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Basic Muay Thai Pad Drill: Shield and Kick Return

Harkening back to a series we’ve been visiting and revisiting over the last year or so, we share another Basic Muay Thai Kick Drill. This simple drill is designed to develop defensive reactions and coordination that will allow you to see various kicking attacks and apply the appropriate defense while also conditioning you to immediately retaliate with either the left or right Thai Kick.

As a coach, we encourage you to start out simple. Feed the right kick and have your student return a right kick. Then progress to feeding the right, and having your student return a left kick. Then progress to feeding the left kick and receiving the right. The last basic feed will be to send the left kick and have your student return a left kick.

After your student is comfortable using all the possible returns, vary your feed and be ready to receive whatever return your student executes.

Finally, the idea is to seamlessly weave this particular drill into a varied and active Thai Pad Round. Feed Jabs, Hooks and Crosses to develop your student’s punch defenses. Hold for punches, kicks, knees, elbows and combinations thereof while keeping your student alert with your kicks. This will create, realistic, dynamic and very effective training rounds and your student body will love them.

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!

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!

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.

The Single Leg and Double Leg change of angle Takedown Chain

What an absolute treat to have my friend and takedown mentor Chris Wells come and share his continuation of a whole series he began teaching over five years ago. As was the case with our previous article, this one is concept driven, as if it wasn’t already cool enough.

For those of you unfamiliar with the backbone of our takedown series from the over under 50/50 clinch, a great deal of it is based on attacks to the leg nearest us which usually occurs on our overhook side.

Below is the Spiral Takedown, note Coach Well’s left hand and how it taps at the inner thigh of the leg nearest him on his overhook side:

Next up is the Knee Tap Takedown, notice again, the tap occurs with Coach Well’s left hand on the leg closest to him on his overhook side:

The third piece of the first section of the basic over/under takedown series is the Body Lock Takedown. After this we either transition into the Whizzar series, or can attack the far side (underhook side) leg which we will address in this post. But still, it is important to notice that again, the attack occurs on Coach Well’s overhook side, moving toward the leg and hip that are nearest to him.

The premise of this new series, offered in the featured video at the top of this page is to address how one might attack the leg on our underhook side. It is important to develop attacks on both sides of the body. This is so because as your opponent defends one side, he begins to offer the other. This is the case in striking as well as submissions or in this case takedowns.

The concept driving this whole series, is a constant change of direction and angles of attack. This allows you to take the initiative and keep it, while your opponent attempts to stay on his feet, always 1 step behind what you have in store for him until eventually, the onslaught is simply too much and he eventually is taken to the ground.

If you enjoyed this series and would like a to lear a little more about what our guests have shown us in terms of takedowns, you might enjoy one of our previous articles it is a collection of closely related takedowns from the likes of Coach Robinson, Ajarn Greg Nelson and UFC fighter Nick Diaz. I’ve put them together in one spot because they all seem to play off of each other. You can find them at http://damagecontrolmma.com/2009/06/a-solid-clinch-game-for-takedowns-and-submissions/

Weigh in and let us know if you liked this article and would like to see more from Coach Chris Wells.

The MMA Takedown Breakdown: The How of Pressure

This post is equal parts concept and technique. The concept being, to continually pressure with real time, technique revisions and adjustments that will result in the most efficient means of accomplishing your goal… achieving a takedown in an MMA fight.

Phew! That was a mouthful. Restated and in simpler terms, sure, you could just drop in on a double and claw your way towards a takedown. Then again, you may just be clawing your way towards premature exhaustion and ultimately spinning your wheels.

But when you initiate an attack and are prepared to quickly adjust and circumvent the defense your opponent may throw up, perhaps repeating this sequence until your objectives are achieved; you make your opponent’s job that much more difficult, and thus, your job that much easier.

This concept of continual forward pressure, while phasing through various levels (high/head, mid/body, low/hips-legs) and types (takedown, clinching, striking) of attack is great, but just as important is the HOW, or the techniques best suited for applying this concept. That is what this video is all about.

Do you have to use the techniques that we’ve presented here verbatim? No, not at all, but these particular techniques are great examples of how to effect the concept of varied, constant pressure.

Do you always have to finish against a wall or cage? Of course not. There are plenty of situations where you may not be in a cage or enclosed area. Maybe your fight is in a ring, or maybe we’re talking a self defense situation in an open arena. You might want to incorporate some of the techniques presented in our over under clinch series with Coach Chris Wells.

Finally, are the cage takedowns presented in the above video the only ways to finish while against the fence? Absolutely not, it’s just a starting point. We’ve shown you plenty of options in our other videos regarding this subject, which we’ll include below for good measure.

Here are some additional cage takedown defense ideas for you.

