T.A.P.S. – 4 Principles for Every Fighter

T.A.P.S. – 4 Principles for Every Fighter

Anyone in the world knows how to throw a punch or a kick.  It is in our body mechanics that makes this possible.  They are tools God has provided us to defend ourselves in the event we need to fight to survive.  But what sets the average human being and a dedicated fighter?  Experienced and proven fighters throughout history have common characteristics that make them great. 


Anyone can throw a punch or a kick and call themselves a fighter.  But it takes much more than just being able to throw something to make you stand out among the crowd; you need technique.  It is the basic foundation on how all elements of fighting are formed.  Technique is about execution and control.  Without it, other elements in a martial art or other fighting style such as boxing remain ineffective, or worse yet, useless.  Technique involves more than just striking, however.   

First, you need to focus on your stance.  You need to know how you are positioned.  Make sure you have proper balance.  Your body should be centered in a way in which you can strike, move, and defend effectively.

Movement is the next thing you should focus on when thinking about technique.  Movement applies to striking and defense, but it also applies to how you handle yourself in the ring.  There are two types of movement; stationary and dynamic. 

Stationary is defined as staying in one place.  In the martial arts, we call that flat footed.  When you are flat footed, you are a much easier target, because you will react much slower than your opponent.  If your opponent blitzes you from across the ring, your reaction time will be greatly reduced, and you will get hit.   However, stationary positions can have their place in a fight.  They help overcome fatigue and give you some time to reenergize, but do this sparingly and only do this when you know you will not get hit. 

Dynamic movement is defined by keeping light on your feet and moving around the ring when fighting.  Doing this will help you get out of the way of attacks and will help you react faster than just stationary positions.  This type of movement will also give you an advantage by keeping your attacker guessing.  Do not stay in one constant movement though, like hopping up and down in the same spot.  You need to mix it up and break up your timing.  You have a better chance of winning.  Just remember, there is one drawback to this type of movement.  You will get fatigued more quickly.


With technique as your basis, you can learn to achieve accuracy.  It’s one thing to have proper technique, but you also need to have the ability to aim.  Just throwing punches without having any idea on what you are aiming for will make you a vulnerable target.  It also encompasses when and how to strike. 

If you were to shoot at a target that is 300 meters away, but you are using a .22 handgun, chances are, you will not hit your target.  But if you have a 7mm rifle, you have a better chance of hitting that target the way you intended.

The same is true in the martial arts, accuracy is about aiming and hitting your intended target, such as a hook to the jaw, but it also focuses on what technique to utilize for that intended target.  If you were to throw a spinning hook kick at a stationary opponent, it would be ineffective at best.  He will see it coming and evade or deflect it.  However, if you were to use the spinning hook kick as a counter, such as against a round kick, you have a much better chance to hit your opponent.  Knowing when and how to use your technique is just as important as knowing technique.


What is accuracy and technique without power?  If you can hit your opponent with precision, but do not hit with powerful blows, you will not be able to dominate.  You have never seen someone get knocked out or buckle over because of a powerless punch to the jaw or a light sidekick to the body.  If you want to control the outcome of the fight, there needs to be some power behind those accurate techniques.


Finally, let’s talk about speed.  Speed is about how fast something goes from point A to point B.  It is also another essential characteristic in a fight.  Having perfect technique with power and precision is useless if you are too slow to hit your opponent.  Speed is important in a fight, but not just speed by itself, but explosive speed.  When you execute this type of speed in your strikes, it will give your opponent less time to react. 


Being a fighter and/or martial artist, takes years of practice and is a life long journey.  There are many elements that make a great fighter, but these four principles are an essential foundation to develop yourself.

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