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Eye Gouge Study – Technique Of The Week

To many self defense systems, the eye gouge is one of the common go-to moves when protecting yourself from an attacker. Although eye gouging is illegal in MMA, they still happen. Today will be a study on the eye gouge, drawing information from MMA and other sources to improve your self defense game.

Eye gouge UFC

What is an Eye Gouge

An eye gouge is an action to poke an opponent in the eye with the use of a your fingers.

Eye Gouge Techniques

Jeet Kune Do Finger Jab / Eye Jab

In Bruce Lee’s Jeet Kune Do, one technique that is often looked at is the finger jab. A technique slightly modified from Wing Chun’s bui jee.

Bruce Lee’s finger jab is slightly curled with all the fingers flushed together to prevent injury. The execution of this technique is similar to a jab in boxing. Primarily targeting the eyes and trachea of your opponent.

bruce lee finger jab eye gouge

Fu Jow aka Tiger Claw

Fu Jow or tiger claw is maybe one of the most popular techniques taught in women self defense work shops. Fu Jow has a kung fu origin, fingers are spread out and curled to a 45-90 degree angle.

The advantage of the tiger claw is that it covers a wider target area than the finger jab. Below is a video example of a tiger claw eye gouge in what seems to be a “rough and tumble” situation (not a self defense situation).

*Rough and tumble is a fighting style that involves “anything goes,” such as biting, eye gouging, and etc. click here for more information on rough and tumble.

Eye Flick

Technically not an eye gouge, the eye flick is an open back hand technique that involves flicking the back of your fingers towards the opponents eyes. The goal is to cause irritation or minor damage to the eyes while following up for a finish.

Thumb In The Eye

The thumb in the eye is best done after your palm makes contact with your opponents face, then guiding your thumb into the eyes. More useful in the clinch and grappling range.

When & How To Eye Gouge For Self Defense

  • After a stiff arm
  • As an alternative to a stiff arm
  • Off the Pawing Jab
  • While Clinching consider an eye gouge follow up after pushing the head or face when creating space
  • While Grappling only consider eye gouging from a dominate position such as the mount, guard, side control, etc. Don’t rely on eye gouging as a form of escape.
  • As a pre-emptive attack while the threat is still interviewing you as a victim. (as soon as you recognized the assault is viable.)

Stiff Arming & Pawing the Finger Jab

Below is a video highlight of Jon “Bones” Jones Pawing and stiff arming the finger jab. Not sure If they are intentional and accidental, but does provide a good reference on using the finger jab.

Common Reaction After Getting Eye Gouged

An eye gouge should be enough to end an attack or open an opportunity to escape. But for some reason if you need to follow up here are some common reactions after getting eye gouged.

  • Turning away/around
    • Kidney Punch
  • Same side hand tends to rise and cover the damaged eye
    • Kick or punch to the liver
  • Bending forward facing the ground.
    • Rabbit punch (back of the head)
    • Kick or Knee to the face

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Side Kick – Technique Of The Week

The side kick is a kicking technique found in several types of martial arts such as karate, sanda, taekwondo and occasionally in MMA. The side kick is one of the hardest kicks to counter.

“…I’m using my longest weapon, my side kick against the nearest target, your kneecap. This can be compared to your left jab in boxing, except it’s much more damaging.” – Bruce Lee

side kick kick boxing

What is a Side Kick?

A side kick is a thrusting kick, generally thrown from a bladed position (feet pointed to a 90 degree angle) with the lead leg targeting the knee, body, or head of your opponent.

The stationary execution is done by lifting your lead knee towards your chest while pointing the bottom of your foot towards the target. Then extending the leg while rotating your hips and pivoting off the ball of your standing foot (toes pointing away) and landing the kick with the heel. This stationary execution is generally a defensive kick, used when your opponent advances towards your position. Can be used as offensive but usually as a follow up.

Sliding Side Kick

(Sage Northcutt performing a sliding side kick in a MMA match versus Rocky Long)

The sliding side kick is a fast offensive side kick that can cover a lot of distance. The key difference of this kick is using the supporting leg to propel your body forward after you kicking leg leaves the ground. Your supporting leg should follow by sliding across the ground after initiating the momentum of the kick. Thus, giving your kicking leg a head start towards the target while your supporting leg covers the distance.


  • Fast
  • Covers distance
  • Effective for pressuring
  • Efficient as a Head Kick


  • minor damage towards the body

Stepping Side Kick / Crossover Side Kick

(Bruce Lee performing a crossover kick against Chuck Norris in the movie Return Of The Dragon)

The stepping or crossover side kick emphasizes on power. The lead leg performs both the kick and the initial momentum while the supporting leg moves into a closer position before the kicking leg leaves the ground.


  • Power
  • Covers distance
  • Effective for damaging the body


  • Slowest side kick
  • Telegraphic
  • requires more timing

Some Key Points & Other Variations to Consider When Throwing a Side Kick

  • Although the kicking knee rises 1st and then extends towards the target 2nd, the kicking foot should travel in a straightest line possible when side kicking the body or head. Directly from the floor and into the target.
  • For side kicking the knee with more power, raise your foot higher than the target and stomp downwards.
  • Extend your side kick reach by bending your supporting leg when attacking the knee. Angling your leg more horizontally.

Basic Side Kick Set ups

  • back fist or Jab
  • round house kick
  • Straight Right
  • Switch Kick Fake

Basic Follow ups After a Side Kick

  • another side kick
  • back kick
  • spinning back fist

How to Side Kick Video

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Bruce Lee Quotes Be Like Water

For this blog post i gathered all the quotes i can find on Bruce Lee quotes be like water. I listed any Bruce Lee quote that suggest being adaptive or shapeless.

“You must be shapeless, formless, like water. When you pour water in a cup, it becomes the cup. When you pour water in a bottle, it becomes the bottle. When you pour water in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Water can drip and it can crash. Become like water my friend.” – Bruce Lee

“Be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way around or through it. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves.

“When my acute self-consciousness grew to what the psychologists refer to as the “double-bind” type, my instructor would again approach me and say, “Loong, preserve yourself by following the natural bends of things and don’t interfere. Remember never to assert yourself against nature; never be in frontal opposition to any problems, but control it by swinging with it. Don’t practice this week: Go home and think about it.” – Bruce Lee

“After spending many hours meditating and practicing, I gave up and went sailing alone in a junk. On the sea I thought of all my past training and got mad at myself and punched the water! Right then — at that moment — a thought suddenly struck me; was not this water the very essence of gung fu? Hadn’t this water just now illustrated to me the principle of gung fu? I struck it but it did not suffer hurt. Again I struck it with all of my might — yet it was not wounded! I then tried to grasp a handful of it but this proved impossible. This water, the softest substance in the world, which could be contained in the smallest jar, only seemed weak. In reality, it could penetrate the hardest substance in the world. That was it! I wanted to be like the nature of water.

Suddenly a bird flew by and cast its reflection on the water. Right then I was absorbing myself with the lesson of the water, another mystic sense of hidden meaning revealed itself to me; should not the thoughts and emotions I had when in front of an opponent pass like the reflection of the birds flying over the water? This was exactly what Professor Yip meant by being detached — not being without emotion or feeling, but being one in whom feeling was not sticky or blocked. Therefore in order to control myself I must first accept myself by going with and not against my nature.” – Bruce Lee

The natural phenomenon which the gung fu man sees as being the closest resemblance to wu wei [the principle of spontaneous action governed by the mind and not the senses] is water:

Nothing is weaker than water,
But when it attacks something hard
Or resistant, then nothing withstands it,
And nothing will alter its way. – Lao Tzu


The above passages from the Tao Te Ching illustrate to us the nature of water: Water is so fine that it is impossible to grasp a handful of it; strike it, yet it does not suffer hurt; stab it, and it is not wounded; sever it, yet it is not divided. It has no shape of its own but molds itself to the receptacle that contains it. When heated to the state of steam it is invisible but has enough power to split the earth itself. When frozen it crystallizes into a mighty rock. First it is turbulent like Niagara Falls, and then calm like a still pond, fearful like a torrent, and refreshing like a spring on a hot summer’s day. So is the principle of wu wei:

The rivers and seas are lords of a hundred valleys. This is because their strength is in lowliness; they are kings of them all. So it is that the perfect master wishing to lead them, he follows. Thus, though he is above them, he follows. Thus, though he is above them, men do not feel him to be an injury. And since he will not strive, none strive with him.

