Extra-evasive opponents, whether in the gym or the ring, can be such a hassle to hunt down. Don’t let your emotions take charge in this situation! Stay calm, stay focused & follow these steps. . .
HUNTING THE “RUNNERS” WITHOUT EMOTION
There are few things more irritating than throwing a strike and missing. The more often it happens, the more annoying to you it becomes.
Whether it’s your opponent’s fear of getting hit or their “style” of making you miss, there are always going to be people who back up almost the entire time during sparring and fighting.
While backing up isn’t necessarily a bad thing to do, now you’re stuck with the task of hunting them down. If you’re feeling annoyed, your emotions are in control. Emotions lose fights, people.
There are a few ways to deal with people who try to be evasive (some perhaps a bit too much), so take a deep breath and don’t fret.
DON’T… GET EMOTIONAL.
When you get emotional, you start throwing crazy things you weren’t trained to throw. “Reckless abandon” is a phrase that’s applicable here. What many fighters do is start running after and chasing the evasive opponent.
If this person is used to backing up, you’re playing into their game, especially if they’re a counter fighter. You’ll get tired and look like a charging bull (not in a good way).
Stay calm and instead of chasing, let them come to you. Stay in front of them but avoid moving forward unless you absolutely have to. This way, they will have to come to you if they want to hit you.
However, that method doesn’t work for everyone. Some will continue standing there, waiting for you to go to them as you’re waiting for them to go to you. This is a recipe for a very boring and inactive round.
DO… USE YOUR HANDS.
Now, you will have to go forward, but do so in a smart manner (i.e. don’t chase!)
Take small steps so you’re closing the distance in a way that’s not too obvious. When you get close enough, use your hands to set up a combination.
Using the hands first is very important method because it blocks their vision. Even if a punch doesn’t land, they won’t be able to see as clearly where you are in comparison to them, so you are able to land kicks. If they lean back to avoid the kicks, always go for the body.
DO… FEINT & TRAP.
Do learn how to do different feints and how to use them correctly. When you feint, many will show tells of what they would do if it weren’t a feint. From here, you can exploit either how their body is positioned or which direction they end up in.
Or, you don’t have to do anything at all and show them that nothing happened. However, if you do throw feints in regularly, they may not be able to tell what’s what and what will happen next, which can really mess up their movement. Feinting can also help you close the distance between you and them, allowing you to finally land a strike or two.
In addition to feints, you can do your best to trap them against the ropes or in a corner. Here, they have nowhere to back up to. If they try to circle out, cut them off by standing right in front of them as they move. Alternatively you can throw a kick so they, in a way, “walk into it.”
Having them “trapped” is a surefire way to allow you to finally hit them with little worry of you missing.
Train smart and use your opponents’ own actions against them, and you’ll be able to hit those who don’t want to be hit at all.
- Plant-based fighter, foodie, and aspiring physical therapist. Angela is currently living in Bangkok and training full time.