round at FightWrite.net, get blood on your pages. 

Karen is a seasoned writer, freelance editor and writing coach specializing in speculative fiction. She also has a head for business. For twenty years she wrote for the Orlando Business Journal, and for four more she wrote and recorded a radio show covering stock reports. (I don't know about you, but I think that stinks of alter ego. Pretty sure she's covering up some superpowers. Somebody check the trunk of her car for a lycra suit and cape!) 

Choose her pic for a link to her site. It's loaded with all kinds of writing and editing tidbits as well as some great Q&A.


Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Size Disparity Part Deux

In our last round, we discussed size disparity and strikes. You now know the correct way to both kick and punch. You also know how to combat these strikes and how to get in close. So, there your character is, staring straight into the chest of their opponent. Now what?

Look through the eyes of the smaller fighter. Go ahead, step into their skin. While you're slipping in there, stop thinking about the opponent's size advantage. Quit thinking about what they are taking from you. Instead, look for what your opponent is giving you.

You in there? Ok, open your eyes. Right in front of you, perhaps at eye level or within reach depending upon size, are the neck, inner arms and inner thighs (jugular, brachial, femoral arteries). Open those points and things will get really colorful. Without appropriate aid, death would occur within 2-30 minutes depending on the severity of the cut. If the attacker continues to fight, death would be quicker as the heart would be going faster. And, point of interest, they may not realize they are cut immediately. Adrenaline is a crazy thing.

This is a cool little knife, easy to
conceal. However, if you don't hold
it correctly and you stab into
 something, if you don't sink
it to the end of the blade, nothing
will stop your hand from sliding down it.
Didn't even think of that, did you?
Also vulnerable and available to you are many vital organs. The heart, lungs and a good bit of the liver are behind the ribs. However, the ribs are not hard to get around with a knife that is held correctly, and the liver is a better target anyway. The lower portion is not protected by bone. A laceration of 3cm or more, on occasion less, can lead to dispatch. If you go lower and open the abdomen, dispatch is unavoidable without swift, surgical intervention.

You can also stab upward between the legs (perineum), which is awful. (It is. In fact, let’s just all take a breath.) BUT, if the enemy is in full armor, that axis point of the body may be the only place that doesn't have metal over it. Not only will results be colorful, but the attacker's response will be highly animated. If the crotch is covered by metal, the top of the inner thigh, where the leg connects to the body, will still be available unless chain mail pants or the ilk are worn.

I realize all of these options require a knife. If your goal is not to dispatch, if your character doesn't have a knife, they can still take the larger opponent to the ground. (I will cover that in a future post.) However, taking someone down doesn't keep them down. You need to provide for that. Yes, the bigger they are, the harder they fall. But, in my experience, the tougher they are to keep down as well. 

Also, bear in mind that agility is easier for small people, but it is not peculiar to them. I recently sparred in jiujitsu with a professional fighter who outweighs me by 100 pounds. (It was like wrestling an anvil.) He was faster than me and completely overwhelmed me. I was able to escape but, without question, he allowed it. At one point, he commented that the match-up was highly unfair. I told him not to worry, I was going to stab him. He said, "how you gonna stab me, I have both your arms?"  

At that moment I was sitting back on one knee with the other raised up in a sort of lunge. He was on his back, pushing me away with his knee in my chest, while holding my wrists and pulling me toward him. I was completely helpless. On the battlefield he possibly could have cracked my sternum and dislocated my shoulders at the same time. I tell you that because I cannot stress enough how overwhelming it is to be faced with a competitor of greater size and ability. I can see no way I would have survived him without a weapon. He would have made short work of me...pun intended. :)
Until the next round at FightWrite.net, remember, serve your story first and foremost. Now, go get some blood your pages.

 Shorties, take heart. Goliaths still fall...

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Stupid Kicks

In order to describe a stupid kick, I need to explain a smart one. A proper kick makes contact on the fleshy portion of the shin on either side of the bone aka blade. To do that, you need to make an up chop or a down chop by turning the hip over. In both cases, you try to kick all the way through the target. The leg is basically a bat and
This is what I mean by turning the hip
over. You rotate enough to point the
knee downward.
you don't stop the bat once you make contact with the ball.  

Proper form. Notice the rotation and that hips and knees are
going the same direction. This is MMA.

In all kicks with horizontal power, the hips have to torque. The harder and faster their rotation, the faster the kick is propelled. Upon contact, the body of the kicker should be sideways because knees and hips should always go in the same direction. If they don't, not only will you lose power, but you will tear up your back and knee.

