Grounded Cat Martial Arts
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This wikibook is about defeating your opponent unarmed, using strikes that cause pain, disable or break. Not a perfect manual and definitely not for just sports.
Training hardiness, guts and pain resistance
The whole human body is one arsenal of lethal and pain inducting weapons, and we cherish and honor it as one. It just has to be fixed and polished from the softness before one can use it. The thing is that you hit your own hands, arms and legs so that that area gets hardened and familiar with the feeling (or hit hard things with them). In the end, that feeling can’t even be described as pain. It is great feeling to throw a punch to a wall and know that it hurt more the for bricks than your fist. Just don’t get it wrong. The thingie isn’t to break your places at the first few hits, to this you should get slowly. A good pace is like when the place under hardening starts hurting a little bit at about ten seconds, then just continue like that as long as you can bear the pain. If you don’t hit too hard, this should provide you only with minor bruises and nothing less than a good result. Just wait them to heal (almost completely if possible) and do it again. And when you get to the willpower training, there are some quite simple things to do:
- Putting yourself in danger while training, like fighting dangerous animals and putting sharp things to “punish” you for failure.
- Never using painkillers, no matter the suffering. Pushing yourself to do things normally even in pain.
- Knowingly doing things that hurt.
- Over-exerting yourself, training strength while muscles still aching from last time.
Also, a mighty useful tip for hardening the shins: get a rolling pin. It gets the job done very quickly, just roll over and over your shins until you can't feel a thing anymore. Ding, nerves deadened and a bit of bone hardening as a side effect. Then you can occasionally roll over them *hard* to keep your bones in shape. Why I mentioned only shins is because the other parts of your body are much easier to harden some other way. You can't use rolling pin with two hands to roll over arms...
You should remember that when you do things like cutting yourself, be careful not to dig too deep in yourself. If it is supposed to be training, it should make you killing machine, not killed machine. The point is simply that you don’t do damage to yourself while hurting yourself.
Well, at this point I might be seen as a "quite nuts person". BAM! A fact for you. I *am* quite nuts. Even officially. But does it really matter, as long as you get the efficient training methods and I get the money. Wait... I don't get the money from you reading this. WHERE THE H*** IS MY MONEY?!
...Just kidding, I might be "quite nuts" but I'm still quite an intelligent and reasonable person. Read on.
Mass increase with weights
- Landed mode
While in “landed mode” (never mind the clichéish names), you put all the iron on, maxing out your mass and strength training. You should normally be in landed mode while not in combat and sometimes in combat, too. And of course I'm talking about weighted vests and such, not some kind of medieval plates or that kind. The thingie to wear them in combat is quite simple: the more mass you have, the harder you hit using your whole body. Also, they grant some bonus armor to some locations and when combined with pain resistance training, you should feel almost invincible and be able to throw yourself to enemy without hesitation. There is another thingie to use them, too. When your muscles need to work more, you should easily slip to finding ways to do it easier. If you train just a simple punch with extra weight, for example, you will notice yourself using your whole body to do the moving. If you always train like this, you’ll probably be using your strength at its whole capacity (not meaning using full strength as in pushing yourself to limits) even in normal situations. Also, you should wear them almost like everyday clothing, so that you totally get used to it. This is also preparations to soaring mode.
A word of warning, though. You shouldn't use any weights below knees, human body isn't designed for joint leverage. With hands this is ok, 'coz you automatically almost always use some muscle to keep the elbow together. When the weights are on, that is.
- Soaring mode
Ever wanted to fly? Well, now it’s almost possible. If you make your mass doubled or at least 1,5 times the normal, when you take them (the weights) off, you are almost flying. If you use the weights for a week as almost normal clothing, you should feel the results. the longer you do, the more weight you should put on so that you can fly even higher. The thingie here should be quite clear. If not, you can just imagine being able to control your own gravity. Flying, eh?
- Adrenal glands.
