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Key Coaching
Working With A New Fighter On the Eve of His Next Fight


I showed up at Mister Clark’s Practical MMA gym to strange gazes cast my way by the Jiu Jitsu and MMA students as I did my line drills and hit the bag, having walked down a country road at sunset to help him with his boxers. Only one boxer had shown up, the lightweight with a fight on the near horizon which was the coming weekend.

It was Tuesday.

There is nothing a coach or trainer can introduce to a fighter’s skill set five days before a fight which he will be able to employ at fight time. Any such attempt is doomed to confuse him at best.

Any boxer coming out of an MMA, martial arts or kickboxing program will have two things:

-1. An inadequate jab

-2. Footwork retarded in a crucial way

These things must be addressed right away to be able to introduce any skill or improve the application of any skill. However, these improvements will not take hold for weeks. Therefore, the short-time trainer’s goal, as soon as he has let the fighter know that he has foundational technical problems, that once addressed will enhance his effectiveness greatly and that the corrective measures are simple and easily implemented by the fighter himself, is to assess what the fighter does well and impart a fight plan based on that strength. Secondarily one addresses one gross weakness and ask that the fighter correct it.

In this case, the fighter has an excellent shovel hook, a perfect Mexican style liver shot. This is his strength.

The fighter also threw wide, looping right hooks at the body. After complimenting him on his shovel hook I said, “Please, never throw that right hook again until you’ve got a guy dead on the ropes.” This basic subtraction of a poorly chosen weapon is a negative that can be addressed via negation, whereas his lead foot cross-stepping to the right will take time.

The foundational combination we worked on was:

[his jab is worse than useless]

-1. Feint a jab and slip his as you enter

-2. Right hand lead to the wind [he has a good right straight]

-3. Shovel hook to the liver

-2. Right hand to the face

-3. Left hook [thumb up Philly hook, which he did well] to the ear

We drilled this with mitts and belly shield and on the bag with my arm extended from the bag and fist at his face.

I finished with a clinic on the jab and movement against the bag for him to work on until I get into town at the end of the month, basically his post-fight review work, using his recent fight to imagine opponent behavior as he practices the 1, 1, 2, 1 on the bag, with an admonishment to always seeks to get behind the opponent, to not return to voluntary face off that it is his opponent’s job to keep him in front of him.

It is important to show some very basic tool he could acquire, noting how well it will improve his game and about how long it takes to learn, because there is a roughly 50% chance that his fight does not go the way he wants it, and since I would not be there after the fight, hopefully the echo of a plan for improvement would give him something to reach for if he ends up in a dark place.

Thought Crimes: Against the Goddess

Combat

http://jameslafond.blogspot.com/p/combat.html

Survival

http://jameslafond.blogspot.com/p/survival.html

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