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

The Importance of Developing a Good Punch for the FMA Fighter

I am going to try a different style of communicating with my readers. And whether you like me or not–if you read my blog–you are one of my readers. So, I’ve been told that I am heavy-handed with FMA practitioners (you should see how I treat Kung Fu people!), that my words sting, and I sound as if I don’t like FMAs. Well, nothing could be further from the truth. I love the Filipino Martial Arts. And I want to see the FMAs improve. I really can’t stand that I think I can whup on most of the FMA people I see; I would love to see more tougher Arnisadors out there. However, it seems that FMA people are more into looking deadly and looking like fighters, than they are into being deadly fighters. And the easiest thing they need to do that will get their heads out the sand as see reality–fight–they aren’t willing to do.

So, they’d rather talk about fighting on the internet. They’d rather look at youtube clips and pat some guys on the back for being “deadly”, while others who put up the same damned techniques will be ridiculed. I wonder what they’d do if one of those they laugh at actually showed up on their doorstep…

Anyway, my supporters have asked me to go a little easier on FMA people and try my best not to offend or ruffle feathers. My critiques should read more like “helpful suggestions” or “advice”, like I was fucking Oprah or something. Funny, every article on this blog is offering advice. But I guess some of my readers want me to rub their bellies and kiss them on the forehead while I offer my advice.

Well, my name is Guro Mustafa, not Father Mustafa. Nevertheless, here we go…

So, the FMA fighter must understand the importance of developing a good, strong punch. All the combinations in the world won’t matter if the single, well-placed, unanswered punch is not damaging enough to break bones or smash meat. Too much time is spent on trying to punch in cadence with some rhythm, or trying to defend the punches with as many “translations” and variations as possible. FMA people try to link punching with swinging a stick or cutting with a knife, when only the crude movements are similar; the two are completely different animals. Not enough time is spent understanding the dynamics of punching, nor is enough time spent simply punching. I know that most of you reading this blog will never do the obvious thing to do if you really want to understand punching–which is to train in a boxing gym for 6 months. Because of that, I will do my best to explain as best I can in very generic terms without “teaching by blog”.

Understand how to hit your opponents

I know. This rule sounds awfully simple, and you already know how to hit an opponent, right? Wrong.

If you want to see where you stand with this knowledge, I challenge you to tie one hand behind your back or tuck it in your belt, and then spar with a guy allowed to do anything. All you are allowed to do is to punch him with that one hand. It’s not very easy. But if you understand all about punching, that extra hand and what your opponent is allowed to do have nothing to do with being able to use your one fist. If you know how to punch a moving, combative opponent, then the other hand isn’t really needed. If your knowledge of footwork and timing is well-connected to your punching skill, how far he is and the fact that he can kick and you can’t won’t matter. If you understand how to use your body and angle it so that you can land your punch–and if you know how to use those punches as a counter to your opponent’s attacks–none of those things matter.

The bottom line is that you must have developed your punching skills to the point that you can handicap yourself and use only your hands (or one hand) and fight another fighter regardless of what he does.

But most martial artists, FMA people in particular, see fighting in terms of “range”. I am in punching range so I will use my punches. I am in kicking range, so I will use my kicks. Blah blah blah. No. You must be able to use the weapons you choose to employ regardless of where the opponent is and what he is doing.

Question. Do you think you can whip Manny Pacquiao?

Is he a good puncher?

If you came at him, how will he attack you?

If you kicked him, how will he attack you?

If you came at him with a stick, how will he attack you?

If you came at him with a knife, how will he attack you?

If you came at him with punches, do you think you had a snowball’s chance in hell to whip him?

Wanna know why?

Because Manny Pacquiao is a punching expert. Regardless of the fact that he is a boxer, Pacman is a puncher, and he will use that skill to everything you throw at him, including the kitchen sink. He got to that level of skill by fully understanding the skill that he chooses to specialize in, and I guarantee you, he will use that skill successfully.

If you are to have good, not-just-practical-but-dominant use of your fists, you must study punching as if there were no other option in a fight. And when you have this level of understanding of how to use your fists… then you are ready to move on to other stuff. Most of you… excuse me (in my Oprah voice), most of US, have not allowed ourselves to develop this level of understanding of anything in our arsenal because we are too busy adding tricks and failing to stop long enough to study the weapons we already have in our tool box.

And I mean this:  if anyone reading this blog would spend 6 months training with me just one day a week, I will get you to that level of understanding. And this is a money-back guarantee. You will not find it on youtube. You won’t get it in a seminar, and I don’t care if it was taught by the guy who use to do Bruce Lee’s laundry–you won’t get it. You can’t get it on a video. Try me.

Next point.

Understand Power Mechanics

You must be able to differentiate between punching for accuracy and punching for destruction. There are levels in between, but we won’t get into those on this blog. There are differences between a hook to the chin and a hook to the neck, just like there is a difference between punching to knock a guy down, and punching to kill a man. The next level to your knowledge and development of punching skill is knowing how to generate and multiply power, while not allowing the fluctuation in power levels to affect your technique. If you let power level change your delivery of a punch, your opponent will know when it’s coming and will be ready to defend from it. There are very small movements and nuances to power punching that will completely change the way those punches are used and delivered, and you must be able to throw them on demand with ease. This is all I will say on this subject.

Except this:  An ample amount of time must be spent developing the powerful version of each punch in your arsenal, including the often dismissed backfist. You must be able to knock a man clean out with every single punch your keep in your toolbox. And in order to develop this level of power you have to know how to use power mechanics as well as when to use them. I would say about a third to half of your training in the beginning of a fighter’s learning career should be spent on this aspect of punching, and then once it’s developed, you can reduce it to maybe 10% of your time to maintain skills.

Okay, we are up to 1300 words, so I am going to close here. Expect a part II to this article. Thank you for visiting my blog. And look out for my new book on “Fighting Techniques”! Coming soon!

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One Response to “The Importance of Developing a Good Punch for the FMA Fighter”

  1. Just so you know, I don’t think you talk down to people/FMA’s. You can seem brash but on the other hand we have to believe what we teach. For that alone (with out knowing you) Keep up the good work! CW


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