Switching, Shifting and Creating Angles for Striking in Kickboxing

Coach Vince teaching angles for striking that is applicable across all forms of combat sports. The level of instruction and deep understanding of combat sports is what sets The Arena apart. There are plenty of pad holders, but being able to teach seamlessly from kickboxing range, to clinch fighting, to takedown, to ground dominance…that’s what real MMA coaches can do.


Coach Vince Salvador:
I’m going to just use my defense now, right. To get to pass them. So when he jabs me, I want to keep this hand up. Don’t do this… Because if he throws a spinning back fist, you go to sleep? Right. But I want to step into this same idea. But when I get around him, look, I want to stay behind him. Look how I switch my feet. I’m here.

I go to here, he backs up. I go to here. So I have the body shot. So if I go to here and he backs up, look… Now he bites down. Same setup, so it looks the same. And all I’m doing is this, my foot comes forward, shift with the punch. So think of it in a triangle here, there, like a… What do you call that? A zig-zag pattern almost. 

Sometimes I don’t even throw this… That first punch. He jabs long, he steps back… I just shift. All I do is step, step. If I want to put a thing in between it, I can go by here too. Over, under, straight. All three can go off that.

So when I go through it, right, I’ll do it for you guys, south paw. I shift and I go, hook, hook… Now I’m on this corner, when I shift, hook, hook, cross.

Excellent Coaches Fine Tuning Their Combat Athletes

There are levels to Combat Sports. Lots of “coaches” can make you tired, have you blast pads, and tell you you’re doing great. At the Arena our staff of coaches are professional coaches who are students of the game with DECADES of experience at all levels of the sport. They can not only teach fundamentals but they can see what is best for each person individually and actually employ strategy based off the fighters natural abilities, body type, opponents etc. There’s a difference in what we do and it has been proven in hundreds of competitions for over a decade.


Coach Joe Vargas:
A hook needs to be wide because you’re inside. You’re going to create that power right here. That one. I’ll have my hand up. Right? One, two, and then from here, this hand has to come behind my gloves. Boom. So this one has to be wide and turn your hip on it.


So, here, push me off a little bit. Push me off. So, you open me up, right? I’m open right there. Look at those ribs. Boom, reload, boom, and look how far your head is for me. So, once you’re that far from me, I’m coming wide.

Coach Vince Salvador:
And so a little more advanced movement for you guys off the shoulder feint. One, two, right? Same shoulder feint. Now, look. Here. Now he thinks everything’s down the middle because I threw the one-two, right? So block down the middle. Block down the middle. Look. Now I go, one, shoulder feint. I’ll come around. Watch my foot. Watch my foot again. Two, shoulder feint. Get it. Watch your shoulder. And I’m already set up for the kick.

Coach Basheer Abdullah:
You’re giving your opponent the space to throw the long shots. Almost like what Stephan was doing today. He was jabbing down, throwing across, and he popping out against a guy with long hands and he was catching him every time. So I say, “Sit in the pocket. Just throw your hands up and smother the shot.”

Okay? So he started doing this, boom. Like this versus popping out. Okay? Creating the space for the long, cross along jab.

Coach Charles Martinez:
So, he’ll bring his knee up and either drive his toes in or, if you give him more space, he’ll chamber his leg out. So it’s just the angle of his knee that he’s using because he can bring his knee up and then turn it, and he does it all the time. So, it’s just a lot of knee positioning.

Yeah. And then chamber it, yeah. So a lot of that is just decided by how much space you give. So, sometimes you’ll see he’ll slide from this leg and sidekick, and that’s because there was more space.

Using Hand Feints to Set Up Targets for Hard Kicks

Coach Chuck shows some hand feints to break the rhythm of combinations and open up spots to land hard kicks at the ends of your punches, and also minimize the chance of being countered. Apply these concepts to your Kickboxing and MMA arsenals.


Coach Charles Martinez:
So I feint the jab, I show the two, my body’s already angling. I’m trailing the same side head kick behind the two, because a lot of times the reaction you get from the two is this, right? That’s the area I’m trying to kick in. So I show the jab, I show the two, and then I trail the kick right behind my two.

I’m throwing the two directly at their face, but the upper part of my body’s leaning as I throw the two. So I have this opening over my hips to kick over with. I can’t go feint, two, kick. Doesn’t make any sense. It’s stupid. Right? I show the jab. I throw the two, my body’s leaning, and I kick right behind my glove.

So I feint the jab to his eye, so that by time it leaves his eyes, the other punch should be there already. If I just go … Like this is, it’s still a feint, but it’s a misdirection. I want him to look at this so I can land here. Right now I’m just feinting just above his eyes, so I can touch here, so I can touch here. So point it at him so all he sees is glove, and when the glove leaves, the other punch is there already.

