A challenging aspect of combat training is explaining to a student that repetition is needed to learn, but that same aspect needs to be eliminated in a fight. It seems to be counter-intuitive to teach the importance of repetition to the point that it is eliminated.
Fighting requires random and unpredictable behavior. The more unpredictable a fighter, the harder it is to anticipate their attacks. That aside, repetition can be used as a fighting tactic – punch in the same spot over and over lulls an opponent into a false sense of predictive behavior. Once this goal is achieved then the next attack can be completely different.
Any predictive behavior
is a weakness waiting to be exploited.
Beginners adopt repetition to no fault of their own. They are taught to repeat moves until they understand its mechanics – then continue repeating them until it becomes apart of their being. Predictive behavior needs to be recognized and avoided. For example, students have a tenancy to alternate when they spar: first, one attacks and the other defends – then they switch. Recognizing repetition and embrace randomness requires experience. Sparring with different opponents with different skill-sets helps to open a fighter’s eyes to different styles and timing methodologies. A beginner facing a new style may result in panic or uncertainty. This reaction negatively manifests into body-freezing, not knowing how to defend against the unknown. This is why exposing a fighter to different spokes in the Expertise Wheel helps them to learn effective counter-strategies. Examples of unknown territory may include:
- A Fighter’s Physiology • Tall, short, heavy or strong fighters
- Mysterious Martial Styles • Unseen techniques, timing, or bizarre behavior
- Street Fighting • No rules means that attacks can come from unexpected angles or even weapons.
Each scenario requires different tactics to mitigate an opponent’s strengths and capitalize on their weaknesses. Here are some examples:
- Tall and lanky fighters • A fighter needs to close the distance to mitigate the opponent’s reach advantage. If the fighter has experience with wrestling or jiu-jitsu then taking them to the ground will mitigate the opponent’s height advantage.
- Short and stocky fighters • Tactics here may involve keeping the fight standing, based on the assumption that their strength in grappling. This means mitigating this threat by learning how to counter takedowns.
- Muay Thai • Fighters should avoid “phone booth” fighting against these opponents since Muay Thai fighters are especially versed in the clinch. They are also experts at leg kicks. Ground fighting will also eliminate all Muay Thai strengths.
- Karate-ka • Fighting these opponents in the phone booth is ideal since they are unfamiliar with close range fighting. This martial art focuses on block and counter techniques so using multiple combinations, executed by a boxing style is a good tactic since it results in quick ascension to the opponent’s Chaos Zone.
- Wrestlers • It is important to keep the fight standing with these opponents. The main hope on the ground is superior wrestling or Brasilian Jiu-Jitsu.
- Boxers • These fighters are especially versed in combinations and dancing around their opponents. It is important to use kicks to keep them out of “phone booth” range. If this happens, then a Muay Thai clinch will mitigate a boxer’s strengths since they are unfamiliar with tactics that involve grabbing and grappling. Boxers are used to being separated from a clinch, but Muay Thai fighters will continue fighting. In many cases, taking a boxer to the ground is the best option.
About the Author
Gabriel Dusil has been a practitioner of Martial Arts for over twenty years. Originally he trained in the traditional style of Shotokan Karate. Gabriel has also trained under Sensei Martin “Sonic” Langley in the United Kingdom and currently trains with Karel Ferus in Prague at the Ferus Fitness Fight Club, fffc.cz. More recently he focuses on circuit training, strength & conditioning, and kickboxing.
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Martial Arts • Fighting Science Series
If you would like to read more articles in this “Yin Yang of Fighting Science” series, check out these posts:
• 1 • Yin Yang of Technique vs. Power
• 2 • Yin Yang of Speed vs. Timing
• 3 • Yin Yang of Fighting Styles
• 4 • Yin Yang of Technique vs. Instinct
• 5 • Yin Yang of Empty vs. Full Cups
• 6 • Yin Yang of Slow vs. Fast
• 7 • Yin Yang of Perception vs. Reality
• 8 • Yin Yang of Fear vs. Confidence
• 9 • Yin Yang of Threes
• 10 • Yin Yang of Burden vs. Privilege
• 11 • Yin Yang of Anticipation vs. Surprise
• 12 • Yin Yang of Compliance vs. Resistance
• 13 • Yin Yang of Attacking vs. Defending
• 14 • Yin Yang of Fighting 360°
• 15 • Yin Yang of Teachers vs. Students
• 16 • Yin Yang of Physics vs. Physiology
• 17 • Yin Yang of Vulnerability vs. Opportunity
• 18 • Yin Yang of Martial Arts vs. Combat
• 19 • Yin Yang of Sport vs. Violence
• 20 • Yin Yang of Rhythm vs. Random
• 21 • Yin Yang of Stability
• 22 • Yin Yang of Strategy vs. Tactics
• 23 • Yin Yang of Instinct vs. Reason
• 24 • Yin Yang of Unstoppable vs. Immovable