“I know categorically that punching is the range to be at…most situations start from about 18 inches away…punching range is where it’s at…if you take my advice, you’ll spend the majority of your time training in punching range…you might not agree with that if you’re watching match fight stuff, like the UFC…grapplers are the most dangerous people on the planet, but that is match fighting…street fighting is different from that because the majority of street fights are three second affairs…you’ve got to learn to develop awesome power from close in…by using your body weight. Close range punching is where it’s at.”
Geoff Thompson, Real Punching: Advanced Punching Techniques [DVD]
John L. Sullivan was the last Bare-Knuckle Boxing Heavyweight Champion of the World and the first Gloved Heavyweight Champion of the World. Of course, back when the “world” mostly meant the US and the UK to citizens of these countries.
But these fighters were tough, with fights sometimes lasting as many as 45 rounds (3 hours) and often with no legitimate end other than knockout allowed.
Interestingly, some think bare knuckle is safer than using gloves. There is evidence to show that its the jarring of the brain, not the damage caused to the outside of the head, that causes long-term issues like CTE. Bare-knuckle boxers, it seems, were more strategic in their shots, since any strike might end up breaking your hand (and losing you the fight).
“A man fights with his head almost as much as he does with his fists. He must know where to send his blows so they may do the most good. He must economize his strength and not score a hit just for the sake of scoring it. Learn to strike straight and clean. Swinging blows nearly always leave an opening for your opponent. … Always watch your opponent. As soon as you see him about to lead, shoot your left into his face. The force of his coming towards you will increase your blows considerably….I endeavor to hit my man above the heart or under the chin or behind the ear…A man wears out pretty soon if one can keep hammering away in the region around the heart. A blow under the chin or behind the ear will knock a man out quicker than a hundred blows on the cheek or any other portion of the face. I have always considered it necessary that a young man, in order to become an accomplished boxer, should have brains as well as muscle. I never knew a thick-headed fellow yet to become skillful in the manly art….What I know about boxing, I picked up from hard experience and intelligent observation. I belong to no school of boxers and have copied no special master’s style. I always fight according to my own judgment. If a man can’t train himself, no one in the world can do it for him.”
John L. Sullivan
Note the Man Sau / Wu Sau like positioning of the arms and the Sunfist (thumb up) position of the hands.
“A fighter with heart will almost always win out against a fighter with skill but no will.”
“I’ve never found that getting physical is ever the best response in a bar. You just have to make sure you keep your distance, and if it gets to a point where it gets aggressive then the best thing to do is go get a bouncer and get the situation resolved intelligently.”
Here is an interesting lesson in striking from former UFC Light Heavyweight Champ Chuck Liddell.
Liddell was one of the few strikers successful in that era of the UFC, when everyone was discovering the significant advantages of a good wrestling or BJJ game in the ring with the UFC rules. Even now, if you have no ground game in the UFC, you are done. Unless the opponent has a glass chin, they will eventually be able to drag you down.
Although, I must note in passing, in the recent UFC Championship bout between Joanna Jędrzejczyk (Muay Thai) and Cláudia Gadelha (BJJ Black Belt), Jędrzejczyk showed what can happen if the striker has a solid takedown defense and has the skills the survive on the ground, even if they don’t dominate there.
But in the real world, where we prefer to keep it standing up so we are not rolling around under tables and getting kicked in the head by our opponent’s friends, you want to learn how to strike hard. Liddell’s advice doesn’t apply directly to the Wing Chun striking method, but its good to have a versatile bag of tricks (IMO) and to know what your opponent may bring.
What happen’s when you duck back (as he describes in the video) is also what happens when you back up in a straight line. Each step is a frozen moment where you are stuck and a target. This is why we Toi Ma (angle step).