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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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.

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.

Half Guard: The Erik Paulson Template

I’m not the sharpest pencil in the box. As a result, I need simple toggle switches, on – off decision making inputs to make my grappling computations easier. For my computer science friends, and deductive logic cronies, you will understand what I mean when I say, I try to build my grappling life around the conditional “If this, then that… If that, then this.”

Have I lost you yet? Probably, but I will continue anyway. You see, for me, I use simple conditionals to determine where I will move next while in the grappling world. For instance, on a Double Leg Takedown, “If I am able to lock my hands just beneath my opponent’s butt cheeks, I continue on to finish the Double.” “If I am unable to secure a locked hand grip, I switch to a single or simply abort, and reset.”

Others will argue that there are a myriad of placements for your hands during a double. But I like the locked grip version because it presents me with the simple decision making input I spoke of earlier. If grip is locked up, then proceed with takedown, if not, then don’t. Simple decision making for a slow, dumb oaf like myself.

What does this have to do with Erik Paulson’s Half Guard Template? Good question. For my game, I had a series of options for when on bottom, with the half guard and an underhook on the side where I had captured my opponent’s leg. For example if I had half guard on my opponent’s right leg, I had and underhook beneath my opponent’s right arm.

BUT, I didn’t have such a clear cut set of options for when my opponent had an underhook on his trapped leg side, forcing me to take an overhook. That is, if I had my opponent’s right leg trapped, but was forced to take an overhook on my opponent’s right arm I wasn’t sure what the best course of action was, so I asked Sensei Paulson what he liked to do in this case and he offered the above Template.

What I gleaned from the series was quite simple and effective and I have since implemented it into my game and my series of simple on – off, toggle switches. In my sling bladed internal dialog it sounds something like this. “If you have an overhook on the trapped leg side, bridge and turn, transition to a half butterfly guard, then transition to a full butterfly guard or switch to a half guard on the opposite leg where you should end up with an underhook on the trapped leg side.”

Do you have any simple guidelines and reference points which allow for quick, easy decision making while rolling? If so, we’d love to hear them in the comments area.

Thanks for visiting and stay tuned for more DamageControlMMA.com!

Catch Wrestling Neck Cranks

This last weekend, we were treated to another chance to rub elbows, or in this case, have our elbows, knees, ankles, shoulders and necks ground into fine powder by the Legendary Coach Billy Robinson.

It was our honor to host another Catch Wrestling Certification at the Mushin Self Defense Gym. And as expected, the training was one of a kind and absolutely fantastic.

Coach Robinson was kind enough to share a few more gems with our youtube followers. In lieu of this, we have released one of the clips we filmed earlier this year, a Neck Crank series by Level 2 Certified Catch Wrestler Assistant Coach, Sam Kressin.

Enjoy!

I’ve always been on the fence about the use of Neck Cranks. Especially, when working in a training environment. Recently, I’ve become more liberal in my use of them, but I still exercise restraint when it comes to who I use them on, how I use them and the amount of pressure I’m willing to apply to them.

Where do you weigh in on this “touchy” subject? Let us know in the comments below.

Catch Wrestling Kimura Killer Recounter

Here is another gem from our good friend Sam Kressin. Sam is one of our favorite guys to work with and learn our Catch Wrestling from. He has his own Brazilian Jiu-jitsu background and as a result, I feel like I can relate to his way of breaking down the techniques a little better. I also feel like he understands me, understands that I don’t need to be sold on the painful nature of some of the moves. I get it, I don’t need to have my face cranked off 15 more times to believe in it.

Yeah I know, the purists out there are already turning their noses up at me right now and that’s their right. But you know what, I’m approaching 40 and I just don’t get a lot out of being broken down. Like I said, I already believe in the value of Catch Wrestling, and the incredible talent of Coach Billy Robinson. I just want to learn the basic concept of the move and to this end Coach Sam Kressin does a fantastic job of teaching you everything you need to know while not abusing you in the process. And hey, if you’re into getting twisted, he has no qualms about breaking your stuff either.

Here he shows an awesome way to re-counter the Double Wrist Lock, popularly known in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu circles as the Kimura. But to get the real skinny, you should check out his website at: www.embodiedstrength.com Where you can pick up all sorts of great tid bits like his most excellent article “5 Principals From Catch Wrestling That Will Benefit Any Grappler” where I learned few things that definitely benefitted my grappling game. And besides, he talks about something we learned in person from Coach Robinson, learning how to stand up, catch style. In addition, he’s got some great blog posts about his recent tour across Europe with Coach Robinson as they re-kindle the Catch Wrestling Fire across the pond.

If you liked this clip, go visit his site and tell him we sent you. That way, the next time we see him, it might be just a little easier to coax him into taking some valuable time out of his busy schedule to share more techniques with us.

Erik Paulson’s Baseball Grip Takedown Series

Anytime I get to film my favorite instructors teaching a technique that I request is a real thrill for me. I get to learn hands on, and then review with the video until I finally remember all the important details. On this occasion, at the 2012 Erik Paulson Seminar in Salt Lake City, Utah I had the privilege of asking for a series of takedowns that Sensei Paulson had shared the previous year.

I had most of the big details down but could only remember one of the many options that Sensei Paulson had shared. Now, with this excellent video, I was able to capture all of them. I hope you enjoy this series as much as I do and can make as much use of these takedowns as I have.

If you enjoy this series, please visit https://www.facebook.com/erik.paulson.3910 and drop a comment letting him know. It helps us to get him on camera with us and it’s really the least we can do to pay our respects to one of the very first true Mixed Martial Athletes in the world.

The #1 Way to Avoid Paralysis and Fatalities in MMA

I came across an article yesterday that made my neck hackles stand on end. It was a news piece that described how a training accident had resulted in the paralysis of a MMA practitioner.

