Brazilian Jiu-jitsu Gi Choke – Shirt Tail Style

There are times that you learn a technique and it gives you a new tool to use in your arsenal. Then there are times when you learn a technique and it opens up a whole new way of thinking. This is one such technique and what I like most about it is how it got me thinking about different ways to basically garrote my opponents with the Gi. Mine, theirs, collar, shirt tail, sleeve, pant leg, doesn’t matter. Use it to wrap around the other guy’s neck or to tie off their arms.

Now if you guys enjoyed this, our first Gi oriented technique. Be sure to let us know by leaving a comment below. We’ve got another gi technique hidden up our sleeve that I am sure will get you thinking outside the box. Dan Berry’s Gi-Bite!

Until next time. Preserve your partners, and enjoy some MMA!

Brazilian Two on One Sweep From Guard

This technique is one that I generally don’t like to share publicly. I usually keep it to the students with whom I work with in person, and for the members only area of DamageControlMMA.com but I wanted to share it today to give you guys a glimpse into the type of things we will be working on and sharing at the 2012 Damage Control MMA Clinic. This grip is a control position and back up plan for when your opponent attempts to escape the overhook while in your guard.

It falls into a category of techniques we refer to in our members area as a “Staging Site“. A place from which multiple attacks can be launched. This sweep is but one of a series that we will be covering at the seminar. We will also be evaluating and giving advice on how to improve your striking, footwork, takedowns and submissions. What is so exciting about this clinic is that many of the basics are already available to members of our website so you can reference and review them, work on them at the clinic, then after you return home revisit them at any time to refresh your memory and refine your technique to the very finest detail. Additional techniques will be filmed and posted in the members area as well.

The clinic takes place September 22nd and 23rd of 2012 and is open to all skill levels and styles. We welcome the opportunity to meet you all and look forward to working with you, learning together and having a great time. Don’t forget, if you’re a member there is a nice discount on the cost of the seminar which is available from the link here.

We hope you enjoyed this clip and found it useful to your game. If so, please leave a comment letting us know. Stay tuned we have some great things in store. Up next is Khuen Khru Chis Regodon and his Seepa Snap Down!

Brazilian Jiu-jitsu: Overhook Arm Bar and Sweep

If one video clip with Butterfly Guard Expert Mike Diaz is cool, two has got to be twice as nice! Here, coach demonstrates a Sweep as well as an Arm Bar from the same set up and position as the V-Lock he demonstrated last week.

If you can, please visit his facebook page and send him a shout out to let him know how much we appreciate him taking the time out of his busy schedule to share these incredibly useful tools.

Tune in next week for some awesome takedown action with Sensei Erik Paulson!

No Gi Shoulder Lock From The Guard

Inspiration and progress can sometimes come from the most unlikely of places. This was the case when I met Pedro Sauer Black Belt, Mike Diaz. What? How could I say such a thing about such an accomplished and respected expert in the field?

Well, to be honest, the way he plays his game and the way I play mine are so vastly different, I just wasn’t sure of how, what he did would make sense in the environment I generally work in. You see, Professor Diaz, is an absolute expert in playing the Open or Butterfly Guard in Gi based Brazilian Jiu-jitsu. I by contrast, only wear a Gi during my Brazilian Jiu-jitsu lessons. My home, is without the Gi, in the world of Mixed Martial Arts. A world where, standing up out of someone’s Open Guard and raining down, stomps, kicks, and punches or backing out entirely is a very real possibility.

And yet, despite this complete contrast in perspectives, the lessons Professor Diaz taught me were some of the most influential and profound ones that I would ever learn. I remember a night in particular when we were rolling and coach Diaz must have swept me at least 15 or so times in under 3 minutes. I was beside myself. I couldn’t understand how he was doing it. I even knew it was coming, how it was coming and yet, I would inevitably find myself belly up.

I asked Professor what I needed to do differently, if there was some sort of counter technique that I was supposed to use but didn’t know. Coach Diaz, thought for a moment, reading the grief and torment written in the wrinkles of my brow. Then he smiled. “All it is, is that you’re letting me get a hold of your arms. Once I do that, I’m going to sweep you. It’s that simple.”

And it was. The moment, I started preventing Coach from gaining wrist or arm control, the moment I began clearing his control over my arms the instant he obtained it, his sweep and submission percentages were cut to a third of their previous numbers.

