MMA: It’s All About the Tude Dude

Listen up Yo! Ya’ll need to shut your pie holes and drink from the well of wisdom. This ain’t no garden variety coolaid. This is the real deal. Too strong for your candy @$$es? Well that’s just too bad. The truth hurts like the taste of a 4 oz. MMA glove in your mouth.

MMA is just as much about your attitude as it is about your skillz. So take notes and learn yourself up yo.

The Ultimate in Damage Control!

How has this video escaped me thus far? I’m speachless. I just don’t know what to think about this. I mean, who in their right mind decides to film someone getting kicked in the junk? What insurance company covers someone who does this? Seriously, I want their number. And finally, who volunteers for such a job? It’s insanity. Someone call the authorities because someone needs medication.

I don’t know whether to be filled with horror, or admiration. Either way, it’s a great way to start off the week.

ENJOY!!!

MMA Solo Training

As of late, I’ve been a bit of a loafer when it comes to updating this blog, I admit. Coach Kiser and I have been inundated with a number of gym projects. We prepped and took a number of the kids to a Jiu-jitsu Tournament, we trained and took Kensei Sato into his 5th MMA fight last week and have been slaving away with 5 more fighters who go into the Cage in exactly 9 days.

On top of all that, our members have finally figured out, that we respond and welcome their requests and personal interaction. They’ve been PMing and requesting technique series in our forums left and right and we’ve been working over time to accommodate them.

Recently, we were asked to do a series on drills that could be done either solo or with a partner. CSW Coach Shane Taylor, the first student to graduate the CSW Coaching curriculum and earn his coaching certificate through us under Sensei Erik Paulson used to travel out of town frequently and during the first few years with us had made a similar request.

As a result, we had already put together a series of techniques that he could do in his hotel rooms on the road. It would seem that they weren’t too shabby as he used them to help build his foundation and eventually become one of our very best students.

The Solo and Wall Drill series is largely based on the program we put together for Coach Shane. We filmed it and put it up for DCMMA member Robin Jeff Davis and Edric Escalante. But I thought there are many of you who might also enjoy a few ideas for the next time you’re fresh out of training partners.

I hope you find these videos helpful. They are a small sampling of the full series available to our members.

Train hard, enjoy yourselves and Lock On!

MMA Cornermen: Unsung Heros Part 1

What fighter worth his salt would ever go into a fight without padding his proverbial hand as much as possible in his favor?

Having a rock solid wing man is one of the most overlooked and under rated pieces of prep work that a fighter can have in place for his/her up coming fight.

If you’ve ever taken the time to listen to the corners during a fight, you’d be surprised at the variance in ability and quality. It’s amazing how often the advice you hear being shouted from the corner is something along the lines of “F*** him up bro!” Really?

An important part of any successful competition is communication between Coach/Instructor and Student/Competitor.

This article will focus on a couple of methods we use to communicate to our students when they are in the middle of their matches. They can however, be applied to effectivly communicating during any traumatic or stressful event.

A good coach is like a second pair of eyes for their student. But what the coach sees is useless if he/she is unable to communicate that information to his/her student.

Below are a list of tips that we have found helpful in communicating to our students when they are in the middle of a match.

Less is more… Keep It simple

If there is a constant barrage of chatter comming from the sidelines, it tends to blend in with the myriad of other noises already being muted by the tunnel vision/hearing experienced by the student. Be patient, hold your tongue and only bark out an occasional observation. AND when you do give some instruction, keep it simple. Suggestions such as this, “slip the jab, then uppercut, overhand, left hook right kick and shoot.” Simply are too much for a student under duress to handle. Something like the following would be more helpful “SLip and counter”.

Use the student’s name.

During one of his fights, Trevor “Little Bang” Osborn related that when everyone was shouting, he didn’t know who was saying what to whom. He didn’t know if it was the opposing team or our team speaking to the other competitor or to him and pretty soon he simply tuned it all out… that is until he heard us shout his name. Then he was able to take focus and listen.

Proper use of use of this method would sound something like this:

“Trevor, be first.”
“Trevor, circle! Keep your back off the cage.”
“Trevor, Go Now!”

Make eye contact.

When your student is fatigued and or rocked they tend to do a little slot machine number with their eyes. Their head will roll lazily around and their eyes will roll up under their lids etc.

If this happens between rounds, control their head with your hands and force them to look into your eyes.

If they are in a contol position mid-round, tell them to look at you. This will again, help to re-focus them, not just on your instruction, but also onto the task at hand.

Trigger Words

Trigger Words are words or phrases whose meaning you and your students have agreed upon. They are words that have been used during training sessions leading up to the event so that the student is used to hearing them and reacting to them.

For instance, we use the Trigger Words “Go Now”. We all know that this means, it means that there is 30 seconds left in the round. We have trained the student to go all out upon hearing that phrase (Pavlov eat your heart out). “Establish Base” means, chill out. Don’t blow your wad just yet. Re-establish your position and calmly look for openings and opportunities.

These phrases should be reinforced and used repeatedly in the gym during training sessions.

Don’t use more than one or two Trigger Words in your gym. The more Trigger Words you have, the less impact and significance they carry.

Communicate Visually with Hand Signals and Expressions

There are many times that a student’s battle stress will completely debilitate their ability to hear your voice. There are also times that the venue is so loud that your voice simply cannot be heard above the rest of the noise. In these instances it is helpful to commuicate visually as well as verbally. For instance, we will point to our eyes, then look up and point to the ceiling if we want our students to arch their backs more, lift their head and put more body into straightening out the armlock, guillotine, etc.

We’ll point to the ceiling and loop our finger around in a circle if we want the student to relax and burn some time off the clock.

And remember… every communication should be prefixed with your student’s name.

I hope these tips are helpful to you and your crew and we wish you all the best of luck. Train hard… we’ll see you out on the mat!

Muay Thai Technique: An Expression of Self

The Artistry of Sweet Science

Recently I tried to explain to my students that ultimately, our goal is to learn the techniques so that we can express ourselves through them.

I saw a lot of glazed over looks and nodding heads with empty eyes.

Then come sparring time, I saw a lot of mechanical movements, like notes to a melody being pounded out, without a single shred of feeling.

What does this mean? Expressing oneself through technique. I tried to explain that a fight is like a conversation without words.

Techniques communicate something immutable, intangible. In Thai Boxing, a Teep to the face, like Western Boxing’s Lead Straight Right is a way of insulting your opponent.

You are taking one of the dirtiest parts of your body and wiping it all over someone’s face. In essence using it as a door mat. Or in the case of the Straight Right, you’re taking your most powerful tool, from the furthest point away from your opponent and putting it right on his snot box without need of a set up or diversion. That expresses something.

The Rhythm of Expression

There is a rhythm to fighting, a cadence and timing.

The best fighters, the ones we love to watch always have an intimate understanding of this, a way of phrasing with their combinations, the tactful use of a dramatic pause.

Take for instance the difference in how these Instructors from the Thai Boxing Association express the same types of technique.

Take for instance, Ajarn Greg Nelson’s relentless and physical style.

And contrast that to the paced approach of Ajarn Bryan Popejoy shown here in the red.

And then look at how the techniques and their judicious placement and timing during the fight communicate something that cannot be said in Khuen Khru Brian Dobler’s highlight.

All are decorated, and very deeply respected icons in the Thai Boxing Association Muay Thai Camp. But each expresses the same types of movement in their own unique and beautiful way. There is an artistry to their approach.

The slight lowering of the gloves after delivering a telling blow. Giving the fans, the judges and the opponent ample time to absorb the message.

There is much more at play here than simply flailing limbs. There is a conversation being played out. A wonderful debate that those of us lucky enough to witness can learn from and enjoy.

Beyond the Science of 8 Limbs

This goes beyond Muay Thai and extends in to all combat sport. Boxing, Kick Boxing, Jiu-jitsu, Catch Wrestling, MMA, et al. So the next time you lace up those gloves and slicker up that mouth piece. Take a moment and remember, that that greats, not only deliver a heaping dose of punishment, but a sound and undeniable message…

an expression of the self.

MMA Striking Techniques – CSW Style

Some videos more or less speak for themselves. This is one of them. Ben “The Badger” Jones, puts some mojo on Coach Kiser during the 2011 CSW Fighter and Instructor’s Camp.

Jaw Breakers, Liver Shots and Sweep Kicks abound.

Ahhhh, I love being the camera man sometimes.

Damage Control MMA: Cutting Room Floor Edition

It’s been a while since I’ve updated the Damage Control Blog, so I’ll dispense with all the worthless excuses. I mean, the Southpaw series with it’s 16 videos wasn’t that time consuming to produce. Tax season has been a cinch this year as we’ve got double the paperwork do to a recent gym move, company restructuring and building purchase. Erik Paulson didn’t roll through town, oh wait a second, he did, and I had a wonderful time training, hanging out and messing around that whole weekend.

Jeff Monson is on the docket for next weekend, but really that was supposed to happen this past weekend. Plans were made, schedules were cleared, but we had to reschedule due to a marathon 5 rounder he went through the Friday night prior to the preposed Seminar date.

