Fight Science: The Fundamentals – Bloody Elbow

(This is a special guest column written by Dr. Paulie Gloves)

I Promise Teach, You Promise Learn

For many, “The Karate Kid” might be considered the Rocky of martial arts. Brimming with literal and metaphorical life lessons, there are also many lessons that can be applied to MMA. Amongst these lessons are gems related to the shared coach and fighter responsibility. Mr. Miyagi illustrated this responsibility well when he declared “First make sacred pact. I promise teach karate. That my part. You promise learn. I say, you do, no questions. That your part.” While his words are wise in the sense that they clarify the shared responsibility in the relationship, they are just the tip of the iceberg as it relates to the actual complexity involved in coaching and learning.

In fact, many believe the coach-fighter relationship is solely based on Mr. Miyagi’s simple formula. That is, the coach tells the fighter what to do, and the fighter does it. If only it were that easy. There is actually a science behind coaching and learning. Though most of the greatest coaches were not formerly trained in the science of coaching, they are likely great observers of their own coaching behavior, the coaching behavior of others, and the impact of their coaching behavior on fighters. Professors in their own right, they’ve become purveyors of the Sweet Science of combat sports.

Similarly, great fighters tend to be good observers of their own behavior (e.g. noticing the smallest change in their guard), how their behavior impacts their opponent’s behavior (e.g. an opponent may throw less right hands when the lead hand is kept high in their guard), and how the opponent’s behavior impacts their own behavior (e.g. a certain offense evokes a particular defense).

If you have a strong work ethic and you are one of these coaches or fighters, you likely excel at your craft. If you do not, there are some things you might consider for accelerating your performance. In this…

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