30 November 2010

Do Power Strikes Reign Supreme Over Combinations?

There is an ongoing discussion between the merits of using predominantly powerful strikes or combinations. But what is the end aim for striking a person? It is to knock the attacker/opponent out. Depending on your view, it could be to stop an attack. Both have slight nuances as to their differences but they can be bunched together as the meaning is almost the same.

A brief explanation is provided for each position and then a video showcasing each approach is offered to better highlight how each approach is applied. The power approach is provided by a high level Muay Thai match and the combination approach is provided by an Ernesto Hoost highlight video.



The power camp believe that each strike thrown should only ever be thrown if it is intended to knock out the attacker. They do not want to waste effort by throwing a technique that is not intended to knock the attacker out as it may be intercepted and countered if it lacks intent. It also wastes energy.

The powerful striker will also place fear in the minds of the attacker as the strikes are felt. They are indeed powerful. There is more fear in facing an opponent who really wants to knock your head off rather than just score points...

Initial strikes can be difficult to land. Here, the power fighter will need to learn more of the subtleties of combat such as stop hits, feints, draws, counters and other higher level tactics to land their powerful strikes.

Some in the combination camp feel that people who always strike with power may lose balance and their composure if their strikes miss the mark. This is not always the case. The video below highlights this...

Below is a video that showcases the power approach. It is of one real Muay Thai match. It is high end Muay Thai and demonstrates the power approach well.

An excellent example of power striking


The combination camp believe that it is difficult to land the first strike. Other strikes are thrown in an attempt to set up further strikes by encouraging the defender to defend a certain way to allow strikes to other areas in. In some sports matches, this approach is used to score points.

The combination approach can overwhelm a defender as the strikes just keep coming. The defender can be apprehensive of another long and confusing combination attack being launched again.

Often, the combination fighter will not utilise as many tactics such as feints and draws as the power fighter but will instead use their own techniques to prompt reactions from the defender which aims to open up the defender for the combination fighter to land strikes at will on various parts of the body.

Some in the power camp feel that people who use combinations lack knock out power. This is not always the case. The video below highlights this...

Below is a video that showcases the combination approach. It is a highlight video of Ernesto Hoost. It shows the good combination fighter striking certain areas and then striking other, now open areas.

An excellent example of combination striking

So, what approach do you feel has more merit, the power striking approach or the combination approach? Leave your comment below.

Image via lecercle

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  1. If we move it to a self-defense setting against an untrained attacker I would go the power route if I could: get it over quickly.

    However, a combo approach might work better against someone who knows how to fight.

    BTW that combo video shows that a combo fighter can throw with a lot of power!

    I tend to favor counter-punching and combos but that's not to say it's the best approach.

  2. I also favour the power route Bob. Yeah, it can be harder to get them to land on target. Thats why I try and use feints and set ups as much as I can in everything that I do. There was actually some really fine skill shown in that Power video. Not to take anything away from Ernesto. Damn he is an impressive fighter...

  3. It's entirely possible to throw hard blows in combination: in boxing it is said each punch should be thrown in such a manner as to never lose balance and finish each technique so as to be in a good position to throw another. Powerful blows aren't always necessary though (especially the jab which is used pretty much as a feeler to detect openings in an opponen't guard), however once you penetrated his defenses strike as hard possible and aim for the knockout. A knockout is still the fastest and quickest way to end a fight, whether in the ring or on the street. My view is that when in the proper range you should always throw powerful techniques coupled with fakes: it's no use to throw weak hits since they won't do much even when they land but at the same time the punches should still be controlled enough not create gaps in the guard. When you hit make it count but keep yourself protected so no 'one shot one kill' karate attacks which'll result in catastrophy if they fail.

  4. Anon, good points. I think a combination (no pun intended), of power striking mixed in with feints and draws etc. is the better approach.


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