Combat: Tactics Vs. Strategy


The never ending debate over tactics seems to consume discussions between fans and professional combat sports athletes.  Keep your hands up, drop them to keep balance, defense versus speed versus power.  The technically perfect strike is also a topic of much discussion.  However, no matter what arguments one may have about technical skill, perfect form or the right stance for the right move at the right time, one simple fact remains true; Sound Strategy will always prevail.

Brazilian Jiujitsu is an excellent example of strategy in practice.  You could know how to execute the perfect arm bar or the perfect triangle to submit your opponent, however, all efforts leading up to the point of execution determine whether you will ever have your opportunity.  The key here is opportunity.  Timing determines opportunity and most definitely the ability to plan, and adapt your strategy as the environment around you changes will make you more able to gain victory over your opponent.  Even a technical slight can be forgiven if the strategy is effective enough to expose your opponents weaknesses.  Further to that, the ability to use strategy to lure your opponent into your perfect submission or knock out strike will be the largest determining factor in your ability to succeed.

Perfect form is invincible!  No, no it isn’t.  Perfect form with no planning or strategy is just a pretty pose.  You need to combine your skills into a sequence of unbeatable moves.  Dropping your hands is bad!  No not necessarily, if you deliberately drop your hands to lure your opponent in then you likely have a good chance at countering with a more devastating attack.  Don’t just sit there, strike!  Yeah well it may look cool when watching a fight but patience truly pays off.  Leading up to that perfect opportunity can be a quick and easy way to win a fight with minimal effort.  Letting your opponent burn themselves out by attacking and simply avoiding their attempts can set you up for a very powerful and effective reply to their attacks.

It’s imperative that you practice calming your mind while also channeling strength and aggression into a focused force against your opponent.  Learning to be comfortable with a heightened state of mind, alertness, anxiety and such can allow you to use the adrenaline to your benefit rather than allowing it to drive you into a panicked frenzy.

Don’t believe me?  Just take a look at some fights.  Some of the sloppiest most undereducated fighters have that sense of timing that allows them to deliver a decisive blow that ends a fight.

Finally, if you’re first attempt at an attack fails try again until you succeed!  Nope, not at all the best approach.  If you find your current strategy isn’t working or your tactic has failed you must adapt.  Always be ready to select from a number of responses to an opponents actions in the arena, octagon or ring.  Success will be within your reach if you allow yourself to be both an aggressive and calculating fighter.  Mindfulness beyond that of what you practice in the gym will enable you to capitalize on your strengths and likely render many of your weaknesses irrelevant during a fight.

Do you feel differently?  Feel free to share your experiences with us in the comments!

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Luca Rajabi
Luca has been passionate about martial arts and eastern philosophies since childhood. As an athlete, inventor and entrepreneur Luca founded SciFighting on the principal lessons learned from his life experience "fighting" to preserve his health and fitness. Although born with inherently poor and inconsistent health he pushed forward to learn as much as he could about the sciences of technology, medicine and mental health. Years of study, working with physicians and combined analysis finally began to bare fruit by his early twenties. Starting with Fencing, cross training and body building then moving to Boxing, Western Kickboxing, Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiujitsu, Eskrima and an eclectic assortment of self defense techniques. Luca's core philosophy is that to win a battle every fighter must balance their mental and physical health. Luca has said that "With well developed technique, conditioning and mental focus a sound strategy will most often win over brute strength alone." It is in this spirit that he passionately advocates for the "Science of Fighting".