MMA Footwork For Beginners

This week’s blog post is a Damage Control MMA exclusive. That’s right faithful Damage Controllers, no youtube updates this week. Just a sneak peek into what we’ve been working on in the Members Area of our little project as of late. Basic Punch Defenses.

Who knew such a simple, and easy to learn technique could be such an effective and powerful tool. Stepping and Sliding Back, Stepping and Sliding Forward. That’s it! That’s all there is to it. The hard part is actually using it. People will move back but won’t spring into their former position. Or they’ll panic and simply cover up, neglecting to utilize their footwork all together.

One of the most valuable aspects of using footwork as the foundation for all of your defensive skills is that it is very general purpose. The same Step and Slide Back can be used to evade the Jab, the Cross, the Hook, Overhand, Uppercut, Straight Right, Jab Cross Combination, Spinning Backfist, the list goes on. One size pretty much fits all when it comes to using footwork as your first line of defense as can be seen in the last portion of the video.

We hope you enjoyed this week’s blog post and we hope you’ll join us for more DamageControlMMA.com in the future.

Ben Jones Clinch Work

Few recurring guests on Damage Control MMA have developed the following and fan base as Ben “The Badger” Jones. Some come for his charming personality, some for his unconventional techniques, and still others just love to see how he’s going to make Brandon’s life a living Nightmare.

Regardless of why you enjoy watching, The Badger is back and he brings the goods again, with a series of techniques from the clinch.

If you enjoy seeing The Badger, make sure you stop by his facebook and let him know. Whenever you guys let our guests know how much you like seeing them on Damage Control, it makes our job that much easier when it comes to asking them back onto the program.

Check it out and stay tuned, we have so much more to come.

Cradle Counter to the Single Leg Takedown

Here we are again with a DamageControlMMA.com exclusive with the legendary Coach Billy Robinson. A special thanks to the folks at CertifiedCatchWrestler.com for being so inviting and welcoming to the Damage Control MMA project. Believe it or not, it takes a lot of work to bring these videos to you and not everyone is friendly to the idea of us bringing in our filming crew to grab an interview or a technique. Coach Billy Robinson, Jake Shannon and the Catch Wrestling Community at large has been so accomodating and for being so open to our questions and interest in Catch As Catch Can.

Last week I bored you with a long post. This week I spare you the long lecture and simply offer you this spectacular counter to the Single Leg Takedown which puts you squarely in control with a far side Cradle. Whether you’re a wrestler looking for a pin, a submission grappler looking to reverse a takedown and end up on top or a MMA practitioner, this move will have a useful place in your bag of tricks.

Check it out, the Catch as Catch Can Cradle Counter to the Single Leg.

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MMA Concepts: The Arm Triangle Ambush

One potential pitfall to an eclectic approach to Mixed Martial Arts is to ignore the culture, rule structure and native homes of the techniques we import into our systems.

For years we’ve attempted not only to bring you unique techniques but also perspectives that are respectful of the arts from which these techniques have come.

We’ve tried to share our insights into how understanding the parent arts can give you more clarity on the uses and dangers of using techniques such as Amateur Wrestling’s Shot or Leg Tackle style takedowns. The popularity and prevalence of such techniques could only have evolved in a world where Chokes, Neck Cranks and Neck Locks are prohibited.

And to be sure, Amateur Wrestling is not the only parent art that evolved techniques with inherent, potential dangers when applied in a Mixed Martial Arts setting.

Take for instance, Catch Wrestling’s Gotch Toe Hold. In it’s native home, the Gotch Toe Hold makes total sense, because the man on the bottom is fighting to stay on his knees, or even to stand up. Rolling over onto his back and effectively pinning himself (which would be a match ender in Catch) would be unthinkable. But import this technique into a new environment where a Brazilian, Jiu-jitsu influence is prevalent, and where pinning is removed as a legitimate way to win a contest, and at least 50 percent of the time the Gotch Toe Hold is going to be a non factor. The guy on bottom simply rolls to a guard and the technique is rendered nearly useless.

Does this mean that the Gotch Toe Hold won’t work in MMA? Absolutely not. It means that it won’t work when your opponent doesn’t give you the energy requisite for it. It only works when your opponent is trying to stay off of his back.

And how about our striking influences. Boxing has it’s own set of considerations. The basic stance with it’s bladed approach (protecting the liver by brining it rearward) exposes the lead leg for a Sweep Single or a Leg Kick. And the long combinations, offer ample opportunity for an opponent to change levels for a Shot. And again, this isn’t to say that these types of techniques or combinations are ineffective in the world of MMA but rather that you have to have an opponent in front of you that gives you the proper energy for these types of techniques.

For illustrative purposes I’ve included an excellent focus mitt demonstration below.

