How to fight bigger opponents in Kyokushin karate?

KyokushinKohai

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Which tactics would you recommend when fighting a much bigger and stronger opponent in a Kyokushin style kumite? I am wondering how best to avoid getting my ribs broken when the weight differences exceed 40 pounds without chickening out of the fight. (I hope this is not a to naive question. I am a Kyokushin beginner who suffers lots of pain from his bigger training partners. Thanks for everybody's thoughts. Very much appreciated. OSU)
 

HighKick

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Speed is a great ally. Experience is also a big one, but it can come with some hard knocks. Especially if there are no other options for training partners. If so, it sounds like time to really pad up.
And, you will learn in time that it is not a 'fight'.
 

Bill Mattocks

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I can't speak to your style of karate, but in general, if a person is bigger than you, they typically have longer range, which can be an advantage for them. You can stay outside, but then you can't hit them. So you have to get inside to fight them, which brings its own challenges, but at least you can hit them.

Strength doesn't bother me for the most part. Of course you don't want to be battered by someone who's very strong, but technique wins in my experience. You keep from getting your ribs broken by keeping your elbows tucked, which is mostly where they should be anyway if you're in anything resembling a boxing stance.

I would keep in mind that in any form of karate, sparring or kumite in the dojo is supposed to be a teaching/learning experience. It should not be an opportunity for a larger and stronger dojomate to humble or injure you, but to make you put your lessons into actual use. A good dojomate will adapt their attack to bring out your best, not injure you. When you one day face a less experienced student, keep that in mind. It's not for the senior student to showcase their skills, but for them to mentor the newer student.
 

Fungus

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Which tactics would you recommend when fighting a much bigger and stronger opponent in a Kyokushin style kumite? I am wondering how best to avoid getting my ribs broken when the weight differences exceed 40 pounds without chickening out of the fight. (I hope this is not a to naive question. I am a Kyokushin beginner who suffers lots of pain from his bigger training partners. Thanks for everybody's thoughts. Very much appreciated. OSU)
I also do kyokushin, and has beeing doing the kumite for a year.

1) As mentioned already, first of all, the typical idea is that the one of a higher rank OR beeing much stronger than your opponent, have a responsibility adapt your techniques and power to your opponent.

A black belt beating up the novices would be just as silly as a big persons knocking the smaller ones out by brute force. In some dojos kids and adults even train together.

Just tell your partners to ease on the power, they will respect this. Our trainers always emphasize that fighting is fun, and we don't want to scare people off from the club.

2) Part of kyokushin training is to learn howto take hits and pain without loosing focus because one cant block every hit. Also some moderately painful hits, encourages you to learn howto block. You also learn what to block, and what to eat. So learn to take some bruising that sticks for days or a week is normal, but you are not supposed to get used to breaking the ribs.

3) When I've meet people, half my weight, but that are of superior rank than me, they bounce around and stay at distance as they know i could kick through many of their blocks, and instead try to come in with quick attacks as they are much faster than me. Often kicks to the head that.
edit: also to mention, when i had met smaller opponents, i obviously dont use full force. instead i try to match their speed, which is often a challenge. I would be quite embarrased to hurt especially a smaller opponent even by mistake. IF you want to practice power, then doing it against a BIGGER opponent is better, as they can eat it.
 
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isshinryuronin

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Many here can offer strategies and tactics for the small guy to handle the challenge of a larger opponent.

I want to flip the topic and take a look at the big guy. Being longer ranged, heavier and presumably stronger, one has some considerable inherent advantages in combat. I have found that most meeting these criteria rely, even depend, on this as often it's enough to lead to victory. The problem is that they get stuck in this rut and don't bother developing other skills. In other words, they don't improve. I have seen this tendency in several such students. This is contrary to one of the goals of MA practice.

A renown sensei wrote, "It is better to eliminate one weakness than develop one strength." So, it's better for the physically superior martial artist to work on using things other than raw physicality to win, especially in the dojo which is a place for learning and improvement. A good large martial artist will challenge himself to work on developing his weaker points like technique, accuracy, finesse, and tactics, relying on this to win rather than his size. I think winning in this fashion will be more satisfying to him as well.

While practicing these skills and downplaying his natural advantage he will likely lose several matches and have his ego take a hit. Such is the price of learning. It's an investment, forgoing the short-term win in favor of long-term improvement. The end result will be a fearsome fighter with superior skills as well as size.
 

Buka

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As your experience deepens, you will as well.

Some food for thought as you get there.

Timing, an understanding of distance, footwork and counter fighting. As those develop in you as a Kyokushin fighter - keep a note book on everyone who spars at your school. A detailed notebook on how they move, what they throw well, what they get caught with and by whom catches them. Make it your Bible.

If youre going to be there anyway, might as well give it a shot for a couple years.
 

Hanshi

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Years ago training at a dojo I was about the smallest one there. I was a black belt at that time and there were whispers from time to time along the lines of "I can take that little black belt" or something similar. We didn't do a lot of sparring in the dojo so one of the guys wanted to spar with me. Yes, he was larger than me and younger as well. I can't recall his rank but he wore a colored belt, maybe blue or possibly brown.

I always tried to be as careful as I could but the habit of charging in seems to hang on to them until they get true experience. Anyway I knocked him out right away when he charged in and suddenly moved to one side. Thankfully no harm was done thanks to the hand/foot pads.

A somewhat worse situation occurred earlier in another location where I was training under a sensei. One new student with some previous training thought his longer reach made his "charging in" harder to handle. We were sparring and rotating so that everyone fought everyone else at least once. This student did his thing with everyone and nobody liked it, including me. After really becoming tired of his silly floundering which he always followed, with hands in the air, GOTCHA! I did not intend to actually hit him. Next charge was met with my straight punch and he ran into it full speed. Some of his upper front teeth got knocked in. He quit shortly after.

I was also a boxer and enjoyed putting on the gloves and getting to hit for real. I was a sparring partner for a boxing ring competitor and he hit pretty hard but like to fight me because I could box orthodox and southpaw.
What I'm getting at is that it's good to be able to take a hit but no one should should have to put up with careless partners of lower or higher rank and the sensei should know and want to handle such situations.
 

Fungus

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You keep from getting your ribs broken by keeping your elbows tucked, which is mostly where they should be anyway if you're in anything resembling a boxing stance.
Beeing only a blue belt, fighting under "pressure" is something I am currently struggling with finding a good strategy for.

To handle single 1-2-3 combinations is farily easy, but if something comes at you and is flooding with techniques and one focuses on blocking I find it's easy to tuck up and become passive. Also your elbows can not be all over the same same time. If you focus on protecting your front ribs and solar plexus, your back ribs are exposed to hooks. Also lowering your hands, then your head is exposed (to either kicks or punches, depending on what the style allows).

I am now leaning towards that in such situations counter with force is best defence, but without experience I am not comfortable doing that under pressure as I feel the chances of accidently hitting someone in the face is high. In kyokushing we don't do that, as it's bare knuckled fightinh, but in the heat every now and then you touch the chin of the opponent. As I might aim for the collarbone as he happens to move, or my fist bounces as he blocks.

This is what I am struggling with atm. Going in aggresive counter mode, would probalby work, but is not recommended in the dojo as one has poor control and chances of accidents is high. Our sempais tells me this comes after alot of fighting experience only. So as a beginner that is farily strong, i must hold back until my control is at the level of my strenght, and that will probably take years.

I am sometimes told to go harder, like "your strong", don't back down, but its because i don't have enough control to "safely" counter aggresively. Hurting your partner is quite embarassing.
 
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