Striking Q&A

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Striking Q&A
Original Poster: Tease T Tickle
Forum: Mixed Martial Arts Forums
Posted On: 05-09-2006, 18:48

Orginal Post: Tease T Tickle: Since I mentioned in another post that we need more threads like this, I thought I’d start one up. I picked the MMA forum because I didn’t want to be pigeonholed into one style or one set of styles; I just want to do my best to answer any and all questions regarding striking in the martial arts. Think of this like Bushi’s thread about BJJ or Bad Boy’s thread about boxing, only with the mindset being for something like K-1 or the UFC (although we’ll neglect everything the UFC entails).

For anyone who really wants to know, I feel I am qualified to do this because of my “jack-of-all-trades” experience. Starting at the age of seven, I have accumulated 4 years Tae Kwon Do, 2 years American Kenpo, 1 year Hapkido and 4 years (self-trained) Muay Thai. For the past two years, I have been working in what has come to be called The Lab, an egalitarian training studio run by myself, three former Detroit police officers and a former bouncer. Our goal has been to take everything that’s possible and find out how to make it work. For the past year, I have been involved in unsanctioned no-holds-barred fights, obtaining a record of 9-3, eight of my nine wins came from knock outs.

Ask away.

Post: Kyorgi:

What were your losses from?>

Post: Tapout95:

What combos do you train the most? Which seem the most effective in your fights? Thanks for taking the time to do this. Its great to have a source where their are so many experienced people out their to ask direct questions to. If only I had a spot to train that had the same.>

Post: bamboo:

Heres a question that needs answering for so many.

Could you please go over the body mechanics of a jab and hook?

Too many people watch mma, buy a bag and start throwing combinations not knowing the simple basics behind this classic combo and usually even a basic strike.

-bamboo>

Post: Tease T Tickle:

[quote=Kyorgi What were your losses from?[/quote 
One was a guillotine choke, one was a knock out (I have no idea what technique he used) and the latest loss was when I submitted after getting cut open badly and bleeding into my eye. There’s no ref stoppage, so I had to do it myself.

[quote=Tapout95 What combos do you train the most? Which seem the most effective in your fights? Thanks for taking the time to do this. Its great to have a source where their are so many experienced people out their to ask direct questions to. If only I had a spot to train that had the same.[/quote 
You’re welcome. I do my best to be helpful, so it’s only natural that I would attempt something like this. The single best combo I’ve ever used was a left jab-left hook combination I picked up watching Klitschko (spelling?) boxing matches. Virtually no one can pick up that hook, and if you have a solid, snappy jab, you can seriously rock somebody right off the bat with a very quick combination. That being said, the combo I practice the most is the dirt simple left jab-straight right; just about everything comes from the jab and the straight right is probably the most powerful punch in most people’s bag of tricks. I also like to practice the overly flashy right roundhouse kick-left spinning back fist. I never use it, but it’s fun to play with.

[quote=bamboo Heres a question that needs answering for so many.
Could you please go over the body mechanics of a jab and hook? Too many people watch mma, buy a bag and start throwing combinations not knowing the simple basics behind this classic combo and usually even a basic strike. [/quote 
I could not agree more, especially with the hook. In even the professional fights, I see more people throwing haymakers or “roundhouse” punches than true hooks. That being said, though, my jab is much more like a JKD or Wing Chun lead hand strike than what most boxers have traditionally used. Anyway, I’ll break it all down as best as I can. All of this will be assuming an orthodox boxing stance, which if you don’t know the details of, you need to stop living under a rock.
The Lead Hand Strike:
Pushing off with the balls of the feet, twist your core clockwise until your left shoulder is perpendicular to your opponent’s face. Slide your right hand, palm open, to catch any shots that may be thrown at your chin during the strike. With your shoulder in line, snap the arm to full extension as quickly as possible by letting the fist drop down by gravity at the same time as elevating the elbow to the level of the shoulder. Impact should be made with the first two knuckles, in a vertical orientation, at the nose. The aiming of the LHS is not important to the strike itself, but becomes important later when connecting other strikes off of it. The entire motion should be fluid and lightning fast, your body should be moving forward into the punch and you should retain enough of a stance to follow up immediately with another strike.

