Friday Fight Break Down, Denmark v USA 5v5 2015 IMCF Bronze


OK fight fans. Day late again and I don’t have my computer so I’m having issues doing things like screen shots but I’m still trying to keep something of schedule so here it goes. This fight is the Bronze Medal round between Denmark and USA in Poland 2015. Unfortunately the video doesn’t give as a clear view of the field the whole time and actually cuts off the in the set up the first round, arguably the most import part of the fight. Luckily I found a pretty decent fan video. That shows the whole field. I’ll be bouncing back and forth between the two


So We start with the above video. Within 6 seconds it looks both teams come out in the standard 3-2 flank, where you stack 3 guys on one flank and 2 on the other. The 3 on each team ends up lining up against the 2 on the other this time, the idea being each team hopes they can capitalize on the situation where they are a man up before the other team can across the field. This should appear even but a close look at the first few seconds will show us that the US already has a clear advantage.


When we look at the initial walk to engagement, seconds 1-4, we see Denmark spread flat across the field. This is a typical strategy for the best eastern Euro teams and is also very successful for england. The basic idea is we are going to go man for man with you and each of our guys is stronger than yours so we’ll end up winning. Basically trying to negate movement and tactics by making it just 5 straight up strength on strength fights. Now I’m pretty sure Denmark isn’t across the board better 1 v1, though they might win a couple of match ups, so this already seems like a questionable line up. Compare to the US which immediately breaks sends a tight group to the far rail. The US wants to set up a specific engagement that they think will put the odds in their favor…and that engagement makes it hard to run 1 v1 tactics, because a number of the us fighters are hanging back, which means in order to get to them the Danes would have to move through another US fighter, giving the American holding back a free opportunity to try some move.


Between 5-7 we see the Danes break out into 2 flanks, but they still look less like a cohesive unit close to us. The two up top do seem to be together purposefully but the 3 on the bottom not so much. Now perhaps the Danes have a different break down of positions that I’m not aware of, but in the US we basically have 3, Center, Guard, Flanker. The Dane in the Green appears to be best choice for center based on size(and if it’s who I think it is, probably skill too..I think that’s Jasper), instead they have a small quicker dude close to the rail…and he’s a few steps out from it anyway.


The Dane line there though wouldn’t be so much of a problem, if the US line weren’t deployed in basically the perfect counter. Pause it at 7 seconds in. There is no one that’s easy for the 3 Dane’s to attack. There options are, from the bottom going up: Paul, who’s at least 3-4 steps away and has the rail to support him; Andre, who is sitting back waiting for a good opportunity to pounce, at least 6 steps away, with plenty of room to move in; Jaye, also with plenty of room to run, an easy route to either the rail, Andre, or Bill and Cat for support, also 5 steps away; or Cat, who is actually passed them meaning they’d have to run back into their end exposing not only flank but back to attack. Anywhere they go the leave themselves open to an attack coming in from the sides or back, possibly before they even reach engagement. Up top Bam Bam and the Dane he’s squaring up with are both within striking range. Bam Bam has the rail for support though and the Dane does not. Bam Bam also has Cat right off his shoulder so if it gets to in close fighting he’ll have support, while the Dane’s support is 2 steps away from being able to help. There is a clear advantage here for the US, if the Dane’s try to act first…however that’s not exactly what happens.


At 7 seconds in Paul sets to run and the Dane across from him looks up the field and steps away from the rail. So at 8 Seconds Paul takes off on a run into the back field. The Dane turns back and tries to react while his two buddies jog towards Andre. We can’t see what happens with that because of the camera angle, but we know everyone survives the encounter. It’s likely Andre finds away around them as Jaye moves into engage them. What we can see is Paul clearing around the Dane he was lined up with and moving deep in field to get a quick take down. A nice subtle move Paul makes after the turn is to fake like he’s engaging the guy who came with him, before heading off. He makes eye contact as he comes around, shifts his body weight in that direction and then sticks a hand out to give distance and let him know where the fighter is. However that forces the Dane to be a little more guarded and he basically just lets Paul waltz by him.