It’s always sad to hear about serious injuries in MMA, and fortunately they’re generally rare occurrences.  Despite some media depiction of MMA as a violent and brutal sport, most knowledgeable fans agree that while it is not without risk, it is no more dangerous than other popular sports.

Many defenders of the sport have argued that MMA athletes suffer from far fewer catastrophic injuries than other sports like football or cheerleading which are the #1 and #2 leading causes of catastrophic sport injuries in the USA.

A study by Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine published in the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine  states that “The lower knockout rates in MMA compared to boxing may help prevent brain injury in MMA events.”

However, there is one move in MMA that has resulted in several cases of permanent paralysis and one reported death.

The Biggest Danger in MMA

A recent tragedy in which 22 year old MMA fighter Devin Johnson was paralyzed during a training injury at Urijah Faber’s gym has been generating awareness of this extremely dangerous situation.

Having just published an article featuring the Great Coach Billy Robinson, I had Coach on the brain and as I was reading about Devin Johnson’s horrible tragedy, I couldn’t help but hear Coach’s weathered roughed voice shouting “Don’t ever do that in front of me again! That Double Leg stuff is for Amateurs.”

Now what Coach was referring to was not a slight or use of the word Amateur in a disparaging way, but rather as a category of sport. A sport where Neck Cranks, Chokes and Face Locks are prohibited… which is why it became so prevalent. Now in Catch as Catch Can, or the Professional version of the grappling arts, these are all regular parts of the game.

As a result, there is almost a phobic respect for ever placing your head or neck into a compromised situation where it can be encircled by the arms and potentially Choked, Twisted, Cranked or Broken. So much so that even the basic Catch Stance is upright and with a strong emphasis on posture, something we’ve touched on before in the Gotch Toe Hold Article.

Jake Shannon, founder of Scientific Wrestling, has personally suffered the same catastrophic injury as a result of being Guillotined. He suffered a fracture of his C3 and C4 vertebra while training at the Gracie Academy.

I too had a near brush with disaster while attempting a Double Leg, albeit it wasn’t from a Guillotine. I was shooting in on a partner for a Double Leg, and trying to apply good form, I kept my head as close to my opponent’s body as possible. Attempting to make contact with the front of my partner’s ribs before allowing my head to slide to the side, my partner sprawled hard and his full body weight (about 30 lbs. more than my own), came down on the top of my head, slipping a disk or two in my neck.

I have been gun shy of shooting ever since, something I made mention of in the video with Coach Robinson in our previous article.

My own personal style has been shaped by that terrifying accident, and although I continue to study the shooting style takedowns, when it came to playing my A Game, I always favored Thai Clinch, Grecco, and Judo style Trips, Sweeps, Body Locks, Dumps and Throws.

Oh, and how could I forget, allowing my opponents to force a poorly set up shot and catching them in a Grovit/Half Halch/Guillotine/Snap Down/Front Head Lock series. Something we taught our team to bring to bare in their own Submission Wrestling matches.

By no means am I trying to insinuate that if only Devin and the other unfortunate souls that have suffered a life threatening injury would have been perfectly safe had they only trained in Catch Wrestling.

It too, like any contact sport has plenty of potentially deadly techniques and situations arising because of them. Just take a look at our Article “MMA – Love Hurts – Training and Injuries” to see how training in Catch resulted in Kevin Dillar’s own brush with death and paralysis.

MMA is a dangerous sport and the potential for injury lurks behind every corner. As was the case with friend Daniel Grass in “A Fist Full of Reality Right To Your Face“. I think it was Dan Gable who said it best when he responded to questions regarding Mark Schultz’s dislocation of his opponent’s shoulder by saying “It is after all, a man’s sport.”

The point then is simply that there are ways to mitigate certain injuries, and situations which have a higher potential for injury. We can do this in the techniques we choose to use and employ, and the style and manner in which we employ them.

And most importantly of all, we can be constantly, present and mindful of the fact that what we do is dangerous. Pay respects before you step onto the mat or into the ring/cage. It very well may the last time you do so. Pay respects before you leave, in thanks for a fun and safe training session.

Be safe, and take care of each other out there. We are all in this together. Accidents are going to happen, but that doesn’t mean we can’t do everything in our power to keep them to a minimum and to a superficial level. As sensei Paulson says “P.Y.P.P. Preserve Your Partner Program”.

As far as your own safety is concerned remember, survive first, win later. If there is something around your neck, STOP what your doing and take it off first, then worry about the Takedown, Guard Pass, etc.

Our thoughts are with Devin Johnson and we wish our fellow warrior strength and continued progress in his recovery.  If you’d like to offer your support, a website has been setup with updates on Devin’s progress and is accepting donations to help with medical expenses.

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Catch Wrestling: Escaping Defense Position

Yes I know, I know… Where are all the cool and vicious Catch Wrestling submissions, Double Wrist Locks, Neck Cranks, Shin Locks etc? Well, they’re there in Catch As Catch Can. We’ve featured them before, but to be honest, I like these escape type techniques every bit as much and think that they’re a lot less frequently seen by the general public.

Do a search for a Kimura, and you’re bound to see pages upon pages of videos. Do a search on the other hand for techniques for escaping Quarter Position or High Defense Position and you’re likely to find a far fewer selections.

Why is this so important in MMA, having the ability to stand back up off the ground? Well if you’re a striker or simply enjoy an advantage in striking ability over your opponent, this can be a game changer. Or maybe you just want one more option than simply rolling over and working for Guard.

Being able to stand back up from a position such as the High Defense Position/Referees Position is like having a reset button. Whatever was happening (probably not so favorable for you) in that position gets nullified and you get a clean slate, a fresh start to improve your situation.