Want to be an MMA fighter? Want to know how to spar better? The fundamentals of toe-to-toe fighting. THE FOUR PILLARS OF FIGHTING

September 15, 2018


Everyone needs to start a new discipline somewhere.  Everyone can also improve what they’ve been doing for years.  This article will layout the most useful foundation for fighting.  Master these four principles alone, and you will be a great fighter.  Master these four principles and others, you will be an even greater combatant.

I’ll discuss all four of them at a summary level and then will write in detail on each one in separate articles.


Speed   ::    Distance     ::   Timing    ::  Power


Choose a mnemonic to remember them.

(S)ensei (D)oes (T)his (P)erfectly

(S)parring (T)akes (D)iligent (P)ractice

Whatever you decide, in whatever order, choose something to remember SDTP.


Speed:  Not only how fast a technique is executed based on the person's skill and practice, but this “speed” also considers the time it takes from the point a technique is executed until it reaches its intended target.  It also considers generally how long it takes to execute a technique.  Some techniques simply take longer than others, such as a front punch vs. a spinning back fist.  Speed is the V in the kinetic energy equation KE=1/2m * V2  The energy formula will be discussed in detail in the stand-alone article about Speed.


Distance:  Refers to the empty space between you and your opponent.  Distance is the most important of all the four pillars.  Why?  Simply put, if you are too close, your technique won’t be effective, and you are susceptible to attack.  If you are too far, your technique is useless.


Timing:  Refers to the fighter’s ability to time an attack or a defense for maximum effectiveness.  Timing is the most difficult concept to master.  Much of the success in timing is based on natural instinct.  However, like all skills that are not natural, timing can be acquired through experience and a lot of practice. 


Power:  Everyone thinks that power is everything.  What they do not realize or appreciate is that power takes time and therefore is not always the best means to win a fight.  Power refers to the energy that is produced by a technique upon technique.  Power is the KE in the kinetic energy formula KE=1/2m * V2  The energy formula will be discussed in detail in the stand-alone article about power.



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About Me

I'm a business executive full-time.  I love my work, but my second passion--well it's a way of life--is karate.  I am Chief Instructor, Renshi, 4th Degree Black belt at OCIGK in southern California.  I look forward to sharing with you as I do with my students every day.  

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