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

Opponent Types #2 “The Slugger”

The Slugger is what I call the sloppy power-puncher. There are several styles of Power-Punchers, but this one is the easiest for me to fight–yet, depending on your own personal style of fighting he could be the most difficult for you to fight. Let’s jump right into it.

Power-Punchers are guys who go into the fight not worrying too much about combinations or speed or evading… as much as they are concerned with landing a big punch to end it all. There are many generalizations about the Power-Puncher, but only a few apply to the “Slugger” because the Slugger is only one of several types of Power-Punchers. The difference is the method that the fighter uses to land his punches. He not always a big man, and he is not always a strong puncher. But the most powerful punches he can throw are what he leans on the most, which can be his friend as well as his enemy.

Sluggers are unique in that they often seem not to have a strategy to their attacks. They are so bent on landing a shot, they will actually wade through your attack–taking many shots–in order to get close enough to land a big one themselves. The footwork tends to be big steps rather than shuffling, although one-sided fighters (who prefer to fight with the same foot forward) will shuffle while advancing. They will fight moving foward more and will only back up if hit with a painful shot. Sluggers may use fast or slow combinations, and they will contain mostly power punches (straight punches, hooks, overhands, and uppercuts) and will rarely jab. Some fighters, however, will jab or paw their way in. Those that do, ride the fence between the Slugger and the Knockout Artist. The main difference is that the Knockout Artist is looking for a good, clear, clean shot while the Slugger is just hoping one of the shots he throws is the lucky Hail Mary.

Some other characteristics:

  • Sluggers actually DO have a strategy: overwhelm you with a constant, pressuring attack and to not allow you the room or time to fire back a counter
  • They often advance with a low center of gravity. Those who do not will more likely advance with a rapid-fire machine gun style attack of straight punches
  • They will crowd themselves often. Meaning, as they attack, the Slugger expects you to back up which gives him room to continue his attack. If you fail to back up or you hit a barrier (like a wall or the ropes, if you’re ring fighting), he will end up too close to punch well. If he knows what he’s doing he will clinch. If he doesn’t, he will fade back for room and continue his attack
  • Sluggers can kick too! Their tactic is to push you away while punching, which gives him room to land his kick. I have encountered Sluggers who can kick by combination as well
  • A good way to deal with a Slugger is to clinch him. When you break away from the clinch, do so by stepping to the left or the right. He will fall right into range of a well-timed counter. I suggest using uppercuts or Rabbit Punch (overhand punch to the back of the head, neck or trapezius) when you do so
  • The best way (okay, my favorite way) is to use lateral movement and jab at the muscles and space between his ear and his shoulder: the neck, the trap, the collarbone, the shoulder itself. This is best for fighters who crouch and show you the top of their head while fighting. I have been hit repeatedly here before and it hurts like crazy.
  • Uppercuts are wicked counters to sluggers but you cannot use them while standing directly in front of your opponent, especially if he is taller or has more reach than you do
  • The two things he needs most is time to hit and room to hit. If you deny him this two things–by keeping an attack at him in his face and by either keeping him too far to land or too close to land with power–his strategy is nullified
  • And never stand still while fighting. Sluggers run out of gas quickly because they expect to end the fight soon. If you make him exhaust himself by running after you and punching air, you will hurt his effectiveness.

Let me say this. A second reason I am writing on the type of fighters is because you may see some things that the different fighters do that you may want to incorporate into your own method of fighting. Try them. You may find that the style you’ve chosen has gaps to fill, or you may discover something about another style that you like.

Make sure you take a good look at the other Power-Punching styles I post as well, because each type of Power-Puncher is unique.

Thanks for visiting my blog.

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