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Martial Arts • Fighting Science • Yin ☯ Yang Series

The full “Yin ☯ Yang of Fighting Science” series is now available online, in its entirety. We hope you had a chance to see many of the posts over the five months they were published. If not, then here is the entire series with hyperlinks, so that you can read those you missed. Enjoy!

Martial Arts • Fighting Science Series

 

• 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

Martial Arts • Fighting Science • bonus • Yin ☯ Yang

Each instructor has a different teaching methodology. As with any profession, some are good, and others are not. It may be that they were a great fighter, but aren’t good teachers. Or the reverse – they weren’t a great fighter, but are excellent teachers. A good instructor has the ability to convert an intuitive technique into instructions that students can clearly understand. If the instructor was a champion and has proven skills in combat, this holds weight against a bad communicator, even if they’re not great at knowledge transfer. Sometimes a student needs to recognize a teacher’s limitations – this may include a language or cultural barrier – and navigate themselves to the most effective synergy between teaching and learning.

Learning requires eternal humility and sidelined egos.
Even teachers are forever students.

A student once said to me, “I was told in boxing that I need to look at the chin of the opponent, so why are you telling me to look at the center of the chest?” The reason is that in boxing the threat is only the opponent’s fists. In kickboxing, you need to be concerned with kicks as well. So peripheral vision becomes an additional asset to “see” both the hands and the feet. By focusing on the opponent’s chest, this represents a good ‘compromise’ to monitor all four attack vectors.

Another student asked, “How do I deal with an instructor who is teaching me a technique that I know is wrong?” My response in these situations is to explain that respect overrules correctness. I prefer that students always listen to the instructor. To look at a new technique as a dance. Even if you feel it’s wrong, try it anyway. Has your body moved that way before? Give your body a chance to try a new movement, and look at it as a challenge for that lesson. Afterward, look for a better trainer. Certainly, if the instructor is not knowledgeable or doesn’t have the ability to incrementally improve on the student’s abilities, then that club is a bad fit. The challenge is to find a teacher that can take each student to an improved skill level.


Students entering a gym for the first time is tied to a certain level of expectation. Does the student want to learn a new martial art? Do they want to learn how to fight? Is their goal to learn self-defense, and defend themselves in conflict? Do they want to learn self-discipline? Or is it simply to get into shape? Any of the above reasons could stand-alone, or have a combined motivation.

At a grassroots level, combat training is a form of self-torture – Repeatedly tormenting the body but wanting more –
It’s not for the faint of heart.

I tell new students before their first practice, “One of two things will happen once this session is over; You’ll say to yourself, ‘that was one of the most brutal training sessions I’ve ever done, and I never do this again.’ or, ‘That was one of the most brutal training sessions I have ever done, but for some reason I want to do it over and over again.’ Those are endorphins talking.

 

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 • 24 • Yin ☯ Yang of Unstoppable vs. Immovable

Who prevails when an “Unstoppable force meets an immovable object”? This philosophical riddle plays out when super-heavyweights enter the ring.

The first step in comprehending this enigma is to realize that we’re all human. No one is perfect. Every opponent has their strengths and weaknesses. It’s important to understand your opponent. One tactic may be for an opponent to maximize the perception of invincibility. It’s up to the opposing force to set aside fear, and separate reality from perception.

As humans, no one is perfect.
Every opponent has strengths and weaknesses.

Next, is to realize that this riddle is negated by the fact that in a competition, only one fighter leaves a winner. No one is unstoppable or immovable. We are flawed sapiens and any illusion of invincibility is a facade.

 

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

Martial Arts • Fighting Science • 23 • Yin ☯ Yang of Instinct vs. Reason

The brain is the most powerful organ in the body. It makes us who we are and gives us the gift of sentience. The brain also controls our muscles. In a fight, an attack is observed by the eyes, ears, or other senses – then interpreted by the brain, which tells our muscles how to react and defend itself.

The natural instinct of humans is to close their eyes when being attacked. This reaction is due to fear.  But when a fighter’s eyes are closed their brain can’t make an informed decision. This instinctive reaction is counterproductive in the sense that the body can’t compensate for an attack if it can’t see it. A surprise attack, for example, is much more devastating than an anticipated one. When the body has a chance to react, then selected muscles can be called upon to react and protect itself. This is not to say that zero damage will occur. It just means that a fighter may need to choose between the lesser of two evils: “I will allow my arm to be broken to protect my head from a concussion.”

Our head, and specifically our brain needs to be protected at all costs. Even if it means sacrificing other parts of our body. The main dilemma in fighting (and sports that are prone to a concussion) is that the brain does not have any pain receptors. Injuries to the head are not immediately recognized by the victim as urgent. Often a third party is needed to recognize this urgency. For this reason, fighters and trainers need to be particularly careful with head strikes, that may lead to serious injury or even permanent brain damage.

