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

Secret #4 for Fighting Superiority

Make Use of “Perfect Timing”

In fighting, there is too much reliance on being faster or stronger than the opponent. In the FMA, there is too much emphasis on ideas less practical than that:  untested theories and skills, and prearranged sequences. If you can harness the ability to use timing–and not just timing, but PERFECT timing, then you will be able to land on a faster man, and destroy a stronger fighter.

“Perfect timing” is not the same as “timing”. When you time an opponent, you look for the right moment to land your shot (if you are attacking) or the right time to move (when the opponent is attacking). Other factors are involved as well, like distance, positioning, and angles, but today we will just talk about timing. Timing is perfect when there is no better time to do it; therefore, you have the best opportunity to counter or attack and your opponent really can’t do anything about it.

Example:   Opponent swings a vertical strike at your head with a stick. In many style this is called a #1 strike. Good timing has you fade away to put distance between you and the opponent as you hit his hand. Once you have done that, the opponent is now vulnerable to a follow up strike to the head or a good combination that finishes him. PERFECT timing against the same opponent allows you to skip the fade away and hand hit, and just go straight for the finish. Meaning you do not defense at all, just counter hit the opponent with nothing but power strikes–and you don’t even need to angle away from him, because your timing was so good he had no chance of hitting you at all.

Good timing is based on a possibility of failure and requires you to take precautions (moving away and hitting the hand). Perfect timing is a technique that wouldn’t normally work in a million years, and this is your year. Like I said–there is no better time than this moment. Precautions are not necessary because the opponent, no matter how good he is, has no chance of success.

So what was the secret to the timing in the example?  You initiate your attack when the opponent chambers. If you can do this, it won’t matter what strike the opponent throws, how strong he is, whether or not you’ve moved away far enough, or whether the strike to the hand damaged him, etc. Learn to blast him when he thinks about moving and he won’t know what hit him.

Here’s another secret. Save it, write it down, teach it to your best fighters, commit it to memory and utilize it, because it’s heavy:

The opponent will attack you when two very significant things happen:

  1. When he is ready to attack
  2. When he notices that you are not ready to attack

Your goal is to make sure these things never occur at the same time… from his point of view. Let me clarify:

  • You are ready + he is ready = clash, may the best man win (don’t attack unless you know that you are the superior man with a better plan)
  • You are not ready + he is ready = this should never happen. Do all you can to make sure it never does
  • You are not ready + he is not ready = this is going to be a good fight. But only because you two are equally unprepared. If you find this occuring, either you have met your match or you have some training to do, Lucy!
  • You are ready + he is not ready = GET ‘IM!

Move to keep your opponent out of his fighting stance and needing to readjust. Train yourself to attack from any position (who said martial arts stance training was useless?). This includes when the opponent is in the process of throwing an attack and when he is moving. You also want to train for possible counters to your attack.

Example: You attack your opponent with a left back leg round kick while the opponent has his right in front. You have several things to think about:

  1. what counters can he do?
  2. which directions will he move?
  3. will he attack or will he defend?
  4. what does this opponent tend to do?

In training, you want to have these questions asked. Number 4 is really having a category that all opponents will fit in to. After the fight has started, you will place your opponent into the category, thus giving you your strategy for this fight.

Back to perfect timing, these factors will be useful in executing your plan. There is a moment, a trigger, that pushes your “start” button and gets the attack under way. It is usually a reaction to something the opponent has done, but also depends on where you are in relation to the opponent, how fast he is (compared to how fast you are), whether or not he hesitates or if he is aggressive, how tall he is and whether he headhunts or tends to attack low…

There is only so much I can relay on this blog, but I hope this was enough to get you thinking. So we’ll close here, and I’ve got to clean up this mess (my kids have been in the kitchen, “cooking” and fighting for the last hour… the 8 and 9 year olds) before the wife gets home.

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2 Responses to “Secret #4 for Fighting Superiority”

  1. […] “Perfect” Timing explained I was asked by a gentleman to explain my theory of “perfect” timing further than I did in my article “Secret #4 for Fighting Superiority”. […]

  2. Very, very useful! Some of the best fighting advice I have come across.


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