Up top we see Bam Bam and trading blows and moving into hug. Nothing great here. Both Cat and the other Dane play it too conservatively sitting back waiting for something better to happen. Either of them could have pressed to get some free shots in on the two wrestlers, but decided to face off instead. It does look like Cat catches the movement coming in at 10-11 seconds, while the Dane fails to keep his head on a swivel and gets plowed over because of it. Down screen the Dane who was chasing Paul doesn’t fall for the same trap, and manages to catch a glimpse of Andre coming in to clean him out. The hit still destabilizes him and Andre almost puts him down on the grapple. After getting out though he makes the right decision that I and so many other flankers fail to…he runs the fuck away. He’s able to keep Andre chasing him, gets him out of danger and when he comes back into the fight is able to significantly disrupt Cat’s plans and put him far off balance. Remember Flankers, Movement is life.


So now we have 1 Dane down and the fight has moved to a small section on the rail and the second video has caught up. The first interesting thing is 24-25. Here we can see Cat holding 2 guys against the rail, 1 of whom is actually a bigger dude. This is that grind technique that Cat, Lane, and I talked about in our grappling series. We might go over it more in depth so let us know if you’re interested in that. Anyway, you can see Cat’s weight is slightly forward as he leans into the two guys. He’s not entirely forward, so that if somehow he lost his support in front of him he’d still be able to catch himself. He’s also doing nothing to fight the grappling attempts against him. Because he’s trying to tie up 2 people, the more they hang onto him, the easier it actually is.


The action cuts to Andre and Bam Bam trying to put down a Dane and Bam Bam going down with him. It’s hard to see what’s happening here but it looks like Bam Bam has an under hook with his shield on the Danes weapon hand while Andre is holding the guys shield down. They both push forward trying to get his head past his feet to the point the has to fall, while walking him forward. Because you can’t see the subtle shit, making any definite claim of what would kept Bam Bam up is impossible, but it does seem likely that this was a result of pushing too hard and simply trying to use strength and power to get through a problem. I’m thinking the best option would have been Andre to pull the Dane off Bam Bam, and then hold him while Bam unleashed those bombs he has in that shield punch.


There’s nothing else really good in that video. Jaye chops a guys leg out and he never gets his balance back, trying to hold on to Cat. There’s two moments in the other video I do want to talk about though.

So at 27, Paul pops his head out from a head lock and grabs a dude in a hug from behind. They walk forward a bit and Paul start to try yanking him to the ground. Eventually he moves the Dane, who steps with it and rolls causing Paul to fall. What happened here is Paul over commits to the the throw. At 34 you can really see how much of his weight he’s pulling to the side, his entire body is driving that way, his legs are almost horse stance they’re so far apart. When the Dane moves he manages to get his back, but not his head out. However Paul has put so much of his weight into him that he’s lost the thing that was supporting him and is unable to catch himself quickly.  Part of this is slick move by the Dane to react to the shifting body weight.

We were up 4 to 2 at that point and Andre was walking over to him. If he had just held the guy for 10 seconds instead of trying to force the throw, he and Andre could have probably put him down safely. This is a common problem in American Steel fighting. Too many people are too anxious to get the quick take down and refuse to wait for the better opportunity. It’s why we see so many double falls or suicides. It’s why we think bigger is better. There was a while in America where the believe that weapons didn’t do anything was common and because of it we over focus on grappling and throws without doing proper set up through striking. That appears to be changing though.

Right after that is other thing I want to focus on. I am constantly yelling at fighters to “use the bodies” when they get down to 1 v1 situations and this is a great example of how to do that. Andre moves so that he has the Dane between him and the body he wants to us. The Dane puts his ass to rail for stability and throws his Axe over Andre’s head. This opens Andre up to use and underhook to peel the Dane’s weight forward and then just needs to drive slightly before his legs hit the body. The Throw looks so smooth because there is no where for the Dane to go. This is what I mean when I yell that. Find a place where you can bring your opponent into an obstacle that their legs won’t be able to manage in armor. Whether that’s through pushing, pulling, twisting, it doesn’t matter. And remember when you get to this point you likely have time to think. So get a way, make a plan, then execute it. Don’t rush the finish.


