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An Arm Bar for Every Occasion

Typically, the arm bar from the guard requires that you first break your opponent’s posture. A feat that is sometimes, much easier said than done. It’s no surprise that this arm bar, one that flies in the face of convention comes from the man who in 2005 (I believe), released a 6 DVD Set focused solely on this one submission.

I’ve heard Sensei Paulson recount that in Judo, they often say, all roads lead to Arm Bar, and after seeing Ronda Rousey exemplify this maxim repeatedly in the octagon, and then seeing this gem of a technique, I have to admit, I’m becoming a believer.

Filmed at the 2013 CSW Instructor/Fighter Camp, this is really a great move to add to anyone’s arsenal. Be sure to drop Sensei Paulson a note on his Facebook Page and thank him for taking the time to share this with all of us.

Now… LOCK ON!

Ben Jones Clinch Work

Few recurring guests on Damage Control MMA have developed the following and fan base as Ben “The Badger” Jones. Some come for his charming personality, some for his unconventional techniques, and still others just love to see how he’s going to make Brandon’s life a living Nightmare.

Regardless of why you enjoy watching, The Badger is back and he brings the goods again, with a series of techniques from the clinch.

If you enjoy seeing The Badger, make sure you stop by his facebook and let him know. Whenever you guys let our guests know how much you like seeing them on Damage Control, it makes our job that much easier when it comes to asking them back onto the program.

Check it out and stay tuned, we have so much more to come.

Basic Muay Thai Pad Drills: Inside Left Kick Counters

Since one of our very first Striking Instructionals “Jab Counters” we’ve had a lot of positive feedback and requests for more striking oriented videos in that format. Well here we are with another attempt at a video we hope you will enjoy.

The Left Kick Counter is a nice addition to the repertoire of any trainer or pad holder that wants to make his or her rounds more realistic. Incorporating these drills takes your partner from simply thumping pads, to reacting, and thinking. Sometimes they will engage the pads, other times simply defend attacks and other times they will defend and counter. This is the case with the Inside Left Kick Counter Drills.

Don’t forget to pay respects before and after your rounds. And don’t forget to leave a comment and let us know if you liked this series of Pad Drills.

Half Guard: The Erik Paulson Template

I’m not the sharpest pencil in the box. As a result, I need simple toggle switches, on – off decision making inputs to make my grappling computations easier. For my computer science friends, and deductive logic cronies, you will understand what I mean when I say, I try to build my grappling life around the conditional “If this, then that… If that, then this.”

Have I lost you yet? Probably, but I will continue anyway. You see, for me, I use simple conditionals to determine where I will move next while in the grappling world. For instance, on a Double Leg Takedown, “If I am able to lock my hands just beneath my opponent’s butt cheeks, I continue on to finish the Double.” “If I am unable to secure a locked hand grip, I switch to a single or simply abort, and reset.”

Others will argue that there are a myriad of placements for your hands during a double. But I like the locked grip version because it presents me with the simple decision making input I spoke of earlier. If grip is locked up, then proceed with takedown, if not, then don’t. Simple decision making for a slow, dumb oaf like myself.

What does this have to do with Erik Paulson’s Half Guard Template? Good question. For my game, I had a series of options for when on bottom, with the half guard and an underhook on the side where I had captured my opponent’s leg. For example if I had half guard on my opponent’s right leg, I had and underhook beneath my opponent’s right arm.

BUT, I didn’t have such a clear cut set of options for when my opponent had an underhook on his trapped leg side, forcing me to take an overhook. That is, if I had my opponent’s right leg trapped, but was forced to take an overhook on my opponent’s right arm I wasn’t sure what the best course of action was, so I asked Sensei Paulson what he liked to do in this case and he offered the above Template.

What I gleaned from the series was quite simple and effective and I have since implemented it into my game and my series of simple on – off, toggle switches. In my sling bladed internal dialog it sounds something like this. “If you have an overhook on the trapped leg side, bridge and turn, transition to a half butterfly guard, then transition to a full butterfly guard or switch to a half guard on the opposite leg where you should end up with an underhook on the trapped leg side.”

Do you have any simple guidelines and reference points which allow for quick, easy decision making while rolling? If so, we’d love to hear them in the comments area.

Thanks for visiting and stay tuned for more DamageControlMMA.com!

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!

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 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!

Extreme MMA Techniques – The Taint Lock

And then you put his toes where?!? That’s right, that taint your @$$ and that taint your scrode. Yes folks, it’s come to this, the infamous Erik Paulson, “Taint Lock”.

I doubt that I will ever tire of studying this art. There are so many techniques, so many variations and so many minute details, and I enjoy learning them all.

