A knee to the face or a punch to the jaw line is pretty much all you need, right? If I were an instructor, perhaps these would be the skills I would want my students to walk away with even if they never progressed beyond white belt. How much more is necessary and what would you add? I ask, inspired by some interesting YouTube videos on Everyday carry (EDC), the kinds of things people have in their pockets or on their person to help them get through the day. In the US, this might include firearms and knives, but also mobile phones and cigarette lighters. For karateka, what is the stripped down, bare bones, repertoire of fighting skills you would feel comfortable walking around with everyday? How quickly might you pass this on to your students?
I like that you boiled it down to three essentials, Gary. As I think over it some more, I would like to have multifunctional tools, like the little Swiss Army knife key fob we used to allowed to carry on planes, flathead screw driver and nail fail on one blade. I would also like there to be some offensive and defensive capabilities.
Hachi-ji guard: a guard with the elbows held wider than the hands which are framing the face. It looks like the number eight in Chinese/Japanese, hence hachi-ji. from this guard you can throw elbow strikes by merely raising your elbow and turning, and block incoming strikes or grabs.
Grabbing and spinning: Simple, control the head or shoulder, then spin off line. You can spin the opponent into corners, into traffic or to the floor. Of course, if you are grabbed, you should know how counter (tripping?).
Tripping: If there is going to be any grabbing and spinning, some bright student will figure out the tripping so it might as well be included.
I do like your suggestions, the palm heel and hammerfist especially. A palm heel for straight up the middle attacks and a hammerfist for offline. Which swing did you have in mind for the hammerfist, inside or outside?
These (and others) were taken straight from the Royal Marine unarmed combat my father showed me nearly 50 years ago. The hammerfist is just an elbow swung out at about 45degrees then as it passes the jaw the lower arm extends to connect. He was originally taught to use a 'chop' but broke his finger doing that so naturally adapted it to a closed fist.
Even today I remember those lessons on our front lawn. I was scared of him so I think that seared it into my brain far better than 'normal' training.
Regarding stance or blocking, it was assumed that by the time this was kicking off the fight was inevitable so he taught me to just "go crazy" in his words, hence my reluctance to use this (and other stuff) at school just before my exams. Expulsion or Borstal didn't really appeal.
I've used this stuff (and attitude) in some scrapes and found it simple and effective. Gross motor skills not compromised by losing composure or temper. I've found lots of other (MA) stuff helpful as well of course, but if I had to rely on just three they'd be it. Easy to teach and easy to remember.
What I have used to get me out of hair situations:
1. 360 degree awareness, and no hesitation to turn around if something doesn't seem right. 2. At least one legal weapon or item I can use as a weapon. If no weapons/items; my stand up grappling skills. 3. If seriously threatened or a loved one is, I'm rather sadistic at whomever instigates it.
I have always had number 1, and I'm not sure why. I think my Dad encouraged it to me unknowingly growing up a little bit. No, my Dad wasn't training me to be some "killing machine" but just somebody that pays attention. I see people all the time that just don't pay attention to what's going on around them and it drives me nuts.
These days I have a rather routine boring life for the most part but I didn't always. I can remember a couple of times as a young teen riding my bike and seeing kids think they were going to hide in bushes and jump out to attack others I was with. None of my friends with me would see the other group run and hide in the bushes but only I would. I still have friends to this day that still talk about the time I "had a funny feeling and told them to throw rocks in the bushes." To this day I still haven't told them I saw them run into the bushes why you all were playing pocket pool. I notice when people are nervous, pick up on how people are acting, and so forth to also dictate how I treat a person. I have a type of job where I will meet people I haven't met before who are almost always in some distress and I have to assess them, explain what I can do to help and come up with a plan...and sometimes immediately start explaining how I can assist my new client how to execute said plan. I credit a lot of my skills in doing my job by being able to "read" people which I also put in the 360 degree awareness category.
Avoid a bad situation by seeing signs so you don't have to engage it to begin with. If you can't avoid a situation, don't fight fair...don't focus on defense, focus on attacking whomever is a serious threat and get away.
I work and drive through one of the worst areas if not the worst area of the State I live in, in the USA. I don't get messed with and I loudly play whatever music I want. However, I'm always paying attention and I by no means think I'm invincible. Pay attention people. Osu!
Can't fault situational awareness, I think it's a broader life skill too.
Three essential Skills or techniques.
I think I'd want different ones for men and women as I believe they face different offensive tactics. I will apply that split (Ros feel free to crucify me
Women - 1. Striking - Elbows Primarily, but if possible Hiraken, throat & Hiato for groin attacks 2. Kicks - Kin geri ahead of heesa kin. Thankfully to teach any kick you are going to cover off knees. I think kin geri gives more range and is less expected by the modern attacker 3. Breaks - Breaks for 3-5 common holds (wrist, throat, bear hug, lapel, double wrist??)
Men 1. Strikes, Shotie to the face, elbows 2. Defence - Head cover, how to block a hook and straight punch, how to cover up for a volley. 3. Kicks Front kick, and Knees, kin geri also (although men don't tend to appreciate it's value, or perhaps they do)
I think you could furnish a student with this selection in six months. I chose them with the design of survive hurt and escape, not dominate.
Another school of thought. Twenty years ago I watched (wasn't allowed to participate) a specialised "Women's Self Defence class" taught by an ex-military (or claimed)man and woman. They taught tearing of ears, eye gouges, grabbing the testicles, even fingers up the nose. Not disputing it's effectiveness. In my experience these have one huge obstacle the "Student" most young men & women I train just aren't wired that nasty. Not convinced I would ever peel someone's ear off myself.