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How useful are combinations really?

Updated: 5 days ago

In the old days of traditional martial arts, there was very much an all or nothing attitude. The original founders and students of the fistic ways were not fighting for fun. They fought for their lives, plain and simple. They were defending themselves usually from an armored, armed foe. So because of that, they practiced for hours a day on a single technique. Sometimes 2. But the point is that they had a full mastery of the basics. They did not have a lot of time to be cute, or fancy or stylish. Against a samurai for example, an Okinawan peasant had perhaps one chance to stun his armored opponent, and then perhaps one to finish him. So combinations were not practical or necessary. Unlike the movies, if a samurai got his hands on his sword, the fight ended. So basically a concept emerged from that: One strike, one kill (ikken hitsatsu)

Nowadays, 90% of martial artists do NOT train with the idea of having to defend their life with their training. They do it for exercise, confidence, social reasons, discipline, and a whole host of other reasons. And that is good. But with the influence of boxing on traditional martial arts schools, there has been a paradigm change. People no longer believe that a single strike can kill or incapacitate a person. On television we see boxers lithely dance around a padded ring, punching each other senseless. The logic states that boxers routinely punch each other in combinations, until their foe is subdued. And how long can it take? 12 rounds? 5 rounds? Whatever.

Anyhow, my point is that with the popularity of boxing (and to a smaller extent, MMA nobody really believes that a single punch can render a person senseless, much less lifeless. But oh, are they wrong. How often does the average martial artist spend on his or her craft? An hour and a half, 2 or 3 times a week? That is usually wishful thinking. Now, do not misunderstand. I know that people's lives are busier than ever. But like anything else, I believe that people should invest real time into their passions. If they claim that martial arts is their passion, then they should put extra time into it.

But back to the point. I think that a lot of people don't realize the power than can be generated from a bare-knuckle punch. People are really fooling themselves if they believe that punching someone with a taped hand and boxing gloves, and punching someone with a bare fist is the same thing. Having competed in gloved sports and bare-knuckle competitions both, I can assure you that they are not. I have seen many a fit, conditioned competitor crumble under the force of a bare-knuckle striker. I have seen it MANY times.

Now, do not misunderstand. I have a healthy respect for boxers and their skills. I have faced many an accomplished boxer, and have even been humbled by some in a ring. I am impressed with their fluid footwork, their defensive skills, and their amazing conditioning. But I do know the difference between a match and an attack. Notice that I did not say "fight." Fights are agreed upon. Attacks are spontaneous and often suprising. In a real situation, punches will not resemble a boxing match, they will resemble a hockey fight. My 2 cents folks, work on short crips combinations, dont think that you will have 12 or 15 punches to subdue an attacker. You may not have 12 or 15 seconds tops. This is not about style points or anything else. Learn to throw 10 punch combinations. It will not be easy. After about 5 punches, you will notice a significant drop in your handspeed and punching power. So why do this? Because if you train hard enough to throw 8 hard punches in combination, you will be able to throw 3 or 4 REALLY hard ones in a real attack. And that is our goal correct? Good! Later on my friends.

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