Hugging Pendulum (Blue #4)

Technique: Hugging Pendulum
Attack: Right Side Kick
Attack Direction: 12:00
Web of Knowledge: Kicks
Family Group: Kicks
Official (24 Tech) Location: Blue #4
32 Tech Location: Purple #30
16 Tech Location: Green #4
Form Locations: Not found in forms
Related Tracy Technique: The Serpent

Hugging Pendulum is the 4th required technique to obtain your Blue belt in Ed Parker’s American Kenpo. Hugging Pendulum is a defense against a right Side Kick (Knife-Edge Kick) from the front, placing it in the Kicks category of the Web of Knowledge as well as the Kicks Family Group in the Striking division of Family Groups.

The initial action of Hugging Pendulum technique is identical to that of Deflecting Hammer; you create distance while employing an angle change and redirect your opponent’s kick.  While Deflecting Hammer also stresses the importance of foot maneuvers (shuffle out and then shuffle back in), Hugging Pendulum will expand your knowledge of defensive and offensive positioning as you learn to swiftly make adjustments due to depth factors (shuffle out and crossover back in).  In the final stage of the technique you learn to strike your opponent with the use of upper body rotation without the use of lower body rotation, you learn the benefits of body fusion; and the use of forward and reverse motion. All of which emphasize the need for speed of action.

The Technique


In the ideal phase your opponent is directly in front of you (12:00). Your opponent is in a left fighting stance (left neutral bow stance). He proceeds with a right step through knife-edge kick (side kick) to your lower torso.

The side kick is a very powerful kick and can cause serious injury. This kick does not always come from the ideal position, it can be delivered from the front leg (with or without a shuffle), from a rear crossover or from a spinning maneuver with each having their own advantages and disadvantages.  The power of the kick is transmitted as the leg extends therefore it is vital to focus on speed and accuracy when practicing this technique in order to avoid being in the range between the attacker’s knee and ankle.


Hugging Pendulum – defense for a right side kick.

  • Step 1
    • From a right neutral bow stance, shuffle back (push-drag) toward 7:30
    • Deliver a right outward diagonal downward block to the outside of your opponent’s right leg.
    • Your left hand covers high.
  • Step 2
    • Execute a left front crossover,
    • Cross your right hand (palm up) to your left hip,
    • Your left hand positionally checks high as you deliver a right knife-edge kick to the inside of your opponent’s left knee.
  • Step 3
    • Plant your right foot forward into right neutral bow stance.
    • Deliver a right outward horizontal back knuckle strike to your opponent’s right temple or mastoid.
    • Immediately follow with a right inward horizontal hooking heel palm claw to the left side of your opponent’s face.
  • Step 4
    • Execute a right front crossover
    • Cover out toward 7:30.


  • What if…
    • your opponent executes a left knife-edge kick instead?
    • your opponent executes a shuffle kick from a right neutral bow?
    • your opponent executes a right spinning back kick from a left neutral bow?
    • your opponent follows his knife-edge kick with a left spinning back kick?
    • your opponent follows his knife-edge kick with a right punch?
    • your opponent thrusts a club towards you?


  • Study the effects of adjusting your angle of deviation and your angle of deflection on the initial move.
  • Be sure to keep your fist tightly closed when blocking the kick. If your fingers are loose or your hand is open you can break your fingers.
  • At this level your block should not only redirect the path of your opponent’s kick, and slightly turn your opponent but it should also inflict pain.  (“First deflection, then infliction of pain”.)
  • The front crossover allows you to advance toward the opponent without changing the side which faces your opponent, thus protecting your width zones and minimizing exposure.
  • Kicking your opponent’s left knee prevents him from delivering a spinning back kick toward you, using a knife edge kick prevents the need to pivot from your current position.
  • Synchronize the delivery of your outward back knuckle strike with the planting of your right foot to maximize power.
  • Group deflecting hammer and hugging pendulum , have partner attack with varitey of linear kicks, block with initial defense from either and then follow with sequences from either, grafting as needed so they blend with the attack. Pay attention to depth zones.
  • Compare Hugging Pendulum to Leaping Crane and note how they are related
  • Look for the relation that Hugging Pendulum has with Five Swords and Raining Claw.
  • Note the themes of Delayed Sword and Sword of Destruction then determine how that theme continues with Hugging Pendulum.


