I’m going to start this article saying this is an opinion piece but one that I’m sure most will agree on. It is becoming more frequent for me to see main headliners and prelim fights start out optimistically with great form, logical movements and reflections of the style they have immersed themselves in. Though it doesn’t last long. After the first few minutes (sometimes longer, sometimes shorter) it goes from different fighting styles to street brawling. With wild punches, things I guess to be described as flying kicks, useless knee strikes and what seems to be jumping high fives to the air in front of their opponent.
Now before I start getting swamped with comments how I am being unfair and the heat of the moment gets to a person and they lose a little tact while fighting, I HEAR YOU. I was there in my life and know exactly what happens especially when facing an equal or greater opponent. The adrenaline kicks in, you may over analyze or try to preempt the next move and to compensate you lose a little grace. This is no call though for throwing almost everything you learn right out the window when things are heating up and it matters most.
Some fighters may pop in mind when you think about this topic. For myself, Leonard Garcia stands out in my mind recently with his bout with the Korean Zombie. I’m not saying it wasn’t a great fight, but Garcia himself said that when he starts getting into it he starts “a slugfest” and loses his technique. Though this can be very fun to watch and I agree that it’s great entertainment but that is not the fighting he should be doing with experience in Jiu Jitsu.
That entire fight he wanted to play a striking game it seemed. There were many opportunities in which he had take-downs staring him down in the face and was either unaware, too flustered or didn’t want to go to the ground.
You can see here (right) of a blatantly obvious take-down opportunity for Garcia that went right on by him. I mean he ducked the kick, which is nice, but with the open leg being right in front of his face and all Jung’s balance on it, that should be a fighters instinctual reaction moment to go for the take-down. Especially for one trained in Jiu Jitsu this almost like giving them the submission. One of the main focuses of the style is manipulation and getting your opponent off balance and to the ground.If you have a style you are strong at why not take full advantage of the opportunities presented? Almost makes you wonder how much of certain styles do some of these fighters actually learn, since we see how much of the style they actually implement.
Another scene here you see a punch thrown in the ring versus a random scrap from a couple kids. The punching look familiar? Drop the head ridiculously low, throw a random fist out there hoping to make contact? Now some can argue that for boxing you duck your head in to stay protected as you punch, especially jab, but not this much. I’m hoping Garcia and other fighters will realize and hone their game a little more because I know that flying knee did not feel good. But, that’s exactly what you’ll get when you are going against an opponent that can end up reading your style.
Now I’m not trying to sit here and bash on Garcia and totally discern that he is nothing but a brawler. In that fight there are several things I can comment on Jung’s techniques as well (mainly his hands). I’m just using this fight as a prime example of what I’m trying to get across. When fights and competitions between martial artists were actually of artists in their fighting style are dwindling away. The substitution of brawling when the panic sets in is becoming increasingly annoying to watch. Leaves myself yelling at the T.V. for obviously no apparent reason since nothing seems to have changed in their fighting technique since their last fight. I’ll grant Garcia this; he did hold on to technique much longer in this fight and stayed level headed for a longer portion of the fight that I’ve seen from him. Though unless he can get his “slugging” instinct under control, he and quite a few other fighters are going to end up on the short end of their fights against opponents of skill.