Sunday, August 1, 2010

Practical Street Hubud

"Hubud"(aka Hubud/Lubud or Hubud Higut Lubud) is a term that comes from the Filipino Martial Arts,the Indonesian Martial Arts and exists in most Martial Arts in one form or another even if many of it's practitioner's are aware of it.It translates as "to tie,to untie & blend" and is generally a method used to "get to the outside" although the "tying" & refer to one hand tying or untying into the action of the other,but there are many similar techniques(which I explain below)that are essentially the same as Hubud,but don't really fit into what many would call Hubud,so don't get bogged down by semantics.The OUTSIDE is a relative term and You be to the outside of just the arm,or to the outside of their stance/overall position usually referring to be to the outside of the lead leg in a staggered/bladed stance looking to get to the "Blindspot as it's called in Sabaki(notes at bottom).If they are in a Neutral stance either side of an arm is the outside.Getting the outside of of the lead leg against a staggered stance allows You to get to the blindspot or behind them easier,so look for methods and variations that allow You to do that.Even against a rear hand punch,You can still move to the overall outside by checking or grabbing the lead hand that would likely be in a guard/bent position to get to get to overall outside.The Expanded Hubud Concepts should give You different idea's on how to do this. And remember that anytime You or they step,it may change the relationship of what is & isn't the overall positional outside by switching which foot is forward.

Hubud and variations of it have very broad applications for the self-defense exponent and I personally consider it more of a dynamic defensive movement that you use to try to achieve a superior position compared with simply a defensive movement such as a slapping parry and in this context is how you should look at Hubud to understand when,where & how it can & should be employed.Even though the majority of your defensive actions will likely be orthodox parries,blocks,slips & distance control preferably combined with a counter,the Hubud concept will only enhance your defense capabilities giving another effective option providing you understand it's proper use.

Although primarily designed as a technique for stick & knife fighting which the Filipino Martial Arts specialize in,there are also empty hand methods that will serve you just as well and many techniques & tactics already being used in MMA,Boxing,Wrestling and other unarmed systems are essentially the same concept as Hubud.While it can be effectively applied just about anywhere,it is especially applicable in any circumstances where You are moving toward the opponent,He is moving toward You or You are moving towards each other simultaneously or "clashing" and You must defend against an attack although the movements are just as applicable(the concept of it/underlying principle of it with some modification/"tweaking" of pattern,order,movement i.e. How to do the usual execution method you'll normally find taught or described)to using them to pull self around to particular position or them off balance,general control & position.When Your in motion trying to get to the side/outside/blindside of the opponent Hubud can be used in combination with duck unders,go behind type movements.The ideal concept it to set-up and control the opponent so well that You can get to blindside/behind them without even having to use defensive measures such as parries,blocks or Hubud,never giving them the time,distance or angle to launch an effective attack,but that is an ideal concept not necessarily the likely or realistic one even though it certainly is possible and does happen relatively often.Remember we're talking about very compressed/short time frames that You have to react/act.

The most common/traditional way of doing the empty hand Hubud drill is performing a outside rising block against a downward strike and then bringing the opposite hand across and underneath to "pass" or cross body that trapped arm.Do a search for Hubud and or Hubud/Lubud and you'll find articles on this drill.Southnarc has a PSP showing progressive sequence with pictures on his website at

The traditional method serves a purpose,but not real useful in an unarmed defense scenario in how the drill is usually done although the ability to defend from the inside is ESSENTIAL especially against close range circular attacks. Michael Janich in one among other Reality based Instructors Who promote what is usually called "Instinctive Hubud" which is simply an evolved form of the traditional drill.In this method the outside rising block is replaced with an outside in parry,but the second hand crossing over remains the same.So,against a right cross,you would........

1.parry the punch inside with your left hand.
2.bring your right hand across and under your parrying arm tracking up his arm and passing it across his body.That hand traps/checks his punching arm against while you counter with the other hand.

Keep in mind that this is all done is one fluid motion with the intent to get to his outside.This is the basic sequence for the evolved hubud drill and although it might very well work in this fashion,you need understand that you'll probably need to tweak it to adapt to whatever you might encounter.Although the concept stays the same,the technique itself may need to be altered rather significantly to be effective.You can "expand" the Hubud concept almost infinitely incorporating it into other types of defense techniques modifying it adapting/adjusting it to different scenarios.May be not be what most,but essentially is the same idea or concept just links or associations between various methods.

For example:People don't leave their punches extended and allow you to grab it and knock it around in multiple directions as many practice in Traditional Karate Schools.Most people snap or retract their punches making it very difficult to actually grab ahold it.In the case of Hubud,it may be retracted even before the passing/checking hand even gets there or is retracted so that contact is lost.This is what actually very likely to happen(especially if a lead hand jab) and all you do is simply follow it in to it's chambered position.Against a slow off-balance over-extended cross that many untrained people sometimes throw,you very may be able to pick it up using the regular drill.

