52 blocks, "Jailhouse Rock"

Jak Nieuwenhuis

Level 6 Valued Member
I know this isn't a martial arts forum, but I'm also aware that there are many martial artists and martial arts fans who frequent the forum

I've been interested in different kinds of martial arts lately, and came across this one.

Jailhouse rock (fighting style) - Wikipedia

"therefore, your 52 handblocks was useless"

Anyone experienced this system first hand?
 

Matts

Level 3 Valued Member
USMC has good martial arts programs- join up, if you're looking for purpose and training! Forsake criminals and jailhouse stuff as role models! fyi, some martial artists in town used to hire some ex-cons to spar with...the one married to a friend of mine had his brain turned to pudding by them, had horrible headaches for years, lost profession and marriage. Sad story.
 

North Coast Miller

Level 7 Valued Member
I know this isn't a martial arts forum, but I'm also aware that there are many martial artists and martial arts fans who frequent the forum

I've been interested in different kinds of martial arts lately, and came across this one.

Jailhouse rock (fighting style) - Wikipedia

"therefore, your 52 handblocks was useless"

Anyone experienced this system first hand?
As a teenager and young adult I came into contact with a few young men who had been taught it, but learned very little of it myself. They were mostly showing off as they knew I was into a bit of street MA and interested in anything I came across. Most of my knowledge came from talking to people who had been beaten or at least tagged solidly by folks using it. The descriptions of how it is/was used from these different sources had common themes.

The biggest problem is the dearth of materials, lack of standardized technique, and very little exposure outside the Black community. I became drawn to this after realizing its similarity (in some respects) to Panantukan, the boxing application of Kali. Many of the blocks used in 52 are very similar to other SE Asian technique as well. Application is also similar in that you attack through your block/guard, trapping hands as you crash whenever possible, assuming you close at all.

As my Kali became more open hands, more defensive, and more geared toward multiple assailants, I realized it was morphing to something between 52 and the Filipino technique I had been taught. In large part, 52 is a highly defensive add-on to basic boxing. There are some rather silly-looking/extraneous hand movements associated with it, but these can either be looked at as movements to increase your hand speed, confuse an opponent, or just plain unnecessary. Some of them only look silly out of context - stuff like the crossed hands "Bum's Rush" actually work well and make sense when used on an opponent. Some of the body/head tapping is good for keeping your guard and hands moving.


It is a street, bare knuckle tradition, though some pro boxers have used bits of it in the ring. The crossed arm defense used by Norton, Foreman etc looks a great deal like some 52 or it could be convergent evolution.

Many defensive boxing technique don't work well bare knuckle because a sweaty fist is smaller and slips through and around unlike a fist with tape and a glove. You can't afford to eat a bunch of glancing bare knuckle jabs like you might if gloves are worn. The 52 blocks are designed to protect the most with the least amount of precision needed, an important consideration if two or three people are hitting you in the head at the same time.

The naming convention for the most common blocks seems to be based on the oral tradition and make it easier to remember:
Rob the Bank
Skull and Crossbones
Catch the Bullet
Raise the Gate
Close the Door

Major criticism is that it can expend a lot of useless energy if the hand movements are used continuously, and it needs a separate system for kick/leg defense/groundfighting. Some of this probably depends on the geographical area it percolated, as I've seen demonstrated with heel and knee picks, but never with any ground technique. Makes sense as a street SD you never want to be on the ground any longer than it takes to get back up, unless you're holding someone for a buddy to finish off.

All block/cover-heavy strategies can also be self defeating as it is somewhat easy to push the block to turn the individual - the blocks are structured to use the elbow, which makes them very strong compared to an extended arm block, but this creates a good lever to move the entire upper body if unaccompanied by lots of counter punching and/or dynamic footwork and weaving.

I'm using it as an intro for my kids to eventually learn some Kali, as it is conceptually very easy to teach and they learn to protect themselves straight off.
 
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Jak Nieuwenhuis

Level 6 Valued Member
USMC has good martial arts programs- join up, if you're looking for purpose and training! Forsake criminals and jailhouse stuff as role models! fyi, some martial artists in town used to hire some ex-cons to spar with...the one married to a friend of mine had his brain turned to pudding by them, had horrible headaches for years, lost profession and marriage. Sad story.
I'm sure the USMC has a great martial arts program! Spoke with a recruiter (Army) last February, actually. Was seriously considering joining the Army. Unfortunately I was told that they could not accept me due to my medical history. I asked about exceptions to the rule and was told that there is basically no way, since I am still using medication. Perhaps there will be exceptions in the future, especially since I am coming off the medication.

Was not the worst thing in the world. Prompted me to finish my college degree and now I am going to school as an EMT. I am still young and we are in a changing climate, politically.

I have the utmost respect for the men and women of the armed forces. The physical training is just one aspect that I admire.

I am sorry to hear about your friend's husband.
 

