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Escapes from Scarf Hold, Kesa Gatame with Ben The Badger Jones

Few guests on Damage Control MMA have been as enthusiastic, recurring and interesting as Ben “The Badger” Jones. Nor have they been as dynamic. With The Badger we’ve seen unconventional approaches in attitude and technique. We’ve seen submissions, striking, clinching and throws. But now, we’re getting a look at the softer side of The Badger. We’re looking at his approach to escaping positions.

Personally, I’ve never envisioned Ben Jones being pinned beneath another fighter, or being forced to play the bottom game, but when you consider his training partners (Sensei Erik Paulson, Josh Barnett, and the like), it only makes sense. You’d have to be really adept at self preservation and survival in order to leave the mat in one piece.

Now we are the lucky beneficiaries of The Badger’s many hours paying his dues in the currency of blood, sweat and tears.

If you enjoy these videos as much as we do, make sure you visit Ben Jones facebook page and let him know. Leave a comment for him. He does actually have a heart after all and expressed to us how hurtful it’s been to hear how many people think he’s dirty and cheap. Let’s let him know that there are those of us out there that actually enjoy seeing a different perspective.

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!

The Gi Choke Defense They’ll Never See Coming!

Tired of getting garroted every time you put on a Gi? I know the feeling. For me the Gi is like wrestling with a Tar Baby (does anybody but me even remember that story?) Yeah that’s me, Brer Rabbit hopping down the grappling trail when Wham! All of a sudden you can’t get away from your opponent’s clutches and the next thing you know, you’re being put to sleep with a piece of your own clothing.

I had heard about an interesting and unconventional way to give yourself an extra life if caught in the dreaded collar choke. Kiser had mentioned some strange defense he had encountered while trying to choke our mutual friend, Dan Berry. Being the technique collector that I am, I had to see this unusual move and learn more about it.

I figured I might as well bring you along and let you see it with me for the first time. Have I put it to the test? No, but Kiser said it stopped him from completing his choke and Dan says it’s saved his neck on more than one occasion. So I figure it’s worth a look.

I encourage you, my friends to join me in R&Ding this thing to see if it’s a worth while endeavor. Let us know how it works for you in the comments below.

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!

ADCC 2011 Recap

Introduction
One of them any nice things about having friends and members from around the world is that it offers opportunities to catch a glimpse, first hand of the many ongoings of the Mixed Martial World. In this case, our friend Robert Carlin from Scottland, made the trip to England to watch and report on the ADCC’s of 2011. What follows is his account of the event. Thank you Robert for this excellent article.

-Khuen Khru Brian Yamasaki

When I heard that Royler Gracie vs Eddie Bravo 2 would be this years ADCC superfight I was excited. When I heard it was taking place within travelling distance from my home I was on the Internet reserving my tickets. I wasn’t even bothered that there were other contests taking place.
However, rumours quickly began to swirl around the World Wide Web that the Superfight wouldn’t be taking place at all. To say I was devastated about the contest being cancelled would be a huge understatement.

I did intially have thoughts of selling my tickets but quickly realised how crazy that would be as I had the chance to watch the finest grapplers in the world competing against each other. As I entered the Capital FM Arena in Nottingham, the first person I saw was Andre Galvao. I get a photo and wish him luck and make my way to my seat. Meeting a grappling superstar on the way in set the tone for the rest of my weekend.

ADCC 2011 Nottingham England

Three large matted sections took up the floor in the middle of the Arena and there were three simultaneous matches taking place at once throughout most of the day. The first day featured the qualifiers to determine the semi finalists in each weight division and the second day had the Semi-Finals, Finals and the Absolute tournament. Each day held a Superfight, on day one it was the previous Absolute winner Braulio Estima vs Jacare and on day two it was a battle of grappling legends Mario ‘The Zen Machine’ Sperry vs Renzo Gracie.

Pablo Popovitch sporting a suit of muscle.

Many things stood out over the course of the weekend. The main thing that stood out was the outstanding conditioning of all the competitors. When you see the physiques of fighters such as Andre Galvao, Pablo Popovich, Kron Gracie and Rousimar Palhares you can see they have been hitting the weights room hard but what was outstanding is that these guys were fighting up to 25 minute contests against the best athletes their sport has to offer multiple times throughout the two days. I don’t recall any of them looking out of breath or fatigued. These guys obviously work as hard on their fitness as they do on their technique. It wasn’t only these particular fighters, virtually every competitor looked to have an elite level of fitness.

