Stick to Simple Techniques & Not Fancy Ones.

By | September 19, 2013

Most people who are new to martial arts usually want to learn the fanciest techniques first before anything else. They want to know elbowthe most bad ass move/s that takes down an opponents of multiple opponents with ease. And while there are such moves, in reality, the best self-defense tool you have is sticking to the simple techniques or as most call them, the basics.

What do I mean by basics? Well let me put this into perspective:

It’s better to know how to throw a proper jab/cross/hook/kick/eblow than how to do some kind of 4-5 crazy move technique that takes out your opponent. 

Why is this? Because in reality, in most circumstances you may find yourself in: Street fight, ring, sparring session, ect…, the simplest techniques will always work better than some kind of fancy one you see in the movies. Everyone is different, but time and time again, the universal moves, which happen to be the simplest always work best. 

When I spar, 99% of the time, the methods which work best are the simplest ones: Jab, cross, hook, uppercut, kick. Rarely am I ever able to pull of something fancy. Even the most elite fighters on this planet, including special forces soldiers always stick to basics to succeed. This should tell you something! 

Even my trainer who has 20 years experience in JKD and Kali has written articles about this in Black Belt Magazine and told me in person that in the end, no matter how good you are, no matter how much you know, the simplest techniques work best. This is coming from a guy whose been in more fights than he could count. 

But is there any room for fancy techniques? Sure there is, but first you need to learn basics to establish a solid foundation. I’ve said this in a previous article: Before you learn to run, you need to learn to walk. Before you learn to walk, you need to learn to stand. 

Standing in this case is the core foundation. Without it, you will not be able to walk or run. The same applies to martial arts. You need to learn basics:

  • Proper stand up which you get from boxing, Muay thai & MMA. If you have any of these classes in your area, take them! 
  • You need to learn proper foot work. Being able to move in and out of a fight is imperative for safety and victory (victory in this case could even mean running away). 
  • You need to learn how to block basic punches. 

It is only after you have these foundations down that you can move into more advanced techniques. Think of it this way:

You learn how to take down people, but run into a person you can’t take down. Since that card won’t work, you’ll have to rely on other methods to protect yourself. 

You learn how to use illegal moves on people, but stumble onto someone who knows basic stand up and won’t let you get near them. Then you need a plan B. Plan B could be basic self defense.

Look at most street fights or ask someone whose been in them what worked out: Most of the time, you’ll hear them say it was a hook, or a take down, or something basic. This speaks volumes and adds to my points: Simplicity is the key to victory.

Examples of simple techniques:

Jab, cross, hook: Most basic punches and combos, but they work extremely well! 

Back fist, hammer fist: Much more powerful than a regular punch. These moves have the ability to knock pretty much anyone out.

Basic kicks. Could be thai kicks, karate kicks, ect…: Kicks deliver much more damage than punches and are VERY effective for self defense.

A slap to the ears: Knocks the opponent out of their equilibrium. 

A palm thrust to the face: Great self-defense move which could end up breaking a person’s nose.

Elbow strikes: Much more damaging than any punch. Elbows are also GREAT for close quarters situations. Another perk of elbow strikes is that they can deliver a lot of damage without hurting you since the elbow is VERY hard.

Knee strike: Most damaging strike in muay thai and for good reason. A good knee strike can knock the breath out of your opponent and help you end the fight quickly without furthering the conflict. 

All of these methods work very well and against pretty much everyone, regardless of height, weight, strength. Let these basics be your bread and butter when it comes to self defense. 

Even Bruce Lee himself encouraged being as simple as possible. His art, JKD was all about that and finding the easiest and fastest ways to take down an opponent and that is usually via simple techniques!

Get a free course on self defense right here and learn the basics! 

What do you guys think? Do you have a story where this was proven true/not true? Please share your thoughts below!




8 thoughts on “Stick to Simple Techniques & Not Fancy Ones.

  1. James Houghtaling

    Thanks for all the great info and the realistic approach to learning these skills! Totally appreciate what you’re doing Vitaliy!

    1. Vitaliy

      My pleasure James! If you have any questions, feel free to ask anytime!

  2. Erv

    Tons of great stuff and given with the beginner in mind. It’s help me to quit smoking doing the exercises and training. Thanks vitaliy! Looking forward to the next lesson!



    1. Vitaliy

      My pleasure Erv! Glad to hear this is working well for you and congratulations on quitting smoking!

  3. Michael

    Great tips, Vitaliy.

    In muay thai, we learn the elbows are quite effective for short-range strikes, for situations when you can’t even get your arm up (i.e.. an opponent gets you in a bear hug).

    Most goombahs that throw a punch in a bar aren’t expecting a block – or two blocks and a counter-strike. That’s probably why they’re hanging around in bars and getting in trouble.

    Keep up the great work!

  4. Russ Stewart

    Great Article Vitaliy,

    Although I come from a boxing background (seems like a hundred years ago now) I occasionally do some corner work.

    Keeping it simple and mastering just a few punches, especially a novice; allows the fighter to have more focus.

    Martial arts is a different ball game and there are so many moves it must take years and years to accomplish true competency. Hat’s off to these guys, no place for the feint hearted with that fighting style.

    Like anything it takes time to master but your information will go a long way to help.

    Great article. Cheers Russ

    1. Vitaliy

      Thanks Russ. I actually encourage boxing to be one of the most important things to learn for the street.


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