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.

MMA Techniques: The Mat Wars Saga Episode 1

The Back Story

There is an arms race taking place, an on going struggle that began in the not so distant but aging past, in a garage, in a galaxy… well, it was in our galaxy but those times and places now feel, far, far away.

Two forces, Kiser and Yamasaki met on the mats of one of Professor Pedro Sauer’s old academies as Kiser’s private lesson with Khuen Khru Bernales ened and mine began. From that point on, we would be competing for the attention of our instructor, and trying to best each other whenever and wherever our paths crossed.

Since that time, the struggles continue, with one having the upper hand for months and even years at a time before the tide of battle would change and the playing field would again be leveled. Something we’ve alluded to before in posts such as our “Arm Triangle and Kimura Counter” which is a small glimpse into the arms race and ever evolving counter measures that Kiser and I will forever be interlocked.

Every week, new lines are drawn, scores are settled and new feuds born. Over time, even new Factions have arisen. Some have fallen and been lost to time, but others have taken root and begun to grow strong. I could go on forever about the counters and re-counters employed, sought out and developed between Kiser’s evil empire and Yamasaki’s solo Resistance, but that will have to wait until another time. For this hour, belongs to the new clan, the rising power, the Wiggins Faction.

He and his followers have begun a full scale assault on the happy and peace loving members of the Mushin Self Defense gym. Their calling card… The Arm Bar. I invite you to come along as I fumble my way through the mine field of Wiggarian Arm Bars, and attempt to mount a counter offensive through preventative measures, escape systems and counterfuge.

The purpose of this on going series of articles (The Mat Wars Saga) is two fold. One, to share a little more of our own personal world with our DCMMA friends and family, and two to share and further develop my own MMA problem solving methodology (and not necessarily in that order).

The problem solving methodology is a work in progress. I by no means claim any expertise in that department and am myself still trying to improve and simplify the process. I hope by sharing it, I will both clarify my own thought process as well as learn from your comments and experiences.

I often say, “THAT your technique failed is of little to no importance. HOW it failed, the specifics of where arms were placed, hands were positioned, hips were angled, feet were moving, etc. is of ultimate importance. Therein lies the body of evidence that will lead us to finding what killed our technique.” It’s a game of MMA CSI.

This is one piece of the problem solving methodology. Taking many snap shots at the scene of the crime. And make no bones about it, for a move to not work the way you would have liked, is indeed a crime.

We will use the Mat Wars Saga as a case study in these methods. Starting with the on going Crime Scene Investigation, the Wiggarian Arm Bar. This Serial criminal comes in many shapes and sizes, and attacks from many different angles. But as a starting point we will be investigating perhaps the most sinister variation of them all. The Kimura Set Up From Guard.

I have collected the necessary evidence in a series of snap shots. And it’s funny to mention and include these as I recall years ago, hearing one of my instructors defending a move that was being questioned with the following statement. “No move is 100% all the time. Anytime you take a snap shot of a technique, you can point out a number of ways to pick it apart.” We’ll that just what I intend to do.

Below is a re-enactment of Joe’s Crime. Prosecuting him for count two “Trying to tap out his own instructor” will be something we address at another time.

Joe Wiggins starts his evil and malicious crime (the Arm Bar) from Closed Guard

He then opens his guard and violently turns to his left side, which allows him to place his opponent's right hand on the mat and obtain wrist control

Here Joe locks up the Kimura but in the process, allows his left leg to slide downward until it hits the mat and invites you to step over and begin to pass his guard in a counter clockwise direction.

Kensei obliges Joe's invitation and begins to pass Joe's left shin across his midsection. Keep in mind that the threat of being finished by the Kimura itself is ever present.

