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damien trainor

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Controlling Your Opponent – Tempo

02 Oct Posted by in Blog | 7 comments

There are a lot of tricks in the fight game that can enable you to control your opponent. The more experienced your opponent is the harder it is to do but never the less it can be done and is an exceptional skill if you can master it.

One that I’ll go over now is your tempo; tempo is the speed that the fight is fought at. Taking control of the pace of the fight puts you in charge of what’s happening. This without a doubt is one of the most important things to try and do when you’re in the squared circle.

I don’t mean you have to go 110mph from the word go as it may be that you need to take the tempo down a bit. At times during a fight you may need a little breather, so this is the perfect time to slow the pace down.

This may sound daft but if you stay in control you won’t really feel tired throughout the contest. You generally only start to feel tired when you’re put under pressure or haven’t trained. Even then I believe if you’re strong minded and don’t put pressure on yourself for not having trained and can remain in control of the fight, you probably won’t feel the pace at all. However I must stress you never try this theory out, always train and prepare accordingly!

If you’re fit enough to go 110mph for five rounds then go for it, there are some fighters that can do this and are very successful with it.

Speeding the fight up, as you can guess, is very straight forward. You basically just pick the tempo up, attack more; press forwards etc slowing one down is more tricky.

I’ve been brought to the centre of the ring many times and been face to face with all types of personalities from very nervous to very confident and those who just want to go berserk on me.

A trick for the ones who you can tell will come steaming into you is to literally start the fight slow whilst staying calm.

This will generally bring their tempo down; they will start the same as you. This sometimes won’t happen; they may still fly at you. Again remain calm, don’t panic and just start going mental back as you will be putting them in control of the fight; if you need to move then move.

For myself I will asses how I’m being attacked, if it’s with their hands I will wait for an opening and bang in a few hard shots to make them step off. I still remain at a slow tempo except when I attack, as long as my positioning remains slow and I’m in charge they will slow down.

Same principles apply for any technique not just hands. Just make sure your defence is tight and return to your position after each attack, controlling the pace and maintaining the speed that you wish to fight at.

When the contest is in full flow there are subtle tricks to slow them down. If you just stop completely then you will get swarmed on, so you have to keep busy within reason. As I said you can use this time to get breathers, it wouldn’t be much of a rest if you were doing too much.

Slight faints, occasional jabs or front kicks will still give the illusion you’re dangerous. This stops them from being over confident and wading in, enabling you to bring the fight down to a pace you’re happy with until you’re ready to step it up a notch.

A lot of my training is based on recovery so these split second breathers I grab are enough, sometimes that’s all you need.

There are hundreds of tricks of how to control your opponent, a lot of them you’ll find out through experience yourselves but I’m planning on highlighting some of them from time to time.

Remember the fight game is uncertain so if you’re a one trick pony then you’re going to struggle; it’s important to have a few tricks up your sleeve and I’ve certainly picked up a few over the years.

Please feel free to add your own experiences to do with this, as I’m always interested and open to new ideas. I believe you will never stop learning.

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  • Mick Howarth says:

    In my last fight I was doing the whole subtle slowing down thing, as my opponent was relatively young and came out hard and fast. Unfortunately for me he made his work count early. Even though one of my ribs was broken in two, I had felt stronger & fitter in the moments before I called it quits because of the pacing and I could tell he was gassing badly. Kudos to him for the rib smashers, though. It’s all part of the game. I love it!

  • Fire Shin says:

    This is amazing, DT! This is one thing i’ve always struggled with and you’ve made it sound much more clearly as to why I can get ‘swarmed’ so much! I tend to stop when 1) Im out of breath or 2) The main one…..waiting to see what the opponent is going to do and 3) not wanting to get hit so keep ok ng my guard up for to long!

    Thanks, DT. You’ve just broken one of my barriers down!

  • Meli says:

    My first fight I had I wud like to think of it as the “best but worst ” one I had so far !a few Days before the fight I had this whole WRONG idea on how am gonna get in the ring ,play a bit of a mindgame , try intimidate my oppornent ! But my main precision was to finish the fight in the first round !As daft as it sounds , personaly I think it all went horribly wrong ! HOW?? I put all my energy on that first round , had him down twice and even gave him an 8count ! But he still stood up marched forward for 5 rounds ! Since then the whole game plan aproach before a fight has never made any good sence to me !!!Damien Can you please colaborate on this if you can because its one of those pre-fight sort of a retuals that has always bugged me !!!!!

    • Trainor says:

      You can’t go into a fight with only one plan. Mainly because if it doesn’t work your frigged basically.

      Try and think of it as “you need a hundred answers to one question.”

      So if your plan was to stop him in the first but was unable to, then you have to have a back up plan.

      • Meli says:

        Yeh I understand that clearly you can’t go in the ring with one gameplan that’s a bit daft lol! You ve sed time and agen how the more fights the more experience yuh get ! But for someone like maself am still finding it hard to actually controll and maintain my composure let alone control my opponent !!!! Which methods do you think I should really learn to apply ??????

        • Trainor says:

          You have to learn to control yourself before you can control others. You don’t have to always hit hard during a fight or even land the perfect shot every time. Just try to hit him consecutively in your next mate.

  • JS1 says:

    Personally – if someone wants to run up on me and get wild, my first reaction is to go ‘Toe2Toe’ and see what happens. (probably not the best idea – although it does work sometimes)
    The idea of ‘fighting your own fight’ and taking control of the pace makes a lot of sense – but like you say it’s much easier said than done – and generally the guys who are good at this, will most likely have many many years of fight experience.
    Im looking forward to the next update – keep them coming!

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