But that’s not where his lesson ended. His advice followed me into the clinch, into my wrestling into every aspect of my MMA Game. Now, not only was I not allowing someone to control my limbs while in their Butterfly Guard, I was not allowing anyone to control my limbs at any time, at any range under any circumstances and almost over night, my game saw noticeable improvement across the board.

Professor also taught me another incredibly valuable lesson. Once he told me that “Sometimes all you can do is play defense… And sometimes all you should do is play defense, and that’s totally o.k.” This seemingly simple lesson has helped me out of more bad situations that I can possibly remember. It was the inspiration and beginning of my formulations of the Defensive Grappling Ladder, one of my favorite series we’ve shared with the members of this site.

These principals may not hit you with the same weight and meaning that they’ve had for me. But perhaps, I can leave you with one more parting lesson I’ve learned from my experiences with Professor Diaz. Never judge an instructor at face value. Never assume that just because an instructor comes from a different background than your own that they don’t have anything of value to teach you. Because you just never know. To this day, I still very, rarely use my Butterfly Guard. But the principals I learned from Coach Diaz, through his Butterfly Guard, are ones I use almost daily.

In short, keep your mouth shut, your heart, your ears and your eyes open and the world is your Oyster. Now go train! And if you liked what Coach Diaz had to offer in this post, tune in next week for the second half of our shoot at his academy. In the mean time check out his Side Cross Escape Series we posted a few years back.

Part 1 and Part 2

MMA Training: Guard Pass to Leg Lock

There are a few reoccurring themes here at Damage Control MMA. One of which is the always controversial naming/renaming of techniques. So when Dave Johnson paired the naming of a technique with the assertion that he had invented invented it, we knew we were playing with fire.

This comes through as Kiser and I give our friend Dave a little ribbing as I had seen the technique long before in the Catch As Catch Can circles. But as I edited the footage and had a chance to see the move a few more times, I thought to myself, perhaps it is, ever so subtly a little different than what I had seen before. Then again, maybe not.

Either way, it’s always fun to give your friends a hard time, all in good fun. So weigh in, share your thoughts, have you seen this move before? Did Dave Johnson in fact give birth to a brand new technique. I’m hoping our Catch Wrestling friends out there will give us their thoughts on the subject.

Just remember, Dave is our friend. He took time out of his day to share something that he though was pretty special, and whether he invented it or not, it is nevertheless, an effective and very useful technique. So keep your comments respectful, but feel free to give him an ear full if you think he needs to be kept honest.

The MMA Twister – Wrestlers Guillotine

We as sports fans and fanatics recognize when we bare witness to something special, something rare, something extremely difficult in the sports world. In Baseball we have the perfect game, the no hitter and things of that sort. In Golf and Tennis we have the Grand Slam.

In MMA we have things like the Jumping Fence Kick, the Flying Triangle, or in this case, something that Kiser and I saw first hand during an MMA fight… The Twister or as they refer to it, the Wrestler’s Guillotine.

Whatever you like to call it, Eric Wahlin and Mike Stidham demonstrate how they like to set up this very nasty, career ending submission and it’s very interesting to see how the technique relates to it’s roots in Wrestling. The question of the hour though is “what’s in a name?” I mean, there are a number of folks out there who hate names and hate people who give techniques names even more.

What’s worse then, a technique that has no name? A person who gives a technique a name? Or perhaps even a person who re-names a technique that already has an accepted name? Keep in mind before you start spouting off, that The “Kimura” was known in Japan as the “Ude Garame” long before it’s new nickname. Catch Wrestling aficionado will argue that the British called it the Double Wrist Lock long before that.

And what if we want to rename something for tactical reasons, so that coaches can shout out suggestions to their fighters without their opponent’s knowing what exactly it is that they’re talking about? Why not call a Double Leg Takedown, “Worship of the Ivory Goddess”?

Weigh in with your comments below and be sure to cast your vote in the poll.

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Neck Crank Submission Chain from Side Cross

I first met Coach Potenza when he visited our gym in 2009 for Utah’s first Catch as Catch Can Seminar with Coach Billy Robinson. Unfortunately there wasn’t a lot of time for us to get to know each other as the pace of the seminar was feverish. In addition, Coach Kiser and I were in and out with other prior engagements.

We would meet again at the CSW Coaches and Fighter Camp in Fullerton California. But as before, training and running around, trying to explore CA keep us from spending a lot of time together. Not to mention, it’s always dangerous working too close to guys 3 times bigger than you at the CSW camp. Either Sensei Paulson will point to you and expect you to spar, or you may simply be crushed underneath them as the Camp is always packed and mat real estate is in short supply.