As Kensei moves to finalize the pass (his motion and direction of force is shown here in green), Mr. Wiggins simultaneously moves his hips in the opposite direction (shown here in red, a clockwise direction of force), which gives him space and the potential for a parallel body alignment with Kensei. This is an important detail as at this juncture, Mr. Wiggins has 4 simultaneous options. 1. Finish The Kimura 2. Utilize Parallel Body alignment to execute the Kimura Sweep and finish with the Kimura 3. Execute the redundant Kimura Sweep and finish with the stereotypical Arm Bar or 4. Move directly to a Quarter Back Mounted Arm Bar

I generally fight to maintain my base and top position which usually persuades Joe to take option 4. To do this he immediately inserts his left shin in front of Kensei's left arm.

He then places his right leg over Kensei's head and inserts his right foot into Kensei's right hip. The whole while Joe maintains a T Wrap/Figure 4 Grip on Kensei's right forearm.

Joe finalizes the Arm Bar by using his hips to break Kensei's grip and extend Kensei's arm. In this case the direction of force on Kensei's arm is along the mat and towards Joe's head.

If Kensei is able to power his arm back in to defend the Arm Bar, Joe simply transitions to a Kimura. Kensei can look to his left and defend the Kimura by summersaulting over his right shoulder but then he runs straight into the stereotypical Arm Bar and is finished from there.

You’ve seen the evidence, you’ve had a chance to study the crime scene. Now let’s take a moment and discuss the problem solving methodology.

The Problem Solving Methodology

The problem solving methodology is two fold. I try to address said problems from both a technical and a tactical vantage point. The CSI approach is more on the technical level. It involves looking at the mechanics of the technique in question and then, countering the technique with other techniques or simply dismantling the technique by means of negating one or more of the necessary mechanics.

On a Tactical level we look at paradigm shifts. Sometimes, you get so stumped trying to untangle the limbs and levers, the weights and pulleys of a technique that you basically hit a dead end. A mental block if you will. When I experience these I usually try and attack the problem at the tactical level. That is, to look at the problem itself from a completely different vantage point.

Take for example this Wiggarian Arm Bar from a Kimura Set Up. I have attempted to break it down and disassemble it from a technical level, with limited success for months now. Frustrated at this progress or lack thereof, I’ve now begun to approach the problem at a tactical level. I try not to put myself in positions where Joe can set up his heinous technique in the first place, but as with many things, it’s a lot easier said than done. As a result, I’ve recently begun to postulate a new idea.

By understanding how Joe sets up his damned Arm Bar at a technical level, and by looking at the problem from a tactical vantage point, I’ve been able to decipher that his set up is based on a brilliant strategy. He sets his technique up and finishes it based on movements from his opponents that follow fundamental, but predictable predispositions. You see, if you’ve had any instruction in guard work at all, you are going to be predisposed to eventually attempting to pass guard whenever you’re caught in it. This is how Joe finishes. He will set up the arm bar from within the guard, but it’s the act of you passing that enables him to finalize it. As a result, he will actively create opportunities for you to pass and in doing so tighten the noose around your own neck. Tricky bastard!

Thus, I am led to believe, that if I do the opposite of what is expected, that is, once the arm bar is set via the Kimura Set Up, I move into his guard, I can stall and perhaps even completely demise his ability to finalize the arm bar or at least this iteration of his arm bar. I will call this the “Chinese Finger Trap Defense”.

Tune in to the next episode of the Mat Wars Saga to find out how it goes.

I also invite you to turn in your own solutions to this problem, and eventually your own Technique Failures for us to CSI and problem solve. Together, we can catch the bad guys and rescue your technique.

Now the challenge, for both you and me is to apply these same problem solving methodologies to the challenges that face us in our daily lives, at work, at play, in the home as well as on the mats. It’s the Jiu-jitsu of Life as my cousin would so aptly put it. The most important Jiu-jitsu of all.

MMA – Catch Wrestling Technique: The Gotch Toe Hold

I’ve been saving this little beauty for a rainy day. And seeing as how it’s been a little quiet around the vlog as of late, I thought, it’s a perfect time to unleash some more pain. I mean, sharing is caring right?

Ever since I first read about the Gotch Toe Hold, I’ve been interested in learning more about it. Well at this year’s first quarter Certified Catch Wrestling Audit, we had a chance to do just that. After being teased with a first glance look at the technique during our shoot for the “Say Uncle” Catch as Catch Can book (pages 198 and 199 cover the technique in pictorials), I wanted to get some more hands on time with it with one of the last surviving practitioners of Catch, Coach Billy Robinson.