B- and C-vitamins. Those ones I’ve confirmed to be the ones that adrenal glands need most. You can get good amount of B-vitamins by eating much meat and potatoes, while the latter gives you also some C-vitamins. It actually is one of best C-vitamin sources, not counting most berries in. And, well, meat also gives you proteins, keeping your muscle mass together. Liquorice is a more interesting thing then. The more you eat it, the more you produce adrenaline and other important things from adrenal glands. And it even raises the “constitution” of them, making them last longer and better anyways. So it is beneficial to adrenal glands all the possible ways. There is a strong but, though. Liquorice also raises your blood pressure, and if you eat it more than about half a kilo every day, it will affect your health (not in a good way), and be it about ten to twenty times that, it might even prove fatal. (These are the imaginary lines though, I've never tested...)
If you wonder why there is such part as adrenaline dietary in a martial arts article, I can, by all means, tell you. Adrenaline itself affects your reaction time and reactions are the bigger half of fighting ability (usually). The other half is psychology, technique and actual experience. And of course strength. And that is the other thing adrenal glands enhance. And that is why you eat meat, potatoes and liquorice.
Oh, and maybe I should mention also that too much adrenaline might cause panic attacks. Good luck for balancing the amount. ^^
This is good if you really want to do all of that, but it is not a requirement. Good martial arts depends on focus and you may not be able to keep your focus with a huge shot of adrenaline.
If that little voice in your head tells you that you are at your limits, you probably are. Ignore it and continue training. Once you break through that barrier, especialy when running, you get what is called your "second wind" and you feel like all the pain is gone. Once you can get to this point you will be able to get the full affect of the training.
Neck-, body- and leg muscles
Yes, you can train all these with one quite simple move: First, you need something solid and about length your foot at height. Lay down with your forehead on that object and hands behind your back. (Or you can use your two fists as the object. Might train a bit different sections of your body, could be a good idea to use both methods.) Then straighten your body so that your toes / balls of the feet are only thing touching the floor. If this is too hard (as it should be in the beginning), you can simply put your hands down like doing push ups and lift some of the weight with them. Try to put as little weight as possible to the arms. This should help your whole body to strengthen and harden. When you can do this with hands behind your back, congratulations. Give yourself a treat, especially if you are a big guy. And especially if you used ironwear as you’ve been told before.
Also, you should do sit-ups to strengthen your core. Those without anything to keep your feet down work better (of course *you* keep them still down) as they train your back as well (if you want to do longer sessions of training, I'd say that you should keep the feet down with some kind of extra weight or something).
Take a wide riding pose and stay like that as long as possible. Stand with feet about two times the length of your shoulders apart and point feet just a bit inwards. And of course legs bended a bit. Push your chest and hips a bit forwards and relax. Imagine being on desert and sinking into a pool of quicksand.
You should train this as much as possible so that you can quite effortlessly stand like this for at least an hour.
At fullest strength you can just do push-ups with fingers, but to start with, you could do this: Kneel down and simply push the ground with your fingers. Also, you should carry things around with fingertips. Good to do is to do push-ups with “claws” (look into basic techniques -section)
Feet and stamina
To begin with, always move with the balls of the feet. Your calf muscle is your most powerful stamina drainer, so when you train it as much as possible, you can go on battlefield bouncing like a kangaroo without a hint of fatigue. This muscle also helps you getting your leg off the ground fast when kicking. When combined with root training and using weights, you'll become a jumping machine like those masters in old gong fu movies...
Use small amount of weights so that you can do training for as long time as possible. That way your body very gets easily familiar with the movement, it reduces the risk of getting yourself unusable and there's no really need to do warm-ups.
Rooting is a great way to train your legs, but to truly max out the power (without any gym equipment), you run. And I'm not talking about the ordinary running here, it's more a stamina thingie (and duh, I hate running)...
This one: you drop yourself halfway down and run crouched. And add as much weight as possible (in form of a backpack full of heavy stuff, for example). The thingie here is to make short, powerful dashes stepping on your balls of the feet. Having your knees bent as much as possible, this is the most powerful way of training that leg strength you use in making every punch.
Remember this: all strength originates from your root, the place that touches the ground. Or wall or whatever.
Lay on your back, crouch so that only it touches floor and lean a bit left first. Then you go like, one simultaneous kick/punch forwards with right leg and fist. Next lean backwards (still on your left side of back) and do the same to upwards. Then lean instantly on your right side of back and do the same on left leg/fist. I sometimes also do variations of attacks on the move, just to spice it up a bit. Some simple like elbow strikes and such.
