Interested in the weaponless techniques martial artists use? Given you are the Game Master, knowing key martial arts moves can greatly expand your storytelling through reliable details. There are several basic moves that any fighter can make great use of to turn the tide of the fight in their favor. Let's lay them all out.
1) Punches/Hand Strikes
Knife Hand: Commonly known as the "karate chop", this is done by striking with the pinky side of an open hand. The palm is either up or down. It targets the neck, kneecap, wrist, etc. Devastating for an opponent, but keeps the attacker's hand safe from injury.
Palm: The entire hand can be either open or have the fingertips folded. You thrust out to hit with the bottom of your palm. Good target areas include the nose and jaw. It isn't too damaging, but it throws an opponent off balance.
Hammerfist: Use the "padded" bottom of your clenched fist and swing as though you're wielding a hammer. It's highly effective against the back of the skull, the nose, wrist, etc.
Straight Punch: Also known as a "cross,” the straight punch packs a good deal of power. It's thrown using the rear hand, and it can be used to target numerous areas from the head to the torso. This move is fast and can render an opponent dazed and gravely injured.
2) Elbow Strikes
Downward Strike: With this, your elbow is brought up as high as possible, then brought down in again and again, in rapid succession. It's a dangerous technique as it mainly targets the skull and the back.
Rear Strike: Best used when an opponent is coming from behind, your elbow is thrown backwards, targeting the ribs, head, etc.
Front Strike: A common move that has you swinging your elbow forward. It's best used to immobilize an opponent while grappling.
Front Kick: One of the most basic moves of them all, you'll typically strike an opponent with the ball of the foot. It's useful to get an opponent to back off as it targets the groin, knees, abdomen, and more.
Roundhouse Kick: As common as the front kick, the roundhouse move is fast, allows for incredible range, and packs great power. You'll swing your leg sideways in a circular motion, attacking numerous areas from the head to the knees.
Straight Knee: This involves thrusting the knee forward and up. Generally, this move targets the head, thighs, hips, etc. The speed behind the move helps give it greater power to unbalance an opponent, which allows you to control the fight.
Flying Knee: When your opponent is injured and you're going in for the kill, use this move. You rush forward to land a swift, potent knee to the head. The momentum can knock anyone out.
Air Choke: This move has you compress the trachea (windpipe) to cut off oxygen to the lungs. It takes a good amount of strength to successfully pull this move off. Also, it takes some time (2-3 minutes) for an opponent to pass out.
Blood Choke: When done right, an opponent can lose consciousness within seconds. You press on the carotid arteries, restricting blood flow to the brain. It's doesn't require too much strength to accomplish this.
The moves laid out above are all seen as basic, yet integral parts of martial arts. Any true warrior will have these mastered and ready to use the next time they face off against any foe. Game Masters, equipped with key features and mechanics of basic martial arts, enrich the game and lend credence to fights in any TTRPG.
Jason Maine is the founder of FullContactWay, a blog dedicated to provide best martial arts advice and information. Jason helps his readers with martial arts training by sharing personal tips and thorough research. Check out fullcontactway.com to get more about Jason’s work. You can find him on Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter.
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