How To Fake Strikes

Mike Tyson (image from

Fighting is a all about power, speed, technique and endurance. Or is it? What if the other fighter is simply better than you in all of these areas? What do you do? You do what Mongol horde did while invading the Europe. You cheat! Mongolian warriors drilled holes in their arrows so they whistled and scared horses off, they ganged up on one warrior and they deceived. Now I’m not saying you should bite the opponent’s ear off Mike Tyson style, but incorporate some deception into your tactic. One of the ways to deceive opponent is to create openings by faking strikes. Here, I will talk you through as to how fake strikes and when.

 There are two main methods of faking strikes:

  1. Powerless strike– now, technically this isn’t a true fake strike, but it is an element of deceptive game. You basically throw a strike as you would normally, except you don’t put any power behind it. This will result in less weight being shifted and quicker follow up strike. Ideally, you would throw a high powerless punch and powerful body punch or vice versa. This is a clever method, but it is mostly useful in punches, rather than kicks. Also you still have to throw whole punch in order to create an opening, which may somewhat limit your options.

  2. True fake strike– This is when you fake strike by beginning to strike but you stop mid- way to follow up with other technique. This method is effective as it allows you to switch techniques much more quickly than in previous method and you can easily fake all types of strikes including punches, kicks, knees and elbows. The disadvantage may be that you do not connect with first strike which may mean that you miss out on points when fighting in points- based system.

 Ok, so now that we know the types of fakes we can throw, now we can learn how to actually throw the true fakes. The method varies for different types of strikes so we are going to go through them all.

  • Punch– The easiest strike to fake. Simply adopt a fighting stance and vigorously lower one of your shoulders. This is a natural motion of a hook, which will often fool your opponent into thinking you are actually going to throw it. By doing the motion quickly, the opponent can sort of panic for split second and automatically react by lifting their hands up. That is when you can throw a mid section, or low section strike, such as leg kick or roundhouse.

  • Elbow– Also fairly easy strike to fake. Literally do the opposite of what you did while faking punch. Lift your shoulder up quickly and slightly lift your elbow. As you can see this is a starting motion of the elbow slash over the top. Opponent should react to this by lifting their hands up. That is when you can throw some mid- section knees, ore even clinch up and take it from there.

  • Kick– kicks are slightly harder to fake and pose some limitations. In order to fake a kick, you must quickly twist the hips in same way you would twist them while throwing a roundhouse kick, but do not lift your leg up. This fake however poses some limitations as to follow up techniques, as you are twisting your hips and shifting quite a lot of weight, so you may find it hard to follow up with right hook after twisting hips clockwise and vice versa. Make sure you follow up with technique that goes same way the hips do, or a straight technique. For example you can fake a left kick and follow it up with left high or mid section hook depending on the opponent’s reaction.

  • Knees– I find knees hardest to fake while making them look convincing enough to induce the opponent’s reaction. In order to fake a knee, you must lift it up as if you were doing it, but do not put as much power behind it and do not engage the hips. Now, since you are not engaging the hips it may be hard to make it convincing, so make sure it is quick, so that opponent does not notice these imperfections. If fake is successful, the opponent should cover their body up, or focus on their body rather than head. This means you can drop the leg to the floor and land a massive cross, or even super man punch.

  • Eyes– No I don’t mean striking with your eyes (although some scary people can make you feel like it with their stare). You can use you eyes to telegraph where you are going to strike, but you can also use them to deceive where you are going to strike. For example you can stare at their legs, but throw a high roundhouse.

 There are many fakes you can incorporate into your arsenal, but make sure you use them at right time, like you would with any other technique. It is important to apply correct fakes at correct range. You won’t fool anybody by faking elbows from the other side of the ring! Another big no no is to fake all the time. Do not throw a combination of five fakes and one actual punch. Good rule of thumb is to limit your fakes to maximum of two per combination. Also make sure you mix things up! Don’t consistently throw a fake 1st punch every time. This is a deception game where variety is the key. Foe example do not throw fakes at all in 1st round, then in 2nd round fake often and then fake sparingly in 3rd. Or mix it up even more!

 Fakes are a very useful tool that can help you gain that edge in a fight and lead up to very powerful techniques. Before you try them in competitions, try them out in sparring first and ask your instructor for more advice on them to maximise their effectiveness. Go on! Be that sneaky and awkward opponent that nobody wants to fight!

 Do you know of any other good fakes, or follow ups? Please share them in comments section!

 Article written by: Hubert Bieluczyk


2 thoughts on “How To Fake Strikes

  1. Feints and fake strikes are great techniques, especially for smaller guys like me.

    I train in kyokushin karate (full-contact, knockdown) and we have this behemoth of a student who is nearly a foot taller, has about 90lbs on me, and years more experience. The only chance I have with him is when I “cheat” and try to fake him out. It isn’t always successful, but I’m able to stay in the fight much longer than when I DON’T use these techniques

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