Learn how to recognize and escape all the major positions in MMA, Submission Wrestling, No-gi Jiu-jitsu, BJJ, etc.
Many times what you see in our articles and videos is the culmination of years of work, repetition and refinement. But that final product sometimes looks quite different when we first encounter it. And this has to do with many factors. First is how familiar or unfamiliar the technique is to us. Then there is how and where the technique began and then how we use the move, which can be quite different. For instance, techniques developed in arts that include pinning or outlaw leg locks will create energies and common pathways that simply will not exist in our world, and as a result, we will use a given technique in a completely different way than how it was used in it’s original home.
So we thought we’d do something a little different with this article. We wanted to include you in the process, from the beginning. We wanted to show you how we learn a new move, the questions we ask, the process we go through in stumbling through it, fleshing it out, trying to make it fit into what we are doing and the rule structures that we play by. We wanted you to see us make fools of ourselves (even more than usual), ask “stupid” questions and collaborate with friends. And so here it is, our first encounter with Catch As Catch Can’s Flying Mare.
Our story begins a few years back, during one of Coach Billy Robinson’s last seminars. Brandon and I learned the Flying Mare through him and brought it back to our gym. Kiser took to the move a little more than I did and began to teach it to our student body. I had reservations about teaching it since I didn’t understand the entire picture and didn’t have a chance to ask Coach Billy about a failsafe should the move get countered. Years later, our students had developed to a point where the move was popping up in their rolls and competitions. Sometimes working perfectly, and other times getting stuffed hard! And then the question came, “What do we do, when we’ve committed to the Flying Mare, and the opponent stops it?”
And this is where the story picks back up again. A few years after Coach Billy’s passing and with the following Facebook messages between Coach Sam Kressin and I attempting to reverse engineer what we think Coach Billy might say and suggest.
And this is what we’ve got up to this point. A month into the conversation with Catch Wrestler Sam Kressin. Now before we go out and publish this first draft of the article, I’d like to stray off topic just a little and mention a story I once heard about American Kenpo’s Founder Ed Parker. Towards the end of his life, Master Parker knew that his days were numbered. He had also seen what could happen to a family, an organization, once a leader had departed. He had seen the in fighting and politics that could erupt and decimate a lifetime of work. And so he set out with a plan.
The story goes that Master Parker sought out his highest ranking students and with each, only shared a portion of the advanced material, seeking to create specialists in particular branches of his art. His hope was that after his passing, his students would have to come together and share with each other to maintain the complete version of his life’s work. Whether or not this story is true, it made a permanent impact on me.
And so, what I would love to see, is feedback from the rest of our friends from Coach Billy’s school. To see, if together, we can reverse engineer our failures, and piece together a more complete understanding of how Coach Billy would have dealt with the situations we are finding ourselves in. And so I invite you personally, Jesse Mares, John Potenza, Jake Shannon and Garry Davis to join Sam, Brandon and I in our efforts to unravel this mystery. Please add your comments, send us your videos, we will incorporate them all here in this article and will learn from each other and grow closer through the process.
Check back as all new video and insight will be updated to this page as we receive it. And thank you for supporting DamageControlMMA.com!
Train long enough in the Martial Arts, and you will encounter an injury of one kind or another. Learning how to train wisely during an injury is a key component in getting ahead while others would be crying in a corner, licking their wounds.
Well, this week we bring you our friend and regular here at Damage Control MMA, Ben “The Badger” Jones. It’s no surprise that when he injured his bicep while preparing for a bout in Bellator, he was still at it, working out and training, even with his injury.
The key is to be smart about how you train. To find ways that you can continue to be active while both allowing your injury to heal, but also improving your skills in other, possibly neglected parts of your game. Here Ben shares some of his insights into how to accomplish this… Badger style!
If you find this article interesting, we’ve visited it before. Be sure to check out our previous article MMA – Love Hurts
This year at Erik Paulson’s annual Combat Submission Wrestling camp, we were introduced to a new presenter, Phil Norman. Recently Mr. Norman has been making a splash in his area of the world with his students and their accomplishments in the realms of MMA, K-1 and other combat sports.
