Alright, Getting this one done early so it’s actually gonna come out on Friday. We’re looking at 2015’s USA 5v5 loss to Poland…and man what a heartbreaking and downright odd fight this was. In both rounds it comes down to the single last man standing for a victory, both rounds start with the US up 5 to 4, and both rounds contain a genuine, wtf just happened there moment where one of our guys drops. In my first few watches I only saw a few teachable moments for team tactics but but maybe some more will pop up. There’s some good ground on things we’ve learned since then in 1v1 fighting though, and the odd moments alone are worth covering just to try and figure out WTF happened and how to fix it. So let’s get to it. We’re using two videos again, the official IMCF one, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TzGsFF_Siw0 and the fan video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ELUh-PXRs2k.
At :55 seconds https://youtu.be/TzGsFF_Siw0?t=55s the action starts. Note Poland is running a different 3-2 line than we usually see. They’ve spread 3 men basically equidistant across the field in the center front and then 2 men behind. This is not a line you see very much and I’m not sure how I feel about it. I like the holding men in reserve play to make a late call about where to go and this does hold open some back field for flankers to run around and move in, but I worry that it means your front line is too open to being overwhelmed as a total or at one point in a quick rush. The other team can easily commit more numbers to the point of contact which can often create a huge advantage in momentum if not knock a few guys down essentially gift wrapping the win. I feel like this is an advanced strategy that a very mobile team might want to use, particularly if there are fast punishers, who can wait till after the initial impact to sprint in and lay some axe. Regardless I hope to see more experimentation like this and will definitely be paying attention to team lineups more in the future
The US starts very similar to how they did in the Denmark fight, The 3 moves quickly to their right rail, 1 flanker drifts sideways left, and 1 flanker stays in the center. The Poles do an interesting switch where the 2 back fielders crossover, and 2 of the front 3 move to engage the main unit while the other one drifts over to engage Paul, the US flanker who moved wide. No one has a clear advantage. Both of the main units have 2 guys ready to engage and a third drifting, both teams have a man hanging back, and 1 man wide fighting. And now that we’ve watched the set up, we switch to the other video to get a good look at some action on the rail. https://youtu.be/ELUh-PXRs2k?t=11s
Here we see Simon, big dude with the giant sword step into range to hit the leading Pole. The big Pole in black, I believe Tomek?, is considering charging in, but Jaye manages to keep his attention. We’ll get back to that engagement in a second. Notice where Simon is after the first strike. He has moved beyond Bam Bam, the center and the rail man, and also pushed in against him so they have no room to move. Check the Graphic.
That line is the farthest a guard should ever really come when using the echelon line, with a Center anchored on the rail and 2 guards hanging. The points is to bring your oponents attack across your line allowing multiple attacks on a single target. By moving equal to that line you end up with a 1 v1 heads up scenario. By moving past it, you place yourself in danger of being in a 2 on 1, and as we’re about to see, isolating yourself from help. Going back to the video we see Simon eating a few shots, backing into Bam Bam, who is forced to run around him to get to the fight. This is some sloppy play here, but not just on Simon’s part. When Simon took that step up, Bam needed to follow up on that momentum to take that space and if the guy was rocked, capitalize. When Simon didn’t back up, he would have needed to step further to maintain the line, and honestly wouldn’t have been time to push the attack, grabbing the opposing axe man and holding him for Simon to chop the shit out of.
Side note about why gab the axe man, who was not in front of him, instead of the shield man. First off, Danger. There is much less danger from getting punched or chopped with a 1 handed weapon than there is from a 2 handed 1. Second, easier target. A shield man can still block themselves fairly well when grabbed, where an axe man is much more open and easier to land shots against. Third, position. The shield man backed away after the initial shot, while the axe man stepped in to attack Simon. This means he was easier to grab. He would also be in a position to cut Simon off from supporting Bill if Bam tried to rush down the rail to grab the shield man. And if Bam Bam pulled the axe man into the rail he could have used him as a guard against the Shield fighter essentially blocking him off from the entire fight, while Simon got to go to town on his buddy.
Ok, lets get back to the big black knight and the little back knight. Same moment, :11 seconds https://youtu.be/ELUh-PXRs2k?t=11s Jaye drifts very far to the inside of the field and as the Tomek(gonna refer to him as that and just hope I’m right) thinks about moving in on Simon he checks the side, realizes where Jaye is, and hesitates. Jaye steps back in a bit, until Tomek bites and charges. Note that as soon as he does, Ice starts charging in towards him. Jaye meets the charge and turns, which forces Tomek’s back to the open to Ice’s charge. Tomek does a great job of staying up and fighting he way to the rail, but he can’t hold on. Never gets his balance back before Ice can plant and pull him down. It’s important to note here the key was moving quickly and decisively. The Poles also had a floating fighter that could had countered Ice, but it takes him till :15 to move, and as we can see below, Ice is basically already on Tomeks back by then.
