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Self Defense/Whats the point of reverse punch?


I am quite curious whats the difference between just throwing a straight in boxing and the reverse punch in Japanese arts.

n fact some of those reverses (at least coming from my background in boxing) can be better spent using an uppercut

In fact the concept of left jab and then reverse doesn't make sense to me. It seems better spent with a traditional left left right combo.

There's something really important to understand about modern karate. It's like a car with no engine or transmission. You got the basic form, hell it might even be really shiny and detailed out. But the thing that makes it go is missing.

I say that there are three people who have made me eat raw every bad thing I've ever said about karate. What they do doesn't just work, it's fuckin' amazing. That's the positive spin that a lot of karate people can happily accept.

The not-so-happy spin is that those three people proved me right about every bad thing I've said about what is taught as karate.  They're teaching car-with-no-engine karate. Worse, they're making shit up and claiming that's the application. (Funny thing guy who learned in Japan told me. He'd heard about this thing called 'bunkai' (secret application of moves). So he asked his sensei to teach him the bunkai of a move. The sensei patiently explained the mechanics of doing the move. "No, no I want to learn the bunkai!" The sensei explained the mechanics again. When he asked about application the teacher went "That's not bunkai (demarcation), thats oyu (application)" To this day I still run into people who think what I'm about to tell you is bunkai.)

One thing I could never figure out is the front snap kick at thigh height followed by a reverse punch combo. I mean  I kick the guy out at that range and then punch? "What the hell man?" If I kicked the SOB right he's either reeling out of punch range or dropping. Why would I want to punch when he's out of range?

But man all them karate experts (with no engines) told me that was the move. Forward kick, followed by a reverse punch.

Except it's not really a punch. Nor is the attack of kick on the way out, it's during the retraction. See instead of doing it from way the hell out there, you get up close with the dude (like in hook range). That kick misses his leg on the way out. On the way BACK your heel slams into the back of the dude's knee causing it to collapse. That funky two hand swap that looks like two punches isn't. It's a one hand grabs and pulls, the other hand is held open and becomes a driving palm strike. The combo of movement causes the guy to drop like a ton of bricks.

Sunnofa.... THERE IT IS!!!  

You can't reliably drop someone with a jab and a cross. You sure as hell aren't going to drop them with a kick and a reverse punch. But that back of the knee kick and two handed twist will drop him like a prom dress. The 'hit' is when the guy slams into the ground all twisted up and not able to bounce. (I can hit him with my fist or I can hit him with the ground. The ground is bigger. It hurts more -- Paul deThouras.)

The reverse punch also looks slow and stupid from being done way the hell out there. And for years one thing that NOBODY could explain to me what functional use a back step reverse punch was for. Until I was charging at a dude and he stepped back and fired one off.  I ran right into it and dropped. It wasn't exactly what I call a 3 Stooges Knock out (running face first into a pole), but I was done. I spent the next few weeks nursing cracked short ribs.

See the problem isn't that the move is useless, it's that the way most people are teaching when to use it makes it useless. And slow. And stupid.  If you can't understand it, it's because someone is trying to sell you a car with no engine.  

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Marc MacYoung


Street self-defense, crime avoidance and personal safety


I grew up in the streets of Los Angeles in 'situational poverty.' I have dealt with criminals and violent people all my life -- both personally and professionally. I have written 15 books and 6 videos on surviving street violence. I was originally published under the name Marc Animal MacYoung. (Animal was my street name). I've taught police and military both internationally and within the US. I've lectured at universities, academies and done countless TV, radio, newspaper and magazine interviews. I'm a professional speaker on crime avoidance and personal safety. And I am an expert witness recognized by the US court system. My bio is at My abridged CV (Curriculum Vitae) is at

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