Wednesday, 24 February 2010

The Element of Suprise

For stand up fighting (punching, kicking, clinch work and stand up grappling) as you progress with your martial arts and spar for a few years, not only will you improve(hopefully) but your sparring partners will also improve. This is great, however, it will become much harder to be successful during sparring. There may be times when you spar without striking your opponent at all.

This is where other factors apart from good technique come into play. Such factors include strength, speed, cardiovascular conditioning and the element of surprise.

The element of surprise is very important. Learning how to surprise your opponent by attacking when they are distracted and/or not thinking about there defense is a great way to be successful. It requires much thought during sparring and sometimes cunningness, rather than just simply padding up and going at it a full force all the time.

Some ways in which you can surprise your opponent and attack them when they are distracted include,

As soon as it starts – As soon as you bow, touch gloves or whatever it is you do to signal the start, launch an attack. Some may think that this is very unsportsmanlike, but is a great way to catch your opponent off guard.

Attacking on an attack – When your opponent attacks, you also simultaneously attack. Stop kicks and short jabs are great for this.

Attacking on the pull back – Imagine your opponent throws a cross punch which you defend. Most of the time, as they pull there punching hand back to their fighting stance they are not thinking about their defense and this is a great time to attack and be successful. This works when your opponent punches, kicks, and even throws.

Low/high – The classic strategy of attacking first low, to the legs, feet or body, then quickly throwing a second technique high towards the head area.

High/low – The same as above but attacking first high then low.

Seem to be distracted – This is cheeky. Appear to be distracted then launch an attack when you see that your opponent has reacted to this. My original karate instructor used to slightly rub his head as if he was injured or something and as soon as I looked to see what he was doing, which drew my concentration away, he would attack.

The element of surprise can be great if you are subtle enough with it and quickly use the opportunity when your opponent is surprised/distracted. It is only a split second or two so you have to be fast when the opportunity is there, but is great for finding openings to your opponents defense. It must be researched in depth.

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