This is one of the most common questions parents ask me  when they try to help their child practice.

Believe it or not, there is a method to this madness and there is a secret code to all of the strange names.

All of the self-defense techniques have been given names as memory devices, rather than just numbering each technique. It is much easier for a student to remember Grip of Death than technique #15.

The names of the techniques should evoke some part of the technique sequence to facilitate recall.

For example, most students readily recall the self-defense technique, Scraping Hoof, because they all remember that that is the technique where you stomp on the attacker’s feet.

Once the student remembers part of the technique sequence, the rest usually falls into place.

Here’s one more example that might clarify a little about the names and why we use them.

In the Phase 1, Beginner Curriculum, there are 22 different self-defense techniques.

However, there are only three self-defense techniques that contain the name, sword — Delayed Sword, Sword of Destruction, and Obscure Sword.

This fact precludes students from trying to remember one of 22 self-defense techniques, and allows them to whittle down that number to only one of three possible techniques.

Of these three self-defense techniques, the student can then group them as follows: Obscure Sword is the one where the person grabs you from behind, while Delayed Sword and Sword of Destruction are both defenses against punches. Then, it’s just a matter of remembering which one is for a right punch (Delayed Sword) and which one is for a left punch (Sword of Destruction).

Grouping the techniques by code name in this way, as your child learns them, will heighten retention and accelerate recall.

Below is a quick reference of many of the common code names for the self-defense techniques:

  • Sword = Hand sword, chop
  • Wing = Elbow
  • Twins = Both hands
  • Hammer = Hammer-fist
  • Storm = Club
  • Mason = Fist, specifically the knuckles
  • Kimono = Lapel grabs or grabbing your shirt
  • Death = Any attack that chokes, strangles, or is a lethal technique
  • Salute = Heel palm strike
  • Twigs = Arms
  • Leaves = Fingers
  • Branches = Legs
  • Feathers = Hair
  • Pendulum =  Downward Block
  • Obscure and Darkness  = Whenever the attacker cannot see you or your strike
  • Ram = Tackle
  • Compulsion = Whenever the attacker forces you to move
  • Claw =  5 finger heel palm claw strike
  • Cross = Whenever you cross the attackers arms
  • Crane = One-leg stance
  • Prongs = Thumb strikes
  • Talon = Wrist Grabs
  • Lance = Knife
  • Rod = Gun
  • Sacrifice = Giving something up, such as your position
  • Spear = Spearhead strike
  • Fans = Parries
  • Shield = Block

This should make practice, recall and, ultimately, performance, a little easier.