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MMA Cornermen: Unsung Heros Part 1

What fighter worth his salt would ever go into a fight without padding his proverbial hand as much as possible in his favor?

Having a rock solid wing man is one of the most overlooked and under rated pieces of prep work that a fighter can have in place for his/her up coming fight.

If you’ve ever taken the time to listen to the corners during a fight, you’d be surprised at the variance in ability and quality. It’s amazing how often the advice you hear being shouted from the corner is something along the lines of “F*** him up bro!” Really?

An important part of any successful competition is communication between Coach/Instructor and Student/Competitor.

This article will focus on a couple of methods we use to communicate to our students when they are in the middle of their matches. They can however, be applied to effectivly communicating during any traumatic or stressful event.

A good coach is like a second pair of eyes for their student. But what the coach sees is useless if he/she is unable to communicate that information to his/her student.

Below are a list of tips that we have found helpful in communicating to our students when they are in the middle of a match.

Less is more… Keep It simple

If there is a constant barrage of chatter comming from the sidelines, it tends to blend in with the myriad of other noises already being muted by the tunnel vision/hearing experienced by the student. Be patient, hold your tongue and only bark out an occasional observation. AND when you do give some instruction, keep it simple. Suggestions such as this, “slip the jab, then uppercut, overhand, left hook right kick and shoot.” Simply are too much for a student under duress to handle. Something like the following would be more helpful “SLip and counter”.

Use the student’s name.

During one of his fights, Trevor “Little Bang” Osborn related that when everyone was shouting, he didn’t know who was saying what to whom. He didn’t know if it was the opposing team or our team speaking to the other competitor or to him and pretty soon he simply tuned it all out… that is until he heard us shout his name. Then he was able to take focus and listen.

Proper use of use of this method would sound something like this:

“Trevor, be first.”
“Trevor, circle! Keep your back off the cage.”
“Trevor, Go Now!”

Make eye contact.

When your student is fatigued and or rocked they tend to do a little slot machine number with their eyes. Their head will roll lazily around and their eyes will roll up under their lids etc.

If this happens between rounds, control their head with your hands and force them to look into your eyes.

If they are in a contol position mid-round, tell them to look at you. This will again, help to re-focus them, not just on your instruction, but also onto the task at hand.

Trigger Words

Trigger Words are words or phrases whose meaning you and your students have agreed upon. They are words that have been used during training sessions leading up to the event so that the student is used to hearing them and reacting to them.

For instance, we use the Trigger Words “Go Now”. We all know that this means, it means that there is 30 seconds left in the round. We have trained the student to go all out upon hearing that phrase (Pavlov eat your heart out). “Establish Base” means, chill out. Don’t blow your wad just yet. Re-establish your position and calmly look for openings and opportunities.

These phrases should be reinforced and used repeatedly in the gym during training sessions.

Don’t use more than one or two Trigger Words in your gym. The more Trigger Words you have, the less impact and significance they carry.

Communicate Visually with Hand Signals and Expressions

There are many times that a student’s battle stress will completely debilitate their ability to hear your voice. There are also times that the venue is so loud that your voice simply cannot be heard above the rest of the noise. In these instances it is helpful to commuicate visually as well as verbally. For instance, we will point to our eyes, then look up and point to the ceiling if we want our students to arch their backs more, lift their head and put more body into straightening out the armlock, guillotine, etc.

We’ll point to the ceiling and loop our finger around in a circle if we want the student to relax and burn some time off the clock.

And remember… every communication should be prefixed with your student’s name.

I hope these tips are helpful to you and your crew and we wish you all the best of luck. Train hard… we’ll see you out on the mat!

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 Training Camp CSW Style

(At about 5:19 in the video above you can see the fundamentals of the movement that we use to accomplish the Leg Lock Counter to the Arm Bar Flower Sweep Technique)

After the Paypal debacle (suckers screwed me over, refused to allow me to close my accounts and then had the nerve to send me a “customer service survey”), it was a welcomed and refreshing change of pace to head out to sunny California for my annual pilgrimage to Erik Paulson’s Fighter/Instructor CSW Camp.

As can be expected, the learning was non-stop. Everywhere you turned there was an opportunity for growth and the soaking up of Martial wisdom.

One of the aspects of camp I enjoy is being surrounded by people who are just about as crazy and fanatical about the Martial Arts as I am.

