I get criticized every now and then about how my fighting style in competition doesn’t quite reflect the arts that I practice or teach. Well in response to that, I usually tell them that the most important thing to do in combat sports competition is…
Shut up and listen to your coach
Fighting is a dangerous business and there is little room for error. You have to have a solid game plan in place or risk loss and significant bodily injury. It’s up to your coach, who you have to trust, to make sound decisions in your training, tactics, and execution.
Once you feel comfortable enough to implement your coach’s game plan, then it’s really up to you how you want to fill in the blanks. This is where the magic happens and your martial arts expression gets to have creative freedom. Of course, I’m only an amateur-level competitor and I still have a lot to learn.
The more experience you have, the more freedom and comfort you’re allowed in the ring or cage.
Competition is competition and you have very small room for error.