I’ve always been a fan of the finesse approach to fighting. I.e. learning how to hit while minimizing the damage (potential and actual) that you take in the process. And as common sense as this approach may seem, I am still stunned by how many egotistical cave men there are out there who think it’s somehow “cooler” to take punishment and then retaliate.
You hear it all the time when guys say stuff like, “I like getting hit.” or “I can take a better shot than you can.” Whenever I hear this garbage I always think about what Boxing Coach Marvin Cook once said. “Maybe you can and maybe you can’t but I tell you what, I’ma go ahead and just give that to you because I don’t really know exactly how good a shot I can take. I’ve never taken a really good shot and I don’t ever plan to. It’s just not something I’m that interested in finding out.”
Phil Norman’s Ghost Fighting System seems to fit quite well into this philosophy albeit in its own unorthodox way.
What is most interesting to me about what Mr. Norman Presented to us, was how nicely it seemed to complement and supplement the things we’d already been preaching in our own gym, at DamageControlMMA.com and in our own personal approach to fighting.
In the featured video Mr. Norman described “The Hang” which is significant to us because it fills a niche that lies between two ideas we utilize in our own striking method. Previously, we employed 2 contrasting methods to deal with the energy presented in “The Hang”. One we refer to as the “Half Moon” and can be seen at the 7:04 mark of the Over Commitment (Striking Formula) video, and the other we cover in the Retreating at a 45 video.
When two people draw from the same well source they will often take the same information but then interpret and express it in their own unique ways. And this is a good thing. It’s what fosters creativity and new combinations/iterations of ideas. Something reminiscent of the Muay Thai 4 Count and how it was being expressed with a particular flare on the East Coast as opposed to it’s execution on the West Coast during the beginning of the new Millennium.
In essence the difference is that when presented with aggressive chasing, forward pressure, we would either circle and then cut a latteral/forward 45 degree angle and throw a straight punch on the second beat, or retreat on a 45 and then reset by circling out. Whereas with Ghost System’s Hang, we now have a third option, and that is to retreat on a 45 and throw an arcing punch on the first beat. An excellent supplement to the Striking Formula.
Leave us a comment and let us know what you think of this very intriguing approach to elusive striking.
This is our final farewell to our good friend, mentor and authority on Catch As Catch Can Wrestling, the irreplaceable Coach Billy Robinson.
It ends as it began, without a lot of fan fare. Just a handful of people that are super passionate about learning and growing. Like the very first time I met Coach Billy and asked him about CACC’s unique Shin Locks, this time I ask him about a way to stand up from the High Defense Position.
He has shown us a technique for this in the past but after reviewing his DVD “W.A.R. Catch Wrestling.” I saw a different variation and had the opportunity to ask him about the finer details.
What a privilege and pleasure to learn the subtle details of these mundane and fundamental techniques that seem to gain more and more relevance as I become more seasoned as a Martial Artist. Thank you once more Coach Billy. It’s been an absolute joy to have learned how to learn with you sir.
We have shown you a strong series of escapes from the Bottom Side Cross Position. This is because of how often you will find yourself in this difficult situation. Most of our escapes thus far have been from traditional hand placement when you’re on the bottom.
This escape is an excellent one to put into your repertoire to give you options when your arms get trapped outside of the traditional hand positioning. I really enjoy Gustavo Rodrigues approach as he has a similar weight and body type to my own and as a result his techniques are based on leverage and the mindset of being smaller and weaker than his opponents. Which is another way of saying, his stuff works, and works well regardless of how big or strong your opponents are.
Few guests on Damage Control MMA have been as enthusiastic, recurring and interesting as Ben “The Badger” Jones. Nor have they been as dynamic. With The Badger we’ve seen unconventional approaches in attitude and technique. We’ve seen submissions, striking, clinching and throws. But now, we’re getting a look at the softer side of The Badger. We’re looking at his approach to escaping positions.