Sensei Paulson and Ajarn Greg Nelson converse with Khuen Khru Vic Spatola the guy responsible for testing me for my Thai Boxing Instructorship under Ajarn Chai.

When your life and mind are occupied by Martial Arts the same way that Rainman thinks about Kmart tighty whitites and Judge Wapner, you start to wonder about your own sanity. But having an opportunity to be in the environment that Sensei Paulson provides, gives lunatics like me a chance to kick back and simply feel like part of the gang.

For me there are really 3 seminars taking place simultaneously at a camp like this.

First is the main seminar. You learn from the likes of Erik Paulson, Greg Nelson, Rigan Machado, Marvin Cook, and Nick Saignac, and you drill the many techniques that they share during their segments. Second is what you pick up from the other high level instructors and fighters that you drill with, spar with, and interact with. You get to see how they’ve tweaked the material you both learned the year before, you get to see tricks that get developed in their relatively isolated neck of the woods and you get to see how the system you’ve developed in your locale fares versus those from around the world.

Lastly, there are the life lessons shared and discussed off camera, during a lunch break, in the hotel lobby. You realize that you’re not alone in your pursuit of Martial excellence, in your attempts to build up a school, and in the stresses and occasional heart breaks that accompany such a journey. You learn tactics for survival, and gain strength from the fact that others have endured and overcome. You see who your instructors look up to and who they glean wisdom from.

As Khuen Khru Nino Pilla said to me this year “It’s so tempting to be seduced into fixing your attentions to the young fighters, winning belts and making the highlight reel, but really your attention should be focused on the old masters (like Billy Robinson, Cacoy Cañete, Dan Inosanto, Buddy Tompson). They have had so much more time to perfect and understand the craft. And more importantly, they hold the wisdom for what is to come for all of us, as we will all get older (if we are lucky), but none of us will ever get younger like those fighters that everyone sees and idolizes on T.V.”

Now that right there was worth the price of admission for me.

But there’s much more that I take away from the CSW Camp experience. It’s a chance for me to see old friends.

The true measure of a great instructor is his students. Eddie Abney, really pushed me and made me think during our sparring rounds. I would expect no less from a student of Khuen Khru Alvin Chan.

Seniors and mentors like Khuen Khru Alvin Chan, who never ceases to amaze me with his kindness and increasing enthusiasm for our chosen profession.

Or Khuen Khru Joe Cargado, who puts up with my joking around and humors my strange quirks.

As I was lining up my sparring partners (to ensure that I wasn’t going to get maimed or destroyed by the likes of the Ben Jones that were amongst the ranks), I was hollering out to my friends “James, you’re 1, Joe, you’re 2, Brandon, you’re 3,” etc. etc. Joe hollers out to each of them, “Yeah, take a number!”

It’s a wonderful place to be, and a real privilege to be able to go, and to be a young kid again, if only for a few days. I returned home, tired, sore, and bursting at the seams with new moves, new ideas and a deeper understanding of the Martial Life Style. And for those of you loyal followers who are wondering, I tapped out that evil wolf this time around. I hope I can do it again the next time I’m on the mats at the World CSW Headquarters, living my life to the fullest.

Damage Control MMA: Cutting Room Floor Edition

It’s been a while since I’ve updated the Damage Control Blog, so I’ll dispense with all the worthless excuses. I mean, the Southpaw series with it’s 16 videos wasn’t that time consuming to produce. Tax season has been a cinch this year as we’ve got double the paperwork do to a recent gym move, company restructuring and building purchase. Erik Paulson didn’t roll through town, oh wait a second, he did, and I had a wonderful time training, hanging out and messing around that whole weekend.

Jeff Monson is on the docket for next weekend, but really that was supposed to happen this past weekend. Plans were made, schedules were cleared, but we had to reschedule due to a marathon 5 rounder he went through the Friday night prior to the preposed Seminar date.

Meanwhile I’ve been trying to organize a relief effort called M.M.Aid Fund for people of the world who may find themselves in hard times. Saying this about the situation in Japan is perhaps the understatement of the year, nevertheless, you’d never know how difficult it is to set up a charitable effort until you’ve tried. There’s more red tape in relief efforts than in trying to open up a fast food road kill restaurant at the cafeteria in USDA’s headquarters.

So what did I scrounge up for this Blog Post? Well, it’s a couple of videos we filmed about two years ago that never made it onto our T.V. show, never got published on Youtube, and have been sitting on the cutting room floor until now. I’ve been saving them because I really like the material but we never released them because there was a problem with the audio that could not be resolved. But I liked them so much I kept them around, perhaps for a rainy day like today.