Be Like Water: The Philosophy and Origin of Bruce Lee’s Famous Metaphor for Resilience

“Adapt what is useful, reject what is useless, and add what is specifically your own.”
― Bruce Lee

“Mistakes are always forgivable, if one has the courage to admit them.”
― Bruce Lee

“If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.”
― Bruce Lee

“If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done.”
― Bruce Lee

“Always be yourself, express yourself, have faith in yourself, do not go out and look for a successfull personality and duplicate it.”
― Bruce Lee

“Not being tense but ready.
Not thinking but not dreaming.
Not being set but flexible.
Liberation from the uneasy sense of confinement.
It is being wholly and quietly alive, aware and alert, ready for whatever may come.”
― Bruce Lee

“Notice that the stiffest tree is most easily cracked, while the bamboo or willow survives by bending with the wind.”
― Bruce Lee

“Take things as they are. Punch when you have to punch. Kick when you have to kick.”
― Bruce Lee

“Using no way as a way, having no limitation as limitation.”
― Bruce Lee

“Don’t get set into one form, adapt it and build your own, and let it grow, be like water.”
― Bruce Lee

“The idea is that flowing water never goes stale, so just keep on flowing.”
― Bruce Lee

“If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves. Moving, be like water. Still, be like a mirror. Respond like an echo. ”
― Bruce Lee

“Obey the principles without being bound by them.”
― Bruce Lee

“The less effort, the faster and more powerful you will be.”
― Bruce Lee

“Take no thought of who is right or wrong or who is better than. Be not for or against.”
― Bruce Lee

“Set patterns, incapable of adaptability, of pliability, only offer a better cage. Truth is outside of all patterns.”
― Bruce Lee

“If you follow the classical pattern, you are understanding the routine, the tradition, the shadow — you are not understanding yourself.”
― Bruce Lee,

“Bring the mind into sharp focus and make it alert so that it can immediately intuit truth, which is everywhere. The mind must be emancipated from old habits, prejudices, restrictive thought processes and even ordinary thought itself.”
― Bruce Lee

“In the middle of chaos lies opportunity–Bruce Lee”
― Bruce Lee

“Emotion can be the enemy, if you give into your emotion, you lose yourself. You must be at one with your emotions, because the body always follows the mind.”
― Bruce Lee

Bruce Lee Images & Quotes
Bruce Lee Jeet Kune Do: 5 Ways Of Attack

Bruce Lee Quotes Be Like Water

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15 Sparring Tips – Fight Skills Development

Sparring tips

Use Your Peripheral

The peripheral is the vision outside of the focus point, mostly from the sides of the eyes. It detects motion much quicker and it improving the response time. Don’t look at the eyes, hands, or even at the target your attacking. Stare through the center (usually the chest) and not at it. This will almost put everything in peripheral.

Slightly Raise Your Eye Brows

Raising your eyebrow helps increase perceptual attention. Increasing your ability to interpret any attacks or opportunities to attack.

First Defense Should Be Moving Your Legs

Using your legs has a higher percentage of successfully defending attacks than blocking or slipping. The goal is to be out of reach.

Hit First, Hit Fast, Hit Last

Action is faster than reaction. look for opportunities to hit first. And be cautious in not getting countered in the process.

Always Stay in Motion, Either Your Legs or Your Body

Constant movement makes you harder to hit. Moving laterally, in and out, and changing levels will not only make you harder to hit but may create opportunities to attack.

