The Chop

I remember watching the Flintstones cartoon growing up, as it supplied hundreds of hours of entertainment to me as a kid.  I could probably name dozens of storylines, and the more I think of, the more topics would probably come to mind.

One that sticks in my mind is when Fred and Barney were fighting off some people (yes, it really happened in a Flintstone’s cartoon), and they simply used a “judo chop” to fend off attackers. 

As more traditional martial arts has evolved into functional arts and moves, a “karate chop” is laughed about, but still used when messing around with kids or as a joke about some self-defense move a person might use. 

The Karate Chop

Although the “karate chop” is what we’d see martial arts masters do to break boards in half, and would see in old movies and tv shows from the 50’s and 60’s, it can still be used today, in many realistic situations.  Here are three common self-defense scenarios you can use them in. 

The first is the Brachial or Neck strike.  I’ve written about this move before, because it is such an effective move, but didn’t dive deep into the mechanics per se.  That is where this chop comes in so beautifully.  I would never say not to “punch” someone with your fist, but we do have to remember that your fist is made up of a bunch of tiny bones and ligaments which could get damaged when striking the human skull. 

Therefore, using this “chop” to the side of someone’s neck is a more protective way to strike, while putting your attacker into a complete daze, if not knocking them out.  My assistants in my classes hate demoing this move with me in front of a class, because they know that even a slight bump to this area will discombobulate them, and get them a bit dizzy. 

This chop can also be used as a Grab Release, where if anyone ever grabs your arm or piece of clothing, this move will instantly break their hold. The question comes in as to where we chop, and I always instruct to do it on their wrist. This area on the opponent’s body is weak, as further up their arm, the radius and ulna bones gets larger and stronger.

The last application of the chop is to defend against simple punches, using them as blocks.  In this case, we’re not hitting targets here, but blocking incoming attempts to hit us.  Because the cost common strike against you will be the wide hook, we can use a outside chop to block that move, and then follow up with our own moves (such as a brachial strike to the neck). 

Once again, there may not be the opportunity to chop away at attackers whenever you want, similar to how the Flintstones did it, but specifically using this move, you can see how it is not only versatile, but can be very effective in its application against common attacks. 

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