Here are two fights where knees played a prominent role in the overall story line of the battle. Even more interesting is that these are fights that took place under K-1 and Glory events. These are kickboxing events with limited/no clinching or elbows, meaning that knee work is limited to specific ranges and uses.
In this video, you can see Aikpracha, the "hitman". He is known for his absolute ferocity and aggression, and likes to let his elbows go. In this fight, you see a lot less of that aggression as he has never fought under these limited rules before. By the second round however, he really starts to use his knees both defensively and offensively. In both cases, he is successful because he finds the range of his knee and executes it at the right time. This is possible because he has trained to the point of absolute familiarity with his knee technique, and can apply it confidently when his opponent is in the correct distance. Finding the range of a knee is not the easiest thing to do, but allows you to use an incredibly powerful weapon.
While Aikpracha still seemed uneasy with the different style of fighting, his understanding of his range kept him in the winning column. It's important to realize that this kind of understanding can only come from constant drilling and refining of the basics.
In this fight, you get to see the famous Buakaw. He uses a combination of head movement, swing kicks and knees to respond to the aggressive punches of his opponent. Instead of fighting fire with fire, Buakaw uses water. His flow allows him to redirect his opponent's aggression into his own attack.
Buakaw's knees in particular are well timed, which is even more so visible here than in the Aikpracha fight. He is able to read the commitment of his opponent and make them fall right into the spear point of his knee.
Again, constant drilling of the basics and actively seeking to refine them are the keys to gaining this type of skill. When the tool is sharp enough, one's mind is less preoccupied with how to perform the technique and instead focus on WHEN.
Ask any fighter though...the tool can never be sharp enough. We want to make sure that we continue to build upon both our base techniques and our skills. Come sharpen up on some timed knees for the rest of the week at YMT!