The Basic Hook:
I’ve found that the hook is most effective when thrown by the lead hand. I don’t know if others would agree, but for the purposes of this mechanic, assume your hook is coming off of your lead (left) hand. Push very slightly forward with the ball of the rear foot, this is not for power generation it is for distancing. The lead foot should pivot clockwise until the toes and knee cap are pointing to 3 O’Clock. At this point, push in that direction off the ball of the lead foot while simultaneously rotating the core clockwise with the lead arm, level with the shoulder and bent at the elbow, fist horizontal. All of the power of the hook comes from the hip rotation and the arm, really, doesn’t need to extend. The hook was developed as a close range punch and as such wasn’t intended for full extension. Deviating the elbow and shoulder positions, even just a little bit, in the wrong direction can ruin the punch. Instead of extending the arm at the elbow, you should bring the entire arm in towards your chest with the pecs and anterior deltoids. The point of impact should be the corner of the chin or the ear. Your rear (rght) hand should be covering your lower face just like in the lead hand strike.>

Post: Tapout95:

Thank you.>

Post: lakan_sampu:

I’ve seen a video where Pat Miletich was showing some basics on how to defend against jabs into the face. His method was to “create a window between you and your opponent”, wherein you slightly raise your guard several inches in front of your face and imagine this as a “window” and parry all the incoming jabs. how effective is this? Is there a jab aside from the ones that are aimed on the face? can you cite some tips on how to defend aginst them? Thank You….>

Post: Tease T Tickle:

Well, I haven’t seen the Miletech video, so I don’t know specifically what he was advocating, but there are a few issues with the high hand guard. First and foremost, it makes defending bodyshots that much more difficult. In a format that includes non-punch strikes, the majority of knees will be to the body, several different kicking techniques aim at the body in addition to punches. Furthermore, if you’re in a format that allows for any form of grappling, you need your arms lower than you think to help defend the takedown, get clinch position etc.

That being said, if you’re not too worried about bodyshots or takedowns, or if your opponent’s jab is tearing you apart, I suppose I can justify raising the guard higher. Really, this position by itself does not help defend the jab, especially if the plan is to parry the incoming jab, since it brings your hands farther away from the level at which the jab will be coming. The “window,” as I imagine it, really just focus your visual attention on strikes coming down the middle and thus makes jabs (and straights) more readily detected. If you’re keeping your guard lower, you’re also looking at the whole picture, so to speak, so you might not react to the jab as quickly because your attention isn’t focused on the interior enough. All of this in mind, experience and composure are better for this purpose than a higher guard.

To answer your other question, yes you can put the jab elsewhere than the center of the face. You can jab at the body, you can jab towards the outside of their guard, you can jab directly into their guarding arms and hands; this all depends on what other techniques you want to set up. For instance, throwing a jab purposefully wide of the guard and face may make your opponent think that protecting the middle is less important, leaving him open to a straight, uppercut or even something exotic like a flying knee. Unfortunately, it also has the tendency to expose more of your face, so you might eat a straight or hook, but if you’re quick and tough you can capitalize on that, too. This is aggressively setting up the counter-punch, which is a rather esoteric notion, and requires much more extrapolation than I’m prepared to give here right now.>

Post: dscott:

[quote=lakan_sampu I’ve seen a video where Pat Miletich was showing some basics on how to defend against jabs into the face. His method was to “create a window between you and your opponent”, wherein you slightly raise your guard several inches in front of your face and imagine this as a “window” and parry all the incoming jabs. how effective is this? Is there a jab aside from the ones that are aimed on the face? can you cite some tips on how to defend aginst them? Thank You….[/quote 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EOqMYmAt6wo

I don’t know how much I agree with this. Like TTT said, it takes away from protecting against body shots. I also don’t like how he doesn’t even move his head to the side when he parrys. He’s strictly relying on “catching” the punch but if it slips through his parry, he doesn’t have a back up. If he slips his head off to the side while he parrys, then he has a back up if the jab gets through.>

Post: zefff:

Re: Bodyshots. It seems to hark back to something I asked Badboy on his thread when I noticed nobody in the top promotions ever really effectively uses bodyshots. Maybe the lack of threat has moulded the technique here?>

Post: Tease T Tickle:

I think, even at the level of top tier professional fighters, that body shots are more common than most people think in the stand up game. Knees, roundhouse kicks, front kicks, side kicks, spinning back kicks, as well as a lot of punching in the clinch goes to the body and especially if you couple that with a stymied ground and pound (where you can’t rain shots to the head) your ribs are going to take a beating.

Thus, I feel it is absolutely essential to have a solid guard against the strikes to the body in the stand up. A lot of those punches and even elbows to the body on the ground typically don’t get the proper delivery to make them too painful or damaging, but if you’re already sore, they can make for a longer night. Right off the bat, the easiest way to protect your ribs is to keep your level low. Time and time again, I see guys who are said to be great strikers fight while standing straight up. By keeping your knees bent and your shoulders low, you bring your guard down to the level of your floating ribs. By keeping your guard tight, with your elbows in, you prevent right off the bat a lot of strikes from getting to their target. But with a lot of heavy roundhouse kickers and strong knees straight down the middle, your arms won’t be effective enough. You have to train how to block or parry incoming strikes aimed at the body.

Miletech has been around long enough to know this, and I’m pretty sure all of his top guys can handle body shots, so I’m not trying to call doubt on his expertise or anything like that. I’m just pretty sure that his “window” guard is a specialized defense mechanism that he came up with when somebody discovered a problem with fighting against a very good jab and as a specialized tool, it should not be trained or utilized until one has a lot more of the basics covered. Those basics include the stance and guard.>

Post: lakan_sampu:

hmnmm..

maybe its only a part of something more complicated then. I could see TTT and dscott’s point here.

Hey tease, what’s your usual stance then? I think you’re left handed too like me. I seem to have a problem with my usual stance lately, but then agin, I’m not training that much though these days because of other activities here in the university.

As you guys know, I’m currently in FMA right now. I usually hold an orthodox one, holding my lead left hand several inches in front of my shoulder and my right hand below my chin or chest. my body is a bit crouched, as when holding a knife. My feet are apart as wide as my shoulders, maintaining as forard stance where my lead foot is slightly bent than my rear one.

any tips on maximizing this stance? I understand that I must train in order to understand though, but I need pointers because I seldomly train nowadays.

Thanks…>

Post: Tease T Tickle:

I’m naturally right handed, but all that damn tae kwon do has gotten me used to less than orthodox stance changes and stance theory. For instance, after finishing a left hook, I feel I’m in perfect position for a side kick where more mainstream stand-up thought would have you pull the left arm back to guard and follow up with a right hand if anything. So, I really don’t like discussing my stance, because I don’t stay in one. My default stance, however, is like the one I mentioned above: feet shoulder width apart, left foot slightly forward, knees bent, abs tightened, elbows in, tops of my fists on level with my upper lip, left hand slightly forward, chin tucked in.

Your stance seems pretty similar, except for the “knife” hand. I’m not too knowledgeable about FMA, but it makes sense to me to not put that knife in a textbook boxing stance. It might very well get smacked into your face or something equally embarassing. In terms of “maximizing” that stance is really just to analyze what that body position makes sense out of. That is, if you imagined yourself in some tragically traditional horse stance straight out of a bad martial arts movie from the 80’s, just think about what that stance leaves you with: the wide base prevents most kicking since you’re supports are not directly underneath your center of mass.

With your stance, which is similar to my stance, I see a lot of options: easy mobility, quick deployment of front kicks and roundhouses, routine use of every hand technique except maybe the spinning back fist. Since you have so many options, I would suggest that instead of thinking what you can use your default stance for that you start thinking about what position techniques you’re likely to use will leave you in and what comes from those positions easily. This way, you get sick combinations that nobody sees coming like a lead hand strike into a flying knee.>

Post: lakan_sampu:

O, I’m sorry, I’m right handed too. What I was thinking is my lead hand is usually my left hand. OMG, one of the things I don’t like is posting serious stuff here in the forum when I’m drunk. All the infos about my stance is true anyway…I’m pretty sure those are not influenced with my drinking last night :)

Quote:
Your stance seems pretty similar, except for the “knife” hand. I’m not too knowledgeable about FMA, but it makes sense to me to not put that knife in a textbook boxing stance. It might very well get smacked into your face or something equally embarassing.

what I meant here is not the knife hand we usually see in Karate or TKD. What I was saying is my stance is really close to a slihtly crouched boxing stance, just like when I hold a knife when drilling with it in training. This seems pretty standard for most people, IMO. In this stance, I always hold the knife in my right hand, my lead hand being a free one.

Quote:
This way, you get sick combinations that nobody sees coming like a lead hand strike into a flying knee.

I remember a time when I was able to luckily pull off an uppercut with my right hand when my sparring partner evaded my left straight and came in with a yakuzuki aimed at my stomach. I went straight to his chin. not that its a “sick” combination, only that I was surprised I was able to counter him that way…With my stance too, I am usually able to strike an incoming limb.>

Post: Tease T Tickle:

[quote=lakan_sampu what I meant here is not the knife hand we usually see in Karate or TKD. What I was saying is my stance is really close to a slihtly crouched boxing stance, just like when I hold a knife when drilling with it in training. This seems pretty standard for most people, IMO. In this stance, I always hold the knife in my right hand, my lead hand being a free one.[/quote 
I understood that you meant the hand you hold your knife in and not a knifehand like we’re doing karate chops. But you said that you kept your right hand below your chin at level with chest. I assume that this is the best place to keep that knife at the ready while diminishing the chance that if your hand gets hits, the impact sends the blade into your face or neck. I know that FMA stick work includes aiming at the hands, and I know that some FMA training include both stick and knife or the stick versus the knife. Correct me if I’m wrong here, but I see some good reasons for keeping the right hand low in FMA.

In unarmed combat, though, protecting the face is of primary concern and your guard needs to have that right hand up in front of your chin and mouth to keep you from getting knocked out. Especially if you’re involved in a real fight (without gloves) or an event that uses smaller, grappling gloves (MMA), you need to keep the guard very tight. In boxing, or even kickboing or Muay Thai, where they use those big gloves, your guard can actually be a bit more relaxed because the gloves cover more area and can close gaps much more readily. Without those puffy mits, you either have to have disgustingly fast hands or a tight guard. Otherwise, you’re getting socked in the mouth and it won’t be fun.

Quote:
I remember a time when I was able to luckily pull off an uppercut with my right hand when my sparring partner evaded my left straight and came in with a yakuzuki aimed at my stomach. I went straight to his chin. not that its a “sick” combination, only that I was surprised I was able to counter him that way…With my stance too, I am usually able to strike an incoming limb.

Yeah, that’s why karate usually gets laughed at by professional fighters exposed to boxing, muay thai, and the hybrid arts derived from them. That sort of striking style tends to expose too many sensitive targets, especially the chin. I’m a bit surprised, though, that you landed an uppercut as the counter. I’d think that the drop in head level for the ‘yak’ would make proper extension difficult, effectively jamming your strike with his face.

I like striking incoming limbs, and I wish I were better at it. I know your training schedule has been thrown off of late, but that’s something you should work on developing further. If nothing else, parrying and jamming become easier and with solid defense, you’re like the terminator when you fight.>

Post: lakan_sampu:

Quote:
I understood that you meant the hand you hold your knife in and not a knifehand like we’re doing karate chops. But you said that you kept your right hand below your chin at level with chest. I assume that this is the best place to keep that knife at the ready while diminishing the chance that if your hand gets hits, the impact sends the blade into your face or neck. I know that FMA stick work includes aiming at the hands, and I know that some FMA training include both stick and knife or the stick versus the knife. Correct me if I’m wrong here, but I see some good reasons for keeping the right hand low in FMA.

We just had a demonstration (I was not notified that early) for a TV network here. While we were warming up, I and my partner drilled palit-palit with a wooden knives. I just found out what you were talking about; the knife got slapped on my neck although it didn’t hurt that much. I was corrected by one of the instructors, and told me something like what you posted. Thanks.

regarding that uppercut, I was surprised too that time.>

Post: Tease T Tickle:

[quote=Tease T Tickle Unfortunately, it also has the tendency to expose more of your face, so you might eat a straight or hook, but if you’re quick and tough you can capitalize on that, too. This is aggressively setting up the counter-punch, which is a rather esoteric notion, and requires much more extrapolation than I’m prepared to give here right now.[/quote 

So, here’s my extrapolation. I know this thread is a Q&A and I shouldn’t be replying to myself, but I doubt any of you will mind.

Aggressively Setting Up the Counter-Punch

In most contemporary competition formats, being conservative can lead to problems. If you spend most of your time looking for the opening, not throwing punches, you lose points on the scorecard. While it is generally a bad idea to let the fight go into the judges’ hands, to be a real competitor you have to understand that it will happen and playing to the scorecard can and will get you wins. So, being conservative seems a bad idea and you want to be aggressive. But, you hate the idea of throwing ineffective strikes and wasting energy. So, you stategize.

While ring control and positional dominance are just as important if not more so, you can shrink the idea of positions and angling to just the opponent’s body (and conversely your own) to make sure that you can land at least one clean, powerful strike. To do this, and still staying out of grappling situations (this is the Striking Q&A, after all), you will be using feints, aimed misses and pushing strikes to alter your opponent’s body in such a way that an opening appears for just long enough for you to put a strike through it. Note: this is the exact opposite of the Walnut Approach to Striking, but more on that notion later.

First an example, and to keep things simple let’s use an orthodox boxing stance versus another orthodox boxing stance and only strikes using the fist. Since your opponent’s left hand is slightly closer than his right hand, and since your power punches are probably coming from your right hand, you need to move that left hand to get a clean punch from your right. Taiji, Wing Tsun, et Al. like to use various techniques to just this end, but we will not be using those specific methods despite the similarity of principles.

Your fastest and most effective punch in a stand-off is your jab or lead hand strike. Throwing this strike directly to the face will tend to bring the opponent’s hands closer together to help cover the middle more effectively. That will not work for our purposes here. We want to slam the middle of his guard with our right, so we need to move that left hand wide from the other hand or down from the face. Throwing the jab across the vertical axis of our opponent’s body leaves the left side of our face open to overhands and hooks, so we cannot jab wide to our opponent’s left to bring that hand out. If we jab at the body to bring that hand down, we’re just as likely to bring the right and not the left down. So, we need to open the opponent’s left with our right for long enough for our right to strike again.

We start with an overhand right aimed directly at the bridge of the nose. This will bring his hands in. We follow immediately with a left hook, bringing his right hand out, but leave our right hand low. He tries to come over the top of our right hand with a left hook or a jab, and we have a signed invitation to throw that right uppercut directly underneath his chin. We might eat his left hand, but we still got the better of the exchange. We opened his guard, baited the left hand and aggressively set up our counter punch. We made him react to us, took control of the pace of the fight and we landed a punch likely to score a knock out and definitely likely to rock him while he might only land a hasty and poorly executed punch without any knock out potential.>

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