Newton’s Three Laws of FightingFiled Under: Instruction, Rantings
Let me formally introduce you to a most righteous dude, Sir Isaac Newton. You may think of Sir Newton as the fellow who spent a lot of time chilling under apple trees pondering the nature of gravity, the inventor of calculus*, or a high-level enlightenment philosopher.
What you didn’t know, is that he was into mixed martial arts in the early days – he had Tapout bumper stickers on his carriages before it was cliche. In consequence of his love for MMA, Newton postulated three fundamental laws of fighting, which his later works – laws of physics and thermodynamics – were built from.
(Above, Newton is chilling with “the Iceman” Chuck Liddell; insiders state that Newton’s law of cooling played a large part in Chuck’s nickname.)
#1 Law of Inertia
A fighter in motion tends to stay in motion and a fighter at rest tends to get knocked out.
This law tells us to always be moving, cutting angles, circling. It also hints at the fact that the more aggressive initiator is generally the winner in exchanges; it is easier and faster to act than to react.
When you stay up on your toes, keeping good head movement and shifting your guard hands slightly, you’re ready for anything. Starting from a dead standstill takes extra energy – when you’re dancing, you’re nimble. Much easier to adapt while you’re moving; also, you’re harder to hit.
“Every object in a state of uniform motion tends to remain in that state of motion unless an external force is applied to it. When a fighter is in a state of perpetual motion, he can seamlessly attack and move. Once he sits upon his heels, it takes energy to re-start the motion and overcome this sloth – such a fighter is likely to get KTFO’d.” – Newton
#2 Law of Power
Force = Mass x Acceleration
To hit hard and knock opponents out, you need to know how the classic equation F=MA. While it may have been murder in Physics class, it will be your salvation in the ring.
The most straightforward observation from this law is that bigger is better; or rather, heavier (mass-ive) is better. Bigger fighters hit harder. It behooves you to be at the top of your weight class than the bottom. You create more force just by having more mass.
The second observation is two-fold and relates to the generation of power punches and how you should train to create power punches. You want to have your body geometry down, so you can put as much “back-up mass” into punches and kicks. Many refer this as “getting your body behind your punches.” This helps out with the “mass” part of F=MA. For the acceleration part of the equation – you need to get that body mass up and moving… quick!
Please note the difference between velocity (speed) and acceleration. A distance runner might have a very fast top speed but it takes a while to achieve it; an Olympic sprinter can get to top speed in two breaths. The name of the game, when it comes to power generation, is acceleration.
Some things to check into if your interesting in developing that hard hitting power – plyometric training : jumping, medicine ball throws, sprint starts; its all about accelerating. Here are a couple of resources to get your started in that regard.
Beginner plyometric text:
Intermediate DVD+Book combo:
“Ladies and gentlemen – particularly the ladies – I will finally put to bed the debate if bigger is better. If one wants appropriate force, one needs to be massive. All fighters doth feel they know the root of force and power; I have only added structure and precision to their intuitive conjectures.” – Newton
# Law of Response
For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.
For many, it is a natural response to push back after you’ve been pushed. If you watch fighters on the cage, clinching, one will “discover” foot stomping and the other will follow suit thereafter. Fake low, get a response, go high – fakes/feints will get opponents to drop their guard and then you capitalize on their reaction.
No matter what you do, there is a response. Typically, as mentioned above, you will try a tactic/move and your opponent will attempt to neutralize it with a counter. It is uncommon to be able to get the first move, whether in striking or grappling. The first move is the set up to the next.
If you watched UFC 130, you saw Matt Hamill’s takedowns attempts get shut down repeatedly. On thing that may have made them more successful would be to set the takedown up with a striking combination first; BJ Penn’s book calls this striking for the takedown.
“It is useful to consider how one’s actions are creating reactions in others -in fighting and in life. If you become successful, you invariably will attract haters. As thou knoweth, haters are going to hate; but it is ours to perpetrate; fist to face in the third degree. ”
* The classical scientist P4P rankings list Leonardo Da Vinci as #1, Isaac “The Force” Newton as #2 and Gottfried Leibniz as a distant #24th. Please don’t even start with that “Leibniz was the true inventor of calculus” crap. Seriously.