Modern Urban Combat Tactics (M.U.C.T)

Monday, March 26, 2012

Fighting From the Flinch...

That's right you read correctly flinch not clinch. Reality based martial arts needs to be just that reality based (no brainer right). Now I want you to think about two things first how do you normally stand and walk and second how do the techniques that you teach or learn start (from what position)? Now let me ask you a question how often do you walk around in a fighting stance? Answer never,
so why would you start a technique from a traditional fighting stance? Now there are times and techniques where a traditional fighting stance is appropriate, but more often then not an attack will come by surprise. If you are in a stance than you have already realized the attack or the attack has already begun and you have gotten into that stance. Now I don't know about you but when I am standing on line trying to decide between vanilla and chocolate or coke and sprite I am generally not expecting an attack or standing in a fighting stance (although I tend to keep my head on a swivel as to keep my situational awareness up). If you are standing in a fighting stance when you are ordering McDonald's then good on ya or lighten up a little which ever is appropriate to you. So lets be frank if most of you day and most of the situations you find yourself in on a regular  basis you are not in a fighting stance and most attacks come by surprise and when least expected, then why train from a defense stance as your initial starting point? 
So what to do, how to train for reality? Well lets start with the body's natural reaction to an unseen (until the last moment we will say) attack, the flinch. The flinch response is the bodies way of protecting the head, face and eyes from danger, it is usually triggered by a last minute recognition of a threat of some sort when you have little or no time to react, deflect or defend. We need to use and incorporate this reaction and natural response into our training and techniques to become proficient in defending or countering from there. A good way to drill this is to start  your techniques from a flinch position initially training with hands up by your face, shoulders raised head slightly ducked and feet square. As your proficiency increases start with your hands down at your sides. Now I can hear it now "I train so I won't flinch I will just react" well that may be true if you have time to react and actually let your brain comprehend what is happening but a flinch is actually more like a sneeze or getting burned it just happens.  We always need to keep reality training real as real as possible and understand that SHIT HAPPENS we can only hope to be ready for it. Train for the worst and hope for the best.



  1. Interesting stuff.

    Makes one think. However I still think I am of the camp that thinks we should train in a more natural stance as we would be rather than from a flinched position.

    I agree knowing and accepting the realities of the flinch response is very important. However the way a person flinches is still very much in debate. Do we cover our head and cower down lowering our centre of gravity or do we throw our hands out in front and turn our head away?

    And what about the middle ground between a reaction and a flinch? It can get murky. And if we can see a situation developing and are waiting for the 'king hit', we will not truly flinch, we will react.

    But what you mention in this post would be a good way to get students to understand the flinch response and grounds their training to this mindset which is important.

    Your post got me thinking, so thank you for that.

    I like your site, only recently found it.



    1. Thank you very much Adam for your kind words and I do still advocate fighting from a natural position as well as a fighting stance. This was more directed toward the sucker punch or being unprepared and the natural flinch reflex that can and does occur when caught by surprise. I advocate and teach from a non threatening hands up kind of position. But I have noticed over the years that when you take a person by surprise and expect them to defend they generally flinch and then try to get into a position that they are used to fighting from as opposed to reacting from the flinched position and then going right to work on the opponent.




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