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Levels, Lines, and Lies

Humans are kinesiphilic, that is, we are attracted to movement. Although as evolved omnivores we are not as bound to pounce on moving things like the more predatory common house cat, our focus is still drawn to that which moves. My infant has taught me this, all his toys move or flash lights. In a fight or flight situation, i.e. a fight, that instinctual ocular response is what provides information to the brain which then decides if we should move something in the way, move ourselves out of the way, or strike back. The fact that movement provokes response is also what makes us able to set an opponent up.
Think for a moment that if your athletic prowess was great enough and your technique sound enough, then you could strike your opponent when you wanted with what you wanted at will. Find a five year old, given that all your athletic gifts and experience should far exceeding theirs, there is little doubt you will win that sparring match, unless you are Kramer from Seinfeld. Most of the time our skills and athleticism do not significantly, averaged over the human population, differ from our opponents. Thus we must find other ways to win.
The first method for this is to switch levels. If everything you throw is at the same level, e.g. head, abdomen, or groin, your opponent learns their lesson early -- protect this area of my body and I won' get hurt. By simply changing the level, i.e. throwing to the body rather than the head with same combination, their learned response of protecting the head works against them. Switching levels when punching necessitates body movement, your knees have to rapidly bend and lower your body. When you tie kicking (no pun intended) in you, increase the complexity and number of leveled combinations you can throw. Level changes are simply the body versions of our regular, 1, 2, 3, and 4 striking combinations. Examples of level changes with kicking is using any combination you know and throwing the kick somewhere else, i.e. head versus body versus leg.
Another method is to switch paths, the linear versus the circular. Switching between using the linear arsenal of jabs, crosses, and tiips with the circular one of hooks, overhands, and round kicks means provoking the closing of one door by their defense while simultaneously opening the other. Applying less orthodox pathways like the uppercut, chop, or back fist to open defenses can be a third set of tools for landing telling blows. Pathway changes involve using a single or series of one class of strikes, i.e. four straight, triple jab, or overhand-hook-overhand, to equate movement with a direction of attack. This means that when you change your tactics, they still think movement means attack from a particular direction, but in fact you have now changed up the game.
A third methodology is faking. I have heard convincing arguments as to why faking is useless to useful. Those who don't endorse the faking method argue that they are not going to waste energy for strikes that don't do anything but rather throw combinations and by changing the texture of the strikes within it they provoke a defensive response, that is exchange high speed for high power. If their flick jab is fast enough to land great here comes the next blow. If not it made their opponent move, hopefully in such a way to make the next blow land cleanly. Proponents of the fake argue that by faking they are being more efficient, they use minimal energy to set-up their high yield blows. The faker has to invest in their fake. They must do something with an initial combination that "teaches" the opponent to do something defensively that places them in an optimal spot for another strike. Faker nay-sayers will argue that if your investment attack is so good at providing future dividends, why forgo its ability to do this by faking. Being a centrist, I would simply say learn both ideologies and incorporate as needed. The fake versus flick options include
  • Same side level switch: Fake the high or low line and then switch to deliver it. Shoulder movement is what sells the shot. Examples: fake high go low (jab, cross or hook), Superman punch, and electric slide
  • Same side pathway switch: Fake one path, take the other. Examples: Fake jab-lead hook, fake rear hook-laser cross, the Sidewinder (fake Thai kick-tiip).
  • Opposite side pathway switch: As before but switch to the other side. Examples: Fake lead hook-cross, fake rear hook-jab.

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