Why professional fighters do not seem to use too many parries and blocks?
Before starting, a few premises:
- After a certain level, every fighter has his own methods (preferred techniques, etc., read A 6DKF for each one) and his tactics are children of his psychophysical attitudes, training and reasoned choices
- It is not true that parries and blocks (read ) are totally refused by professionals, in a lot of cases they are simply harder to see for a novice (too small and rapid motions)
Said this let’s see some of the most relevant reasons that can make a fighter (not necessarily just from the ring / cage) to limit the use of the classical parries and blocks:
- Sometimes defense is too passive – Focusing too much on defense can be a serious mistake against some types of opponents (too strong ones, etc.); under no circumstances should we let our adversary establish the time, space, direction and action of the struggle
- To block slow down the flow – Every time we block (or slow down) the flow of combat, the more technical opponent gain an advantage against a more “physical” fighter (and vice versa)
- In any case, parry implies, however, to suffer a blow – Some types of parries / blocks, are almost ineffective against powerful, conditioned and very experienced opponents (eg. a shin kick can be devastating against a weak part of the body)
- The opponent’s attack is an opportunity to counterattack – In most cases it is better to exploit the openings that offer the enemy attacks, perhaps subduing slight damage (in a conditioned area) rather than opting for a safer but less effective option; the more the adversary is expert and the less opportunity we have to penetrate his guard (every opportunity should not be wasted)
- Sometimes to parry / block is too slow – With the same skill level, the choice of the fastest / most versatile technique can make the difference between victory and defeat; in most cases, the classical parries and blocks are much slower and inefficient than dodging, channeling or being hit in a controlled manner
- Choosing the defensive tactic is equivalent to optimizing our resources – The more we alter our tactics of struggle in function of the opponent’s choices, the more energy we consume and the greater areas of our body we expose (drop the guard, useless movements, etc.)
Why study parries and blocks if they seem to be not so effective?
The question is legitimate but the learning of blocks and parries remains a forced passage. These are the reasons:
- They are an important part of our defensive system (even if they are “imperfect” often they represents the last strenuous defense between us and the defeat)
- They work effectively in a lot of situations, professionals use them, it is simply a matter of learning to understand when implementing them
- Martial arts are skills born from a path, not from its end, a combat system is complete and effective only if it has no gaps
A note by Master Kongling – Knowledge is part of understanding, it is wrong to study only what we prefer, what we succeed on or what is more important.
How professional condition their bodies?
Educate the body to resist powerful blows (thrown by professionals of the struggle) is a matter of faculties built in years of serious:
- Training – There are things that cannot be taught or specifically trained, a muscular memory (read The muscle memory) forged in years of similar (not equal, read Same exercises, different execution) movements cannot be substituted by anything
- Conditioning – Being hit millions of times in the same places leads to a level of physical resistance that novices can not even imagine but that for experienced practitioners is purely the norm (read Conditioning check for the impact)
- Sparring – The biggest part of the fighting knowledge is purely learned during dynamic situations of combat and it is a kind of personal knowledge that no one can transmit with words or images; this is something that is over the concept of technique (read The meaning of sparring fighting in martial arts)
A note by Master Kongling – For example, if it is true that breakfalls (read Everything you should know about breakfalls) can be taught, at the same time it is true that it would be impossible to consciously teach each part of our body how to perfectly react to a falling (read The fundamental concepts of the fallings): how to change their states (read 6DKF’s interactions: from the strong blow to the light touch), how to reach the best possible performance without being victims of a violent impact with the ground (etc.).
A few conclusive thoughts:
- Often what professionals do in combat may appear wrong, imprecise or even sloppy to the novices but it is not, they are over the techniques, over the styles, they express their personal Kung Fu
- When a professional face another professional of the same combat system, cannot use techniques and tactics that his opponent already knows, he has to use his personal experience
- In addition to this, very trivially, it should not be forgotten that even the greatest fighter makes mistakes (read Study an opponent to use his errors and Measure ourselves with errors)
- Personal defense: parry the first attack – Tips on how to defend from an aggressor in a real context
- MMA vs Tai Chi 10 seconds knock out: an explanation – How an MMA fighter has so easily beaten a Tai Chi “master”
- A special thanks go to one of our subscribers (counterstrike22) that with a free donation has requested this article (if you want to ask for specific articles read Learn Kung Fu online: request a specific article)
Reply in the comments and share your experience:
- How do you deal with the opponent’s offensive?
Author: Master Kongling
Founder of 6 Dragons Kung Fu.