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Orthodox vs. Unorthodox

The concepts of an orthodox and unorthodox fighters are quite common. An orthodox fighting style can be taught, while unorthodox fighting comes from a combination of natural talent and continued successes. Take for example, this past weekend's third UFC Championship match between Chuck Liddell and Randy Couture. Liddell is an awesome but extremely unorthodox fighter. He uses an extremely low striking guard and big almost sloppy punches yet is a devastating knockout artist and rarely has his own bell rung. When he's taken down he just stands up, regardless of the wrestling or jiu-jitsu background of his opponent. If anyone else tried to fight like he does, they'd lose and lose bad. But he does it successfully, although I do not believe that he could teach his method successfully to others.
Orthodox fighters can do well, being supplied with a general skill set that can handle most situations. However, they must be flexible enough to break with doctrine and adapt with the events around them. Unorthodox fighters provide a strategic aberration and tactical conundrum that can foil an orthodox fighter but are dependent on the athlete's natural abilities. However, being unconventional for the sake of being unconventional is not a sound basis, being unconventional for the sake of repeated success is. It can be suggested that all successful fighting styles were originally quite unorthodox but with time and modification became quite orthodox. That is, the unorthodox tactics of a system's progenitor were simplified and codified into an orthodox, teachable, system. That's how most of my hellacious drills have evolved.
Thus the orthodox fighter must adopt unorthodox thinking to become more formidable and develop. An unorthodox fighter must have an orthodox reserve for situations unsuitable for an unorthodox approach and for transmission (teaching) of the style. A recent example of unorthodox applications for me has been my overhand-3-kick combination: jab-overhand-lead hook-rear kick. People seem so ingrained that the uppercut follows the overhand that the hook comes as a surprise, followed by the "fact" that the hook is too short of a punch to be followed by a kick, alternating between their distal thigh and head adds to the frustration. I'm also playing with jab-lead hook-rear uppercut, which is also landing. In grappling, people often do the same thing over and over, e.g. always passing to the same side or the same way. In practice it is important to drill a high percentage move, but it also important to do something "unorthodox" for you if your "high percentage" move isn't working or in case it doesn't work in competition.
Todays technical drill of note was a continuous 5 x 1 minute drill using:
  • Thai pads with reaction
  • Punch mitts
  • Punch mitt pummeling
  • Punching down to punch mitts
  • Kick up to thai pads
  • Pad switch breaks were done on the G & P dummy

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