Another thing that stood out was the technique of the Grapplers. Some of the movements and transitions made were really phenomenal. As a fan of the ground game it was beautiful to watch at times. I marvelled at Marcelo Garcia and many of the female competitors as they demonstrated their ability in recurring instances of small triumphing over big in true BJJ fashion.

One instance that stood out in the Absolute was Victor Estima defeating Jaoa Asis. Victor had lost a very quick and disappointing loss to Marcelo Garcia the previous day to drop out of his weight class but he showed great heart and skill to return the following day to beat Asis who had lost to Dean Lister in a closely fought contest in the finals of the weight class above Victors own natural class. It was a great moment.

The Audience was clearly educated in the Grappling arts as it was similar to what you see in Japanese MMA where the crowd can be so silent you can hear a pin drop but if someone is close to a submission everyone was on their feet clapping and shouting encouragement or advice to the fighters. It was a great atmosphere and the fighters themselves were very approachable and accommodating.

I have some minor criticisms of the ADCC’s but only because I was greedy for more. There was no big screen to show slow motion replays. I understand that this is not essential but it would have been nice. This is because at times there were three grappling contests happening at the same time, sometimes I was watching one match and missed the submission on a different mat. At one point we had to choose between watching Marcelo Garcia vs Kron Gracie on one mat and Andre Galvao vs Pablo Popovich on another. There were more than a few times I was torn between which match to watch.

The scoring I felt didn’t always reflect the true nature of the bouts, for instance, in the Kron Gracie – Marcelo Garcia match up Marcelo took Kron down and received two points but Kron had caught Garcia in a Guillotine choke that looked very tight and Garcia looked to be in trouble before he eventually managed to escape. Most matches won on points were decided by someone taking the back and getting their hooks in or takedowns.

Some highlights of the action included Kyra Gracie winning her division with a victory over Michelle Niccolino submitting her with an omoplata.
Jeff Glover defeating Robson Moura with an arm in Guillotine in a classic match. Vinny Magalhaes used a full Rubber guard to setup an omoplata, unfortunatley he couldn’t get the finish but it was cool to see the set up being used in such a high level competition.

In another notable match, Rousimar Palhares and David Avellan rolled off the mat with Palhares catching Avellan in a leg lock but the referee called for a break. Avellan protested over something and was clearly angry yet Palhares seemed perplexed. When the match was restarted on the mat Palhares yanked on his leglock as Avellan tried to escape but Avellan tapped as his knee was popped out of place. Avellan was given medical attention and ended up leaving in a wheelchair. I hope he makes a speedy recovery.

Magalhaes vs Werdeum heavyweight finals

The main highlight for me though was Vinny Magalhaes vs Fabricio Werdum for the heavyweight final. Magalhaes had a two point lead with minutes to go when Werdum caught Vinny in a straight armbar. The former heavyweight winner had the hold on and it looked locked in. It seemed like a tap was imminent but it didn’t happen. Vinny held on, Werdum crossed the arm over his hip and pressed it down, he rotated it and applied pressure, he leaned further back, he tried everything to get the tap. The audience were all on their feet shouting, some even pleading with Vinny to tap. It seemed to carry on for ages then suddenly somehow Vinny was out. The spectators erupted with amazement and joy. Vinny managed to ride out the time and won the heavyweight division. He showed real heart and determination to survive.

All in all my trip to the ADCC’s was incredible. I had such an amazing time and I would highly recommend it to any fight fans. Watching these athletes live, in action gave me a real motivational boost and inspired me to become a much better Grappler.

Robert Carlin 2011 ADCC Nottingham England

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!

Mixed Martial Arts to the Rescue!

When I began my study of the Martial Arts, I had a belief that Martial Artists were good people. That the study of the arts improved lives and made for a gentler, more peaceful society.

12 years later, I still hold this belief and after experiencing many of the benefits of the Martial Arts and seeing first hand those benefits imparted on others, that belief is even stronger now.
I love Mixed Martial Arts. I enjoy the idea of breaking down barriers and finding common ground between differing schools of thought and bringing together like minded individuals in collaborative efforts to continually improve the art. But trying to explain this sentiment to friends, family, and the public in general has not been an easy task.

With the most visible ambassadors for our sport peeing on pillows, playing games with their poo poo and a promoter who throws the F-Bomb around like it’s a necessary grammatical part of speech, it’s no wonder the average person thinks of Mixed Martial Arts as simply a practice in barbarism.

