Sunday, 9 May 2010

Dont Drop Your Guard when Striking!

Lyoto Machida got knocked out at UFC 113. He fought against Mauricio Shogun Rua. The cause of the knockout was due to Machida throwing a punch to Rua, but at the side time getting caught with an overhand right to the side of his head.

The following was said by Rua,

“I noticed that every time he would try to attack on the timing of my kicks, he was attacking, but without his guard in proper place with his face exposed,” said Rua, “so that’s why I worked a lot this time, not only on the kicks, but also for (the) overhand right punch to surprise him when he was trying to move in for my kicks.”

Many times on this website you will read articles stressing the importance of a good guarding hand at all times, but never more important than when throwing punches and kicks of your own.

If you have seen the fight you will notice exactly what Rua is talking about. Machida did drop his guard on many occasions during the short fight which did not even last a round and paid the price because of it. This is not to say that Machida is not a great fighter because he is. However he got sloppy and lost because of it.

Allowing bad habits to form such as dropping ones guard is not something new. It has probably happened to all strikers once of twice in their martial arts training.

This is why it is so important to return to basic training every now and then. This will allow for a martial artist to check, preferably in front of a mirror or with the help of a trainer to see whether bad habits are forming and is a great way to rectify them.

Performing basic training is the only way to achieve this and something that should be undertaken by all martial artists regularly.

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Wim said...

Couldn't agree more!
I think it's part of Machida's unorthodox style. It makes him unpredictable and hard to fight, but it also has the serious drawback of leaving him wide open. He always seemed to count on his speed, reflexes and footwork to get cover him. this time, that didn't do the trick. It'd be cool to see another fight between them.


SenseiMattKlein said...

I noticed this tendency of Machida to keep his hands a bit low in an earlier fight. Figured it was only a matter of time. If he trained a bit more in boxing, that would help as boxers are conditioned to keep one hand up while the other is striking.

KarateStudent said...

KarateStudent ("KS") Response to SENSEI MATTKLEIN on "Don't Drop Your Guard When Striking; [quote], 'Figured it was only a matter of time.'"


Lyoto's Machida's performance against Shogun Rua @ UFC 113--substandard karate--AGREED.


Lyoto Machida's style [base] is ORTHODOX Shotokan Karate Kumite Point-Fighting Style @ the black-belt level--your descriptive characteristics--ACCURATE. KS takes some issue with the term 'serious.'


Shotokan stylists convention of holding the hands 'low' is not in of itself asking for the UFC 113 type outcome, i.e. knockout. This was covered under some of the discussions on MARKS 'much criticized' Lunge Punch Post. Same concept.

KS adamantly disagrees with your prescription for additional boxing training. Boxing, despite the conventional wisdom of the applied fighters like yourself, is not the answer. Keeping your hands up will not stop agile, powerful strikes from a highly trained, versatile striker like Shogun Rua.

KS went to your site and read your bio. Your technical expertise is 10 to 100 times greater than mine. But technical expertise doesn't win fights.

I know you have high regard for MARKS and the applied fighting approach. Still I am surprised, why don't you look to kenpo?


PS: KS holds great esteem for Kenpo karate.

SenseiMattKlein said...

Karate Student--Don't get me wrong. I think Machida is an awesome fighter, and I love seeing a karate guy in there doing really well, just like the Iceman Chuck Liddell (a kenpo man from way back), but I have replaced the old style of "guard by the hip" a long time ago as have most kenpo stylists, with a more boxing-like stance. Hands up, elbows in. It's the best way to fight in the ring and the best in the street. Boxing is the best way to develop this bar none. With regard to your last comment, yes Kenpo has awesome street-fighting applications, but you cannot use them in the mma ring--they are illegal, this is why kickboxers and jujutsu guys have the advantage. Allow eye gouges, groin strikes, claws, rips, and other Kenpo weapons and it's a different story

SenseiMattKlein said...

KS--forgot to address one point you made. Technical experience vs. real life. I have both. The Kenpo school I trained at in San Diego was a "gladiator" school, meaning all comers were welcome on sparring night. I fought professional boxers, world class thai kickboxers, the best point fighters in the U.S. and even street fighters (strangely enough they were the easiest to beat because they had no technique and would be out of puff after about a minute). Yes, I even tested Kenpo on the street (not my choice) and it works brilliantly. So I'm not just talking about book smarts in the martial arts.

KarateStudent said...

KarateStudent ("KS") @ SENSEIMATTKLEIN re "Gladiators"

KS takes you comments to heart--right to the point. KS & my current karate school are not at the "gladiator" level; be glad to stipulate you are. Some are there for physical fitness, others discipline only.

KS wrote a comment trying to do justice to your first reply...maybe didn't take. My current karate school generally dismisses my academic leanings.

KS doesn't go to tournaments. The highest ranked competitor I ever fought was at my second Tang Soo Do ("TSD") karate school. He was a master level black-belt & former NE karate grandchampion (no "gladiator" IMO) who wanted to test the relatively new student. Frustrated at his inability to dominate me he threw some really mean spining back kicks (illegal for new students) and cracked my ribs.

