Blow by Blow: The Characteristics of a Great Fighter
In the world of hand to hand combat, whether that be boxing, MMA, a bare knuckle backyard brawl, or simply defending yourself from an attacker, there is a lot more to fighting than just being able to swing harder than your opponent.
When it comes to a professional fight, whether it be in the ring, in the cage, or on the mat, there is a lot more to being the better fighter than having the fastest feet and the strongest punches. Often, betting on the bigger fighter can end badly.
To even be considered as a great fighter, you need endurance. If you can’t go 12 rounds at full speed, you are going to lose quicker than you think. Being fit keeps your strikes powerful, keeps your feet moving, and allows you to do everything you need to do to not only stay in the fight, but win it.
Granted, most fighters are incredibly fit, but the point isn’t to be as fit as your opponents, but to be fitter. Punching, moving, dodging, all takes stamina, and the more of it all you can do, and the quicker you can do it, the better.
Being able to punch hard or fast is almost pointless if you can’t land any hits. Accuracy and precision is just as important, if not more important, than power and speed. Missing punches drains you with no reward, landing a few solid hits easily puts you ahead.
Accuracy will also consistently put your opponent on the back foot, as your constant barrage will stop them from being able to hit back. Missed punches open you up to a counter-attack, punches you land will give you the upper-hand every time.
Timing is another vital aspect that will determine when to hit, when to move and when to defend. Most fighters will have a rhythm that they follow, combo’s they throw and when they throw them.
Timing allows you to hit your opponent when they least expect it, and developing your own timing, and being able to change it up throughout the fight will give you a huge boost. Being able to fight “off-beat” is a technique that’s hard to master, but has enormous benefits.
Spacial awareness is something every fighter needs. Being able to know what is happening around you and where you are in the ring can give you a big advantage in a fight. Aspects such as where you are in comparison to the ropes, for instance, will let you know if you should push our opponent and back them up, or tell you that you need to move so you don’t get cornered.
A great fighter knows when to move in and when to back up. Distance is something that great fighters have mastered. Being right in front of your opponent at all times opens you up to being hit, and not being able to escape quick enough.
Knowing when to allow space and knowing to close it is the difference between hitting your opponent, and being hit. Rushing in can be the chance to land a decisive punch, but miss your chance and you could end up being the one getting hit.
Probably the most vital aspect of any kind of fighting, is discipline. Discipline determines your technique, when you’re aggressive, when you’re passive, when you take some time to catch your breath and when you put your foot on the gas.
Discipline during a fight is not something you can learn overnight. It takes years to fully master as it is something that constantly changes and something that requires you to make mistakes to fully learn where you went wrong.
This applies to all aspects of boxing, MMA, and even martial arts. Martial Arts masters and legends such as Bruce Lee constantly spoke about discipline, and constantly worked to have better discipline, even when they were at the top.
Another massive aspect that differentiates good fighters from great fighters, is intelligence. No, not book smarts, not being a math genius, but intelligence that allows a fighter to adapt to any given situation, read their opponents every move, and develop a strategy.
You see it in football all the time, players having the ability to read defenders, know how and when they move, where their weak spots are, and they make runs and passes that exploit these weaknesses, in a fight, the same thing applies.
There are many aspects that make up a great fighter. You can’t boil it down to one or two parts that every boxer should possess. There are a multitude of skills a fighter needs to have to not only win consistently, but to be a great fighter.
A great fighter may be someone who can consistently hit a decisive punch, they may be someone who fights very passively and only throws the punches they need to throw, or they are someone who can wear their opponents down with their speed and agility.