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The Gi Choke Defense They’ll Never See Coming!

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

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

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

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

Using this Limp Arm Counter just might get you Double Wrist Locked

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Yes you heard me right, using this Limp Arm Counter to Wrestling’s Whizzer just might get you Double Wrist Locked/caught in a Kimura. Why bother showing it then? Well because I still think it’s a very valid and useful technique.

If you’ve ever clinched or as I mentioned in the video, worked your way up to your knees from bottom Half Guard, chances are, you’ve encountered the Whizzer. This little beauty gives you an option for dealing with it. “But what if you get Double Wrist Locked?” you ask. Well, just knowing that that is a possibility is going to keep you out of much of the danger, and should you still fall prey to the Double Wrist Lock/Kimura, well, you need look no further than last week’s post (Catch Wrestling Kimura Killer Recounter) to give you some options for getting out of that mess.

For those of you who never saw the throw that got Mr. Schultz disqualified, you might want to check out the video below:

And for those of you who want a little bit more detail on how to use the Kimura Throw, or Double Wrist Lock Takedown, fear not, we covered that years ago with Coach Billy Robinson and Jake Shannon.

How to Street Fight 101

A slight departure from the beaten path here at Damage Control MMA, we are proud to share with you our very first, Street Fighting Style video.

Actually, Street Fighting is more the general arena where you might use these types of tools. The art is known as Panantukan or Philippine Style Boxing.

How Different is MMA from Street Fighting?

I say slight departure, and yet, the way Guru Sullivan taught, was very familiar and easy to assimilate into the Boxing, MMA, CSW, and Muay Thai fighting methods that we specialize in. And it makes sense when you think about it. I mean, how much different is putting your fist on someone’s chin than putting your finger into their eye from a purely mechanical standpoint. Both take timing, set up and placement. But aside from that if I can punch you, I can put my finger in your eye. If I can grab your head for a Muay Thai Style Clinch, I can grab a fist full of hair and yank your head down for a knee. If I can catch you with an inside leg kick, a slight change of angle and I’m kicking a field goal with two balls and splitting the uprights.

Martial Arts or Concealed Carry?

As was discussed in our article “I Know Smith and Wesson” the debate over the practical merits of Martial Arts in a world filled with Concealed Carry Permits is never ending and continues to rage on. But I still believe that those of us with Martial Skill will always have more options and more flexibility (in terms of the force continuum) than those who simply go out and buy a gun. And no one said that you can’t learn how to be a weapon as well as be an expert at using one.

Walking The Dog… A Case Study In Time To Deployment

But take a recent experience of my own as an example. As a proud new owner of a rescued Dog, I was taking him out for our nightly walk. It was late, I had just finished up teaching at the gym. I came home, showered, grabbed some chow and by the time we hit the pavement it was about 11:30 pm. About half way through our walk we turned a corner and BAM!!! 5 or so Belgian Manlinois type dogs charged us from out of the darkness. They were off leash and before I could think one launched itself at my new pup, mouth gaping, fangs glinting in the moonlight. I was carrying pepper spray, a tactical flashlight and all manner of other types of defensive gear, but there was no time to deploy any of it.

Instead, without hesitation, a Muay Thai Teep came flying from my right leg, catching the lunging canine mid air and sending him 3 feed sideways. After deflecting the malicious mut, Boone Dog (my Boxer) and I found ourselves surrounded by 4 other dogs. There was no escape route. But by this time I was able to grasp the pepper spray that was in the front pocket of my hoodie. I spun and circled somehow keeping the other dogs at bay when finally their owner lumbered over from his yard across the street and helped to get a handle on the situation.

A commenter on the Smith and Wesson post claimed to be able to draw and fire his sub compact 9 mm in under 1 second. If he were in my place we’d be talking about a dead dog or two, perhaps some collateral damage, and some face time with the local sheriff’s department. As it was, no one was injured in the situation, not even the dog. I used more of a push kick than one designed to injure. We all walked away and went home that night. The only casualty was my pair of soiled tighty whities and my neighbors lawn which received a free fertilization from Boone who also felt the immediate urge to empty his bowels.