A lot of times I know that they’re going to chase me this way, so the kick should be draping in behind me. I don’t want to go hup, hup, hup, and then just be right here for the counter. Hup, hup, hup. What happens is you’re so worried about the angle of the kick that you just start going … and launching it, which is just the head kick, but it’s none of the feint, none of the setup. So show this, you get him to react to this, your hip’s leaning, and then kick over it.

Understanding WHY You Are Learning Specific Fighting Techniques

Having a deeper understanding of the “WHY” you are learning certain techniques will greatly increase retention. It’s easy to go practice a bunch of moves and get a workout, but fighting involves strategy and understanding of possible outcomes. Here Coach Chuck discusses with his Kickboxing class some of the finer points that affect students’ learning/application of techniques.


Coach Charles Martinez:
Not every single one is for every single person or every single scenario. You may take away from that, “Oh, this one and this one,” and then maybe a long time down the line, you’re like, “Oh, I get it now. I see now this person doesn’t give me that step, or this person, I just show it and they take a step away.” Well, now these options are gone because those are short options. So the right weapon for the job. Sure, you could kick off of that. If you go, “Hey, can I kick off this?” I’ll probably go, “Sure. Depends. What did they do?”

You don’t always get to choose. If they crowd you, then there’s weapons that are short. If they pull, there’s weapons that are long. You don’t always get to decide in your head ahead of time, “I’m going to do this and this.” It just doesn’t work that way. You show something, they give you space, and that’s just your feelers out there finding, “What’s the right tool for this person?” The beginning part of the round, beginning part of the fight, you’re just analyzing their reactions. You should be setting the traps then. “Oh, every time I do this, you go that way?” That should start to register. Sometimes it’s a list, sometimes they’re all applicable. Depends on your skill level. Sometimes all you got was jab, left kick. “Oh, okay. I got it. That’s where you were. It’s fine.” It’s just planting a seed for later. Thank you. Thank you.

Using Feints and Level Changes to Land Punches in Kickboxing

Here Coach Vince teaches his Kickboxing class how to use feints and changing levels of your punches to create responses from your opponent, as well as create openings to shift. We pride ourselves on providing a higher level of instruction than most places. Come in and find out why our members stay with us so long.


Coach Vince Salvador:

If I start turning my shoulder, his hands will come up. You can use this in boxing, use it in MMA, kickboxing, whatever, because he has to respect my shoulder feint, because a lot of things can come from here. I can go here, and go here, go here. A lot of different things. If my body turns, it’s hard for him to see it. But if I just go, he’s going to throw the hardest overhand of his life, and I’m going to probably fly backwards. But if I can use this… Look what his body does when I do this? He compresses. That’s how that works. Again, down, one, shoulder feint, one, shoulder feint. Now, that everything was coming out of the middle, his hands come to the middle. I go around the gloves.

See, this is where I need to wedge myself. Look. If I’m punching when I’m moving here. Watch. Even if he throws the right hand, look. I want to be right here. Now, I can throw the hook and everything else. That shoulder line sells a lot, because, look, if I do this… Throw the right hand. Look, I can move. He didn’t even see me switch my feet. All from the upper body motion. Also, this is one I throw a lot. Look, throw the cross. My body’s switching, but it’s all from this shoulder line. Look. A little more advanced movement for you guys off the shoulder feint. One, two. Same shoulder feint now. Look. Here, now, he thinks everything’s down the middle, because I threw the one, two.

So, block down the middle, block down the middle. Look. Now, I go one, shoulder feint, I’ll come around. Watch my foot. Watch my foot again. Two, shoulder feint. Good. Watch your shoulder. And I’m already set up for the kick, look. Try it out. Down the middle. Yeah. Shoulder feint. You can land this all day. If this guy starts doing this… You know what I’m saying? If his hands come down, especially if he thinks you’re going to shoot. All right. So, If you go two first to the body, and now you shoot. Now, the second time he comes around, I don’t know what the fuck’s coming. It could be a body shot or a shot. Now, I go here.

Michael Chandler, a lot of guys are using this shifting, the steps to that right foot, right foot to the outside. But that’s just a simple way to set it up. Get to that level change through the body. Because, look, even if I do this… Yeah. Now. Yup. Good angles.

The Arena Combat Sports Gym Programs

With more than 100 classes a week, The Arena offers programs to train you no matter what fighting style you prefer. We have daily classes in Boxing, Kickboxing, Muay Thai, Jiu Jitsu, Submission Grappling, Wrestling, Judo, MMA and Strength and Conditioning. Come check it out for yourself.

Varying Angles of Attack for MMA and Kickboxing

Here Coach Chuck shows some simple angles from footwork. These options vary from sport to sport and our coaches are well versed in the differences of Boxing, Kickboxing, Muay Thai, and MMA. Knowing the options for each sport are critical. Angles of attack are important in all types of battles. Superior angles set people up for success.


