Video…MMA fight between Randy Couture & James Toney…What strategy did Randy use?

This is an incomplete video of the fight.  You can see the entire 2-3 minutes here if you give it time to load and start at the 3 minute mark. It ends in about 3 minutes.

So can you figure out which strategy he used? How many different strategies? If you want to know about strategy in real self defense situations, in business or anywhere, this will really help you.

If you want some hints, check out the Firebook chapter of Miyamoto Musashi’s “A Book of Five Rings.” He goes through the basic strategies and subsidiary strategies, which we discuss in Aikido classes from time to time. You can find it in our library (username and password are both: sa).  Just go to , put in the username and password, go about 2/3 of the way down and you will see the Firebook chapter. The strategies list starts at “The Three Methods to Forestall the Enemy.”

If you want to comment or discuss, feel free to post it here. Later this entry will be listed on the Video Discussion page for reference…




10 responses to “Video…MMA fight between Randy Couture & James Toney…What strategy did Randy use?”

  1. Gregory Avatar

    The guy starts with a feint pretending a high attack and going for the leg instead. Musashi describes this strategy as “Ken No Sen”, or the first method of forestalling the opponent. In Aikido we do it by provoking an attack.
    Then when the opponent falls and attempts to rise and reach him, he let’s the leg go and intercepts the attack at the very start – it looks like what Musashi calls “To Tread Down the Sword” – nipping the enemy’s attack very early, in the bud. In Aikido we learn a similar strategy through timing and blending.
    Finally, he applies what Musashi calls “Hold Down a Pillow”: not allowing the enemy’s head to rise – I do not think Aikido encourages that behavior at all, and for a good reason.

    1. steve Avatar

      what’s the reason? (I guess I was supposed to know?)

    2. Jason Avatar

      I could be misinterpreting Musashi’s “To hold down a pillow” but I’m not sure he meant not allowing an enemies head to rise literally. I think what he’s explaining is you should endeavor to trap your opponent’s attack at its outset – as you see your opponent cock his hand back to throw a punch, you move into position to take his energy and use it against him.
      Musashi writes:
      “The important thing in strategy is to suppress the enemy’s useful actions but allow his useless actions.”
      When your opponent is no longer using his energy to attack because you’ve harnessed his aggression before he could do harm, you’re now able to lead your opponent, you obviously have the upper hand, and are “holding down the pillow.”
      This seems to me to be at the core of Aikido.

  2. Kim Avatar

    I think Couture is “knowing the times” then “holding down the pillow.” He knew that his opponent did not train grappling so he went there. Then once he got him on the ground, he “held down the pillow.” I wonder what the other guys’ strategy was, if any?

    1. steve Avatar

      I think that was critical in his strategy. Toney’s strategy, if you ask me, was also “knowing the times.” He just wanted to trade punches with Couture because he had so much more experience there. So if they both have the same strategy of using their strength against the opponent’s weakness, how come Couture pulled his off an Toney could not?

  3. Kim Avatar

    because you always have to be realistic enough to have an alternate plan. If a boxer thinks his boxing is so great, he’ll only do that, he is overconfident. That’s a weakness.

    1. admin Avatar

      I was hoping you could give me something more specific. e.g. how is overconfidence related to takemusu aiki?

  4. Kim Avatar

    overconfidence is a pre-conceived set of thoughts. takemusu aiki is responding naturally to the situation at hand without concepts.

  5. Kim Avatar

    but then again, why would you need any of these strategies if you had takemusu aiki?

    1. admin Avatar

      Okay, so Toney’s strategy was to use his strength in trading punches, but he was overconfident, which was a preconceived set of thoughts. When he was thinking, he was not watching. Couture noticed the distracted mind, feigned a high strike further distracting Toney from his legs when Couture went for them without concern for being knocked out on the entry. With takemusu aiki, you don’t use these preconceived ideas for this reason.

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