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Tau's picture

What does the term "blitzing" or "to blitz" mean to us? I suspect we all have variations around a central concept of driving forwards and overwhelming the opponent. For one Kickboxing group that I was part of it meant a specific combination. I don't use it pragmatically but I do for combat sports.

I welcome your thoughts.

Iain Abernethy
Iain Abernethy's picture

My limited understating of etymology is that the English term “Blitz” is a shortening of the German “Blitzkrieg” (“Flash War” or “Lightening War”). It therefore refers to a rapid and forceful attack. I think that’s how most use it in martial arts circles i.e. it’s the nature of the attack as opposed to a specific technique.

As you mentioned, in the 1980s it was a widely used term for a specific method of closing the gap in Freestyle tournaments i.e. a strong drive from the legs (predominantly the lead leg) which results in a “leaning reverse punch” – as the lead arm delivers a back fist, rises in “age-uke” fashion to cover the head, etc – the legs then step back under the striker to permit continuous attack now the gap has been closed. It’s a very effective and widely used method in that format.

The popularity of the Freestyle competitive format has diminished significantly since its 1980s / early 1990s heyday. I think that’s also true of almost all other points formats. I can remember tournaments of all kinds were frequent and very well attended back then. It’s very different now. I therefore think most martial artists would use the term “Blitz” in its everyday sense, as opposed to in specific reference to the Freestyle technique.

All the best,


Zach Zinn
Zach Zinn's picture

Well, I think in combat sport it roughly means when a competitor goes on full-aggression mode with a non-stop combination, really intending to take a person out. I actually think this is probably where self-defense application and combart sport converge quite a bit. There is a lot more similarity between actual violence and this part of the match than the part where they are moving around at distance and trying to feint, slip, etc.

The difference is that in combat sport there are specific combinations and cues, specific defense motions, whereas in actual violence things to be much more general and things like "creating openings" a lot less sophisticated or reliable simply due to the adrenaline dump and physiological response to stress of combat. If you want to see it in Boxing, just wait until the ref says "a fight has broken out" or something like that and pay attention to the exchanges, they are markedly different from the rest of the match, usually. If you watch older boxing where it was often something closer to actual combat, there's less of a distinction.

That's not to put down modern boxing, I think it's a much better sport than it used to be, but farther away from combat, which makes sense given it's purpose.

I noticed that this term gets some buzz in MMA with people like Wonderboy Thompson where ity evidently just means a combination which "closes the gap" and overwhelms the opponent.

I think it's a vtial skill to the toolbox of anyone training for self defense, personally...minus "closing the gap" which is a non-issue outside of sport, or close to it. In fact, if one trains for self defense then (for instance) when one does impact training, one's goal should precisely be to develop the skillset to overwhlem someone's reactions in such a way that a decisive blow can be delivered when the original plan (pre remption) fails. That's all it is in my opinion...It's fundamental part of my understanding of Karate.

I think the idea of it being a particular combination is not  particularly useful for carry over to self-defense though, a more practical approach might be having students choose 2-3 techniques, become especially proficient with those, and then learn to "blitz" with them both with opponents (safely), and then on impact equipment where they can hit harder than they would ever do with opponents.

I recent started working on a series of Gekisai bag drills, the intent there is defnitely to get to "blitz" mode with them, I think that is one of the strengths of heavy bag training, you can learn to do that.

An illustrative example that I picked up from boxing: The coach will have you do some bag rounds where you apply defensive movements, longer range fighting, etc. Then at sme point he will say "ok, now take him out, put it on him" and you attack like you are genuinely trying to knock someone out. The footwork here is different, the intent ios cutting off someone's escape rather than defense - quite similar to Kata footwork. The feeling of this kind of training is different from training any kind of set combination. In fact, you have to have internalized a few things to a degree that you can do them without thought here and focus completely on overcoming the other person. Even in doing this kind of training without a resisting partner (much less with one) you can see how important simplicity is. Anything terribly complex simply won't survive here.

I have done this kind of training with partners only at lower contact levels, or with serious body and head armor, personally. Unless you are a full-contact athlete it is something that requires like...maybe 20-30% power with normal gear to avoid injury, if that; in my experience.

Iain has a drill where you tie people together at the belt and do close-range striking for instance. I've done  this kind of drill in open-ended with a partner, but the agression you can pump out here is always somewhat limited due to safety, unless someone puts on a full suit of armor (and armor has its own issues), then you can really go all out. In my opinion It is worth doing that if one ever has the chance, to learn to "blitz", as I understand the term.

sarflondonboydonewell's picture

I would say it a flurry of direct and forward driving techniques to put the opponent on the backfoot and it is so over whelming it destroys the opponent's will to fight not  necessary his physical ability to fight: it is underpinned by an aggressive some might say a determined mind set to achieve the aim.