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Stance Switching Drill With Stephen "Wonderboy" Thompson

Stance Switching Drill With Stephen "Wonderboy" Thompson

The ability to switch stance is one that is becoming more and more common in MMA.  The ability to work functionally out of both an orthodox and a southpaw stance is a great way to give your opponent different looks and create new opportunities for strikes. 

It can be hard to get training in on the opposite stance that you are used to in most gyms, as there are a lot of factors that might limit your stance switching. It can be hard to work out of an opposite stance in sparring, as you are usually worse out of your opposite stance and therefore you are at risk of performing worse in sparring and taking more damage. Your gym might also frown upon or just not work out of the opposite stance. 

One disciple that does spend a lot of time working out of both stances is Karate and we have one of the best Karate based MMA fighters in the world today to show you a stance switching drill he loves to use. 

In this video, Top UFC welterweight Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson goes over a stance switching drill that also helps work distance management. Stephen Thompson is one of the top 5 welterweights in the UFC and is a former champion kickboxer and Karate Fighter. He is generally considered the best traditional martial arts user in MMA today and he frequently and effectively switches his stance in all of his fights. 


The drill itself is very basic and Thompson himself admits to that. This drill does require a partner, so grab a training partner and switch roles with them each round. This drill is designed to help teach you how to switch your stance from range at any point in time. You are going to stand with your partner in front of you but just out of your reach in your stance. You are also going to want to have your lead arm a little over half way extended to help keep your range.

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Having your lead arm extended will make sure that your opponent keeps a farther distance from you. This means that if they want to strike, they need to move in more. This will give you more time to react and defend accordingly. 

Now with your stance and lead arm in proper position you are going to have your partner move around and you are going to make sure that no matter what direction that they move in, that you are keeping that same distance between you and your partner.

While you are moving around and maintaining your distance, your partner is going to say switch and you will kindly oblige them. Your partner is able to say this whenever they want. THis trainsin you to always maintain a good position when fighting, making sure that you are able to do whatever you want, whenever you want. 

The importance of this drill is that the combination of distance and stance switching is vital to fighters that want to become switch hitters. If you switch stance in the pocket when you and your opponent are trading strikes, that's a great way to get caught with a strike. 

Thompson also notes that you should do your best to maintain a bounce in your stance as you are moving, as that spring will make it easier to switch your stance quickly. 

Movement as a Weapon by Stephen Thompson
If you liked this drill and want to learn more from Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson, then checkout our complete video series featuring him, available now!