I think these gentlemen have done a fantastic job. But imagine trying this full combination (starting at the 4:18 mark) on an opponent with a Amateur Wrestling base.

So what does any of this have to do with the video at the beginning of this post?

Well, it has to do with understanding a technique or a method, as it is applied in it’s parent art with the cultural norms and rule structures relevant to it. Here Kiser is demonstrating a very interesting concept. The idea of a ride, or of patience, which comes from the original Gracie System of Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, with no time limits and no weight classes.

I used to get caught under Coach Kiser and simply could not escape, no matter how hard I tried. Eventually I would exhaust myself and then find him tightening his coils on a submission. To tired to fight it off, I would eventually succumb and tap. But when the roles were reversed it would seem that I were trying to catch water with a sieve. The instant I would get a dominant position, I would lose it.

I asked Coach Kiser what his secret was, and without hesitation he related it me as follows:

“Well sir, when I catch you in a position, I concentrate 100% of my effort towards keeping you in position. At no time am I attempting to submit you. Eventually I feel you soften and relax. I hear you take a deep breath, and then I start my submission attack. But it feels like when you get a position, the second you get there, you are on the attack and that gives me openings to escape from. I think it’s just a matter of patience.”

I incorporated Coach Kiser’s advice and immediately I found myself maintaining position a lot longer and increasing my submission percentages.

So is this the end all and be all of improving your submission game? No, not necessarily. It all has to do with situations and rule structures. In MMA fight, you’ve got anywhere between 3 and 5 minutes to secure a takedown and then finish with a submission. In a Self Defense Scenario you might have to finish off your assailant as quickly as possible in order to avoid his group of friends running at you, or in order to get to the next room where your child is screaming for help. In these situations, you don’t have the luxury of being patient and allowing your opponent to tire himself out.

Nevertheless, understanding different strategies and approaches to fighting and finishing fights can greatly increase your overall game and allow you to do things, and think in ways that others who neglect this type of research are simply unequipped to do. Stay open minded, look beyond technique, learn to research and appreciate the mother arts and stay tuned for more Damage Control MMA!

St-Pierre vs. Diaz UFC 158: Greatness About to NOT Happen

That’s right. Don’t adjust your computer screen. You read what I just said. Greatness is about to not happen. Huh? What? How could that be? Mix Nitroglycerine with Sodium Carbonate and how could you not have Dynamite?!?

UFC’s 158 promises a battle between two of the pound for pound greatest fighters of MMA History. This is how the world of fighting should be. The two best, stand toe to toe and settle it, once and for all. It is a fight fan’s wildest dream come true. One we almost dare not believe in as we saw it evaporate before our eyes at UFC 137.

Well, I’m here to tell you, dream no more. Lower your expectations now so you aren’t disappointed when those dreams become a reality and like anything else in our corporeal world, it comes crashing to earth and shatters into a million lack luster pieces.

The only thing for certain is that Nick Diaz will show up to fight. I don’t believe he knows any other way. GSP on the other hand, may or may not. And if recent history is any indication, we may be in for a 5 round snoozefest of jabs and footwork, an intermittent leg kick and possibly a round end takedown. It’s a smart and safe bet for GSP and a great way to ensure his place of glory, if that can be said of such performances.

And who’s responsible for this crap? You can’t really blame St-Pierre. I mean, a champion finds a way to win, that’s his job. So who is at fault for this tragedy in the making? I lay the blame squarely on the judges. They’ve set a precedent that rewards conservative, counter striking and defensive tactics. Awarding numerous wins to guys who move backward. This fight will be no different.

But before you go and cancel your PPV order, remember, that I am the worlds all time WORST fight caller. In fact, as we speak, the parallel Universe where all things are possible has aligned itself with our own and is about to put a glitch in the matrix just to make me look like a fool, YET AGAIN! And when it happens, you can thank me for saving this wretched outcome for the Greatest MMA Fight that was not.

Basic Muay Thai Pad Drills: Inside Left Kick Counters

Since one of our very first Striking Instructionals “Jab Counters” we’ve had a lot of positive feedback and requests for more striking oriented videos in that format. Well here we are with another attempt at a video we hope you will enjoy.

The Left Kick Counter is a nice addition to the repertoire of any trainer or pad holder that wants to make his or her rounds more realistic. Incorporating these drills takes your partner from simply thumping pads, to reacting, and thinking. Sometimes they will engage the pads, other times simply defend attacks and other times they will defend and counter. This is the case with the Inside Left Kick Counter Drills.

Don’t forget to pay respects before and after your rounds. And don’t forget to leave a comment and let us know if you liked this series of Pad Drills.

Lock Flow Set Up For Arm Triangle

As a continuation of the Arm Triangle Series available in our members section, Coach Kiser shares another great set up for his favorite submission.