Trains stomach muscles very well, trains some back, gets you a good sense of balance (the leaning on different directions without touching floor with hands or legs), gets you to feeling of attacking from ground and works on your basic attacks.
It's good to imagine the targets you're going to strike at, even though it might seem to be just air. Shadow boxing ain't just for swinging around randomly, you know. Imagine how your opponent attacks you and react accordingly. Imagine how *you* would attack on a ground opponent.
First put your arms on your sides so that there's a straight line between your elbows, and relax the rest of your arms so that your hands just hang downwards. Then, using your muscles, you bend them first down and then backwards, keeping the elbows in a straight line. If you got a helper or two, they can bend it (it is quite hard to bend with just you muscles first) to just stretch them.
So basically, you put your hands up (with straight line between elbows) and try to do a 360* rotation around the elbows. Of course, you twist your shoulders in the process, too. That's a part of the training. Probably takes quite a while before you can do such a freaky thing, the whole 360*.
The idea of this stretch is not that you'd use very much attacks that require this kind of bending, but there are two points which make this useful: First and foremost, it trains your shoulder muscles. Or whatever you want to call them. When you train like this for a month or two, the difference on your arm speed should be clearly noticeable. Well, at least if you're not trained before. Second, if someone were to try to give you pain by twisting your arms, they'll find it quite impossible. Or at least hard.
Of course this is also useful if you want to freak out your friends by showing them your freaky arms that strecth "almost infinitely".
- One quite common tip for using your strength wisely, and brief explanation why is this:
Relaxation. You might think that while “concentrating on speed”, your might lose at power as a payment of speed. Think again. You can put it simply with physics: Power equals mass x speed. Mass is practically the amount of weight your muscle lifts. When your punch gains some speed, it is physically impossible to lose power if your fist doesn’t suddenly turn into marshmallow or something like that. (Of course we’re talking about the speed upon impact here.) Upon impact, you should push it forward with all your might, but if you’re not intending to stop your punch, still you shouldn’t lose the relaxation. The thing here is that if you make any tension at the muscles of the opposite side, it draws you hand that way (and that most definitely slows down your fist). If you first relax your whole arm and then punch, you are using only the needed muscles and thus making the full power with minimum unnecessary strength used. Of course this needs practicing, also, for you can't have a whole second for relaxing at every punch, be it sparring or an actual fight.
- Maxing the power of a strike:
1) Use your whole body. This is one thing every martial artist should already know, but for those who are not yet one of them, here it comes: The very power of your punch comes from legs. If you'd study physics, you'd probably mutter something half-abstract about slowness of mass or whatnot. True, you can throw a punch with only your arms, but the thingie here is maxing the power. Once again, the very power of you punches is in your legs. That is why you are rooted when throwing punches (not speaking about "superman" punches and such, of course). You use your every muscle from arms to calf, making a little spin with every punch.
2) Drop your knees. The more you weight, the more power this adds. It really is ridiculous amount of unused strength if you don't drop at least a little. This should be done at the same pace as the punch itself (well duh of course). And do not drop yourself to the ground, just a little bit downwards. Should be easy enough with a bit timing training.
So when you punch, you kind of do a little (might be almost unnoticeable) corkscrew movement downwards.
Also, remembering that while push-ups do good for your punching power, you should be more concerned with sit-ups and leg conditioning.
General tips and tactics to fighting
The thing here is simply that you use your brain while fighting. It might be quite good idea to forget your “honor” and use whatever means needed to win, especially when there is several opponents.
- When you see an opportunity to do something dirty, do not hesitate to take it. For example, if there is sand on ground, why not use it?
- Take advantage of the playground. If you can drive your opponent to some kind of trap-like environmental object like bushes, tables or anything that might hinder his movement and/or ability, do it. Having the position control trained properly gives you a huge advantage.
- Do attacks of opportunity. When your enemy is clearly going to attack from a certain direction or with a certain technique, don’t just wait for that hit to come and defend it. It is better to stop it before he gets to execute his move. Like if he’s going for a hammer-kick, you just kick him in that leg before it drops or charge forwards and push him down while his balance is off.
