Finding Your Style
Finding your own style
It’s good to be inspired by other fighters/athletes, but it’s not a good idea to try to copy another fighter's style altogether, if I, for instance, saw Floyd Mayweather fighting and I just tried to copy his style against another fighter, I would most likely lose or get knocked out.
But what should I do then, how do I find my own style?
Find the right coach:
Start with learning the basics, Stance, footwork, punch logistics, blocks/parry’s, slips bobs and weaves - building a solid foundation.
Apply these skills in shadowboxing, on the heavy bag, on mitts, in sparring with tiers.
Repeat a lot of Drills, building muscle memory.
Different tiers teach you about the layers within each skill set.
Ask questions and don’t forget to listen.
Remember good conditioning.
As this process starts to ingrain, then it’s time for reflection and experimentation:
Identify your strengths and weaknesses. Work to diminish your weaknesses and build your strengths.
Learn different styles/strategies within your system and see how they apply to your needs.
Don’t dismiss a style/strategy, even if it’s doesn’t feel natural, there might be elements that are just
what you need.
Even if you are not prone to a certain style/strategy, it’s good to be familiar with the ins and outs of
that style/strategy, as your opponent might be a proponent of that style.
Learning different styles/strategies, helps you find your own and it helps you to understand the game.
Test your ideas, on your own, in drills, shadow boxing, and bag training, with good training
partners, drilling, on mitts, and in sparring.
Present your ideas to your coach and training partners and get feedback.
Use video of your training as a learning tool.
Write your thoughts down.
Never stop learning, always work on improving - Practice makes habit - Develop good habits!
How does this apply to me?
First things first - I found the right coach.
I started learning martial arts 40+ years ago and haven’t looked back since, I’m always learning, always a student, even when I’m coaching.
In coaching, my martial arts endeavors have been a great learning experience, coaching others forces me to pay attention to detail on another level.
A difficulty could lie in limiting oneself, if I try to learn too much new stuff at once, it’s easy to learn next to nothing.
I always want to build a solid foundation and once I have the basics down, then I can begin to find my own style:
The easiest way to teach someone nothing is to show them everything!
Looking at my own strengths and weaknesses is the starting point:
Looking at my body type first, I’m a short fighter, which means that range and reach will be affected, and I have to adapt.
I must be able to close the distance, get close to my opponent, and fight from the inside.
I have always been capable of having a reasonable defense, meaning that I wasn’t hit a lot and I was able to diminish the blows that did come through.
But - A lot of the time, I did this by staying right in front of my opponent, using stiff arms, controlling his biceps, head, etc., and walking him down - not an ideal strategy with an opponent that can move and execute.
I had some combinations/strategies that seemed to work for me:
I was able to stay on my opponent, to smother him, to get a hold of him to control him, to get in with knees and takedowns.
I did have some distance tools, that worked for me:
I had a jab
I had a catch and return to a jab.
I had a high/low jab to an off-angle overhand right.
I had a 1 - 2 and a 1 - 2 - 7
I had 1 - 3
I had a decent left hook and a good overhand right
I had leg kicks
I had a 3 or a 7 to a spinning back kick
I had a front kick
I had knees
I had clinching abilities
I had takedowns
I had submissions
But I never had a truly dangerous offense, I was basically a defensive fighter, which can be difficult against an opponent with superior reach and or footwork.
To find an effective style for me, I had to work on my footwork - not staying right in front of my opponent.
I had to work on my ability to close the distance, to put pressure on my opponent. Get my opponent to respect my offense.
This is properly the main reason why I’m attracted to the Peek a Boo style.
Peek a Boo gives me the confidence and the ability to CLOSE THE DISTANCE and to find SAFE POSITIONS from which to deliver strikes with MEAN INTENTIONS.
Peek a Boo will make my opponent respect me, making him hesitate.
With Peek a Boo I can close the distance FAST and I can be an elusive target.
But I’m not Mike Tyson, so what if my opponent's offense hinders my offense, puts me on the defensive - Peek a Boo is not a style that moves away from the opponent.
If I’m forced to move away, then I can’t rely on the Peek a Boo style alone.
When I’m under pressure I need a style with a good countering defense. I need the Philly Shell.
Floyd Mayweather could use the Philly Shell, staying outside, moving, and countering.
Being a shorter fighter I might prefer to fight in the pocket, close to my opponent when he pressures me. James “in the pocket” Toney used the Philly Shell at this distance.
The Philly Shell allows me to fight in a box with solid defense and good countering abilities.
I can also use the Philly Shell to rest in when I’m at a distance, because of the Philly Shells' defensive prowess.
So I think that learning Peek a Boo and Philly Shell will suit me well being a shorter fighter, giving me an offensive option while staying defensively sound and giving me countering options, when under pressure.
But I can’t be on the offense or countering from the pocket 100% of a fight, so what do I need more?
I need footwork so I can move around the ring, not allowing my opponent to get set. Like Muhammed Ali, Sugar Ray Robinson, etc.
So I need to know how footwork can give me distance, angles, escape routes. How footwork can cut my opponent off. I need ring generalship.
And, don’t forget, to work from behind a good jab.
So as you see, I had my work cut out for me, but at the same time, I had a clear direction, I had the right coach and I had a process laid out for me. Not a bad starting point.
It’s up to each fighter to find his own style, but there is help to be found in understanding his own strengths/weaknesses, in following a process and putting in the work.
These are my reasons for teaching multiple styles, once the student is ready, this is why I coach Hybrid Boxing and 52 Blocks.