He shared his thoughts on a few variations and follow ups and then signed my copy of the book.

If you’re interested in picking up a copy, it would help Coach Kiser and I out as well as Scientific Wrestling (the guys responsible for putting together the Audits and the book) if you could use the link below and purchase your copy from Amazon.com

Jake Paul and Coach Kiser demonstrating the basic CACC Ready Stance.

Jake Paul and Coach Kiser demonstrating the basic CACC Ready Stance.

On a somewhat related note, it’s so interesting to learn more about the various arts and their general approaches to fighting. I remember during the shoot for the “Say Uncle” book it was at a seminar in 2010, and I remember speaking with Coach Robinson about the basic Catch Fighting Stance. I remember how it appealed to me as it shared a number of philosophies and similarities to the Thai Clinch Method and the Judo Stance, both of which I am more familiar with.

In essence, the Catch Ready Stance is more upright than it’s amateur wrestling cousin. And favoring more of a Grecco and Judo style throwing for it’s takedowns vs the shooting and leg hunting method of the amateur style, I asked Coach Robinson why that came to be. His answer was simple. “Because you would never want to offer your neck to your opponent like that.”

Notice the difference in posture with the Amateur Wrestling version of the ready stance

Seeing how Catch not only employs and allows Guillotine type chokes but also potentially lethal neck cranks such as the Grovit, I took his words to heart. In fact I could hear them ringing in my ears this last weekend as I watched two of my own fighters get caught and choked with Guillotines as they shot in for doubles and singles. I suppose some lessons are hard learned.

Our student Dan Berry delivers his second Suplex shortly before getting caught in an Arm In Guillotine

At any rate, train well and Happy Hunting.

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!

The Frontiers of Submission – Redux!

It’s been a while since I’ve had the time to just surf, dig, dig, and dig some more until I unearthed some burried gems. New artifacts (oxymoron alert!) for the Frontiers of Submission. If you read our earlier post on the subject you know that I enjoy seeing new ideas (perhaps not new to the world, but at least new to my eyes).

There was a dry spell there for a moment. Finding new, interesting and or useful material on the internet had become exceedingly difficult. Then things got busy and I simply didn’t have the time to sift through the muck to find a few viable possibilities. That is until now. As of late, I’ve found a few new ideas that are pretty interesting.

First up is this awesome Butterfly Guard Counter from www.DSTRYRSG.com A Guard Pass and Quick Kill all rolled up into one. What’s not to like? And anything that has anything to do with a Chicken Wing/Kimura/Double Wristlock is good fare for my tastes.

Next up are a couple of really nifty little wrist locks from www.vt1gym.com. I use that little Bicep Control Wrist Lock for quite some time now but that little hip shift detail has made it even more successful and efficient for me.

Below is some old school footage of Russian Wrestling. New? I think the video speaks for itself but I’ve never seen it, so it’s new to me, and I love it. If nothing other than for the pure eye candy of it. But there are plenty of great pointers you can pick up from checking this series out. I mean, it’s part 12 guys. There is a whole series, which could arguably keep us all busy for a friggin lifetime of study.

Barnett, Footlocks, NUFF SAID!

And I’ve saved desert for last. So much goodness to be said about this last clip. If it wasn’t awesome enough to have a Bravo clip sitting right next to a Barnett clip (If you aren’t privy to the keyboard war between the two concerning 10th planet JJ and Catch as Catch Can, you’re going to have to look it up on the MMA Underground yourself because I’m not going to go into here).

And as if that weren’t enough, we’ve got a leg lock set up from and Arm Triangle. Those of you who know how proficient Kiser is at using them and the hundreds of set ups he uses, know how useful this might be for him. Why do I post it here then when it will only make my life more miserable? Because I know he’ll never see it because he never reads my posts. I don’t even know if he’s literate to be honest. And I have to admit I get a kick out of hiding it here in plain sight.

