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Bruce Lee's five ways of attack on the focus mitts

Posted by Matthew Chapman on

Bruce Lee was way ahead of his time in his conceptualisation of martial arts and fighting sports. Bruce had a very intelligent and discerning mind and was capable of analysing fighting movements and patterns and developing simple solutions that work in nearly all situations. 

His five ways of attack are adapted from concepts developed in fencing. The five ways is a great method of looking at how and why certain attacks work. Bruce noted that regardless of the technique, range or style used there are only five ways to attack your opponent 

  1. Single direct attack 

Single direct attack is pretty self-explanatory it refers to simple, single attack that travels via a direct route. A single jab from a regular guard would be an example of a single direct attack. Single direct attacks are hard to pull off in sparring or competition as opponents often see them coming. For this reason single direct attacks require a good setup, non-telegraphic motion and lots of speed to be effective. If any of these requirements is absent then the single direct attack will fail. A good setup means that you in range to strike and that a target is open for attack. Non-telegraphic motion as discussed is about not giving away your strike and speed is required to get the single direct attacks to the target as quickly as possible. Any technique can be a single direct attack, whether it is a jab, elbow, or spin kick its all about speed and directness. 

    2. Attack by combination 

Attack by combination is also fairly simple to understand. It is an attack with two or more moves combined.  Combination attacks are usually more effective than single direct attacks as they provide the opponent with more stimuli to react to. This lengthens their reaction time and forces them to think more about the attack and less about countering. A three or five-part combination can overwhelm the opponent's defences especially if the combination is thrown at different heights. Combinations that travel high, middle and low will be more effective than a combination to one level only. In kickboxing and Thai boxing this is easily achieved by working the entire body from kicking the legs to kneeing the body and punching the head. In MMA takedowns can also be added to the mix. 

       3. Fake or feint to attack

 Fakes and feinting attacks force an opponent into making a error and over committing or opening themselves up in response to a fake attack. Faking and fainting serves a number of functions.

  1. It can be used to ascertain the opponent's reactions without leaving one vulnerable to a counter-attack
  2. It makes the opponent hesitate while closing distance
  3. it creates a space in which one can attack
  4. it can also be used to set a pattern of movement in the opponent which can then be exploited.

Fakes need to be convincing in order to work. The faked attack needs to look almost identical to a real attack forcing the opponent to respond. If the fake is not believable then there is no need for the opponent to react. It is therefore necessary to sell the fake to make it work.

 The simplest fake is performed by partial extending the jab in order to make the opponent react and then changing the direction of the jab before it lands and striking to a different target. Classic jab fakes include faking the jab high and jabbing low or faking the jab low and then jabbing high.

Part 2 Coming soon...

Mittmaster Matt

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