Wednesday, December 16, 2015
Punch Skills in Martial Arts
There is a saying that anything can happen in sports. This past weekend, Conor McGregor stopped Jose Aldo shortly after the starting bell of round 1. We also saw Luke Rockhold stop Chris Weidman. Both fights ended by knockouts. What I starting to see in MMA is that the better punchers are dominating. Many have the idea that MMA is a grappling based sport. The better wrestler determines the outcome. What we've seen lately is that a fighter with good boxing and some understanding of grappling is deadly. Going back to the Rousey and Holm fight, we know that Rousey is the better pure grappler. In looking at the McGregor and Aldo Fight, we know that Aldo was a world champ in BJJ. We know that Weidman is a more accomplished wrestler than Rockhold. In all three situations, The better punchers seemed to prevail. In many instances the the better grappler/wreslter isn't dominating. On paper Jon Jones is not a better wrestler than Cormeir. Gustafason is not a better wrestler than Jones (took Jones down). Anderson Sila took Dan Henderson down (Dan is an Olympian). GSP took several NCAA wrestlers down. In the striking department, in many cases the fighters mentioned were dominate in their punching and kicking skills, with boxing being the most important attribute in the striking department. Boxing skills include, timing, range control, footwork, accuracy. Those who have experience with the sweet science are even more dangerous because punching is used more than and other weapon. In the 80s during the American Kickboxing explosion, Karate tournament fighters (light contact) entered the ring for full contact. Those who developed better boxing techniques seem to do better. So, as difficult as the concept of hitting somebody with the hands sounds easy, it seems that this is one of the hardest abilities to master. Of course there are others things to factor in (i.e. genetic disposition to taking punishment), but it seems that those who improve their boxing do better when other things (i.e. kicking, grappling) are close. Like mentioned before, in MMA we see kick boxers (like Donald Cerrone) take down wrestlers, we see grapplers head kick KO kick boxers (Gabriel Conzales kicking Crocop for a KO), etc., which means that MMA is mixing of martial arts techniques and fighters have to be multi-dimensional. And looking at the recent examples mentioned earlier, it is the hands that was the determining factor in the outcome. If you can out kick or wrestler a better boxer then you have to rely on your hands. If that opponent is better in that department and you have nothing else to rely on, you are going to have a rough day.