- Do as much as possible the way your opponent isn’t expecting.
- Train your every single move so that they get into your backbone as reflexes. That way you won’t need to ‘search’ them from your brain and thus will your reaction speed improve.
- Never give your back to the enemy if you’ven’t trained to move yourself so fast they can’t take any opportunities on that. When surrounded, try to put as many as you can to your sides instead.
- Always remember to breath. Also, learn to use you’re breath as a powerizer to your movement (a quick exhale at right time).
- Avoid crossing your legs for more than a moment. Maintain a low stance so that your balance is good.
- You should avoid moving back to dodge, if you move to the sides / front while parrying or dodging, you’ll be the one getting situation.
- Search yourself for places that hurt easily and use them in others. There’s a pressure point under ear, for example.
- If you are under attack on street, opponent probably has some kind of weapon. Always expect to get cut (or hurt in some other way, whatever the weapon) so that you don't panic when it comes to that. Focus on survival and avoiding serious injuries, not on pain.
Ground fighting against a standing opponent
For starters, you need strong and staminaful middle body. So do sit-ups and sit straight. When you go down, make sure you land safely, squat down immediately you notice you can't keep your balance. When fighting against masses, do everything to not fall. When pitted against a single opponent and when trained properly, this position might even be favorable for you. Not one single guy expects you to go down on purpose and fight from there.
The word is turtle. An upside-down turtle. When you land, if you can't immediately spring up somehow, lay down on your back and kinda crouch so that only that back touches the ground. The most defensive and aggressive stance at the same time. Easy to kick from, easy to grab from and even moving isn't so hard when you get the trick to it.
So, "what can I do from this position?", you ask. The first thing, you defend. Imagine a situation where there is two opponents, for example. It is practically the same thing as having your back against wall or otherwise both on the same side. Just that there is only one opponent. So, to speak a bit more clearly, your feet are the only target to your opponent. And your feet are a weapon. So basically the only option is parried blows. Or, if the opponent is fool enough, he might come down charging at you, only to be kicked and thrown over you.
Secondly, you attack. You can do almost every kick from this position as you can do standing. You just direct them a bit differently. To do a sweep, for example, you just turn to your side and kick from "down" to "up". Targeting knees. And you can do thrusting kicks as easily as if you were standing. Maybe even more easily. I personally prefer using the edge of foot when throwing thrust kicks from ground. Maybe you find your own favorite, maybe not. Most definitely not if you don't search for it, so get to ground and start testing.
And, this is a great training method, too. Trains you in almost every possible way you need to train to make your kicks and punches count.
Claws: one section towards your fingertips from knuckles. You could call them ‘first finger knuckles’, but since it is easier and goes within the dragon spirit, I’ll call them claws.
Hand / arm strikes
- Basic punching
Your basic punch. Yes, the same nice oldie you'll encounter in karate for example. And probably in at least 90% of other martial arts, too. Can be used as defending means against most swing-like attacks (like wing slash from this art). Usually good to combine with a fast forward movement, be it defending or not. The "power maxing" tips apply to this strike, too (of course).
As simple as it sounds, most people still do the punching wrong. So here's a few very basic things that apply to every punch. So that you hurt the opponent more than yourself. First, the wrist. If it is just slightly off the straightness, you're going to sprain it when hitting hard. Second, the thumb. When you clench your fist, the thumb *is not* inside the fist. You put it *below* the fist. Well, that last one might be a slightly rarer mistake, but even more important as that.
And legs. Legs, legs, legs. And once again, legs. If you punch and your body follows, you are doing something very wrong. Well, at least if you just try to get as much power into your punch as possible. You start the punch from your legs, transfer the power upwards through hips, abs, chest and shoulders to the fist. "Getting the power that a whip uses".
Now for the "soft" and "hard" punch. This is for the "soft" punch, the one which will "non-forcibly" disable the opponent. Good for self defence.
- The whole punch starts with relaxation. Relaxation. Smells quite fishy, now doesn't it? Well, the point is (as already described at 'strength usage' section) that this way you get the maximum speed and strength, your fist hits its target with far greater velocity. Only place you shoud keep tensed up before hitting is your wrist.
