Changing Stance for Each Individual

Discussion in 'Standup Technique' started by SummerStriker, Dec 17, 2012.

  1. SummerStriker

    SummerStriker Black Belt

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    One of the difficult things about teaching self defense compared to participating in sports is that in sports, there can be some variation in strength, height, body composition and so on, but people are about the same size while in self defense you have to train for wildly varying sizes and levels of fitness.

    I'm 260 pounds, and I used to spar a college football player that danced around at 430 pounds, so even at my size I wasn't immune to the possibility of fighting a huge f-ing guy.

    The fact that you have to deal with people of different sizes means you need about 3 times as much material. You need stuff for when you are the same size, when you are bigger (because smaller guys that aren't afraid of your size are dangerous) and when you are smaller.

    Some things are easy to teach and easier to assign priority. The priority of learning techniques for one size person vs. another is taken care of by the fact that your class probably has the same spread as the normal population - so big people will learn more about fighting smaller people, but they will still get time to fight other big people.

    All through my TMA training, and definitely through my MMA training, even when the instructor was skilled enough to tailor his curriculum to the individual, the foundational structure always remained the same. Generally, martial arts instructors are convinced that the way they teach punches, kicks, and stances are the most optimal way they know and the way they teach to do them is the same for everyone, big or small. The differences between big and small people are in application (big people can counter kick while going straight back while small people counter kick by hopping to the angle, and so on).

    What I'm kind of mulling over in my head is the idea of changing the foundational stance and structure for small people vs. larger people. As a large person, I generally like my structure and believe in it.

    I stand with my feet a little over shoulder width apart, back toes just behind the front heel, with the back foot and knee pointed straight at the opponent, hands up in one guard or another, but lower than some people taught me.

    Because of my size and the fact that the striking is designed for small gloves and to facilitate kicking, I can hurt large people very badly with kickboxing style punches, by pivoting my hip mostly and my feet barely, without sitting into the punches.

    My rear foot is pointed straight towards the opponent because I do not need much room to build up kicking power. Room is my enemy because I don't have a damage problem. I have a speed problem. So I chamber a lot of kicks as front kicks. I bring my knee straight up on the muay thai round house and turn over at the end so much that I can throw it within a few inches of a wall. Bringing everything up straight makes me faster than I would be.

    On the other hand, people with lean body weights under 150 or so might benefit from a more traditional structure: knees bent a little more, base a little wider and the rear foot pointed out a little. The reason being that for a smaller person to hurt the more likely opponent - the large person - they need to generate a lot of force while speed isn't an issue for them (when dealing with comparative speed vs. reflexes). With the rear knee pointed out, round house kicks, both TKD and MT style, have time to accelerate more by swinging in from the outside. They can get more speed and more weight although the longer path causes them take a little longer to get to their target. By slowing up kicking combinations a little due to sitting into one's punches more, you buy a split second to assess the damage your punches have done before you commit to the kick (potentially getting snatched up) and you deliver stronger punches - which you need to do to hurt a bigger guy.

    If you read all that and have an opinion, thank you.

    I am not committed to this. I'm just thinking and mining ideas.
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2012
  2. SAAMAG

    SAAMAG San Antonio Applied Martial Arts Group

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    I think that one's ability to take punishment to vital areas is not proportional to a person's size per say. An elbow to the temple for example is an elbow to the temple. It hurts and does major damage regardless of one's size. A punch directly to the nose also does damage and hurts, not to mention it inhibits breathing and vision. Fat, muscular, skinny, and everything in between.

    I think there's an optimum method of stance depending on the system of fighting you want to engage in, and that stance will still vary slightly depending on the personal style someone brings to the system. This already happens fairly naturally IMO for people that NEED something different to make things work. Otherwise the foundational structures are there for a reason. Foundation. You're using the lessons of fighter's past to immediately apply an efficient way of doing things.
     
  3. SummerStriker

    SummerStriker Black Belt

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    I suppose I am trying to think for people here. Of course everyone learns to throw kicks hard from the outside and quick from the inside if the teacher wants to show both ways. If a student is motivated, they will figure out what works for them, and maybe a little coaching along the way can help.

