Tag Archives: Leaning Forward vs. Backward

Martial Arts • Fighting Science • 11 • Yin ☯ Yang of Anticipation vs. Surprise

Before an attack, any motion will signal an anticipated action. Each twitch, shuffle, dance, inhale, or blink, will give away a fighter’s intentions. This is called telegraphing – when a pre-action gives away an anticipated action. Throughout combat training student’s are taught to remove any evidence of telegraphing.

One technique to achieve a successful attack is to maintain eye level with your opponent. For example, if the fighter’s eye level suddenly elevates, then it may look like they are hopping into the attack. If eye-level dips, then it will look like they are is preparing to leap forward.

Less telegraphing means more surprise. Some students confuse this with faster motion since the fighter is unable to anticipate the move. They interpret the strike as being fast when in reality, the opponent’s latency is decreased because all signals that an attack is about to happen were removed. The attack’s execution is restricted to core movements only. Nothing more.

Not every student may have talent and speed,
but every fighter can learn to
Reduce any technique to its essential elements.

The goal is to surprise the opponent by your attack. This is sometimes referred to as learning to be “explosive”. In the case of punching, by maintain eye level, and focus on swiveling the hips for a jab or cross then the physiology of the body is optimized for maximum power.

Furthermore, it’s important to realize that power originates from the floor. Beginners often punch from their shoulder, which significantly restricts its effectiveness. Punching power originates from the foot’s anchor point, and this force travels through the hips, into the shoulder, and then to the fist. In many punches, the shoulder’s role is merely 20% of the striking power. 80% of the power comes from the anchor (foot) and the hips.

Putting this into practice, boxers will lunge forward with their front foot off the ground, and back foot digging into the floor (see the “Boxing Power” figure above). This turns them into a rocket, by using the ground as leverage. It’s a hard technique to master because beginners have a tendency to move forward putting weight on their front foot, turning their attack into a human teeter-totter. This stems from the fact that walking uses the same technique, but it doesn’t work for fighting. There is no power in this attack, although it’s often used in point-fighting tournaments because it’s faster. A boxing strike requires leverage that is more like skating, which requires digging into the ice with your back foot to move forward. Except, in this case, the fighter digs into the tatami with the front foot to move forward. In boxing this is called “shuffling”, and it’s how the strongest punches are achieved.
Kicking is a different beast altogether. Beginners have a tendency to lean back when they kick because they don’t have the muscles to raise their leg without bending their torso. Nor do they have the elasticity to stretch their muscles for a high kick. The best kickboxers are able to keep eye-level with their opponent when striking with their foot. Only their hips and legs are used to delivering the kick, and they don’t allow their upper torso to telegraph the attack. This also prepares them for counter attacks after kicking. The best kickboxers can separate their upper body from their lower body.

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°
• 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

• Fighting Science • Fighter’s Curve
• Fighting Science • Fighting Zones