Thursday, July 03, 2008

Layered Precision

It is possible to hit hard at lots of different ranges. The one-shot take out is rare, but it happens. When it happens, a lot of things have to come together in an instant.

Some strikes have a very specific range. Jack Dempsey described the natural power circle for a hook punch. The forearm extends off that line (increasing range) or flexes inside (decreasing) and the power bleeds away. Others are very versatile in range, or so it seems. Change the body alighnment of a jab and you get a "straight lead" which can be a very powerful, very long range strike. At very close range, the short jab can concuss handily with less than three inches of movement.

The thing is, though, that power isn't developed the same way for each of these ranges. To get brutal power in a short straight shot is a combination of structure and "bounce" (really hard to describe- and it sounds stupid, but let your body fall inside the skin and the skeleton bounce). The straight lead is structure and drop step. If you use the straight lead system of power generation, you get jack at super close range and not much at medium range.

Though the arm motion can look the same, power generation varies by range. This is why it is so hard to do serious damage with strikes in a real fight- you rarely are in complete control of the range. Clavicles and ribs can be broken fairly easily, but aren't broken often. In the same way, strikes to the brainstem (and the associated high-percentage areas) should be easy, but they don't happen very often.

Following this yet? To be a successful striker you need to put power in a specific place. That is much easier when the target holds still. The great strikers (I'm thinking sport, here) are not just putting the fist or foot in the right place when it is at the max on the power curve, they are also manipulating the opponent to be at the right place at the right time. personal precision plus the remote control precision on an opponent. That's cool.

The jujutsu solution, of course, is just to hold them in the right place.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Clavicles and ribs can be broken fairly easily, but aren't broken often. In the same way, strikes to the brainstem (and the associated high-percentage areas) should be easy, but they don't happen very often.

Isn't that more about targeting and if you aren't thinking "break clavicle" you won't except by accident?

MikeK

Rory said...

Possibly, Mike. The point I am trying to make here is that even if you intend to hit the clavicle and the threat moves in or out a few inches you won't have the power, even if the placement is correct. What got me thinking about the post was that a good strike can do incredible damage, but in fluid situations they (not tend, more like statistically significantly) don't do much damage unless the target is immobilized first.

TYhen I wanted to play with the fact that the really good strikers in fluid situations tended to be strategists as well as punchers. They controlled the opponent to make the strikes work.

Just an idea I'm playing with.

Rory

Anonymous said...

OK got ya and fully agree. I was shown control and/or immobilization while executing techniques by my current training partner. I was amazed at how something as simple as stepping on someones foot, locking their back their knee when putting on a lock, or driving a knee into the thigh as you deliver an elbow somewhere north of the shoulders worked.

I also think this is something that the BJJ crowd has been saying for quite a while.

Xin said...

So simple, but something so few people realise (myself included). It certainly explains the frustration I felt as a young(er) karateka being able to nail a focus pad perfectly but never being able to get quite the same result in sparring...