But when we saw him the third time at the 2012 Catch As Catch Can Seminar in SLC, we had to see what interesting ways he was weaving his interpretations of CSW and CACC into a “Tap-Estry” of Submission. We weren’t disappointed as he ripped out a Submission Chain that would put a grin on even the most stoic grapplers faces.

Got an interesting “Twist” on something you’ve learned from DamageControlMMA.com, a seminar by Coach Robinson, Sensei Erik Paulson or anyone we’ve featured in our videos? Let us know in the comments below, we’d love to take a look.

Stay tuned we’ve got so much goodness awaiting you. More Erik Paulson, more Billy Robinson, a Twister Caught Live in MMA Competition, Olympic Wrestling Gold Medalist Mark Schultz and much much more!

MMA Techniques: Triangle Choke Theory and Application

In this blast from the past, we feature a few selected clips from the original “Anatomy Of A Triangle Choke” series. We shot this while the project was still known as Taking It To The MMAT. It was a small segment of what was primarily a Cable, On Demand Television program at the time.

The full “Anatomy Of A Triangle Choke” video is available in the Members Only Area and was one of the very first “Bonus Features”. It features the full length interview with Dr. Mark Cacciamani, all the variants of what we call the Typical Triangle, as well as explains how to use the theory and concepts presented to establish a solid, last line of defense should you ever get caught in a Triangle.

We are releasing some of the material to the public now because will soon be re-visiting this series and re-shooting updated material. We will be breaking the various techniques into their own separate videos, we will also be including dynamic as well as traditional set ups, A-Typical Triangles, Triangle Submission Staging Site, and Triangle Counters. All this will be available to our members so pick up a membership today.

Now Lock On and Happy Hunting!!!

NAGA 2012 + Arm Triangle Finishing Details

North American Grappling Association – First Impressions

[box]Do you think it is OK to call a grappling match a “fight”?

Let us know in the poll at the end of this article.[/box]

Passing the plentiful horse stables, and breathing in the fresh country air we approached the venue for the first Utah NAGA Grappling Tournament. My muscles began to tense as I thought to myself, “Oh yes, a communal case of Staph… just what the doctor ordered.”

But those fears were soon quelled as we entered the main, dirt filled arena and were promptly re-directed to the two adjacent buildings, with concrete flooring and several Dollamur mats, guarded fiercely by the tournament officials against shoe wearing infants and ignorant parents, like sentries at a US embassy.

The rules meeting was long and hard to hear. In fact, the subtleties of the various rules (gi and no gi, kids and adult divisions), by the tournament organizer’s own admission would have taken about 2 or 3 hours to go over. As with any tournament, prior research and clarification is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Overall Experience

What I saw was a lot of on the fly, adjustments. In the kids division, competitors were evaluated within their divisions, during their matches and then brackets were re-shuffled, kids were placed up or down in advanced, intermediate, or beginner divisions based on their performances. This was all done in the spirit of giving the kids the best possible experience in the most level playing fields as possible.

For instance, you might have a kid that officially fits the description for an intermediate competitor. She’s been training at a gym for 2+ years. But once on the mat, in competition, she’s just getting dominated. What I saw was tournament organizers, immediately shifting her down into a beginner division and giving her a second chance to do a little better.

This made things somewhat confusing at times, as there were two different buildings for competitors to switch back and forth to, but in my opinion it was well worth the hassle to see these kids get a second and sometimes a third chance to shine.

I believe there was only one injury (a torn rotator cuff via Kimura), and this was due primarily to the injured competitor’s refusal to tap out in time. The NAGA Officials, with their very liberal rule sets (twisting leg locks, spine locks and neck cranks) did a phenomenal job of keeping the matches safe and respectful. I was very impressed with their knowledge of the rules and discretion in stopping matches for the safety of the competitors.

A Coaches Perspective

Brian and Brandon's student Heinrich Mokofisi takes home the gold after his 6th consecutive grappling match victory.


It was a challenging day on the mats as a coach. Particularly as I did what I could to help a young 10 year old student of mine. Again, thanks to the referees and officials, he was given 6 matches that day. And for a registration price of $80.00 for one division and $100.00 for two, you want your guys to get as much experience as possible.

But when, your student looses his first 4 matches and says he “thinks he’s just going to loose again.” Your abilities as a coach are truly tested. What do you do? Give the kid a hug, tell him what a good job he did, and let him call it a day? Or do you launch into your Vince Lombari motivational speech, tell the kid to wipe his tears, shake off the past, and get in there for one more go!