Samurai Means to Serve


But those of us in the MMA Counter Culture can change that. I still believe in the power of the Martial Arts. I still believe that the Martial Arts are a way of living, not a way of fighting. I still believe that many of you out there are like me.

We are Martial Artists, not knuckle dragging, blood thirsty Neanderthals. We are protectors, and guardians, honorable, peaceful warriors who stand at the ready, like the Jeremy Glicks of this world, to impart whatever action is necessary, so that others may sleep peaceably in their beds at night.

I would like to start an initiative here, called the Mixed Martial Aid Fund. It is a fund from which 100% of the proceeds will go to help people of the world who are in need. At this moment, it would seem that Japan, Mother of so many wonderful Martial Arts, and Martial Artists is a place that we could be of some service to. The people of Japan have been blind side, cold cocked by a three punch combination, an Earthquake, followed by a Tsunami and now a Nuclear incident to top it all off.

DamageControlMMA.com will be donating $100.00 to help with the relief efforts in Japan. Our hope is that at the very least, 100 of our fellow Martial Artists out there can each donate $1.00 to match our donation. We will post the results of our efforts here on this page. I want the money to go directly to those in the evacuation centers or those directly assisting them. If necessary (due to an inability to find a reputable source), we may simply have to donate our efforts to the Red Cross, but if we’d also like the money to go to direct efforts like Enson Inoue’s. I’ve spoken with his people and have established a rapport. I am inspired by Mr. Inoue’s efforts and am optimistic that we can find others doing the type of work he is, to help with our own efforts.

If you are a Martial Artist and especially if you’ve watched our videos, and haven’t become a member, now is the time to make good. Donate $1.00 to help us in bettering the world. Now is the time to step up and show what we, as true Mixed Martial Artists are capable of. Contribute to the Mixed Martial Aid Fund. And the next time someone tries to say that we’re just a bunch of chest thumping, testosterone driven apes, you can point to our relief efforts and show them what we’ve done.

If you are a school owner, I ask you to take up a collection, contribute it to the MMAid Fund and send us a video of you and your students exclaiming “We Are All One!” We will feature it, and show the growing unity and power of our intentions.

We are the strong who protect those in need. From all walks of life, all parts of the world, and all styles, we are Mixed Martial Artists, and we do much, much more good than we do damage. Please pass this page on, link to it from your blogs and favorite sites, embed the video in as many places as possible and join us in being the guardians of our people. WE ARE ALL ONE.

Suggested Donations to MMAid Fund

Donate $1.00

Please consider an extra .33 cent charge. This goes to Paypal for their transaction fee so that $1.00 gets to the people who need it.

Donate $5.00

Please consider donating an extra $.45 to cover transaction fees so that $5.00 gets to the people who need it.

Donate $10.00

Please consider donating an extra $.60 to cover transaction fees so that $10.00 gets to the people who need it.

Donate $25.00

Please consider donating an extra $1.05 to cover transaction fees so that $25.00 gets to the people who need it.




=========================================================================================

As of April 27th 2011, we’ve taken this initiative offline. Paypal has suspended my account as well as those of others who have tried to help the people of Japan.

We have issued refunds to everyone who took the time to give. Paypal claims that our actions and collection of funds is suspect, but that didn’t stop them from taking their cut.

I remain determined to help the people of Japan, and to do it directly and not through some giant organization. I believe in the goodness of most human beings, and in direct action. The big corporations, governments, “charities” etc. can sit on their thumbs and follow their proceedures. I know that they will eventually do some good. But I am about warriors, people like Enson, on the front lines, doing! Now! Without hesitation or cowardace. It is the warriors way.

“The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the iniquities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he who, in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness, for he is truly his brother’s keeper and the finder of lost children. ”

Death Before Dishonor!

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?

SAMBO and MMA Tie The Knot: A Marrige Of Skill

My first encounter with leg locks was with my Cousin Kelly. He had seen a technique sample clip from one of the original UFC productions where Ken Shamrock taught how to hit a toe hold and heel lock off of a broken guard. We drilled and worked leg lock quick draws for hours.

Later I would see more locks, different variations, set ups, entries and chain techniques while working with Coach Brandon Kiser. This I would supplement by soaking up everything I could from material released by Sensei Erik Paulson via his seminars, DVD’s and online instruction.

Over the years, what I’ve come to realize is that the more skilled, the larger, and the stronger my partners and opponents, the more the course of a roll or fight would bring me towards a leg lock.