Jak Nieuwenhuis

Level 6 Valued Member
As a teenager and young adult I came into contact with a few young men who had been taught it, but learned very little of it myself. They were mostly showing off as they knew I was into a bit of street MA and interested in anything I came across. Most of my knowledge came from talking to people who had been beaten or at least tagged solidly by folks using it. The descriptions of how it is/was used from these different sources had common themes.

The biggest problem is the dearth of materials, lack of standardized technique, and very little exposure outside the Black community. I became drawn to this after realizing its similarity (in some respects) to Panantukan, the boxing application of Kali. Many of the blocks used in 52 are very similar to other SE Asian technique as well. Application is also similar in that you attack through your block/guard, trapping hands as you crash whenever possible, assuming you close at all.

As my Kali became more open hands, more defensive, and more geared toward multiple assailants, I realized it was morphing to something between 52 and the Filipino technique I had been taught. In large part, 52 is a highly defensive add-on to basic boxing. There are some rather silly-looking/extraneous hand movements associated with it, but these can either be looked at as movements to increase your hand speed, confuse an opponent, or just plain unnecessary. Some of them only look silly out of context - stuff like the crossed hands "Bum's Rush" actually work well and make sense when used on an opponent. Some of the body/head tapping is good for keeping your guard and hands moving.


It is a street, bare knuckle tradition, though some pro boxers have used bits of it in the ring. The crossed arm defense used by Norton, Foreman etc looks a great deal like some 52 or it could be convergent evolution.

Many defensive boxing technique don't work well bare knuckle because a sweaty fist is smaller and slips through and around unlike a fist with tape and a glove. You can't afford to eat a bunch of glancing bare knuckle jabs like you might if gloves are worn. The 52 blocks are designed to protect the most with the least amount of precision needed, an important consideration if two or three people are hitting you in the head at the same time.

The naming convention for the most common blocks seems to be based on the oral tradition and make it easier to remember:
Rob the Bank
Skull and Crossbones
Catch the Bullet
Raise the Gate
Close the Door

Major criticism is that it can expend a lot of useless energy if the hand movements are used continuously, and it needs a separate system for kick/leg defense/groundfighting. Some of this probably depends on the geographical area it percolated, as I've seen demonstrated with heel and knee picks, but never with any ground technique. Makes sense as a street SD you never want to be on the ground any longer than it takes to get back up, unless you're holding someone for a buddy to finish off.

All block/cover-heavy strategies can also be self defeating as it is somewhat easy to push the block to turn the individual - the blocks are structured to use the elbow, which makes them very strong compared to an extended arm block, but this creates a good lever to move the entire upper body if unaccompanied by lots of counter punching and/or dynamic footwork and weaving.

I'm using it as an intro for my kids to eventually learn some Kali, as it is conceptually very easy to teach and they learn to protect themselves straight off.
Thank you for the insight.
 

J Petersen

SFG1/SFB
Certified Instructor
Was seriously considering joining the Army. Unfortunately I was told that they could not accept me due to my medical history. I asked about exceptions to the rule and was told that there is basically no way...
Bless you for trying. In the event you or anyone else who cares enough to read along were unaware, at present it is more difficult to join the American military than it is to go to college (assuming you meant US Army, of course). Recruiters are now dealing with the smallest pool of eligible candidates than ever before.
 

Steve Freides

Staff
Senior Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
at present it is more difficult to join the American military than it is to go to college (assuming you meant US Army, of course). Recruiters are now dealing with the smallest pool of eligible candidates than ever before.
What's different now?

-S-
 

Michael Scott

Level 7 Valued Member
The biggest obstacle for recruiters is these "Zero Tolerance (ZT)" policies from the 90's and forward. When I joined, back in 1986, as mentioned above, waivers were provided to qualified or well qualified candidates. I had a physical waiver for shoulder surgery, a moral waiver for a criminal history occurrence, and a drug waiver for admitting to smoking a joint within 90 days of induction into the Marine Corps. I seriously doubt any of these waivers would be administered in today's Armed Forces recruiting world.

Being a bull-headed 19 year old, who knew everything kind of backfired on me. Fortunately, Uncle Sam & the Marine Corps made me grow up fast.

Anyway, once the ZT policies came about, to show strength against drug use and criminals, as well as lowering the amount of physical waivers, decreased the candidate pools. Now, an asthmatic would not be considered for active duty, yet my younger brother got a waiver for this exact condition in the late 80's (USAF).

Just a couple of examples of two guys that enlisted in the late 80's that never would see Active Duty in today's Armed Forces.

What's different now?

-S-
 

Matts

Level 3 Valued Member
@Jak Nieuwenhuis Good on you for trying to serve...keep at it if it serves your goals. A recruiter who thinks you'll do well can fill you in on anything you might do to qualify. All medical work is serious service as well!

Here's an article about current US Army recruiting- increased waivers
Army using drug waivers, bonuses to fill ranks

It was too bad about that guy who got mixed up with the ex-cons, but can't say he didn't have it coming. Voluntarily getting mixed up with sadistic sociopaths and letting them pound on you is not the brightest thing. Best to stay with martial arts that incorporate ethics, warrior ethos, and mutual respect with like-minded people and hope you don't encounter the other, imho.
 
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