The first rule of defending yourself is to avoid fighting at your opponent’s terms. Avoid his strengths.
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If he is a boxer do not box with him, if he is a wrestler avoid any stand up grappling with him, etc. You might be asking right now “But how can I know my opponent’s strength?” The answer is simple, their stance will tell you a lot about their fighting style.Wrestlers/Grapplers adopt a low stance to shoot takedowns for the opponent’s legs.A Judoka or a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu practitioner will try to grab you from the clothes to perform a throw and then choke you or arm lock you.A kicker (Taekwondo, Karate, Kung Fu, etc.) will adopt a sideways stance so they can strike with kicks and be elusive.So avoid what they are good at as a fighting style and lure them into your own game.
Sun Tzu said in his book The Art Of War:
“Know your enemy and know yourself and you can fight a hundred battles without disaster”
#2- Stay at a safe range
A larger and taller opponent will always have a longer reach than yours, which means once you get into their striking range, you risk getting hit before you can deliver your own blow.
So your best chance is to go out of their range and be elusive. Go left and right, use footwork, skip their punches, make them miss, and once the opportunity presents itself, BOOM! Hit them with a bomb! You will be amazed at how much damage can one very precise punch do to a chin.
#3- Speed is your ally
If you are fighting a bigger opponent, the chances are that they are slower than you. Use it to your advantage! In a striking exchange do not go toe-to-toe, put your ego aside and be smart and slick.
Don’t rely on your strength when you fight a bigger and taller opponent, use your lighter weight as an advantage, move faster, do a fast dance around them, don’t be a stiff stationary target.
Have you ever seen a mongoose fighting a venomous snake? They fight fast and explosive!
#4- Take your time to counter-attack
It’s your life we are talking about here, your survival. You never know what could happen if you get clipped in a street fight and get knocked out, you might get stomped and kicked while unconscious and suffer the damages for the rest of your life or even get killed.
So Take your time! Do not rush, do not get impatient and bite on your teeth and charge like a bull. Be in the moment, take your time, detect the pattern your opponent is using in his fight.
Detect their repetitive moves, strikes, head position. Then once you see the flaws, make your counter move.
If the opportunity does not present itself, don’t get frustrated. After all, if the fight goes longer it is in your advantage which brings us to number 5.
Such a deadly counter-attack needs pinpoint precision. There are several training methods to develop that skill, I personally love the reflex ball training method.
#5- Weather the storm
In life everything is ruled by relativity, nothing is 100% advantageous including being the bigger, taller, stronger opponent. The biggest your opponent is the more muscles and weight they carry, which is tiring.
In his book Fight Like a Physicist: The Incredible Science Behind Martial Arts Jason Thalkon explained that when you miss a punch it fatigues you more than when you hit your target. Big muscles need more oxygen, this is a fact. Weathering the storm is your best chance, make them work and move.
So make them miss!
Cain Velasquez (Former UFC Heavyweight champion) uses this strategy a lot against bigger and stronger opponents.
Most UFC heavyweights are over 6 ft 4 in (194 cm) while Cain Velasquez is a small heavyweight 6 ft 1 in (185 cm).
He successfully used this strategy against Junior dos Santos in their rematch when Cain made Junior work until he got tired and his power faded and his punches lost their snap then Cain picked him apart and gave him a world-beating and recaptured his UFC heavyweight title.
#6 – Use kicks
A taller opponent will always have a reach advantage, but you can neutralize this advantage by using your kicks. Naturally, legs are longer than arms, therefore even if your opponent is taller than you and he is just punching, your kicks will have more reach than his arms have.
The chances are that 99% of people don’t know how to kick properly, so if you are amongst the 1% who can kick it could be a game-changer.
Use push kicks to the body to keep your opponent at a distance until they get used to them and then use the same front kick but this time not as a push kick but as a snap kick to the chin.
This will be an extremely surprising strike to your opponent’s jaw since you are catching them off guard. This snap front kick has the potential of knocking out your opponent out cold regardless of their weight or strength.
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Anderson Silva used the same strike to defend his UFC middleweight title against Vitor Belfort in UFC 126.