Monday, March 15, 2010

The Major Purpose of Fistic Instruction

The Arm of Jack Dempsey
The purpose of learning to box is to teach a person to defend himself with his fists.

This is what Jack Dempsey said back in 1950 and wrote about in his classic book “Championship Fighting”. This is one book I read again and again and always come away with something new with each reading.

Today boxing coaches, trainers, and martial arts instructors have all but forgotten the purpose of using the fists to protect and defend one’s self. You see you don’t start with the premise of learning to box for sport or competition, but for self preservation. You learn how to strike powerfully for one purpose and one purpose only, to knock out any assailant that would try to hurt you, by causing enough trauma by way of your fists to their body and head.

Forget about the jab being used as a set up for your more powerful cross, you don’t have the luxury of time for this in a street fight.

And having a strong side and weak side stance just won’t cut it either.

And don’t even dance around your assailant throwing light punches to score points because that ain’t happening.

And whatever you do, don’t throw your punches the way a boxer does you’ll most likely break your hand, because you won't be wearing any gloves or wraps.

What you need to know is how to make a proper fist with your bareknuckles, and how to throw it for maximum power. You also need to know what angles are best to punch from, and what footwork is the most useful in a streetfight. You must develop non-telegraphing strikes that are so dangerous you could permanently damage your attacker instantly.

Learn to fist fight like the champions of old and develop explosive punching power with both fists and learn to be a true pugilist.

Daniel Sambrano

Friday, March 12, 2010

Why You Need to Fight Flat Footed

Life and Death Considerations

In combat or a life and death street-fight, you will be moving in a linear manner.

This is due to the adrenaline rush that shoots through your body when faced with this type of situation.

Your vision will narrow forcing you to only see what is immediately in front of you.

This is what is called “Tunnel Vision” you will also develop “Auditory Narrowing” which means your hearing will be limited.

You will be moving in gross motor patterns due to lack of blood in your limbs from the adrenaline rush.

Being human not only will it happen to you but also to your assailant.

Tactically speaking moving in a linear manner makes sense, moving forward and back, side to side or diagonal is still moving linearly.

Typical martial arts or boxing footwork like shuffling, pivoting, bouncing on the balls of the feet are all complex movements that take skill and time to master.

And this means that they are not going to be there to use when the brain goes reptilian on you.

Fight or flight is what will come to mind instead of dancing around your adversary like you’re at prom night.

Power Generation

What about power generation? Fighting flat footed increases this important element.

It puts your weight behind each punch, balances and stabilizes your movement, and also strengthens your linear movement.

It also develops explosive shifts and drop steps which adds to the power of your punches.

And finally, it helps to root the body to the ground to deliver the force through your body and into theirs.

When in Rome

In ancient times warriors in Greece and Rome would fight flat footed in combat just like they do today in the armed forces.

Can you just picture a Spartan warrior dancing around on the balls of his feet fighting his enemy?

Not likely, after all it was life and death that was at stake on the battlefield.

Staying closer to the ground gave them more of an advantage at close range.

So if you found yourself in a life and death situation wouldn’t you want to fight the same way and have the same tactical advantage?

The Flat Footed Advantage

When you stay on the balls of your feet to fight you lose power.

Although you’ll have speed and quickness you won’t have the force to take someone out in a street-fight.

Staying on the balls of your feet will only engage the front quads of your legs and the calf muscles of the lower legs.

This may be fine when boxing or sparring in the ring to score points and win rounds, but it can be a bad tactic in a street-fight.

By having your feet flat on the ground you distribute the weight evenly across them.

Your glutes and hamstrings along with your quads and calfs get activated and engage your whole posterior chain giving you more power in your punch.

Fighting flat footed helps to root you to the ground, and makes you more stable and balanced.

You’ll be able to generate more ground force which translates to more powerful punches.

Also you’ll be able to shift and change direction very quickly and solidly.

And one more thing, you’ll be able to absorb more impact from your adversary.

Something to Think About

How much force can you produce on your toes? I bet not as much as you can flat footed.

Don’t believe me, here is a way to find out:

Dead lift your full bodyweight flat footed on an Olympic bar, now do the same on your toes or the balls of your feet.

Which one was easier to do?

Which one was more stable?

Which one was able to generate more force?

Now walk around with that same weight across your shoulders flat footed and then on your toes, which one feels stronger?

And finally squat with that same weight again flat footed and then on your toes, which one produces more ground force?

You’ll instantly see why being flat footed produces more force, more muscles are being used.

And let’s not forget, better balance, coordination and stability when moving and striking.

This all translates as an advantage in a street-fight.


I hope I have provoked some outside the box thinking on your part.

Now am I saying that you should always fight flat footed? No! Of course not.

I just believe that too much emphasis has been placed on fighting on the toes or ball of the foot and not enough has been given to flat footed fighting.

There should be a balance of both and knowledge of when to use each one.

