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Best Fighting Style for Tall, Lanky Guy in Today's Fighting Styles?

I know this has been asked a few times on this forum throughout the years, but the latest post was from 2011 so i wanted to ask again. Im a 6’6 150 lb guy, who pretty athletic, agile on my feet and has a pretty long reach. I have a new love for MMA after watching the likes of Conor McGregor and Ronda Rousey (Though they’ve both lost now) Obviously fighting styles change throughout the years, I want to know what fighting style would be best for someone like myself, not only for self defence but possibly competition too in today’s era of MMA.

As far as “defence”(in quotes because of topic, not because it is defense in 'Murican English) goes there is just so damn much to it aside from actual technique. Everything from threat assessment, to awareness, to strategic vs tactical vs application that I am not sure the “which style” question can get a great answer other than local availability of good training counts for a lot. I would rather sweat at a good traditional karate school than a terrible Reality Based Self Defense/Combatives school, even if the latter is a far better on paper answer to self defense.

As for body type, I think that is much more a small “s” style question rather than a big one. Tall, lanky fighters manage to exploit their assets and limit their deficiencies in damn near every type of fighting competition/style. Vitale K. would not have had success trying to ape Mike Tyson or Joe Frazier. In Kickboxing we have Hoost, Hunt, Sefo, and Schilt who all got it done with very different body shapes, but who competed in the same sport and trained pretty much the same Muy Thai/Dutch Kickboxing style. BJJ has lanky masters like the Brothers Nog, Bustamante, Werdum, etc. They also have Jacare and Palhares who are fucking tree trunks.

So the upshot is I think you can pick your pleasure/poison and then naturally gravitate to using the tactics and techniques that work best for your frame and abilities.


Robert A

Haha and I was loving every second of watching those cocky sons of bitches get fucked up and put out.

But your poor choice of role models aside, I’d say if you’re looking to compete one day you could just go to an MMA gym and jump in. There’s many around nowadays of varying quality, though, so do your research first.

I mean, if I had my pick of any art for a guy with your frame I’d say go for pure muay Thai. The tall-and-lanky thing seems to work well with their kicks, and I’ve seen some motherin’ fast and hard-hitting tall guys in that sport.

Also, if you’re new to combat sports muay Thai (like boxing) will show you right away whether you’re a pussy or not. There’s a lot of people who coast through BJJ, calling their NAGA tournament matches “fights” while thinking they’re hot shit … only to get punched once in the face by someone who knows how and quickly decide MMA isn’t actually for them.

That’s not to say BJJ or wrestling are easy - they’re not. But they’re not fighting.

Absolutely agree.

And I forgot to address the self-defense part. In reality, any combat sport (and even some traditional arts) will get you by if you’re streetfighting with the average drunk college kid at a bar. But as far as self-defense goes, there’s a lot more that goes into it - like Robert said, mostly mental stuff, but also some physical things, too. The best self-defense training I’ve ever gotten mixed some basic boxing/muay Thai stuff with all kinds of combatives techniques you can’t use in the ring: chin jabs, knees to the groin, shots to the back of the head, etc. Basically anything that’ll get you thrown out of a proper fight. So conflating “competition-fighting” and “self-defense” isn’t really wise.

But being as you mostly sound competition-oriented, my answer remains the same.

I am guessing that was at McCann’s gym right?

Being a tall fighter you will want to use range/reach to your advantage. This means using straight line strikes like jabs, straight Rights/Lefts, Teeps/Push Kicks, Side Kicks, etc…and footwork to keep your opponent at a range where you can hurt them but they can’t as easily hurt you.

But to be honest you should learn “trapping range” (elbows, knees) skills, stand up grappling/“clinch range” skills and “Groundfighting” skills as well, because you are not always going to be successful at keeping the fight in the range that best suits you.

Tall, lanky guys are hard to handle standing and on the ground, so MT or BJJ would both be good choices. As far as self defense goes, I have been in quite a few bad situations in my life and the one thing I definitely know to be true is that you do not want to go to the ground unless you absolutely have to. I train BJJ only now which is fun and a great, healthy hobby as well as a wonderful style but I pray that I never have to use it in a fight (well, I pray that I never have to throw strikes or shoot a firearm in a real life situation, either).

Anyway, it is sufficient to say that if you cannot strike you cannot fight and if you don’t know your way around on the ground you also cannot fight and if you can’t transition between the two you also cannot fight. This is, of course, coming from a self-defense perspective. In a ring there are rules specific to the sport and, although there is some carry over, that is a completely different skill set altogether.

I would say to check out some different martial arts schools of varying styles and pick the school where the instruction is the best and where you are really out-done by the other students. If you come across a school with formidable novices then that is a good school. Good students are a sign of a good school.

What everyone here has said is good advice. Basically any style of fighting where you can use your range effectively will give you an edge.

However if I were to recommend a concentration I’d go with “Dutch” Kickboxing. Basically the style has taken elements of Muay Thai and kickboxing (and some Kyokushin karate, if I recall correctly) and adapted it into a subsect art. The style uses strikes that appear to favor taller fighters. That and having lived next to the Netherlands for a few years, I can say that the short Dutch person was rare.


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