Striking is an integral part of many martial arts and combat sports. This comprehensive guide to effective striking for MMA will provide you with fundamental techniques and advanced strategic concepts to become an elite dangerous and unpredictable striker. Whether you compete in mixed martial arts, kickboxing, Muay Thai or boxing, these core principles will elevate your striking skills.
Effective striking requires marrying proper technique with ring/cage craft, set ups, feints, footwork, angles and adaptable gameplans. First, fighters must ingrain the basic foundations into their muscle memory through endless repetitions. Once the fundamentals become instinctual, fighters can focus more on implementing strategic tools like feints, deception and angles. The keys are unpredictability, versatility and well-roundedness. The most dangerous strikers blend technical precision with creativity and fight IQ.
Proper Stance and Footwork Fundamentals
Stance and footwork provide the foundation for effective striking. Without proper balance, positioning and movement, techniques lose power and openings become harder to capitalize on.
Stance – Most fighters utilize a shoulder-width stance with staggered feet for optimal balance – lead foot pointed forward and rear foot angled approximately 30-45 degrees. This bladed stance keeps fighters compact while providing a strong balanced base to throw strikes. Distance between feet is key; too narrow compromises balance, and too wide makes movement sluggish. Practice holding a proper stance until it feels natural.
Footwork – Footwork controls positioning, angles and distance management. Always move your lead foot first when stepping sideways, forward or backward. This allows you to quickly plant your rear foot and throw powerful strikes from your stance. If you move your rear foot first, your stance and balance weaken, preventing you from capitalizing on openings. Practice basic footwork until it becomes second nature.
Controlling the Ring and Cage
Implementing footwork and angles to control the fight space is a hallmark of high-level striking. Fighters must learn to switch between pressuring aggressively and evading elusively seamlessly.
Cut off the ring or cage as the aggressor by steering opponents toward the ropes or fence. When in the centre, use 90-degree angles to trap them. In corners, use 45-degree angles to prevent escapes.
As the evader, use angles and footwork to avoid being pinned on the ropes or fence. Create openings by making aggressive opponents overcommit, then counterattack. Master both philosophies.
Feints and Angles
Feints and angles are essential tools for creating and capitalizing on openings. Used in conjunction with footwork and positioning, they become even more potent.
Feints – Feints provoke defensive reactions you can exploit. By disguising the first movements of strikes, you can bait and freeze opponents. For example, consistently feinting jabs or kicks causes hesitancy. Attack when they are frozen or second-guessing.
Angles – Attacking from angles makes you harder to hit while creating new openings. Step offline as you strike to change the centre line. This blinds opponents to attacks. Lead with one strike to change angles then finish combinations from new positions they can’t anticipate.
Setups and Deception
The most dangerous strikers blend repetitive patterns with unpredictability. Condition opponents with consistent techniques, then break patterns with deceptive strikes.
- Teep kick repeatedly to lower the opponent’s hands, then go over the top with punches
- Throw the same combinations then finish with unexpected strikes
- Disguise linear attacks as circular (fake a jab, throw an overhand)
The key is staying unpredictable by breaking tendencies you establish. Vary timing, positioning and footwork on repetitive techniques.
Clashing opposite stances presents unique challenges. Lead hand strikes down the open centre and outside foot position open angles. Trapping lead hands limits opponents. Uppercuts, open side kicks and checking inside leg kicks are useful tactics.
Mastering Effective Striking for MMA, Boxing & Muay Thai
The foundation is mastering stance, footwork, distance management and tight technique. Drill them relentlessly until reactions are instinctual. Then implement feints, deception, angles and unpredictable attacks. Great striking contains endless layers. Consistently put these tools into practice to elevate your game.
You can get world-class, comprehensive, striking instruction at Apex MMA, Muay Thai & Jiu-Jitsu. Try a free 7-day trial to take your skills to the next level.