Fighting styles

May 2, 2012 in Dragons Pulse, Sanshou - Tip of the Month

There are three generally accepted Fighting styles that are used to define fighters. These are the inside-fighter, the outside-fighter and the brawler.


This style favors closing inside an opponent, overwhelming them with intensity and flurries of hooks and uppercuts. They tend to be fast on their feet which can make them difficult to evade for a slower fighter. They also tend to have a rock for a chin, because sometimes this usually involves being hit with many jabs before they can maneuver inside where they are more effective.


Outside-fighters are the opposite of the inside-fighter. Where the inside-fighter tries to close the gap between himself and his opponent, the outside-fighter seeks to maintain that gap and fight with faster, longer range punches. Since they rely on the weaker jabs and straights (as opposed to hooks and uppercuts), they tend to win by points decisions rather than by knockout, although some outside-fighters have notable knock-out punches, outside fighters are known for being extremely quick on their feet, which often makes up for their relative lack of power. Outside-fighters are often regarded as the best style of fighter on account of their desire to win a fight by wearing an opponent down and outclassing an opponent by strategy, rather than simply knocking him out.


If the outside-fighter represents everything classy about boxing, the brawler (also known as the ‘slugger’, ‘hard hitter’ or ‘one puncher’) often stands for everything that’s brutal in the sport. Sluggers tend to lack finesse in the ring, but make up for it in raw power, often able to knock almost any opponent out with a single punch. This ability makes them exciting to watch. Also makes their fights unpredictable. Many brawlers tend to lack mobility in the ring and have difficulty pursuing fighters who are fast on their feet. They prefer the harder, slower punches (such as hooks and uppercuts) and tend to ignore combination punching. Their slowness and predictable punching patterns (single punches with obvious leads) often leaves them open for counterpunching.

There are three other Fighting styles that you may see, that can define a fighter. These are the Hybrid Fighters, The Swarmer, and the Peek-a-Boo.

Hybrid Fighters

These styles are merely archetypes that many Fighters fall into. However, some fighters can transcend any one category. To say Fighter A…Although known primarily as a brawler, he/she can also have a very intense inside-fighter game. He/ she would have the strength of a brawler, but the combos, agility and ferocity of an inside-fighter.

The Swarmer

A less common style of Fighting, the swarmer is a fighter who attempts to overwhelm his opponent by applying constant pressure. Swarmers tend to have a very good bob and weave, good power, a good chin, and a tremendous punch output (resulting in a great need for stamina and conditioning). Fighters who use the Swarmer style tend to have shorter careers than the other styles. Sustaining the adequate amount of training required to execute this style is nearly impossible throughout an entire fight career, so most Swarmers can only maintain it for a relatively brief period of time. This inevitably leads to the gradual degradation of the sheer ability to perform the style, leaving them open to increasing amounts of punishment.


Peek-a-Boo is a fighting style where the hands are placed in front of the fighter’s face, like in the babies game of the same name. It offers extra protection to the face and makes it easier to jab the opponent’s face. A Peek-a-Boo fighter utilizes relaxed hands with the forearms in front of the face and the fist at nose-eye level. Other unique features, includes side to side head movements, bobbing, weaving and blind siding your opponent. The Body-head-body or Body-Body-head is drilled with the stationary dummy and on the bag until the fighter is able to punch by rapid combinations with “bad intentions”. The style allows swift neck movements as well quick ducking and bad returning damage, usually by rising uppercuts or even rising hooks..

There is a commonly accepted theory about the success each of these Fighting styles has against the others. Each fighting style has advantages over one, but disadvantages against the other. Brawlers tend to overcome inside-fighters, because the inside-fighter likes to be on the inside, where the hard-hitting brawler is most effective. The inside-fighters flurries tend to be less effective than the power punches of the slugger, who quickly overwhelms his opponents.

The inside-fighter tends to succeed against outside-fighters. Outside-fighters prefer a slower fight, with some distance between themselves and the opponent. The inside-fighter tries to close that gap and unleash furious flurries. On the inside, the outside-fighter loses a lot of his combat effectiveness, because he cannot throw the hard punches. The inside-fighter is generally successful in this case, due to his intensity in advancing on his opponent and his good agility, which makes him difficult to evade.

The outside-fighter tends to be most successful against the brawler, whose slow speed (both hand and foot) and poor technique make them an easy target to hit for the faster outside-fighter. The outside-fighter’s main key is to stay alert, as the brawler only needs to land one good punch to finish the fight. If the outside-fighter can avoid those power punches, he can often wear the brawler down with fast jabs, tiring the slugger out. If he is successful enough, he may even apply extra pressure in the later rounds in an attempt to achieve a knockout.

Hybrid boxers tend to be the most successful in the ring, because they often have advantages against most opponents. He/she may be able to overwhelm any inside-fighter with his tremendous power of a slugger, also able to use his inside-fighting foot speed to close in and knock out many outside-fighters who tried to stay out of his range.

Be a student of full contact fighting. Look for these styles in your opponent. Talk this, and all tips-up with your Coaches and Instructors.

Quote of the Month:

When written in Chinese, the word “crisis” is composed of two characters. One represents danger and the other represents opportunity. — John F. Kennedy

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