Oh, and if that’s not enough to do it for you, did I mention Eddie’s partner is none other than Joanne of the MMA Girls… MEEEEEEEEEeeeee-OOOOOWWWW!!!

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!

MMA Style Training In Defensive Tactics

I Know Smith And Wesson

Once, when training on the campus of Utah State with an old friend of mine, a passer by was compelled to go out of his way and approach us in a quiet room in the basement of one of the dorms. “Yeah, well I know Smith and Wesson.” was how he chose to make his presence known. My reply was, “Is he here with you now?” The guy lowered his eyes, let out a sigh and walked on.

Have Firearms Made Martial Skill Obsolete?


Defensive handgun skills are a perfectly viable and important aspect of self defense and personal safety. However, I’ve seen far too many gun fixated individuals who simply don’t understand to true nature of personal conflict and violent situations. After all, The simple state of owning a firearm does not ensure proficiency in their use or even in their safe and responsible possession.

Last week while at the range, a Range Officer started up a conversation, not knowing me personally, nor of my background in the Martial Arts. The conversation turned to self defense and he mentioned that most defensive handgun situations would take place in under 10 feet. I though to myself, using a firearm, while definitely effective, can sometimes be quite impractical. Both from a legal standpoint as well as from a physical one.

Guru Dan Inosanto and Tuhon Leo Gaje Jr. have done much research and contributed greatly to the tactics involved with close quarters weapons based tactics. The video above was from a Law Enforcement Training video entitled “Surviving Edged Weapons”.

Guru Marc Denny has also contributed to this body of knowledge with his collaboration with Gabe Suarez in their “Die Less Often” series.

WARNING!!! SOME OF THE IMAGES IN THE VIDEO BELOW ARE DISTURBING AND GRAPHIC. VIEWER DISCRETION IS ADVISED

Experts such as these have helped to establish a principal well known to Law Enforcement as the “21 foot Rule”. But as civilians, it’s going to be hard to justify drawing down on a probable threat at 21 feet. If you are attacked, chances are, the gap has already been closed and familiarity with empty hands techniques will be necessary to stave off the initial attack and make the time and distance necessary to deploy any sort of self defense weapon.

The Role of MMA Style Training In Defensive Tactics


Will MMA, Submission Grappling, Striking or Jiu-jitsu skills be able to totally nullify the Edged Weapons attacks presented in the videos above? Not necessarily. However, neither will possession of a Firearm, Baton, Blade or even expertise in Edge Weapons techniques, in my opinion. But training in any of the above, and especially cross training in the various disciplines will definitely increase your likelihood of survival… or as Guru Denny puts it, will help you to “Die Less Often”.

In particular, what I feel training in MMA, Submission Grappling, Striking or Jiu-jitsu gives you is a sense of time and distance, of conditioning levels, principles of sensitivity, body mechanics and leverage. They familiarize you with angles, positioning and body contact. So that when you pick up a weapon, you better understand it as simply an extension of self vs. as a be all end all magical tool that will ensure victory under any circumstances over any adversary or group thereof.

Martial Arts Go Beyond Simply Aiding Defensive Training


Many of the so called friends of Smith and Wesson (and we use the name here simply as a metaphor for the gun dependent individuals and not as a slight against the actual gun manufacture who I believe produces quality products and provides the public with a valuable service), will suffer from heart attacks and corronary heart disease long before they ever use their firearms skills… if they do in fact have them.

Martial Arts provide much more than simply techniques, and training for defensive situations. They provide a base level of fitness and health that extend beyond the very practical aspects of self defense.

Some will say the chances of you ever using your Martial Arts are so slim that they simply aren’t worth the investment in time and money. I’d venture the same bet for home insurance, something which you could live without if you absolutely had to. And yet, these same people dutifully pay their premiums, month after month, attempting to insulate themselves from a situation that they hope will never, and probably won’t ever happen.

What About Empty Handed Threats?