    Thanks.
     
  4. barnowl

    barnowl Green Belt

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    AS Saamag say, after a certain poitn size stops mattering as much. Some were around 180 you start being able to generate knockouts on any sized opponent from any where and it just gets exponentially easier athe heavier you get.

    As to size based techniques for Self-defense training, I always opted to teach techniques that would work against an assumed larger opponent. The reason was simply that most of the time if it works on some one bigger it will work just as well on someone the same size or smaller.
     
  5. SummerStriker

    SummerStriker Black Belt

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    What do you think about punching styles?

    Wider base + sitting into your punches vs. kicking stance + pivoting only?

    If you are a small female defending herself from some fat ass in the Walmart parking lot, you need to generate some knock out power. If you are a big guy all ready, your usual attacker might be a group of smaller, younger men, and it is too your advantage to hit and kick quickly to keep them TFO.

    You could teach everyone to strike with power punches all the time I suppose.
     
  6. Sinister

    Sinister Doctor of Doom Staff Member Senior Moderator

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    Stances can and usually should be adjusted for people's styles and physiology, but height is one of the few things that is very rarely considered among Boxing instructors (well, good ones anyway). Forming a stance and style is about achieving the goal, if a guy has short arms, you give him a style (based from a stance) that will get him safely into optimal range. Then there's balance, some people's stances are ineffective for the purpose of balance, which would need to be adjusted.
     
  7. SummerStriker

    SummerStriker Black Belt

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    Thanks. That makes sense.
     
  8. half light

    half light White Belt

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    when it comes to stance , i think also experience play a very huge rule when it's time to fight,adrenaline can make you forget about all what you have learned and throw out of window! but training can mimimize the damage you would get with it comes to the reaction speed and awearness!
     
  9. Gavster

    Gavster Purple Belt

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    Usually in self defence the focus for leaner opponents that the strength is in avoiding damage and having better cardio. They can pick apart a bigger opponent by not taking their hits, if they drop their weight they lose their movement speed which is the great advantage. Gauging whether speed or strength will be effective like you say is very important.
    The foundation is usually taught the same in each discipline, it makes a huge difference. I'm used to my 4 years of Kickboxing and I know my balls are just way too open to a kick, it does irritate me. Its good that you're playing with your stance.
    I like stepping to the left before kicking someone to generate power. I find that's more effective than widening the arc.
     
  10. peanut66

    peanut66 Green Belt

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    my stance changes constantly during my sparring sessions , it varies on what i intend to do and what i think my opponent is intending to do ,

    if i plan on countering or throwing set motions , i am much more rooted and deep , this allows me to flow backwards and absorb or slide in and attack . if he attacks my lead leg alot , i square up my stance , which forces him to reach for my leg (putting him in my range )

    i used to go very lineal when i was planning spin kicks , but now i changed my footwork so that i can spin off of a square stance very easily (but an extra step is needed now )


    if you are adjusting your stance to perform different kicks you are doing something wrong , you should be able to kick with either leg from your fighting stance without adjusting , that is why its so important to have a stable base .

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=[YT]...ward ,, this is what to was trying to explain
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2012
  11. barnowl

    barnowl Green Belt

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    While I see some good advice for training fighters, I am also seeing the mind set biases of fighters to figure out how to stay in and beat down an opponent. A frequently missed or miss-applied aspect of self-defense is getting the hell out of Dodge. Fighter trainers tend to not think about it because they are focused, and rightly so for their purposes, of beating down the "opponent". TMA's and "Self -Defense" instructors tend to do the opposite by over focusing on the "this will let you run away" techniques with out being sure the a person can actually defend against an "assailant".

    As to teaching a punching only style for Self-defense, I would see nothing wrong with it. Easer to focus on critical skills, "simpler" to learn than kicking as almost everybody has tried it before. You would still need to teach and drill basic skills for breaking grabs and staying on your feet, because in most times were you would really need to defend your self, assailants will be try into grab you or knock you down.