On the next spinning back kick, he ended up getting thrown into the wall and fell down. He got up & shuffled with that close-in boxer type close-in guard and lauched punches. All punches were neutralized and he received a diabling blow to the midsection (pulled). He got even angrier and came on full force--he ending up retreating to the other side of the dojang.

Some of the karate I used would be considered advanced for Tang Soo So--it was pure traditional martial arts. On the second exchange--the kickboxing punching flurry--KS's techniques were TSD; the concept of their expression could be in keeping with yes, Kenpo.

KS can easily acede to your higher level of accomplishment. KS's path, though, leads through the traditional martial arts--there's more there than meets the eye. What will Lyoto do next?

SenseiMattKlein said...

KS--Agree fully with what you say about the value of traditional arts--Kenpo goes way back, although it includes modern techniques as well. As for this guy that "tested" a newbie, he got what was coming to him. But I doubt he was an authentic boxer. The boxers were always the hardest to hit for me because of their hand position and their mastery of bobbing and weaving. I still believe any martial artist could benefit immensely from studying it.

KarateStudent said...

KarateStudent ("KS") @ SenseiMattKlein re 'Value of Boxing vs. Traditional Martial Arts.'

FIRST: KS wants to say that everyone learns differently, has different apptitudes and tastes. So, no doubt, KS can see how boxing can benefit many, if not most. At the red-belt level in the Tang Soo Do (TSD) curriculum, TSD starts to take on the multiple-strike tempo of Kenpo--but it is still really the heavily, physical TSD.

SECOND: The TSD 'master' ranked instructor was not in the tournament circut at that time. However, he formerly held a bona-fide karate NE grandchampion title. He was not a boxer, per se, as far as I know. He was a dam_ good striker--my split ribs can attest. KS quit after the instuctor didn't apologize. Remember, he wasn't harmed.

THIRD: I, personally, have never found boxers hard to hit. That doesn't mean I don't miss. Be advised KS , though, IS NOT a 'sport' fighter. I don't move around like a boxer & their footwork, or jump around like sport karate; I don't trade punches on the one hand and try to slip or strictly otherwise evade punches from my opponent.

An (very) incomplete example of what I do is reflected in Lyoto Machida's MMA striking style. Typically he lands that straight left using the concept of what Shotokan refers to as 'kyo?' When Lyoto Machida does this correctly & with power, it is often the turning point in the fight. The defensive tools of the 'boxer' you've mentioned are overcome.

SUMMARY: To KS, it's a question of getting the full value out of traditional martial arts training--not easy and problematic as we all know. IMO, the biggest mistake in traditional martial arts one can make is ==>focusing on techniques and not the underlying martial capability of the person. This is why KS studies TSD, not Kenpo.

KS will try to follow with a comment on MARKS' May 2010 post on, "Tips for Smoothing Out Basic Techniques." This post addresses precisely what I want to say next.

Anonymous said...

KarateStudent ("KS") on Altering "Don't Drop Your Guard when Striking!" TO "Don't Drop Blocking When STriking!"

KS has posted numerous times here @ MARKS on the contrast between the sport-oriented styles such as boxing vs. the traditional marital arts such as karate.

The reason so many experiened martial artists and instructors, such as SenseiMattKlein advocate boxing for competition / actual fighting is perfectly captured in MARKS' photo for this post: Traditional karate doesn't work in practice.

Just look @ the solid overhand right that Muay Thai stylist Shogun Rua sends right into the side of Shotokan karate champion Lyoto Machida's head. Shogun uses excellent body position and boxing-type reach to connect on Machida's too slow reaction. Boxing over karate proven again. Right???

KS says completely wrong. The reason that traditional karate fails so often in practice is the supposed karate competitor, here Machida, doesn't use use traditional karate. Here, Machida relies on the typical defense of evasion adopted by boxing & kickboxing--the result is that he gets creamed!

As MARKS so correctly poinsts out, Machida has dropped his LEFT arm to a position where according to MARKS, it is useless. KS's answer is, Machida's traditional karate mistake wasn't in dropping the arm. His mistake was LEAVING IT THERE.

The overall karate problem is reacting (what Machida did) which isn't karate. In traditional karate, you never react--YOU ALWAYS ACT. Why not turn right to Rua // block his overhand right with your LEFT (It's right there in place to block.) // and throw the right exactly into Rua's closely exposed face???

Why don't we see this? Because it takes strong mental discipline to face an assault and not waver.

It takes presence of mind and whole body commitment to quickly raise that LEFT ARM TO MAKE THE PERFECT CONTACT with Rua's overhand right. It takes the knowledge of forms like training to make the continuos transition from Machidas out-of-position right into a chambered power shot directly into Rua's open face.

Sports-oriented protangonists dismiss traditional karate sparring drills saying that the block-strike type patterns don't work in free-form sparring situations--you can't react fast enough.


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