“Secrets” of the Filipino Fighting Arts
Words from a Modern-Day Warrior

The Great Debate, pt II

What can a fighter do to make himself a “Debater” rather than a “Shouter”? (You’ll have to see the first article in this series to understand the difference)

I can’t teach this concept by blog. To be honest, you would have to study under a teacher who understands fight strategy in order to accomplish it. Many teachers are only passing down techniques from their system with minimal instruction in strategy and fight science. It is difficult to find a teacher that has the right answer. Doing so is as easy as choosing your parents; it’s really luck that some end up with a truly knowledgeable teacher. It would be foolish for a beginner to think he can recognize a “quality” teacher, therefore martial arts students judge by whether a teacher’s bio is well-written or if he is well-known, well-spoken, etc. Yet you can become a student of fight strategy and the art of fighting and learn these things on your own. Yes, it would be difficult, but it is possible to train under a teacher while studying fighting science on your own.

I would like to offer some advice that may help you get on your way:

  • First, in sparring, you should focus more on trying to land techniques, not hurt your opponents. The mistake would be to try and use your sparring sessions to dominate your opponents. But sparring during training is the inappropriate time to try and dominate; it is the time to learn, develop and test theories and techniques. If you are focusing on kicking your opponent’s butt, you’re missing the opportunity to develop skills in practice. Save the butt-kicking for the ring, and use sparring sessions to test out techniques and try the techniques you’re not very good at.
  • At the same time—make your opponent’s attacks fail. “Fail” means his attack will either be blocked, avoided, intercepted and countered. Fight training is often too focused on attacking the opponent because it is the easiest, most painless way to train. Anyone can stand in front of the punching bag and wail on it like you were the next “Rocky”, but it is not that easy to have a guy attack us and we have to stop those attacks. If you were to spend an entire month on learning how to be attacked, I bet you’d see a nice jump in sparring success. To practice this, you can either do attacker-defender sparring sessions, or simply spar with the intention not to get hit.
  • Lose the “take a hit to give a hit” mentality. Even hits that don’t hurt much can add up and lead to your demise later in the fight. The best way to fight is to make sure your opponent lands as little as possible. Not only does it result in a fresher, more confident you—it also takes away some of your opponent’s confidence in himself.
  • Try to find techniques that allow you to counter your opponent’s attacks without the use of blocks. When you can eliminate blocking, you make your fighting more efficient, as your hands are free to hit since they are no longer occupied blocking.
  • Learn to use the counter-to-the-counter strategy. I attack my opponent with a hook to the body. My opponent can utilize one of three basic counters to this attack (drop the elbow and block with the arm, block with the front hand, and the rare block with the back hand). When he does so, I should have a counter in anticipation of those three counters that are automatic. Do this for everything in your arsenal.
  • Have a pre-planned set of counters for everything your opponent can do to you. Many fighters train their attacks intensely, and then leave defense up to chance and reflex. As a fighter, you want to have a good defensive and strategy plan. When you have them figured out, make them a vital part of your training plan and fight strategy.

Perhaps we will revisit this topic in better detail, but I am more inclined to write a book about it (lol). If you use these simple rules, I guarantee you will see more success in fighting.

Thanks for visiting my blog.

 

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