5 Ways of Attack with Pats

Recently, I have written several articles on the flaws of patting your opponent. Many think that I am criticizing Filipino martial arts; not so. I am just not a fan of these excessive taps, that aren’t strikes.

Many guros claim that in a real confrontation, the touches would turn into hard strikes. (I’m skeptical; how about you?)

So, how does this light touching relate to the five ways of attack?

Let’s see….


Single Direct Attack Tap

An SDA prides itself on being a single hit that is direct … thus its name. You expect, and maybe hope, that this hit will do damage.

It’s a single shot.

So, does the pat on the arm fit the bill?

Nope … it doesn’t do “squat” in the way of damage. So, we strike out in this first method of attacking.

Can a Pat Fit into an Attack By Combination?

ABCs are notorious for combining SDAs. You take real, honest-to-goodness strikes and combine them. WIth rhythm and timing, one of them will do what its supposed to.

Since a pat doesn’t have enough weight to inflict damage, unless it’s a flick to the groin or eyes, we won’t consider it for this way of attack, either.

Attack By Trapping

ABT’s more attractive name is Hand Immobilization … although in my humble opinion it should be called weapon immobilization, since you could restrict kicking motions in your enemy.

Anyway, a pat doesn’t have the strength to restrict someone’s fist from pounding into your face …




A series of pats might do the trick!


Keith, finally … a useful piece of information.

A quick set of taps on the arm could redirect your enemy’s attempt to reach you. Combine this with some strikes of your own, in the midst of your tap-controls, and you just might have something.

So, Attack By Trapping is a viable possibility.


Progressive Indirect Taps

Do you think your tap has enough intent to be perceived as an attack?

Is it a motion that your enemy has to deal with, or else? In other words, does it force your opponent into attempting to intercept what turns out to be a fake?

Is your tap a distraction?

If you can tap half a beat before your real attack, and your tap creates an opening, then you do have a Progressive Indirect Attack.

Of course, that’s a big “if.” Still, it’s worth pondering.

Attack By Drawing

Unfortunately, many a martial artist’s pats have unwittingly created openings in his or her own defenses. Oops.

On the other hand, if you can make it look like your pats are sloppy and leaving or creating an opening in your armor, then you could draw your opponent … into your lair, so to speak.

Remember, how I ended the last section with a big “IF”?

Well, if you don’t know what you’re doing, then using your pats or taps with Attack By Drawing is even iffier.



When I say that I am not a fan of patting, I mean that they way most people use pats doesn’t appeal to me. This doesn’t mean that light contact with your opponent should be abandoned all together.

If you know how to use them, pats can be integrated into your more advanced arsenal of of attacks or JKD-type responses.

Here’s a review video on the five ways of attack:

5 Ways of Attack Video




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