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The Thrill of the Chase

A fight is a hunt, a chase.  Not like the big game hunter but like a predator.  Always on balance, never greedy, positioning oneself to strike with absolute surprise and ferocity.  In the ring you chase but do not over-extend, you may even go backward in pursuit of the optimal position to deliver damage.  Your tactics determine how you chase, depending on if your opponent is hurt, off-balance, or evading.  The chase is addictive, do not let the thrill of the hunt lead you to lose your prey.

In my lesson today Ian had me work some tiip derived combinations.  We worked front and rear defensive and offensive tiip.  The defensive lead tiip shifts your weight over the rear leg, base foot rotated externally to keep it straight.  The knee rises up between the umbilicus and inferior chest before the kick extends using the hips,  This is a defensive jab, thrown just as your opponent shifts onto their lead foot off their rear to advance forward.  The offensive lead tiip, bring your rear leg to the lead, foot rotating externally, throw the kick as described above.  The rear tiip is thrown by rising onto the ball of the lead foot and driving the rear foot through and extending from the hips.  Again on defense attempt to catch them on the step.  Ian held all these combinations, occasionally making me miss to see if I stayed on balance.

We also worked jab upper cut elbow, lead and read. For the lead throw the jab (no wind-up!), step the lead foot to mid-line and bring the elbow up, as if the hand were to rapidly style your hair.  Do not punch yourself in the face. The rear combo again enters with the jab, then step laterally to bring your rear elbow midline. Throw the elbow upward, catching with the tip.

We also worked offensive and defensive tiip. One key is to keep the base leg “locked” and straight. The lead offensive tiip is thrown by stepping the rear foot to the lead, lifting your knee to the target height and jabbing with the ball of the foot.  The rear offensive tiip is throw by stepping forward, rising on the ball of the lead foot, and driving the rear foot through to kick.  The defensive tiip needs to be timed, try to catch your opponent as they step onto their lead foot, shifting the weight off their rear foot.  For the lead defensive tiip shift your weight to the rear leg, keeping it straight and foot flat, throw the tiip.

Coming full circle to the chase argument, using the concept of the offensive tiip.  If you throw the lead tiip and your opponent backs-up, follow-up with the rear tiip.  If your opponent is hurt, remaining fairly close to you, the lead tiip is followed by a kick on this side.  To throw this, hop your rear leg laterally, making sure your weight shifts over this leg, your tiip leg sets posteriorly to throw the kick.  If you knock your opponent off balance and need to “run them down”, step forward with the tiip, step through with your rear leg, setting it as the base leg.  Allow your shoulders to twist to slightly to the side throwing the kick to generate more torque, throw the Thai kick.

“Side-kick” tiip, both offensive and defensive.  Defensively, throw this tiip as if you are throwing a Thai kick, but the leg comes out straight, turn your hips to allow the leg to extend further, foot at 45° from the ground.  Your weight stays over your foot.  For the offensive version, the leg comes up and you spring forward to deliver the kick.


Teaching to my detriment

I’ve been involved with martial arts since 1985 and have always had a striking component to my training.  I started with hard styles of Uechi-Ryu and Shorin-Ryu Karate-Do, but found that I wasn’t training the way I was fighting.  I gravitated to the eclectic Goshin Jitsu which used a boxing and kickboxing framework for their striking which seemed more applicable.  I’ve trained for many years in Jeet Kune Do, which is more of a philosophy than a style as it evolves to what works rather than being a dogmatic method.  I subsequently became interested in Muay Thai and have trained that for over a decade.  The unfortunate side effect of training this long is that eventually you become the senior member of the class.  It is not because I am more skilled or more able that I coach, it is because I’ve been too dumb to quit.

Now that I’m doing muay thai private lessons my technique is under a microscope.  I have bad habits, mostly I assumed from injury and lay off.  In muay thai, the way that you throw kicks or knees is by extending on the base leg.  I don’t do that.  I see people doing it, but I don’t do it.  I teach the extension, but I don’t do it.  Sure I can blame deconditioned leg muscles or poor balance but honestly my legs are stronger now than they have been in years.  Training this week, we figured it out:  It’s a bad habit from teaching.

In order to show that I was using the point of the knee to strike and since on average people are smaller than me, I was pulling my knees and crouching so that I didn’t obliterate half my demo partner’s rib cage.  I look sort of like a toddler being toilet trained who is trying not to pee themselves.  The more you coach, the more you teach, the less you train.  So by demoing it to prove one point, I managed to teach myself wrong.  You can do the extension and rapidity of a knee well, and focus on that by “slapping” them with the distal anterior surface of the thigh rather than trying to drive the bony part of distal femur through their thorax.  Try.  You like.

The above point came up when we reviewed material from the Matee seminar a few weeks back.  We review catching the jab, cross, clearing the cross hand and pivot stepping while side clinching to deliver the knee. Alternatively you can slap their rear hand down and let them step into your rear horizontal elbow.

The other (cool) thing we worked on was saving yourself from a caught thai kick.  I threw the rear thai kick rapidly and relaxedly.  As soon as it hit, I rotate the knee outward and recovered.  Next when working with my coach, I threw the kick on Ian, who caught it.  The rotation freed my foot so that I could place it on his torso/hip and push kick away.  You’re not pulling your leg out, you’re freeing it to push your opponent away.