Give ‘Em the Ol’ One-Two

The first piece of actual (as opposed to pretend) violence instruction I ever recieved came from an elder stevedore named Don. Don was built like a couple of barrels of beef jerky lashed together with steel packing straps. Solid, gnarled, experienced. He was one of the black belts at the karate school I attended as a teenager. We were in the entry area getting a drink from the fountain after a particularly rousing sparring session involving leg sweeps; Don looked around and motioned for my brother and I to come closer. Satisfied no one else was in ear shot, he leaned in and said:

“Now you boys listen to me and you listen good–if you’re ever really in the EXPLETIVE you forget everything we’ve been doing here and you just stomp his EXPLETIVE knee has hard as you EXPLETIVE can. You got that?”

My brother and I went pale with shock.

“Don’t screw around with that leg-sweep nonsense, you just stomp his EXPLETIVE knee. Got it?”

We swallowed and nodded.

Needless to say, I was stunned. Everything up to this point had been about technique, coordination, timing and so on. This was the first time I’d heard anything so direct, stupid-simple and obviously awful. I mean, stomping on someone’s knee as hard as you can? That can’t end well… for him.

As it turns out, Don was right. It works great. And it puts him, an injured man with a broken leg, in the perfect position for a kick to the head. As hard as you can.

That’s how easy it is to do violence. Stupid-simple easy.

I spent a decent chunk of my hour mat time yesterday doing nothing but

1) stomp to the knee
2) kick to the head

It turns out that not only are there lots of ways to get that done, but it’s deeply satisfying to boot. (Pun intended.)

At the first sign of trouble you simply stomp the nearest knee into the dirt, tearing it out and putting the man down. Then, as if continuing to walk forward, you simply kick him in the head as hard as you can. You want to get the maximum acceleration of the head (for concussion) and bounce it off the pavement to keep him down.

The ease, effectiveness and satisfaction of ‘stomping through him’ by stepping twice really wrecks the idea that violence is challenging, takes coordination and training to do.

(I suppose the opposite of ‘style’ is ‘pure ugly’.)

I’m afraid to say that the way it felt, looked, and ended with so little effort will be what I’ll think of from now on every time someone goes on about technique, this or that style, countering, etc. In other words, anyone who wants to build violence up to be only for the elite, fit, coordinated and highly-trained.

I think the Ol’ One-Two would make a great ‘Ultimate Self-Defense’ pamphlet… or a sign posted in areas where violence may occur, much in the same way they put those Heimlich maneuver posters up in restaurants in NYC…


Tim Larkin

Self-Protection Expert & Founder of Target Focus Training
Author of When Violence Is The Answer

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