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nielmag's picture
The Dirt In Fighting/Self protection

Was waxing nostalgic and pulled up an old Bill Superfoot Wallace fight. We all know Superfoot was a fantastic kicker who could throw multiple head kicks without putting down his leg. While watching this fight I was surprised to see how much "dirty" boxing was involved between two renowned kickers. The techniques weren't super clean, a lot of clinching and close in fighting, negating a lot of the kicks and Wallace even talks about how his opponent changed stances and that negated some of his kicking. My point in all this is if this happened in a consensual combat sport, imagine how much dirtier it would be in a real self protection situation!

Iain Abernethy
Iain Abernethy's picture

That’s a good fight to watch! There’s a wide range of skills shown in this bout. Great punching, kicking, clinching, limb control, etc. I also liked was the head height kicks from within punching distance (i.e. Bill Wallace 3:28) and even when gripping (Ray McCallum 3:48).

For the fighting side of things, throwing head height kicks within punching distance is something we like to work with i.e. position the feet under the jab and begin the kick while the hand is still out. The foot is therefore half way to the target as the jab is leaving. It frequently catches people who aren’t used to it … and having relatively short legs no one expects it from me :-)

As regards self-protection, once you shift the objective then everything else shifts with it. Two highly skilled competitors fighting to win has a very different dynamic from a criminal seeking to harm someone who trying to ensure their safety.

Rules try to “sculpt” the right kind of fight too. That’s so we can test a given skill set in a way that is also pleasing to spectators. As an example, I think these rules may demand a certain number of kicks per round. That way kickboxing can’t become regular boxing mid bout.

Self-protection is what it is and we have to train accordingly. I’d far rather watch the skill demonstrated in the above video though :-)

All the best,


PS As an aside, Bill Wallace is something of a hero of mine. As a kid, I was on holiday with my folks on a Scottish Island. I’m bored and looking around the only bookstore on the island to find something to read. I find a copy of Bill Wallace’s ‘Dynamic Stretching & Kicking’ and I’m amazed to find a martial arts book in this small book store on an island with no martial arts clubs. I then spend the rest of the holiday working my way through the stretches and kicking combinations. The book became my stretching bible for years.

nielmag's picture

Oh wow!  Great story!  I to this day still like watching some of the incredible things he could do.  Can't find the video but he said he wasn't the most powerful striker, most of his knockouts were when he could get people to walk into a punch/kick, more about timing.