Is there a way to practice yourself for defending non-telegraphed punches or kicks? Protecting yourself from non-telegraphed strikes is difficult because there is less time to see and react. However, is there a way to defend yourself from such attack?

  • 1
    Possible duplicate of Defence in martial arts in general
    – mattm
    Commented Jul 3, 2018 at 17:10
  • In a Competition or streetfight? Any answer will heavily differ if looking at each scenario. In a competition you have a certain style and rules, so it will be much easier to anticipate possible attacks.
    – Fildor
    Commented Jul 3, 2018 at 21:42
  • In a streetfight
    – Avi
    Commented Jul 4, 2018 at 2:29
  • I still think the OP has something confused - telegraphing is about long distance (by definition) and typically used for techniques that have an obvious wind up (or that the defender knows is coming in advance). Giving the defender more time and distance to avoid it. Could you describe the type of attack you are on about without using the word "telegraph"? (as by all standards we know - these are the easiest attacks to defend)
    – Collett89
    Commented Jul 5, 2018 at 11:29
  • 4
    Whereas, defending from a "telepathic" attack will be discussed on the X-men comics Stack Exchange. ;) Commented Jul 5, 2018 at 16:24

1 Answer 1


Yes! The trick is to actually make the non telegraphed attack into a telegraphed one. How? You practice maintaining a one-step distance.

This is the distance at which your attacker must make a single step before striking you (with kick or punch). This way however good they are at not telegraphing they have no choice: The telegraph is now a single step forward. The moment they step you prepare to defend or make a pre-emptive strike (if no other option is possible).

The way you practice this is to start at the correct distance. To find this distance you and your training partner outstretch your fists. Touch fists and then step back.

Then one of you will play the role of the attacker. you will advance, retreat sidestep and circle and try to close the distance.

The other plays the role of defender. you will watch the attackers movements and try to maintain the starting distance.

Any time the attacker feels he can do so launch a single random attack (or combination for advanced students). The defender must either block, dodge or counter with moves from the style they are most familiar with.

After this to make the self defence nature of the drill obvious the defender should retreat.

  • I'm going to disagree with the last line (but only the last line - the rest of this post is a pretty good breakdown on learning to control space and read your opponent): Teaching someone to always retreat in a self-defence situation is a bad idea. Teach them to evade sideways. Teach them to push forwards and make their attacker retreat. Do not teach them to walk backwards off the tatami or into a wall/corner/elevator shaft. Commented Jul 4, 2018 at 8:01
  • 3
    I get your point but the retreat here is after they have already either pushed the attacker back or stepped sideways. The point is that they disengage, and this is for legal reasons as much as any other. You don't want to be seen to be an purportraiter of violence.
    – Huw Evans
    Commented Jul 4, 2018 at 8:25

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