Article:    Now I’m here, now I’m not.

Lots of the stuff I learnt in my Karate days often now seems relevant when watching people train. Though the Karate had lots of downsides it was a great learning experience. Let’s look at stance. Karate has more of a fixed way of looking at stance. It’s not bad but it leads to rigidity. Boxing and JKD have a more fluid approach though basically a similar thing. Looking at the box made by your feet changing the weight distribution changes the stance totally.  Front stance ,back stance and cat stance are just a weight change and maybe a little foot drag apart.  Using this structure you can hit with the hands in the front stance like boxing and then when you’re opponent comes to hit you back just sit back with the weight on the back leg and stop kick him with your lead leg. This principle is the same in Karate or Thai boxing.

Watching an Instructor friend spar the other day his experience was obvious. He did little but stop kick his opponent. The other guy was trying everything but badly needed coaching to make him more thoughtful and more strategic. My friend Matt had great alignment with his body focused behind his lead leg. In Karate they’d call it a cat stance but in Thai you just post on the back leg and let them come in. When the stop kick worked well he followed up with another kick or stepped forwards (into front stance) and used his hands before retreating to his back stance again and repeating the same formula. His opponent a good level Black belt fighter was too square. Anything coming could be seen more easily coming as it did from the corners and intersected with the centre line foot jab. If you do this low to the shin or thigh and then to the stomach / hip or face it’s very hard to handle. In many ways it’s pure JKD. Controlling the centre line. Using the closest tool to the closest target. Then moving in to jam with a raised leg if you aren’t fast enough.

Many inexperienced fighters want to do lots and get big rewards. In the process they take big risks and get chipped away at by the experienced guy. To improve your fighting just being aware how much distance you can create WITHIN your stance without moving is a good place to start. It’s classic ‘do less and be more’. Obviously, sometimes you’ve got to move your whole position backwards or forwards but the principle still endures. Once you’ve got this down also concentrate on alignment so that your body is focused behind the tool you are using whether jab or foot jab. Have the foot aimed at his centre. When that’s working you can throw in the big guns but you have to set your opponent up. Just swinging away is like the lottery. Sometimes you win big but most times you lose. The best way to work this is slow sparring concentrating on just this working from the front of your stance when boxing to the back stance to either crush or foot jab/ stop kick. It’s a case of now I’m here and then now I’m not. Just playing the distance inherent in your stance will pay dividends. Once he’s all over the place from your foot jab then you can play what games you like. His confidence is shot. Good sparring.