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Setting Deadly Traps With Jake Mainini

Setting Deadly Traps With Jake Mainini


Fighting is not all about striking as hard as you can. More so, it is the art of finding an opening to attack. Throughout a fight your opponent will inevitably create openings on his own, but it is all the more useful when you can prompt him to open up and be expecting it.

When your opponent goes for a strike, a counter is your most likely way to capitalize on an opening. However there are many tricks to setting intentional traps to get your opponent to open up without sacrificing damage to yourself.

In this video, Jake Mainini gives a particular example of this by setting traps to counter a lead hook. Check it out below!


Jake explains that to set this up, he is going to start his combination with a simple one-two. In doing so, he is not really committing to the punches, but is using them to enter the pocket, back out, and then bait his opponent in. As his opponent leaps in with a big hook, Jake plans to beat him with some of his shorter shots.

For the first combination, Jake steps into the pocket landing a short jab and cross, and then steps out. As his opponent dives in with a left hook, Jake protects his head with his right hand, and jumps into the opening to strike with a left elbow to the head. Jake states that if you step in while your opponent is throwing a hook in this scenario, your momentum is going to beat him and you are going to land the elbow every time.

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Typically as someone is moving forward and striking you, it can be expected that you are going to step back and do your best to slip or block strikes. By stepping in at the same time as your opponent, you effectively diminish the power of his strike, while also being able to block and counter.

Jake sets up this next combination the same way with a quick one-two, then takes a step back to bait his opponent into the space. This time as his opponent dives in for the same left hook, he takes a slight step outside, away from the hook to prepare a pivot. As his opponent dives in with the hook, Jake again keeps his right arm up protecting his head, and simultaneously takes a pivoting step to the outside and finishes with an elbow over the top. The angle he creates makes him almost perpendicular to his opponent.

These first two examples demonstrate the proper use of distance. By Jake stepping in to land his one-two and then stepping back, even though the one-two was intentionally not very powerful, it effectively makes his opponent feel as if it is his turn to counter. The use of less power assures that Jake will still be in a proper stance, ready for whatever his opponent may throw.

The last combination incorporates a shield which is a high cover and a stiff arm, as well as an inside pick where he is going to kick his opponents inside leg out. Setting the combination up in the same way, Jake steps in with his one-two and then steps back. This time as his opponent dives in with the hook, Jake meets him halfway. In doing this he raises his right arm to his head to block the punch, while using his left arm to stiff arm into his opponents shoulder area to stop the power behind his strike. As well as taking some of the power out of the punch, the stiff arm also works to keep his opponent in place.

From here Jake takes a slight step to the right with his back leg to create an angle, and moves his stiff arm to his opponents head and pulls his head down. From here he adds his inside pick, which is his lead leg kicking out his opponents lead ankle. Jake describes the motion from here as “step, pull, kick”. You are stepping out to the side creating an angle, pulling his head down, and kicking his lead ankle all at the same time to pull your opponent over his toes. From here you have placed yourself in the perfect position to finish the combination with a loaded right knee to the head. Although this last combination is a bit more flashy, it is much simpler when you slowly break it down into sections.

Although this clip includes finishing combinations, it is very much defensive technique. It isn't so much about jumping in and attacking with powerful combinations as it is defending your opponent's attack, while taking advantage of their position to counter with your own attacks. When you consciously set up traps such as briefly stepping into the pocket and then stepping out to bait your opponent in, their attack choices become more and more predictable. When these attacks become predictable, it allows you to both defend and counter effectively. There is a huge advantage in being able to manifest and predict what is coming your way.

As the head trainer at the Hand Knocks academy in Boston, Jake has an impressive resume that he brings to the table. He has spent 7 years competing in both amateur and professional Muay Thai fights with over 20 fights on his record. He has trained in Thailand on multiple occasions, and also competes in Olympic Weightlifting, along with having a degree in exercise science. He has such a wide variety of skill and technique that he is able to train his students with.

Included in his 4 part instructional is an extremely wide variety of technique including footwork for upper and lower body, striking with lead hand and rear hand only, rear and lead leg kicks, elbows, fundamental defense, and so much more. With his personal fighting experience, education, and years of training high level athletes, Jake possesses a rare skill set.

The Fundamental System of Muay Thai by Jake Mainini

If you can think of anything you have been wanting to work on, it is most likely covered in this instructional. Don’t wait to improve your technique, check out his instructional here!