Despise the extreme masculinity and brutality of its subculture, 52 Hand Blocks, or known in short as 52 Blocks and Jailhouse Rock, was developed in the 70s by a trans woman, Mother Dear. Newspapers and sources constantly misgendered her, including smear that claim she was a rapist, none of which were true. But the earliest sources and those who first learned her technique stated that she was a trans. Sadly, some rumors from ex-con that in 90s Mother Dear was killed in a deadly fight in Riker. RIP.
52 Blocks was developed in brutal environment of prison and jail, all its techniques were designed to maim and kill with simplest to learn, yet maximize its damage. The practitioner used 52 Blocks in environment of kill or to be killed. The techniques were ever changing, passed down by ex-con or those who served times in prison. In modern time, it's a common street martial art among those who live in the hood.
It combines bare-knuckle boxing with savate, in addition to traditional African martial arts such as Dembe. But 52 Blocks is different from most systems, for example, it doesn't use hook and jab often but rely on haymaker. Haymakers cover widest impact yet could be used in tight environment.
My first encounter with 52 Blocks was during teen, I was in juvie for hacking related charge, at the time I came out as an Enby. A cellmate taught me basic techniques like signature Skull & Cross Bones (jab + catch + elbow block), Triangle Trade (hook + haymaker + quick hand) and Kiss and Catch (low jab). Kiss and Catch was the signature move by Mother Dear. They got me out of rough spots countless time and kept me alive for the rest of my serving time. In modern time, queer and trans ex-cons developed similar version of 52 Blocks for their self-defense, combining Wing Chun, Tai Chi and Jiu Jitsu.
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