Stiff-arm fend

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The Heisman Trophy in American college football shows a player anticipating delivering a stiff-arm fend. Cappelletti Heisman Trophy crop 1.jpg
The Heisman Trophy in American college football shows a player anticipating delivering a stiff-arm fend.

The stiff-arm fend (also known as a hand off or fend off in rugby league and rugby union, sometimes as a don't argue in Australia, or a stiff arm or straight arm in American football) is a tactic employed by the ball-carrier in many forms of contact football.

Rugby league team sport, code of rugby football

Rugby league football is a full-contact sport played by two teams of thirteen players on a rectangular field. One of the two codes of rugby, it originated in Northern England in 1895 as a split from the Rugby Football Union over the issue of payments to players. Its rules progressively changed with the aim of producing a faster, more entertaining game for spectators.

Rugby union team sport, code of rugby football

Rugby union, commonly known in most of the world simply as rugby, is a contact team sport which originated in England in the first half of the 19th century. One of the two codes of rugby football, it is based on running with the ball in hand. In its most common form, a game is between two teams of 15 players using an oval-shaped ball on a rectangular field with H-shaped goalposts on each try line.

American football Team field sport

American football, referred to as football in the United States and Canada and also known as gridiron, is a team sport played by two teams of eleven players on a rectangular field with goalposts at each end. The offense, which is the team controlling the oval-shaped football, attempts to advance down the field by running with or passing the ball, while the defense, which is the team without control of the ball, aims to stop the offense's advance and aims to take control of the ball for themselves. The offense must advance at least ten yards in four downs, or plays, and otherwise they turn over the football to the defense; if the offense succeeds in advancing ten yards or more, they are given a new set of four downs. Points are primarily scored by advancing the ball into the opposing team's end zone for a touchdown or kicking the ball through the opponent's goalposts for a field goal. The team with the most points at the end of a game wins.

Contents

The skill

Fend by Edwin Maka during a rugby union game. Stade toulousain vs Castres olympique - 2012-08-18 - 42.jpg
Fend by Edwin Maka during a rugby union game.

In rugby league, rugby union, American football and Australian football, ball-carriers run towards defenders who are attempting to tackle them. By positioning the ball securely in one arm, the ball-carrier can fully extend his other arm, locking his elbow, and outstretching his palm. Then, the ball-carrier pushes directly outwards with the palm of his hand onto the chest or shoulder of the would-be tackler. The fend is a pushing action, rather than a striking action.

A stiff-arm fend may cause the tackler to fall to the ground, taking him out of the play. Even if the tackler keeps his feet, it becomes impossible for him to complete a tackle, as he cannot come close enough to wrap his arms around the ball-carrier.

A well-executed stiff-arm fend can be a very powerful offensive weapon.

The term don't argue was coined in Australia to describe the stiff-arm fend. The term describes what a commentator imagined the ball-carrier might be saying as he shoved his opponent in the face or chest, and is used as a noun.

Ball-carriers in Australian football must be careful to avoid fending opponents in the head or neck, otherwise they will concede a high tackle free kick. High fends will generally be allowed in rugby unless the referee rules that the fend is too forceful, constituting a strike rather than a push. In Rugby, a stiff-arm tackle (i.e. locked elbow and extended arm prior to making contact with the defender) is dangerous play. A player makes a stiff arm tackle when using a stiff-arm to strike an opponent (Laws of the Game, Rugby Union, Law 10.4, dangerous Play and Misconduct, Section (e), dangerous tackling). Therefore, a stiff-arm fend, as described above is permitted (even a high fend) so long as it does not constitute striking the opponent (similar to an open handed punch).

The stiff arm is also known as "pie in the face" in NFL slang.

Some famous players who use the fend include dual rugby/league international Sonny Bill Williams. [1] [2] [3] [4]

Sonny Bill Williams New Zealand rugby player and heavyweight boxer

Sonny William Williams is a New Zealand rugby union footballer, heavyweight boxer and former rugby league footballer. He is only the second person to represent New Zealand in rugby union after first playing for the country in rugby league, and is one of only twenty players to have won two rugby union World Cups.

Physics

The stiff-arm fend is particularly effective because its force is applied down the length of a straight arm, directly into the shoulder. This puts the arm bones exclusively under compressive axial stress, the stress to which bone is strongest, and ensures that minimal torque is applied to the shoulder joint. As such, the force that can be applied by a stiff-arm fend can easily repel or topple an oncoming defender. The same techniques are practised by some schools of martial artists when striking or punching; by ensuring that the direction of the force is directly down a locked, straight arm, martial artists can punch through bricks and tiles without damaging their arms.

Martial arts codified systems and traditions of combat practices

Martial arts are codified systems and traditions of combat practiced for a number of reasons such as self-defense, military and law enforcement applications, physical, mental and spiritual development; as well as entertainment and the preservation of a nation's intangible cultural heritage.

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References

  1. "Sonny Bill's fend in good form". AAP. 1 January 2009. Retrieved 15 February 2015.
  2. John Mitchell (4 December 2014). "Why Sonny Bill Williams is king of the offload". ESPN. Retrieved 15 February 2015.
  3. Will Greenwood (7 November 2014). "Will Greenwood believes Kyle Eastmond will hold his own against Sonny Bill Williams". Sky Sports. Retrieved 15 February 2015.
  4. Benji Marshall (22 July 2012). "Taking a punt on super-freakish Sonny Bill worth the risk". Brisbane Times. Retrieved 15 February 2015.