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Supplemental "Pummeling is like relativity...when is that ever useful"

Jim and I got together and trained today. Midway during him hounding me on the mat, we ended in his guard and as he went for underhooks, he quipped, ""Pummeling...when is that ever useful." And it inspired the title of today's entry, that and it makes an old instructor proud to see his students humorously analyze the material he's been taught. A solitary tear rolls down my cheek.
We started working with the jab. I see the jab as a piece of the arsenal useful both in offense and defense. In offense it can be used to probe as well as to set-up attack-by-combination ("Tao of Jeet Kune Do" (Bruce Lee)), while in defense it can be used as a quick, repeated counter punch. To set up our jab (like other striking) we have several methods, including:
  1. Space-time Control: Action
    If you initiate the offense by throwing the combination this is the simplest and most direct way to throw your strikes since you choose the time and place to deliver your offense
  2. Temporal Control: Drawing/Feinting Action
    By using movement concepts like the StarfishTM to draw and bait your opponent and the CorkscrewTM circle and close with your opponent you force them to throw (and miss). By faking you can force my reaction for your counter reaction. Here you bank on time, your opponent can only throw so fast, so you read the rate and act in their "recovery" period.
  3. Spatial Control: Counter Action
    The time that your opponent is most "open" is when their limbs are furthest from them and that occurs when they strike. Thus counter punching is the process of launching your attack when they have launched their attack. This can be accomplished by catching/parrying/slipping and simultaneously/immediately returning shots.
  4. Space-time Chaos: Reaction
    As mentioned previously, in sport or self-defense, when an attack earns an immediate and brutal reprisal, attacks usually stop. When a strike lands either off a cover or cleanly, return fire. I do not like to exchange, but if forced to I want to get the better end of the deal.
We worked a progression of drills to work these concepts:
  1. Basic boxing warm-up. How is the jab and jab in combination working/looking?
  2. Stationary feeder, reacts to encroachment, the fighter's objective is to jab one focus mitt as the the feeder tries to land jabs. Can the fighter use feinting and drawing to set-up the jab?
  3. Repeat #2 above but now the fighter uses a counter punch set-up. Can the figher set-up a counter jab?
  4. Stationary fighter, feeder touches/tags fighter who throws immediate jab. Can the fighter respond to touch stimuli and react immediately?
  5. Front hand sparring. Can the fighter incorporate #1-4 above into their lexicon?
With this in mind we must remember that the jab is a part and not the whole, it can be used simply and alone but is most effective when incorporated into a more complex fighting structure using hooks, crosses, kicks, knees, etc. With that in mind:
  • "3 Body Kick": Jab-Cross-Lead Body Hook-Rear Kick
  • "Four Angles": Jab-Overhand-Uppercut-Cross
  • "Reverse 3 Hook/Kick/Tiip/Knee": Jab-Lead Hook-Cross-Lead Hook/Lead Kick/Tiip/Lead Knee
  • "2 Overhand Uppercut": Jab-Cross-Overhand-Lead Uppercut
Jim and I also got into a form vs. function discussion. There is a technical proscribed way to move, however when we drill, time, or spar we sometimes functionally get out of the way using abysmal form. Here is the dichotomy: when form fails does function take over, but shouldn't proper form be functional? This is basically the self-perfection vs. self-preservation discussion with different words. We must strive for pure form but must remember that in the chaos of hardcore drills, fast timing, and full contact sparring sometimes primal instinct, tempered by skilled repetition, cannot be sublimated and was successful at preserving your skin. This is good, but usually comes at the cost of increased energy expenditure, risk of injury and/or poor balance, thus we cannot discard technical form for barest function. And then later we can have this discussion again with new words for the same meanings...
Finally Jim and I rolled for about a half hour which he spent beating me up (although I did catch a armbar). We talked about using but not relying on our natural gifts to build a grappling (or any) game. Thus a tall fighter uses long range attacks but cannot be unfamiliar with inside boxing. A flexible grappler set-ups submissions from unlikely positions but does not expect their flexibility to save them from every bad position or submission. Training our strengths into our game is important as not letting our weaknesses define it. Yes we should do what we are best at, but we should also hone our roughest patches to be our sharpest weapons.

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