IntroMost students think that sparring involves either attacking or blocking, but there is more to sparring than these two skills. Using just these two skills, it is difficult to defeat certain types of opponents, such aggressive fighters, fighters who can close the distance quickly, fighters who quickly hit and run, and fighters who like to clinch. Against these types of fighters, counterattacking is the best strategy.
The faster draw wins?Researchers at the University of Birmingham in England tested subjects in a type of "laboratory gunfight" to find out whether it is best to draw first in a gunfight or to react to the opponent drawing first. Instead of drawing guns, the subjects had to slap buttons. The study showed that the second person to draw moves faster—by an average of 21 milliseconds. This small difference is too slim to make a significant difference; however, it shows that there is no significant speed disadvantage to counterattacking. A counterattack may reach its target at the same time as the initial attack. It appears that two different brain processes govern action and reaction, a theory supported by the fact that some Parkinson's patients find it easier to catch a ball than to pick one up.
Why counter-attackers tend to win
- In an attack, the attacker does not know what the opponent will do in reaction to the attack; whereas, the counter attacker knows exactly what the attacker is doing.
- Attackers attack where they think the target will be after the opponent reacts to the attack; whereas, the counter attacker attacks where the target is at the moment of the attack.
- Counter attackers’ opponents are always trying to think of another attack that may work against them, so, in a way, the opponents are always on the defense.
- Counterattacking uses less energy than attacking so counter attackers do not expend much energy as attackers. Attackers have to close the gap, while counter attackers just wait for the attacker to get in range of their counterattack.
- Since attacking requires planning, attackers are always thinking about their next attack, which slows them down. On the other hand, counter attackers relax, stay alert, and react to the opponent's attack with instinct rather than thought, so their responses are quick.
- Attackers have a plan of attack when they attack, so each attack has a beginning and an end. The power and kiai of the attack are on the ending of the technique. If things do not go according to plan, the planned end never arrives, and neither does the power. Since a counter attacker has no set response, there is no planned end to the counterattack, so the finishing technique along with the power and kiai may come at any time.
Using counterattacksIt is unavoidable not to have your defenses weaken when attacking. Therefore, it is best to take advantage of attacks and use counterattacks.
- Always stay one step ahead of your opponent.
- Know your distance and timing.
- Don’t wait for your opponent to attack. Move forward, forcing your opponent to attack so you will have the opportunity to counterattack.
- Don’t block and then retreat and counterattack; block and counterattack immediately or your timing will not be right.
- Beginning and intermediate competitors are most likely to score with single direct attacks. Whereas, advanced competitors stand the best chance of scoring with counterattacks.
- In a close match, an attacking fighter is more likely to win that a counterattacking fighter unless the counter attacker can score a knockout.
- Counterattacking fighters should capitalize on the use of their front leg to increase their chances of scoring.
Examples of counterattacks
- Against an aggressive opponent that chargers into attacks, use footwork to evade the attack, or face the attack and block it. When evading, immediately counterattack with the hands and/or feet before the opponent may recover from the charge or the attack. A lead leg side kick or a spin side kick is effective in stopping a charging opponent. If the opponent charges quickly, make the kicks fading kicks where you jump backward and upward at a 45-degree angle to give yourself enough room to execute the kicks.
- Against a quick closing opponent, don’t back up; instead, move to the sides or at angles, or charge into the attack. If you back up, the opponent will close again, etc. until you are out of bounds. By charging the attack, you may jam the attack or at least take the power out of the attack. A few quick lead side kicks to the midsection will convince quick closers to slow down or think twice before attacking.
- •Against opponents who attack quickly and then retreat just as quickly, you should catch them as they move in. Move backward just enough to avoid the attack and then double kick, or rush the opponent before he or she retreats.
- Against an opponent who attempts to clinch, move backward, kick with the rear leg to stop the opponent's movement, and then kick with the other leg. Use your arms and bob and weave to ward off attempts to clinch.
From open stance
- If the attack is back leg roundhouse kick, counterattack with a spin hook kick.
- If the attack is front leg skipping roundhouse kick, counterattack with a front leg inside-to-out axe kick.
- If the attack is spin hook kick, counterattack with a side step and a rear leg roundhouse kick
- If the attack is double roundhouses kicks, counterattack with a spin hook kick or a push kick.
- If the attack is axe kick, counterattack with a sidestep and spin hook kick.
From closed stance• If the attack is back leg roundhouse kick, counterattack with an outside-to-in axe kick.
• If the attack is front leg skipping roundhouse kick, counterattack with a spin hook kick.
• If the attack is spin hook kick, counterattack with a side step and a rear leg roundhouse kick
• If the attack is double roundhouses kicks, counterattack with a spin hook kick or a push kick.
• If the attack is an axe kick, counterattack with a sidestep and a spin hook kick.
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