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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!

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.

Muay Thai Technique: An Expression of Self

The Artistry of Sweet Science

Recently I tried to explain to my students that ultimately, our goal is to learn the techniques so that we can express ourselves through them.

I saw a lot of glazed over looks and nodding heads with empty eyes.

Then come sparring time, I saw a lot of mechanical movements, like notes to a melody being pounded out, without a single shred of feeling.

What does this mean? Expressing oneself through technique. I tried to explain that a fight is like a conversation without words.

Techniques communicate something immutable, intangible. In Thai Boxing, a Teep to the face, like Western Boxing’s Lead Straight Right is a way of insulting your opponent.

You are taking one of the dirtiest parts of your body and wiping it all over someone’s face. In essence using it as a door mat. Or in the case of the Straight Right, you’re taking your most powerful tool, from the furthest point away from your opponent and putting it right on his snot box without need of a set up or diversion. That expresses something.

The Rhythm of Expression

There is a rhythm to fighting, a cadence and timing.

The best fighters, the ones we love to watch always have an intimate understanding of this, a way of phrasing with their combinations, the tactful use of a dramatic pause.

Take for instance the difference in how these Instructors from the Thai Boxing Association express the same types of technique.

Take for instance, Ajarn Greg Nelson’s relentless and physical style.

And contrast that to the paced approach of Ajarn Bryan Popejoy shown here in the red.

And then look at how the techniques and their judicious placement and timing during the fight communicate something that cannot be said in Khuen Khru Brian Dobler’s highlight.

All are decorated, and very deeply respected icons in the Thai Boxing Association Muay Thai Camp. But each expresses the same types of movement in their own unique and beautiful way. There is an artistry to their approach.

The slight lowering of the gloves after delivering a telling blow. Giving the fans, the judges and the opponent ample time to absorb the message.

There is much more at play here than simply flailing limbs. There is a conversation being played out. A wonderful debate that those of us lucky enough to witness can learn from and enjoy.

Beyond the Science of 8 Limbs

This goes beyond Muay Thai and extends in to all combat sport. Boxing, Kick Boxing, Jiu-jitsu, Catch Wrestling, MMA, et al. So the next time you lace up those gloves and slicker up that mouth piece. Take a moment and remember, that that greats, not only deliver a heaping dose of punishment, but a sound and undeniable message…

an expression of the self.

MMA Striking Techniques – CSW Style

Some videos more or less speak for themselves. This is one of them. Ben “The Badger” Jones, puts some mojo on Coach Kiser during the 2011 CSW Fighter and Instructor’s Camp.

Jaw Breakers, Liver Shots and Sweep Kicks abound.

Ahhhh, I love being the camera man sometimes.

The Devastating Muay Thai Four Count

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The Thai Boxing Association’s Muay Thai 4 Count is a very versatile and multifaceted combination. It can be used in flow as a fighting combination, or in class as a teaching tool.

The Muay Thai 4 Count develops your ability to flow seamlessly from kicking range to straight arm punching range to bent arm punching range and back out into kicking range.

Like many Boxing and Muay Thai Combinations, it’s simplicity lends itself to near limitless permutations. These are expressed in various targets, timings, degrees of angulation, accounts for various opponent reactions and weight distribution, and so on.

For the simple Left Kick + Straight Right + Left Hook + Right Kick version alone, you can put together 56 different combinations based on targeting alone.