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

Martial Arts • Fighting Science • 22 • Yin ☯ Yang of Strategy vs. Tactics

One aspect of fighting is knowing your opponent’s weaknesses. But those weaknesses are not always apparent. Formulating a winning strategy before a match is an effective approach to understanding an opponent, but that convenience is not always available. In a surprise circumstance, assessing a situation in real-time may be required.

One approach is to judge an opponent’s strengths and weaknesses on appearance alone. Although “judging a book by it’s cover” is not always wise, it may be the only recourse.  For instance, assessing a muscular opponent may assume good grappling skills – Avoiding a ground conflict may be paramount. A tall fighter will likely have a “reach advantage”, meaning that the length of their limbs are longer than yours. This means they can hit you, even if you can’t hit them – In this case, combinations and movement will be required to duck under the opponent’s punches for a counter-attack. A smaller fighter, on the other hand, will typically have shorter limbs and will want to get “inside” to connect their strikes or grab for a take-down. Formulating strategy is fundamental to combat sports. We cover this topic in more detail here: Martial Arts • Fighting Science • Fighting Zones

Compared to strategy, tactics are more immediate and specific. These focus on mitigating an opponent’s granular reactions and exploiting their technical weaknesses. For example, a fighter may drop their hands when they kick – This can be exploited with a well-timed strike to the head when they attack with a kick. The opponent may have a tendency to lean back when facing a jab – Rushing them will put them off balance. The fighter may hold their breath when they are attacked. This physical reaction is often caused by fear or inexperience. Moreover, holding breath results in getting tired much faster.  With this opponent, surviving an initial onslaught and waiting for the opponent to be exhausted may be an effective tactic.

A fighter may hide their weaknesses by pouncing early,
not giving the opponent a chance of introspection.

Professional fighters often have the luxury of formulating strategy and tactics before a competition, because they can review an opponent’s previous fights and analyze their strengths and weaknesses if footage exists. In the absence of such content, a strategy may need to be formulated in real-time, in the first seconds or minutes of a fight. Once an opponent has been engaged, their capabilities are clearer.

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

Martial Arts • Fighting Science • 21 • Yin ☯ Yang of Stability

There are three key assets to a good fighter: strength, conditioning, and technique. In the latter function, an overarching aspect of a fighter’s portfolio is their stability.  But stability is not realistically achievable all the time in a fight. The goal at least is to maintain or return to stability as soon as possible.

Each martial art approaches stability from a slightly different perspective. In kickboxing or boxing, stability begins with “guard” – with hands covering the face, and a square stance. Through offensive and defensive movements, this stance becomes “home-base”. But a square stance is not always practical in every attack. For example, as when performing a spin kick or spinning back-fist – the mere fact that the fighter is rotating on one leg diverges from their stability. Regardless, after the attack, their goal is to return to “guard” and stability.

In a fight, risks are taken to create or capitalize on opportunities. 

Not all styles have the same philosophy towards stability. For example, Taekwondo fighters will stand sideways to an opponent in a linear stance. This is mainly due to the dominance of their kicking portfolio. A Karateka will have a very wide stance, compared to a boxer. Muay Thai fighters, on the other hand, choose to lean back on their hind legs so that they can utilize kicks with their lead-leg (i.e. their forward-facing leg), or block leg-kicks.

Stability can be learned through slow-motion techniques. Kicking fast has a tendency to mask instability or mistakes. If a fighter can execute a kick slowly, and maintain stability throughout – this demonstrates strength, technique, and accuracy.

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

Martial Arts • Fighting Science • 20 • Yin ☯ Yang of Rhythm vs. Random

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.

Students need to learn a technique until it becomes ingrained in muscle memory. I write about this in the 100-1000-10000 rule. The goal of learning a new technique is to make that move integral to the student’s repertoire (see Martial Arts • Fighting Science • 3 • Yin ☯ Yang of Fighting Styles). Reaching this goal requires dedication, patience, and time. Many students will barely reach 100 repetitions in a single lesson, let alone 10000 needed to reach one’s subconscious.

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.

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

Martial Arts • Fighting Science • 19 • Yin ☯ Yang of Sports vs. Violence

Motivation to train varies by student. Some need to vent their aggression. Some want to exercise. Others are attracted to the competition. A police officer trains to protect themselves from the violence exposed by their profession. A street fighter may be driven by emotional issues or adrenaline. When I meet a new student I try to understand their underlying motivation. Are they training to get into shape? Do they want to better defend themselves or fair well in a bar-room brawl? Sometimes it’s not a clear-cut division.

Fighting is fundamentally a combination of violence, sport, and art:

  • A competitive fighter will focus on the sports-aspect, wanting to learn skills so they can win in a competition.
  • A violent fighter’s goal is to hurt their opponent.
  • A martial arts practitioner wants an outcome where they will not get hurt, and even try to settle the altercation without severely hurting their opponent.

