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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!

Taekwondo for MMA

If you are anything like Kiser and I, you’ve had at least a little bit of exposure to Taekwondo. So many people get their start in the kicking based art. It would only make sense to make use of the many skills and techniques that the art has to offer.

After all, Kiser was a Junior Olympics Taekwondo Gold Medalist. I wasn’t near as talented but I did manage to earn a Brown Belt in the I.T.F. style. Many have dismissed the art as a viable contributer to the world of Mixed Martial Arts, but Kiser and I have always found that the only thing a closed mind, and a closed heart have never brought us were limited options and isolation. Being open minded has always opened more doors and brought us more happiness in our training and travels.

Above are a few simple modifications to techniques commonly found in Taekwondo. Be sure to share your favorites in the comments below.

Here’s to “No limitations as the only limitation.”

The Sit Out Drill

Here we present an in depth look at a simple building block of any serious MMA practitioner’s ground game. The humble, yet indispensable Short Sit Out.

Learning how to Sit Out is only half of the battle though, and in the video above we present a drill designed to teach you WHEN to sit out. Like many escapes, if you wait to long and allow your opponent to sink in and fortify their position, it makes your escape exponentially more difficult. The secret is to begin your escape as your opponent is only beginning to gain an advantageous position rather than after he/she secures it.

For those of you who are having difficulty learning the progression, we have supplied it below. It is a repeating and redundant sequence patterned after the training methods of Kali and Escrima known as Sumbrada, only here utilizing the movements and techniques of Wrestling and MMA.

Partner A: Obtains double overhooks from top North South Position
Partner B: Utilizes a 180 Sit Out (S Turn) and obtains Quarter Postion on Partner A
Partner A: Immediately utilizes a 360 Sit Out and obtains Quarter Position on Partner B
Partner B: Immediately utilizes a 180 Sit Out and obtains an overhook and underhook position from top
North South on Partner A
Partner A: Immediately utilizes a 360 Sit Out and obtains an overhook and underhook position from top
North South on Partner B
Partner B: Immediately utilizes a 360 Sit Out and obtains a double overhook position from top North
South Position on Partner A, completing the first half of the overall drill

Now you will continue the drill with the roles simply reversed so that both partners get a chance to develop the timing and techniques from all the possible positions in the drill.

Be sure to leave a comment below and let us know how you like this drill and if it has been helpful for your game.

And for our members, check out the Side Cross Escape Series to see yet another example of how to apply your new found Sit Out skills!

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.

MMA: Are you a student of the game?

What did you do the last time you got tapped out, taken down, swept, or set up with an awesome striking combination? Did you slam the mat with your fist? Did you immediately slap hands and start over, hoping to even the score? Or did you stop, shake the guy’s hand and ask how he pulled it off?

If you answered the latter, then you my friend are a student of the game. It takes a well checked ego to be able to ask someone to teach you right after they’ve just finished schooling you, but that’s exactly what Ross Pearson did… well kind of. After his experience with Barboza.

We all make mistakes, get caught, swallow the hook line and sinker, but how many of us learn from those mistakes, and improve ourselves in the process?

Sound off in the comments and tell us about the last time you learned from the guy who caught you.

Muay Thai Lower Leg Kick – A Knock Down Waiting to Happen

Feast your eyes on this super fans! A blast from that past. An awesome clip from the primordial soup known as Taking It To The MMAT. The precursor to what you see before you now, in it’s current and more refined iteration, Damage Control MMA.

This was a clip I shot at Ajarn Surachai Sirisute’s Annual Pacific Northwest Muay Thai Camp circa 2008 (I think). It was during a time I focused an entire year on learning and developing the sweep kick and all its variations. Khuen Khru Scott Anderson, now the Northeast Regional Director of the Thai Boxing Association of the USA, was kind enough to share this awesome technique with me and to this day it is one of my favorites, and one that serves me well any time I square off with a hard hitting bubba who loads up heavy on that lead foot and tries to drop bombs.

What made me think of it was the sweep used by Benson Henderson as he fought Gilbert Melendez at UFC on Fox 7. And I wanted to share it with you because this clip made it’s debut during our Cable Television days and thus didn’t get as many views on Youtube as I felt it deserved.

But Benson Henderson isn’t the only UFC champion who makes use of this most excellent technique, so does Lyoto Machida. Granted he usually uses a foot sweep variation as opposed to a shin induced post remover, but the concept and physics are the same. Now you too can put your opponents down like a peg legged pirates on an ice skating rink.

