Counter Attacks

Counter Attacks

Counter attacks are essential for all self defense systems. The main reason to use a counter attack is to stop or intercept an incoming attack. If an attacker is about to launch an attack at you and you defend it without a using a counter attack, you will most likely be attacked again. Even the most skilled fighters will not be able to defend every attack; Nor is it safe to attempt to defend every attack. If we look at the same situation and defend the attack, while sending a counter attack with little delay, you can stop the attack or at the very least, pause your opponent for a fraction of a second, which is extremely useful in the context of survival.


How do we enhance our counter attacks to optimize our self-defense skills?



Conditioning can increase your power in a quick and explosive manor, which is extremely important for generating a good counter attack. Having endurance to fight as aggressively as possible for a few seconds is important. It is also important to be conditioned to keep fighting for longer durations as we often don’t know how long the fight will last. Conditioning also includes creating a stronger connection between the mind and body. As your coordination improves through conditioning, your body can adapt better to changes and it will allow your body and mind to work as one in every strike you send, which then optimizes your power. Conditioning for reactivity and awareness is also extremely important because it will allow you to react as soon as possible and fire a powerful counter attack.



When training, it is important to learn to send a wide variety of counter attacks that can be used at various ranges and angles. It is important because you can never be sure until the situation arises what strike will be best for the space and target that is presented. Learning to align your body while using as many muscles as possible for each strike will combine your conditioning and technique to get the most out of your potential power.



Where you strike your opponent will strongly influence the effectiveness of your counter attack. If you punch your opponent in a muscular area, such as the peck muscles of the upper chest, you will have a far weaker reaction, than if you send a finger strike to your opponent’s eyes. Besides being able to find the most direct way to attack these vulnerable targets, it is also important to be able to track those targets since your opponent will most likely be moving as they are attacking you or reacting from your last counter attack.



When you send a strike to your opponent, it can change everything. If you strike your opponent when they do not detect it, such as mid-sentence of talking, from an unexpected angle, striking when they look away or are distracted, or covering your opponent’s eyes, will create a much more extreme reaction and they will not be able to brace for it. We want the first counter attack you send to stop the fight or at least give you and your loved one time to escape. Realistically we cannot expect it nor can we train for the best outcomes. Imagine you are sucker punched, first you must recover and reorient to defend the next attack. Now imagine you just sent a powerful counter attack that seemed to pause your opponent, it is now essential that you proceed with aggressive counter attacks until you stop them from attacking you. Remember why we are learning self defense. It is to survive an attack, so once we have the opportunity to escape we should take it.

Fighting Spirit

Having a fighter’s mentality is probably one of the most important qualities you can have in a self defense situation. No matter how bad the situation may be, we must always look straight to the goal of survival. This means there may be an attack that hits us before we can see it or react to it. We cannot have any thought of failure. Every attack that comes next will hinder our ability to defend future attacks. There may be a time where you need to only focus on striking your opponent back.

Flaws in Training

Flaws in training sounds like a bad thing, but if there were no flaws, every training session would end in debilitating injures. Think of the following scenario: you are practicing an outside block and you follow it up with a fast counter attack to your partner’s face. You will most likely be pulling the punch, meaning that you are pulling it back before you reach full extension to your opponent. In this case, the flaw in training is your distance or not following through with your strike. With sparring, the flaws are most likely due to wearing protective gear and going slower than full speed. These flaws are completely necessary for keeping you and your training partner safe. It is a good idea to be very aware of these flaws and alternate them, so you do not start relying on them and end up developing habits that do not serve you in fighting and self defense.

There are no sure things in fighting and self defense. As a self defense practitioner, we must constantly train in ways that give us as many advantages as possible because they will directly affect the efficiency that you can protect yourself and your family.


Train hard and be safe!

Cal Garbini

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