Inside and Outside Fighters

Martial arts, like all areas of human endeavor, has specialized vocabulary that helps practitioners and observers alike understand the mechanics and strategies that are at play. This vocabulary, unfortunately, is sometimes used simply to keep outsiders out and keep insiders puffed up about their superior knowledge.

Luckily, the terms “inside” and “outside” fighter are pretty simple. An inside fighter is someone who likes to get in close and do things like clinch, grapple, throw, and/or strike while being nose to nose with their partner. An outside fighter is someone who likes to move and strike (and maybe sweep) from a distance.

The terms are simple to understand but for martial artists, the question of what to do with these words is less obvious. I think first, it is important to understand your preferences regarding being inside or outside, if you have any. Do you like to play inside or outside? Second, I think it’s relevant to notice your physical stature compared to your opponent. Are you taller or shorter than your partner?

Given preference and reach, you can start to formulate a plan. If you love being outside and are taller, then it’s a win/win. Stay away and jab all day. If you’re shorter and dream of knees and elbows, it’s easy peasy. Get in close and stay close.

As with most things in MDP, it would be to our advantage to have some capacity to both inside and outside fight, and yet we have to be realistic in our assessment of our preferences and physicality as well as realistic in our assessment of our partner. If you don’t have any idea if you like being inside or outside, start with your height. If you’re taller than most folks, try being an outside fighter. If you’re shorter than most folks, try being an inside fighter. You can adjust and change as you gain experience.

With all this in mind, this month for the all system advanced class, we focused on outside fighting. First, we drilled footwork. If you want to stay on the outside, you’ve got to know how to keep moving. Second, we worked on striking while staying mobile. If you get to preoccupied with throwing power shots, your feet become tree roots, and it’s hard to stay an outside fighter. Third, we drilled a couple ideas from boxing about what to do if your partner does get inside. Even though you may know your preference and your physicality, it is important to train for those moments when things go wrong – when the inside fighter breeches your defenses and gets in close.

Kid’s Tournament: Grappling & Standing Up

In this post on the grappling rules of the kid’s tournament, we’re going to talk about when students can stand up on their feet, and when they can’t. Students will be asked, before the match begins, if they want to start from standing or sitting. If they both choose to start from standing, so it shall be. If one or both choose to start from sitting, then they will start the match from kneeling. That part is pretty simple but there is one additional hitch. If the students chose to start from sitting and at some point during the match, both students stand up, then the judge will stop the match and reset them back to sitting. If one of them stands up, usually to pass guard, that’s fine – the match will keep going. If the students chose to start from standing then the rules are pretty simple: the match keeps going if one or both of them stand up at any time during the match.

Kid’s Tournament

IMG_0196Our annual Fall Kid’s tournament is just around the corner – Saturday October 22nd.  If your kids are thinking about signing up, here is some advice for success:
  • Get to class!  Consistent attendance is the best prep there is.
  • If your school offers specialty classes like sparring, grappling or forms classes, make sure you go to those so you can sharpen your tournament specific skills.
  • If you are planning on doing forms, small steady doses of practice are the most useful.  Shoot for doing your form outside of class 2 times a day, 3 days a week.  If it is hard to find space to do your form, come to class 10 minutes early and use that time to practice.
  • If you are planning on sparring, get a mouthpiece and if appropriate, an athletic cup.
We’re excited, as always, for this awesome event!  If you have friends that train in other styles, they are welcome to participate as well!  Signup is located under the events tab.

Sifu Shanti Webley

Congratulations to Shanti Webley for earning the title of Sifu on August 31. Sifu Webley has been the Head Instructor of 18th Street Academy of Martial Arts in Oakland, CA. Visit his website for more info. Sifu Webley has worked long and hard on honing the necessary skills required to represent the title of Sifu within the Mo Duk Pai system. Nice job!