View Full Version : Height/Weight disadvantage?
03-10-2003, 08:15 PM
Hey I'm a fairly small guy.. I'm maybe 5'6 and 155 lbs.. I'm fairly new to Karate and one thing (of many) that I'm unclear on is how to fight/spar with larger/stronger people than I?
I just seem to suffer from lack of reach. Should I be trying to concentrate on speed in and out of the range? Should I go for lower attacks?
Can anyone share their experiences here?
03-10-2003, 09:37 PM
Well, unfortunately, as is often the case, there is no magic bullet for your problem. However, here are some things to try.
If you practice Goju Ryu or Shorin Ryu, the concept of moguri can be very useful in your fighting. Although I am about 6ft. tall, I had a fellow student who was 6' 8", and he gave me all sorts of trouble. Then I figured out his weakness so at least it was then a fair fight. Moguri is the rising and sinking found in many karate schools. Against a taller foe I used to sink into a very low crouch. This makes tall people uncomfortable punching down and out toward you, understandibly this opens their low and midsection targets and brings their heads down... to... you.
If you sink low enough and pretend to be very stupid, they will invariably kick at your head almost on command. Well, if you work on the elements of perception and timing with a friend, this makes defeating a person very easy. They are standing on one leg going for the big one, and they find it, just not in the way they expected.
Now you said you were new to karate, so some of this will definitely take time. Also, I am talking about jissen (totally free) kumite with few rules. If you are doing point sparring, then taller longer people just have an advantage as the rules tend to favor them.
Something else to do is to work with a buddy on linear range. Work on using your shoulders, hips, and FEET, to really be able to make fine gradations in your reach and extension. Taikyoku kata is the king of this practice in my opinion (let the flames begin), but you have to go beyond the robot work. Also play with an opponent and find out how much you have to move to just skim their attack, counter attack before they put their foot down or recover their balance. Play with eyesight. Find out how you can counter in a way that your hand or foot is not seen it is felt. Learn to use your spine, knees, hips, ankles to make small changes in distance that add up to big advantages. I can't make detailed descriptions. Also, don't try to hit your opponent. Your foe can detect this desire in subtle ways and it gives you away every time. Desperation stinks to high heaven on the mat.
Finally, combine all of these things. Speed isn't really necessary in sparring unless you are fighting someone who is damn near your equal in every respect. Timing, distance, rhythm, PATIENCE, these are your allies. Unfortunately, fighting against the clock doesn't really help any of these endeavors when you are a beginner.
All of these things have to do with deception. Deception is the key to victory for the warrior who goes home at the end of the day. This is the great, grand secret of the masters; they cheat. :p
Most of this is painstaking hard work, it is not learn it in a day kind of stuff. Whether you look for it in kata or more modern sport training, it is all there. Good luck.
03-11-2003, 05:20 AM
Put some muscle on and develop very fast direct forward movements. Learn to sweep/unbalance and learn as many forms of irimi (entering ) as possible. By using good timing learn to move close in, unbalance/sweep/throw your opponent. Once he is on the ground his hight advantage has gone. The extra muscle is necessary to enable you to throw/pull him off balance and to act as protection in case you do get caught.
I am speaking from experience here, but from the point of view of the larger person. Higaonna sensei has done all of the above things to me. If you allow the taller opponent to dictate the distance then he will always have an advantage as he can use his longer legs and arms more efficiently.
03-11-2003, 09:03 AM
and more speed. Be fast to attack and even faster to retreat.
Cover your head and face since that is the taller man's easiest target.
Hit hard each time you get in since you'll have fewer attacks that can get past longer limbs. Your worst opponent is the tall skinny guy who's also fast.
03-11-2003, 11:17 AM
My final opponent at the 2001 AAU N.C. State Championships(novice) was over 6'8 and about 280+. I'm 6ft and on the video it likes a child versus a man.:D
I was totally intimidated!:eek:
I had sparred with some BIG fellas but this guy was a giant and a deputy Sheriff.
I looked at my coach and she just smiled and said you know what to do.
I did, and backed out of bounds three times!
After that I knew I had to take it to him, so I just used tai-sabaki and reverse punch, cleariing his treetrunk of an arm. One kakegeri later I could take the match.
Now I enjoy sparring with big fellas, It's the little guys I have a hard time with.;)
03-11-2003, 05:00 PM
Thanks for the tips everyone. Wise words from everyone.
As a last resort I'm just gonna have to try and grow another 5-8 inches... ;)
03-11-2003, 05:55 PM
Become a master of the bob & weave constantly move not only your feet but mostly your upper body & head "all the time".
03-11-2003, 08:59 PM
Do not believe or trust everything you hear or read, especially from people you do not know. Some of the information presented to you in this thread is excellent and some of it is not. Training with a good Sensei, doing what you are told the way you are told to do it, working on your on, and time, lots of time, will be your best methods of improving your spirit and skill. There are no secret methods. Just train, train, and train some more, and you will find what you need. Size does not matter when the spirit is strong! Good Luck!
03-11-2003, 10:57 PM
Originally posted by CEB
Ummmm ...... we are talking about karate right?
I know big guys seem intimidating, but if you listen to your instructor, he will show you the weakness that can be exploited in the way your style does it.
Myself, I like it when one of those long legs go stretching out there, sidestep very close, let it go by, move in immediately and do whatever sweep, strike, remove organs ....... But that is what I was taught, to fit me within my style. With punches I like to get inside and under his arms so his vision is blocked. Now guys smaller than me is another story. They can do all the above to me. I'll take the big guy everytime. Much easier. They make a bigger thud when they hit the ground too!
Ceteris paribus, size matters.
Originally posted by Howard2k
... I'm unclear on is how to fight/spar ...
These two things are not necessarily that closely related. I guess it depends on how you approach keiko.
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