(Warning: this is an unnecessarily violent instruction manual, do not read if you want to have a good impression of me or of Martial Arts in general. The following has little if anything to do with fish.)
In essence, a fishhook is a flesh ripping move which, if performed correctly, should leave your opponent without a face.
That’s why they're illegal.
From the ancient Greek wrestlers to the modern UFC1, all have eventually outlawed this technique. I cannot think of a single martial art where they're considered legal outside of a Fight-Club-style no-holds-barred competition. Even in a street fight you would have to be really desperate to try this.
However as a general rule if a move is illegal in competition then it’s a good indication that it’s an awesome last ditch self defence move. In this instance the rule holds true. Therefore even though I am only aware of fishhooks because of a renegade Ju Jitsu instructor; and even though it’s certainly not something that just anyone should know about, I’m still going to tell you how to do it anyway.
To perform ideal fishhooks:
Position yourself behind your opponent.
- These are instructions to perform two fishhooks simultaneously, a fishhook can be performed from any aspect so long as one hand can reach your opponent’s face.
Dig your thumbs into the mastoids behind the jaw.
- This should make your opponent open their mouth which will make the fishhooks easier to apply. The mastoids run from the ear lobe to the bottom of the jaw and are an extremely painful cluster of nerve points. You can test these now by poking gently in that region.
Put two curved fingers from each hand into the sides of the mouth.
- Your fingers are the hooks and the opponent is the fish.
You don’t actually want to go too deep with the fingers. The first knuckle is more effective than a whole finger, as it allows more leverage to be brought to bear later on.
Stretch the lips wide, keeping your fingers away from their teeth
- This will be so painful that most people will make strange strangled screaming noises. It’s about twice as bad as any punch you’ve ever experienced. Some people have compared it to childbirth.2 (As the uke (see: guinea pig) If you want to sing a tune and have people guess what it is, do it now. I recommend anything from The Beatles i.e: Yesterday; Help; Twist and Shout. Classic comedy.)
- If you like causing yourself pain you too can experience this whilst sitting at your desk, but don’t give me a downvote if you do it too hard. (Just remember that when you do it to someone else it will actually be easier to cause damage due to the more natural orientation of your wrists when applying this from behind.)
- Obviously you do not want to do the next step in training, (or indeed ever) but I will add it because its important to know how powerful this technique is. However before I do that I need to think of a highly unlikely situation where the use of this might be practical just to ease my conscience.
- Ok got one:
- Ok so there's this bomb which can be activated by either a voice command from a terrorist or if the he loses consciousness. You as an ex-navy seal who is in no way a chef at all creep up on the bad guy whack some fishhooks in so he can’t give the vocal command.
But wait, there’s a twist, as you wait for the cavalry to arrive you look across the room and see that the bomb also has a timer on it! You need to disarm the bomb to save the president’s daughter, but can’t kill the terrorist knock him out or let him speak.
- If you find yourself in that exact situation, you my friend have a licence to complete the rest of the technique:
Keeping your thumbs tucked in behind the jaw; pull your hands into fists then pull your hands down your attacker's back
- Unless your attacker has incredibly flexible skin the lips will split at some point during their inversion.
From this initial tear you can continue to strip the flesh from the bone structure of the face. (I have this terrible pun about "facing charges" if you ever do this, but I can’t find a way to work it in…)
- I think that the truly horrifying thing about this move is how effortless it would be. Once you have someone’s lips pulled back it would just takes a slip of the wrist to tear them clean off. Think of your face as being a tender roast chicken, how hard is it to grab plateful of breast meat?
- Making a meal of someone’s face is exactly the same; except the conversation afterwards isn’t as pleasant nor is it particularly articulate.
From a wing chung point of view (cheers Dad) you can get people to apply the move to themselves by attacking the eye at the same time as the mouth. The natural reaction is to turn rapidly away from the eye gouging move, thus pulling the fishhooks onto their cheeks. This move is normally applied from the side or the front.
A couple of side effects you might experience after stretching your lips with fishhooks are an unnatural impulse to smile and an inability to drink without drooling.
After training this technique for about half an hour at the end of a Ju Jitsu session we went to the pub to have our usual post-training drink. We sat in agony spilling drinks on ourselves smiling our heads off. Yep that was a good night!
All very nasty stuff and if you’re not into this sort of thing then I apologise, but the fact is that martial artists usually find this kind of ludicrous violence which isn’t even seen on kung fu movies quite funny. There’s no way of really explaining why it’s funny, I suppose we just need nastier slapstick.
Disclamer: Errr… Do not do this to anyone else ever. Go to a dojo to receive genuine martial arts instruction. If you hurt yourself or anyone else following this guide then you are a moron. I have only a lowly green belt in Ju Jitsu and so I am not an expert. Your mileage may vary.
1Fishhooks were outlawed in UFC6 after Tank Abbots tried to apply one. I don’t know the details of what happened, but this is the same nutter who almost threw someone out of the octagon so I’m imagining that the results weren’t pretty
2Carol Burnett once gave Bill Cosby an example of what childbirth was like: "Take your bottom lip, pull it as far away from your face as you can, and now pull it over your head."