"So I shouldn't clench my fist at all, then?"
Wrong. The point is that you train so that you can clench it just before the impact, and even then just slightly. This, of course, is a part of the soft punch. This is the best way to disable the opponent without breaking anything in you and maybe a bit less in him. The thingie here is just that it causes almost as much pain, so you still might want to use the "hard" punch if the attacker seems to be high or something. Going berserk, if you will.
And then the "hard" punch. This is the one you use to break things and people. Now then comes the vizualisation into quite important role. When you vizualise something, your body is quite a bit more eager to move that way.
So, first you clench your fist as hard as you can. Imagine it weighting a ton (don't still go tensing your upper arm muscles too much) and that ton of pressure-packed iron going *through* the target. It is very important that you kinda "see" the fist going through and continuing its movement when it hits the area. Actually, don't even think that there is anything in its way, just focus your strength on the fist and hit just as if you were shadow boxing. Straight through the opponent's face and skull.
Punching takes many forms. Jabs, straights, haymakers. Those three are in line for speed-to-strength with usually the normal straight the most useful. Also, there is a bundle of more advanced punches which are very useful, used in most Chinese arts for example. Hitting with fist in a bit different angle, using a bit different part of fist to hit, using a bit different movement. These are covered from this onwards.
- Claw swing
You put your hand into fist, thumb at the side and hit with claws. Swinging, not thrusting, as if you were knocking a door. This is your standard defending strike for straight punches and also your standard paindoer. This is best means to hit bone, as mass behind it cant be so big that it’d hurt your fingers, you can even do this to stone walls and it doesn't feel even like pain. This, however, does hurt the receiving one, especially when done to bone or “hard” muscle. This could be a quite confusing “punch” if you do it with almost straight line.
With this, for the same reason it doesn't hurt you, you can't really break anything effectively. Can inflict small bruises at most. A very good strike to "toy" with your opponent, when you don't want to really hurt someone but to just show your superiority and that his attack is in vain. Just make sure that you *have* that superiority and that his attack *is* in vain...
- Crushing wheel
A mid to close range punch with really no hard variation, making even a minimal tension lose most of its power. Not too weak punch even then, but as with most of more advanced punching techniques, relaxation is the most important part for getting power. When you learn this effectively, you probably get much more power to every other punch also.
When using the wheel punch, the fist *and* the wrist are both completely relaxed. Noting here that relaxation being not the same thing as no strength, just using it just as much the fist actually floats in the air. You'll know the feeling when you reach it.
The movement: First, the part you hit with is the bottom three knuckles. Second, the motion is much like throwing a fishing rod, just a little bit more straight. The hit comes like pushing the opponent down-backwards. The perfect punch will be about half a second in contact, like sticking into the inside of the target.
Like the name implies, this punch is a good one to throw quite rapidly using both hands, like a wheel that tries to crush and climb over the roadblock. With the sticking inside, there should be almost always one fist in contact. When done with a Ki feeling and contacting into the chest, the opponent should feel quite sick after the first few and collapse quite quickly. If you have trained in this enough.
Notice that this does not really use that much physical strength, rather just placing the fists into opponent (with high speed) and pushing slightly. Imagining you hands sinking into the target and grabbing and pulling the innards downwards.
- Wing slash / Elbow strike
You simply swing your arm towards target, hitting with the area from elbow to claws. Makes quite a variety of attacks since you can swing from and to practically any direction. Could be wise to put your hand into fist to avoid fingers *crunch*ing in wrong place. This would be best to the side of the neck, jaw or to the temple (side of the forehead) as means to knockout.
As for the elbow (it actually is included in this), a "short elbow" is when you simply hit from short range with your "forward" arm (a kind of jab of elbows) and a "long elbow" when you have a gap between yourself and the opponent and you're going to close it while hitting. Both include of course the "elbow uppercut" and whatever names people have given for the same strike from different angles.