It would be the only opening or set of joints that I could manage to isolate and control with relative safety against my stronger, highly skilled counter parts.

Needless to say, I fell in love with Leg Locks and have become an avid student of their many uses and subtle intricacies.

Inevitably, any thorough study of Leg Locks will eventually find it’s way to Russia’s Sambo. As far as Leg Locks go, few individuals can say they specialize on a subject as in depth as Sambo Practitioners.

It would be an understatement to say that Sambo has a complex history. But what would you expect from an art that has grown from such a large country with so much cultural diversity. Sambo is a relatively modern art, it’s formative years comprised of the first part of the 20th century. However, you could say that the seeds that would finally germinate and begin to bear fruit as a nationally recognized sport, had been present since the birth of Mother Russia herself.

In those early times pre-dating it’s forefathers, Sambo finds it’s ancestry in the form of numerous tribal, folk and indigenous wrestling styles ranging from Mongolian Wrestling to Tartar Koras and seemingly everything between, on the boarders, and from the center of Eastern Europe.

The formation of a comprehensive empty handed combatives curriculum for the Red Army would be the impetus for what could be considered the conception of early Sambo. Two men (who’s names I have seen numerous spellings for) are consistently credited with the early development of the Russian art, Vasili Oschepkov and Victor Spiridonov. Each had a different area of expertise and each had their own ideas about how Sambo should be developed and propagated (either as a system for military combat or as a national sport).

According to sources on Wikipedia

Oschepkov (a second degree black belt in Judo) would eventually be executed under orders of Stalin for his refusal to deny education and ties with Judo’s founder Jigaro Kano.

Despite the effort to expunge the influence of souces outside of mainland Russia, the similarities between many of the throwing techniques of Sambo and Judo are too compelling to ignore.

It’s important to look at the translation of SAMBO to really understand what’s under the hood of this high octane martial art.

“SAMBO” is actually an acronym for a series of Russian words that can be intrepreted as “Self Defense Without A Weapon”.

As such it’s open ended and pragmatic scope does much to explain the art’s ecclectic appoach and the numerous variations that have arisen over time. During correspondance with Reilly Bodycomb, he has mentioned that

“Sambo is not taught as a collection of techniques but rather as a series of principles which will allow a faster development of combat skills.”

I can relate to this on a personal level as I gave a name to my own gym “Mushin Self Defense” with the same intentions. I didn’t want to limit an individual or myself to any one method. I wanted to empower my students with and “ends justify the means” mentality and in so doing, lay a foundation from which the most efficient technique for the individual could be employed to that end.

SAMBO’s principle of “use what works”, works well for those of us who enjoy the freedom to experiment and modify systems and tools to suit our own needs.

Another interesting fact concerning SAMBO is that unlike it’s contemporaries,

it does not have a formal structure or ranking system.

This has, in my opinion, enabled it to spread rapidly. Less encumbered by oranizational politics, it has been able to gain a foothold in countries around the world in a very short period of time (within 2 to 3 generations of its original inception as a national sport at the hands of Anatoly Kharlampiev in 1938).

To bring this breif history full circle and back to the original discusssion, the bottom line is winning. Surviving an un armed altercation and giving an individual the best chances for victory. And there is no better way to do this than Sambo’s library of Leg Locking techniques.

Time and again, leg attacks have bailed me out of otherwise unsalvageable situations.

I would like to express my sincere appreciation to Reilly Bodycomb for contributing his time and expertise so that I and the followers of DamageControlMMA.com can continue to expand our understanding of these wonderful equalizers of the MMA world.

If you enjoyed this series of instructional videos, you might also enjoy Reilly’s DVD’s which are available for purchase. Not only is the content unique and well presented, but the price is unbeatable.

Sambo Leglocks for Nogi Grappling 2 DVD Set by Reilly Bodycomb
Sambo Leglocks for Nogi Grappling 2 DVD Set by Reilly Bodycomb
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Sambo Leg Locks for No-Gi Grappling DVD Vol 1 with Reilly Bodycomb
Sambo Leg Locks for No-Gi Grappling DVD Vol 1 with Reilly Bodycomb
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Sambo Leg Locks for No-Gi Grappling DVD Vol 2 with Reilly Bodycomb
Sambo Leg Locks for No-Gi Grappling DVD Vol 2 with Reilly Bodycomb
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Reilly Bodycomb: Sambo Grappler

A special thanks to www.lockflow.com who agreed to share Reilly with us here at DamageControlMMA.

