People are particularly vulnerable to counter-attack at either the initiation or the termination of their attack. Therefore, it is essential to protect your center at both of these instances. Protecting the center during punching is mainly achieved through the action of the trailing hand. There are two ways to accomplish this:
- If the attacking lead hand is to be returned to chamber, then the trailing hand should move through a slight arc crossing the centerline prior to returning lead hand to chamber.
- The lead hand can be used to protect the head or body protection simultaneously with the punch as in combat or competition fighting. In this case, the lead hand is not returned to chamber but finishes by the side of the face or chest after arcing across the center.
Protecting the center during kicking is also important. In addition to the general vulnerability at the commencement and termination of a kick, there is an added complication of being solely supported on one or no feet during the kicking. Protecting the center during kicking is usually achieved in the following two ways:
- Maintain a central closed guard position with the hands throughout the duration of the kick. Hand positions will need to change sides depending on which leg is being used. The only time to use an open guard position is when you want to lure an opponent into attacking you at the opening.
- Raise the knee of the kicking leg high enough to afford protection to the abdomen.