The Art Of Feinting With Randy Steinke
Watching fighters like Dominick Cruz, John Dodson, and the great Demetrius Johnson is always a pleasure. Their movements are visually stimulating and their output for striking is some of the highest in the history of the sport.
Why do they move like they do? It isn't so they are appealing to others, even though that is a great side effect. The real reasons are more practical. Moving targets are simply harder to hit then stationary ones.
There is tons of foot work involved and to dive into that would be a completely different article. What we are going to focus on today is the concept of “Feinting” or simply what a “Feint” is and how it is relevant to striking.
So first what is a “Feint”? It is actually combat in its origins. A french term that came about during the times of dueling swordsman in europe. The French were responsible for many of the advancement in combat theory of the time. Combat that was popular at the time was sword fighting.
During a sword fight much like a kickboxing match or a MMA match relies heavily on forcing your opponent to do something they shouldn’t. For instance, imagine someone holds a sword over their head facing you. You will think they are going to drop that blade straight down upon you. When they flinch toward you all your defenses go high but in reality they have change the angle of their blade to go low. The position made you believe that the attack was coming high.
That position and Flinch was a feint. To make that relatable to striking, your opponent steps with their left leg and throws a looping right hand a few times in a match. Starting the next round they take that same step their shoulders move and you step away from the looping right you are anticipating.
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Next thing you know you are being woken up by the doctor. Why? Because they never threw the right but instead loaded the left hook and when you stepped away from the perceived right, you stepped into the heavy left.
In MMA this will happen with wrestlers often. They will keep changing levels making an opponent believe that they are going for a takedown. When in reality they bend their knees and pull their arms in it looks like a takedown. The defense for a takedown is arms low and fights for underhooks. Now when those hands go down the wrestler explodes over the top with heavy strikes.
So in reality it is all about deception. In reality a Feint is more often than not small movements. ½ steps instead of full steps. The goal will be to test and penetrate your opponent's defenses. Stomping your feet on the mat like a school yard bully trying to get you to flinch is not going to work at the highest of levels.
In order for feints to be truly effective they need to be subtle and tied in with defensive movements. If you just move your head and not your feet there is no perception of an incoming threat. If you move your feet but not your head, it is easy to hit a stationary target.
Check out this video by MMA LAB Coach Randy Steinke
Look how Randy moves. Two ½ steps. Each time he steps he also moves his head and his shoulders. His hands are still up and his eyes are still on target.
This tactic should be used when in a medium range closing into close range. The bend in the knees while moving in close with arms cocked will open the opportunity for heavy counter strikes.
Having the ability to feint and move is essential to all fighters. Boxers like Lomachenko and Canello are synonymous with being hard to hit. Once a fighter learns how to hit and not be hit in return is what drives them to the apex of competition.
Those MMA Greats mentioned before are all known because they seem to be hard to hit. Nate Diaz has amazing hands but he stands in front of people and gets hit back and takes lots of damage.
What Nate does well is feint. He will make gestures that he is going to throw a shot and his opponent will over react and then Nate will tag them...Alot! Sometimes Nate with Feint his opponent will over react and Nate will taunt them in a “Made you look” style laugh.
Randy Steinke is one of the coaches at the MMA Lab and is a fighter himself. There have been a bunch of top tier fighters in all the major promotions that come from the MMA lab. Guys like Rick Story and Bensen Henson are both products of the MMA LAB.
Randy Steinke has taken the counter striking and movement techniques that have created a litany of great fighters out of the MMA lab. Randy doesn't just sell you snake oil, everything he goes over in his instructional has been battle tested by himself and his fighters. This is the collective research of many fighters and coaches being put on display in this four part series.
If you are a coach looking to get a footwork and counter striking routine in your gym this is what you need. If you are a fighter getting lit up in practice and are tired of getting punched in the mush, you guessed it this is the instructional for you.
Learn to move and strike and become hard to hit. This material will make you dangerous both in practice and in competition. Check it out here!