Few techniques can be said to be as creative, nor as humiliating as the “Taint Lock”. I mean, just imagine, there you are, rolling with your closest training partner when, tap, tap, he catches you. “What the Hell was that?” you ask. To which he meekly replies “Yeah, that was a Taint Lock.”
Time to hit the showers… and immediately wash off that foot.

To be honest, I’ve seen the lock before, a long while ago, in one of Sensei Paulson’s old internet videos (before the advent of youtube). I’ve asked him about it and even worked on it with him on more than one occasion (can I say that without it sounding hmmmmmmmm… wrong?). At any rate, like with any technique, I never tire of seeing it taught. There’s always something new that catches your eye, or some aspect that a different presenter may highlight that you may not have payed as close attention to as you could have.

This was definitely the case with Khuen Khru Alvin Chan’s rendition.

In the past I’ve relied on butt scooting in an using my arms to generate the majority of the leverage on the lock. But watching how Khru Alvin executes the technique, I really liked how he placed his foot on his opponent and used it to push off and generate a considerable amount of additional tap out potential.

A special thanks go out to Khru Alvin this year for sharing his great teaching abilies with us once more and for being such a great friend and mentor. It was an especially busy camp this year and we had to really work hard to squeeze in a few short filming sessions. Be sure to send him your respects and my regards at www.MD-CSW.com

My advisors here at DamageControlMMA.com have suggested that I shorten my posts, and make my updates more frequent. And as I am admittedly no web, computer, or blog/vlog guru, I’ve chosen to heed their advise and see how it goes. Next week, you can look forward to the return of the Legendary Coach Billy Robinson.

We’ll see if our subscriptions, forum activity and following increase as a result of this new format. If not, I’m going to advise my advisors of the efficacy of their advise. Until next time, happy hunting… and give em taint!

CSW, CACC, BJJ, MMA Training, Oh my!

To say it’s been a busy couple of months would be an understatement.

Coach Kiser and I have been racing from one place to the next to train with some of the World’s Greatest Instructors so that we can bring you the absolute best in MMA technique, tactics and training.

Below is a brief overview of our adventures over the last few months.

Kiser and Yamasaki batte on the mat yet again.

Two friends battling it out and pushing each other yet again, at the 2010 Utah Erik Paulson Seminar.

Kiser: Erik Paulson 2010 CSW Seminar (Salt Lake City, Utah) – A huge success. The biggest seminar we’ve ever hosted. The highlight of the seminar for me was that Yamasaki and I got to see our student Shane promote to coach level 1 in CSW. Shane has been training with us for about 6 years. During that time he has attended all of the Erik Paulson seminars and traveled to 3 CSW camps. He is the first student of the Kiser Yamasaki Duo to get a coaching certification straight from Erik Paulson.

The seminar was a total blast.

Erik Paulson knows how to make training fun and productive at the same time.

I picked up some new tricks, got in a lot of rolling and shot a new segment for Damage Control MMA.

Yamasaki: I have to agree with Kiser 100% on this one. We’ve worked so hard to build a CSW coach with the skills, and personal qualities that Shane displays. Many others have come and gone, during the time that Shane has been with us, but he has stayed the course and worked equally as hard to be a qualified and respectable representative of CSW and of the Mushin Self Defense gym.

I have to admit however, that another one of the highlights was to be able to work with my best friend, Coach Kiser and enjoy the Seminar as a couple of students, just like everybody else.

Kiser: Billy Robinson Catch As Catch Can Seminar (Salt Lake City, Utah) –

This was one of the most significant “game changers” that I have ever experienced.


So much time and attention was spent on the basics of Catch Wrestling which didn’t feel basic to me because the art is so different from BJJ.
Kiser and Yamasaki working referee position at the CACC Book Photo Shoot.

Kiser and Yamasaki working referee position at the CACC Certification Course with Jake Shannon and Coach Billy Robinson.

I felt my game getting better by the minute in Billy’s
presence. Not only is he one of the most effective instructors I have worked with, he is also one of the greatest characters.

Yamasaki: Coach Robinson continues to impress me with his wealth of knowledge and inspiration.

Every time I see him it’s like getting an energy recharge in terms of my passion for the Martial Arts. If he can be so enthusiastic and excited about the Martial Arts after as many years of teaching and fighting, there must be many, many more great times in store on my journey!

We worked on those little things, so easily incorporated, so subtle, but have immediate and profound positive effects on your grappling game.

Kiser: Erik Paulson CSW Camp 2010 (Fullerton, California) – This camp continued to re-enforce the same mantra that came from Billy. Basics basics basics.

Kiser with Cub Swanson after a hard roll at the 2010 CSW Camp

Kiser with Cub Swanson after a hard roll at the 2010 CSW Camp

Good positioning, posture, stance, footwork etc. I have been to every single CSW camp since the birth of the organization and this was
my favorite! The pace was perfect and the coaches were top notch.

