Monday, September 24, 2007

Getting Out of the Strike Zone

I teach my Jiu-jitsu classes out of a mixed martial arts school and one of the instructors has offered to give me extra training outside my classes. This is great for me since I don't always get to push myself very hard when I'm focused on teaching my students. We've started out my training with some boxing.

In my style of Jiu-jtsu (Can-ryu), we incorporate boxing punches, stances and blocks to some degree in our training, so boxing is not unfamiliar to me. My instructor, a former professional boxer, knows this and is working on my already well-established base.

In my private class on Sunday, we did some general sparring then focused on getting out of the strike zone after doing an attack. I've always taught this in my classes, but my instructor showed me that, against a trained boxer like himself, I need to get even further out of reach if I'm going straight back, or I should exit more on an angle. Otherwise, he can use his reach or his speed to immediately launch a counter-attack. We did drills whereby I would enter the strike zone, do a combination of punches, then back out of the strike zone quickly, usually departing with a jab. We also did another variation of this theory that had me exiting while circling behind my opponent.

This exercise is also useful in self-defense, my main interest in martial arts training. After doing these boxing drills, I incorporated the theory into one of my Jiu-jitsu classes. In our style of Jiu-jitsu we focus on aggressively attacking the attacker, making sure he or she is immobilized, then getting away, while ensuring there are no other threats. So the next time we did striking exercises (both boxing and open-handed strikes) on the heavy bags in my class, I had the students focus on doing a combination of strikes, ending with a jab or similar parting shot as they exit the strike zone back and on an angle. The only change I added, was to have my students look over their shoulders while exiting to, in theory, ensure there are no other attackers. Though if I noticed someone wasn't really looking while they backed out, I went and attacked them with a striking pad from behind to make my point. In competition boxing, of course, you wouldn't want to do this since you'd be taking your focus off your opponent.


Elias said...

That's one of the first principles of Krav Maga

I like your blog, I'm only just getting into Martial arts and i find this interesting, useful and informative ^^

Thanks :)

Lori O'Connell said...

Thank you very much! I have a lot of respect for Krav Maga. It shares many of the same principles as my style of Jiu-jitsu. Good luck with your training!