The Missouri and Virginia TKRI clubs have lately been working with unexpected attacks from the rear and sides at extremely close range:

The goal of this series of drills is to react to the stimulus of a shove and/or grab to the hair or clothing from behind with an aggressive response. The technique is not as important as the recognition of aggressive contact and the ability to respond with the same.

The position of the hands on the head protects the face and the vulnerable temple and coronal regions of the skull. This position also anchors the neck so that the musculature of the upper back and shoulders can stabilize the head against further acceleration while contributing to the charge and a successive flurry of elbow strikes.

At this range, complicated techniques such as joint manipulations and fully extended strikes will be of little use. Such an attacker will have the element of surprise and the advantage of initiating the attack, allowing them to land several strikes before the victim can can decide upon a response and make it. At speed and full force the victim will be disoriented and in a poor position from which to fight. These drills aim to train students to move into an unexpected attack with an equally aggressive response using gross body movements, hopefully creating the space to escape or fight from a better position.

Give it a whirl, and after folks get the hang of it pick up the intensity on the attacker and the defender’s part- just watch the face and throat. It’s hard to control the amount of contact delivered by whirling elbows at this range. Mouth guards for the attacker are recommended, headgear might not be a bad idea at higher speeds.