Freestyle, whether it is the brute force of the UFC fighter, or the well guided darts of traditional karate, is a staple of martial arts training. A black belt is not a black belt, after all, unless he can defend himself using techniques of freestyle. Even in the MMA, a good base of classical karate freestyle goes a long way towards educating a fighter to basic ring concepts. That all said, I should caution the reader that one should have polished form if he wishes to make the following techniques work. I know many people do not prefer form training in these modern times, but form teaches control of the body, and of the mind, on an intimate level. And while the purpose of freestyle is to destroy somebody, the true art is found in control. The first thing one must understand is how to set up the fight. This is the structural postion one takes when facing another fighter. The idea is to understand and adjust the structure of the body so that one has max traction with the feet, proper angle of the leg and therefore pushing muscles, and the correct turn of the hip so that max weight can be moved with minimum effort. Another thing that should be done is to keep your eyes on your opponent. Simply, you are not going to be able to fight what you cannot face. Don’t look at the whole body, or generally focus the eyes, look at the eyes of your opponent and know that you are looking through the windows to a mans soul, and therefore will be able to see the moment of thought, if not the whole thought, and what the intended technique is going to be. Lift the arms and point them towards the opponents shoulders. Your opponent will have to go through your arms if he wishes to close with you, and that means he no longer has a straight line. If he goes around your arms, that gives you the straight line advantage. If you wish to make your attacker entirely predictable, spread the hands slightly and give him access, or tighten them slightly so he will have to go around. You may give up a slight advantage, but now you know exactly what he will do. Knowing what an opponent is going to do before he does it is the majority of the game. Balance the body so that he doesn’t know if you are going to attack right or left, or high or low. Turning the shoulders so he can’t predict which side you will come in on gives you a tremendous advantage. Not letting the opponent know which foot you are standing on, and which is free will stop him from knowing which foot you will kick him with. Now, admitted, the techniques and strategy I have presented here are suited to the gunfighter mode of touch tournaments. Still, whether you are facing Anderson Silva in the octagon, or the rival school in a friendly square off, or the gun wielding home invader, these techniques will hold true, and will open the door to further awareness. Whether you are battling in the octagon or on the mean streets, whether you are practicing a traditional karate method, like shotokan, or a more modern method like Kenpo, or even a rare version of Shaolin kung fu or internal Wudan, these tactics will train you to win the fight.
Al Case has dissected martial arts for 4O years. He has written for the magazines since 1981, is the originator of Matrixing Technology, and has written the ultimate work on making a punch that will knock out your opponent every single time.