In a combat situation, understanding an opponent’s motivation is important. A street fighter facing a martial artist is a conflict of diverging motivations: The martial artist wants to leave the conflict causing minimum harm while the street fighter wants to inflict maximum harm.

Violence is a mixed bag of anger, fear, and heightened emotion.
Martial Arts concentrate on skill, composure, and technique.

Students who are motivated by self-defense typically won’t stick with training for long. They find themselves leaving after a short time, once they’ve learned enough self-defense to satisfy their minimum requirements. Most violent confrontations are the result of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Practitioners of Krav Maga such as police officers, bouncers, or bodyguards – are often situated in the wrong place and the wrong time.  A majority of society will not see such violence if they avoid locations where violence occurs. In other words, training for an altercation that is unlikely to occur in one’s lifetime is not a reasonable objective. Spending years training for a chance encounter is not a good balance of one’s personal investment against personal risk.

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

Martial Arts • Fighting Science • 18 • Yin ☯ Yang of Martial Arts vs. Combat

The strength of traditional martial arts lies in hundreds of years of its tradition. By design, this also reveals their weakness. Students learn a traditional martial art today, similar to a student 100 years ago. Many schools are static in this regard. As such, they have little latitude to evolve. Their focus prefers tradition over the evolution of fighting effectiveness.  Their martial art may be a single spoke on the expertise wheel, but when exposed to other styles, their effectiveness is often invalidated.

Before the dawn of UFC in 1993, and MMA in general, traditional schools taught a false sense of security. One discipline claimed superiority over another, but there was no platform to prove it. Tournaments focused on specific styles – Taekwondo, Karate, Kung Fu, Wrestling, Boxing, etc. Each style was only tested within the bounds of its style. A practitioner may dominate in one style but crumble in circumstances where their rules are not honored.  For example, it was recently mentioned on Joe Rogan’s podcast that a student training one year of boxing will dominate an opponent training a lifetime in Karate. In addition, testing a single martial art on a good street fighter is a risky business and very dangerous.

Certain Martial arts such as Brazilian jujitsu (BJJ) and Krav Maga had been tested in realistic combat situations; BJJ on the streets of Brazil, and Krav Maga by the Isreali military and their defense forces. Krav Maga specifically trains for real-world hand to hand combat whereby BJJ excels in submission techniques that have the devastating potential of break arms, legs or submits the opponent to sleep. The difference is that Krav Maga is more lethal in its design.

Enter Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), born in part from Brazilian Jui Jitsu (BJJ), wrestling, Muay Thai and Boxing, and popularised by the UFC’s launch in November 1993. MMA central purpose was to adopt the best techniques from most effective styles and their best practices. This evolving martial art combines the eight strikes of Muay Thai, the movement of a boxer, take-downs from Judo, grappling from wrestling, and submissions from BJJ. The elegance of MMA is that there is no right or wrong answer.

MMA strength lies in an evolving discipline whereby
new techniques are tried and tested for their effectiveness.

Many styles have been obsoleted by MMA’s evolution. For example, Taekwondo, Karate, Kung Fu, Tai Chi, and other traditional martial arts have proven ineffective against an MMA opponent. Although traditional clubs offer valuable training to young students seeking disciple, strength, and conditioning, these disciplines represent only one spoke on the wheel of combat expertise. A student wanting to expand their horizons in the field of combat must open their doors to multiple disciplines.

MMA is an evolving sport, meaning that any given technique is not necessarily right or wrong. Today’s techniques are not black and white in their effectiveness, but a grayscale that is striving for perfection.

A martial arts student may say, “I don’t understand your approach to this technique – I was taught to do it a different way”. They are influenced by their previous teachings, and they have not been exposed to the wider horizons of combat training. A good instructor would listen to the student’s perspective, and rather than say it is wrong, he or she would try to understand the context of why it was taught that way, and explain why their approach is superior. Moreover, in rare circumstances, a confident and progressive teacher may adopt the student’s approach as an evolution of that technique. In this way, MMA is a representation of both science and art. Its artistry is maneuvering the body in creative ways to defend and attack. MMA science is practicing the “rule” until a better one supersedes it.  It doesn’t mean the older technique was wrong. It just means the newer one is incrementally better.

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

Martial Arts • Fighting Science • 17 • Yin ☯ Yang of Vulnerability vs. Opportunity

How does a fighter overcome an opponent with no apparent weaknesses? The trick is to create an opportunity. To realize that every attack opens a vulnerability. For example, if the left fist is executing a jab, then only the right fist is protecting the opponent’s head. Their left side is exposed during the attack. But this vulnerability can only be capitalized if a counter-attack is timed correctly.

Fighters are the strongest and weakest when they attack.

