Friday Fight Break Down: A Study in Ray

Today I’m going to do something a little different for the Breakdown. I’m going to go over a full chapter match, but focus on a single fighter, Ray Witte.  This Guy.RayA few weeks ago I fought beside Ray as a sub for the Philly Rhinos when they fought the NY Sentinels. He really impressed me as a new fighter but I noticed a few things that were mostly inexperience I thought he could fix. I asked him if he wanted a critique and if I could share it on my blog. He agreed so here we go.

There’s two videos of this event. For the most part I’ll be using the New York Knight Combat one just below this. It was shot on two cameras and edited together side by side. While a bit hard to follow just watching, it provides a much better study because you have multiple angles to watch at. There is another video from a stationary cam in the corner. That is posted at the very end of the article. I’ll try to link to the proper time when I reference a video time, but unless I otherwise specify I mean this one.


Lets start at the initial engagement. Press play on the video above and pay attention to the right screen. Might be worth it to watch at .5 speed.

Ray is in the center his back towards us. The Sentinels retreat and fold inward as the Rhinos. The Rhinos continue to try and surround them which would be good if they could push the Sentinels into the corner so that they would be too bunched up to fight allowing the Rhino’s to work some 2 on 1’s. That should always be the goal, set it up so you can hit one of their guys with 2 of yours, in such a way they can’t do the same back to you.

However because this doesn’t happen the Rhinos spread out to the point they can’t support each other. Ray is no longer able to keep people off of Mark(In the black and red on the right) so that the can open up with that Vulge or Brian (on the left). Personally
I would pick staying close to Mark. He needs space to work and that Vulge is dangerous when it starts swinging. Keeping him free should be a priority. Further Brian is a fast strong fighter who can probably handle getting himself out of trouble. And since he’s the one drawing away, let him go. He might have a plan.

Regardless of the positioning, a fighter need to be first to act. Make your opponent react, don’t react to them. This can include waiting and baiting them to charge in because you are still acting. Letting them dictate what happens puts you behind, as what happens here. Damion moves(the guy on the rail who charges in), then Brian steps in, and at this point the fight is already going and Ray is already late to the party when you step in. Doing dumb stuff fast is better than not doing anything.

When he does act he takes the general approach of attacking the open man. I don’t like this choice. For one, it means 3 1v1’s and Ray has to hope your team is stronger individually. Second, Mark is now at disadvantage because long poles are harder to bring to bear in close quarters. I think the right play here is to charge Damion, who Ray have size and strength on. Parker, the Sentinel on the left will be a step behind giving Ray a free hit, if he doesn’t go after Brian. Ray should be able to peel Damion off of Mark freeing him up to be dangerous and the two of them should be able to drop Damion before Parker and Bobby(the last Sentinel) can drop Brian.

Instead Parker and Ray being to grapple, but Parker gets free. This is bad. Now Parker gets to hit Mark with a free shot before Ray can get back into the fight. When not winning a grapple the first one to break out has the advantage and so in addition to looking for throws we need to always also be looking for escapes.


Parker hits Mark and keeps running. I think this is a time to let him go. Ray can grab Damion and even without Mark, that’s what our Captain Andre calls a 90% opportunity. Ray has Strength, Size, and he’ll have Surprise plus positioning when he engages Damion. Ray is 90% likely to win this fight. Anytime you have a 90% fight, take it. If you don’t try to avoid it and go find one.

After Chasing Parker back down, they begin to wrestle and Ray starts punching and throwing mace shots to the head. Those are going to do nothing. Hand weapons in general will do little besides rattle a person slightly when you hit the helmet and the mace probably won’t even do that because of weight restriction. Hand weapons are for working gaps, like the hip or the armpit. If you lift a dudes arm and start to crush the armpit they’ll usually quit real fast.


Eventually Parker gets a throw on Ray, because Ray’s hips have turned perpendicular to Parker, so facing away from him. People are weak side to side, strong back to front. The push and trip works because it’s easy to destabilize a person in that direction. When ever possible we should keep our hips facing our opponent.


The next fight Ray boxes out Damion beautifully. Guy with the kettle hat and chain drape in case you can’t recognize him from last fight. The other Rhino’s take the Sentinels into the corner making 2 on 2 and Ray steps inside of Damion forcing him to circle outside or open himself up to Ray’s attack.  They keep each other occupied which is good but not great. When keeping an opponent out of combat the calculus needs to be, are they more dangerous than you and is the rest of your team more dangerous than the rest of their team. Doing this to a Jaye or Bam Bam is a great move against Damion it’s a bit less helpful. Damion is very dangerous when attacking from behind or at angels, but in a straight up fight he’s much less of a threat. A quick turn chop Rodneys(little dude in white an blue) back or kick his leg before turning back to face Damion wouldn’t be terrible here. 

The engagement though is a bit sloppier.  Ray is choked way to high on that axe and meets weapon to weapon, haft to haft, which lets Damion slip off throwing Ray’s balance away from him. Ray takes a shot, Damion sees it and simply voids and now Ray is going in the wrong direction.

That axe is not a lever for throwing. It’s a small missile of destruction. Wield it like a baseball bat or chopping wood. Hand to hand, or as we say, potato to potato(since hands basically become potatoes in gaunts). When you come in, wind up and take a big ass swing. If you miss you should be ok because you’re at range, if he blocks who cares, you can now come in side and fuck him up.