Lyoto Machida uses a similar technique. However, he favors using the bottom of the foot rather than the shin to remove his opponent’s lead leg post.

I take pride in knowing that we’ve shared this video with our loyal fans and supporters years before it became more widely known as a result of the Ultimate Fighting Championships. I apologize for the background music as this was edited early on in my video making experience. As you can see, over time we phased out that part of the production and I wish I could remove it from this clip as I feel it detracts from Khuen Khru Scott’s instruction.

But nevertheless, it is a proud piece of Damage Control MMA history.

Now go out there and kick somebody!

Cradle Counter to the Single Leg Takedown

Here we are again with a DamageControlMMA.com exclusive with the legendary Coach Billy Robinson. A special thanks to the folks at CertifiedCatchWrestler.com for being so inviting and welcoming to the Damage Control MMA project. Believe it or not, it takes a lot of work to bring these videos to you and not everyone is friendly to the idea of us bringing in our filming crew to grab an interview or a technique. Coach Billy Robinson, Jake Shannon and the Catch Wrestling Community at large has been so accomodating and for being so open to our questions and interest in Catch As Catch Can.

Last week I bored you with a long post. This week I spare you the long lecture and simply offer you this spectacular counter to the Single Leg Takedown which puts you squarely in control with a far side Cradle. Whether you’re a wrestler looking for a pin, a submission grappler looking to reverse a takedown and end up on top or a MMA practitioner, this move will have a useful place in your bag of tricks.

Check it out, the Catch as Catch Can Cradle Counter to the Single Leg.

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MMA for Beginners: Don’t be “That Guy”

“All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.

From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien

So who exactly is “That Guy?” Can any of us ever recover from being him/her and what can we do, if anything, to avoid becoming “That Guy” in the first place? Luckily, if you are reading this post, chances are, you’re not “That Guy”. The fact of the matter is, “That Guy” has never spent an introspective moment or a single minute of self examination in his life, and that is a big part of the problem.

But, I digress, we still haven’t gotten into the nuts and bolts of what makes someone “That Guy”. I’m going to post a list of things below, but these are in no way a definitive guide. In fact, I am sure I’m going to miss a number of identifiers of “That Guy”, and I full heartedly encourage you to add your own characteristics to the comments below.

  1. If you walk into your prospective gym and ask for some sort of special deal, or deviate from the payment plans given to you by the staff or instructor, website, etc. Congratulations! You my friend, ARE “That Guy”.

    I’m sorry, but if you’ve chosen a particular gym, you’ve done so for a reason. You’ve done the research, you obviously value the services they provide, don’t haggle on price or payment scheme. Yeah, you’ve got this special circumstance, or you think that you’ve got it harder than the next guy. I’ve got news for you bro. That instructor has bills to pay just like you. They live in the same world that you do, they have the same number of hours in their day, they have kids to feed and spouses to appease just like you do. Asking to deviate from what all the other students of that school are asked to do is disrespectful. It makes you look bad, it makes the instructor feel slighted, it makes you look like someone who thinks that they are more important than all the other students that pay their due respects and do so without making a big deal about it.

    If you can’t pony up and do so in good spirits, then don’t ask for admittance to the show. Get a job, save some dough and do it the right way. I remember asking my instructor how much he charged for privates. He told me that a block of 10 privates would cost $750.00. I was fresh out of college. I picked up job as an adjunct faculty member at the Salt Lake City Community College teaching a course of Small Business Web Design. My first paycheck was for $750.00. I cashed it immediately and went back to set up my lessons. My wife and I ate Ramen for months because of it, and my worst case of cauliflower ear didn’t come close to the pain I felt after the tongue lashing she gave me. But the fact remains. To this day, I have never haggled over the price for a seminar, a camp, a lesson, or school tuition. You gotta pay to play if you don’t want to be “That Guy”.

  2. If you only train when you’ve got a competition coming up, chances are, you’re “That Guy”.

    Don’t force your instructors into a corner, making them work on bandaid fixes instead of developing sound fundamentals. If you’re training with professionals, they have a curriculum and it’s there for a reason. Kiser and I like to say, if you’re at our gym and it’s because you’ve watched the success of our team, it’s because they followed our pathway to success. It’s like going to KFC and asking to be taught how to rock a piece of fried chicken. But once the instruction begins, you start adding your own quantities, and messing with the cook times, ingredients etc. You’re free to do so, but don’t fool yourself into thinking you’re learning Colonel Sander’s Secret Recipe. What you’ve done is concoct a perfect recipe for becoming “That Guy.”

