Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Guest post: An aikidoka on the boxing jab

[Nathan- Today's guest post is by the estimable Patrick Parker of Mokuren Dojo, and is a response to our post, How does Aikido deal with the jab? Mr. Parker is a long-time judo & aikido teacher, and exercise physiologist based out of Mississippi]
So, how do you deal with the boxer’s jab in aikido? I think you first have to think about what boxing and aikido are. Boxing is a sport in which the competitors are both trying to win, either by throwing more punches or by throwing better punches (for KO or TKO). Aikido is, among other things, a self-defense art in which the goal is to disengage from the fight as safely and efficiently as possible while remaining relatively uninjured. Boxing is about dominating the other competitor, aikido is about not engaging in a fight with him.
Much of the boxer’s arsenal would be negated without the ring and the rules that prevent disengaging and fleeing (two great aikido strategies). Many of the aikidoka’s tools would be rendered useless if he were required to stand and fight toe-to-toe. You beat the boxer the same way you beat the aikidoka – by making them play your game by your rules and not playing their game by their rules.
With that said, here are some more specific ideas about beating the jab. None are foolproof but each one, with some practice, can give the aikidoka some hope…
  • Don’t let the boxer stand toe-to-toe with you. If you do, he will always get a snappy jab in, which will stun you and set you for a more powerful cross or hook. Anytime he steps to within touching distance, evade back outside touching distance. Don't ever stop moving long enough to try to get a technnique - he will always beat you to the punch (as it were) with a jab.
  • Keep your hands up between your face and his. Anytime you get stuck inside touching distance, clinch (or at least cover his hands) until you can disengage and get back out safely.
  • If you get stuck inside, throw your own straight lead jab (i.e. shomenate – palm to the chin/face). Instead of using the face jab to set up a rear cross or hook, the aikidoka uses it to disorient and distract the opponent long enough to get back outside touching distance. (It also might stun them long enough for a technique.)
  • All the cool-looking techniques in aikido are pretty much what-ifs that solve particular problems that you can get into when you are trying to stay outside touching distance but fail. The techniques of aikido don’t work especially well against a smart boxer unless the aikidoka is at least trying to disengage back outside touching distance.
Because of the way the two systems work, the jab is generally a more useful tool for boxers against boxers than for boxers against aikidoka. In the boxing contest, the opponent has to stay engaged in order to have a chance to get their own hit in. The aikidoka doesn’t care about getting his own technique in – just about getting his own butt to safety, so he can disengage and avoid the jab. The difference in the objectives and assumptions and strategies between the two styles gives the aikido some hope for beating the snappy jab.
Want to read a great interview on this same subject? Check out this interview with Karl Geis.
[Nathan - You may respond to Pat here via comment, or contact him at Mokuren Dojo]

1 comment:

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.