So that’s the first round. In round 2 we’ll start with the official video. Jump to 2 minutes and 3 seconds Here we see the teams lined up before the start. The Danes are running at 2 and 3 split, while the us is completely bunched together. As it starts the Danes march straightforward while the US heads obliquely towards the rail on their right(our left). The Dane’s pick this up and match…which leave the the entire other flank open. Mark Elric from the US makes a run to take advantage of this. One of the Danes peels off to match him and basically fucks it up completely.

Mark does a change of pace, slowing down to match the Dane, then putting a burst of speed to head by him. As he does the Dane just cuts inwards towards the rest of the Americans, meaning someone else on his team has to pick Mark up, or he’ll get a free shot into them. You can see they aren’t prepared for this in the other video, around the 56 mark Notice the confusion, hesitance, and heads turning. Also consider this means, they lose a man from the point of engagement and might be fighting 4 on 3 at the main fight instead of 4 on 4. However that’s not the worst part. The Dane turns his back on the 4 other Americans, but is able to survive it as no one was ready. Then when he does turn to engage them he moves towards Jaye, then offers his back up to the rest of Americans…basically the exact opposite of minding dude potential. Simon teaches him the lesson fairly convincingly.

Let’s stick with the fan video. One Dane jumps in and manages to drive Steve Schroder back a step. Between that and Cat and Simon flattening out the line in responsive to the first Danes flanking run, this guy charging in is able to pull Cat in too, letting his buddy slip by to engage Simon, and another to get in on Jaye. We can’t see what’s happening off screen but eventually Mark and the other Dane decide to not engage as they both come in to help separate fights.

Simon throws his guy but gets caught up in the legs and goes down. Mark comes to help Jaye finish off his guy and there’s nothing really special there. Worth nothing Elrick makes sure to check the Dane only, not the Dane and Jaye, which means only the Dane gets the added momentum. The axe is already acting like a lever under the arm and the added force is enough to make sure he goes down. Schroder throws a suicide which gives the win. Usually a terribly choice but worked this time.

The things I want to focus on here are why the first Dane’s double head lock doesn’t work out for him and why Simon loses his feet. In the double head lock as soon as he gets it, 1:02, he flattens out to face them head on, instead of turning so he’s facing the rail and trying to corral them into that. This means they can both get their feet under them and start driving, which they do. Cat actually drive in enough that he is perpendicular with the guy’s hips with gives him alot of extra power to push into him if he wants. It also means the guys arm is extended backward too far to have much power. Cat can now easily pull out by pushing up on the arm and ducking his head out, which he does. He admittedly eats an axe shot to the back of the head after but not everything can work out.

The Simon trip is mostly bad luck but a few things might have kept him up. The throw he’s doing is one I’ve talked about before, I think actually last week in the Simon Micah fight. Simon is tied up, drops his weight suddenly, pushes forward, and rolls his head out of the grapple. This time there’s an added component of a twist…and a lacking component of a dropped ass. He basically bends to get out of it. This probably plays some what with the fall, even though he catches his balance at first he, probably wasn’t quite stable when the falling Dane pulling on him dragged him back down. He manages to catch himself again, but can’t get his feet right, both because the Dane he threw is still rolling and there’s another body in the way as well.

It’s possible that had he dropped his ass more after he got pulled down he might have stayed up. He could also have tried to stabilize his base first before trying to pull his axe out and just gone limp in the upper body, that may also have save him. But those are adding 5%-10% chances to an already bad position. I think the real solution here is to be less explosive in that throw. Simon has a good grip and control over the guy and there’s a body he put down not 2 steps away. If he can drive him there and twist him over it, exactly like he did, but not explode till the very end, just drive him down, he’ll be in a much better position from the start and far less likely to get caught up in the falling Danes shield or legs.


Biggest take aways here are make sure you set up you line first, understand how field positioning can give you an advantage, and use it. Do not let your opponent make better use of the field than you and always make sure you are setting up 2 on 1 situations that you can exploit. Never turn your back to your opponent, never let someone in your back field. Next week we’ll be going over the 5v5 USA loss to Poland and trying to figure out what we did wrong as opposed to what we did right. Thanks for reading, See you in the lists.


One thought on “Friday Fight Break Down, Denmark v USA 5v5 2015 IMCF Bronze

  1. Pingback: Friday Fight Breakdown, Poland v USA 5v5’s | Life As A Swordsman

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