Left Kick to the Head + Straight Right to the Head + Left Hook to the Head + Right Kick To the Head
Left Kick to the Body + Straight Right to the Head + Left Hook to the Head + Right Kick To the Head
Left Kick to the Inner Thigh + Straight Right to the Head + Left Hook to the Head + Right Kick To the Head
Left Kick to the Ankle + Straight Right to the Head + Left Hook to the Head + Right Kick To the HeadLeft Kick to the Head + Straight Right to the Body + Left Hook to the Head + Right Kick To the Head
Left Kick to the Body + Straight Right to the Body + Left Hook to the Head + Right Kick To the Head
Left Kick to the Inner Thigh + Straight Right to the Body + Left Hook to the Head + Right Kick To the Head
Left Kick to the Ankle + Straight Right to the Body + Left Hook to the Head + Right Kick To the HeadLeft Kick to the Head + Straight Right to the Head + Left Hook to the Body + Right Kick To the Head
Left Kick to the Body + Straight Right to the Head + Left Hook to the Body + Right Kick To the Head
Left Kick to the Inner Thigh + Straight Right to the Head + Left Hook to the Body + Right Kick To the Head
Left Kick to the Ankle + Straight Right to the Head + Left Hook to the Body + Right Kick To the Head

Left Kick to the Head + Straight Right to the Head + Left Hook to the Head + Right Kick To the Body
Left Kick to the Body + Straight Right to the Head + Left Hook to the Head + Right Kick To the Body
Left Kick to the Inner Thigh + Straight Right to the Head + Left Hook to the Head + Right Kick To the Body
Left Kick to the Ankle + Straight Right to the Head + Left Hook to the Head + Right Kick To the Body

Left Kick to the Head + Straight Right to the Body + Left Hook to the Body + Right Kick To the Head
Left Kick to the Body + Straight Right to the Body + Left Hook to the Body + Right Kick To the Head
Left Kick to the Inner Thigh + Straight Right to the Body + Left Hook to the Body + Right Kick To the Head
Left Kick to the Ankle + Straight Right to the Body + Left Hook to the Body + Right Kick To the Head

Left Kick to the Head + Straight Right to the Body + Left Hook to the Body + Right Kick To the Body
Left Kick to the Body + Straight Right to the Body + Left Hook to the Body + Right Kick To the Body
Left Kick to the Inner Thigh + Straight Right to the Body + Left Hook to the Body + Right Kick To the Body
Left Kick to the Ankle + Straight Right to the Body + Left Hook to the Body + Right Kick To the Body

Left Kick to the Head + Straight Right to the Body + Left Hook to the Body + Right Kick To the Outer Thigh
Left Kick to the Body + Straight Right to the Body + Left Hook to the Body + Right Kick To the Outer Thigh
Left Kick to the Inner Thigh + Straight Right to the Body + Left Hook to the Body + Right Kick To the Outer Thigh
Left Kick to the Ankle + Straight Right to the Body + Left Hook to the Body + Right Kick To the Outer Thigh

Left Kick to the Head + Straight Right to the Body + Left Hook to the Body + Right Kick To the Calve/Ankle
Left Kick to the Body + Straight Right to the Body + Left Hook to the Body + Right Kick To the Calve/Ankle
Left Kick to the Inner Thigh + Straight Right to the Body + Left Hook to the Body + Right Kick To the Calve/Ankle
Left Kick to the Ankle + Straight Right to the Body + Left Hook to the Body + Right Kick To the Calve/Ankle

Left Kick to the Head + Straight Right to the Head + Left Hook to the Head + Right Kick To the Outer Thigh
Left Kick to the Body + Straight Right to the Head + Left Hook to the Head + Right Kick To the Outer Thigh
Left Kick to the Inner Thigh + Straight Right to the Head + Left Hook to the Head + Right Kick To the Outer Thigh
Left Kick to the Ankle + Straight Right to the Head + Left Hook to the Head + Right Kick To the Outer Thigh

Left Kick to the Head + Straight Right to the Body + Left Hook to the Head + Right Kick To the Outer Thigh
Left Kick to the Body + Straight Right to the Body + Left Hook to the Head + Right Kick To the Outer Thigh
Left Kick to the Inner Thigh + Straight Right to the Body + Left Hook to the Head + Right Kick To the Outer Thigh
Left Kick to the Ankle + Straight Right to the Body + Left Hook to the Head + Right Kick To the Outer Thigh