As we continue on that guy charges Jaye, hits him, grabs Simon and then gets stuck between the two of them, while Jaye tries to land Axe hits. This goes on for about 8 seconds, :20-:28. Note that while Simon is able to provide a wall the Pole is stuck against, because he doesn’t isolate the Poles shield, or even his sword, the guy can block most of the strikes coming in, mitigating alot of that damage. If possible you want to hold someone from the shield side so they lose that defense, but if not, you can still usually move the shield somewhat with a weapon or turn the opponent slightly to open up better angles. You want to do more than just hold them. Now, Simon has a big bad ass chopper himself…so maybe the best thing to do would be stop holding and just start chopping and make the guy pick who he wants to try and defend against. This is a key tactic the Executioners use to drop opponents, put them in a position where two punishers can take turns T-ing off on them. It’s a bad place to be.
Now Andre comes over, which Simon takes as a cue to go help Bill. I think this is a bad play. While usually putting 3 guys on 1 is a waste of resources and means you’ll have someone getting overwhelmed elsewhere, a quick check of the field would have revealed, the US was up a guy, Bam was fighting 2 but holding his own. And Paul was fighting the last guy at at stand still. That means there was plenty of time to stay here, and between the 3 of them, that’s a super easy drop. I understand the thinking though. Andre is here, between him and Jaye this guy won’t be a problem, I can go help Bill. With 20:20 hindsight though it really doesn’t look like the right move.
So Simon runs off and Andre goes for the fast takedown instead of holding him for Jaye. As I’ve been saying for a while now, I think is way too common in America and a big hole in our games. Rushing the quick, straightforward throw. Jaye is unable to get any shots in and the Pole slips out from Andre and gets free to move. He dances around until Jaye and Andre leave him a lane which he takes to rush in on Simon and Bam. It’s hard to tell exactly what happens as neither video gives a good shot, but it looks like Simon, after having free’d himself from being tangled up, saw the incoming Pole and tried to turn to meet him, but just wasn’t ready for Pole he left to land that punch. He goes down and takes the incoming Pole with him.
Now it’s 4 on 3, but after Simon falls down he rolls over as Jaye is trying to step over him, and just clips Jaye’s feet enough to drop him. I can’t stress this enough, after you fall, don’t move until the fight has cleared away from you, unless you are literally being injured by staying there. Of course if you’re the guy walking this doesn’t help you. We train to go over bodies alot at the knights hall, but clear that training doesn’t always save you. When confronted with a body, that you don’t have to go over, do the safe thing, take the half second and walk around it. This utterly simple moment might have cost the US the gold that year. So be cognizant of this little shit. Bodies are always dangerous. And if you are a body for fucks sake, don’t move.
So Bam Bam and his man go down together and that leaves just Andre and the Pole with the Axe standing. They tie up and Andre is able to drive him around for a bit, looks like he has him in a bad position, but slides off the top. Now this is actually a really slick move. Watch it in slow motion, I suggest .25 speed from here https://youtu.be/ELUh-PXRs2k?t=1m3s on. Note how the Pole is actually shifting his hips back and forth? That’s going to change how Andre feels the the resistance to the pressure he’s feeling, forcing him to adjust where he’s driving his wieght. As he does this, it pulls Andre forward and of position. Check out right before that move.
Andre’s back is straight and in line with his head. The Pole is going to explode back and down. His fee will move to wear BamBam is, creating much more leverage though his body. His ass will drop and move backward resetting his center of balance so that it’s in direct line with Andre making him much stronger forward. And his shoulder and head will come down, pulling Andre down by his arm and removing the support Andre had as all his weight is currently draped on the Pole’s neck. Look how straight the Poles legs are. That is not great for resisting any pressure except pressure coming straight down through the hips and is terrible for driving power out.
In this second image his legs are almost at a 90 degree angle due to the forward angle of his shins. This means he can sit back into his heels or drive out depending on the pressure Andre pushes. He can be strong or weak in resistance, for those who’ve down blade binds(or basic grappling). His arm is now pulling downward and to the side, redirecting Andre’s energy off of him. And look at Andre’s new posture. His back is completely bent(note how it curves over the blue line from his hips to the back of his head), the power from his legs is not driving into his opponent, he has lost his support of placing his weight on him. I don’t honestly think he could have saved himself at this point. The Pole gives slightly into Andre’s pressure, pulls and spins, which drops Andre onto his back. It’s a really really slick move. Props to that guy.
However, Andre let him get that set up. If we look below we see just a second earlier the position Andre put himself in trying to drive the Pole. The three green lines show his shoulder, thighs and feet are not at all in line, over each other. So he’s completely overbalanced forward. You can also see the red lines indicating where he’s driving his power. His feet are driving up through the pole’s stomach so redirecting that power to his legs, hips, and sholders which aren’t in that line of power means he’s sapping alot of that energy off trying to balance. He’s also draped on top of the Pole, instead of under, which is how you drive people. Get them up, lift them off their center of balance so they are easier to move. You can see that he’s pulling the head down, and into him, which is away from where his body is driving the guy. Also all his weight is being pushed downward into the fighter, despite his legs pushing upwards. There is force going in all sorts of different directions and probably causing Andre to fight himself, almost supporting the pole. The biggest issues though are that he’s on top of the guy, while driving. Driving that hard means you need to be under so you can push up, so that all your weight is still balanced if your target manages to slip. When you are on top, you are placing all your weight on them, deliberately moving your center of balance off, because you want them to support it. These two things cannot be done at the same time to optimal effect. You can get by…but you can’t excel…which is why when done at the top level, it ended up in a fall that looks like Andre just fell off the guy.
