Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Part Two: Slowing Down the Fight

Last time I wrote about a training technique for sparring in which one of the participants does all the attacking and the other one is only allowed to defend.  I’ve been told that sounds an awful lot like authorized assault.  “Did you just say that one guy gets to pummel the other?”  Yep, pretty much that’s it.

The reality is that this process always gets lots of positive feedback from the students, and for good reasons.  For the defender, the one who is not allowed to punch or kick, the fight slows down.  More here.

For the attacker a whole different set of benefits emerge.  First and foremost, they have to engage with multiple techniques.  This is very hard for the novice fighter, who classically wants to execute one punch or kick and then retreat into duck and cover mode. 

Come to my classes during sparring lessons and you’ll hear repeated shouts of “Combinations! Combinations!”  The attacker in my sparring lesson outlined here, knows they have no reason to fear a counter-strike and gets to freely wail the daylights out of the defender.  Which.They.Can’t!

That is the other lesson for most fighters.  Given free reign and a license to kill (OK, that’s an overstatement) their years of training has rendered them inert against an equally trained fighter.  The lesson? You are not all that vulnerable when you are defending yourself, but you are vulnerable when you are attacking.  Or, to be more useful, your opponent is not all that vulnerable when they are in defense mode, but become vulnerable when they are attacking.

So … if vulnerability is highest during an attack:
  • You must learn to attack using proper techniques that provide you with a solid defense.
  • You must time your attacks to strike when the opponent is beginning his attack, i.e. when they are most vulnerable.
The very definition of Tang Soo Do (one most commonly used) is Defensive / Strike.  This can mean either that a defensive move (a block) is so powerful that it also serves as a strike, or that when striking, you must maintain proper defensive technique.

Timing is everything, and it is the last thing most martial artists master.  Putting the lessons learned from both the only-defend fighter, and the only-attack fighter, we see additional value.  The only-defend fighter begins to see openings and vulnerabilities that they never saw before.  The attack-only fighter learns that vulnerability is highest when attacking - so put the two together.  Watch for the opening that precedes an attack, and then move swiftly, with good defense.

I know that this sounds so simple, but it is not.  Break it down as I’ve written here and over time you (or your students) will evolve into better fighters.

1 comment:

  1. Good article. It is well written, clear and concise.I do enjoy you blog.


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