Alternating Maces (EPAK Yellow #2)

Technique: Alternating Maces
Attack: Front Two Hand Push
Attack Direction: 12:00
Web of Knowledge: Pushes
Family Group: Pushes
Official (24 Tech) Location: Yellow #2
32 Tech Location: N/A
16 Tech Location: Yellow #2
Form Locations: Not found in forms
Related Tracy Technique: Japanese Sword

Alternating Maces is the 2nd technique technique to obtain your yellow belt in Ed Parker’s American Kenpo. This technique is a defense against a front two hand push, putting it in the Pushes category of the Web of Knowledge as well as the Pushes Family Group in the Family Groups Striking division.

While the previous technique, Delayed Sword, could be used to defend against a push; Alternating Maces is our first official defense against a push, specifically a two hand push.  In Alternating Maces, the value of creating distance is reaffirmed, you will learn how to alternate your hands and alternate your targets while maintaining defensive checks, you will learn the use of a pivoting motion to increase the power of both thrusting and whipping motions.


  • Step 1
    • Step toward 6:00 with your left foot to form a right neutral bow stance,
    • Deliver a right lowercase inward block,
    • Left hand covers low.
  • Step 2
    • Collapse your right arm across the top of your opponent’s arms, checking horizontally,
    • Pivot clockwise into a right forward bow stance.
    • Deliver a left vertical thrust punch.
  • Step 3
    • Collapse your left arm across the top of your opponent’s arms, checking horizontally,
    • Pivot counterclockwise into a right neutral bow stance.
    • Deliver a right outward whipping back knuckle strike.
  • Step 4
    • Cover toward 6:00.

Additional Information


The name Alternating Maces starts with the similarity of the arm/hand with a weapon called a mace.  A traditional mace is basically a club usually with heavier and larger striking end.  When you clench your fist your arm from the elbow down becomes the shaft of the mace with your fist serving as the weighted end.  With the understanding the our fists are identified as maces, the fact that we are alternating our fists in this technique gives us the name Alternating Maces.


The ideal phase of attack has the attacker directly in front of you, stepping forward with their right foot and pushing you with both hands to the chest.

A push is a striking attack and is more dangerous than a grab as the push itself can inflict damage to your body or knock you over causing harm as you hit the ground.  When defending against a push you want to defend as if you were defending against a punch in that you want to intercept the push.  If the push makes contact, you need to treat the attack differently.

Basics & Maneuvers Used

  • Reverse Step Through
  • Neutral Bow Stance
  • Lowercase Inward Block
  • Positional Check
  • Smothering Block/Check
  • Forward Bow Stance
  • Vertical Thrust Punch
  • Outward Horizontal Whipping Back Knuckle Strike


  • Left Elbow
  • Forearms
  • Sternum or Solar Plexus
  • Right Temple

Concepts & Principles Taught

  • Angle of Cancellation
  • Angle of Disturbance
  • Backup Mass
  • Borrowed Force
  • Bracing Angle
  • Controlling the Gap
  • Counter Rotation
  • Dimensional Zone Concept
  • Lowercase Blocks
  • Path of Action
  • Pivoting
  • Preparatory Cocking Check
  • Thrusting
  • Torque
  • Whipping


  • What if …
    • there is a wall behind you preventing you from stepping back?
    • your inward block forces the attacker to spin allowing them to throw a spinning back knuckle strike or elbow?
    • your inward block is not strong enough to divert the attacker direction?
  • what if the attacker…
    • throws a low two-hand push?
    • throws a left push?
    • throws a left straight punch?
    • uses a left cross wrist grab?
    • attempts a two-hand grab?
    • doesn’t follow through with the push?

Related Techniques

Historical Notes

  • Neither the 1975 Accumulative Journal nor the 1985 IKKA Manuals indicate an angle of departure.

Historical Versons

1975 Accumulative Journal

ALTERNATING MACE  (two-hand front push)

  1. With feet together and as opponent pushes you, step back with your left foot into a right neutral bow stance as you execute a right inward and downward horizontal forearm block on top of opponent’s right and left arms. (at this point your left hand is cocked at your left hip).
  2. Immediately deliver a left vertical thrust punch to opponent’s sternum or solar-plexus while torquing into a right forward bow stance. (your right arm is still across both his arms to act as a check).
  3. Drop your left punching hand (palm open and down) on top of both of your opponent’s arms (to check) and switch your right hand up and inside your left arm and out into a right horizontal back knuckle strike to the right temple of your opponent, while doing this you are changing your stance back into a right neutral bow (using torque to increase the whipping action of your right hand).
  4. Immediately snap your right hand back into a cover position.
  5. No cover out is required.

Unfinished Yellow Belt Manual by Ed Parker

ALTERNATING MACES (front – two-hand push)

  1. Standing naturally, and as your opponent attempts to push you, step back with your left foot toward 6:00 into a right neutral bow stance (facing 12:00). Simultaneously execute a right inward block to the outside of your opponent’s left arm, while your left hand checks at your solar plexus. (This action should turn the width of your opponent’s body, and redirect his forward momentum off center.)
  2. Immediately collapse your right arm across the top of both of your opponent’s arms (to act as checks), as you deliver a left vertical thrust punch (tracking over your right arm) to your opponent’s sternum or solar-plexus. This is done while pivoting into a right forward bow stance. Remember, both the stance change and punch must work in synchronization with each other in order to maximize the force of your left vertical thrust punch. (Your opponent’s reaction should cause his body to bend forward at the waist.)
  3. Immediately convert your left punch into a check by having it shift, palm open and down,on top of both  your opponent’s arms. Simultaneously have your right hand rapidly travel inside and over your left arm as you deliver a right outward back knuckle strike to your opponent’s right temple. This transition is done while pivoting back into a right neutral bow stance. (The torque stemming from your stance change helps to increase the whipping action of your right hand, and, if properly executed, should cause your opponent`s head to be driven up and back, with the possibility of his arms flailing upward.)
  4. Immediately have your right hand snap back as a positional check.




  1. When throwing the vertical thrust punch, the student needs to overcome the tendency to move with the body first, followed by starting the punch. It’s a natural thing to do since it seems to add force to the punch. What it really does is telegraph the coming punch.

    The punch needs to be launched first, with the rest of the upper body following the punch almost immediately after it is launched.

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