I chose the latter, and gave the kid a hug, told him how proud of him I was, how proud his father, who had his arm around him was, how, the worst was behind us, that there was only one possible direction to go from here and that was forward… and hopefully upward.

And so it went, as he marched into two more matches, losing one by points and the next by a 270 choke from Kesa Gatame. So much for my Vince Lombardi trophy.

Did I make the right choice? Did I push him too far and too hard? Only time will tell, and I will second guess myself until I know for sure, if I helped to make that kid stronger, or if I contributed to the ultimate demise of his self confidence.

Every Cloud Has A Silver Lining, Even For A Coach

Thankfully, that was not how the day came to an end, we had 5 more adult competitors and they all did very well in their divisions. Both Kiser and I had opportunities to make, good calls, heads up tough calls, and thankfully, the right calls.

Kiser was able to impart his thorough knowledge of the Arm Triangle to assist our student Chris Huntsaker in achieving a submission victory as he walked him from the lock up to the final shift of the hips that sealed the deal.

You can learn a little bit more about Kiser’s Arm Triangle game from the video below. He shares his whole Arm Triangle Set Up Game in the Members Only Area.

My comeback moment came while I watched a tough match between our student, Jared Fahrner and his opponent. The match was dead even at 0 – 0 until his opponent threw on a triangle attempt with 1 minute left in the match. Both Jared’s arms were in, but one was pushed, precariously out of between his opponent’s legs except for his fist and wrist. This gave his opponent an advantage point and I watched as the time continued to tick away.

With about 30 seconds left, I decided that we had nothing left to loose. We were going to lose the match on 1 point anyway if things continued to progress as they were. It was time for some drastic measures. I told Jared to yank his trapped hand the rest of the way out, effectively giving his opponent the full triangle. What was the difference of losing the match by a point or being tapped out? A loss is a loss in my book. Then I told Jared to punch over with his outside arm and hip down. And with about 15 seconds left he did just that, scrambling to break the triangle and complete a guard pass which would have won him the match on points. He succeeded in breaking the triangle but unfortunately was unable to complete the pass before time ran out and he lost by that 1 point advantage.

But this is the type of thing we live for as coaches. Giving our students, a second chance, a way to win, when they see none. I was thankful to have wrapped up the day with something I knew I did right.

Parting Thoughts – Are Grappling Matches Considered “Fights”?

I have often questioned the legitimacy of people who called grappling matches “fights” or people who only participate in Grappling Style tournaments as “fighters”. To me, something about using the term “fighter” to describe a grappling competitor, just didn’t sit right.

That is, until this tournament. Watching a young boy, face defeat, time and time again, watching him walk out onto the mat alone, to face yet another tough competitor, despite his lingering self doubt and trepidation, showed me what strength of character was possible in such a young soul. If that is not fighting spirit is, than I am incapable of recognizing it when I see it.

The jury is still out for me on whether or not the terms “grappler” and “fighter” are interchangeable, but one thing is for certain. I have left the first Utah NAGA Competition, very willing to consider the possibility.

What are your thoughts on whether or not Grappling Competitors, and Grappling Matches should be considered “Fighters” and “Fights”?

Should grappling matches be called "fights"?

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Facial Harassment – 3 Sneaky MMA Moves

High level MMA competition has often been compared to chess.

Like chess masters, top fighters constantly go over various scenarios, studying counters and counters-to-the-counters.

The more techniques you study and drill, the easier it will be to anticipate your opponent’s moves and set yourself up to land strikes, improve your position, or snag a submission.

While mastering the basics is essential, slipping in an unconventional technique can be a fun and effective way to throw your opponent off of their game.

In the video below, Pro fighter and CSW instructor Ben “Badger” Jones demonstrates 3 sneaky submissions not commonly seen in traditional submission grappling arts.

The first submissions is a facelock that uses pressure to jam your opponent’s jaw out of alignment, similar to a slow motion knockout punch.

Yes, it’s nasty.

Yes, it will make you an unpopular training partner if you try it on your unsuspecting buddies.

But if you ever find yourself in the middle of a close “chess match” of a fight, perhaps a bit of facial harassment could be a game changer in your favor.

[box]If you’re interested in other unconventional techniques to catch opponents by surprise, check out these videos in our members’ section:

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What do you think about these techniques? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

What do think about "facial harassment" techniques?

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