Meanwhile I’ve been trying to organize a relief effort called M.M.Aid Fund for people of the world who may find themselves in hard times. Saying this about the situation in Japan is perhaps the understatement of the year, nevertheless, you’d never know how difficult it is to set up a charitable effort until you’ve tried. There’s more red tape in relief efforts than in trying to open up a fast food road kill restaurant at the cafeteria in USDA’s headquarters.

So what did I scrounge up for this Blog Post? Well, it’s a couple of videos we filmed about two years ago that never made it onto our T.V. show, never got published on Youtube, and have been sitting on the cutting room floor until now. I’ve been saving them because I really like the material but we never released them because there was a problem with the audio that could not be resolved. But I liked them so much I kept them around, perhaps for a rainy day like today.

First up is a series of Ankle Pick Takedowns by one of my all time favorite instructors, Coach (Collegiate Wrestler and Pedro Sauer BJJ Black Belt) Chris Wells.

Next is a Swing Kick I filmed with my good friend Khuen Khru Johnny Miller. Johnny has been a training partner and friend of mine for years. I watched him come up through the ranks at my Instructor’s Gym and eventually earn his Apprentice Instructorship under Ajarn Chai. He’s recently relocated to Hawaii and I posted this to reminisce a little about the good old days.

Finally, is a perfectly good clip we filmed at the 2011 CACC Certification with Coach Billy Robinson and Jake Shannon. I didn’t want to put up a post with only damaged goods, so I included this sneak peak at a video that eventually make it onto our Youtube profile. Assistant Coach Sam Kressin, one of the highest ranking students of the Scientific Wrestling (Billy Robinson’s) Program, was kind enough to share these gems and Coach Robinson sneaks in for a cameo.

Stay tuned, we’re still alive and kicking. We’ll be clearing off our plates in the next few weeks and be back to regular blog updates in no time.

Until then, keep your hands up, your chin down, your mouth closed and your eyes and ears open.

How To Fight A Southpaw

“What’s a southpaw? It means you’re left-handed. A southpaw throws your timin’ off, see? Other guys, it makes ’em look awkward. Nobody wants to look awkward.

You know where southpaw came from? A long time ago, a couple of hundred years ago, this guy was fightin’. I think it was around Philadelphia. He was left-handed. His arm was facin’ towards New Jersey. And that’s south, so naturally, they called him Southpaw.

You see? Southpaw, South Jersey, South Camden, Southpaw… You know what I mean?”

– Sylvester Stallone, “Rocky” –

Rocky had it right when he said that nobody wants to look awkward.

And we’re going to give you a few tips to help you with that situation.

Fighting a left handed fighter or “Southpaw” can be a difficult proposition. Almost everything you do is backwards.

More times than not, you’re taught to lead with your Jab, but with a Southpaw, your more often encouraged to use your straight right.

The video below will explain some of the basics behind why this is the case.

As an Orthodox Fighter (Right handed with a Left Handed Lead) the cornerstone of counter Southpaw tactics is to move towards your left and keep your lead foot on the outside of your opponent’s lead foot. This same theory applies to a Southpaw fighting an Orthodox Fighter.

And although the emphasis of a lead straight right, shown in the video above has it’s origins in American Pugilism, the technique is so sound that it carries over to Muay Thai, Kickboxing and MMA. It works well in the realms of Mixed Martial Arts because of it’s simplicity, power and the fact that your lead hand can still be used to fend off takedown attempts should they occur during your attack.

That is not to say that there aren’t other weapons that are also effective, but if you watch the following video, you will see that many of the most devastating and prevalent strikes are the lead straight left (for Pacquiao) and lead straight right (for his Orthodox foes).

In addition to the hands, there are other weapons that we as Mixed Martial Artists can bring to bear vs the Southpaw, so long as you adhere to the fundamental of staying outside that lead foot of his, and thus further away from his power tools.

Another such technique has been recently popularized by Anderson Silva as a result of his KO victory over Vitor Belfort. In this case we had 2 Southpaws squaring off and thus the outside lead foot rule was not in effect. Nevertheless, the fight proved the effectiveness of the Front Snap Kick for MMA, although the kick has been around for centuries.

There are going to be times when your opponent is much more experienced at playing the outside lead foot and Southpaw game than you are. After all, a Southpaw gets to go up against Orthodox fighters all the time, while Orthodox fighters only see Southpaws every once in a while. Below is one way you can take that advantage away from your opponent.

Fighting for the clinch or a takedown aren’t the only way to handle and opponent who simply owns the outside lead game. We’ve addressed this as well as shown some ideas outside the conventional Counter Southpaw box in our members only area where we have a total of 15 + videos dedicated to the Southpaw series, in addition to the 230 videos which cover all aspects of the MMA game.

