by Thomas Kurz
In the previous article, “Individualization of Training in Sports and Martial Arts,” I wrote about individualization of training in general and about factors necessitating individualization of martial arts and sports training. In this article I will write about individualizing teaching of the fighting skills.
As you know from the previous article, instruction has to be varied to match personality traits of athletes.
Introverts prefer defense—they let their opponents have the initiative and are content to react. If their perception and analysis of the situation are accurate, they can very economically and efficiently dispatch their opponents.
Successful defensive fighters are intelligent (they quickly analyze all information on the situation), calm, adjustable, cold, and calculating.
Example of defensive fighting*: Staying just out of range, frustrating the opponent’s attacks, until the opponent gets tired, upset, and careless. When the opponent is worn out, open to attack, and unable to counter effectively, the defensive fighter safely attacks.
Extroverts prefer attack—they seize the initiative and force their opponents to react. They are confident and optimistic—they are unfazed by their unsuccessful attacks and keep on attacking. Extroverts can also counterattack effectively but do not feel good about fighting defensively—they do not like to wait and leave initiative to the opponent.
Neurotics also attack but they do so out of desperation, do not analyze situations, and act chaotically. They attack but they are not in control of their actions. Except for the instances when they attack or defend chaotically they avoid contact with opponents by extending distance.
Successful attacking fighters are persevering, decisive, and obstinate; they like to take risks and to experiment.
Example of attack fighting: Launching a continuous series of attacks to force an opening in the opponent’s defense.
Successful counterattacking fighters are confident, intelligent (they quickly analyze the situation and accurately anticipate an opponent’s actions), dominating (not submitting to the other’s initiative), calm, patient, and independent (not concerned with others’ opinion, doing what is necessary to win without trying to impress anyone).
Example of counterattack fighting: Intercepting an opponent’s attacks by evading, deflecting, or blocking and immediately attacking the openings that present themselves. Some counterfighters deliberately open themselves to an expected attack because they have a counter for it ready. Another way of setting up a counterattack is to attack to elicit an expected defense or a counter from the opponent and then to counter that defense or counter.
Understanding why some individuals prefer defense and others counterattack or attack helps to fit instruction and training to personality. Different remedies are needed for improving the tactics of a neurotic, who attacks desperately, than of an extrovert, who attacks confidently.
Instruction should accentuate the strengths and preferences of fighters and on the basis of these eventually diversify their styles of fighting. Instructors who impose one style of fighting on fighters with different characteristics, and have them do the same tactical drills, should be avoided.
* NOTE: In sports the counterattacking and the defensive styles of fighting are harder to distinguish in grappling than in boxing or fencing because of the close contact, which does not permit much sidestepping, and rules that penalize breaking or preventing contact and staying at a long distance. Outside of the sports setting though, grapplers can do as they please, avoid the grip, and stay at any distance.
This article is based on the Stadion book Science of Sports Training. Get it now and have all of the info—not just the crumbs!
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