Ok. Same video, second round. https://youtu.be/ELUh-PXRs2k?t=1m11s
Same Line from Poland, but the US basically just go 5 across for some reason. I can’t really figure out why, or why Simon basically jumps into the fight before anyone else is even close to him…but that shit happens and nothing really comes of it. The first really interesting thing is one of the Poles tries to get a quick take down of Paul, but after he slides off he forgets Dude potential, leaves Steve Schroeder behind him and eats dirt after a quick shove. Good job working off his teammate.
Paul tries to help Simon but gets boxed out, turns into Steve, moment of confusion, and a Pole jumps on him. Now this is the exact opposite of good teamwork. As Paul and the Pole start to turn, Steve chases behind them throwing nothing shots with the falchion. He kinda hops onto his back a little, pommel strikes the guy, in the helmet(?) or other fairly armored area, kinda tries to push Paul a little bit, places his shield on the Poles head I guess to pull him somewhere, then slides off taking 3 steps in the opposite direction. Takes a second to survey the field, sees Paul is in a bad spot and decides the best option is to charge and hit them both with his body, which basically never doesn’t end with a double take down if it does anything at all. This one was the later. Manages to keep himself boxed out, turns away from the fight, just when the Pole is backing into a body and really vulnerable, and leave Paul to his eventual fate of being overbalanced backwards. I can count the number of good decisions in there on two fingers. Surveying the field and checking to see if someone was coming to hit him after body checking his own teammate.
So after that shit show, Steve and that Pole end up fighting on the rail next to Cat and Bam Bam. This is yet another one of those WTF moments that happen in the fight. It’s hard to see exactly what happens but Bam Bam basically spins himself around the pole into a crouching position. You can see it start here.
Here he’s completely behind the Pole and you can see he’s hanging on leaning back as if that’s what’s keeping him up.
And here’s he’s let go and fallen.
I’m not exactly sure what happened…but…I think Bam Bam tried to roll out from under the Pole’s grab, the Pole dropped making it harder, and when Bill finally popped free he was off balance and tried to wrap up but was falling too fast…but I will say I’m confident in that assessment. Having gone through it again… I’m really not sure what the best option is. He could have gone to rail to stretch the guys arms out for a punisher to come drop him…but Simon was on the far rail wrestling. He could have tried to free Cat, but back then of the two you probably would rather have Bam free to punch over Cat. And I didn’t see a good way for Cat to free him. If we go back to 1:35, we see both Cat and Bill are trapped in a double head lock and they basically needed to not get there. So I don’t have much to offer here in terms of help.
If we switch sides though and watch the other video we see Simon go down with the Pole he throws. Now there’s really one thing he needed to do to save himself.You can see Simon’s sword handle is stuck behind the Poles back and under his armpit. Further we see that that shield is going to be in the way and likely catch when the throw is completed. Simon needed to pull his weapon arm free as soon as the throw got the Pole moving. Right here He has about 1 second between there and when it’s too late.
If his sword is mostly out at this point he might have still been over balanced but could have possibly fought his way free. Here there is nothing for him to do. He’s getting pulled down.
The same thing happens to Cat across the field. He throws his man down. Note how close Cat is to the guy. He’s not maintaining the necessary separation and after the throw he keeps holding onto the Pole all the way to the ground, instead of throwing him away of going limp. This means when the Pole hits the ground there is no space for Cat to try and catch himself before the Pole’s energy pulls him down. Now the last bit that seems like it might have helped him is a step. This is something I’m not exactly sure of, so take with extra skepticism, but it looks like if he had take a step back it would have dispersed some of the energy and provided him with a better base to resist. Kinda how you can do bigger numbers with a sumo dead lift pull.
Cat’s foot stepping back here with the throw puts his hips under him more and just seems way more steady, instead of keeping it basically where it is. However it’s not something I’m sure of, so play with it before trying in a match.
Antway, after that Steve gets pushed over a body and the match is over. Basically every match came down to a single US fighter getting taken down in a 1 v 1 match. The each match had 3 double take downs. The Us lost Jaye to bad footing their own player caused and Andre to a nice weight change in the first match. And in the second lost Paul to a throw in the open field when the 2 on 1 he was in went to shit and he got left alone, while Bam Bam slipped trying to get out of a grapple. That was the difference. Paul catching himself. Andre going under instead of over. Jaye not Tripping. Or any of the doubles managing to keep their feet. You wonder why I harp on never grappling? This is why. Too easy to go down together….and that’s the difference between fighting for gold and fighting for bronze.
So hope that helped. Next week I’ll be going after my own team’s performance in our Loss to Fance in last years 10 v 10’s. Link here if you want to check it out early. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1s1l8KdCEUQ&feature=youtu.be&t=4h28m8s
See you in the lists.