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Shep and James Discuss the Ideal Fighting Frame

I enjoyed your post from awhile back about “The Purpose-Built Predator”. In fact, many’s the time I stop in front of the mirror, wink at myself, point both thumbs toward my chest and say :”Purpose-Built Predator”. Anyhow…

I was watching my only NFL game of the season on Sunday, and marveling at the athleticism of Gronkowski and Ertz, the two big (white) tight ends for the two teams.

What does the LaFond lexicon have to say about that kind of superhero physique: Tall, good runner, built like Adonis, great eye-hand coordination? This is the NFL tight end/ NBA small forward/ Klitschko type, but I think it needs your eye to name it and analyze it.



As a Decommissioned Heavily Modified Twerp I'm jealous. I bet you run around at the range with an M-60 in one hand and the ammo belt draped over the other shoulder…

The elements of this physical type, prominent on Major League Baseball rosters in numerous positions, with Chris Davis possibly the best example, are as follows, as a package of expanding returns as you build on your Anglo-Saxon Chassis.

Basic Dimensions

5 foot 10 to 6 foot 6, with the optimum overall combat size around 6 foot [MMA] even and the optimal boxing height at 6 foot 4 inches [Ali]. When you get to modern weaponry you want the low end on height around 5 foot 10. Ali would have murdered the younger Klitschko brother based on style but mostly jaw access and lost to his older brother based on work rate.

Weight is going to average 200 pounds with the 205 pound MMA types being so much better fighters than the 260 pound monsters, that they would butcher them in blade duels and gunfights. In something like football, weight will go up as its all blunt, where men slim out for saber and pistol dueling.

The best fantasy heroes of this type would be Robert E. Howard’s Bran Mak Morn, Black Vulmea and Solomon Kane Characters, with the rapier and pistol wielding Kane slimmer. All of Howard’s boxing heroes are in this size range, as was another boxing writer with a good pro record, Louis L’Amore, who came in on the small end of the range.

Historical heroes of this size were Nathan Bedford Forest [killed 13 men with his saber, 1 with a knife, 19 with pistol and 1 with an axe handle], John L. Sullivan, Sam McVey and Jack Dempsey.

The prize legionnaire of the early imperial age was 5-10- to 6 foot. This is an excellent sword and shield size and such heroes of the arena as Spartacus, Flamma and Aptus would have come in around this size.

The ancient boxers and bare knuckle kings mostly fell into this size range.

Active Binocular Vision

Basically, leopard eyes without the cool night vision adaptation. That’s coming on line. You can’t see it on the tight ends wearing their gear but you see it on the baseball players and guys like Michael Jordon and that scary looking NBA Croat with the veloci-raptor bony crest. Ty Cobb was probably the most visually gifted here.

Wing Span

The most important boxing measurement is reach, not arm length, as shoulder width as a mechanism for coordinating and amplifying coordination between the spine and hands, is clutch.


Hands should be big. There is a reason why women are into big hands and it has to do with the ability to palm various objects.

Leg Symmetry

Not having a large disparity between upper and lower leg strength and having long muscles rather than long tendons helps with weapon handling, reaction time and injury suppression.

The thing about the need for a wide wing span, measured fingertip to fingertip, is related to power transfer and the ability to sustain shoulder contact without dislocation and torn rotational muscles. What this does is it gives you a longer rear hand reach than lead hand reach [look at Ali hitting Foreman], but most importantly delivers good reach with high coordination. Kids are more coordinated than adult students simply because they have to overcome less linkage disruption and distance distortion because their little hands are closer to their cervical spine. This is as much about the nervous system—more, really—than the muscular-skeletal superstructure.

If you give me a fighter to train, please don’t make it a guy built like a gibbon with long arms and narrow shoulders.

Have fun with the M-60, Shep.

Being a Bad Man in a Worse World

Fighting Smart: Boxing, Agonistics & Survival

Add Comment
BobFebruary 12, 2018 5:55 PM UTC

The gibbon sighs deeply...
ShepFebruary 12, 2018 3:04 PM UTC

Ha! Yeah, I'm the designated M-60 guy, but I let Jesse ("Sexual Tyrannosaurus") Ventura handle the Gatling gun on those long jungle LRRP missions.

Great analysis, James. thanks!
Devil DogFebruary 12, 2018 8:47 AM UTC

Steven Adams is an interesting case. He's 7ft 255 pound, half Anglo/half-Tongan basketball player from New Zealand. His sister is a two time gold medalist in the shot put, so his genetics are top end. When he came into the NBA, he was clean cut and boyish (he was a teenager, after all). 5 years later he has long hair, full beard and tribal tattoos covering his arms. He's currently the most feared man in the NBA, though most black players wouldn't admit it. His stone cold demeanor in a league full of trash talkers no doubt enhances the intimidation factor. But can he fight? We'll probably never know since I suspect no one will ever test him.
responds:February 12, 2018 3:53 PM UTC

Thanks for this little bio, Devil Dog.

The physical frame and the culture of Polynesians have made them excellent combatants overall, especially with blunt weapons and all of our sports are blunt. There are also, like Shaq, some cases of individuals maintaining above normal bio mechanics at above normal size ranges, which really is intimidating because it mixes types and muddies expectations. But with a saber against a 6 footer these guys loose a hand right out of the gate.