If you’ve enjoyed the articles and videos brought to you by www.DamageControlMMA.com please show your support by picking up a membership, telling a friend about our site, friending us on facebook, or joining the discussions on our free forum at www.DamageControlMMA.com/forum/

Doing so helps us to continue on our journey and bring you top quality instruction.

Until next time, keep your lead foot on the outside of your opponents foot, keep your hands up and your chin down.

MMA Training Beyond Your Own Horizons

Recently Coach Kiser and I had an old friend stop by for some mitt work and conditioning for an upcoming fight he had here in Utah.

That friend was none other than TUF Contestant and Pit Bull Attack Survivor, Kyacey Uscola.

Between training sessions, Kyacey shared with us some of his favorite tricks he’s picked up during his time out in Sacramento while training with Urijah Faber and Team Alpha Male.

I always enjoy the opportunity to see what’s going on in other parts of the MMA world, especially when they come from teams whos style has as much contrast to our own as Team Alpha Male’s does.

It’s always good to come in contact with new ideas.

Whether you choose to adopt them in their original form as we have (for the most part) with the “Sixes” circuit that we picked up fom former Team Quest Member and Extreme Couture coach Dennis Davis (Kiser replaced the Olympic Bar with Kettle Bells), or to modify them to suit your needs is up to you.

You may even decide to completely avoid the exercises, techniques and tactics you see being used in other camps. But even then, you do so with the benefit of knowing what’s going on beyond your own horizons, and what others are doing to prepare for a battle they may some day wage with you.

At any rate, I urge you to look beyond your own MMA horizons and explore other ideas and possibilities.

Until next time… Happy Hunting!

Short vs Tall Techniques for Muay Thai and MMA Training

Utilizing or countering a reach/height advantage has been a conundrum for fighters since the beginning of time. Standing at a towering 5’5″, I know how hard it can be to face the up hill battle of being the little guy. Depending on the sport, there can be some redeeming qualities for being the guy who came up short when it came to playing the gene pool lottery.

Here you see the concept of punching up to your opponent and keeping your chin below their level

I’ve heard some say that in boxing, it can be an advantage to be the shorter fighter, as you are able to punch up to your opponent’s face, whereby, there is no way he can tuck his chin low enough to hide it from your fists. Conversely, the only punches he can throw that will clip your chin, if you tuck it properly, would be shovel hooks and uppercuts, thus diminishing the effects of two of boxing’s primary weapons, the jab and the straight right.

There has to be some merit to this as Legendary trainer Eddie Futch has gone on record, describing how he worked a low stance and a lot of low swooping bobbing and weaving motions to accentuate Joe Frazier’s stature and make it difficult for Muhammad Ali to hit him square in the jaw. This strategy seemed to do well in the duo’s epic 3 fight page in pugilistic history.

The Sky Piercing Knee Kicker, Dieselnoi delivers punishment to his shorter opposition.

But there are consequences for these types of tactics when knees and kicks are involved. And thus, other strategies must be employed, either to replace or to supplement the boxing brilliance of trainers such as Futch and those who think along his strategic lines.

The first part of developing a strategy for overcoming a height disparity is to understand the mentality and strategy of the taller person. Below, we get a glimpse into this world as our friend, Khru Cade Anderson, shares his thoughts on the subject.

Observing the thought process of a taller person, you can see how the standard, conventional theory of moving forward, pressing the fight and trying to cut off the ring is accounted for by a taller fighter who is properly trained and prepared. Simply marching towards your opponent in this case will only get you hit as your opponent will simply time your attack and strike during your bridge step as this is the essence of reach advantage tactics (to stay out of the range of the shorter fighter and to attack them as they step forward to bridge the gap).

If your opponent is not sophisticated enough to employ the tactics described here and in Khru Cade’s video, then there really isn’t much of a problem. Bull dog that bean pole and force your way inside. But, if your opponent is able to maintain range and continually stops your bridge step, you’re going to have to reach deeper into the rabbit hole and pull out some other tricks.

As counter intuitive as it may sound, sometimes the best thing to do against a taller fighter with good ranging and good timing, is to step back and wait. To stay far enough away to be safe (out of the range of the taller fighter’s weapons) and to force your opponent to move forward to bridge the gap.

When he steps forward to punch, you can counter with a kick (so long as you step on the 45). If he kicks, you can catch his leg and punish him with a sweep, dump, flurry of punches or pull his leg to bring him into the close range clinch.

In this article we hope you find some helpful tips on how to safely bridge the gap. We have presented some sound, and basic methods of how to wage a range war on those with a reach or height advantage. We have shared our experience in understanding the logic of how a range war will progress/regress. And for our members, we have shown, in detail, some rare tricks that will get you out of a jam, when these solid fundamentals fail to mitigate the extra inches your opponents bring to the fight.

Best of luck, and happy hunting.