After all there are times when being on the balls of your feet has its advantages, like running away from a dangerous situation.

Until next time, train hard, stay safe.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Turning the Fist into Sword and Shield

The Greeks added boxing to the Olympics in 688 B.C. in honor of Patroklos the slain friend of Achilles.

All the Olympic games of the ancient past had their origins in the need for combat training and thus closely connected to actual battle.

The ability to box and wrestle were both battle preparation activities, and so athletes were restricted to the standing battle related positions of combat.

Boxing ( Pugilism) is one of the oldest combative activities in history.

Carvings and paintings show people fighting with their fists over 5,000 years ago in ancient Sumeria and over 3,000 years ago in ancient Egypt.

The word “Punch” comes from the Roman (Latin) word meaning to “Stab”.

The ancient Greeks considered boxing (pugilism) more dangerous than pankration due to the more severe injuries caused by boxing.

It was widely believed in ancient times that boxing began as a way for warriors who used shield and spear/sword to grow accustomed to the movements of fighting in combat.

The complex stepping movements of the legs; the strikes and parries of the arms holding the weapon and shield would help train a warrior for battle.

It should not be forgotten that the stance and tactics of sword and shield play were identical to those of boxing (pugilism).

The shield held in the left hand was used to jab, slam, bash, pummel or block and the sword in the right hand delivered the killing blow by stabbing or slashing.

The left lead foot was kept in front so the shield would be better positioned to protect the holder, while the unshielded right side was held back away from the enemy.

Boxing was also a way to develop the physical and mental toughness needed to face adversaries in combat on the battlefield.

The Spartans were pugilists as were the Romans and other warrior cultures.

Today by participating in boxing (pugilism), you are taking part in a great and legendary tradition stretching back to the beginning of time.
So when you train in boxing don’t just dance around throwing light jabs as you shuffle and slide with your footwork.

This just doesn’t mimic combat at all or train you for the real thing.

This was not how the warriors of the past trained; they would step, shift, and strike with power, purpose and intent.

They never wasted any movement because in combat it could cost them their lives.

To them it was a matter of life or death, and this is how you should approach your training if you want to use it for self defense in the street.

So when you train think of your fists as shield and sword/spear deadly weapons to use against your adversaries.

When you punch your opponent don’t just hit him; stab him with your fist, smash him with your shield (arm) and finish him with your sword/spear (fist).

Get ancient on his ass when fighting, after all this is how it was done in combat on the battlefield.

And this is how it needs to be done on the streets today.

So train accordingly.

Daniel Sambrano

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Drinkng and knife fighting doesn't mix

A recent article in the Telgraph reported that knives, and yes, swords were used in 58 per cent of all homicides in Scotland for the period 2008-2009. What more, the article ties Scotland's drinking culture to the marked increase in murders by blade. This correlation between the murder rate increase and alcohol consumption certainly put to rest my curiosity concerning sword-related deaths.

Here are a couple key take aways from the story:

- More than 80 per cent of victims were killed by someone they knew and 41 per cent of those accused were drunk or on drugs at the time of the crime.

- Hitting and kicking someone to death was the method used against 10 per cent of victims, with eight per cent poisoned and a further eight per cent struck with a blunt instrument.

- Five people were strangled, three were killed by fire, two were shot and one was drowned.

- The profile of victims and those accused of killing them showed men in the prime of their life most likely to be killed by another male fitting this description.

- The statistics also revealed that 30 per cent of those accused of committing homicide were drunk and six per cent were on drink and drugs.

Knives, straight blade razors, and other improvised blades are easy to conceal and can be carried into most social establishments (bars, pubs, night clubs). A guy with a knife doesn't have to be a kali expert to inflict severe injuries, and no amount of testosterone can shield you from a knife attack. My advice, based on my own experience, is to check your ego at the door when you head out for a night with the guys. Ignore the impulse to puff out your chest and bump shoulders with random guys that you pass on the street. It's not worth it. You certainly don't want to piss off a drunk, sword weidling Scotsman!


Monday, March 01, 2010

RUMOR ALERT: California to Allow Elbows in Amateur Muay Thai Bouts

Last week California Muay Thai blog let it out that elbows will soon be allowed in amateur muay thai fights. The California Athletic Commission currently allows elbows only in sanctioned professional muay thai fights. Unfortunately, most pro muay thai fighters in the US rarely use their elbows in fights, and it shows. The elbows I've seen in fights stateside, they're usually thrown from way outside their effective range.

If this alleged easing of the regulations does come to pass then I'm optimistic about American muay thai fighters' and the overall improved quality of elbow use in future fights. This should also create a ripple effect in how muay thai camps and MMA schools throughout the Golden State treat the elbow as part of a fighter's arsenal. My hope is that there will be a widespread improvement in regards to attention paid to technique and an increase in time spent training & instructing the elbow strike and all of its variant angles and applications.

Please comment if you have any news on this subject.