For the past 2-3 lessons, we've been working on my pressurer style. At the moment, I'm probably the only guy without a truly defined style in the class.
  • Owen is an angler/runner with counter-punching with a long reach and a loose game.
  • Jeremiah is a counter puncher who hangs back and picks his punches while locking down on his defense.
  • Chris is a counter puncher relying on accuracy and timing.
For me, I don't quite know what I am as I switch from style to style depending on my opponent. Psychologically however I'm most comfortable when hanging back and counter punching but at the same time I enjoy taking the initiative which doesn't quite gel together. These two factors lead to an inconsistent gameplan and strategy where without mastery of either, lead to an unhealthy rojak lacking coherence.

Hence our decision to try working a new style, one that I only knew in theory: the pressurer.

Here's a description of the pressurer style from Rodney:
The Pressurer Style is recognized by strategic forward pressure. Pressurers are the battle tanks of the fighting styles; Pressurers have presence, guts and are fearless. They know how to control space between them selves and their opponents and are always poised to take advantage of any weakness the opponent presents.
Owen's style particularly gave me the most problems with my regular style (if there is one). He stays right out of firing range, in fact slightly past rimshot and waits till I engage forward and then punches me with a few quick combos while circling off. Owen controls the distance where I cannot reach him but should I lunge forward, he would step off and angle. His guard is very loose which breaks the basic rule of CMD of keeping a tight defense but it works for him because of his reach advantage and nobody having an effective cutting-off strategy to place pressure on him.

I didn't quite understand this until last week when I tried to play his style of game while sparring with Albert. 

At first Albert played this annoying game to examine my problems. Despite Albert's shorter reach than Owen's, when playing my normal game, I was unable to take the initiative. When I tried to, I just got shot in the face. It became rather funny as whenever I tried to engage and punch I would almost immediately get smacked from an awkward angle even when I was doing a reasonable diving board punch. It was obvious then I was having a particular issue against this strategy using my regular game. Albert told me to try cutting him off but it wasn't really sinking in as I thought I WAS trying to cut him off. Apparently it wasn't active enough.

Then I tried to play Owen's game. I found that having your hands loose makes it easy to pick targets and swing them in unpredictable angles. They don't have much strength in them but what they sacrifice in power they gain in annoyance factor. The game only falls down when there's a lack of space or you're facing someone who particularly can pile on the pressure. Albert showed me how this was done and I realized you needed to have a lot more conviction in moving forward if you were trying to pressure. Being a pressurer requires a mindset to say, "Yes I may get hit but it's not going to be bad and I will actively corner you and make you pay." You have to want to OWN the space your opponent is having and not be furtive when moving forward or hesitant when hit.

When I tried implementing this, I noticed a marked improvement. Yes I was still unable to do much when he had a lot of space to maneuver but once I had closed off the space into a corner and was active about it, I fared much better as the loose defense crumbled under pressure.

There is still plenty of room for improvement and possibly the two important things to work on for now is:
  1. Tighter defense especially with the diving board
  2. Maintaining relaxed awareness especially when piling on the pressure. Remembering it as a fun game (and playing Michael Jackson music) does wonders
and I definitely want to see how it looks like on video!

While I still don't quite know which fighter type I am, heck I'm enjoying the journey in finding out!