This time we Coach demonstrates how the Arm Triangle can be used to put a different twist on the end of a very familiar submission combination. The Hip Pop/Sit Up Sweep to Kimura to Guillotine series is a staple of standard Guard playing tactics. But in this series, we share how to use the sweep and Kimura to misdirect your opponent and finish with a secondary sweep or directly with an Arm Triangle.

This is just one of many set ups available in our members area. If you missed it the first time around, you may want to review the various finishes that are available once you employ the set up of your choice and find your self in a position to finalize. We’ve included our overview on this subject in the video below.

Belfort vs Bisping: KO Breakdown

What is it that goes into a surgical Knock Out like we saw on Saturday night when Vitor Belfort placed a perfect shin across Bisping’s temple?

It wasn’t by accident. It was a well orchestrated plan.

It’s easy to believe that you just throw some punches, mix in some kicks and voilà! Knock Out! And certainly, this can sometimes be the case, but this is a spray and pray strategy that is a roll of the dice at best.

Professionals find ways to stack the deck, to count cards if you will, strategically placing bets and thus increasing their odds of winning the jackpot of combat sport, the lights out, sleeping pill.

The members area of our website has always been structured to teach simple, easy to learn techniques and concepts that can be combined to produce potent, highly effective tools for our members. The Bisbing, Belfort fight is a great example of just such a situation.

On March 15, 2011 we released the High Kick Counter vs the Southpaw as part of our Southpaw Counter Series where we discussed the general concept of keeping the lead foot on the outside of your opponent’s lead foot.

Many people have asked us to follow up with a series for Southpaws, giving them options for dealing with Orthodox fighters, however the techniques and theories are more or less identical just reversed. In essence, regardless of your lead, you want to favor your rear sided weapons as Belfort did vs. Bisbping.

Later in 2011 we posted the Basic High Kick Set up video on our youtube channel. The theory for the set up being, that you threaten your rear hand, eliciting a parry defense, clearing a line for your head kick to follow and land, unimpeded.

What we saw on January 19th, was Vitor Belfort threatening with his Straight Left, which Bisping was wise to acknowledge and respect. After taking time to condition a response and set Bisping up, the Left High Kick was ripe for the taking.

Belfort faked the Straight Left, Bisping crossed centerline with his right handed parry, opening the outside line and Belfort delivered the goods with his left shin and it was game over.

 

Another key to the set up was taking the initiative and forcing Bisping to react rather than allowing him to initiate. This gave Vitor the ability to read Bisping’s responses and contributed to the card counting intelligence which would lend a much higher hit probability to Vitor’s well calculated shot selection.

Thanks for tuning in. We hope this was helpful to you.

Leave us a note in the comments below and let us know what you think of our fist foray into the realms of fight breakdowns.

Arm Lock from 50/50 Guard – A Leg Lock Counter

Have you ever been caught in the 50/50 Guard or a Leg Locking War and either lost the battle or been locked into an indefinite stalemate? Maybe this might give you a few new ideas and strategies to turn the tide in your favor.

The key points to being successful when using these strategies are as follows:

1. Your primary focus should be on Defense! Dedicate your hands to defending your legs.
2. Extend your caught leg and rotate it so that your heel is hidden behind your opponent’s lat.
3. After dominating the hand fighting, use your legs to then obtain control over your opponent’s dominant attacking arm.

Stay safe, have fun and let us know how this little tick is working for you in the comments below.

Billy Robinson – Catch Wrestling Standing Posture Break

Is there a better way to ring in the new year than another quality video by the Legendary King of Catch, Coach Billy Robinson? And with it, what would the first post of 2013 be without my new years resolution.

Last year I stated I wanted to do a video on the F=MA equation and how it pertained to the striking arts. Well, that kind of fell by the way side (I’m still interested but there just didn’t seem like there was a lot of viewer demand). But I also wanted to bring more Brazilian Jiu-jitsu into the project and I feel like I made good on that commitment.

This year I’m committed to keeping our balanced approach to the arts coming to our viewers. But more so my resolution is to continue to educate people in the similarities and mutual beauty that can be found in the arts rather than fixating on the minor differences.

This video is a great example of this. If you look carefully, you can just see the Jiu-jitsu in this Catch move, or perhaps you could say you can see the Catch in the Jiu-jitsu mentality. The two are so fundamentally similar at times who’s to say which is which. But in essence, the question is, what happens if your opponent resists having his head pulled down and responds by pulling back?

Coach Robinson’s answer is to go with their effort and push their head back, creating an off balance in the rear quadrant and setting up the dreaded Double Wrist Lock.

What similarities have you found between the various arts? Leave your insights in the comments below.