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Writing Exercise #2: Blocks and Counters

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.

So, let’s get down to it! Using the information found in FightWrite: The Art of Blocking and FightWrite: A Basic Upper Body Primer (Fists) write a fight scene that includes:

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.

Writing Exercise #1: Practice Kicks

Using any of the techniques described in Weapon Primer: Basic Kicks describe a fight scene in a place of your choosing. Here are some conditions:

1) Describe the fight scene in a single paragraph (five sentences or less)

2) You must describe the techniques used in the scene without naming them. Use the section in Part 3 on writing for reference and the terminology in the Basic Kicks section if you get stuck.

The goal of this exercise is to get you thinking about the basic body parts involved, where they are going, what they are doing, and what the results are.

Challenge Level: Instead of just using one, use two together as a combination using the same requirements as above.

Tag your attempts with fightwrite, if you do it and feel comfortable publishing it so we can see them.

Below the cut is my attempt. Happy writing!


It was supposed to be easy, Susan thought as Jared came at her. He slashed and the bared blade of the knife slid past her, glistening in the moonlight. She stepped back, hands rising to protect her face. He lunged, driving towards her, eyes wild. Her knee whipped up, leg swinging out and across as she drove the ball of her foot into his ribcage.

Challenge Level:

The bared knife blade in Jared’s hand glistened in the moonlight. Susan stepped back, hands rising to protect her face. He lunged, driving towards her, eyes wild. Her knee whipped up, leg swinging out and across as she plowed the ball of her foot into his ribcage. Spinning around as he stumbled, Susan whipped her back leg up and brought it down on a diagonal, hammering Jared’s left temple with her heel.