First up is a series of Ankle Pick Takedowns by one of my all time favorite instructors, Coach (Collegiate Wrestler and Pedro Sauer BJJ Black Belt) Chris Wells.

Next is a Swing Kick I filmed with my good friend Khuen Khru Johnny Miller. Johnny has been a training partner and friend of mine for years. I watched him come up through the ranks at my Instructor’s Gym and eventually earn his Apprentice Instructorship under Ajarn Chai. He’s recently relocated to Hawaii and I posted this to reminisce a little about the good old days.

Finally, is a perfectly good clip we filmed at the 2011 CACC Certification with Coach Billy Robinson and Jake Shannon. I didn’t want to put up a post with only damaged goods, so I included this sneak peak at a video that eventually make it onto our Youtube profile. Assistant Coach Sam Kressin, one of the highest ranking students of the Scientific Wrestling (Billy Robinson’s) Program, was kind enough to share these gems and Coach Robinson sneaks in for a cameo.

Stay tuned, we’re still alive and kicking. We’ll be clearing off our plates in the next few weeks and be back to regular blog updates in no time.

Until then, keep your hands up, your chin down, your mouth closed and your eyes and ears open.

How To Fight A Southpaw

“What’s a southpaw? It means you’re left-handed. A southpaw throws your timin’ off, see? Other guys, it makes ’em look awkward. Nobody wants to look awkward.

You know where southpaw came from? A long time ago, a couple of hundred years ago, this guy was fightin’. I think it was around Philadelphia. He was left-handed. His arm was facin’ towards New Jersey. And that’s south, so naturally, they called him Southpaw.

You see? Southpaw, South Jersey, South Camden, Southpaw… You know what I mean?”

– Sylvester Stallone, “Rocky” –

Rocky had it right when he said that nobody wants to look awkward.

And we’re going to give you a few tips to help you with that situation.

Fighting a left handed fighter or “Southpaw” can be a difficult proposition. Almost everything you do is backwards.

More times than not, you’re taught to lead with your Jab, but with a Southpaw, your more often encouraged to use your straight right.

The video below will explain some of the basics behind why this is the case.

As an Orthodox Fighter (Right handed with a Left Handed Lead) the cornerstone of counter Southpaw tactics is to move towards your left and keep your lead foot on the outside of your opponent’s lead foot. This same theory applies to a Southpaw fighting an Orthodox Fighter.

And although the emphasis of a lead straight right, shown in the video above has it’s origins in American Pugilism, the technique is so sound that it carries over to Muay Thai, Kickboxing and MMA. It works well in the realms of Mixed Martial Arts because of it’s simplicity, power and the fact that your lead hand can still be used to fend off takedown attempts should they occur during your attack.

That is not to say that there aren’t other weapons that are also effective, but if you watch the following video, you will see that many of the most devastating and prevalent strikes are the lead straight left (for Pacquiao) and lead straight right (for his Orthodox foes).

In addition to the hands, there are other weapons that we as Mixed Martial Artists can bring to bear vs the Southpaw, so long as you adhere to the fundamental of staying outside that lead foot of his, and thus further away from his power tools.

Another such technique has been recently popularized by Anderson Silva as a result of his KO victory over Vitor Belfort. In this case we had 2 Southpaws squaring off and thus the outside lead foot rule was not in effect. Nevertheless, the fight proved the effectiveness of the Front Snap Kick for MMA, although the kick has been around for centuries.

There are going to be times when your opponent is much more experienced at playing the outside lead foot and Southpaw game than you are. After all, a Southpaw gets to go up against Orthodox fighters all the time, while Orthodox fighters only see Southpaws every once in a while. Below is one way you can take that advantage away from your opponent.

Fighting for the clinch or a takedown aren’t the only way to handle and opponent who simply owns the outside lead game. We’ve addressed this as well as shown some ideas outside the conventional Counter Southpaw box in our members only area where we have a total of 15 + videos dedicated to the Southpaw series, in addition to the 230 videos which cover all aspects of the MMA game.

If you’ve enjoyed the articles and videos brought to you by www.DamageControlMMA.com please show your support by picking up a membership, telling a friend about our site, friending us on facebook, or joining the discussions on our free forum at www.DamageControlMMA.com/forum/

Doing so helps us to continue on our journey and bring you top quality instruction.

