Monday, January 9, 2017

How to beat a more skilled opponent in self defense

While many self defense instructors give their students instructions on how to beat the average attacker in the streets, you may on rare occasion run into an attacker who is more skilled than you. First of all, i would like to dispel the myth that a trained fighter would not want to fight you. Just look in the news and you'll see reports of UFC fighters beating their own spouses. You will find cases where martial artists have used their training to bully and intimidate other people such as in this video. Therefore someone who is more skilled than you has a reason to bully you especially when that person is misusing his or her skills for evil. I won't avoid the subject and rationalize it like others have by saying "just run away..." or "just don't get into a fight..." because those aren't effective self defense solutions when you are forced to respond to an attacking and arrogant boxer. Instead, i provide you with some principles and guidelines in surviving against an attacker who is better trained than you are.

The problem with calling someone a "skilled" fighter is that it's too vague of a term to be defined accurately. What criteria are we using to define skill? What exactly is a skill? According to the dictionary's definition, it's the ability to do something well. In the fighting context, skill is a very broad term. Someone could be skilled in striking quickly at close range but do poorly when attacking long range. Another person could be skilled in keeping distance with kicks but less skilled than someone else who excels at breaking through defenses. Someone could be great at packing power in their punches but lack proper timing and speed. Can someone be highly skilled in absolutely every aspect of fighting? No! Why? Because it would take too much time and energy to devote yourself to fighting with weapons, hand to hand combat, awareness, balance, speed, strength, grappling, groundfighting, timing, striking, kicking, evading, the list goes on at the uttermost level. Skilled does not equal invincible.

Let's assume that you've had some experience in hand to hand combat and face someone who is a better striker than you while the fight lasts longer than usual. You keep getting hit no matter what kinds of attacks you execute. How do you fight someone who is more skilled than you in that area? I give a two-fold response.

1) Avoid your opponent's strengths and exploit weaknesses - I'll take the infamous fight between Ronda Rousey vs. Holly Holm. If you followed Ronda's career, notice how she utterly dominated her opponents in close quarters combat. When she faced Holly Holm, she faced a formidable opponent. Why is that? Holly Holm attacked her from a long range. What led to Ronda's defeat? She couldn't adapt. This is a perfect example of where Ronda was skilled at close range fighting but Holly Holm had superior skill at long range attacks. Now you may object and say "well that's sport fighting, not self defense.." but that's besides the point. You apply the same principles in self defense. If your opponent is better than you at close range, you go long range. If your opponent strikes high, you strike low. If your opponent is stronger, you yield to his or her force and use it against him or her. If your opponent is more skilled than you in hand to hand combat, you use weapons. You may even choose to attack from the shadows. If your opponent is impatient, be patient and make him or her get frustrated. If your opponent gets angry too easily, anger him or her. By exploiting your opponent's weaknesses, he or she is bound to make a costly mistake.

2) Recognize patterns and break them - How do you beat a more experienced and skilled attacker? You go against your training. You learn to break patterns and use improper techniques when the time is right. Before you say "are you crazy?!? That's ridiculous!", bear with me. I've read an excellent article on beating a highly skilled opponent using anti-technique and looking for patterns in fighting (see link below.) After pondering this concept, it makes sense. When facing a more skilled opponent in striking, look for patterns and break them. If you were taught to punch in a specific structured and disciplined manner, you use an awkward structure of attack to deceive or confuse your opponent as it hits him or her. If your opponent has a habit of counter-attacking your attacks, you fake a punch then move to the side to evade the counter-attack and deliver a kick to the groin. If your opponent expects you to do that because you've been conditioning him or her to see a pattern in your moves, you change the pattern again then strike from a different angle and strategy.

Why does this work? In psychology, our minds tend to see patterns in random data. That's just the way we humans work. When we encounter something random that goes against our perceptions and beliefs, we are thrown off guard. Think about it. If someone spends countless hours practicing proper techniques in drills and sparring against opponents using the same or similar structure, do you think he or she would be prepared to attack someone who strikes with extraordinary form? I highly doubt it.

Bruce Lee explained this concept exceptionally well "empty your put water in a cup, it becomes the put it into a bottle, it becomes the put it into a water can flow or it can water my friend.." If you always confine yourself to rigid techniques and structure, your movements along with your thinking become mechanical. Liberate yourself from styles and techniques. Become like water. Be fluid and rigid when the time is right. Do the unexpected and adapt to your opponent's movements. Become one with chaos and order.

In conclusion, i leave you to ponder on these principles in your training. If you enjoyed this post, subscribe to my blog for updates, more advice, and exclusive content in the near future. I'm proud and excited to offer a FREE sample chapter of my E-book "Jeet Kune Do: How to build your own fighting system for self defense!" It's essentially a step-by-step guide on how to make your own self defense system suited to fit your own needs using Jeet Kune Do. If you would love to receive your FREE chapter of my e-book, click on the link below and share a post via. social media then it's yours for FREE! Be sure to also fill out the survey on the right and provide feedback on my blog. Leave questions, comments, and suggestions below.

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