  • A common variation is to insert one of the two strikes below into the chambering of your right hand on your left hip depending on the position of your target;
    • a right inward horizontal heel palm claw strike to your opponent’s face.
      • your left hand would check your ribs
    • a right inward horizontal raking middle knuckle strike to your opponent’s lower right rib cage.
      • your left hand would still check high here.

Additional Information


Hugging Pendulum derives its name from the matter in which the blocking arm is used when deflecting your opponent’s kick. Your blocking arm swings like a pendulum as it hugs (contours) your leg for strength and accuracy, thus the name Hugging Pendulum.

A variant on the origin of the name indicates that the swinging of your blocking arm (pendulum) imitates a hugging motion and it swings back up to your left hip.  It should also be noted that Hugging Pendulum uses various methods of applying hugging checks against your opponent’s leverage points.

Basics & Maneuvers

  • Right Neutral Bow Stance
  • Reverse Shuffle (Push-Drag)
  • Right Outward Downward Diagonal Hammering Block
  • Left Front Crossover
  • Right Knife-Edge Kick
  • Right Outward Horizontal Back Knuckle Strike
  • Right Inward Horizontal Hooking Heel Palm Claw
  • Right Front Crossover
  • Cover Out


  • Outside Right Leg
  • Inside Left Knee (Common Peroneal Nerve)
  • Mastoid or Temple
  • Left Side of the Face

Concepts & Principles

  • Anchoring
  • Angle of Cancellation
  • Angle of Deflection
  • Angle of Deviation
  • Angle of Disturbance
  • Angle of Entry
  • Angle of Execution
  • Angle of Incidence
  • Backup Mass

Concepts & Principles (Cont’d)

  • Body Fusion
  • Body Momentum
  • Borrowed Force
  • Buckle
  • Chamber
  • Complimentary Angle
  • Continuity of Motion
  • Contouring
  • Counter Balance
  • Depth of Penetration
  • Figure-Eight Pattern
  • Fitting
  • Frictional Pull
  • Grafting
  • Guidelining
  • Hugging Check
  • Jamming
  • Matching Counter
  • Marriage of Gravity
  • Minimize your targets
  • Obscure Zones
  • Orbital Switch
  • Positional Check
  • Reverse Motion
  • Rounding the Corners
  • Torque
  • With

Related Techniques

  • Deflecting Hammer (Y-4)
  • Leaping Crane (P-3)
  • Retreating Pendulum (B-11)
  • Gathering Clouds (B-21)
  • Rotating Destruction (3Br-4)
  • Glancing Lance (3Br-14)
  • Unwinding Pendulum (2Br-15)

Historical Notes

  • In the 1975 Accumulative Journal, Hugging Pendulum was Blue Belt Technique #14.
  • The 1975 Accumulative Journal indicated the block should travel from 11:00 to 5:00
  • The 1975 Accumulative Journal indicates a 7:00 angle of departure.

Historical Versions

1975 Accumulative Journal

HUGGING PENDULUM (front right side kick)

  1. While in a fighting stance (right neutral bow), shuffle back slightly as you deliver a right hammering downward diagonal block (hooking your blocking arm so that it travels from 11 o’clock to 5 o’clock) on the outside of opponent’s right kicking leg.
  2. Immediately do a left front crossover as your right hand cocks horizontally across your body (palm in) with your left hand in guarding position and deliver a right knife-edge kick to inside of opponent’s left knee.
  3. Follow-up with a right horizontal back knuckle strike to opponent’s mastoid or temple (as you plant your right foot forward) arching wide to the right and returning with a right inward horizontal hooking heel of palm claw to opponent’s face while maintaining bend in your right elbow.
  4. Right font crossover and cover out to 7 o’clock.

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