Wrestling’s Jab: The Basic Double Leg Takedown

I don’t really know why I’ve saved this one for so long before making it available to the public. I do that sometimes with techniques that have sentimental value to me. And this one does. I guess the technique itself isn’t all that unique. But whenever I watch it, and I watch it quite a bit, it reminds me of when I learned it from Coach Wells and to me

what was unique was how he taught the technique, which, for the sake of time, was basically, in a way that even a self proclaimed idiot like me could understand it.

On top of that, it wasn’t just the technique, it was the concept that he taught to me. That

the Double Leg is the Jab of Wrestling. A probing, long range technique used to measure the opponent’s responses and create openings for second and third beat techniques.

Sure it works as a stand alone technique, but when used in conjunction with a bigger, broader takedown scheme, it becomes something altogether different, better, more potent.

And thus began my quest to develop such a game. And under Coach Wells, it has been exceedingly easy. At least for me to understand… execution is an entirely different story, but as the old addage goes, only a poor craftsman blames his tools, and in the case of Coach Well’s takedown game, I know it’s not the tools that fail.

The quest continues to this day, as do my other pursuits. And

during a conversation with Coach Wells while we watched a couple of mutual friends fight at a recent MMA event, he imparted yet another idea that has hence forth brought about a second revelation in how I look at the takedown game in general.

I have for some time now attempted to develop “games” from every conceiveable position known to me. A “game” would constitute a series of at least 3 technique options for any given position/situation whereby at least one techniques covers any given opposing energy. This would be for escaping a postion, passing a guard, or in this case finishing a takedown.

As I spoke with Coach Wells I told him that I had felt that for the hips in, I was comfortable with his Takedown Trifecta “game” (Spiral Takedown, Knee Tap Takedown, Body Lock Takedown).

However, once hips were way, I didn’t feel like I had the same 3 or more options.

He explained to me that he had tried to offer me (and his other students) this in the form of an over hook series he had us working on and then I began to put the pieces together.

Days later,

as I shoveled the walks in front of my home, I contemplated this further and began to hypothosize that maybe what Chris had been teaching me would also answer another question that had been rattling around in the dusty, cavernous, emptiness of my brain. Why use and Underhook as opposed to an Overhook?

Why an Overhook as opposed to an Underhook? Was it a matter of personal preference? Was it a matter of body type or natural attributes?

Certainly, my hypothosis would include possibilities for the above, but what seemed to make just as much, if not more sense, especially after looking at the techniques that Coach Wells had presented (both for close range, hips in clinching as well as for medium/long range, hips out clinching) was that there was something consistent going on.

It would seem that the closer the hips, the more, the techniques favored the Underhook, which made sense mechanically, physiologically, and kinesiologically.

And conversely, it would seem that the farther the hips are away relative to each other, the more the techniques favorered the Overhook. Which too, made sense, as the farther the hips are back, the more your opponent is tempted to break the head, knee, toe rule in the frontal plane. In being situated in such a way, it would make sense that you would want to be able to exert presured downward to help him break this plane and the Overhook is a better tool for doing so than the Underhook in this situation.

I’ve been playing around with the idea of including a Flow Charting Program with the members area of DamageControlMMA.com and in light of this idea, I’ve thrown together a quick, dirty, diagram of how this hypothosis looks on paper.

Keep in mind, there are plenty of other techniques that could be filled in, different branches that could be added, exceptions, etc. etc., but my goal was to show the general idea of hips in and hips away and the correlating Underhooking/Overhooking Scheme and subsequent takedown options.

A Rapid Prototype Flowchart Drawn On A Whim To Demonstrate The Possible Connection Between Hip Distance and The Most Advantageous Arm Control (Overhook vs Underhook)

A Rapid Prototype Flowchart Drawn On A Whim To Demonstrate The Possible Connection Between Hip Distance and The Most Advantageous Arm Control (Overhook vs Underhook)

I’ve also added the other 3 techniques shared with us by Coach Wells, so that you can see the whole picture; i.e. the Double Leg Takedown as an entry into the Wellian Trifecta, The Spiral Takedown, Knee Tap and Body Lock (hips in, close range clinch *) game from Over, Under 50 – 50 Clinch Position.

The quest continues, as I am sure it will until my final days.

Remember, what I’ve presented here in terms of general principal (hips in = underhook vs hips away = overhook) is a hypothosis, which means, it is untested and unverified by those more qualified than I to make such generalizations. But at any rate, I hope it has at least given you some food for thought.

Best wishes and happy hunting!