Tactically Speaking: Simplicity “Zen”


I know this is an older video with a lot of internet exposure, but it’s definitely worth revisiting if you have seen it before – or view it for the first time for newbies.  I call this ‘Simplicity Zen‘ because all the things the defender does right in this situation are K.I.S.S. (Keep It Seriously Simple – yes there are other versions).  Simple footwork, simple strikes, simple tactical choices and most important, simple commitment to his DECISIONS and ACTIONS (OODA Loop).  It isn’t the artistic Zen perfection that many aspire to, but I think its as close to ‘perfect’ as a human being is going to get when the fit hits the shan.

Here’s 6 things I think he did very well:

  1. The defender constantly moves so his attackers can’t maneuver to surround him.
  2. He NEVER over extends his strikes or ‘reaches’ for the attackers.  He always steps into, or waits for them to step into, his ideal range.
  3. He uses simple, quick, committed motions (strikes and footwork).
  4. When he strikes either he continues to move or he moves his attackers – he never just stands and hits.
  5. He never overcommits w/one attacker, allowing himself to be ‘tied up’ with one while the rest flank him.
  6. HE CONTROLS THE CENTERLINE!  The majority of his strikes are jab/cross combos that go straight down the pipe – not to mention that his hands fill the centerline as well – protecting him from straight strikes and forcing the attackers to use circular/looping strikes to get around his hands/guard.  These are slower strikes and easier to see coming.

This is not a critique of his technique, but his tactics.  Obviously the defender had some skill as a boxer, but even if his technique had been lacking, his tactical choices were more critical to his survival than the one factor of technical skill.

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3 thoughts on “Tactically Speaking: Simplicity “Zen”

  1. This vid makes me wonder if practicing the “arnis flurry” after every block/defense is a good training practice. Perhaps a block/ONE-TWO! Is more realistic?

  2. This guys success with the ‘stick and move’ approach to multiple opponents supports your idea Tom. If you visit the “MCMAP – and we’re not talking fast food” article, during the “Last of the Mohicans” exercise the MMA guys do the opposite this defender. They spend too much time trying to ‘finish’ one guy before they go on to the next. Why? They conditioned themselves to deal with one (unarmed) opponent at a time AND they were conditioned for sport rounds/time – quick, decisive, and aggressive resolution to ‘field’ engagements means there are no rounds. I have a lot of respect for MMA athletes, but even they say in the video what an eye opener the experience was.

    In this video the defender does ‘just enough’ damage to any one individual to stop the attack and then MOVES.

    I don’t know if the “arnis flurry” is a waste of time per se, but I do think this is testimony to training tactically instead of by rote. If you just train to do a technique so that you do the technique… well then that’s what you will do. It’s the good old OODA loop vs. tech training.

  3. Looks like you are an expert in this field, Great articles and keep up the great work, my friend recommended me your blog.

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