Unless you are a seasoned fighter, you do not want to make contact with the top of the foot. After years of training the feet toughen up both in bone density and muscle strength. But, unless made stronger, bones of the feet, like those of the hands, are fragile. If foot bones take the impact they will break or the muscles between will be damaged.  

But, the absolute worst thing to do is land a kick directly on the blade of the shin. If you make contact with a fleshy portion of the body, you might be fine. But, if the blade of the shin hits something
Muay Thai
hard, it can break and it is absolutely gross. Even if you are a seasoned fighter, it can break. If you are lucky enough not to break it, the pain alone will shock you. I've accidentally "clicked" shins, as I call it, with another fighter on a few occasions. The pain made me nauseated. And, we weren't even going hard.

Me - light tempering.  
The only exception to to that are Muay Thai fighters. They are the exception to a whole lot of rules including those of Science! They are better able to use their shin blades because they have tempered them. They roll bamboo canes up and down their shins and hit them as well. Over time, that friction and impact creates calcifications on the bones making them thicker and harder. So, unless your combatant has done tempering, that bone could break. (Even with tempering, it can. It's just not a good practice.) A broken shin on a battle field can mean certain death. And, if the bone comes through the skin, infection could set in. Depending upon the time period of your story, that can be a mortal wound.

Silva's x-ray
I've attached a video of Muay Thai shin tempering as well as a kick gone horribly wrong. It's gross. You've been warned. It's MMA champion Anderson Silva who landed a kick on the blade. Even with the tempering his shin has certainly had with training through the years, Silva's power proved too powerful for his own bones. 

Muay Thai shin tempering. MUTE IT!!! I show this to help you understand how seriously fighters take their art. The work isn't just cardio and technique. Sometimes, it's just abusing the body to toughen it up and they do it willingly. Again, mute this. 

And, the Silva video in both real time and slow motion. I'm sorry and you're welcome. 
Somebody please put this in a story! If you don't follow MMA, you can't appreciate how amazing Silva is. Without question, he's one of the greatest to have ever walked into the cage. This fight wasn't only shocking for the manner in which he lost but the sheer fact he lost at all! I saw this live. Ugh.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Size Disparity - Punches and Kicks

Before addressing how to deal with a size disparity in striking, it’s important to know why a larger opponent is more powerful. Yes, obviously they are larger, but size alone doesn’t create force. Remove the other factors that go into creating force, and your smaller character has a better shot at victory or, at least, escape.

Efficient fighting is a science. In the case of strikes, it’s all physics. The power delivered by strikes (punches and kicks) derives from the ground with movement of the feet and culminates in the hips with drive (jab, cross, push kicks) or torque (hooks, round kicks). That powerful drive/rotation creates speed. Add in the mass of your combatant and you have force which is equal to mass x acceleration. The smaller fighter cannot change the mass of their opponent but they can remove or lessen their speed and force with a countermove. Or, they can dodge it and render it ineffective.

By the way, I do not suggest ever allowing your smaller character to block a full power strike of a much larger opponent. The impact will 
According to Thrillist.com, the PSI of Tyson's punch equal
that of having a 221 lb anvil dropped on you from 5ft.
I believe it!
definitely damage and maybe kill them depending on the disparity. If I blocked Mike Tyson’s hook, it would still knock me out or, more likely, break my neck. So, none of the counters I mention will involve a block. 

To lessen force, the smaller combatant has to get close to the larger - close enough to feel them breathe. Being close to the striker inhibits the striker's rotation and drive. Reduce those and you lessen acceleration. Reduce acceleration and you’ve lessened force. 

Imagine swinging a bat. Take away the rotation of the hitter's body, and they've got little power in the arms. And, being hit by that bat close to the handle is less damaging than being hit by the bat's end. It's the same with the striker's body. Get in close and the strike is slower. And, taking the thigh of a round kick or bicep in a hook, is far less damaging than either at the business end! 

In the case of drive, think how much more productively you push when you are able to take a step. Remove that step, or drive, and you've weakened the push. Also, as a strike with drive moves straight out from the striker's body, if you are close that striker, you can't be struck. They would have to hook back around toward their own person. To do that effectively, they'd need rotation in the hips. But, if you are close to them, they won't be able to rotate well.

