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Self Defense/2 biomechanical questions about close-combat


Two 'bio-mechanical' questions about hand-to-hand combat. A 'stupid' question and a 'smart' question. I'll start with the smart one:

In your website, you wrote that in bare-knuckle boxing, the old-timers 'protected their hands' when they delivered their punches and suffered less from 'broken hands' than modern-day gloved boxers who will get 'broken hands' if they delivered their punches bare handed the same way they are used to with their gloves...  What is the difference in the way punches are done between bare-knuckle boxing and gloved boxing? Is it because, between the moment you throw a punch and the moment your fist hits its target, you must rotate your wrist to make sure your knuckles (and not your curled fingers) connect with the target? Something that isn't really feasible with heavy boxing gloves that 'lock' your wrist and your hand together? Is it for that reason that, in the few boxing bouts I watched in TV, I saw some gloved boxers rotating their elbow instead of their 'locked wrist'?

Now my 'stupid question':

What is the best way to protect yourself against eye-gouging attacks? Injecting growth hormone in your forehead and waste entire days chewing raw meat and tree roots to get a browridge comparable in size to the one possessed by a Neanderthal man? :p

Thanks in advance for your time.

The smart one can be answered this way

You'll notice that both of them talk about less shots to the head (which is hard).

That also means that the way old time boxers hit to the head was more of a jab rather than the more powerful ways you can hit with gloves on. Modern boxing does hit harder to hard spots because of equipment - without equipment, your fisted hand breaks. That's because it simply isn't designed to take that much force. Idiots are on a quest to transfer modern sports techniques into brawls. They want to hit as hard -- with closed hands to hard spots -- without equipment as boxers do with equipment. It doesn't work that way. You get injured more than you injure when this is your quest.

I've heard it argued that old style boxers did more open handed strikes to hard spots rather than closed fists. You can do that with no gloves.

The answers to the stupid question is, first keep the guy out of that range.

Second, learn how to do coordinated movement to move your head away and his hand away with your hand.

Third, AFTER you've mastered the second, learn how to fight through the pain of an eye poke. Yeah they happen, yeah they suck. But you close one eye and keep going until you can open it again.

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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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Read "In the Name of Self-Defense" the streets don't give a Ph.D in scuffle.

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