Personally, I’ve never envisioned Ben Jones being pinned beneath another fighter, or being forced to play the bottom game, but when you consider his training partners (Sensei Erik Paulson, Josh Barnett, and the like), it only makes sense. You’d have to be really adept at self preservation and survival in order to leave the mat in one piece.
Now we are the lucky beneficiaries of The Badger’s many hours paying his dues in the currency of blood, sweat and tears.
If you enjoy these videos as much as we do, make sure you visit Ben Jones facebook page and let him know. Leave a comment for him. He does actually have a heart after all and expressed to us how hurtful it’s been to hear how many people think he’s dirty and cheap. Let’s let him know that there are those of us out there that actually enjoy seeing a different perspective.
This was a project we’ve been working on for a long time. Time to develop the fighters, time to collect the footage and get permission for use, and then the biggest delay was in finding a rockin sound track and then getting permission to use it. Which never happened… 3 or 4 years went by and then we finally decided to just publish it without the sound track.
Unfortunately, I don’t think it’s as good as it would have been with the music in the background, but what is one to do? At any rate we thought it would be fun to publish it anyway, to give at least some credence to what we’ve been showing you guys in the Damage Control Vids throughout the years. There have been a fair number of detractors and critics out there, and I don’t blame them. Many have pulled the “In a real MMA fight” card, having never given any proof of their own experience in such a field.
We didn’t want you guys to have any doubts of your own so here you go. More examples of our own students using what they’ve learned from us in the ring, on the mat and in the cage. And if you would like more, be sure to check out.
Let us know what you think in the comments? Still think we’re a bunch of frauds?
I would like to start this post by explaining my editing decisions regarding the video above. You can see that I clearly disregard Coach Billy’s request to turn off the tape. A blatant show of disrespect. But my motivations for doing so were the exact opposite. Since Coach Billy’s passing, every word, every moment that we have on film seemed so precious and important, that I felt he would understand if I left his explanations in the clip so that you could see what a perfectionist he was and how he would always explain why it was that he wanted you to do something in a particular way.Some of you may wonder why it is that I am writing this blog post. After all, there are many others who knew Coach Billy much better than myself and were therefore much closer to him. I would be the first to agree with you. But I felt compelled to put this together because of how Coach Billy made Kiser and I feel.
You see, we were all aware of our distance from the core of the Catch As Catch Can and Scientific Wrestling family. Brandon and I play only a tiny part in the big scheme of things. We were like bastard children to Jake Shannon and Coach Billy who knew we came from Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, Thai Boxing and CSW backgrounds. But they took us in and treated us with the same warmth, respect and regard as their very closest and most dedicated students.
I have never forgotten that and I never will. My love for Catch as Catch Can is more so a Love of Coach Billy and the way he treated me. The two are inseparable in my eyes, Catch and Coach. They were one and the same and for Coach Billy, it was no less important for me, a half blooded Catch Wrestler to master a technique he was demonstrating, than it was for one of his full blown Catch Representatives.
While others were turning their noses up at Kiser and I when we’d ask if they’d like to share something with us for Damage Control, Coach would be asking if he could do a video clip. It was such a refreshing and welcomed change.
And that is all I have to say about this great man. Not because I don’t have more to say, but because I feel that I don’t deserve to say it. That whatever else I have to say should be said by those who’ve truly earned the right to say something about the Legend of Catch. The ones who have dedicated their lives to the study of the art in its entirety. His students. Below are a few words and thoughts form the friends we have made through our trials and shared thrashings on the Wrestling Mat.
I thank you all for supporting Jake Shannon and Coach Billy. And thank you Jake Shannon for bring us into this wonderful family.