The counters and counter-counters for wing slash are quite much similar to the ones for claw swing, except for the elbow strikes. When a short elbow is incoming, you simply dodge backwards, assuming you are not back against wall. As for the long elbow, you'd do best by parrying it with a palm strike (hitting not the elbow, but a bit towards hand from there). Then it's just the thing that who gets to perform the next hit. In whichever position you are, I'd recommend using palm (as it's target areas are so free you don't have to really think when hitting) or a short elbow (just a bit slower, but has a rather big amount of more power if you want to break).
- Palm strikes
Now this is something more original. When doing these, you simply hit with your palm. This is quite safe attack for you, because with this, injuring your hand is practically impossible. This is quite easily done at basic level, taking only a minute or two to learn. At this level, it's better to hit with a "hard palm", with its "heel". But to use this really effectively, for truly devastating effects... You'll have to spend hours and hours training with Ki and heavy bag. To use this effectively is to move into trapping range (close range, where normally grapples are done). When comparing to fist or claw attack, this has a significantly shorter range. While this might be a hindrance in normal situations, this also means that in very close range, your hand has more freedom to get some speed into the strike. This is very useful when in trapping range, as you can very easily get your opponent's jaw for example. Good targets for this kind of attack in very close range are jaw from sides (for knocking uncoscious), thoracic diapraghm (a muscle below lungs, hitting it will get breath out of basically anyone), chin from below and shoulders. Hitting face with this is also a good choice, as the shock from it will give you quite much time to do something else. Something nasty.
The more advanced versions of this are covered in "Using ki as a weapon".
- Wrist bash
When hardened properly, this is quite potential place to strike with. You simply hit with top of your wrist. This should be both a fast and a heavy strike at the same time (with a short reach, though).
This is quite much too quick to be countered.
Example targets / opportunities:
- After an elbow strike, usually oppositewards. Usually it's quite good to aim to jaw (from sides), chin (as an upward strike) or nose or neck (from up).
- Chin. After a hit to solar plexus / thoracic diaphragm / stomach
- Chin / jaw. After a parry on a straight punch.
- Jaw (or nose if available). After a hit (probably palm) to shoulder.
A weird kick, but you should train this to use as your basic technique. Why? Because this is the most hard-assed kick out there. Of those you can easily perform. Fast and powerful. Not accurate at all. This kick is performed as you turn your back to the enemy. You lower your stance a bit, lean on your back leg and make it the front one. Then just raise your leg, bounce a bit backwards (the former forwards) and kick backwards (the former forwards). This is the more powerful version, not so fast. To do this fast, skip the bouncing and let yourself go a bit farther from the opponent as you kick. The edge is your heel. This, again, is those things that aren't going to be countered. Except for the more powerful version. To counter that, just leap a bit backwards (because he's going to come your way), grab his leg and throw.
This is best performed on low areas of body. The higher you go, so goes the amount of training needed. Because usually when hitting higher parts of the body, it's just so much easier to use normal side kick.
- Twist kick
You start with raising your knee to the height of your waist and then twist yourself so that you hit your opponent's side instead of front. Fast, not powerful, but does confuse your enemy.
- Snap kick
You simply raise your knee and then thrust with your ball of foot or your footgear. If target is high enough (like head and so), you might end up hitting with heel and / or not thrusting but swinging upwards. This applies to the kick to the balls also.
- Roundhouse kick
Nothing special yet even more important. Your most basic crushing kick. Hitting with shin or back of the foot.
First you take velocity by pushing your upper body into direction you're kicking in, with the leg you're going to use to kick. At the same time you rotate the not-kicking leg's foot by the ball of the feet so that the heel comes as far forwards as possible. The direction of rotation should be obvious, at least if you try it out. Then you let the leg follow up with explosive speed, from your side to the target.
If you'ven't hardened the shin properly, it will break very easily.
- Hammer / axe / overhead kick
You bring your heel down to your opponent from upwards.
Hammer: Raising the leg up from left or right side of the opponent. Targeting usually shoulders or head.
Axe: After a frontal kick to chin. Targeting usually chest (yeah, assuming that he was bent backwards from the first kick).
Overhand: After a handspring or somersault. Targeting usually shoulders or head.