    To go back to your example about the female in the parking lot, she does not need to knock the fat ass out, she does need to be able to rock him back on his heels so she can get the head start back in to walmart. The best way to do that is for her to develop solid applied punching skills and practice time aiming for targets that go squish. A body shot below the belt followed by a technical hook to the side of the head or neck does not have to supper powerful as long at it can connect cleanly and make the opening to run.

    ( I also recommended teaching how to punch with a loaded fist)
     
  12. SummerStriker

    SummerStriker Black Belt

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    So for self defense, small person vs. large person, which striking style do you think is a better bet and why?

    Punches that generate power mainly by pivoting from the waste, and that quickly combo into kicking

    - or -

    Punches from a deeper base where power is generated by sitting into the hits, but where there is often a lag between the last punch and the first kick in a 1-2-roundhouse kick combo.

    My instinct is that a small person who trained to strike kickboxing style well would be a handful for anyone, even a larger person, but logically if boxers find it necessary to sit into strikes just to fight people who are the same size as themselves, you would certainly want the strongest punching possible for fighting off a large person.
     
  13. Phlog

    Phlog Dad Belt

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    Size does matter, neck muscles are a large part of KO, so I'm told. Bigger person = bigger bones as well. Damage is proportionally more to a smaller individual than a large.

    Pain compliance isn't but then that's bullshit technique IMO. Small opponent IMO has to focus on not getting tagged by the leviathon, who can absorb a hit to land a killer blow; that and weak points: throat, eyes, temple etc.
     
  14. barnowl

    barnowl Green Belt

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    I know it sounds cheesy, but the one they will actually take the time to practice. You can give some the ultimate "5 fingers of death punch" put if they fail to actually practice trying to hit and be hit it is a useless skill.

    Unless I am working with someone that naturally wants to kick, like a former soccer player for instance, I would tend to stay focused more on arm based skills and the occasional very low stomp.. The reason for that is because often you will find your self on less than ideal kicking surfaces and possible in shoes you can't readily kick in (women in heels as an example).

    As I had point out to me once, the best technique to use is not always the strongest one for me do, but the worst one for the opponent to take. Instead of powering up for a strong punch, I think being a blt to get in cutting elbow to the face would be better as it is quicker, takes less over all power, makes a good identifying mark for the cops, and if you get a decent cut can produce an escape path as effectively as a knockout.
     
  15. SummerStriker

    SummerStriker Black Belt

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    Thanks for the reply barnowl and congrats on your greenbelt!

    I talked with one of my teachers about this the other day. He is a big believer in his modified kickboxing stance and thinks I should stick to it for all beginners.

    His reasoning is that it encourages you to be highly mobile. For smaller people not being hit, even and especially if that means getting out of range is important. A lot of new people who are small, and are taking martial arts, not because they want to fight but because they are afraid of fighting, do not have the killer instinct to hit someone very hard. The deeper the stance you give someone the more you encourage the idea of fight TO flight rather than fight OR flight. You get people hunkering down to throw bombs, when they won't really do it anyway, and just get themselves hurt. After a long period of time though, if they develop some skill, and you show them ways of hitting and kicking harder, they will naturally start applying it as they take a liking to it and because more interested in throwing those techniques in sparring.
     
  16. barnowl

    barnowl Green Belt

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    I complete agree with his reasoning. Won't comment directly on the stance as I have not seen it, but he has very solid points about folks with out the killer instinct. I had one MT student that just would not hit you. He was a solid BJJ competitor and while very competitive in most ways, total lacked any form of natural aggression when it came to striking. Since his real goal was MMA, spent most of the time teaching him how to move and close without getting his head knocked off.
     
  17. SummerStriker

    SummerStriker Black Belt

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    Got ya.

    Side note, while I'm shit at BJJ, I love it. Watching the early UFC fights where the grappler submits people without hitting them fulfills like every variation of the compassionate idea of fighting that I thought only Burmese monks or people on mountains in rural China could do (when I was a teenager), but it turns out you just have to get good at grappling and fighting. Amazing.
     

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