Coach Charles Martinez:
I throw the jab, I throw the reset. As he advances, I step, circle. My lead foot should be pointing outside of his feet, but I don’t want to do this. I don’t want to go… Because now his line beats my line. All right, so from the jab, pendulum, retraction, my lead foot’s pointing outside. I can just sit here and start throwing. If my foot faces the wrong angle, my hips face the wrong angle, he just has to open his foot slightly and he’s winning the line.

All right? So you jab inside, step, pivot… See how his lead foot’s pointing outside my lead foot? Everything’s lined up for him to throw. The only thing I can do is spin. That’s the only option I have. Let’s go.

You could even carry that post into the collar tie. Right? So if I get to here and I go here, I can start to collar tie here. I can even start… Sometimes I can get to here and swim, and now I’m locked up. Right? All because I was outside the hand… If I was really tight here, he could elbow me. Right? But here, even if he tries, it creates this pummel.

The knee is there, elbows are there, especially from that step through the right hand.

Yeah, if you just frame the head, elbow is there, then you can start trying to eliminate the arm, but that’s just from keeping the head off.

Jab, inside leg, kick, retract, right hand. I step, my foot is just outside of his foot. I don’t grab plump. I don’t grab the head. If I grab the head, it tells him to clinch. But he just defended the right hand, I slot machine, and then from there, there’s a million options. But the big thing is I get that first knee. All right? I throw the right hand, I step, I’m just outside his foot, my hips are lined up, my hand goes to the top of the head, other hand comes in, slot machine, and I’m off.

The right hand is defended… So right hand, slot machine, then I get all those same pummels, all those same options. And if I need to, I just pivot off that foot because my foot’s already outside of his foot. So if all I get is the knee and pivot, then I can just stay softball too.

How and Why to Break Your Rhythm in Kickboxing

What you throw may not be as important as how you throw. Everyone is throwing the same strikes, but changing your rhythm, feinting and faking make it difficult for your opponent to react. Here Coach Vince Salvador shows how to vary combinations to increase your likelihood of landing.


Coach Vince Salvador:
I have one, feint, one two. And I make it look like I’m going to kick by looking down for a second. Right? So, that’s two different feints. Head feint, a visual feint. All right? Now he thinks low is coming. I go high. So I looked down, punch high. So again, hit him with the first jab. Second one I feint. There. When his leg comes down, I fire on that leg or I just keep continuing with my hands. Right? Depending on the situation where he’s at, but now I’ve layered my attack. So the first one. Right? Second one. Now he’s knows that blocking. Now he knows so he’s blocking. I go one there, feint, chop back into that leg. So again, one, big feint. Here look down. Two, three. Low kick or two, three body shot, wherever you guys want to go with it. Right? So again, one, big feint, look down, two, chop. Right? Try it up. Good. So watch. Like look down for a second. All right? So I got one, feint, look down.

So when I set everything up, his legs like start to come up. You don’t have to extend that jab. I can go here, but I can go one, feint, two. Right? I can use the feint to throw my power to set up the hook. So I can go look one, feint, two, three. So you can alter it for your body style, right? For your body type. So I don’t have to go one, big feint, one, two, three. Sometimes I can go one, big feint, two, three, chop.

So go right into it.

Coach Vince Salvador:
So try going into that right after that. It’s a one, feint, two, three, low kick. Closing your eyes ain’t going to help you with the blocking. Got to keep your eyes open. Elbows down. Look at my elbows. So if I’m relaxed, my shoulders don’t burn and I can control everything I do. But if I’m here every time he punches now, I make a big reaction. Now look, all of this is open. Right? But if I’m right here relaxed and he punches, whatever he throws, I’m relaxed. So if he goes for his drill, he goes one, feint, one. Right? I’m still looking right at him. Again. Again. You see how that reaction helps him build his reactions. You see what I’m saying?

Look at my elbows. So if I’m relaxed, right? I don’t, my shoulders don’t burn and I can, I can, I can control everything I do. But if I’m here every time he punches now, I make a big reaction. No, look, all of this is open, but if I’m right here with, and he punches whatever he throws, I’m relaxed. So if he goes for his drill, he goes, one thing, one, I’m still looking right at him again. Yeah. You see how that reaction helps him build his reactions. You shouldn’t turn.

Kickboxing Sparring Session at The Arena

Sparring is a tricky game. For the novice that wishes to get a deeper understanding technical sparring will really make you appreciate the learning. Fighters will inevitably have to get tested in sparring before battle. There needs to be a balance of hard sparring to test your toughness, and technical sparring to build technique. We may go too hard sometimes, but we would rather our fighters be tested in the gym long before they get tested under the lights.

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