Until next time, keep your lead foot on the outside of your opponents foot, keep your hands up and your chin down.

Short vs Tall Techniques for Muay Thai and MMA Training

Utilizing or countering a reach/height advantage has been a conundrum for fighters since the beginning of time. Standing at a towering 5’5″, I know how hard it can be to face the up hill battle of being the little guy. Depending on the sport, there can be some redeeming qualities for being the guy who came up short when it came to playing the gene pool lottery.

Here you see the concept of punching up to your opponent and keeping your chin below their level

I’ve heard some say that in boxing, it can be an advantage to be the shorter fighter, as you are able to punch up to your opponent’s face, whereby, there is no way he can tuck his chin low enough to hide it from your fists. Conversely, the only punches he can throw that will clip your chin, if you tuck it properly, would be shovel hooks and uppercuts, thus diminishing the effects of two of boxing’s primary weapons, the jab and the straight right.

There has to be some merit to this as Legendary trainer Eddie Futch has gone on record, describing how he worked a low stance and a lot of low swooping bobbing and weaving motions to accentuate Joe Frazier’s stature and make it difficult for Muhammad Ali to hit him square in the jaw. This strategy seemed to do well in the duo’s epic 3 fight page in pugilistic history.

The Sky Piercing Knee Kicker, Dieselnoi delivers punishment to his shorter opposition.

But there are consequences for these types of tactics when knees and kicks are involved. And thus, other strategies must be employed, either to replace or to supplement the boxing brilliance of trainers such as Futch and those who think along his strategic lines.

The first part of developing a strategy for overcoming a height disparity is to understand the mentality and strategy of the taller person. Below, we get a glimpse into this world as our friend, Khru Cade Anderson, shares his thoughts on the subject.

Observing the thought process of a taller person, you can see how the standard, conventional theory of moving forward, pressing the fight and trying to cut off the ring is accounted for by a taller fighter who is properly trained and prepared. Simply marching towards your opponent in this case will only get you hit as your opponent will simply time your attack and strike during your bridge step as this is the essence of reach advantage tactics (to stay out of the range of the shorter fighter and to attack them as they step forward to bridge the gap).

If your opponent is not sophisticated enough to employ the tactics described here and in Khru Cade’s video, then there really isn’t much of a problem. Bull dog that bean pole and force your way inside. But, if your opponent is able to maintain range and continually stops your bridge step, you’re going to have to reach deeper into the rabbit hole and pull out some other tricks.

As counter intuitive as it may sound, sometimes the best thing to do against a taller fighter with good ranging and good timing, is to step back and wait. To stay far enough away to be safe (out of the range of the taller fighter’s weapons) and to force your opponent to move forward to bridge the gap.

When he steps forward to punch, you can counter with a kick (so long as you step on the 45). If he kicks, you can catch his leg and punish him with a sweep, dump, flurry of punches or pull his leg to bring him into the close range clinch.

In this article we hope you find some helpful tips on how to safely bridge the gap. We have presented some sound, and basic methods of how to wage a range war on those with a reach or height advantage. We have shared our experience in understanding the logic of how a range war will progress/regress. And for our members, we have shown, in detail, some rare tricks that will get you out of a jam, when these solid fundamentals fail to mitigate the extra inches your opponents bring to the fight.

Best of luck, and happy hunting.

The MMA Jab

From the Basic Fighting Stance: feet shoulder width apart, hands up, chin down, elbows protecting the ribs.

The Basic Stationary Jab extends straight from the chin towards the target with no wind up or preparatory movements. Keep your arms loose and relaxed. As your fist moves away from your jaw, your left shoulder should raise to protect your chin.

At the last moment your fist should turn over so that your palm faces the floor. As you hit the target tense up your fist and focus the force into your first two (your two largest) knuckles. Notice how Khru Yamasaki has “Sandwiched” his chin between his left shoulder and right fist.

The Jab returns on the same LINE as it traveled to the target. Be sure to keep your left shoulder raised as you bring your fist STRAIGHT back to its starting point. Avoid a circular or “rowing” motion on the return stroke as this leaves you open for any number of counter strikes.

The Jab is completed only after you’ve safely returned to your ready position.

Whether you’re a Boxer, Kickboxer, Muay Thai Practitioner or MMA Fighter, the Jab is an elemental part of the striking game.

