Clutching Feathers (EPAK Orange #1)

Technique: Clutching Feathers
Attack: Left Hand Hair Grab
Attack Direction: 12:00
Web of Knowledge: Grabs and Tackles
Family Group: Grabs: Hair Grab
Official (24 Tech) Location: Orange #1
32 Tech Location: Orange #1
16 Tech Location: Orange #1
Form Locations: Not found in forms
Related Tracy Technique: Eagle's Beak

Clutching Feather’s is the first technique required to obtain your orange belt in Ed Parker’s American Kenpo and it is a defense against a left hand hair grab from the front placing it in the Grabs & Tackles category of the Web of Knowledge as well as the Hair Grab Family Group in the Grabs category of the Family Groups Grappling Division.

Clutching Feathers stresses the need to cancel ensuing threats starting with the use of a pinning check to hold your target in place as you strike a sensitive area, you make use of a positional block while simultaneously following with another strike which also serves to neutralize your opponent’s other weapons. Finally you will make use of pivoting to generate power for your final counter strike.  The common factor in all of these steps is the emphasis places on Point of Origin.

Defense

Clutching Feathers – defense for a left hand hair grab.

  • Step 1
    • Pin your opponent’s left hand to your head with your left hand,
    • Step toward 6:00 with your left foot to form a right neutral bow stance,
    • Deliver a right thrusting middle knuckle fist strike to your opponent’s left armpit.
  • Step 2
    • Pivot clockwise to form a right forward bow stance.
    • Deliver a right extended outward block to the inside of your opponent’s left forearm.
    • Execute a left thrusting heel palm strike to your opponent’s chin.
  • Step 3
    • Pivot counterclockwise to form a right neutral bow stance.
    • Deliver a right inward downward diagonal raking hammerfist strike across your opponent’s face.
    • Left hand covers low.
  • Step 4
    • Right crossover and cover out toward 7:30.

Additional Information

Name

The name Clutching Feathers comes from the term feathers being used to symbolize the hair and clutching being a synonym for grabbing.  Therefore the name of the technique describes the attack in which your opponent is grabbing (clutching) your hair (feathers).

Attack

In the ideal phase your attacker is directly in front of you. Your opponent steps forward with his left foot and grabs your hair with his left hand.

A hair grab is generally painful as the hair is pulled in an effort to control you.  Hair grabs can be used by themselves to inflict pain, or control you.  They can also be used to set you up for a strike with the right hand.  Thus first step of this technique not only serves to control the attacker’s grabbing hand but also serves to relieve the pain which can distract you from exercising a proper defense. So it is important that you act and act quickly.

Basics & Maneuvers Used

  • Left Pinning Check
  • Right Neutral Bow Stance
  • Right Vertical Middle Knuckle Strike
  • Right Forward Bow Stance
  • Right Extended Outward Block
  • Left Thrusting Heel Palm Strike
  • Right Inward Downward Diagonal Raking Back Knuckle Strike

Vulnerable Targets

  • Armpit (Lateral and Medial Pectoral Nerves)
  • Chin
  • Eyebrow/Occipital bone
  • Bridge of the Nose

Concepts & Principles Taught

  • Angle of Departure
  • Angle of Disturbance
  • Back-Up Mass
  • Borrowed Reach
  • Bracing Angle
  • Checking
  • Corrugated Effect
  • Cover out
  • Frictional Pull
  • Open Ended Triangle
  • Opposing Forces
  • Point of Origin
  • Progressive Directional Harmony
  • Raking
  • Solidify your Base
  • Thrusting
  • Torque


Considerations

  • Situational – What if …
    • your opponent does not step forward?
    • your opponent steps forward with his right foot instead?
    • your opponent yanks your head down?
    • your opponent follows the hair grab with a right punch?
    • your opponent follows the hair grab with a right uppercut punch?
    • your opponent attempts to throw a right punch after the heel palm strike?
    • your opponent attempts to throw a right kick after the heel palm strike?

Related Techniques

Historical Notes

  • The 1975 Accumulative Journal ends the technique with the heel palm to the face. It also splits the process of getting there into two moves.

Historical Versions

1975 Accumulative Journal

CLUTCHING FEATHERS (front left hand hair grab)

  1. Standing naturally, step straight back (to 6 o’clock) with your left foot, simultaneously pin opponent’s left hand with your left as you deliver a right vertical middle finger fist to opponents left armpit pivoting into a right neutral bow in the process.
  2. While in a neutral bow, strike inside of opponent’s left arm with a right vertical outward block while cocking your left hand lo your left hip (palm up).
  3. Shift into a right forward bow as you deliver a left heel palm thrust to opponent’s jaw while switching your right vertical outward block into a right extended outward block, keeping it in place for protection as well as in position for the next move.

Unfinished Orange Belt Manual by Ed Parker

CLUTCHING FEATHERS (Front left hand hair grab)

  1. Standing naturally, step back toward 6 o’clock with your left foot into a right neutral bow (facing 12 o’clock). Simultaneously pin your opponent’s left hand to your head with your left hand as you thrust a right vertical middle-knuckle fist to your opponent’s left armpit.  (This action should cause your opponent to bend forward.)
  2. As your opponent begins to bend over and toward you, pivot into a right forward bow (facing 12:00) as you deliver a left thrusting heel palm strike to your opponent’s jaw, simultaneous “with” a right extended outward block to the inside of your opponent’s left forearm. (Your opponent’s head should snap back.)
  3. Immediately pivot back into a right neutral bow (facing 12:00) while delivering a right inward raking back knuckle strike diagonally across the bridge of your opponent’s nose (to cause a corrugated effect).
  4. Right front crossover, and cover out toward 7:30.

Notes

Variations

Comments

  1. One thing that many students do when starting this technique is to pin the hair grab but leave their own left arm clear of their face. While this allows for a clean line-of-sight to the attacker, it also illustrates one of Murphy’s Laws of Combat: If they can see you, they can shoot you.

    What if the attacker throws a right punch to your face when you pin their left hand? If your left arm is out to your left, framing your face, you’ll likely get popped. There is not enough space to swing in the left elbow for an effective block.

    Instead of letting your left arm frame your face, keep the left arm lined up with the center of your face when applying the pin of the attacker’s left hand. You can still see to the sides of your arm in that position and it can be swung easily to deflect a face punch up your left forearm.

  2. An alternate to the middle knuckle strike to the nerve nexus under the armpit in step 1is an uppercut to the right floating ribs.

    An alternate ending for this technique is to replace the right extended outward block in step 2 with a hooking hand over the attacker’s right elbow followed frictional pull down the attacker’s extended right arm. This pull is directed at your right hip and is simultaneous with the left thrusting heel palm strike.

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