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5 Effective Tips to Overpower and Crush Your Opponents Despite Your Size.

Updated: Dec 7, 2023



I'm a huge fan of Brock Purdy! When you watch Brock Purdy, the quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers, you can't help but notice his smallish frame. He looks small compared to the rest of the 49ers. By American standards, he's pretty average in size. He's 6 feet, one inch tall and weighs 220 pounds. But compared to the big men around him, he looks quite small. It probably explains why he was picked last in the 2022 NFL Draft, in spite of his incredible talent. His size makes a lot of people underestimate him. His off-the-field persona gives off that "nice, young man straight out of college" vibe that makes people judge him as non-threatening and therefore, easy to beat. But in spite of his size, Brock Purdy is the number one quarterback in the NFL. Believe it or not, Purdy is beating his opponents by using some of the same strategies that Bruce Lee used to crush his opponents. Yes, Brock Purdy and Bruce Lee have figured out a way to beat opponents who are bigger than they are. Here are five tips on how to win real fight, in spite of your size difference!


Tip 1: FOCUS ON SPEED


You need to develop and improve your reaction speed and movement speed.


A strong man wants to fight by using his number one advantage - his strength. To beat his strength, you have to use your advantage - your speed. You have to move faster and have faster reflexes. You must hit him solidly and effectively, while simultaneously avoid absorbing his power as much as possible. If a 250 pound male punches you in the face, and you're a lightweight, you're going to the hospital. Speed has a dual purpose: to hit him and not allow yourself to get hit. You don't want to get in a "trading blows" kind of fight, where you trade strikes and blocks back and forth. You will lose if he's stronger than you. You don't want to block his punches and kicks with your arms. He'll crash through your blocks and hit you, while breaking your blocking arms. You need to use your speed to evade his attacks and score fast hits on vital targets, like the eyes, throat, groin, and knees. How exactly do you get faster? Here's 5 tips:

  1. When training, maintain a loose and relaxed feeling in your body

  2. When training, use tactical breathing, which is using a sharp exhale whenever you make a movement, like a punch or kick

  3. Keep your head clear - Empty your mind

  4. Minimize muscular tension

  5. Don't think of fighting as one single movement at a time, like one punch at a time. Instead, think of fighting as combinations of offensive and defensive techniques that flow from one to another in one single line, and not stopping until your opponent is incapacitated. Like playing music or doing a choreographed dance routine.

At my academy, I teach my students how to improve speed on a daily basis. There are hundreds of drills and exercises for speed available. If you can find a Jeet Kune Do class near you, go for it. Jeet Kune Do emphasizes speed above all else. Here's my final tip on speed that you should write down: "Maximum speed with minimum tension." If you can manifest that concept into your training, your speed will improve.


Tip 2: LEARN TOUCH SENSITIVITY


You need to develop good touch sensitivity to neutralize his power. Sensitivity is one of the greatest advantages you'll ever have against a strong opponent.


How does sensitivity beat strength? Sensitivity is the ability to feel your opponent's intentions through physical contact. Sensitivity can take his power and redirect it away from you. In combat, you want to deflect and redirect his energy, while counter-attacking at the same time. Sensitivity will allow you to feel the open targets on his body and hit them immediately - without looking - and is therefore much faster. Once you develop good sensitivity, your physical touch becomes like a GPS that tells you where everything is on his body. In Jeet Kune Do, we train sensitivity as part of our Wing Chun program. Sensitivity is the opposite of blocking. Blocking absorbs 100 percent of his power, while deflection and redirection (the applications of sensitivity) absorbs zero percent of his power. You don't try to stop his power - your just send it away from you. Which do you think is the better choice?


The best way to learn sensitivity is to study Wing Chun, Jeet Kune Do, or Kali, which are the martial arts that emphasize sensitivity as a key part of their training. The best way to tell if a martial art trains sensitivity is if it fights in close range. Close range is the distance where you're close enough to tightly grab the back of your opponent's neck. That is very close. It's similar to wrestling range. In that distance, you can't see attacks coming - you have to use your sense of touch first, then respond quickly.


Tip 3: CONTROL DISTANCE WITH FOOTWORK


You need to control distance by using footwork.


There's a concept in combat that says the opponent who controls distance wins the fight. If you can close the distance on your opponent and hit him without getting hit, you win. If he tries to close on you and you keep evading and creating space, you win. The worst thing you can is stand there and become a stationary target. Your attacker will feast on you.


What is the proper distance between you and your opponent in a street fight? How far do you need to be? You need to control and maintain the distance wherein your opponent needs to take a BIG step towards you before he can touch you. Let's put it into context. A possible fight is about to happen. First thing you do, create an imaginary circle around you, like personal airspace. This is your airspace and you must protect it at all costs. Second, scan your attackers quickly. How tall are they? How long are their arms? How fast are they moving? Based on these three questions, you adjust your distance accordingly. As they try to close the distance on you, you want to intercept the nearest attacker with a punch or kick. Intercepting, not waiting, their attack with your attack is vital if you want to survive.