It is the stinging bee immortalized in Ali’s timeless prose. A lightning fast, rapid fire, multirole, weapon, that in the hands of a qualified artist, can tattoo a face as quick as a convict’s pen gun.

Sugar Ray Leonard was said to have used numerous different types of jab to seal his place in history as one of Boxing’s Greats and that is perhaps one the qualities that makes the Jab so versatile and important. Many times, the Jab sets the stage for more sophisticated, and committed attacks.

It tests for weaknesses in your opponent’s guard. It probes for information on range and reflexive responses.

It’s like a special forces recon unit that reports back to central command and lets it know the number and strength of the enemy and what tools would be best utilized to destroy them.

But the Jab is not merely an information gatherer.

Like a hollow point 9 mm, some may say it lacks knock down power, but when well placed, the Jab has stunned if not stopped many a prize fighter. Ali put so many rounds on target during a bout against Patterson that Patterson had to take a knee from the sheer number of blows.

Tyson and Morrison have won fights outright with stiff Jabs used in isolation to incapacitate their opponents.

In the realm of MMA, the Jab is ideal as it leaves you less vulnerable to a takedown.

Dominic Cruz and Miguel Torres are both very talented at using it in this capacity, and with the smaller gloves, it has more potential to cause cuts and swelling.

BJ Penn was very effective in using the Jab to disrupt Sean Sherk’s offensive game plan.

This simple little tool can be used in so many ways and across so many different combative platforms. One would do well to study it in depth and to develop one’s own Jab.

The punch itself is relatively easy to learn, but how to set it up and perfect it’s various attributes (speed, snap, power, range, information gathering and intelligence) takes time and dedication.

Having a qualified coach/instructor to help you along the way can shave years off it’s development.

Best of luck to you as you explore and learn to appreciate this energy saving, high yield punch. Until next time, train smart, work hard, be excellent to each other and happy hunting!

How To Destroy Leg Kicks: Defense & Counters

Marco Ruas was the first fighter to prove the effectiveness of leg kicks in MMA, using them to KO Paul Varelans in the early days of the UFC

Muay Thai Leg Kicks In MMA

Not since the introduction of the Muay Thai Leg Kick to MMA via Marco Ruas and Maurice Smith has the world seen the true effectiveness of this devastating technique. In fact, I would venture to say that in recent times the leg kick, though still respected, had been more or less relegated to the status of nuisance/point scorer by spectators in a sport where takedowns and ground and pound are so prevalent.

Obviously, if you’ve read our treatise on “The Anatomy of the Leg Kick and Beyond” Article, you know that I disagree and that there will always be a special place in my heart for this brutal weapon.

However, I understand it’s limitations in the arena of MMA and will be the first to say that it is difficult to use effectively when takedowns are a factor. So I can see why people like Cecil Peoples would say things like, “You have to keep in mind we always the favour the fighter who is trying to finish the fight, and leg kicks certainly don’t do that.” (you can read more about his thoughts on the subject at www.cagepotato.com)

Aldo vs Faber

It’s my humble opinion that the Aldo vs Faber fight has once again changed the perception of the relevance of technique and application in the ever evolving world of Cage Fighting.

Urijah Faber shows what he's made of. Despite the damage to his leg he fought on like the Champion he is.

Urijah Faber shows what he's made of. Despite the damage to his leg he fought on like the Champion he is.

Here we saw a fight determined by the relentless use of the leg kick. We saw that it was possible, even in present times, at a championship level, for a striker to successfully employ the leg kick against a seasoned and accomplished GNP fighter and former champion.

Tips For Drilling The Basic Shield Defense to the Leg Kick

Below is the Knee Block Defense to the Leg Kick

Once again, the Muay Thai Leg Kick has proved it’s importance and earned it’s role in the scheme of combat sport. No doubt the technique will see a much deserved resurgence in popularity.

Below is the Kick Back Counter to the Leg Kick

But this is the present and those merely following the trend will undoubtedly become part of the past. The future will controlled by those who lead. And there, understated and lurking just beyond the horizon is leg kick defense and counter. These will be the focus of this article and it’s included video clips.

Everyone wants to be like the champions they see winning fights. Aldo won this fight with his leg kicks. And now you will see more and more people working on their leg kicks, thumping the heavy bag with their shins, talking about how hard they can kick and boasting about how they desensitize their legs by kicking some torturous object like a tree trunk or concrete column. But no one wants to know how to make sure that their leg won’t be turned into a fluid filled sac of pulsating pain.

