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The art of fighting dogs, or Dog-fu


The techniques outlined below can be used to defend oneself from medium to large sized dangerous dogs which are attacking you. They have been developed to allow one person to deflect the attacks of one dog who attacks you with some warning. It is assumed that you have noticed the dog running towards you with the intention of attacking you, or are in the presence of a dog whom you don't trust, and whom you are therefore keeping an eye on. The phrase "Dog-fu" was coined by my brother, the inventor of Dog-fu and the master practitioner. I myself have helped develop the art and am a practitioner of considerable skill, to the point that I am completely fearless to any dog of Rottweiler size or smaller. Although these techniques have been used with complete success every time I have needed them, do not assume that you may fight dogs successfully simply because you have read this node. Some practice in no doubt required. The two chief practitioners of Dog-fu, myself and my brother, are both large people, weighing in excess of 90 Kg, but the techniques have worked with considerable success for people weighing as little as 65 Kg.

Dog-fu should only be attempted as a last resort. Avoiding conflict is always the superior option, but will become easier if you are competent at Dog-fu.

The situation which led to our becoming competent at Dog-fu is unusual, and so I am unsure if this information will be of practical use to anyone. It should at least be noted, however, that it is entirely practical for a person with below average coordination and reflexes (ie. me) to neutralise any canine threat through physical means.

The simple rules of Dog-fu

If you have analysed dog attack incidents you may have seen on television or from another source, you may have noticed elements common to dogs' attack patterns when attacking humans. This includes police attack dogs, who are no more able to overcome a skilled Dog-fu practitioner than any other dog. The dog will run towards its target and jump towards its intended strike point, which is almost always between the groin and the face, but is generally towards the sternum. The natural reflex at this point for the human is to position the forearm before the dog's oncoming head, and the dog will attach itself to the proffered arm and take the person down. Since struggling at this point would involve altering the position of the arm in the jaws of the dog, which is extremely painful, there is often no counter-attack.

When dogs attack people, they rely upon these reflexes completely. They assume that you will attempt to block their attack by positioning your arm in front of their mouth. Once they have your arm, they can manipulate you into a position from which you pose them little threat (if they are trained attack dogs) or proceed to shred your flesh (if they are crazy, pissed off or perhaps defending their territory). Therefore, if a dog attacks you, do not attempt to block its attack by placing your arm before their fast approaching jaws.

Because dogs rely on humans defending themselves in this way, their actions can be predicted by anyone who manages to keep their cool when under attack by a large dog. They will almost always lunge towards your midsection.

Dogs and their ancestors did not evolve to be able to successfully attack animals with two large, long, strong extremities capable of assuming practically any position in front of their body. Most aggressive defence tactics rely on one weapon adorned with teeth, which can assume a very limited number of positions relative to the creature's body. (Claws are more of a follow-up weapon, and are not well suited for initial attack/defence). To successfully defend oneself against an attacking canine, you must take advantage of the dog's predictable attack pattern, the high mobility of your arms, and the relative awkwardness of the dog's head.

Here is the guts of it. When a dog lunges toward your midsection, it leaves a huge undefended area right behind the teeth, most especially it's entire neck. Assume, if possible, a stable fighting stance so that the dog's weight will not knock you off-balance, with your favoured arm before you and below, so that it crosses your midsection. The dog will target the forearm of this limb, but you must quickly rotate the arm so that the forearm is out of range of the dog's teeth once it enters range. If the arm is your right arm, rotate it to your right. The dog may or may not retarget your chest. It is easier to succeed if it does. Once the dog's teeth have passed the point at which they would have contacted your arm if you hadn't moved it, the true dog-fu begins. With a quick, strong, fluid movement, rotate your arm back, only even further this time. Assuming you are right handed, your arm was half extended and by your right hand hip, and the dog's jaws are 6 to 10 inches from your chest. This movement must contact the dog's head or preferably neck, behind the teeth. The arm should rotate to a similar position it was in initially, then continue its movement so that it is before your right shoulder. The dog must be pushed by your forearm so that it is deflected to your right.

The dog's reaction will to be to attempt to attack your defending arm, but due to the way dogs are built, its attempts to bite the limb which is pressed hard against its neck will push it away from you further. This is why Dog-fu is so effective.

The defending arm movement should not stop or slow, but fluidly proceed to push the dog to the right (continuing the right handed example; change sides to reflect your favoured arm), and below. Once the dog passes your right shoulder, your arm should follow the dog so that the forearm is still contacting the neck, and is on the upper-right hand side of the dog's neck. Simultaneously, your left hand should be used to push the dog down and right by pushing its exposed shoulder. As the dog continues to move right and is quickly pushed down, rotate your body so that the dog is once again before you, and follow the dog, with your right forearm pressed hard against the upper-right of the dog's neck, and your left hand pushing the dog's shoulder towards the ground. As the dog falls, off balance and half-sideways, follow it to the ground while crouching. The dog will contact the ground, hard, probably with its legs off to your left side. You now have the dog pressed against the ground by the neck with one forearm, and are holding its body relatively still with your hand on its shoulder. With sufficient skill, the dog can be safely held here indefinitely. However, in a life and death situation, you are probably going to have to do something about the snarling, furious carnivore who can't believe what you just did.

What to do next if you think you are seriously at risk

As I am totally convinced that I cannot be harmed by any dog, and since I consider myself to be an animal lover (in a platonic sense, you sicko), it is with a certain amount of trepidation that I write the following advice. This is a technique which I have neither used nor heard of being used, but it is a completely practical way of neutralising a canine threat, if the above techniques have been used successfully. It is a terrible thing to do to a dog, and you should ensure the dog is dealt with humanely if you are ever forced to use it. The technique is this. When you are pushing the dog down and beginning to crouch, ensure that the dog's chest is below the level of your knee. Once the dog contacts the ground, follow through your crouching motion by putting all your weight on (in the example) your left knee, and drop onto the dog's chest. Dog ribs have little strength when impacted from the side. By dropping all of your weight onto the dog via one knee, you will devastate the dog's ribcage. The dog may or may not be able to get up after this. Be prepared to be kept awake at night by the horrible memory of the sound of a dog's ribs cracking under your weight, followed by piteous yelping or worse.

What to do if you were forced to perform the last step

If I am ever forced to effectively kill a dog like this, after putting the dog out of its misery, I am going to find the owner, and make them eat their dead dog. No one will screw with someone who just fluidly crippled or killed a large dog in less than four seconds. If you are ever attacked by a dog, do everything in your power to make the owner suffer for it.

The beauty of Dog-fu

Such an event will never come to pass. Dogs are extremely adept at sensing a human's tone and demeanour. As a result, dogs know that I am not in the least bit concerned about them hurting me. Consequently, dogs are either friendly towards me (they tend not to like people who are scared of them) or, if they are dangerous, crazy, violent dogs, avoid me as if I were Satan come for their soul. The last time a dog approached me with violent intent, it skidded to a stop several metres from me, and ran away yelping. While working a crappy door-to-door job, I kept myself amused by seeing what the nastiest looking dog I could pat was, and frequently surprised the dog's owners. Hand-biting one-eared one-eyed dogs are so frequently putty in my hands.

And that is the beauty of Dog-fu. If you become good at it, you will never have to use it. Ever. I feel obliged to mention that I live in a country without rabies, and so cannot comment on whether a rabid dog would avoid me.


If you must know more about the development of the Dog-fu techniques, /msg me and I might feel pressed into documenting that story. Suffice to say that the chief canine developer of Dog-fu is a 29 kilogram American pit-bull terrier whose play-fights sometimes get out of hand.