Yamasaki:

Camp was no joke this year. Plenty of hard training and intensive instruction. Again I will echo Kiser’s synopsis of the stress on the Basics. And I loved it.

Boiled down, easy to digest and implement BASICS! Basics and fundamentals that make your game so strong and so internally sound that it makes it difficult for any opponent to find a point of entry. Wonderful, wonderful experience, technique and advise from some of my favorite Instructors in the game.
Chris shows off his souvenir from CSW Fighter Camp. A proper black eye.

Chris shows off his souvenir from CSW Fighter Camp. A proper black eye.

Especially rewarding to me was finally starting to get a handle on the Boxing Method presented by Coach Marvin Cook. I’ve been studying his approach to Boxing for the last 3 years and found it very difficult to understand as it seemed to be completely opposed to the method I had adopted and come to love from Professor Leonard Trigg. But after being open minded and truly giving it a fair shake I finally felt like I understood what Coach Cook was presenting. Rather than being opposed to Professor Trigg’s Method, it was actually and completely complementary. It was the second half to the same coin.

What I discovered was that when your opponent counters the style the Professor Trigg has taught me, openings for Coach Cook’s style began to open up, and vice versa.

It was such a great feeling to consolidate the genius of these two Pugilistic Masters.

On top of all that, I was able to vanquish the Evil Wolf Within me and send him home, tapped out and demolished.

Round two with my baser self goes to the better side of me. And I am very proud of that accomplishment.

Kiser: Catch photo shoot (Salt Lake City, Utah) –

Our friend Jake Shannon is putting together a Catch Wrestling History and Technique Book

and picked Jake Paul, Brian Yamasaki and myself to be the models for the instructional portion of the book.
Jake Paul and Coach Kiser demonstrating the basic CACC Ready Stance.

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

I love doing this kind of work so needless to say I had a great time hanging with my friends and doing the photos for Jake.

Yamasaki: What an experience.

Kiser got hypnotized by Jake Shannon, got regressed between lighting adjustments for the photos and discovered some deep and hidden self revelations. No Joke!

Jake Paul learned things he shouldn’t have by hanging out in a CACC gym, that’s all we need is a professional fighter with super human strength walking around with nasty new Catch tricks. I’m going to be steering clear of him on the mats for sure lol.

Kiser: Ricardo “ICA” Medina Half Guard seminar (West Valley, Utah) – My first time training with Ica and it was anything but basic. Half guard and X-guard for an entire day. I partnered up with my friend Mike Stidham and did everything I could to improve these two unique positions.

Kiser with Ica Medina and Mike Stidham

Kiser with Ica Medina and Mike Stidham

The moves were unorthodox for my game. Despite the complexity of the techniques I felt like I was starting to get the hang of it thanks to the detailed instruction that Ica was giving us. I couldn’t wait to get to the gym and try some of this stuff out.

The techniques actually worked better than I expected. I was sweeping guys left and right!

4 Principles That Changed My Grappling Game

RicksonValeTudoHeadShot

Lately, I’ve been working hard on understanding how the great fighters think.

In the past, I’d watch them spar or fight and inevitably they’d catch their opponents in some nifty little hold and that’s what would grab my attention.

For the next few weeks, that’s what I’d be working on. That reverse Omo-Plata or that new half guard trick, you know the drill. And of course, brick by brick, move by move, I felt like my game would improve.

Later on, at the behest of my Instructor (Khuen Khru Will Bernales), I took a step back and began to look at things from a little bit wider perspective.

I started trying to look at “games” rather than just a single technique. He was always telling me to work on my side cross escape “game” or my guard passing “game”.

Using this mindset improved my grappling at a much faster pace. I was seeing more pieces of the puzzle at a time and as a result could begin working on entire chunks as opposed to hunting for a single piece at a time.

Instead of studying a technique, I began to study how a technique related to it’s brother and sister moves within a series designed to handle a particular position or situation.

And this lead to the next step. Another step backwards. I started looking at concepts and principles. I started looking at how the great fighters were thinking.

I tried to understang their minds which was a giant leap from looking at their finishing moves which were really only the result of an number of maneuvers which, I realized were all governed by a set of simple rules and bylaws.

The following are by no means a complete set of these rules, but they are the ones I have been able to extrapolate and have begun to digest and understand. They have had the greatest impact on my game in recent times.

He who controls the arms, controls the means by which his opponent will try to control him.

He who controls the arms, controls the means by which his opponent will try to control him.

control their hips
control their head
control their posture
maintain your posture

CONTROL THEIR ARMS

Over time, I had heard these objectives from many qualified and accomplished instructors. All made perfect sense but for whatever reason found a way to escape my abilities… Until one night when I was swept repeatedly by one of my BJJ instructors Mike Diaz, a Pedro Sauer Black Belt and masterful butterfly guard practitioner.

