Today, we’re going to pass out an exercise for writing about counters. A counter is a combination technique that combines a block with a follow-up strike. The ability to combine defensive techniques with offensive ones is an important part of any character’s martial training. Characters who do use blocks and counters are characters who have had some sort of formal training. Check out our article Unusual Martial Art: Street Fighting for more information on the differences between trained and untrained combatants.
1) an attack by the scene’s antagonist
2) a block by the protagonist
3) a follow up attack by the protagonist after they’ve blocked
Switch it up to write the protagonist losing if you feel so inclined. The lead up to the fight scene may be as long as you like, but the fight itself should happen in a single paragraph (five sentences or less) and you must describe the techniques used without naming them. Try to avoid kicks for now, unless you’re very comfortable with spacing and distance. Hands range usually means your character is past the point of effective kicking range (but within knee range).
Tips: The hand or arm that blocks and the hand that counters are two different hands or sides of the body so keep track of where the hands go and what they’re doing.
Try to use strong or powerful verbs like slam or slammed, drive or drove, ram or rammed instead of hit.
Example: she hit him with her fist.
Example: she slammed her fist into his throat.
Strikes have a physical weight to them that must be conveyed to the reader in order for the scene to be successful.
Below the cut is my attempt. Have fun!
Lisa MacAvoy had known it wouldn’t be long until Marvin jumped her in some dank back alley behind McKinney Senior High. The trouble had started back when he’d made a pass at her in the lunch line back in September. Well, pass made it sound too pleasant. He’d grabbed her boob, she’d dumped him face first into a neighboring tray full of Mac and Cheese. He’d never been happy about that.
But I got suspended, so fair’s fair.
Marvin swung in, fist arcing at her into a wild roundhouse. He was big, strong from lifting weights every day in the gym after school.
It’d be over if she gave him the time to grab her.
Lisa stepped forward, ramming both her hands out into his arm. Her left went to the middle of Marvin’s forearm, the right to the soft pressure point between his bicep and triceps. Marvin’s body came to a sudden stop. Lisa didn’t waste time, her right hand reached up to grasp the back of Marvin’s neck. She slammed his face down as her knee drove upwards and the two connected with a messy crack.