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

Teach Them to Fight by Combination

I know, it sounds like a Bruce Lee rip-off. Well it isn’t… completely. See, fighting by combination has been around longer than Bruce Lee’s Jeet Kune Do, and it just makes good fighting sense to do it. Maybe his book, Bruce Lee’s Fighting Method, was your first time hearing about this technique, but not for all of us. (Got to admit, though, that the book is a must-read and was a great eye-opener)  This method I will introduce to you is going to take it a little deeper than Uyehara’s version.

Fighting with combinations, rather than just throwing individual techniques, is very effective for several reasons:

  1. the first technique you throw will often be unsuccessful; it will probably be blocked, evaded or simply not reach its target. the techniques that follow have a better chance of landing
  2. combinations allow you to plan and set up traps for the opponent.
  3. combinations prevent your opponent from countering because he is too busy dealing with your attack
  4. training with combinations helps to build your fighters’ aggression level and stamina

You can have attacking combinations–which initiate the contact between you and the opponent; counter/defensive combinations–which you will use in place of a blocking technique when the opponent attacks; or finishing combinations–which are combinations you use to finish off the opponent once you have engaged him. Every fighting system must have these elements, otherwise, students will have difficulty learning to fight in real time. The combinations, then, are the templates your fighters use to attack, defend and finish the opponent. They may deviate from them as needed, but these techniques are what get the ball rolling in the first place.

I want you to do more than just identify combinations and what techniques go into them. You should have set combos for each purpose and situation, for each skill level or level of learning. Once you have these things etched in stone, your students should spend a good amount of time training them until they become second nature.

A good suggestion is what I do for full contact fighting. I have several punching combinations that we use (about 20… it’s a secret). These combinations are thrown hundreds, possibly thousands of times a month. But each time we throw them, we may throw them alone (with proper footwork, of course), following a kick or kick combination, or the punching combo will follow a kick or kick combination. The matrices of combinations are then drilled thousands upon thousands of times, so that all fighting is planned, and none is shot from the hip. Add to this some basic skill in setting up opponents, and forcing him to do and go where you want, and you’ve got an effective kickboxing program.

So, I’m pretty sure you are sitting there thinking, “that’s it???”

Yup, that’s it. I’m not going to do the thinking and planning for you. You’re the Guro, you figure it out. Just use this method, and you will see a lot of fighting success. Of course, you’ll have even more success if you get a copy of my book, Mustafa Gatdula’s How to Build a Dominant Fighter in 12 Months.

Thanks for reading my blog, please share this website with your friends!

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One Response to “Teach Them to Fight by Combination”

  1. No, no I am not thinking that’s it. There is a style of Kempo which possesses one kata/form of 55 moves, which are effectively a seperate self-defense against attacks. It’s a TERRIBLY ugly form, but it also teaches its system in its completeness, in addition to practical self-defense. I thought it rather clever… but honestly, now I think it short-sighted reading your article. I can think of endless combinations, for endless situations. If I followed what you write in this article, I would far surpass the level of depth, and could create a kata far longer than the actual 200+ moves Master form contains.

    I feel like you just took a style, and effectively showed it amounts to stretching. I hope that made sense, it’s left me very impressed.


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