I asked him what I was doing wrong, why I couldn’t stop his sweep, and what technique I could use to defend his attack. He smiled and said, “I could sit here all night and try to teach you a counter to all the different sweeps that I use. Or, I could give you the simple answer.” Eager to understand my situation better, and being lazy and somewhat dim whitted (I knew there was no way I was going to remember all the techniques he could teach me), I opted for the simpler answer, to which he replied.

“You’re doing pretty good with most of the other stuff, but what’s making the difference between you defending and me finishing the sweep is arm control. You let me control your arms and that is why I succeed and you fail.”

I took this lesson to heart and worked diligently for the next few weeks at that seemingly simple suggestion. Don’t let your arms be controlled and control your opponent’s arms as much as possible. And sure enough, the sweeps diminished noticibly. And even more noticibly, my game improved from the standing clinch, in the takedown department, pretty much everywhere you go hands on in MMA. And then it hit me. The arms are the means by which we control the head, the hips, the posture, or the means by which we defend these things.

Control the arms, and the rest begins to fall into place.

When you're out of position, under fire and on defense, use your tools and faculties to fortify those defenses rather than digging yourself deeper into the hole.

When you're out of position, under fire and on defense, use your tools and faculties to fortify those defenses rather than digging yourself deeper into the hole.

Another night after numerous weeks of being dominated on the mats by my BJJ Black Belt Instructors, I expressed my frustration. “Man, I don’t expect to tap any of you guys out, but for crying out loud, I’m always on the run from you guys. I’m always fighting just to keep my head above water and survive.” I said. This time, both Coach Diaz and my primary instructor Khru Will were present and sitting before me. Almost in concert, they explained

“Sometimes all you can do is play defense… And sometimes all you SHOULD do is play defense. Jiu-jitsu is a Self Defense Art.”

I sat and thought about this for a moment. Reading the confused look on my face, they both began to point out that even though I had exhausted myself, escaping this submission and fending off that sweep and then scrambling to get out of beneath this or that position, that in the end I had made it pretty difficult to submit me. They went on to explain that if you could defend yourself against bigger, stronger, more experienced fighters, that was a pretty nice accomplishment. This made me smile. They were right. Over the years of working with Khuen Khru Will I had pushed my defensive capabilities from a few seconds of survival, to minutes and sometimes even tens of minutes. And beyond this they explained that sometimes it’s just a matter of surviving until an opportunity appeared or the guy on top made a mistake.

I then realized that most of the time, when I got submitted, it was because I was frustrated about being on the run for so long and decided to push my luck by attempting a low percentage submission or sweep from out of position. These were the times they were talking about. The times when all I should have done was play defense.

Ever since then I have paid a lot more attention to when it is best to fortify my defenses and when an opportunity arises to make a calculated move and this has helped my game immensely.

Use chained attacks and escapes whenever possible.

Use chained attacks and escapes whenever possible.

Beginners think one move ahead, more advanced practitioners think two and three moves ahead.

Since the beginning of my training, this idea has made sense to me from the offensive perspective. The Triangle sets up the Arm Bar which flows to a sweep, etc. etc. etc. These submission chains are nearly everywhere. But much more difficult for me to grasp was the idea of a progressive, chained escape path.

So many times, I’d be underneath someone, trying to escape, using an appropriate escape technique just to have the guy on top of me transition into a different control position… ON TOP.

Finally it occured to me, that knowing the escape was not enough. Knowing the escape and where the guy on top would most likely transition, and having my second escape ready to go, half way through the first escape was the key to getting out of under their tyranical reigns.

Never stop fighting for top position. Never conceed the guard or bottom.

Never stop fighting for top position. Never conceed the guard or bottom.

Fight to be on top and when you can’t get on top, fight for top some more!

This was an epiphany I had after watching the Black Belts roll with each other over the course of many many months I realized that they would always fight like dogs for top position. Even when out of position on bottom they would fight to get to their knees and reset vs. working for guard. And when they did try to get guard the guy on top was practically passing it before it even fully materialized.

After watching this, scene unfold, time and time again I asked my instructor Khru Will when it was that he determined when to fight for top and when to start working the bottom game techniques. His answer was simple.

“If you have gas in the tank, it should be used to get to the top.”

This has been one of the most difficult concepts to make part of my game, especially since it is so physically demanding. But what I have discovered is that while employing this mentality, I can prolong the amount of time it takes for my seniors to trap me on bottom and finish me off with a submission. And sooner or later, that extra time is going to equal an opportunity. And when it does… I’ll be ready.

These four principals have done more to improve my game recently than anything else.

What principals have uped your game and made your life easier on the mat?