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.
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.
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.
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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