Most everyone thinks that the bigger or more muscular someone is the better fighter or bigger bad-ass he must be. Many people spend hours and hours in the gym pumping their arms, chest and every other part of their anatomy and many look tough and intimidating. They walk around with huge arms, defined chests, muscular legs and forearms that look like Popeye’s. And most people assume that these guys can probably destroy the average guy with ease. That if push came to a shove and then to a fight that the muscular guy would certainly destroy the “average” built man. Definitely not true.
Body builds do not make for a great or even good fighter. Pumping iron alone has very little do with fighting other than giving a good solid core strength in things; in fighting as well, but to a small degree. In fighting, just pumping iron is generally not functional strength in the realm of battle.
Some of us have seen many a thin if not actually skinny looking boxer or even MMA fighter standing across from a hugely muscled opponent and thought, oh, this dude’s going to get killed! And in a few minutes we see the skinny looking guy decimate the muscular guy. He moved well, knew how to punch or kick well and had functional strength. Strength that was geared to striking, kicking and throwing instead of curling or pressing.
One of the best Light Heavyweight Champions of all time on any boxing experts list is Bob Foster. He was mainly active in the 1970’s and was just an absolutely outstanding fighter and knockout expert. When you looked at him though, he almost looked like a skinny wimp. But he was anything but that.
In his prime, Mike Tyson looked very big and muscular and amazingly, professional boxers actually got intimidated by him before the first punch was thrown in the ring. One very accomplished fighter, Michael Spinks, said that he looked too big to be normal and natural when he stood across the ring from him ready to fight. Spinks was annihilated in that fight and it was obvious that his intimidation played a big part. Some professionals even let size scare them and freeze them up. Amazing!
But Tyson was much more than just big muscles. He was an exquisitely trained fighter and a genius about the fight game. He studied all the old great fighter’s fight movies and learned what makes a fantastic fighter. And he followed the direction of great trainers and put in the physical work to put it all together. A friend of mine fought Tyson in the professional ring during Tyson’s prime. He said Tyson had two great attributes: speed and power; coupled with his fight training.
So, when you see a monster sized looking man with muscles bigger than a mountain-side across from you in a fight setting do not let that intimidate you. Do not let that freeze your moves-up and do not just wait for him to annihilate you. Remember the work you put in. Keeping closed up from being hit. Being quick and knowing how to block or parry to keep away from kicks. Remember the work you put in to attack and strike and kick with power.
Weight training is great and I’ve done it most of my life and do it to this day to help keep fit and also to assist with keeping injuries (knee) contained and manageable for everyday living. Weight training is great for many other positives including self-defense and fight training and also for looking big and awesome. However, for those of you learning how to protect yourselves do not get intimidated by the big bulging guy who may be ready to harm you. Remember that you are realistically trained to protect yourself and if you must go for it, keep your training and hard work at the forefront.
Steve's a three-time survivor of violence in his youth and was an award winning police officer.
For several years, Steve also did radio political and current event commentary and taught college Criminal Justice. He is the former host of the long running 'The Kovacs Perspective' Internet radio talk show.
Presently, Steve is the owner and Managing Director of one of the oldest martial art schools in Ohio, 'The Mayfield Academy of Self-Defense'.
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