Living on the Edge

the Edgein this case is the distance where you and your opponent have the same opportunity to make contact purely based on distance. This takes into consideration the “reach advantage” that some people have. One persons EDGE will not be exactly the same as someone else but for sake of understanding we will put opponents on essentially neutral ground.
So why is this important? Many fighters want to stand toe to toe to prove themselves and for the sake of efficiency. In a strict boxing match this can be done more readily than in sanshou or MMA. Many Muay Thai fighters employ this type of range as well. They stand in and bang relying on their conditioning to allow them to absorb mass amounts of punishment so they can deliver their own strikes. Sticking to this method is detrimental for long term survival in the game and post fight career. Many fighters end up punch drunk, doddering examples of their former selves. This method does not work as well in sanshou and MMA because of the takedown. Staying on the edge against an opponent who wishes to take you down and has excellent takedown capabilities will more often than not end up with you on the ground.
So what do we do? The first thing we must do is work diligently to understand this distance. Drilling on the edge and gaining understanding of this range will give you the vision to see it easily in combat. 1/2 speed sparring drills for entry work illustrate the edge well while not having the heavy repercussions of full contact drills. This way the fighters can begin to see the edge over and over again as we’ll as train footwork.
How does Hop Gar look at this? Tibetan Hop Gar fighters are trained specifically to avoid standing on the edge. Once you are in the edge you are immediately driving in, angling out/in, or moving out to draw the opponent and change the angle. If you are on the edge for more than a moment you have been there too long. The Hop Gar fighter should never engage in the hand holding that is commonly seen in MMA fights today. If you can touch your opponents hand and have not captured the opportunity to do not only that, but also cross the bridge and penetrate deeply into the opponents center you are not using Hop Gar effectively.
Learning can be painful The process to truly learn this edge requires many rounds of sparring and in the process pain will come. You cannot avoid this part of the curve but strive to shorten it as much as possible. Evasive techniques are important but a pure hearted striking assault must be developed or you will always be going in half way. You must not only develop the competence but the confidence to go in this way. Then and only then will you be able to have a strong offensive Hop Gar system.