Tag Archives: Fear

Martial Arts • Fighting Science • 6 • Yin ☯ Yang of Slow vs. Fast

Students initially associate light sparring to mean “slow-motion”, and hard sparring to mean “fast”. But that’s should not be the case. Slow motion striking is not effective, because it’s not reflective of a real combat situation. Student’s need to learn “fast-and-light” sparring. This means learning how to “pull punches” – a technique where speed can be at an optimal level but before connecting to the opponent, the attack is dissipated (or attenuated) at the last millisecond. With this approach, realistic reactionary measures can be practiced, without hurting your opponent.

Fighting has the rhythm of dancing,
yet requires the absence of rhythm.

Students also make the mistake of taking turns when sparring, meaning that when one attacks the other defends – then they switch. Rhythm is an asset and a threat. A sparring match has a tendency takes on a predictive ping-pong of attack/defend and defend/attack. But this is also not realistic. Taking turns is a form of rhythm that a good fighter will seek to break. A good fighter will break the rhythm of an opponent to confuse them. In contrast, a fighter is at a big disadvantage if they don’t understand the rhythm of their opponent.

Often the best opportunity to counter-attack is when an opponent is attacking. This is an “attack when being attacked” approach, and is effective because at the moment they are attacking, the opponent is most exposed. For instance, a left jab from an opponent means their left side of their head is no longer being protected. Only their right hand is available to block a counter-attack. When a fighter is committing to an attack, it leaves them vulnerable. With the right timing and anticipation, the exposed side of the opponent can be exploited.

When facing an opponent with a strong guard (i.e. their head is well protected with a stable stance), fakes and faints can be used to create openings. This causes the opponent to defend, move or strike, which creates new opportunities and vulnerabilities.

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.

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°

Martial Arts • Fighting Science • 5 • Yin ☯ Yang of Empty vs. Full Cups

Entering a new dojo or training facility requires humility and respect. Maybe the instructor is young or small in stature – don’t judge a book by its cover. You are a guest in their gym. Respecting a new gym requires courage and confidence. You are admitting to everyone that you don’t know something, but are willing to spend the time and effort to listen and learn.

Learning is about checking your ego at the door.
What kind of student are you?

There are three types of students:

  • Empty-Cups • These are students who have the complete courage to enter a new facility and learn a new craft. They want to learn new techniques and new degrees of freedom. They ware willing to have the instructor fill their cup with knowledge and experience. These students are the easiest to teach because they absorb information like a sponge. Techniques they learn are not only be adopted for that session but will be treated as their personal “laws” to be adopted as part of their training repertoire  – from that point onward.
  • Full-Cups • At the opposite end of the spectrum are students who enter a new gym with big egos, or their personality is overshadowed by insecurity. They don’t have the courage or willingness to lower their guard and learn something new. Their cup may be full from another discipline or gym. So what is their motivation? Maybe they want to “fight-out” their daily frustrations on unsuspecting students, or prove their toughness in a new gym. Maybe they have low self-esteem and don’t have the confidence to lower their guard and admit they don’t know something. These students are the most challenging to teach because the artificial barriers they have created must be broken down first before teaching can begin.
  • Cups-with-Holes • These are students who listen to the instructor for a brief moment and forget or discount what you told them, once you leave. They don’t have the patience or interest to adopt a new technique for longer than the teacher is giving them attention. They treat the instructor’s guidance as temporary. This may be due to a lack of respect for the gym or instructor. Other times it may be due to not realizing that what they are being told is “law” that needs to be adopted from that day forward.

The best students are Empty-Cups – it is enough to tell them once, and the instructor’s mission is accomplished.

As an instructor, I try to understand the type of student standing across from me. If they are a Full-Cup student, my time is ill spent. If they are a Cup-with-Holes then I try to explain that what I am teaching is not temporary – it’s “law”. They should adopt that law from that point onward – at least until something better comes along. Cup-with-Holes students require a lot of patience because they need to be told repetitively what is correct before they finally realize the importance of what you are teaching them.

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.

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°

Martial Arts • Fighting Science • 4 • Yin ☯ Yang of Technique vs. Instinct

As discussed in last week’s post, combat training is about learning new degrees of freedom – adding new maneuvers or techniques that have never been tried before. But how to learn a new move well enough that it becomes natural or instinctive? Enter the 100-1000-10000 rule:
  • Mechanics If you do a technique 100 times you will understand its mechanics. Your brain will comprehend how to do it correctly, and why the movement is valuable.
  • Natural When you do a technique 1000 times it will become natural. This threshold is passed when the movement feels right in sparring. The movement becomes part of your combat portfolio.
  • Instinctive Once you do a maneuver 10000 times then it enters your subconscious. The movement can now be executed without thinking about it.

The 100-1000-10000 rule is fundamental to combat sports
and applies to the highest levels of professional fighting.

It’s important to clarify that these movements must be done correctly for it to successfully traverse the 100-1000-10000 evolution. Counting doesn’t begin until the technique is done correctly. Doing a maneuver incorrectly leads to bad habits that are hard to break.

If fighting requires surprise and spontaneity, why practice repetition? A fighter needs repetition in order for a new technique to enter the subconscious. Once that is achieved a fighter no longer needs to think of the technique because it’s apart of them. It’s as close to “instinctive behavior” as possibly achievable.

Instinctive maneuvers are the end-game because the moment a fighter “thinks” of performing an attack, defense, or anything in between – then telegraphing occurs and time is lost. An experienced fighter can exploit this delay. Reactionary measures in times of stress, emotion and chaos are worsened, if not completely lost. Practicing a move mitigates this weakness because the “thinking” component is removed from the fighting equation and the movement becomes instant.

