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Thread: slipping punches (again)

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    Talking slipping punches (again)

    Hi guys.
    When you guys slip punches do you just wait for the guy to throw and then slip?
    I´m finding this kind of difficult cause its based on my reaction/judgement to what he is going to throw and i just end up getting hit especially in sparring i find it difficult since we are moving around (obviously) etc..

    I was thinking maybe more like in the video: ( since this is my first post i can´t link to a video showing it, so i´ll have to try and explain:

    basicly you jab first, and expecting his counter jab (or whatever) THEN you slip, because of the chances that something is coming at you are there.. i guess its like setting the guy up to counter your jab with a jab of his own, so you can utilise your slip i guess??

    any thoughts on this..

    don´t know if this post makes sence, i´m just having difficulty timing the slips ( im quite tall and lanky and usually the outside fighter), and would really like to get better at it..

    Last edited by nijak05; 05-13-2010 at 02:01 PM.

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    Default Re: slipping punches (again)

    Hi nijak,

    A slip is in response to a punch, otherwise it's just head movement. A common mistake that a lot new guys make is to slip before a punch is thrown. Anyway, I think that it's very good that you're approaching it logically. So you start off with the jab, which will provoke some sort of response from your opponent, right? So then you need to find out what is their likely response may be. There will probably be certain moves that they will be more apt to do than others, say catch/parry and counter jab. If you know that they're going to counter jab, then it will be easier to anticipate and slip.

    To get the movement and timing down, I recommend working with a coach or partner and practice slipping actual punches. They shouldn't have to tell you when to slip, nor give any indication that they're going to punch. Slipping is a reaction, and it takes a lot practice to get down. With a lot of practice inside and out of the ring, you may gradually experience a change of perception. With experience, incoming punches will begin to look like openings, and your responses will become instinctive.

    When you slip a punch, you need to be in a position to counter. That's why often a slip is accompanied with a step forward, you gotta get close enough to go to work.
    Last edited by Chris Nagel; 05-13-2010 at 03:15 PM.
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    Default Re: slipping punches (again)

    I almost started to disagree with Chris (which is usually a poor idea) but then realized that what he wrote is exactly correct, so allow me to emphasize what I think is the key point but almost missed myself:

    You don't (generally) slip BEFORE the punch is thrown, but you CAN predict and pre-load a slip for the most likely counter punch so that the moment he moves that arm you unleash without any hesitation, thought, or confusion.

    A Systema instructor friend of my calls this "spinal loading" -- it's like being on the starter blocks for sprinting or swim racing -- you are relaxed but loaded up for the 'next move' but you are waiting for the appropriate signal, and relaxed enough to take other action if the situation doesn't give you the expected signal. My instructor friend believes this pre-programs the cerebellum, and moves most of the 'program' for the expected movement out of conscious control, except the initiation, and thus makes that movement FASTER, cleaner, and more certain to perform.

    I see analogies with speed typing, or playing a musical instrument (keyboard, guitar, valves on a wind instrument) where you pre-program sets of movements and fire them when needed. It is a much closer analogy for typing because you don't MEMORIZE ahead of time what you type, but rather have to SEE the next word (or words) to know what to fire off as a GROUP, not as a single movement, or even as set of single movements. It's all a pre-built package, but you can't 'let it go' until you see the signal, so you try to anticipate the most likely signal and key that whole package as the likely response.

    I started doing this for simple CATCH and PARRY defense. Hey, I am going to jab, so most likely he will (eventually) throw a jab too so my right hand is loaded for a parry/catch whenever my left is jabbing, but my body might be loaded for a duck under a hook. (Yes, you can pre-load multiple programs but it works easiest if they do not comflict, e.g., a hand motion for one response and a body motion for another.)
    Does that makes sense?

    And I hope this is what Chris was getting at with the first part of his response.

    And in addition, usually my LEFT which is jabbing is programmed (not just preloaded) to retract to guard to protect against his right but ALSO can be preloaded to raise the elbow and execute a forearm roll block IF his right counter is high (i.e., to the head), especially a looping right or right hook to the left of my head. Notice that the retraction to guard is so important that it is trained as a unit with the punch, as the default action. The forearm roll block is extremely bad if he throws a right hook to the body so we must NOT execute that unless he is already committed to a high punch -- and we are even then in danger of falling into the trap of a fake if he feints high and hooks low to the body after we commit so such things are best done with knowledge of the advantages and risks.

    Also, the preloads should be either mutually supportive OR able to be disconnected, e.g., my preloaded duck works really well with the rollover forearm block by the left (the lower you go the easier it is to deflect his punch over your head, the less you duck the better is it to assist with your arm to avoid getting hit on the top of the head.

    The second point Chris made is that eventually even this pre-loading isn't required to be conscious -- your reactions become automated or habituated to the signals you are seeing (or even feeling if you are contacting him or getting hit.)

    A really cool thing Chris said which could go unnoticed or might seem impossible or magical is that eventually you SEE something like a certain punch from a certain distance AS a signal for a CERTAIN response (or responses). You know longer have to translate mentally from seeing to deciding to doing -- you see what needs to be done AS AN INHERENT PART of what your opponent is doing.

    Another analogy: When kids learn to read they see the letters individually, need to sound out the word, then THINK of what the word IS, then think of what it MEANS. Adults see the three letters, C A T, next to each other and CANNOT not see the word CAT as a unit, and even further are already making mental pictures or thoughts about some real world object, probably a small fury animal, likely a specific color and maybe even a very specific pet they own or have owned. (Some people will instead see a large YELLOW TRACKED construction vehicle, or in my case my daughter's name is CAT(therine) and I might see here, so these reactions can be learned and relearned.)

    And his final point: You not only can pre-build and pre-load these responses, by you must ensure that you are in a physical position to actually carry them out (stance, balance, position, etc.)

    So you get into, or move into as you punch, the correct position to allow the response you have pre-built and are preloading into your spine to respond to HIS likely responses. You know is likely responses from both what is physically possible/practical from his position, what either most people will do in the same situation, or what you have already learned HE will likely do in that situation. You are moving from general predictions to learning what your specific actual opponent is likely to do.

    Of course in serious fights you are both doing this and trying to play this chess game several moves deep, but as beginners, you and I can make large improvements by just being able to do it one or two layers deep, i.e. his response and my response to his response can fairly easily be predicted and preloaded.

    I really haven't written anything that Chris didn't already say, so if it doesn't help you then please understand that it helps ME just to take Chris' post and work through the implications explicitly.


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