After that slip though everything is great. Ray crushed him against the wall and then as just as he releases pressure and Damion comes forward he grabs him and throws him to the ground  utilizing Damion’s momentum and balance shift against him. Ray’s hip is inside which gives him a lever to throw Damion over and probably destabilizes him. Even better he let go early, which keeps him from getting pulled down too. Great work.


The next bit, not so much. Ray starts to run in, but slows as he gets to Rodney. I say come in hard and make him hurt. Even if Ray can’t knock him over in that situation, he can make him think. Even better go to the bottom of the axe and as he runs in and chop the fuck out of his back. Maybe he’ll drop and if he doesn’t just keep chopping. He’ll be forced to pay attention to Ray and stop wresting Mark. Gives Ray’s team a huge advantage. However just yanking him over by the back of his head seems to work too.



This next match I’d still like to see the hand closer but you can’t really argue with success.  On our left Ray takes some good wacks and after the second uses the Axe as a level to continue pulling Rodney off his feet. I’m honestly surprised that work as Rodney usually has a great base and balance and that move doesn’t seem like it has much leverage. But hey, it worked! 🙂

Afterwards Ray gets a nice strike on looks like Nestor, and then leaves him and Cat to fight to help me(small dude with black tabbard and green belt favor) with Damion. I like that math. That’s a 90% situation and Cat can handle himself. However Ray run past without hitting Damion. This might not have been a time to swing but as Ray goed by if he had  just punted Damion’s leg out that could have been enough .I can’t figure out what ray saw that took him to the other side of me, but when he comes back he doed exactly the right thing and pulls Damion down(head towards floor), and forward off the rail. Placing the axe under the edge of the Kettle him is especially Good work.


Set 3 match 1, 10:48

Ray comes forward, but without Be’sn(big Dude) support putting himself into a 2 on 1, but not making sure your team can take advantage of a corresponding 2 on 1. That was a time to hold back and hope you and Mark could get to work on Damion.


Set 4 Match 1 13:41

When I walk in and take on Damion, Bobby(weird bulbous face mask in the center) takes a second to look at me and then decides not to go in because Ray is  there. That was the moment To charge Sam(The poof with the feather). Ray and Mark on Sam should be a 90% fight. If Ray can’t take him out with a charge, He can grab him and turn him for Mark to start working on him. Meanwhile I’m wrestling Damion. If Bobby chases Ray, he should have plenty of time because he is much faster. If Bobby goes after me, it should be fine. My feet and base are good and with the rail behind me it will take them a while to drop me.

Ray starts to swing on Bobby, but again there’s way too much separation between hands. You need to really be close. In addition Bobby is a damage sponge. You gotta be something special to hurt him, so chopping on him is not the best option.  Ray eventually starts to wrestle but that’s when he should have given up and helped Mark. Mark’s weapon is so long that he needs space to work it. as has been mentioned before. Sam has a shield and should be able to take a shot and get in where he has the advantage. Leaving me would be the smart move.

The wrestling breaks up and I take Damion to the corner. This would be the time to follow. Bobby is the hard to take down but slower enemy. If Ray had just left him and helped me we might have dropped Damion before Bobby showed up to help. Especially considering my offense is limited. I have great defense, a decent Melee sense, and occasionally moments of offensive brilliance, but for the most part, I’m all defense and speed. Being aware of peoples traits is a huge leg up in this sport. Study tape whenever you can.

Eventually after axe fighting with bobby for a while Ray does come in to help with Damion, but he is choked all the way up the head on the Axe. Those shots are doing nothing. Ray is strong and big compared to Damion and has demonstrated this earlier. He could have just reached in and pulled him out.

Eventually Sam wins his fight and comes in to start working Ray’s back. Between him and Damion pushing Ray go down. If he could have turned he was probably safe with his back facing Damion. And if he have been able to get his axe under the lip of Damion’s helm like earlier when you fell you might have pulled him with you. It also seems like there is a bit of gassing that goes on here. Cardio is King.


19:23, not sure set or match

Two of the Sentinels collapse on Mark and the other drifts in to the right. Now is the time to flank. Run around the open left side of the field and try to get their backs.

When Ray get pushed up against the rail here, he needs to drop his ass and lean back. If you squat and push against the rail you become a tripod with the rail being your third support. You are incredible strong here. It would also be helpful to let go of his axe with on hand to chicken wing over the rail with his elbow. Then it becomes almost impossible to throw him and he last as long as he can take pain.


Set 6 round 1, 21:42

Not Much here. Brain executes perfectly and achieves hero status. After he takes out Sam and Ray hits Bobby, I tried to get his attention to help me with Damion. That’s the easy take down there, but he and Brian housed Bobby somehow so all’s good.


Set 6 round 3


Sam goes across and Ray lets him go….Not sure. Part of me wants to say charge him but part of me things that’s too risky. Not much happens. Ray tries to help Cat with Bobby but then has to turn to deal with someone and looks like he losing his footing. Happens.


Set 7 round 1

Good Charge, Then I get stuck in there and turns too much to a scrum… if Ray could break free and leave that would be good but otherwise no notes. Good throw. Bad luck getting caught on it.


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