Techniques are abandoned in the midst of chaos
and requires confidence and experience
to regain composure.

Repetition is a challenge for students, and especially taxing on millennials. In a one hour session, even 50 reps challenge the patience of students. Reaching 1000 requires grit, endurance, and resources that fall amongst the most dedicated. Striving for 10000 is reserved for the elite among us.

To finish off, it’s worth mentioning that the 100-1000-10000 rule can be easily applied to other disciplines – e.g. dancing, learning a musical instrument, software development to name a few examples, and can be a representation of time (100-1000-10000 hours) with the same effect.

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.

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°

Martial Arts • Fighting Science • 3 • Yin ☯ Yang of Fighting Styles

Each martial art has a set of pre-defined techniques. These are typically defined by the founder as a collection of traditional moves. In progressive styles, these techniques evolve over time.

I like to refer to a fighter’s portfolio of movements as “degrees of freedom“. New degrees of freedom adds to a student’s portfolio. For example, a boxer has two basic striking tools: their fists. Although limited in this regard, their degrees of freedom is vast. I’ll explain this in a moment. A kickboxer, on the other hand, is restricted to four striking tools: both fists and both feet. In Muay Thai, there are eight attack vectors – since elbows and knees are added. Kickboxers have twice as many striking tools as boxers, and Muay Thai practitioners have double yet again. In street fighting there are no limits – strikes may come from headbutts, foot stomps, and other nasty attacks. But degrees of freedom extend beyond a style’s striking tools.

Every combat sport can be broken down to a granular level of attack vectors, defensive moves, and maneuvers. Let’s say that a kickboxer has 100 degrees of freedom, meaning that they have 100 ways of moving, defending, and attacking. A boxer, on the other hand, may have 500 degrees of freedom. How is this possible when they have only two attack vectors? It’s because boxers learn to “dance”. They are experts in slipping, bobbing, weaving – in and out of range. A kickboxer learns how to play with distance, but doesn’t learn the intricacies of phone-booth fighting at such a granular level, compared to a boxer. For example, a Karate Ka learns forward, backward, and side to side movement, but doesn’t learn the hook (punch), nor do they learn to slip. Where a Karateka learns to block, a boxer prefers to slip because they consider blocking a waste of motion and adds delay to their counter-strike. For this reason, many martial artists facing boxers are confronted with movements completely foreign to them. For every maneuver, a boxer may know five to ten more. This gives the boxer much more latitude in how they dance in and out of their opponent’s range.

Each technique adds new degrees of freedom
to a fighter’s portfolio.

A boxer is well versed in “phone booth” fighting. In this close range, they are most powerful. But against a kickboxer, a boxer has challenges of their own, since they need to watch for foot attacks. In a confrontation, the kickboxer wants to maintain distance, while the boxer wants to slip into phone booth range. A boxer knows that in close range the kickboxer has few degrees of freedom, and this is a weakness they want to exploit. A good boxer can confuse their opponent to the extent they have no idea what to expect, and when or where the next attack will occur. They can “hypnotize” their opponent with movement. Understanding your opponent’s strengths and weaknesses is an essential part of combat sports.

In classic martial arts, tradition overrules transformation.

A traditional martial art may significantly restrict a student’s degree of freedom, effectively creating a glass ceiling. They are only “allowed” to learn a set of moves, specific to that style. Traditional approach says, “in our club, we do techniques this way, so you need to learn our way”. In this sense, tradition overrules progressiveness. Modern martial arts, such as MMA don’t restrict learning, dispelling the notion that there is a right or wrong way to a given technique. MMA assesses a technique on the merits of its effectiveness as compared to techniques that preceded it. Each technique is challenged in real combat. Progressive martial arts works on the premise that, “currently this is the best techniques until someone comes up with a better one”.

About the Author

Graphic - Martial Arts, Fighting Science (smaller)

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.

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°

Martial Arts • Fighting Science • 1 • Yin ☯ Yang of Technique vs. Power

In combat sports, it is often stated:

“9 times out of 10, Technique beats Power”

This statement is poignant from a few perspectives. First of all, the conspicuous avoidance of a perfect score. Any good fighter can be knocked out by an average fighter. We’re not perfect beings. Through life, we may strive for perfection, but we also need to be practical.

That leaves us with 90% of the time when technique wins.  That there are few caveats to mention. For instance, a powerful opponent may know a few good techniques. This needs to be a consideration in an altercation. They may not have fighting experience, but we can’t underestimate any opponent and assume they have “no” experience. Misunderestimating an opponent is one of the top reasons why fights are lost. Another aspect that mitigates this statement is when the size of an opponent overshadows in weight and muscle. A 150kg Goliath has a sizeable advantage over a 70kg David, and a winning strategy of the smaller opponent will require a balance of several factors: strengths & weaknesses, speed, vs. agility, and confidence vs. psychology. We will explore these factors and many others, throughout this “Fighting Science” series.

One practicality is that most humans have the same head size and weight.  Most human heads weight around 4.5kg regardless of how heavy they are. Why is this important?  Mainly because knockouts in combat are typically from punching laterally to the chin of the opponent. An accurate hook to the chin can bring down most fighters, regardless of their stature. Through nearly 20 years of watching UFC fights, I would estimate that 80% of all head knockouts are from a hook to the chin. I was unable to find exact statistics online, but if anyone has these details, please leave a comment below.

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.

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°