We have all heard the age-old adage that basics win fights. So too, do they win football games and wrestling matches. Not just basics in strategy but more importantly, mechanics in execution.
For instance, my gym is in a rough part of town by design because that is where I feel the discipline and positive effects of boxing and MMA could best be utilized. As a byproduct of this we have our regular share of would be tough guys who swear that they have trained before. Class one typically goes like this:
Student: “Yeah I used to box, or I fought but it was underground.”
Me: Really? “Ok let’s see your stance.”
Fighter proceeds to stand strong side forward, to which I ask:”Are you left-handed?” Typical responses vary from: “Oh I’m ambidextrous,” to “I just fight southpaw.”
Now, as a matter of human evolution it will always feel natural to place your strongest weapon between yourself and danger, but in the context of fighting this response is useless. The jab is an insidious crafty little individual and once it can sneak past your frontline defenses you are rendered helpless. I do teach lead switching and shifting but it is only after the individual has developed competence with the front hand.
The importance of solid stance, mechanics and basics cannot be overstated as is true for kinetic link rotation in the rear foot and left hook and a good guard position is invaluable. Once mastered, these mechanics and principles can be extrapolated to every other movement and are beneficial in linking new disciplines. One must simply then find the common denominators.
Posture is a rarely talked about subject in combat sports, but it is one of the most critical elements for success. Leaning too forward or backward in boxing results in sluggish footwork and bad weight distribution and leaves one vulnerable. In MMA or wrestling fatigue will lead to poor posture and has three inevitable outcomes, getting sprawled on and flattened, snapped down from the front, or guillotined because a fighter left his neck hanging rather than tight up into the armpit. In grappling competition as well, leaning too far forward usually ends up with hands on the mat or naptime via triangle choke submission.
So why do we rarely hear the term “posture” used in the gym?
Often it is because bad habits are hard to break and too many coaches are “pleasers” who are willing to let an individual get away with it, as long as they’re paying dues. Other times the lack of standardized curriculum in MMA leads to less than qualified individuals passing on what habits they themselves possess. Also, ego sometimes plays a part as well when individuals, especially guys who are already competing and full of pride, are too embarrassed to attend beginner class. This is sadly flawed thinking as these are the very things any aspiring martial artist should be practicing daily along the path of their martial journey.
Good posture, along with its bed-fellows mechanics and sound basics will lead to greater individual success down the road than any set of the latest fancy techniques. Practice them daily and watch your growth skyrocket.