By Jim Graden
When I first started training with the great Joe Lewis I was 21 years old and rated as one of the top tournament fighters in Florida and the nation. Realize, this was the early eighties, tournaments were not nearly as safe or controlled as they are now. You had to have some skills to survive back than. So I thought I new something about fighting, Wrong!
I had to unlearn more than I had to learn.
I know in my heart I would never have been able to achieve the level of success in martial arts competition if it was not for Joe Lewis. So here are four things, that Joe Lewis pounded into to me, literally, never to do. You will notice that they are all defensive mistakes. Anyone can learn to punch and kick, learning how not to get punched and kicked is what makes you a great fighter!
Four major mistakes I constantly see from professionals, mistakes that will hold any fighter back if not corrected.
- Lingering on the end of techniques: Lingering is when you throw a punch or kick and after the techniques misses it stays extended or it’s slow to return. This is a common mistake among less effective fighters. I call it slow to recover and can be easily exploited by a smart fighter.
Remember that quickly bringing techniques back and returning to a good fighting position is more important than the techniques you are throwing. Why? There are two important reasons. One, you miss more than you hit and two, lingering creates gaps and gaps are next on the list.
- Gaps in combinations: Gaps are usually when you get hit! This is because you are within striking range and you have gaps of time between techniques. A common time this happens is when throwing kicks. You blast the kick in and put the foot down and then start punching.
The gap is from the time the kick makes contact to the time it hits the floor. I used to look for these defensive mistakes when I fought. If I realized my opponent was not covering his kick, (punching as the kick lands, not after). I simply block the kick and attack him as the kick landed.
Gaps in punching can acre when someone is trying to throw heavy power shots. A wide winging right, followed by a wide winging left hook usually leaves a gap. A gap that can be filled by an opponents straighter more focused strike, like a straight right hand, right down the middle.
You can have gaps when you are disengaging. You step back without any defensive movement like changing angle or throwing a clearing technique. A clearing technique fills the gap of time necessary to get out of range.
One of my favorite fighters of all time is Benny “The Jet” Urqudez. If you watch his fights, his kicks and punches just flowed, one right after the other, without any chance for an opponent to get a clean shot in. Why? No gaps!
COMING SOON PART 2 Number 3 and 4 of Four Mistakes Even Pro Fighters Make in the Ring