    Competition training, is not learning time. It’s time to refine and hone the skills you have to a mirror finish. But what skills do you have, when all you do is train when a match is coming up? What can you refine if you haven’t been to class on a regular basis to develop a foundation in the first place? Consistency is key. Show up and train regularly and you will be on your way towards not being “That Guy”.

  3. If you consider yourself a Fighter rather than a Student. You are “That Guy”

    You should strive to be a Student first, then a Fighter. Otherwise, you’re just a street thug. Your fighting should grow out of your learned skills and abilities as a consistent student of the Arts. Any fool can fight. It doesn’t take anything special. Some might argue that it takes balls. Maybe, but I’d argue right back that it takes balls only after you’ve learned the trade and understand what’s really at stake. Otherwise I’d say it just takes someone ignorant enough to not realize the difference between getting into a ring/cage and just seeing what will happen, and pitting your earned skill against a competent and well matched opponent.

    Kiser and I tried to touch on these things in our “Shit Fighters Say” video. It was our light hearted attempt and educating more people on how annoying it can be to be around “That Guy”. Our hope was that it would educate just a few aspiring fighters out there of what they might look like and sound like if they became the person with that label.

  4. If you hop from gym to gym, you guessed it. You are “That Guy”.

    This is again, a manifestation of the “ME” mentality. How do you expect to get the support of your instructor and your team mates when you show such a complete lack of respect, loyalty and honor. You wouldn’t join the Navy Seals and then say “Hey man, yeah, I can’t hang out this weekend. I’m doing some run and gun with the Taliban. You know how it is. You guys got your night vision thing going on, but man, they really know how to set those IED’s yo!”. You wouldn’t earn a spot as a walk on at the Red Sox and then go to batting practice with the Yankees. I’m telling you. The world of MMA is no different.

  5. If you try to short cut your way to respect with gifts and or tokens, by trying to rep your gym with competing or trying to be a super star you’re probably going to end up being “That Guy”.

    Respect is earned, usually over time. There’s no way to cram 10 years of loyalty, of hard work, of dedication, and service into some item you’ve purchased, or a match or two. Just train. Do your best. Find ways to help out your fellow team mates, or around the gym. Be there for the long haul. I can’t think of many ways that garner more respect than that. The world is full of guys looking for a quick fix. People who want something for nothing. Be the guy/gal who’s prepared to be part of the lifestyle, the long haul, a lifer.

So why are we telling you all of this? Is it because we are Holier than Thou? Is it because we know all there is to know about MMA and MMA Culture? I’m going to part with a dirty little secret. I can’t speak for anyone but myself, but I was “That Guy”. Perhaps not as bad as some of the examples I’ve listed above, but who knows? You’d have to ask my instructor for the real skinny. Maybe I was worse. Maybe I still am “That Guy”. I’d like to hope not, and I do, earnestly try to be a better person, and a better Martial Artist every day.

We’ve posted this for you guys out there looking to make a splash, excited and eager to get started in MMA and wanting to make a good impression on your Instructor and gym mates. I am reminded of something I was taught by Ajarn Surachai Sirisute.

Ajarn Surachai Sirisute stands before his Pacific Northwest Muay Thai Camp. A hand selected group of his most dedicated students representing countries from around the world. Once a year, they vie for a coveted spot at this special camp, to learn from him and the instructors under him. Many of the lessons transcend technique and fight strategy and permeate ones life.

Once, at a seminar, a newer student forgot to present the Wai and pay respects before he began shadow boxing. Ajarn stopped the class and made the student do 50 push ups in front of everyone. Then after, he asked the student “Sir, why do you pay respects sir?” “I tell you something Sir.” Ajarn Chai continued. “I don’t have you pay respects for me sir. I’ve been around the world. I put Thai Boxing into the United States. I have plenty of students from Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Canada, Mexico. I don’t have you pay respects for me sir. Who should you do it for sir?” The student stood there, silent. Ajarn answered for him. “You pay respects for you sir.”

That idea has stuck in me ever since. As bass ackwards as it may sound to make people pay for their lessons, to have my students train, not just when they are preparing for a competition but consistently over the long haul. To ask them to be respectful, loyal, honest, disciplined and helpful to each other. It is really for them.

I have seen too many students who’ve been given a deal, who got to train for free or at a great discount. Who we let do their own payment schedule. Guys who were given the keys to the gym. Guys we stayed late for and come early to hold pads and help prepare for a fight. Guys we’d spend whole weekends with traveling and cornering. And they never respected it. They never appreciated it. It was never enough.