I definitely believe the best way to learn about and handle weapons based attacks is from experts in weapons based arts such as Kali, Escrima, and Arnis. But what about an unarmed attacker? I think the same goes for empty hands. Seek out an expert in empty hands instruction. Having the ability to go empty handed gives you a lot more options versus immediately escalating to the use of a firearm or other lethal weapons.

Having skills with empty hands also gives you skills that will only contribute to your use of weaponry should the need ever arise. Breath control, fine motor skills, stance, all of these are integral parts of marksmanship fundamentals. Footwork and angulation are hugely important in the weapons based arts of the Philippines.

Empty hand Martial Arts are still the safest, most versatile and beneficial form of self protection and defense. And no one ever said that Martial Artists aren’t good friends with Smith and Wesson too.

What Are Your Thoughts?


What are your thoughts on the role MMA, and related Martial Arts play in Self Defense and Defensive Tactics Training?

MMA Techniques: Shin Lock 102

We recently did a video for our friends at www.LockFlow.com demonstrating another variant of the versatile Shin Lock. Ever since I learned the proper mechanics from Coach Billy Robinson, the Shin Lock has found an ever growing role in my MMA and Submission Grappling game.

Fringe Techniques and Our Disclaimer

Now I cannot emphasize this enough. Kiser and I often put up video content that demonstrate some of the more fringe type techniques (most of the fundamentals we do are in the Members Only area of DCMMA). This isn’t because we favor these over tried and tested basics, nor is it because we like them better.

We just figure, that if you wanted to see a basic guard pass, there are plenty of resources out there for you already, most of which are done by well respected, high profile instructors.

So we try to keep it interesting by exposing you guys to stuff you may not have seen just yet.

The Ever Versatile Shin Lock

The Shin Locks and their myriad of applications are something that fits the bill and this week we add a few more options based on the initial mechanics taught to us by Coach Robinson. He really does teach you how to learn, and then the rest just starts to blossom.

Add these to the stuff we showed in the BJJ CACC Shin Lock Guard Pass and your opponent will never look at that game the same.

Good luck, have fun, and happy hunting!

The “Monson Choke”

Well, after keeping a close tab on your feedback, two rival camps arose. Those in support of a voiceover and those wanting subtitles. All told, the subtitles folks had the edge by about 10 votes. And just as I was about to begin work on putting them into the clip, Coach Kiser made a last minute call to the governor (Mr. Monson himself) who requested the voiceover approach.

A special thanks to our friends at the Ultimate Combat Training Center who made this particular project possible. If you’re a fighter and want a chance to get a chance to be seen on a little larger scale, it’s a great place to fight. The Ultimate Combat Experienes has been seen on various local and cable television stations as well as Knock Out Sports World. If you’re in the Draper area, stop in and check out their brand new facility at

12101 Factory Outlet Dr
Suite 116
Draper, UT 84020-9405

Or give them a call at (801) 967-5295

As Mr. Monson heads up against Daniel Cormier later on tonight in the Strikeforce event, I can’t help but root for the guy. On the outside, our games, outlooks and overall approach to MMA could not be more different, but on the inside, I can definitely appreciate his counter culture mentality and independent approach to life and philosophy. And I have to respect any man that would step on the mat, and share a training session, man to man, eye to eye, simply for the love of the art the way that Jeff Monson does.

With any luck, we’ll see another victem fall prey to the Monson Choke tonight. God Speed Mr. Monson.

We Need Your Input!

As you saw with our “Cutting Room Floor Edition” things don’t always go as planned for us. We work hard trying to bring you as much MMA Instruction from as many high quality sources as we can, but this time around, old Murphy had to rear his stinking, ugly head and remind us of his pesky Law.

As a result, we need your help. DamageControlMMA.com would like to know how you would like us to present the “Monson Choke” video we filmed Jeff Monson himself. We can:

A. Deliver the Raw Footage
B. Insert some generic soundtrack, montage style
C. Put in subtitles
D. Have Kiser do a voice over

Let us know what you think in the comments below. After all it is YOU, our viewers and supporters that really matter and we want to make you as happy as we can with our efforts.

Comment now or forever hold your squeaks.