Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Today's TDA Tip: Protect Yourself at All Times

What's the first rule of boxing? For probably a hundred years fighters have been admonished, "protect yourself at all times." They have been given that warning because the it's ultimately the fighter's responsibility to protect himself, not the referee's. If you turn your back and get rabbit-punched, the referee may warn your opponent, then deduct a point, but you turned your back and, to my way of thinking, deserve to get hit! Of course that's my perspective as an instructor.

I can give you a good example of why we should all follow that rule. The last Saturday, when sparring, I decided to open with a quick lead-leg Thai kick to the head and it landed. Keep in mind that I put nothing on this kick, it was very controlled. Anyway, it landed on the temple and my partner went down. He came to about a second later and was laying there laughing. He said he'd never seen the kick, saw stars, then found himself looking at the floor. Scared the heck out of me.

As a result of that, when working out last night, I decided to throw a lot of head kicks as a favor to the same student and did so. I threw them normally to the Grounded defensive positionlegs and body, but when I went to the head I telegraphed and threw them slowly. Big mistake! My partner caught one of my slow head kicks, held on, drove me backward and hooked my supporting leg so that I had no choice but to go down. I did, rolling back, then popped up to my feet only to find that he'd followed me, smelling, "blood in the water," as he said later. As I came up in a fighting stance, I did so without bringing up my hands as quickly as I should. Another mistake! I took a massive headslap to my right eye area (man, it stung!). Whose fault? My sparring partner said, sorry!, and didn't even know what he did. He was just doing what he was supposed to, I said, and following up to finish a downed opponent. Whose fault?

My fault. PROTECT YOURSELF AT ALL TIMES! When I made the decision to throw the slow kicks, I didn't count on my partner taking advantage of that and catching them, which was much less likely at full speed. Plus at full speed I wouldn't have thrown so many head kicks. Second, when I came up I didn't cover. I should've stayed down in a grounded defensive position, and came up when I was ready. When you are doing a rear breakfall and roll up to a fighting stance, you are blind while going back. Keep this in mind next time. For me, no more slow head kicks unless it's a controlled drill, and be ready for the follow-up.

Back to work!

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