Brazilian Jiu-jitsu: Standing Guard Passes

Got a case of the Mondays? Never fear, the good Doctor is here and I have yet another feel good prescription for you. Let’s just pretend it’s Wednesday shall we. I invite you to join along for my Wednesday afternoon ritual.

Every Wednesday I head out to the Bernales Institute of Martial Arts for a weekly dose of Brazilian Jiu-jitsu and a hearty helping of Humble Pie.

This week, we took a look at a few standing Guard Passes. I apologize for the informal feel to the video but I was there for my lesson first, and to capture it on video second. This was exactly what we covered in my lesson and Khuen Khru Will was kind enough to let us film it and share it with all of you.

Enjoy!

UK MMA: Dan Hardy Boxing Combination

The power of the Martial Arts to bring people together, to forge bonds and foster new friendships is nearly unparalleled in my opinion. Next week we will be sharing a proof of concept video demonstrating the use of techniques we’ve shared here on DamageControlMMA.com in actual fights. It is our way of showing that actions speak louder than words.

In addition to a ton of support and positive feedback, we’ve also received our fair share of insults and negative comments. For the most part we’ve got pretty thick skins. We rarely give any thought to these types of attacks. Experience has taught us that friends can do you much more good than you can ever harm an enemy. Which is another way of saying, with a limited amount of time on this earth, and a limited energy, you can choose to spend them contributing to the abyss of hatred and negativity, or you can use them to cultivate positive mojo and to add goodness to this world.

Damage Control MMA Member Robert Carlin is a perfect example of the latter. Over the years we’ve forged a friendship and now, we are all reaping the benefits, the positive vibrations and goodness that he and his team at Antonine MMA has decided to share with us. An awesome clip with UFC Veteran Dan Hardy who demonstrates a slick Boxing Combination.

Remember, you can use your powers to make more happiness on this earth, or you can use them to create more despair. Robert has used his to create more happiness and for that I am grateful. Thank you good friend. We wish you and your team, much happiness and many good days.

Live long Damage Controllers and be excellent to one and other.

Muay Thai Knee Set Up Combination

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A friend of mine once expressed that, in his humble opinion, the keys to being a good Martial Artist were quite similar to those involved with being a good Magician. He must have sensed my lack of comprehension as he continued to explain himself. The essence of pulling off any trick is misdirection.

Whether this is accomplished with the beautiful and scantily clad assistant, hand gestures or smoke and mirrors is all just a matter of how you want to accomplish this. Mercifully neither Kiser nor I are scantily clad and neither of us has employed smoke or mirrors… yet, but we certainly do our share of misdirecting our opponents. Whether it’s attacking the neck in order to secure a submission on someone’s arm or as in the case of this video, drawing our opponent’s attention to their head so that we can access his ribs, spleen or liver with our knee, the concept applies.

Look left, go right. Touch high, go low. Squeeze the wrist to twist the foot. The concept is basic and when applied, you will make your own kind of magic on the mats. No go out there and get David Blain on your friends.

Catch Wrestling Kimura Killer Recounter

Here is another gem from our good friend Sam Kressin. Sam is one of our favorite guys to work with and learn our Catch Wrestling from. He has his own Brazilian Jiu-jitsu background and as a result, I feel like I can relate to his way of breaking down the techniques a little better. I also feel like he understands me, understands that I don’t need to be sold on the painful nature of some of the moves. I get it, I don’t need to have my face cranked off 15 more times to believe in it.

Yeah I know, the purists out there are already turning their noses up at me right now and that’s their right. But you know what, I’m approaching 40 and I just don’t get a lot out of being broken down. Like I said, I already believe in the value of Catch Wrestling, and the incredible talent of Coach Billy Robinson. I just want to learn the basic concept of the move and to this end Coach Sam Kressin does a fantastic job of teaching you everything you need to know while not abusing you in the process. And hey, if you’re into getting twisted, he has no qualms about breaking your stuff either.

Here he shows an awesome way to re-counter the Double Wrist Lock, popularly known in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu circles as the Kimura. But to get the real skinny, you should check out his website at: www.embodiedstrength.com Where you can pick up all sorts of great tid bits like his most excellent article “5 Principals From Catch Wrestling That Will Benefit Any Grappler” where I learned few things that definitely benefitted my grappling game. And besides, he talks about something we learned in person from Coach Robinson, learning how to stand up, catch style. In addition, he’s got some great blog posts about his recent tour across Europe with Coach Robinson as they re-kindle the Catch Wrestling Fire across the pond.

If you liked this clip, go visit his site and tell him we sent you. That way, the next time we see him, it might be just a little easier to coax him into taking some valuable time out of his busy schedule to share more techniques with us.