Left Kick to the Head + Straight Right to the Head + Left Hook to the Body + Right Kick To the Outer Thigh
Left Kick to the Body + Straight Right to the Head + Left Hook to the Body + Right Kick To the Outer Thigh
Left Kick to the Inner Thigh + Straight Right to the Head + Left Hook to the Body + Right Kick To the Outer Thigh
Left Kick to the Ankle + Straight Right to the Head + Left Hook to the Body + Right Kick To the Outer Thigh

Left Kick to the Head + Straight Right to the Head + Left Hook to the Head + Right Kick To the Calve/Ankle
Left Kick to the Body + Straight Right to the Head + Left Hook to the Head + Right Kick To the Calve/Ankle
Left Kick to the Inner Thigh + Straight Right to the Head + Left Hook to the Head + Right Kick To the Calve/Ankle
Left Kick to the Ankle + Straight Right to the Head + Left Hook to the Head + Right Kick To the Calve/Ankle

Left Kick to the Head + Straight Right to the Body + Left Hook to the Head + Right Kick To the Calve/Ankle
Left Kick to the Body + Straight Right to the Body + Left Hook to the Head + Right Kick To the Calve/Ankle
Left Kick to the Inner Thigh + Straight Right to the Body + Left Hook to the Head + Right Kick To the Calve/Ankle
Left Kick to the Ankle + Straight Right to the Body + Left Hook to the Head + Right Kick To the Calve/Ankle

Left Kick to the Head + Straight Right to the Head + Left Hook to the Body + Right Kick To the Calve/Ankle
Left Kick to the Body + Straight Right to the Head + Left Hook to the Body + Right Kick To the Calve/Ankle
Left Kick to the Inner Thigh + Straight Right to the Head + Left Hook to the Body + Right Kick To the Calve/Ankle
Left Kick to the Ankle + Straight Right to the Head + Left Hook to the Body + Right Kick To the Calve/Ankle

I may have even missed some but I think you get the point. And if you start to add timings, angulations, etc. the variations possible for the simple Left Kick + Straight Right + Left Hook + Right Kick are exponential.

I have learned much from my study of the Muay Thai 4 Count over the years. Not only has it helped me to learn how to employ an appropriate tool for a given range, it has helped me to learn how to manipulate my opponent’s body, weight distribution and angle by means of my striking.

For instance, the Left Kick to the Inner Thigh can be used to open your opponent’s stance and create a wider path for your Straight Right to land. Your Left Hook can be used to plant your opponent’s weight onto his lead leg, setting up a Right Kick to the outer thigh with diminished capacity for your opponent to raise his knee and spike your shin. The same Left Hook can be used to disguise your movement to the far or near side angle. And sometimes it can even move the opponent into the angle for you.

Wether you’re a beginner or a seasoned veteran, the Thai Boxing Association’s Muay Thai 4 Count is a rich and multi-layered combination, worthy of in depth study. Those who “Put themselves into it”, will reap the benefits on those various levels and enjoy the impact they will have on their Striking Game.

In our online MMA Academy, our members have access to:

  • Four Basic Instances of the Muay Thai 4 Count:
  • West Coast and East Coast Drifts
  • Moving The Head Offline Considerations
  • Pad Holder Tips.

You can find the techniques here if you have a membership.

Until next time.

Happy Hunting!

Muay Thai Technique: Cut Kick Counter To The Teep

This is a great technique that I picked up at the 2009 Pacific Northwest Muay Thai Camp. There is so much information there and the instructors are simply the best. I got a bunch of incredible techniques even outside of the wealth of information given to us druing the regular sessions… and this was one of them.

I’ve been working on this dump for some time now, but I’ve never seen the the Partner Preservation aspect I picked up which was really cool! A special thanks to Khuen Khru Ian Alexander out of Virginia Beach Virginia for sharing this with us. If you’re ever in that neck of the woods, you’d be doing yourself a favor to checking out their world class facility.

Now, happy dumping!