Download a free guide titled “Bill ‘Superfoot’ Wallace: How He Became the World’s Greatest Kicker for 50 Years!” now by clicking here.To improve your skills at these distances, have your partner put on mitts and dance around. He should move in and out and side to side. Your job is to decide which types of kicks and punches to throw. 2 — Defense To become an elite martial artist, you must be an effective defensive fighter. If you lack defensive skill, you might be able to defeat mediocre opponents, but you probably won’t get past tougher ones. If you find yourself facing a powerful puncher, rest assured he’ll be looking for a target. If your defensive skills are good, you can make it difficult for him to find that target. The following are some standard kickboxing maneuvers for defensive use: • Parry You deflect a technique without stopping its momentum. For example, you redirect a punch with your hand. • Block You stop a technique cold. You can execute a block with your arms or legs. It can be a single action or a series of measures, but regardless of the specifics, it will limit or eliminate the technique your opponent is throwing. • Dodge You move all or a portion of your body away from your opponent’s weapon. You need not make contact with him. Dodging an attack is better than parrying or blocking because your hands and legs remain free to counterattack. • Return After you execute a parry, dodge or block, you throw your own technique before your opponent has a chance to return to the guard position. • Rolling With the Punch To lessen the impact of a blow, you move away from your opponent’s weapon in the same direction it’s traveling. • Sidestep You move out of the path of the attack. One example is to pivot on one of your feet. The movement enables you to avoid his technique and retaliate. 3 — Feinting A skilled kickboxer is like a chess player: He uses feints to set up techniques so he can easily score on his opponent. Feinting is a vital tool of deception and can be a critical weapon in your arsenal. It can keep your opponent guessing, fill him with false anticipation and disable him psychologically. For a feint to be effective, it has to be thrown convincingly and with power. Otherwise, he won’t fall for it.
Download “Master Toddy’s MMA-Tested Muay Thai Techniques: 3 Elbow Attacks That Can Improve Your Fighting Game” now. Go here to get started.Skill at feinting requires lots of practice. Here are two tactics you can add to your repertoire the next time you spar: • To draw your opponent’s attention to his midsection, throw a hard jab to the body. Immediately afterward, fake the same punch and throw a straight right to the chin. • Throw a hard jab to the face. Then feint the same motion and throw a left hook to the head. 4 — Timing No offensive or defensive technique is successful without proper timing. You can have the greatest move in the world, but it won’t do any good unless your timing is on. Timing requires speed, a good sense of distance and direction. To develop your timing, stand about two feet away from your partner and slowly throw punches at him. He should utilize the various defenses described above. Continue for three minutes, then switch roles. Do two or three rounds. As you improve, pick up your speed. This drill will also improve your reflexes and blocking skills, get you accustomed to having punches come at your face and hone your sense of direction and distance. For the best view of his entire body, watch your partner’s solar plexus, not his face. (Read Part 2 of this article here.) (Studio Photos by Tom Sanders; Below Photo Courtesy of Ring of Combat) Louis Neglia is a former world kickboxing champion who has run a karate and kickboxing school in Brooklyn, New York, since 1972. He now directs the Ring of Combat MMA event series.