Changing attacks and adaptingFiled Under: Instruction
If something doesn’t work, try something else
A lot of times fighters will excel at a handful of moves, perhaps even developing “signature” moves. While this is great, you need to make sure to be aware of the situation and never get stuck in your ways. For example, a competitor will start fighting and try to assert his/her plan A. If it works, great. Logically, if it doesn’t, they should switch to plan B or plan C. However, it’s common for people to just try asserting plan A again, only this time, doing it harder. Some people even do this socially – they tell a joke that flops and instead of dropping it and moving on, they become louder to compensate, repeat the punchline with extra gusto, or worse try to explain the joke, hoping it gets funnier.
Cut your losses and do something else. The real problem, in my mind, isn’t that the technique failed. That happens all the time. The error is the lack of awareness to shift from what’s not working and adapt. We all do it to some extent, so it’s good to be on guard against it. (If you can, tape your sparring sessions and review them with this in mind)
In boxing, it’s common strategy to work the body with strikes and then send some punches upstairs. The idea is that hurting the abs will drop the hands and open up opportunities to head punches. Even if the blows don’t land, often the hands will come down and create the opening. Same thing goes if you’re working attacks that aren’t going through – do the opposite of what you’re doing. If punches aren’t going well, try kicks. If punches and kicks aren’t doing the job, try grappling.
Within grappling, you’ll see a lot of yin/yang setups. A jujitsu player will attempt a sweep, but the opponent posts out his arm, stuffing the technique. Anticipating this, the grappler takes the posted arm into a shoulder or arm attack.
The Zen-like philosophy is that every time someone defends strongly in one area, they simultaneously become weak some where else. Strategies like punching for the takedown fall under this kind of thinking.
Here’s one vid that illustrates the concept pretty well within one specific technique. Attempted scissor sweep gets blocked and opens up a hip sweep.
It takes time and effort to develop a broad skillset, but it’ll pay off. The mental self awareness takes just as long. The days are gone in MMA where guys can only be good at one thing alone. There are probably too examples of how to switch up your attacks to enumerate – can you think of any? Let me know what you’re favorites are.