Be first (in adopting new techniques)

New techniques and how to add them to your fight game.

Here is a flow chart that we intuitively use when adding new techniques to our arsenal, but is useful to write down explicitly:

Deciding what new techniques work for you

Deciding what new techniques works for you

I’ll write more on this below, but recall my video on using hubad training from Filipino kali as a quick way to train the elbow, flowing for line recognition, timing, traps, and releases.

Hubad trapping to hit elbow. Why is this 'not realistic' until you see Buakow do it? (below)

Hubad trapping to hit elbow. Why is this ‘not realistic’ until you see Buakow do it? (below)

Another video was brought to my attention, by Lawrence Kenshin, that shows Buakow’s use of trapping to hit the elbow.

buakow trapping to hit elbow. Woah, new techniques!

Buakow trapping to hit elbow

This made me think, why do we wait for an Anderson Silva, Nate Diaz, Randy Couture, or Luke Rockhold to use new techniques before we believe they work? In the case of fighters, this fear or skepticism is fatal long-term. If you can’t use your own mind to see the possibilities of new techniques you’re failing to apply the lessons of the ring to your life and training.

Want to be first?

Train with me!

Pettis cage kick

Your striking coach tells you to be first–if you have to wait for someone else to jump kick off the cage, hit a slap, or do a front kick:

how many times do have to wait and see it first before you get tired of being last?

Back to the chart


No one is saying give up your shadow boxing in exchange for Praying Mantis forms. But without a habit of analysis (and excitement) it’s difficult to grow. When you see cool new techniques, do you immediately get out of your chair, shadow box it, and think about how to make it work? You should, although yours truly and your coaches (should) do to make it easier to pass on the info.

I highlighted the question, “Does it add to skill?” because this is what’s most commonly looked over by fighters. (BTW does it work in sparring, or even just sparring, is most commonly overlooked by many traditional martial arts, so plenty of shortcomings for everyone)

Co-ordination, sensitivity, agility, fast-thinking, and adaptation are just some of the basic attributes served by training outside your core arsenal. They help with everything, just like strength training. And after a while you’ll find you may move things you never thought you would into the ‘useful’ category. A big-picture perspective is also: you’ll eventually be teaching or commentating…don’t you want to know what you’re talking about?

A massive change in thinking is understandably difficult: the man who started it all, Royce Gracie, is a good example of someone who had to prove his ideas to the world.

Royce Gracie

I’ll admit, I needed convincing








But moving from one kind of striking to another is not really that big of a leap, and I think it’s reasonable to expect us to put our own thinking caps on when assessing new techniques.

One thought on “Be first (in adopting new techniques)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *