Friday, September 02, 2005

Defense Vs. Offense

It’s not uncommon for many stand-up programs to focus much of its time to training striking. Of course the ability to strike an opponent with maximum power and efficiency will hopefully end the fight. That’s the obvious reason why so much time is spent on it. However through the years I have come to realize and something that I push in my gym all the time, focus first on your defense, get that right and all else will just fall into place.

Think of it is this way, unless you are what some people would consider gifted, meaning that you already from day one can take a punch, have a good strong jaw and you just a nightmare to knockout; you as an average person are not going to ever put yourself in the position to knock your opponent out if all you are concerned about is not getting knocked out yourself. In fact I would argue that the so-called “gifted” athlete is not so gifted after all. Instead I see that mindset of taking unnecessary punishment as unintelligent and not too mention unhealthy. We have all seen those aged boxers, who yes at their prime where unstoppable, but at what cost? Today they suffer from a myriad of ailments and hardly can hold a conversation. There is some truth to the critics of boxing and other full contact fighting arts, where they see it as senseless barbarism.

I will also add two other things here, I would agree only on the point that yes often attributes, such as just been tough and having a good jaw have been placed higher in importance than intelligent stand-up and of course safety. Because at the end of the day unless you happen to be George Foreman, your career does not last long in a sport that can be ultimately brutal. The reason you see so many athletes over their 30’s in MMA competition, is because there are choices. If you don’t like getting hit in the face you take it to the ground. MMA all round is far less brutal than say boxing because of these choices. My second point to the critic would be something that may be somewhat subversive; I think they criticize boxing and other full contact fighting sports, because deep down inside they are scared. There is a real part of ALL men who at some point want to prove to others that they are men and of course prove that to themselves as well. The critics for the most part seem to be the geeks who got picked on at school and just never overcame it (Outside of a higher IQ). The only way they can justify this lack of manhood, is to criticize the one thing they would love to be able to do themselves- fight! I am not suggesting for a moment that if you can fight you are a real man, what I am saying is that if there is something you really wish you could do, but feel you can’t, but don’t want to tell people that you are actually scared to death of even trying, you criticize it.

My final point on this matter would be this, in the past ten years of Rugby, especially school Rugby, there have been more serious, debilitating, life ending injuries, including numerous deaths than in all the recorded history of Boxing since the 1800’s. Yet Rugby is still allowed as a sport worldwide, gains wide coverage and sponsorship and allowed as a sport in most schools in South Africa. Go figure, there is something wrong with that logic!

Back to my original point. Realistic, effective defense is the missing component in most stand-up martial arts programs. I am still pretty amazed how many coaches still teach defense that is away from the face. Statistically speaking if you where ever attacked on the street, both the trained and untrained opponent will go for your head. Let’s put it this way, if I gave you a baseball bat and I told you to hit me, most people would immediately swing for the head. Unless of course you work for the Mafia and you are working me over because I forgot to pay up, in that case you probably would want to break my knee caps:)

The development of the CM® Defense Program not only addresses this issue by coaching people how to defend themselves by focusing defense on the head first, but also outside of easily been coachable (Many have learnt it off the available instructional DVD’s at www.streetbrawl.co.za/store) it has a psychological advantage over most defenses taught today.

Firstly anytime you lower your hands away from your face or you have your hands extended away from it and someone attacks your head you will either have an over emphasis on the flinch response which means the chances of you just covering your head, blocking your view and turning your back away from the opponent (Fetal position) is amplified. In the same vain, the chance of you extending you hands toward the person attacking you in attempts to keep him away is also amplified. Either one of these natural responses to danger are detrimental in a fight, both of them will get you seriously injured. By having your hands already covering your head, that response is minimized and you are more likely to face the opponent head on and feel comfortable doing so.

This leads to the second point, if psychologically you feel comfortable in not getting seriously injured and you are “Riding The Storm” so to speak, you are in the best position to actually use all those power strikes you have been training day in and day out.

All the arsenal in the world becomes useless, if all you do is spend your time trying not to get hurt or knocked out!

CM® is the answer for my personal game and my athletes.

Rodney King
www.rodneyking.tv