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Taiho-Jutsu Principles Against A Boxer

by Steven J. Kaplan

When I was a student of the basic Taiho-Jutsu course, my instructor used to state to the class that in order to properly understand and defend against an assailant who was a boxer, karateka, wrestler, judoka, et al, we had to be taught the basics of those fighting arts and systems. The students were in fact taught these. When I began college, I ran into someone whom I had gone to high school with, and whose reputation was one of a "short, tough guy". We became friendly, and this short, tough guy (who trained under family friend Rocky Graziano) and I eventually began working out together. During the course of our training and working out, I gained great insights and respect for the abilities of the true boxer (as opposed to a thug who is good with his hands). It was during this time that I gained greater respect for the principles my sensei taught me on when a law-enforcement officer may be facing an assailant who is a skilled boxer.

A trained boxer, even one who is an amateur, does not allow him/herself to be a stationary target. The body is moving, fists are jabbing, and s/he is generally attempting to set the officer up for that one big punch. This is his/her game plan, and s/he will systematically try to execute this it. The key for the officer’s success is not to be manipulated into the game plan,i.e., fighting and attempting to arrest the assailant on his/her terms.

The following principles and guidelines have been proven effective in Taiho-Jutsu against a skilled boxer:

Stay out of knockout range by immediately moving back into whatever fighting stance is preferred. This places the officer in a position where the assailant has to come to him/her, allowing the officer to begin his/her own game plan.

Maintain a safety range a few inches beyond where your reach with a side thrusting kick extends. This places you out of his/her knockout range, and allows you to utilize stopping power with your legs if needed.

Be patient. If the assailant takes short steps toward you, and/or tries to circle you in a manner that does not allow you to utilize your legs, maintain your stance, maintain your safety range, and use taisabaki to keep your body in the center of the circle. It takes far less energy for the officer to turn from the center than the assailant must use to turn from the circumference of the circle.

At the appropriate time, the officer can counter the attack of the boxer, probably frustrated at this point. The officer may then proceed to secure the arrest with or without backup, depending on the situation.

Use distraction. A basic principle of Taiho-Jutsu is "strike high – follow low, strike low – follow high". The officer can distract the boxer by feigning a strike to the face, getting him/her to commit to a block, and quickly follow up with a devastating low kick.

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