But,what if the rear cross is a wide hooking or looping type of type which may be difficult or impractical to parry to the inside due to your location or it's particular trajectory plus remember that it is these type of punches that are most commonly encountered in the majority of real fights and defense scenarios and can make it difficult to get to the outside especially in one step and You'll usually need to defend from the inside first and then control,parry,pass get to the outside.Against circular punches,variations/modifications of the traditional method of Hubud can come into play although a rising/outward type block is often substituted with a shield block(touch hand to ear covering that side of your head as you often see in MMA & you can filter Hubud through the MMA Matrix for a different perspective) although at farther distances and You see the attack early, a more extended or even "proactive" defense is usually better(jams,stop-hits,parries etc.) .You can use an outside in parry(relative to Your own body) or even shoulder jam,etc.but I find it to be comparatively inefficient especially with the rear hand if in a bladed stance.If You do use such a technique which can never really be ruled out as a viable option to a given specific circumstance or just as a dynamic that happens,You want to keep the arm and/or elbow high to protect against their other hand and be ready to raise it or invert it(elbow or whole arm) to cover/shield against their other hand.You normally don't want to obstruct vision( but may have to at least momentarily to effect a successful defense)and can avoid that by raising elbow high/inverted & see over forearm or raise whole arm and peek under. Also Search/Research Micheal Janichs "Bela Legosi" as well as the concept of  "Brush & Grab" for broadend variations of the concept of Hubud.

  It is at the further distances in which You 'd prefer to defend by controlling the distance,angles and timing allowing You much greater options and an easier time getting to the outside or escaping and remember that toe-to-to is not where we want to be and the hot zone is a place to merely be traveled through momentarily and even then ideally with set-ups,their on the defensive(You always ready to defend at anytime still),positioning in such a way that they never develop the angle to launch effective strikes.

In MMA or when you get caught(didn't/couldn't control distance etc.) having to defend a fast combination of punches,you may not be able to actually use a hubud technique that really resembles how it's usually taught & executed in standard drills and that's perfectly fine & to be expected.Sometimes Hubud may not be possible at the immediate time and you defend using only one side defensive techniques(parries,shields,blocks,jams etc.)while countering.If you get surprised by a right cross,you might only be able to parry/slap it to the inside and the front hook is already on it's way and you have to shield block with the other hand.If you look at the movement of parrying the cross and bringing up the arm shield against the side of the'll notice that it is really essentially Hubud or what I like to call "Expanded Hubud" since it is taking the concept of Hubud and expanding it for broader applications as well as incorporating it with more orthodox methods(Don't get overly concerned with labels)and seeing or making associations or connections and commonality between techniques which aren't usually considered connected,linked or alike.Not as tight as the drill is normally taught,but nonetheless the mechanics of the movement are virtually identical or at least essentially the same.So,drill it this way as well since that's a likely way you'll actually apply it.

If you do a Hubud type of movement and it fails,you should be able to flow into something else.If for example you parry inside and try to "tie in"/grab/check etc. with the opposite hand,but they are already ahead of you and launching a punch with the other hand,the missed "tie in" hand can simply flow into a parry or shield block etc.Your movements should flow & be natural.You can "swim" the arm inside as the Gracies teach and jam the punch with your hand at the Bicep or simply do a Shoulder Stop as a substitute for either side.Proper execution of the shield is to use angles & movement so that it is more of a parry,redirection or deflection because You really don't want to take the direct force and impact of a strike or kick even on the arms.This is pretty much true of any defensive counter-measure as You want to incorporate evasiveness and multiple back up defensive layers to them.
You then can do the crossover technique.What you do with your cross over hand is unlimited.You could simply grab their clothing and spin them or use it as leverage to pull yourself around to their outside and even backside.A pulling motion would likely simultaneously spin them as well as helping you move around them and take their back.You might strike,shoot for the legs etc. depending on the context.Hubud type movement do/should blend with your other defensive movements like slipping,evading and even bobbing & weaving to provide redundant/back-up safeguards should you mess up your timing,balance or set-ups.

