Search This Blog


Offense = Off defense, synchronizing your fighting

A few years ago I went to a Marcello Garcia seminar in Chicago, IL. One of the concepts that he endorses is to "play your game, not worry about playing your opponent's". I have been thinking about striking defense and the way it is trained, how it is artificially separated from offense. I think humans require order and this can be seen in the way they express themselves. In all fights from video games to street fights people break things down into turns. When this comes to competitive martial arts we think in terms of discrete segments of offense and defense, and few fighters attempt to break this mold. The ones that do, often deemed "counter punchers" can do exceptionally well, striking the holes created by attacking. Jeet Kune Do attempts to intercept attack, turning defense into offense, but requires a lot of skill and is poorly applicable to the ring (see Randy Couture's early fights in the UFC).
Thus to synchronize your offense and defense you need to tools and concepts to do so. First, your basal framework is a defensive shell, if you are not being actively offensive your hands and arms are protecting your head and body. You maintain a range that is safe, staying out of No Man's Land unless you are attacking. When you are done, you leave, employing an effective exit strategy/disposition for your opponent, always admire your handiwork from a safe vantage point. If you need to think "I'm going to defend myself now" or "I need to cover to do the next part of my fight plan", you are reacting, a waiting offer for your opponent. Second employ all your tools, simplest to most difficult. Thus keeping distance is the first element of defense, next good body and head movement, then catches, parries, and covers. Remember that an effective defensive is retributive, every time your opponent attacks they must receive negative reinforcement for to understand that fighting you is a bad idea. I'm not going to react, I'm going to act.
Thus we worked four sets of round:
  1. Loaded Evasion: A basic boxing round employing bob, bob-n'-weave, and slips to not only avoid getting hit but to load your retribution (not reaction). Bobbing the rear hand sets up H-C-H reaction, the motion loading a heavy lead hook. The lead evasion loads a heavy cross. We did a second round with Thai pads, either covering or evading the lead leg kick and returning opposite and same side kick.
  2. Retributive Flurry: Fighters should be like rabid alley cats on hair triggers, touch it and its razing your arm on its way up to remove your face. However the triggered "bullet" is typically a 3 pattern (C-H-C, H-C-H, Thai, Knee), that in the heat of battle fizzles. People train 3 and 4 counts, but only manage to fight with 1 and 2 counts. This is probably psychological, they know how tired they get throwing 3 counts in training so they try to "save" themselves in the fight and throw a single punch or kick. To train triggered retribution, I throw a flurry e.g. cross-lead hook-body cross-lead upper cut ("walking the body")-cross-lead hook-cross, I'm thinking that will coax out 3-4 punch combinations after covering from now on.
  3. Cover Action: Rather than waiting for your turn after covering, throw as soon as you start doing your cover. Thus a high cover can work with simultaneous straight. A side cover can be the shield for your hook, uppercut, or shovel hook. If your basic guard is solid it should almost be like you are throwing a combination with some one hitting the arm protecting your body on that side between your shots. Even if you never manage to throw this while fighting, it will decrease your reaction time between your cover and (I cringe to type it) reaction. The hold for this difficult, you need to place the pad you want them to hit on your anterior shoulder of the arm you are using to provoke action. Thus for an orthodox lead your right hand provokes the high cover while your left focus mitt is on your right shoulder. For upper cut variations you can drop it to the inferior border of your pectoralis major muscle, still on the same side. Progressive variations include jab high cover action and serial jab variations of the same as well as cross side cover action.

In fighting Sir Isaac Newton's Third Law is invalid, there is only action!

No comments: