Martial Arts Tips – The 5 Rules Of Fighting

 This image crossed my path the other day and though there’s never an end to “tips,” especially in this arena, these are five solid goodies to start. They might apply to a professional fighter, but they also make sense in a self-defense scenario.

NEVER MOVE BACK IN A STRAIGHT LINE

When you get “offline” (for example, at a 45% angle), you are forcing your opponent to slow down. As he redirects to refocus his energy on you, his strikes become weaker, and a window of opportunity opens during which you can retreat to a safe direction, strike back if still under threat, etc.

Moving straight back can also have you backed into something (or on the ground!) pretty quick.  A stagger is a stronger base from which to work, keeping you on your feet….where you need to stay.

 

NEVER SET

Keep moving! A stationary target is a lot easier to catch and strike. Movement also makes it easier to catch your opponent by surprise – a strike from a stand-still telegraphs your intentions much faster than if you are dodging about.

 

REDIRECT

Along with number one… When the opponent has to shift his focus, he also has to shift his weight, balance, and strength, giving you the upper hand.

 

FIGHT YOUR OPPONENT AS HE FIGHTS YOU

You never know what a person’s background is, or necessarily their style of fighting. In the heat of the moment, it’s hard to observe, but try to pick up on what he is…and isn’t…doing…as well as what he has in his arsenal. A knife fight when you aren’t armed means you’ve got a bold opponent fighting you (think: lunging slashes and stabs, unafraid of being cut in return.) If you happen to have a knife also, his movements are going to become a lot shorter, hesitant, and self-protective.

Stand your ground as much as you are able, maintaining that you are not a victim or someone to be pushed around.  The more calm a person can be (and it is a challenge, assuredly) the more nerve you will evoke in the other person. Chip away at the opponent’s self-confidence and he’s going to be a lot easier to get away from, or submit (obviously depending on the circumstance.)

 

PLACE YOUR OPPONENT WHERE YOU WANT HIM

If you are fighter by sport or profession, STUDY…and study hard. Observe what you can before hand.  If you have no ability to do so, test him to see which strikes he’s resorting to, or whether he wants to stay standing vs get you to the ground, whether he baits you, prefers kicks to punches, and which kinds…  When you understand what you are working with, you know where the weaknesses are.  

If in a self-defense scenario, you aren’t going to have time on your side. Do your best to note the person’s movement, as it is guaranteed to be either: their natural movement (and going to occur again), or their preferred movement (and going to occur again.) Being aware of the other person’s overall body movement can also keep us focused, giving us less time to panic.

 

Obviously, there are a slew of techniques and tips and methodologies out there…but these are good tidbits to keep in mind.

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Martial Arts Humor – Jiu-Jitsu Knee On Belly

SO true!  

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With someone who knows how to be heavy – as in, they’ve been doing Jiu-Jitsu a while – knee on belly feels a lot the car rolling over this poor strong man…  

Martial Arts Humor – Never Give Up

I feel like the frog when I’m at Jiu-Jitsu.  Not as much with my other Arts (Ninpo / Ninjutsu, Taekwondo, Hapkido)…but definitely with the ground work…I feel just like this frog. . .

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Challenges are good, they say! 

Jiu-Jitsu Humor – White Belt

I can say this because I am new to the Art…!  Despite a lifetime of training in sports, and many years of other Martial Arts…I still leave with a sore neck!  *LOL*

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What I LOVE about Jiu-Jitsu is that it is about technique.  It is about being strategic and learning how to maneuver even when you are outweighed and outsized – as a 142 lb woman (5’6″), I want to know EXACTLY what I need to do, without completely exhausting myself, to maintain control, and submit, or get free.

Even with a background in movement, as you learn to fight on the ground, you may find yourself using too much energy and gassing yourself out.  While it may be instinct to fight back, it is a surefire way to tire yourself out, leaving you vulnerable to well-executed counter attacks, or the sheer brute strength of an opponent.

As my awesome instructor says, “just chill.  Wait for your window of opportunity and take it…but until then relax and let your opponent exhaust himself.”

Perfect advice from where I’m rolling! 😉

 

To Be A Lion…

I love this quotation because it stresses the importance of giving your all – not just in a competition, but every day in practice.  To be a lion, we must train with lions – we have to get right in the middle of it.  Doubt, ego, embarrassment, and insecurity have to take a back seat.  We all start somewhere.

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Today I had the fortune to participate in a wrestling class along with some of my fellow Ninjutsu classmates.  Wrestling is a completely foreign language to my body, and I LOVE that.  I love that it doesn’t matter how much weight I can press in the gym, how many weighted walking lunges I can do…  It doesn’t matter that I have trained my whole Life in other sports… Something as simple as shuffling, dropping into a sprawl, and jumping up to take a shot is E X H A U S T I N G.  

And…

It is and AMAZING feeling.  

Why?  Because it reminds us there is always more to learn, and always ways in which we can grow positively.

Some of the students knew more than I did – I respect and appreciate learning from them as much as the Sensei (wrestling, but also Ninjutsu) who was instructing us.  I sincerely believe that all of us can learn, and all of us can teach – not only at the dojo, but in all areas of Life.

The irony also holds true – there is a true sense of empowerment born of stepping outside our comfort zone.  It’s important to challenge ourselves – physically, emotionally, and spiritually.  By so doing we learn, we grow, we enhance the richness of the experience we call Life.  Trying something completely new and different is a perfect way to change the pace and avoid plateaus.  

After a number of years in three Korean Arts I began to feel that I had some real holes in my training.  I believe most all Arts have MORE than enough material – beyond Lifetimes of learning, without question! A person could do only one Art and still have areas to grown and improve – even the Grand Masters.  There is no limit, nor perfection, but rather the endless pursuit of learning and movement.

That said, however, each Art has a different focus, leaving other areas exposed.  For me, I was lacking in ground skills.  I also felt that I had less time for the self defense than I did for offensive techniques.  So it was very much a matter of putting my training and rank to the side, donning a white belt, and walking into a new environment all together.  

It can absolutely be intimidating – not just for those new to a given sport (Martial Arts, in this case), but also to those with a background!  There is anxiety, a huge learning curve, and some discomfort – when an activity is new, it is just par for the course – frankly, I don’t think there is any way to avoid it!  But that discomfort is HEALTHY.  It is important for our own overall growth!  Stepping outside that comfortable zone is vastly more rewarding the security of staying “safe.”

So when it comes to our training…if we are SERIOUS about what we want to achieve, and serious about our learning and growth, we MUST jump in the ring.  

It isn’t enough to watch the lions at a distance – we have to get right out there with them, make mistakes, be corrected, and humbled by being at the end of the line.  These things keep us grounded, they build a solid foundation, they remind us that there is ALWAYS room to grow.