Remember. You learn discipline and respect just as much for yourself as you do for your instructors.

Despite all of this, classes weren’t intense enough for them. There weren’t enough other guys who wanted to go hard with them. These people are the same grown adults who have never attempted to move out of their parents home, who’ve never made a house payment, put food on the table or held down a long term job. They’ve been given things all their life and thus have developed an entitlement mindset. They are too busy looking at what they don’t have to see the abundance in front of their faces. Breaking them out of this mindset is the goal of brining these things to their attention.

I know this post is long. And if you’ve taken the time to read this far, it says a lot about you. I want to close by relating a conversation that Coach Kiser and I recently had that really struck a chord with me. I asked him, how we were different than so many of the fighters of today and how we managed to dodge that self centered, self important, “ME” mindset that is so easy to fall into as an aspiring fighter.

His answer was “Gratitude”. He said “When you and I were coming up, there were no MMA gyms. There was a Jiu-jitsu school. Or a Thai Gym. But nothing that had it all. We didn’t have Tap Out, or board shorts or Ultimate Fighter. Heck, I had my mom’s garage on Saturday mornings with two or three of those folding mats and you had your little studio with 8 zebra mats to your name. There were no fight teams. You ran on your own, kicked the heavy bag and shadow boxed until you passed out. And once in a while we could get together and train and we were so grateful for it.”

Notice Kiser’s Thai Shorts with bicycle pants underneath. His opponent dawns basketball shorts while Kiser kicks him in the face with a pair of wrestling shoes in a time where they were still legal to wear in an MMA bout. No Tap Out here.

He continued “When you come from a place of gratitude, how can you do anything but succeed? I mean if you are always grateful for everything you have, then you already have everything.”

We want you to have a meaningful and lasting relationship with your instructors and your team mates. We want you to succeed. We want you to be well liked and respected in your place of study.

Work hard. Have integrity, be loyal, humble and respectful. Be grateful, and you will become one of your gym’s favorites, the gold that does not glitter, the deep rooted strong individual, unadorned by belts, or trophies, accolades or crowns, and yet a king in the eyes of your instructors. There’s no shame at all in being that guy.

It’s been a while since I’ve written a longer, more thoughtful piece like this. To be frank, they are much more time consuming and take a lot more work than the brief posts with a video and a few short paragraphs and I didn’t know if anyone was actually reading them. So I kind of just gave up on it for a while.

Special thanks goes out to Damage Control MMA Member Lisa from New Zealand who commented on my piece “Muay Thai Technique: An Expression of Self” and my student Chris Huntsaker who commented on our “4 Principles That Changed My Grappling Game“. These guys got me back on track and inspired me to try my hand at it again.

Now that you’ve learned how not to be, “That Guy”, you may want to check out our article, “How to Join An MMA Gym” for tips and pointers on equipment and training smart.

MMA Concepts: The Arm Triangle Ambush

One potential pitfall to an eclectic approach to Mixed Martial Arts is to ignore the culture, rule structure and native homes of the techniques we import into our systems.

For years we’ve attempted not only to bring you unique techniques but also perspectives that are respectful of the arts from which these techniques have come.

We’ve tried to share our insights into how understanding the parent arts can give you more clarity on the uses and dangers of using techniques such as Amateur Wrestling’s Shot or Leg Tackle style takedowns. The popularity and prevalence of such techniques could only have evolved in a world where Chokes, Neck Cranks and Neck Locks are prohibited.

And to be sure, Amateur Wrestling is not the only parent art that evolved techniques with inherent, potential dangers when applied in a Mixed Martial Arts setting.

Take for instance, Catch Wrestling’s Gotch Toe Hold. In it’s native home, the Gotch Toe Hold makes total sense, because the man on the bottom is fighting to stay on his knees, or even to stand up. Rolling over onto his back and effectively pinning himself (which would be a match ender in Catch) would be unthinkable. But import this technique into a new environment where a Brazilian, Jiu-jitsu influence is prevalent, and where pinning is removed as a legitimate way to win a contest, and at least 50 percent of the time the Gotch Toe Hold is going to be a non factor. The guy on bottom simply rolls to a guard and the technique is rendered nearly useless.

Does this mean that the Gotch Toe Hold won’t work in MMA? Absolutely not. It means that it won’t work when your opponent doesn’t give you the energy requisite for it. It only works when your opponent is trying to stay off of his back.