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I’ll never forget the first time I ever met Billy Robinson. I could tell right away that he was special and I knew I had found someone amazing. From that moment forward, I did everything I could to train with Billy as much as possible. Today, I feel so fortunate to not only have gotten to know Billy Robinson as a wrestler and coach, but also as a good friend. Billy really impacted my life and helped me in more ways than I could ever explain. He lifted everyone up around him. He was still so young in spirit, always having fun, making jokes, and living life to the fullest. He took his wrestling seriously and he lived for it. Never have I met anyone more passionate about anything than Billy was about wrestling. He demanded perfection and you were expected to perform that way. He would push everyone to do things right. Although Billy Robinson, the last of the Great Catch Wrestling Masters, has left us, his legacy is still here. He has given us all a wealth of knowledge and it is up to all of us now to continue carrying it forward.
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The world suffers a major loss with the passing of Billy Robinson. To the world he was a Father, Husband, World Champion and world class coach. In my eyes, Billy was a role model, a mentor, the best coach, a superb friend, historian and gentleman. He taught me humility, proper wrestling technique, confidence, creativity, and allowed me to peek inside his vast knowledge and experience of wrestling, physics, body mechanics and anatomy. Billy’s vision was one of perfection for all who studied under him. If a technique was incorrectly executed, he would have you do it again over and over until it was perfect. Billy will surely be missed and will never be forgotten because his voice will forever be in the back of my mind telling me to do it again.
WIP Billy (Wrestle In Peace)
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Over the past 30+ years, I have trained in many styles of martial arts & achieved high rank in several different styles. But one of my most cherished ranks is Assistant Coach under the legendary Billy Robinson.
Billy was an amazing coach, friend & mentor. I loved nothing more than practicing a technique & hearing him yell NO! DO IT AGAIN! Then he would make a slight adjustment in the way I was moving that would make the technique seem effortless & ten times more effective. His attention to detail was second to none & his stern abrasive coaching style showed just how much he cared about the art of Catch Wrestling & making sure his students learned it correctly.
Although he appeared to be tough & maybe sometimes even a bit scary, he had a huge heart of gold.
Some of my favorite times were just hanging out having a beer with him & listening to his stories. He had an amazing journey in this life & I am truly honored to have shared a small part of it.
It’s because of Coach Billy that I have become the catch wrester that I am today!
He has taught me not just how to teach but how to learn as well.
He will be forever in our hearts & always remembered for being the great man he was.
Snake Pit USA Catch Wrestling Association
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As painful and terrifying as it was at times, I am so grateful for every minute I got to spend with this man! He didn’t just make me a better grappler, he made me a better person. He taught me how to teach and most importantly he taught me how to learn. I will never forget when he told me I was the god damn laziest bastard he ever met and then he said his classic line NOW DO IT AGAIN!
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Garry and Mickey started training under Coach Billy in 2010 after being introduced to catch wrestling by Sensei Erik Paulson. Gillian began in 2012 at the request of Coach Jake Shannon with the hope of introducing more women to the sport of catch wrestling. Garry has successfully implemented elements of catch wrestling into both the Jeet Kune Do and Submission Grappling curriculums at Brazen Martial Arts. Mickey was primarily interested in improving his stand up game, but after training under Coach Billy he came to love the mix of submission grappling and wrestling — with the focus on being on top as opposed to playing from the guard. Gillian has successfully used techniques learned under Coach Billy to defeat much more experienced opponents in high-level grappling competition. All of us will continue to use Billy’s concepts to help our students blend the different arts in a way that works for them individually. Coach Billy was open-minded to all of the other arts, and extremely helpful in countering techniques encountered in grappling tournaments even when the catch wrestling rule set was not directly in play. He loved competition and adapting his knowledge to different circumstances.
Coach Billy was never just a coach to any of the three of us. Garry and Gillian would tease Mickey endlessly about how excited Mickey would get when Coach Billy walked into the room. We emailed with Coach Billy even when we weren’t at training camp and not always just to talk about wrestling but just to check in and say hello. Coach Billy demanded perfection from everyone he trained, but he never did it for himself or without reason. He demanded perfection FOR us, to help us be better wrestlers, better learners, and better teachers to preserve something that was his whole world. We loved him dearly and miss him greatly.
–Garry Davis, Mickey Hall, Gillian Silver–