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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: The Snatch Single Leg

Guest instructor Mike Stidham shares a basic Snatch Single Leg technique.  Mike explains that he’s amazed at how many high-level fighters out there don’t  use basic stuff.

To get the most out of this technique here are some tips Mike shares:

  • Cage Position – Rather than wasting energy going for takedowns in the middle of the cage where an opponent has a better chance of defending it, Mike tells his guys to wait until their opponent is near the edge of the cage where there is less room to sprawl or maneuver away from the takedown attempt.
  • Snatch vs Shoot – Instead of shooting up his opponent, Mike likes to “pickpocket” his opponent by snatching his lead leg.
  • Suck Leg into Chest  – Grasp leg with a Gable Grip and suck your hands into your chest.  If your hands are against your chest you have control of your opponent so don’t let him stretch your arms away from your torso.

On another note, I wanted to use this post to relate a story to you. If you haven’t taken the opportunity to check out our forums, there are some pretty cool threads on there that you may have missed.

One of which is our thread dedicated to Instructors, Trainers and Gym Owners. You see, during the 2012 Erik Paulson Seminar, Kiser and I had lunch with a friend of ours, Mike Stidham, a local fight promoter (one of Utah’s first and for a time, most prominent). He had been attending the seminar along with a number of his students and we took the opportunity to hang out, have a laugh or two and thank him and his team for supporting our efforts in spreading CSW.

During our conversation, Mike began to discuss strategies for promoting seminars and getting more students from various, outside gyms to attend. He explained a few of the ideas he had tried out in helping us to promote the Erik Paulson Seminar, which he plugged frequently on his Friday evening radio program, the Ultimate Combat Radio Show.

I expressed my feelings on the subject and asked Mike if he thought that the very strong prejudices, politics, school loyalties and team rivalries that are commonplace in our stomping grounds could be overcome. As in my mind, these obstacles were insurmountable. But Mike stood firm in his belief that these things could in fact be overcome and explained that no one will ever convince someone from outside their gym to come and take a seminar from so and so, because he’s so much better and cooler than their instructor or lineage.

Instead, he suggested that the way to dissolve these “enemy lines” was instead to be the first to step forward and enter “enemy territory” and take a seminar at these other schools. To look these school owners and seminar hosts in the eyes, shake their hand, expose his own students to these different ways of thinking and training and take it from there.

I left the lunch, still doubtful of his views on the subject. But then, it hit me. Here he was, the owner of a rival gym.  Both school’s fighters have handed the other school some bitter defeats. And yet, now we were friends. Eating at the same table, after the second year of seeing him and his students in our camp, supporting our instructors.

Now he’s hosting a seminar with UFC Veteran and Olympic Gold Medalist, Mark Schultz and he’s extended an invitation to Kiser, me and the Mushin Crew. Our calendar is marked and we are looking forward to learning some new ideas and making new friends. I guess Mike was right after all and the lesson he taught us reminded me of something I had realized a few years ago.

Friends can do you much more good, than you can ever harm an enemy.

On that note and coincidentally, our friend Jake Shannon has also done some work with Mark Schultz with his Scientific Wrestling project. You can see the fruits of that labor, on the DVD that they produced together

Total Violence with Mark Schultz

So here’s to mending fences, extending an olive branch, and making new friends. “We are all one.”

If you have any experiences on making peace with a rival gym or school, please share with us in the comments below.

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 Takedowns: Running CSW Style

Certainly any type of takedown can be used in the sport of MMA, but how to set them up and integrate them into a world where Neck Cranks, Chokes, Knees, Strikes and Submissions of all sorts can be employed as counter measures can sometimes be a daunting task. Cross Training Pioneer Erik Paulson has helped to continue the research and development of this field. Some would argue that he’s polished and even helped shape the landscape of MMA takedown protocols used in modern times. And you can put me into that group.

Here are some out takes we shot in 2009 and 2010 regarding some of those takedowns. As you might expect, these became part of the daily takedown regimen taught and studied at our school. And as the old saying goes, “Practice becomes habit, you don’t live up to your expectations, you live down to your drills and your training.” Such was the case in 2011 when a hand full of our students put these takedowns to the task at a local Submissions Only Tournament (no, time limits, no points).

Both the competitors seen in the videos (Jared Fahrner and Heinrich Mokofisi) used the running takedowns to eventually win their divisions.

One interesting idea to note was that one of our overall strategies going into the tournament was to employ the Catch Wrestling Concept of never offering your head to your opponent by means of “Shooting” for a takedown. Instead the competitors elected to use more upright, Grecco, Catch and Judo style takedowns when the opportunities presented themselves.

This not only allowed them to keep their heads and necks away from trouble but also gave them ample opportunities to utilize the Half Haltch, Grovit, Front Head Lock and Guillotine to control their opponents when they shot in and in some cases submit them outright.

Long story short, thank you again Sensei Paulson and Coach Robinson. This stuff works and works well.

And as a parting holiday present, we’ve included a final gift, an awesome impromptu lesson in leg locking for after you’ve taken your opponent to the mat. Courtesy again, of the legendary Sensei Paulson. So listen up and Lock On!

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 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 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!