To Win in Combat, Fight Dirty and Break the Rules

Jon Jones throws a reverse spinning elbow. Jon Jones throws a reverse spinning elbow.

I’ve been watching a lot of MMA lately. In the last three days I’ve watched all of Jon Jones’ professional fights, in order (he’s the UFC light heavyweight champion, for those who don‘t follow).

In the process I’ve noted fight-stopping moves that are illegal and can result in disqualification. These include:

  • Fingers in the eyes. A fighter is given up to five minutes to recover after an accidental finger in the eye.
  • Punches or kicks to the groin. Again, the fighter gets a five minute recovery, and sometimes even that is not enough and the fight is ruled a disqualification or no contest.
  • “12 to 6” elbows, i.e. downward strikes with the point of the elbow. Jon Jones’ only loss was a fight that he was actually winning, but he was disqualified when he delivered a series of 12-6 elbows that injured his opponent’s shoulder and lacerated his nose.
  • Headbutts to the face. These can open big cuts on the face.
MMA fighter incapacitated by an illegal groin kick.

MMA fighter incapacitated by an illegal groin kick.

The following are also illegal, and result in warnings to the fighter and possible points taken away:

  • Kicks to a downed opponent.
  • Knees to the top of the head.
  • Any kind of strike to the back of the head.
  • Fishhooking.

The above strikes are banned for two reasons:

  1. Some, like fingers in the eyes and groin strikes, can end fights instantly. Fans don’t want that. They want to see extended periods of brutal punching, kicking and grappling.
  2. Some can cause permanent injury or brain damage.

What does that tell you? That when you’re fighting for your life, these are exactly the moves you want to use.

Other “dirty” moves that are legal in MMA and seem to be particularly effective:

* Uppercuts to the liver.
* Kicks to the front of the knee (there’s been talking of banning these due to the danger of hyperextension).
* Elbow strikes to the eye, temple or jaw.
* Throwing an opponent onto his head.

If we are training for self-defense, we should try to incorporate these moves into our repertoires as much as possible. In a true self defense situation, your goal is not to “fight fair” or be sporting. It is to survive and go home to your family.

Safe training!

Wael Abdelgawad, Founder
Hammerhead Hapkido

1 Comment

  1. The one time I’ve been knocked out in my life, it was a groin kick when I was 18 or 19 years old. Hits to the face and body, on the other hand, have never fazed me.

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