Students have a vast array of vulnerabilities that can be exploited by their opponents. All vulnerabilities need to be identified and mitigated. A good fighter possesses several attributes in their wheel of expertise:

  • Their guard is strong, balanced, and stable,
  • They protect themselves when attacked and when attacking,
  • They maintain their composure during a fight,
  • They can maneuver (aka. “dance”) around their opponent,
  • They are mentally & physically strong
  • They are conditioned.

A good fighter is effective at timing their counter-attacks at the moment of being attacked. This requires calmness, confidence,  athleticism, and skill.  In the absence of an attack, a good fighter reverts to creating opportunities through fakes, multiple combinations, and movement. In some instances, forcing an opponent into their own chaos will single-handedly create an opportunity that ends a fight. (See Martial Arts • Fighting Science • Fighter’s Curve).

As humans we are flawed. In fighting, the trick is to identify an opponent’s flaws and exploit them.  “No one is perfect” is as much a clique as fact. Each person has their own set of unique strengths and weaknesses.  There is no such thing as a “perfect fighter”.  This evidenced by the “Champion’s Dilemma” (figure below) – Fighter A can beat Fighter B; Fighter B can beat Fighter C; But Fighter C can also beat Fighter A.

How is this possible? How can each opponent both win and lose in this triad? In MMA it is often said that “styles make fights”. Meaning that two fighters with varying skill-sets face each other to showcase their martial arts skills.  Will a wrestler beat a boxer? Will a Muay Thai fighter beat a Kickboxer? All these questions have been answered in the UFC’s Octagon, and other MMA and cage fighting events. Having disparate fighting styles compete against each other, exposes their advantages and disadvantages. In the example above, Fighter A has a style that dominates over Fighter B, but not Fighter C.

Professional bouts focus on strategies that directly exploit
skill-sets that collectively lead to victory.

In any case, fighters can have a bad night, or have personal or physical issues that prevent them from performing at their best. It is said in combat sports, that everyone has a “puncher’s chance“. Meaning that any fighter can get lucky on any given night. To minimize the chance of a lucky punch, professional training camps often focus on the meticulous analysis of their opponent’s past fights.

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

Martial Arts • Fighting Science • 16 • Yin ☯ Yang of Physics vs. Physiology

In academia, business, or sports the most ambitious in society strive to reach their maximum potential. But everyone has their limits in cognition, physiology, and the laws of physics. Humans are also bound by the constraints of body structure, genes, weight, and many environmental factors which limit speed, power, and accuracy. It’s important to be cognizant of strengths but just as important to recognize one’s weaknesses. Everyone can improve but ultimately cannot exceed their maximum potential. This is our reality.

Each human has a unique journey towards perfection. This is best illustrated in the “Arc of Excellence” shown above. In mathematics, this is called a negative exponential curve, showing convergence to a certain limit, but reaching this limit occurs at infinity. In the context of fighting science, a student’s potential can be plotted against time. Each curve varies for cognitive and physical potential. The limits of individual perfection depend on fixed factors such as genes, physique, and talent. But the journey relies on variables that can be taught, such as confidence, persistence, grit, determination, drive, and willpower.

Although perfection is unachievable, what’s important is to recognize how to capitalize on one’s strengths while mitigating weaknesses. In any chosen discipline the goal is to get as close as possible to perfection, even if it can’t be reached completely.

Furthermore, a single training method suffers from the law of diminishing returns. This states that investing resources into a specific instance will not have the same incremental proportion of success.  For example, 50 pushups per day will initially output dramatic results. Increasing to 500 pushups per day will be significant, but results will not be a proportional 10 fold increase. Likewise, 5000 pushups per day will not return proportional results against the time invested. It may be wiser to add ten different exercises that work on neighboring muscle groups or to focus on conditioning.

Each person’s potential curve is not smooth. Various factors can affect development such as training holidays or serious injury that results in extended periods of recovery.

The journey to perfection is also dependent on personal lifestyle, environmental surroundings, and training facilities. A trainer may take a student to an artificial maximum, based on their experience and teaching competence. But a student’s true potential may not be realized at that facility.

A student striving for perfection should recognize a club’s limitations and seek out new trainers who can take them to their true maximum. This is especially important for athletes seeking championship status. A few hops may be needed to recognize the diversity and effectiveness of various training methodologies and techniques. A major challenge is never knowing where is one’s perfection limit. A tangential change may surprise the athlete in realizing they had much more scope to their personal development.

Athletes differ in skill and follow their own unique journey along the Arc of Excellence. They may face each other in competition, at different stages of their development.

As shown in the figure above, Fighter B began training earlier than Fighter A but has a lower level of overall talent and potential.  If they meet in competition when Fighter A begins training, then Fighter B will win. But once Fighter A’s potential is realized,  he or she will quickly supersede Fighter B.

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