Never allow yourself to get within striking distance of your attacker without hurting him first. If you're in striking range and he's not hurt, you will get hurt. You can't see his attack coming because you're too close. Without a preliminary step in your direction, you can't see his attack coming and you can't intercept him. So always stay out of range until you decide to attack him first. When you move around, avoid retreating too much. If you're standing or retreating on his line of attack, which is a straight line from him to your center mass, you can fall backwards or he can tackle you. It's much better to circle around him, side step him, or take angled steps that flank him. Always keep your feet moving and avoid standing in the same spot. He will catch you if you stand still, so keep your feet moving like a lightweight boxer.


Tip 4: CREAT EXPLOSIVE FORCE


When you hit, you must use explosive force.


When you go on the offensive, make every hit count. As Bruce Lee said, "When you hit, you have to out your hip into it!" You can't waste time with weak, ineffective hits - you want to damage him, not piss him off. The goal is to produce what we call "explosive force" when you strike. Because we train as if we're the lightweight facing with a heavyweight, we want to use our whole bodyweight whenever we hit. This is what Jack Dempsey called bodyweight punching. This is the opposite of arm punching, which is what most people do. Arm punching is punching by using your arms only. Bodyweight punching means you use your 150 pounds in every hit you throw. Arm punching means you use 8-10 pounds of arm weight in every hit you throw. It's no wonder most people don't know how to produce knockouts.


Bodyweight punching starts with the kinetic chain, in which energy is generated from the ground using the feet and legs, and that energy is sent up to the hips, then the shoulders, then finally through the arms. The hands are the final exit point of that energy, which we send through our opponent's face or body. If you know how to use bodyweight punching, you can produce a lot of power. Bruce Lee weighed only 130 pounds, but he was able to perform freakish acts, like side kick his 300 pound heavy bag, sending it flying across the room and knocking out the man holding the bag for him. True story.


The formula for force, or explosive force in this case, is mass multiplied by acceleration. Since you can't change your mass, then the only thing you can do to affect the outcome is to increase your acceleration. To destroy your target with your strike successfully, you must have three things:

  • Acceleration to your target

  • Penetration into your target

  • Full structural stability upon impact to prevent self-inflicted damage

This means when you throw a right cross, for example, you have to speed up as you get closer to the target, you have to go through the target (past his face), and you have to get the proper alignment of your hand, wrist, elbow, and shoulder avoid injuring yourself as you punch. People don't understand that whenever you throw a punch at someone, you run the risk of breaking your hand, wrist, or even elbow. You have to line up your punch correctly using what we call The Power Line. I highly recommend reading Jack Dempsey's Championship Fighting: Explosive Punching and Aggressive Defense. Bruce Lee actually borrowed a lot his Jeet Kune Do concepts and techniques from Jack Dempsey's books.


Tip 5: DECEPTION


You need to learn how to use deception.


If you want to survive a street fight, you have to have a great set of fakes and cheats. Keep in mind we're not talking about a "fair fight," like in a tournament. We're talking about a real, no-rules street fight. If you fight a street fight the way you fight in a tournament, you're going to get killed. I can't tell you how many horror stories I've heard about people using Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in a street fight, and then getting destroyed when their opponent's buddies come from behind and smash their heads in with a beer bottle or worse, get stabbed from behind. Sport tactics don't work in the street, so avoid it. You have to be willing to do whatever it takes to beat your attacker and survive.


Bruce Lee didn't believe in using single direct attacks or SDA's to score a hit. An SDA is any single technique by itself, such as a punch or a kick.. He believed that the odds of an SDA scoring successfully were extremely low because your opponent can see your attack coming and defend. He believed that you needed to fake your way in first, before you could score. For example, if you want to kick the groin, fake high to his eyes first using your lead hand. This brings his defense up and opens the low line for a quick hit. If you just tried to kick someone in the groin without faking first, odds are you'd fail. Bruce Lee solved this problem by creating an entire sub-system in Jeet Kune Do dedicated to deception, feints, and false attacks. He called it Progressive Indirect Attack, or PIA. Whenever we attempt to score a hit on a target, we always set up a series of misdirections first. PIA is vast and could take a whole book to explain in detail.


If you understand the concept of disguising your objectives in a fight, by any means necessary, then you understand why deception can help you beat a bigger, stronger opponent. Don't telegraph your punches by pulling your arm back before you punch - he can see it coming and stop you. Don't chamber your kicks before you kick - he can see it coming and stop you. Your number one advantage when someone underestimates you is the surprise attack. Don't be obvious or predictable. Play weak and fragile, then when he drops his guard, hit him when he least expects it. Surprise him with a powerful explosive blow that sends him reeling and off balance. Never allow him to regain his balance. Don't stop attacking until he is incapacitated.


Avoid matching strength against strength, force against force, against a stronger opponent. You're going to lose. He chose you for a reason: he thinks he has an advantage over you. Punks, bullies and predators don't fight with people who can beat them because they are cowards by nature. They pick on people smaller than them. Most of these guys don't actually know how to fight, which is why they chose you. They rely on fear, threats, intimidation, and size. But if you can learn how to use and apply these five tips I've given you, you increase your chances of beating these troublemakers and gaining self-respect. You have it in you to succeed.


If you're interested in training with me, please contact me @ Tandez Academy:

Email: info@tandezacademyofmartialarts.com I teach group classes and private lessons.

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