Don’t be Predictable

The human brain is a great pattern-finding engine. As a matter of fact, it’s so good sometimes it will find patterns where none exist (a rough definition of pareidolia).

But when they are there, we can capitalize on them. Guro Edwin relayed a story about Tuhon Loki sparring with an opponent that had a kickboxing background. The condensed version: after a few exchanges, Tuhon starting eating hits from his opponent and couldn’t figure out why. When the sparring was done, Tuhon approached his opponent to ask how he was able to do that. “You have a three-hit pattern; you swing one-two-three, then stop. So that’s when I’d hit you.” Tuhon took this information to heart and now aims to be predictably unpredictable.

Here are some other examples from other combat arts:

1. Vasiliy Lomachenko vs Jorge Linares

Lomachenko (blue trunks) has to make up distance against Linares, who is a taller fighter. He closes the distance with a double-jab, stepping in as he does (he does it twice in this clip, at 2:37 and again at 2:29):


Four rounds later, Linares has the pattern pegged and exploits it, slipping a right in perfectly between the first and second jabs to score a knockdown at 0:32.

(images courtesy Zachary Gaskell)

2. Beneil Dariush vs Edwin Barboza

These helpfully captioned and freeze-framed clips speak for themselves.

Round 1:


Round 2:


Round 2, two minutes and ten seconds later:

(images isolated from JFcombat on Youtube)

The moral of the story: be aware of your patterns. If you don’t try to break them, someone else may notice and do some pattern breaking of their own.

(All media reproduced under Fair Use, and with credit.)

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