Sunday, January 11, 2009

Heads Up

Ah, the all-time personal favorite aka "the nutter", "the Glasgow Kiss" or botter in French. This is an absolutely devastating close-quarters attack, easily on par with the knee and the elbow when space is tight. Who can ever forget French football legend Zinedine Zidane (above) giving one to the chest of Italian Marco Materazzi in the 2006 Wold Cup Final (for which Zidane got a red card and a 3 match ban and Materazzi hit the ground like an anchor).
A classic, and very educational.

Guro must have shown this one a thousand times in the flow. jab, cross, pary, trap -> BAM! Headbutt to the face or chest and the fight is over. I still forget to get as much use out of this savage attack as I know I should.

To do this properly, it is necessary to hit the target with the crown of the forehead (not with your own NOSE, in case any Romans are reading this). The best places to apply it are to the opponent's nose/face/mouth (the most common) or to the sternum (thanks Zidane). one very interesting gunting even guides the opponent's punch into the crown of the forehead, thus breaking the attacker's hand - OUCH!

They are also very effective against the cheekbones or temple, or even the bicep (sounds odd but trust me on this). You also see the rear headbutt (and its grappling variant, the crown crush) get used when the attacker is behind you.

Of course, this attack works best with a lot of force behind it. This means either catching an inbound opponent (just ask Materazzi), or for you to step in strongly and close the gap yourself. I especially love a headbutt when I am trapping up my opponent's arms or when I am in their guard. Another beautiful place for this is in clench with your hand behind your opponent's neck. Remember to clench your teeth and tense your face muscles at the instant you strike, as well as tilting your head slightly forward and bending your back for acceleration. Expect a satisfying crunch when you hit the target.

I think it is fair to say that a few of the common headbutt attacks are expected by most street fighters, like the rear headbutt against a bear hug, for example. The slightly unusual (although no less effective) attacks like the chest or bicep are high percentage hits because they are unexpected and usually get in very fast.

Have a play next time you are in close - see if you can find the headbutt attack.

Zidane would be proud.

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