What is Checking?

Checking is maintaining contact on an opponent’s limb to limit or impede its use in a counter attack. The light contact allows you to sense when the limb is tensing for movement. At that time you can redirect it or jam it in place. It helps to limit the offensive capabilities of the opponent. Checking can therefore be defined as eliminating or diffusing counters.

Here are some definitions of “Check” from Wikipedia.org

“Checking in ice hockey is the act of physically keeping an opposing player in check.” (hockey)

“…a check is an immediate threat to capture the king (or general in xiangqi). A king so threatened is said to be in check.” (chess)

Both use the term “in check” as a way of describing attention to or awareness of an object, in our case a limb. The hockey quote demonstrates the impediment aspect while the chess quote demonstrates the limiting and strategic aspects. The concept of checking also involves other useful terms and concepts.

Centerline is an imaginary line down the middle of the human body. This line is a target line. It represents the easiest target on the body since it is the hardest to move away from an attack. For instance, if I aim toward a shoulder, it can easily be moved out of the way. However, if I aim for the center of the body, it takes longer for it to move out of the attack’s path. You can twist, slide, duck or move but it still takes time.

Safety zones are areas around the opponent’s body where their attacks are least effective. There is a different safety zone for each type of attack such as kick or punch. A simple example is standing behind an opponent creates a safe zone against their punches. Likewise, standing next to the left shoulder is a safety zone from a right punch since the punch will have very little power behind it.

Zero out the distance is maintaining your movements in the pockets or safety zones of the opponent’s attacks. If you continue to move quickly towards their back, the opponent must either attempt to turn and keep their defense us or sacrifice defense to quickly turn the other way. However this allows you to switch directions and move the other direction. It uses the predator pursuit characteristics in its application.

The use of checking is the strategic element of combat. It can be used to limit counter attacks (as mentioned before) and as a way to force counter attacks you wish to allow. In other words, actions that lead to defeat. For example, if I check an attack the opponent moves to disengage the check that allows me room to counter with a rippling push thereby uprooting the opponent.

Review you combinations and other techniques. Where are the checks in those routines? Post a few here and share it with the other readers.