However, it's pretty hard to get around or get out of the way of those straight out strikes ie jabs/cross and push kicks. And, because blocking is a bad idea, the best defense is to parry or redirect that forward motion. And, ironically, the faster that forward motion, the less strength required to redirect it. The hard part is being fast enough to get to the strike before the strike gets to you.

If you are overwhelmed with all this, you're normal. I will say it many times in the life of this blog: fighting is a science. But, the good news is, most people don't know how and if they dare to throw a punch they don’t do it efficiently. They do these wide, bar room brawl sort of punches that aren't even effective hooks. And, they hardly every kick. 

So, since most people don't know how to punch, that crazy wide punch is a very realistic addition to your fight scene. Luckily, it's super easy to combat especially if you are smaller. Just duck under it. Allow the missed punch to wrap around the striker. When their arm is in front of their own body, slip in quickly and strike or take them down. (Takedowns are another post.) Also, as most folks are right handed, a right arm in front of the body leaves the liver open...which I will discuss in an another round when I address what to do once you're close. (I'm twirling my evil magician's mustache and making a mwa, ah, ah, sound. )

I’ve included some videos on proper kicking and punching as well as the parries when applicable. Whichever you will be using, look closely at the mechanics. With every strike, look at what the fighter is leaving vulnerable. Use that info for your counter moves. Remember, don’t add so much of your newly acquired technical knowledge into your story that you intrude. First and foremost, serve the story! (I've also included this video. Ignore the title. It's the BEST FIGHT SCENE EVER! You're welcome.)

The next time you see professional fighters at work, I hope you have a little more respect for what they do. They aren't just brawling. They’re “sciencing!”

Until the next round at FightWrite.net, get blood on your pages!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Types of Punches

 Here's a little compendium of punches as well as a proper fight stance which directly affects them. I'm not including martial arts specific strikes. And, I'm including elbows because they are a strike with the arm. (Also because I love them with all my heart.) 

Fight Stance
Fight stances change in different martial arts. But, in boxing, Muay Thai and MMA, the power hand (generally the one you write with) is back as is the power foot beneath. This allows the fighter to rotate the hips and put the greatest power behind the dominant side. Most people are right handed (pictured). A left handed fighter (south paw) will fight with the right hand forward. Paired with a traditional right hander creates an issue for both as they are a mirror image of each other. 
This pictured example is of Muay Thai. But, in all cases, a proper fight stance provides a solid center of gravity that moves with the fighter. You will never see a fighter simply stand still in the stance during a fight. There is always movement. 

The feet are shoulder width apart. Obviously that distance will change
with the fight movement, but the fighter will always return to this width.  

Punch with the forward, non power hand. The forward step gives this punch its power.

Punch with the power hand. Its power comes from torque 
in the hips.

The arm is shaped like a hook. The power comes from the rotation of the hips. The hook can be high to the face or low to the body.

Uppercut/Up Jab
Arm is in a tight hook. The power comes from upward drive in legs.

Superman Punch (Power Jab)
Very hard punch to describe so I posted a video. This is a very powerful punch. BUT, as both feet come off the ground to deliver it, it leaves the striker very vulnerable if the punch isn't landed. The power comes from the forward then backward drive of the legs. The video is a compilation of superman punches and some are from off the cage. Go to 1:20 and you will see one in real time then immediately in slow motion.
(This guy, George St. Pierre, doesn't really have on a superman suit!)

Back Fist
The arm is shaped like a hook and the arm is flung backward. Power comes from arm and shoulder or hips if you have enough room to rotate them. Notice what part of the guy's fist is making contact. This is ONLY pic I could find that wasn't actually a spinning back fist. 

Spinning Back Fist
The back fist is delivered by whipping the body around. The power of it comes from that fast rotation. The arm almost unwinds from the body. It's a devastating strike. But, if not landed, leaves the striker very vulnerable.

Power comes from rotation of the hips. The point of the elbow delivers the shock. This strike will break the skin on the face and head.

Spinning Back Elbow
Same concept as spinning back fist.

Over Hand
This is a hook that goes up and over the striker's own head. Power is in the drive and rotation of the hips.

Hammer Fist
The side of the fist comes straight down like a hammer. 

Go ahead and practice a few of these in the mirror. It will give you a better understanding of the body movement. After, when you sit down to write that fight scene, bear in mind that your newly acquired knowledge should first and foremost serve the story. If a reader must know how to fight in order to follow the scene, you've missed the mark. 

Until the next round at FightWrite.net, get blood on your pages.