Ouch! Stop Pulling My Hair
by Christopher Caile
caught in a hair pull can be dangerous and painful, and you can end
up in a vary precarious position. Suddenly the head goes forward and
down in front of your body -- balance and strength are lost.
For this reason, the hair pull is a preferred way to control someone.
Women are especially vulnerable because they tend to have longer hair.
So, what can you do? The most important rule to remember is to follow
the energy and not fight it. That means when someone pulls, you don't
pull back, using your strength to fight their's. This might work if
you are big and strong, but it just sets up a pulling contest and eliminates
any tactical advantage that you might create.
How to get out of the hair pull depends on whether or not you saw it
coming. In a perfect world you would be alert all the time, so if attacked
you could easily thwart the attack. But unfortunately, you may not see
it coming; you may find yourself hit first, or pulled from behind. It
is therefore valuable to know how to counter a hair pull in either situation:
first, if you see the attack coming and can respond, and second, if
the attack comes as a surprise and the next thing you know you are bent
over. We also discuss escaping from a hair pull if the attack is just
a playful fooling around by a friend or relative. (1)
If You See It Coming And Are Prepared
Again, the first rule is not to pull back. This means that as the attacker
pulls, you move inward.
If you see the hair pull coming, instead of allowing your head to be
jerked forward, you follow the attacker's energy and move yourself toward
him or her. In this case, you also step and turn your body so that you
are in a small horse stance. This way you are in a wider, more stable
stance over your feet while the attacker's feet are not as well aligned.
Thus if the attacker continues to pull, he is more likely to pull himself
toward you. At the same time that you step, strike with your elbow against
the attacker's floating ribs. The attacker's pull will only give your
attack more power.
At virtually the same time the opposite hand should reach up and grab
the attacker's hair, pulling the head toward you (alternately this motion
can be a palm heel strike to the nose, or a strike to the eyes - only
to be used in a life threatening situation - followed by a heel strike
to the chin). At the same time, the opposite fist (back fist) strikes
the nose or chin. When done together with speed and power, this combination
can be devastating.
You can finish the technique with an arm bar. The attacker's grip on
your hair will be loosened, or the arm will be pulled back toward his
or her head. In either instance lift both your arms (almost like the
first move in the karate kata Pinan four) under the attacker's arm.
Your left hand grabs the attacker's wrist and rotates the arm while
your right forearm circles up and over the attacker's arm to rotate
the elbow upward for the arm bar. Be sure to keep some bend in your
right arm in order to keep downward pressure on the arm. (2)
If You Don't See It Coming
In this case you find yourself being pulled forward by the hair (see
lead photo in this article). Here again, don't fight the energy. Your
attacker's energy is pulling you forward, so accentuate it.
Instead of resisting, take a quick step or two toward the attacker
into his motion of energy. This nullifies the pull and will actually
allow you to get close to the attacker. At this point you can move your
head up inside the pulling hand and follow with your body. The attacker
is suddenly vulnerable to a variety of attacks. Here I follow up with
a punch to the attacker's face.
If Someone Is Just Fooling Around
Then there is the case where a friend or relative is just fooling around
or testing what you know. Here, you don't want to hurt them, but still
want to make them to stop. One effective technique is to reach up and
pinch the underside of the attacker's forearm -- being sure to catch
just a little skin between your first finger tip and hard second knuckle
of the thumb. Another method is to run forward, as in the second example
above, and show your "playful" partner that you could have
devastated their groin. A simple pinch to the inside of the leg just
above the groin also works.
(1) Of course, if the attacker pulls your hair
and punches at you at the same time, or pulls you forward while trying
to knee your head, your first priority is to defend against the attack.
We have not discussed defenses in this article, but here are a few to
keep in mind. In the first example where you see the hair pull coming
and step in with an elbow strike to the attacker's ribs, your left open
palm hair grab can easily turn into an open hand block against the shoulder
of the punching arm or a block of the punch itself. In the second situation
where your head is pulled down, a knee strike to your head can be stopped
by a cross arm "X" block. Ideally the forward arm of the "X"
block should be the opposite side of the kicking knee, so after blocking
the knee attack your forward arm can scoop under the knee from the outside
while your other arm moves up to the trunk and pushes across in the
opposite direction -- the combined move off balancing the attacker.
(2) I personally prefer another variation of
the arm bar in which your left hand is placed down on top of the grabbing
hand while your right palm comes up under the elbow of the same arm.
This particular technique is typical of Daito Ryu Aikijujtsu, but is
also seen in other forms of jujutsu.
The attacker's arm is then placed in an arm bar while
your left hand simultaneously presses down on the bent wrist, your weight
pressing down into the attacker's arm forcing his shoulder downward.
But, if the attacker withdraws his arm after being struck in the face,
this type of arm bar is difficult to effect. Thus in the body of the
article another arm bar was illustrated. The technique discussed in
this footnote will work, however, if the attacker's position allows
you to go right to the arm bar (without a face strike) or if only a
light strike is made to the face so the attacker is still grabbing your
About The Author:
Christopher Caile is the Founder and Editor-In-Chief of FightingArts.com.
He has been a student of the martial arts for over 40 years and holds
a 6th degree black belt in Seido Karate and has experience in judo,
aikido, diato-ryu, boxing and several Chinese fighting arts. He is
also a long-term student of one branch of Traditional Chinese Medicine,
Qigong. He is a personal disciple of the qi gong master and teacher
of acupuncture Dr. Zaiwen Shen (M.D., Ph.D.) and is Vice-President
of the DS International Chi Medicine Association. In Buffalo, NY,
he founded the Qi gong Healing Institute and The Qi Medicine Association
at the State University of New York at Buffalo. He has also written
on Qi gong and other health topics in a national magazine, the Holistic
Health Journal and had been filmed for a prospective PBS presentation
on Alternative Medicine. Recently he contributed a chapter on the
subject to an award winning book on alternative medicine, "Resources
Guide To Alternative Health."