The initial parry can take on many different forms depending on the dynamics of the punch the attacker is throwing.Against a "ballistic" punch where they have committed/over-committed their weight into it,you might be able to totally redirect it and off balance them cross body.Or,they may throw a very controlled snapping punch where your parry is more of just a slap.You may just slap parry and reset although it's normally better to counter or do something to better your position,slap parry & counter or slap parry & perform some type of Hubud style movement into another technique.You may do one or the other multiple time and in any combinations.Any time you do a lengthy redirected parry,keep in mind your defensive capabilities and where you might be vulnerable.The elbow of the arm that's doing the parry can be raised in front of the face or even angled up to defend that side.The opposite hand can be brought across in a type of open X or layered/stacked type guard that you often see in Boxing(especially when on the defensive or against flurries and quick combinations) to act as a redundant/back up block,trap,lever or to attack and can work & blend very well incorporated with the Expanded Hundud Concept.However,if your parrying a punch to the inside(putting you on the outside),then your outer side is not a likely target(although they might double up on their dominant side and many people only throw power punches from the rear hand using the front hand to time/gauge distance or grab)and it would probably be better if that hand was positioned elsewhere(such as on it's natural side ready to defend the likely punch from their opposite hand).But,you move & position based on their movements,so be flexible in your responses & have options.

You can end up on the inside(in between their arms)at any point during a fight and sometimes that might be where you were trying to get depending on what tactics & techniques your employing,but keep in mind that at any point and on either side,you can use the Hubud concept to slip to either outside.You might parry or block and then have to parry/block with the crossover hand.This could happen several times.The crossover hand may also come across with the elbow out and up high and shoulder raised for protection although it's unlikely they should have time to get another punch off,but you never know and you might simply screw up.Also,there is nothing wrong with the direct approach either as you could parry or block the first punch(either inside or out doesn't matter)and strike them with the crossover hand and then go into the passing movement.If your strike does enough damage,then simply follow up.If it doesn't,then you'll be in a much better position to launch an offense than if you had stayed in the pocket.A simultaneous offensive movement when executing a defensive movement is ideal under most circumstances.
Also don't forget that you can always clinch,uppercut,throw,takedown,elbow etc.if your on the inside.You don't HAVE to be on the outside or take their back,it just a better position.And were talking momentary transitory positions of control and advantage to escape or finish since you must grapple or grab to full control someones movement for any duration.

The concept of Hubud is extremely useful to Police Officer since they have to deal with all kinds of aggression,gain control & yet must retain a great deal of restraint themselves.MMA offers much,but at the same time is not in proper context for the LEO who might encounter guns,knives and sticks as well as gun grab attempts to their weapon.

Hubud is not some end all be all technique that will make you an unbeatable warrior for such techniques do not truly exist.I use to word concept repeatedly to emphasize just using Hubud as a guideline to explore different methods and variations rather than getting locked into an exact way of doing something.It should flow smoothly with everything else you do,if it doesn't,then tweak it so that it does. Hubud is a fantastic tool to add to your defensive toolbox,but keep it's limitations in perspective and make it your own by being adaptive and tailor it for you and the specific scenario at hand.Drill it until you can respond instinctively and with the appropriate method selection.Play around with different ideas such as using elbows etc. and just generally mixing it up.Also,don't get hung up on the term "Hubud" since all it is a label to use as a reference.Don't become overly concerned about what is or isn't Hubud or technical definition of where it starts or stops.That is the domain of those pursuing traditional or classical Martial Arts.Don't box yourself in with labels,organizing or classifying techniques.Free yourself from such indoctrination and keep a open & flowing mind.
As Bruce Lee made the said in the Tao of Jeet Kune Do....."Before I studied the Art,a punch to me was just a punch,a kick was just a kick.After I studied the art,a punch was no longer a punch and a kick no longer a kick.Now that I understand the art,a punch is just a punch and the kick just a kick."

Ideally it is best to not have to defend(parry,block,jam,shield)at all by controlling the distance,using timing and effectively setting up your opponent so that He doesn't have time to counter.You usually never go into(especially stay)toe-to-toe/face to face/nose-to-nose(in punching range) with a capable/able(one that can hit back) opponent unless you have done something to hinder or completely nullify(even if momentary) his ability to hit you(by setting up-bait,distractions,feints/you in advantageous position-him in bad one[temporary(transitional positional or angle for technique and/or to finish or to "permanent"control)or Permanent(holds,pins,locks etc. or finish-He can't launch effective offense,or counters or too injured to fight back],angles,positioning,slipping,parrying,trapping,jamming etc.)and would only stay in that range if you have the opponent hurt and are finishing the fight.Otherwise,you stay outside and either escape or enter(close)with the intent to gain a superior position for control and/or end the fight and should always be looking to achieve that and any defensive methods you have to do(in & out of that range) are done in transition to something else.

NOTE* Enshin Karates Sabaki Method of getting to the Blind spot is getting to the side or back behind the the lead leg AND lead leg.Usually done by parrying the lead hand,grabbing it taking it cross-body.With a front leg sweep.Combination grab lead hand,sweep lead leg and move to the outside and behind shifting and/or turning stepping/essentially step and then C-step or in a spiraling or rotating movement.