Let it Hit By It Self

Avoid mental processing which will delay response time or sabotage the opportunity. Be patient and when the time comes it hit all by itself.

Set Goals

Always set goals in sparring. It can be trying new stuff or improving the old ones. Goals give you motivation, focus, and allows you to measure progress.

80% Go-to & 20% Experiment

When sparring make sure you keep improving your A-game while also experimenting on new ideas or techniques. I recommend keeping it 80/20 to avoid altering the good habits you already built.

Keep it Honest

Don’t matter who you spar, keep it honest. Give nothing and take everything. This will help you prioritize your attention on attacking and the ability to take advantage of every opportunity. But you don’t have to hit hard, just execute at every opportunity. This will also keep a healthy perspective of what works and what needs more work.

Relax the Power, Practice the Technique

A good rule of thumb is to match your partners intensity. Keep it around 70% power. focus on technique, timing, and speed.

Spar with Hammers

This is related to keeping it honest. sparring a few of these will help keep a healthy perspective of what works and what needs more work. Remember, real gold don’t fear the fire. This is an essential part to getting better.


No matter who you spar, you got to believe in what you got. Lack of confidence will only degrade your performance. Always respect your failures and seek to improve them but also accept them and move on.

Conserve your Energy

No matter how much stamina you have you don’t have an endless supply. Relax and pace yourself. If you are sparring in fatigue state most of the time, you will develop bad habits.

Don’t Unleash the Hulk

Your training partners are your friends. If you keep hurting them, no one will want to train with you.

Log & Analyze

Log your rounds and also analyze on how you did in sparring everyday. Write down your success and failures. This will help you review and analyze on what works and what needs work.  I usually do this in a digital form and email it to myself.

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10 Sparring Games for Boxing And Kickboxing

Sparring games - boxing and kickboxingSparring Games help focus on specific attributes for fighting in order to accelerate improvement. By isolating a specific situation we are able to target specific skills to develop in a faster rate than just trying to improve them in regular sparring.

Jab only – Spar only using the jab.

  • Jab only sparring is great for beginners. In the intermediate and advance stages this is a great templates to start adding different sub-games such as timing counters or take downs against the jab. Also can use other techniques, like leg kicks only or side kicks only.

Shoulder Tag – Try to tag the shoulder or knee. using hands only

  • Shoulder/knee tag is also great for beginners. It helps to develop cat-like reflexes and footwork.

Hands low / No blocking – spar with out blocking. Use your legs

  • No blocking sparring game helps develop distance management and how to rely on your legs for for offense and defense.

Hands Up Mid- Close Range Only – stay in the pocket, keep your hands up, Throw combinations.

  • Mid-close range sparring game helps accelerate the experience of fighting close. It will tighten up defenses as well as offense.

Offense vs Defense – One person stays on offense and the other defense

  • This game mostly helps the defender on transitioning to different defensive techniques. Defender can stay stationary or rely on their legs for most of the defense.

Offense vs Counter – One person stays offense and the other defense/countering.

  • This game helps both sides but mostly the attacker. Tightening up Offense while considering defense during and after.

Counter for Counter – exchange attacks one at a time. Should be constant and non-stop.

  • This game helps improve counters for both fighters. Constant back and forth non-stop helps avoid mental processing and develop better habits of reacting improving fighter’s intuition. Game can also be with any numbers of attack at a time, such as counter in 2s or 3s.

Kickboxing vs Boxing – kickboxing should primarily use kicks while boxing needs to close the gap.

  • This game is about distance management. While the kickboxer works on maintaining distance the boxer works on closing the distance.

Boxing vs Clinching/take downs – One person stays on offense while other defense/clinch/takedown.

  • This game works on takedown defense while punching, as well as patience & timing while the defender is aiming for a takedown or clinch.

Boxing with Takedowns – both fighters box with take downs.

  • This game works on takedown offense and defense awareness while throwing punches. Developing takedown set-ups and trying to find the right distance while punching.

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