Punches in bunches

We recently had a black belt test at my school. During the sparring matches I worked one of the corners; water between rounds and blood cleanup. Right up close to the action I noticed some differences between the students who were testing and the instructors they fought. The main difference was in how they treated combinations.

In kickboxing a combination is 2 or more techniques thrown as a set. Typically these are 4 counts where 2 punches and 2 kicks are thown. There are a bunch of different 4 counts and every school probably numbers them differently.  There are other kinds of combinations too which don’t have as many kicks as punches and vice versa. You alao don’t have to employ only 4 techniques. One of my instructors used to say his intent was to punch me 9 times for every punch I landed on him.

We all know these combinations and train them via pad drills relentlessly. So what was the difference between the combinations of the student’s and the instructors? It wasn’t speed or power, the instructors may be experienced, but they were also much older and hopefully I won’t offend them by saying they were a bit slower. The difference was in how they thew the combination.

The students would generally start the combination and if the first technique didn’t land they would stop to decide what to do next. The instructors, however would fire the entire combination regardless of the success of the opening kick or punch. It is as if the combination was a single technique to be thrown and the individual movements just contributed to the whole. This had the effect that the instructors were able to overwhelm the students frequently during the rounds. Maybe the first punch didn’t land, but who cares if the next 3 do.

This is not a knock against the students for they are bad-ass and I would fear for the safety of anyone they were up against. They are experienced full contact fighters, but so are their instructors.

The moral I guess is to throw the whole combination, whether you are fighting hand to hand or with firearms. Don’t shoot the bad guy once and see how it worked out. My Glock has a big magazine. Most people will find it hard to deal with a sustained volley of punches, kicks, and 9mm projectiles. Under significant stress I already know I will put 4 rounds into a guy before I even stop to think about the next move. Hmmm 4 rounds, Kickboxing 4 counts, it’s probably just a coincidence.

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