Learn the defenses and counters and you will be two if not three steps ahead of the average MMA Caveman. Now of course any good defense begins with a thorough understanding of the weapon they are trying to defend against, so it won’t hurt (ha ha) to learn the leg kick. But as I’ve said before, that’s what everyone else is doing. To become the Enlightened Fighter you must also learn the defense, and the counters. Those who master these will rule over their less educated subjects.

Cory Hill experiences first hand, the true power of a well placed Knee Block

The future of the leg kick, lies the defensive aspects and counters, and beyond that, understanding how to effectively set up the leg kick and pre-emptively disrupt those set ups (which are entirely different subjects).

We’ve included a number of these set ups in our “The Anatomy of the Leg Kick And Beyond” Article, but will reload them to the members area for faster, higher quality play back.

Best of luck guys and Happy Hunting!

Below is an option for a worst case scenario

Below is MMA Counter to the Leg Kick, The Crumble Takedown

Below is an option for catching the leg kick

Related Articles:

The Devastating Muay Thai Four Count

[leadplayer_vid id=”505A0C7B18437″]

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!

The Breath Of Life!

“What is a saxiphone but a big hunk of metal until an artist gives it the breath of life?…
art has nothing to do with paint. Art is not a technique, but an expression from your heart… There is nothing you can’t do, there is nothing you can’t change if you believe and want it badly enough.”

-Denny Dent-

So often, I have been inspired by great artists. Truely, amazing people who’s message and passion transcend the medium with which they express themselves. Many critics and detractors will say that if you really look at them, they’re not that talented, or that their technique is not as sound as so and so’s. But to me they’re missing the point.

It’s not about the technique, it’s about the passion, the power of the human spirit, resonating and giving the “breath of life” to whatever it is that is being expressed. And in this sense, it doesn’t matter if the medium is Music, Painting, Iron Man Triathlons, Bush Craft, Zoology, Cooking, or Martial Arts.

There are certain artists out there that touch us, and move our sense of what is, and what can be. They inspire us to be and do more that what we thought was possible. This blog post is dedicated to those who have done so for me.

John Denver

To be pure of heart and intention is the essence of freedom.

Team Hoyt

When asked, “Rick, what would you do if you had the use of your arms and legs for one day?” Rick responded “I’ve thought alot about that question, and at first, I thought, maybe I’d like to play football. Then, I thought, maybe I’d like to play basketball or baseball. But then I think really hard, and the answer becomes clear… I’d strap my Dad to the chair and I’d make him let me push him for a day.”

At 52 years of age, Dick Hoyt was doing for himself and his son, what most 20 year olds cannot do for themselves. Triumph of the Human Spirit. The definition of love and devotion.

If you’ve ever seen these two compete, you realize that to say that you “can’t” is simply not true. That to do so is simply a weak man’s easy way out… That it isn’t that you are unable, but rather unwilling. Being a warrior in any sense means stripping that notion from your conscience.

Survivorman

Survivorman doesn’t just survive, he thrives. He looks at an otherwise desperate situation and finds ways to enjoy the moment. I was once told by one of my Jiu-jitsu Instructors (BJJ Black Belt Mike Diaz), “Sometimes all you can do is survive… and sometimes all you SHOULD do is try to survive.” It was then that I realized that most of the time, my real MMA troubles only started to worsen when I’d try to do too much when in a bad spot instead of just concentrating on survival and waiting for an opportunity.

Crocodile Hunter

Have you ever seen someone so full of passion and love for his life and his living. We should all strive to live as Crocodile Hunter did. RIP Steve Irwin.

Iron Chef Morimoto

If something is worth doing, it is worth doing right and with all your heart and soul. To watch Iron Chef Morimoto cook is like watching a sword smith forge a Hatori Hanzo. His cooking is infused with nothing less than his soul. It is done with respect and honor. These attributes should be the goal of any artist, Martial or other.

Genki Sudo

Need I say more. To see Genki, and how he developed as a philosopher and fighter is simply amazing. As he improved as a fighter, his mindset and “Weltanschauung” or world view became increasingly altruistic and egoless. You can see it in his smile and how he wasn’t fighting per se. He wasn’t there to destroy his opponents, but rather to express his art. And what a beautiful art it was, pure poetry in motion.

I’d love to see and lean more about your inspirations? Who is it, that gives the “Breaths of Life” to your art, your life?