Can you recommend a Graphics Program to Illustrate Fighting Techniques?


For many years I have been diagramming Pekiti-Tirsia weapon techniques. I was even able to do this in the days before home computers, drawing by hand, since my diagrams were so simple (mainly just a series of lines, arrows and numbers). However, I have not been able to create diagrams of empty hand techniques as easily. I really should do a better job on the empty hand side of this, so I have a request. Can you recommend a graphics program that will help me improve my diagrams and have them show the empty hand techniques more clearly?

Please look at the two sections below, (a knife combo and a boxing combo) each with a video and corresponding set of diagrams.

The knife section shows how I’ve been working for years. The diagram is simple and easy for my students to understand.

The boxing section has my first attempt to diagram an empty hand technique. One problem I’ve run into is that the diagram style I used is ok for punches done on the horizontal plane and at the same height. However, I’m not sure how to diagram a combo that has hits to different heights and on different planes (for example, how would I add an uppercut to the combo shown here).

I did these diagrams with an overhead viewpoint as it helps to show where the footwork needs to be. The problem with the overhead view is that hits to the body are hidden by the opponent's arms.

My goal with these diagrams is to make it easier for non English speakers to follow what is happening on my videos. I've had many comments on my Youtube channel from those not proficient in English that suggests that they are having trouble understanding my verbal descriptions of the techniques shown in the videos.

If I had any skill at drawing, I could show fighters from the side, like this illustration Guro Dan Inosanto drew for Bruce Lee's "Tao of Jeet Kune Do."

Is there a graphic arts program that would allow a non-artist like myself to do this type of drawing with my iPad or desktop? One of my main goals here is to be able to do all the work by myself and not pester my artist friends. The program I am currently using is Publisher Lite, but as you can see from my diagrams below, it is limited to very simple shapes. 

Thanks for your help,
Tuhon Bill McGrath


Here is a video showing a simple three count knife combo I've used many times in sparring.


Here is how I would diagram this combo in my notes.

 Here is a simple three count boxing combo.


Here is my first attempt at diagramming the same combo.

Here is a separate footwork diagram, showing the footwork of the boxing combo in sequence.



One of the things I actually like about my crude diagram, is that it allows me to show the correct relationship between the center line of target and power generating shoulders of the two fighters.

In this version of the boxing diagram I have added a red line showing the angle of the point of percussion on the target and the weapon side shoulder. You will notice that the line is not at the center of the shoulder. This is because the line begins where the shoulder meets the chest (or more precisely, where the front head of the deltoid meet the pectoral muscle).

Please notice the following:
During the jab, Red’s left shoulder is in line with Blue’s center and 90 degrees to the chest.
During the cross, Red’s right shoulder is in line with Blue’s center and 90 degrees to the chest.
During the hook, Red’s left shoulder is in line with Blue’s center and 90 degrees to the chest.

Put your fist on target during a left jab. You will have the most support from the shoulder to the fist when the arm is lined up at a right angle to your chest. Your follow through is an extension from that right angle. Now turn your fist into a front hand hook. You will have the most power and the safest position for your shoulder joint, if they stay in that right angle alignment with your chest, even though the elbow is outside that angle. You have to be careful not to open the angle between shoulder and fist too much on a hook, so that you do not damage your shoulder joint.

Here are some photos to help show how the fist is lined up in relation to the chest at the point of percussion during a strike. This is based on my first year of training with Tuhon Gaje, when I was being taught basic kickboxing. Many of the finer details came when he was training me for tournaments with an emphasis on hitting his very dense heavy bag, which was filled with a mixture of sand and clay.

THE JAB: At the impact point, a line runs from the deltoid/pec juncture (marked by my back hand), to the first two knuckles on my fist. Your will have the most support for your shoulder joint at a 90 degree angle chest to arm, but follow through can continue to 45 degrees and still have good shoulder stability.

Care must be taken not to completely straighten the elbow. This can damage the elbow joint, either on impact, or if you miss the target and the elbow overextends. The advice from both Tuhon Gaje and my Silat teacher Eddie Jafri on this subject is not to let your arm go beyond the natural bend it has as it is hanging down at your side when standing relaxed.


LEAD HAND HOOK: On the lead hook, the fist turns over at a 45 degree angle, so that the pinky is up and the thumb knuckle is down, with the elbow slightly bent more than it is in the jab. The wrist is angled inwards to strengthen the wrist during impact. The impact point is on the forefinger knuckle in bare handed fighting and the top of the fist, if under boxing rules with wraps and gloves on. The 90 degree angle from chest to fist should be maintained on this punch to avoid damaging your shoulder. We used a head sized sand bag when practicing this punch.


REAR HAND HOOK: Here the point of percussion occurs when the fist is in front of the center of the chest. The fist canted about 45 degrees out as a compromise between protecting the pinky knuckle from impact (as is the danger in a horizontal position) and the wrist from collapsing (as is the danger in a vertical position). In bare knuckle boxing, this position also helps protect the secondary knuckles from impact with the target. The elbow should be in a line behind the fist on impact.


ELBOW STRIKE: The point of percussion on a horizontal elbow strike has the hand in front of the center of the chest. On soft targets, the bony tip of the elbow is the impact point. On hard targets, the impact point should be moved two inches or so down towards the thickest part of the forearm.