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Combination System Building



One of the things a lot of fighters like to do is have a couple quick combinations at the ready. These combinations probably come from a group of time tested effective groupings. But most fighters pick combinations that are otherwise unrelated. What I like to encourage is to start thinking of combinations as part of a system based on common responses. So combination building really becomes system building.


Let me give you an example. Let’s start with a simple combination:


From the closed stance you throw an inside leg kick to a cross. This combo works great because the entry is non committal and probing, and works well on its own if you don’t feel the moment is right to follow up with it. But a lot of times the inside leg kick pulls them in the direction of your power, making the cross a nice follow up. It also comes with directional and level changes making it a nice little attack.


Now let’s consider some possible responses to this inside leg kick entry

  1. They can check

  2. They can move backward to avoid it

  3. They can try to drive in and counter punch

  4. They circle toward your weak side to avoid the cross


So now you build some combinations that deal with these different responses. You use the first combination of inside leg kick, to cross as a probing attack a few times to see what they do. Then you start throwing a follow up combination to their response. It’s easier than trying to read it in mid combo, but as you get good at this series, you can learn to read it as you go as well so whenever you attack you don’t run into surprises.



So after you do your probing attack, based on the response you get, you throw the corresponding combination

  1. They check the inside leg kick. This time, you feint the inside leg kick to draw out the check, then using the same foot step out to the left and throw the outside leg kick as their leg comes down. This combo becomes more damaging as they’ve now exposed the nerve in the back of the leg attempting to check the inside kick.

  2. They move backward. This is a common response to probing attacks. They move just out of range. A lot of time they drop their head as they move away from your power. But you watch and see which way they go when you attack and now you follow up the inside leg kick, cross, by following it with a high roundhouse kick to chase them.

  3. They try to drive in and counter punch. When they come forward like this, I like to use one of a couple of attacks. Either I drop under it and shoot to take them down, or after the leg kick I throw a collar tie disguised as a jab, followed by a short elbow as they crash in.

  4. They circle toward your weak side to avoid the cross. Now you lead with the first inside leg kick cross, but you feint the cross and throw a turning back kick, letting them walk into a liver kick.

The combined strategy here now means that instead of attacking combinations seemingly at random, you now have a systematic approach to their movements. No matter what they do they end up in your trap and you can stay one step ahead of them every time. As you run into more obstacles, you build that into your combination system.


Now go train! Or at least watch some videos on training if you are at home. You know where to go for that.


Greg Koval

Devil Dog Martial Arts

Bedford Hts, OH


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