Could be at "kicks", but it fits here better. You simply put your foot on the opponent's chest and push. The more you’ve done the rooting-training, the longer distance the opponent should fly. You can spice it with morphing it into a side kick while pushing. Adds strength. If your foot isn’t contacted with the opponent’s chest when you start the push, this also makes quite a potential kick otherwise. To counter this, just grab the foot before the push and push back. As a counter-counter, push harder than the other. Or as a counter requiring bit more speed, you could throw the attacker from that leg. Quite impossible to counter-counter with only one leg at ground. If you're a mutant, that's a different thing then.
- Shield bash
Used mostly at trapping range. Imagine there is a shield strapped on your arm and push with it. To do this without actually having that shield does not differ any way. The “correct” way of doing this is when you use mostly your leg and shoulder muscles to do the push. If you hit with it instead of pushing with it, you should build some muscle mass into that section of arm and harden it so that it hurts your opponent more than you. As a counter, grab the arm and throw as he pushes you. To counter this, you can do about the same as with the claw thrust.
Parrying / dodging / countering
Strikes and kicks
The first thing you need to learn to deflect, is the haymaker. The very basic "brute punch". So, when that giant is charging down on you with the fist coming first, you need to stay calm. Basics. Do not panic, do not just flinch backwards and cover. The very first of basics, always forwards. The less there is space in between, the less force the ordinary guy can get into the punch.
You have three choices: dive under the fist to his side, step forwards so that you're in front of his face and his arm over your shoulder, or parry and punch or take a grapple. This works basically against every strike or kick, with maybe a little variation on some. Dive, step forwards or parry. Sometimes a combination of two. And always defend and strike simultaneously, in the same movement.
So, to the point. Now that you know the basics. The haymaker. The easiest and fastest response is definitely stepping forward and parrying it. And now that you've done that, you have quite a wide repertoire of weapons to use in close range. The best in this situation being perhaps elbow. Or if you don't want to knock him cold for some odd reason, you can easily knock him just down by simply putting your leg behind his and pushing.
As the second thing comes in the physiology of arm. Think about the forearm as a lever or a handle and the elbow as its support. Pushing this lever sideways causes the victim to go into ground or you to go into his backside, depending on the result you want. And it works very well on legs, too. This also is quite basics on self defence / fighting.
So, to do it in a situation like a haymaker punch (thrown with right hand), you step forwards diving a bit down and right. At the same time you use your left arm to pin his punch and against your neck. At this point, you are moving back almost the same way you came in, this time bringing the punching arm with you. Let it slide a bit so that you use your neck as a support to twist him by forearm. Then step forwards-left, twisting the arm to outside of him, maybe placing a leg behind his. Done right, even a bear is on ground. And the whole time you can use your right hand to do whatever you want. Probably to defend against his lefty.
Then comes in the roundhouse kick. Again, step in. This is especially true regarding roundhouse kick since it loses even more of its strength because the lack of space. And then you'll notice he's got only one leg on ground. Your win.
Alternatively, you could just take the kick and push down by the knee. Makes the opponent go down with back given to you. Your win. Again, while doing this, throw as much punch you can at the same time.
Also an option is to just take a half-step in, diving against his leg and spiking it with your elbow.
What is Ki
For sceptics and those not experienced in martial arts: read on at least for amusement of this "mystical bulls**t". The following is my version of that thingie, try not to be upset if you actually believed in Ki being a magical power running through a master's veins or something.
So, what is Ki and what to do with it. As a contrary to common (sarcastic) beliefs, you can *not* shoot fancy laser beams with Ki and you do *not* need to be especially talented or born in ninja family to use it. And, Actually it even isn't any mystical energy flowing in your system. Those are just concepts to grasp the imagination thingie.
Ki is an inner strength. A way of using imagination to boost your subconscious self-confidence of succeeding and a way of using completely relaxed strength to achieve what you imagined. A way to see and reason clearly, blocking the constant chatter in your mind, and a way of getting the body do the minor adjustments in muscles that matter. Mostly, and especially first, with imagination.
So, what to do with it? You could try this as your first thing. Have someone push you when you stand normally. Do it again, this time imagining a steel ball inside you, hanging off your shoulders and located around your waist. It is really hard to push it any way, but imagine pushing it downwards with all your might. Try taking the push now. Feel the difference? Try pushing it upwards or backwards and take another push. The more you've trained yourself in martial arts, the clearer the feeling should be. In time, you can do this without seemingly moving at all. And that's why people call it mystical energy. Whee, a magical power in your grasp, how's that feeling? :D
So yes, knockouts without touch are a myth. Ki isn't an actual energy to transfer to other. And to hear a master saying "it doesn't work on non-believers" takes off the last piece of plausibility about that. So please, let's not talk about magic anymore.
When you're over the shock about Ki actually being a quite mundane thingie, you could try out an unbendable arm. It's a Ki trick that is very easy to grasp and most people can use it without any kind of former experience.
First, put out your arm and tension it fully, as if trying to make it stone. Have someone bend it (of course the way it should naturally go) with both hands and with constantly increasing force. When it bends, swap places and try it other way too, testing the feeling.
Then relax the arm, shake it a little bit. Get the arm up again, this time using just as much strength you need to keep it there. Reach out, as if trying to grab a tree that's a hundred miles away... Keep your elbow just a bit bended. This time just ignore the bender, just focusing on trying to reach that tree, just trying to get your arm miles long. Have him try again. Feel the difference? That power is Ki. Your inner strength, power of relaxation.
How to use Ki
To actually use ki in a situation is not as simple as doing those few "tricks". Yes, it is the same Ki feeling you use these abilities with but it needs a huge amount of concentration to maintain the feeling in actual combat. Sparring also, but even more in a situation your health or life is threatened. Imagine an angry gangster with a knife charging at you and try relaxing... I think you know what I mean. But that is essential for survival. Not only you can think clearly when relaxed, but also have a whole new level of strength and speed available. If you can use it, that is.
So, I'm now going to tell you how to. First, you need training. If you're doing martial arts just for everyday self defence and have a lot more activities to do, I'd recommend you to stop at the basic level of Ki. This needs time and dedication to reach advanced feats of "Ki masters", taking it from a few months to years even in active training, depending on a person. If you me ask what I can do, I'd answer "I'm at intermediate level, I just learned harm people with it".
Indeed, it is not very hard to harm unaware people with it, but using it as a weapon is a whole new thing. I think I'm learning quite fast, and yet still I have spent almost half a year training on it. This needs time.
So, to reach out and grasp the basics. The very first thing is rooting. I told you before how to train in rooting, and that is the very first key helping on your journey to Ki. I'd say you've grasped the basics when you can easily stand half an hour in that wide riding pose. It took me about three weeks to get a flash how to do it relaxed and then it just like was a whole lot easier. At the time I was doing it only as a leg strengthening exercise. Now it seems I spend about an hour a day just to get the Ki feeling.
So, I could try to explain you how to make it easier to grasp the feeling. Make it easier, I said. It cannot really be taught over, but a "sensei" (Ha, I like calling myself a sensei, that's teacher in English... ^^) can show you a way to experience it.
First get into the pose and be there as long as you feel comfortable. It might be ten minutes, it might be half minute, but just as long you can without getting sweaty and trembling. Then just rest about five minutes, just plain resting.
Then, get into the pose again. This time, rapidly decrease the strength you use to stay in that position so that your legs almost give in. Just when you start to drop, do this again. Continue as long as you can, and you'll probably notice that it is longer than before. So you'll be doing a slight "bouncing" here the whole time. At the first few times you train this way, you could get a day in between to rest, depending on how you feel. After a week or so, you'll notice a difference in time you can stand on the warm-up. After two or three weeks, the difference probably takes a radical leap, as doing this is now a relaxed muscle power. And congatulations. you've just learned to use Ki to strengthen yourself. I still do the exercise after a half year, every day. It keeps getting longer time and some day I'll probably just end up doing it a whole day when I'm bored...
Anyways, when you can do this, you just start doing the normal strength building exercises, using the same kind of passive-active relaxation, which I call the Ki feeling. Soon you'll quite unconsciously do your every movement the same way, drastically increasing your natural reaction time and strength. And this is the phase I've been continuing for about half year before I deemed myself ready to continue on to other abilities. And I suggest you do the same.