Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Today's TDA Tip: Avoid Moving Straight Back!

As mentioned before (see "Back on Your Heels"), a primary reason we get hit in sparring or fighting is that we move straight back. I recently rented a DVD of UFC knockouts, and it was notable how often they occurred when a straight shot, either jab or rear-hand, would knock someone back on his heels, and then the other fighter would continue driving forward, throwing shots all the while. If the defender went straight back, they went down. Here are the reasons, as I see them:
  1. When your weight is going backward, anything you throw is going to be weak or ineffectual. The only technique that has a chance of doing any damage is an accidental swipe to the eye. If you try to kick, you'll quickly be on your butt, because kicking requires planting a foot to transfer weight and power with the other. Same with hand or upper body strikes - you can't be shifting weight back and expect to hit something with any force.

  2. Even blocks are ineffective when you can't plant your weight. You may get the block, but will be knocked back again for some more punishment.

  3. You can't counter until you stop and plant. Try this your self - have someone drive at your, punching all the while, and see if you can hit back with any power before you stop.

  4. You can't run backward faster than I can run forward. I am a pretty fast sprinter, but still can't run backward faster than you can run forward. I'd bet even a small child can run faster forward than many adults can backward. The point? You're going to get caught.

  5. Finally, you are vulnerable to the underused sweep. As soon as your weight shifts off of the front foot, you are vulnerable to a nearly-forgotten technique, the sweep. If I take my rear leg, in the course of bringing it forward as I run at you, and just sweep your front foot, you will either spin around, balance broken, or go down hard on your butt.
As a final point, most takedowns I see come about because someone retreats from the shot straight back.

Solution: Obviously, move to the side!
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