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MMA Techniques In Real Fights: Southpaw Fighting

When you watch a technique video online and read the comments it can be difficult to tell which if any are legit and whether or not the technique will really work.

This can be the case especially if you haven’t had a chance to build up a solid foundation and understanding through experience.

Naysayers will argue, “That will never work, because all you’d have to do is blah blah.” There are times when these arguments have merit and others when such claims are baseless.

So how do you know which claims to believe?

Well one way is to simply watch the techniques being used in actual fights.

And that is exactly what we present to you this week on Damage Control MMA. Earlier this year we presented our members with a 16 video instructional on How to Counter a Southpaw and shared a few of the clips with the public in our blog post on the subject.

As you can see in the video above, it doesn’t need to be fancy, hard to learn, or overly complex to be effective. And that’s what we specialize in here at DamageControlMMA.com Bringing our members, simple, easy to learn, effective techniques that give results.

Let the naysayers type on. 90% of them talk loud and say nothing. They never present original, informative material of their own. They’ve never posted any videos let alone competed, or shown proof of their expertise in fights of their own or through their student body.

You have our guarantee that whenever possible we will show you our techniques being applied, personally or by our fighters/students whenever possible. We’ve done it since the beginning and will continue to do so throughout the life of this project.

If you’ve experienced good results with our techniques, or even seen examples of techniques we’ve taught used effectively in fights, please let us know in the comments below.

 

Happy Hunting!

Catch Wrestling Neck Cranks

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

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

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

Enjoy!

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

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

Using this Limp Arm Counter just might get you Double Wrist Locked

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Yes you heard me right, using this Limp Arm Counter to Wrestling’s Whizzer just might get you Double Wrist Locked/caught in a Kimura. Why bother showing it then? Well because I still think it’s a very valid and useful technique.

If you’ve ever clinched or as I mentioned in the video, worked your way up to your knees from bottom Half Guard, chances are, you’ve encountered the Whizzer. This little beauty gives you an option for dealing with it. “But what if you get Double Wrist Locked?” you ask. Well, just knowing that that is a possibility is going to keep you out of much of the danger, and should you still fall prey to the Double Wrist Lock/Kimura, well, you need look no further than last week’s post (Catch Wrestling Kimura Killer Recounter) to give you some options for getting out of that mess.

For those of you who never saw the throw that got Mr. Schultz disqualified, you might want to check out the video below:

And for those of you who want a little bit more detail on how to use the Kimura Throw, or Double Wrist Lock Takedown, fear not, we covered that years ago with Coach Billy Robinson and Jake Shannon.

Ankle Kick Snap Down

If you’ve been following our posts for a while you’ve probably been picking up on the theme that if you’re head gets lowered, you’re going to be hating it. On the flip side of the coin, if you can get your opponent to lower his head for you, it’s time to dish out some pain. Simply look at “The #1 Way to Avoid Paralysis and Fatalities in MMA“, and “The Gotch Toe Hold” (I digress towards the end and begin discussing the broken posture) and you’ll begin to see some of the many dangers of having your head lowered, and the advantages of breaking your opponent’s posture for MMA, Submission Grappling, Brazilian Jiu-jitsu and Self Defense situations.

Here CSW Coach Chris Regodon shares a unique trick for coaxing your opponent to break his own posture. Coach Chris uses the bottom of his foot to effect the sweep/kick. But I imagine you could also use the front of your shin on the inside corner of your opponent’s shin. I think it would hurt them more, but what you would potentially give your opponent an angle. But as Guro Inosanto likes to say, every technique is 100% legitimate, just not 100% of the time. Perhaps there are times and places for each.

Be sure to weigh in with your ideas and experiences in the comments below. Then tune in next week for DamageControlMMA’s very first Gi Specific technique!

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!

Catch Wrestling: Escaping Defense Position

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

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

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

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

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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What is the proper name of this move?

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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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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.