And how about our striking influences. Boxing has it’s own set of considerations. The basic stance with it’s bladed approach (protecting the liver by brining it rearward) exposes the lead leg for a Sweep Single or a Leg Kick. And the long combinations, offer ample opportunity for an opponent to change levels for a Shot. And again, this isn’t to say that these types of techniques or combinations are ineffective in the world of MMA but rather that you have to have an opponent in front of you that gives you the proper energy for these types of techniques.

For illustrative purposes I’ve included an excellent focus mitt demonstration below.

I think these gentlemen have done a fantastic job. But imagine trying this full combination (starting at the 4:18 mark) on an opponent with a Amateur Wrestling base.

So what does any of this have to do with the video at the beginning of this post?

Well, it has to do with understanding a technique or a method, as it is applied in it’s parent art with the cultural norms and rule structures relevant to it. Here Kiser is demonstrating a very interesting concept. The idea of a ride, or of patience, which comes from the original Gracie System of Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, with no time limits and no weight classes.

I used to get caught under Coach Kiser and simply could not escape, no matter how hard I tried. Eventually I would exhaust myself and then find him tightening his coils on a submission. To tired to fight it off, I would eventually succumb and tap. But when the roles were reversed it would seem that I were trying to catch water with a sieve. The instant I would get a dominant position, I would lose it.

I asked Coach Kiser what his secret was, and without hesitation he related it me as follows:

“Well sir, when I catch you in a position, I concentrate 100% of my effort towards keeping you in position. At no time am I attempting to submit you. Eventually I feel you soften and relax. I hear you take a deep breath, and then I start my submission attack. But it feels like when you get a position, the second you get there, you are on the attack and that gives me openings to escape from. I think it’s just a matter of patience.”

I incorporated Coach Kiser’s advice and immediately I found myself maintaining position a lot longer and increasing my submission percentages.

So is this the end all and be all of improving your submission game? No, not necessarily. It all has to do with situations and rule structures. In MMA fight, you’ve got anywhere between 3 and 5 minutes to secure a takedown and then finish with a submission. In a Self Defense Scenario you might have to finish off your assailant as quickly as possible in order to avoid his group of friends running at you, or in order to get to the next room where your child is screaming for help. In these situations, you don’t have the luxury of being patient and allowing your opponent to tire himself out.

Nevertheless, understanding different strategies and approaches to fighting and finishing fights can greatly increase your overall game and allow you to do things, and think in ways that others who neglect this type of research are simply unequipped to do. Stay open minded, look beyond technique, learn to research and appreciate the mother arts and stay tuned for more Damage Control MMA!

St-Pierre vs. Diaz UFC 158: Greatness About to NOT Happen

That’s right. Don’t adjust your computer screen. You read what I just said. Greatness is about to not happen. Huh? What? How could that be? Mix Nitroglycerine with Sodium Carbonate and how could you not have Dynamite?!?

UFC’s 158 promises a battle between two of the pound for pound greatest fighters of MMA History. This is how the world of fighting should be. The two best, stand toe to toe and settle it, once and for all. It is a fight fan’s wildest dream come true. One we almost dare not believe in as we saw it evaporate before our eyes at UFC 137.

Well, I’m here to tell you, dream no more. Lower your expectations now so you aren’t disappointed when those dreams become a reality and like anything else in our corporeal world, it comes crashing to earth and shatters into a million lack luster pieces.

The only thing for certain is that Nick Diaz will show up to fight. I don’t believe he knows any other way. GSP on the other hand, may or may not. And if recent history is any indication, we may be in for a 5 round snoozefest of jabs and footwork, an intermittent leg kick and possibly a round end takedown. It’s a smart and safe bet for GSP and a great way to ensure his place of glory, if that can be said of such performances.

And who’s responsible for this crap? You can’t really blame St-Pierre. I mean, a champion finds a way to win, that’s his job. So who is at fault for this tragedy in the making? I lay the blame squarely on the judges. They’ve set a precedent that rewards conservative, counter striking and defensive tactics. Awarding numerous wins to guys who move backward. This fight will be no different.

But before you go and cancel your PPV order, remember, that I am the worlds all time WORST fight caller. In fact, as we speak, the parallel Universe where all things are possible has aligned itself with our own and is about to put a glitch in the matrix just to make me look like a fool, YET AGAIN! And when it happens, you can thank me for saving this wretched outcome for the Greatest MMA Fight that was not.