Striking in Combination

It is no surprise that you can’t just throw a punch randomly and expect to hit a skilled opponent. Of course those one shot knockouts have their place and can be deadly if you catch the opponent by surprise. But realistically you can’t rely on that in every fight.

Combination strikes can be used to strike much more effectively. By stringing together certain punches, and not even necessarily landing all the strikes, you can put yourself in a better position for the next hit and  connect clean. This also allows you to generate more power and be more agile in the ring and be less able to be hit by flowing from strike to strike 

Body Shot Combinations

nobody gets that open of a body shot without setting it up with a combo

Combination punches can really help to open up the body for strikes. This also helps because when striking the body you are in close and vulnerable. In addition to this, by setting up the opponent for the body shots with other punches first you can put the opponent in the worst possible position for him for the strike you are about to throw.

By throwing punches at the opponent’s head or face you can make him have to honor your strikes and block. This is the general idea behind the set up for the body strikes because it takes the opponent’s arms away from his ribs.

By striking in succession you can flow with the strikes to load up and generate more power for the final blow at the end of the combination. This can especially be seen in the overhand right combination in the video below. Not only does it put the opponent in a bad spot to strike himself or avoid a strike but it naturally swings your body into the perfect load up for a powerful body hook.

Multi-Strike Combinations

The body shot combinations shown above consisted of two strike combinations. However using many strikes in combination can serve to really keep the opponent on his heels. Although more practice and know how is also needed to know how to flow to what punch next.  Not every strike has to be a knockout punch either. In MMA even quick, less powerful, strikes can do good damage and with the volume of punches in the combination there is a good chance to get the upper hand on your opponent.

However by striking in fluid combinations like this you can generate a lot of power for your final shot. A quick strike  can stun the opponent long enough to follow up with a power strike for a knockout blow. Depending on how many strikes you decide to throw this can be a very good depiction of the saying, “the best defense is a good offense”. 

Combinations With Kicks

Striking combinations do not always have to exclusively consist of punches. Combinations that include kicks can be tremendously effective as well. Strikes to the face can get the opponents arms to block high as well and leave the opponent’s body open for quick powerful kicks. Also a kick can be used to open up a striking combination to stun the opponent before moving in for close range punches, elbows, or knees. For some examples and explanations of striking combinations including kicks CLICK HERE

Or just watch Anderson Silva perform a quick kick combination of his.

Final Word

My motto for striking combinations is “work smart not hard”. You could try and go out there and brute your way through a striking fight. However if you want to pick the opponent apart and not give him opportunities to strike back using effective striking combinations is key.

There are a lot of combinations out there to learn that are great for specific  fighters because the combinations suit a particular fighter’s style. However there is no substitute for some good old trial and error and practice in the ring. You know your own strengths and weaknesses and what combinations feel right, and with enough practice you could start to develop some combinations of your own.





The Deadly Uppercut

Kimbo Slice knows how to land the uppercut do you?

In boxing or mixed martial arts the uppercut is a very strong and quick punch that can be thrown. It is a very short range attack and relies on more upward movement of the body rather than rotational. This is a great punch for shorter stockier fighters who seek to come inside the reach of an opponent and then strike him. It is also a lethal strike if used as a well timed counter when your opponent’s chin is open.

There are two variations to this punch, the rear and lead uppercut. As with most other strikes the rear variation is slower and more powerful while the lead is quicker but sacrifices power. Also unlike a hook or a cross there is really no rotational power but instead the force is generated by the quads, core muscles in the back, and shoulder muscles thrusting the striking hand upwards.

This video demonstrates mostly the lead uppercut but CLICK HERE to see how to better utilize the rear uppercut

Knockout Power

That video is a perfect example of what they tell you not to do when throwing an uppercut, drop your blocking arm and wind up slowly, but he go away with it so I have to give that to him. However this video also points towards the knockout power of the uppercut. It is a strike designed to be a quick decider in a fight.

The fact that the uppercut delivers the explosive power of your legs and back is why it carries the knockout power that it does. Also the angle of the strike is a factor in this. The upwards angle is perfect for striking the jaw which is the money zone for knockouts. Also if the opponent is guarding his face a lot because he cant handle your punches you could sneak an uppercut through his guard and catch his jaw.

When Can You Strike

Throwing errant uppercuts is not a very good idea. You need to be in pretty close proximity to the opponent to hit him with one. On the flip side this means your well within his striking range as well, and that is why timing is very important.

Having your opponent up against the cage in a mixed martial arts fight or the ropes in a boxing fight are good times to throw an uppercut. In this position your opponent cannot back away to dodge so you can work a very close quarters striking game and utilize the uppercut. Also as previously mentioned you can, if your lucky, sneak an uppercut through someones guard when they’re unprepared.

Also the uppercut can be used as a counter strike. The link earlier in the post goes into using the rear hook as a counter strike and combo strike. When the opponent strikes he naturally moves closer to you. Or if the opponent tries to duck underneath your strikes he puts his face in an ideal spot to be tagged with an uppercut. The rear uppercut is especially useful in this situation because if executed properly the counter gives you the time you need for the slower more powerful strike; hopefully knocking out your opponent in the process.

 The Overhand Right Strike

Chuck Liddell on the receiving end of an overhand right

An iconic punch that is seen so often in a mixed martial arts fight is the overhand right. This strike can be delivered with great power and when it lands more often than not it ends in a knockout blow. This punch gets its power from a combination of rotational speed and a downward angle to the striking motion. UFC mixed martial artists like Dan Henderson and Chuck Liddell are known for using this powerful punch with devastating consequences.  

I refer to the strike as an overhand right but is technically a rear arm overhand strike that is described throughout.They achieve maximum power through a swinging motion that looks oddly similar to throwing a baseball when practiced. As with other power punches the power comes from rotation of the orso through core strength. It is also critical to follow through on the punch; stopping a strike and not punching through the opponent leads to much decreased power. The video below is Chuck Liddell demonstrating his overhand right technique.

Proper Time To Strike

The Overhand right is a mid-range strike that give you a little more range than a hook because of the extended arm rather than it being bent at a ninety degree angle at the elbow. Also the long arcing striking motion can be used to essentially punch around an opponent’s guard. This makes it a good strike to throw when your opponent is taking a defensive approach. The powerful less straight forward attack could break the opponent’s defense briefly to allow for different attacks.

Against a quicker opponent this might not be best to lead with this strike. If the opponent sees this not so discreet of quick punch coming he can circle out of its range. However if taking the opponent to the ground is a viable option; you can use your momentum to go from an overhand right to a take down attempt when the opponent circles away from the punch. Also he could dodge it or duck underneath it and put himself in a great position to strike you when your defenseless after a missed striking attempt. Click Here for a video of some simple overhand right counters.

To turn the tides on an opponent trying to counter your overhand attack, use the overhand itself as a counterattack for some thrilling results. When you throw overhand you can use the natural motion of your hips dipping and head turning away to dodge a punch while throwing the overhand right as well. This takes more finesse and confidence in your own striking ability becuase it does put you clearly in striking range of the opponent if executed incorrectly. Trully a high risk high reward option.

Why Choose the Overhand

This punch is truly designed to be a knockout strike to the opponent. The arc of the strike makes it more difficult to block. The strike is aimed for the side of the jaw or the temple area, the classic spot for a knockout punch. For a power striker in a mixed martial arts fight an overhand right is a deadly strike to master.