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Misdirection may be thought of by some people as a form of deceit, or as a dirty trick. But the rules of decency don´t usually prevail in the street, and if a dirty trick makes the difference between winning and losing, between being hurt and not being hurt, finishing a lifetime blinded or paralyzed or not, then the trick should be considered.

The most well known concept of misdirection is used jokingly to tell the opponent that his shoelace is untied. When he looks down (as he always does in the jokes), you attack. The magician may use misdirection by causing spectators to look at one hand while it is the other hand which is secretly manipulating a coin to cause it to appear or disappear.

In a street fight misdirection may be used to momentarily attract the attacker´s attention or concentration. It might be an ugly facial expression or sudden distracting mannerism, or a glance in another direction. It might be turning your back on the opponent as if to leave rather than to fight, while actually delivering a rear kick. It might be forcefully throwing coins or a handkerchief into his face in the hope of causing him to lift his hands, preparing him for your attack to his midsection--or to give you an extra second or two to run and escape. It might be a feint of one fist upward towards his face as a side kick is being delivered into his mid section. Spitting in your opponent´s face, or even spitting on the ground, might misdirect his thinking long enough to provide a chance for your attack. Moving quickly backwards may cause him to follow without thinking of his attack, feeling you have fear, and then you attack. Pretending that you are without defense or that you are afraid, but being ready for his attack when he decides that you are going to be easy, or pretending you are drunk.

Whatever strategy that your opponent does not expect forces him to take time to condition his mind to a new set of circumstances. Use your own imagination to devise other misdirection techniques if you feel comfortable with their use. Surprises of misdirection are as effective in street fights as they are in the strategy of armies at war. Misdirection may help you as you strive to do the unexpected.

Practice distractions just like you practice other fighting techniques. Techniques of misdirection (all techniques, in fact) MUST be followed-up by other fierce techniques and/or combinations of techniques.


If you think you can depend on one single attack in a fight you may be in for a big surprise. The body of your attacker can be very durable during the stressful situation of a street fight, and your attacker can withstand a great deal of pain and damage while still being able to continue the fight and to inflict injury on you. A single punch or kick, no matter how powerful, may not do the intended job.

For that reason, each of your attacks should be followed up by another attack, and then another, until your attacker is on the ground, and then continue with grappling techniques until he stops fighting or gives up.. Even then it may be necessary to continue with more follow up attacks to prevent him from getting up and possibly injuring you.

This is a RULE which must be followed. When techniques are described here involve only one or two movements, it is up to you to realize that you are expected to develop follow up movements. Kenpo and Jukensa styles of fighting, among others, are centered around this concept, and it is an important concept for street fighting.

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Last modified July 1, 2003

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