The Flexibility of Martial Skill

The point is, Martial Arts still have a very practical and important role to play in defensive tactics and street self defense. Whether you train in arts designed specifically for this purpose or those with more “sport” orientation, they will all contribute to better coordination, timing, distance, awareness, and fighting spirit. What I liked about Guru Sullivan’s training methods were how they used training tools like the focus mitts, something we use in Muay Thai, MMA and CSW on a daily basis to incorporate things like head butts and sweeps. I liked how the Panantukan used techniques we were already familiar with like “The Bob” as a head butt. Instead of having to learn something completely new, we simply applied something we were already used to in a slightly different way. Instead of simply dodging a punch, we were now, dodging a punch and “accidentally” clipping our opponent in the face with the top of our heads. It was a ton of fun and very empowering to think that we already had a solid foundation for self defense, we just needed to start thinking about it in a different way.

Don’t believe me? Check out this clip of some Submission Grappling being applied in a street altercation.

So if you’re looking to learn more about how to take your MMA Tool Set on to the mean streets, be sure to visit www.ErikPaulson.com and check out the Panantukan DVD’s by Guru Sullivan and let them know the guys from DamageControlMMA sent you.

MMA Techniques: The Mat Wars Saga Episode 1

The Back Story

There is an arms race taking place, an on going struggle that began in the not so distant but aging past, in a garage, in a galaxy… well, it was in our galaxy but those times and places now feel, far, far away.

Two forces, Kiser and Yamasaki met on the mats of one of Professor Pedro Sauer’s old academies as Kiser’s private lesson with Khuen Khru Bernales ened and mine began. From that point on, we would be competing for the attention of our instructor, and trying to best each other whenever and wherever our paths crossed.

Since that time, the struggles continue, with one having the upper hand for months and even years at a time before the tide of battle would change and the playing field would again be leveled. Something we’ve alluded to before in posts such as our “Arm Triangle and Kimura Counter” which is a small glimpse into the arms race and ever evolving counter measures that Kiser and I will forever be interlocked.

Every week, new lines are drawn, scores are settled and new feuds born. Over time, even new Factions have arisen. Some have fallen and been lost to time, but others have taken root and begun to grow strong. I could go on forever about the counters and re-counters employed, sought out and developed between Kiser’s evil empire and Yamasaki’s solo Resistance, but that will have to wait until another time. For this hour, belongs to the new clan, the rising power, the Wiggins Faction.

He and his followers have begun a full scale assault on the happy and peace loving members of the Mushin Self Defense gym. Their calling card… The Arm Bar. I invite you to come along as I fumble my way through the mine field of Wiggarian Arm Bars, and attempt to mount a counter offensive through preventative measures, escape systems and counterfuge.

The purpose of this on going series of articles (The Mat Wars Saga) is two fold. One, to share a little more of our own personal world with our DCMMA friends and family, and two to share and further develop my own MMA problem solving methodology (and not necessarily in that order).

The problem solving methodology is a work in progress. I by no means claim any expertise in that department and am myself still trying to improve and simplify the process. I hope by sharing it, I will both clarify my own thought process as well as learn from your comments and experiences.

I often say, “THAT your technique failed is of little to no importance. HOW it failed, the specifics of where arms were placed, hands were positioned, hips were angled, feet were moving, etc. is of ultimate importance. Therein lies the body of evidence that will lead us to finding what killed our technique.” It’s a game of MMA CSI.

This is one piece of the problem solving methodology. Taking many snap shots at the scene of the crime. And make no bones about it, for a move to not work the way you would have liked, is indeed a crime.

We will use the Mat Wars Saga as a case study in these methods. Starting with the on going Crime Scene Investigation, the Wiggarian Arm Bar. This Serial criminal comes in many shapes and sizes, and attacks from many different angles. But as a starting point we will be investigating perhaps the most sinister variation of them all. The Kimura Set Up From Guard.

I have collected the necessary evidence in a series of snap shots. And it’s funny to mention and include these as I recall years ago, hearing one of my instructors defending a move that was being questioned with the following statement. “No move is 100% all the time. Anytime you take a snap shot of a technique, you can point out a number of ways to pick it apart.” We’ll that just what I intend to do.

Below is a re-enactment of Joe’s Crime. Prosecuting him for count two “Trying to tap out his own instructor” will be something we address at another time.

Joe Wiggins starts his evil and malicious crime (the Arm Bar) from Closed Guard

He then opens his guard and violently turns to his left side, which allows him to place his opponent's right hand on the mat and obtain wrist control

Here Joe locks up the Kimura but in the process, allows his left leg to slide downward until it hits the mat and invites you to step over and begin to pass his guard in a counter clockwise direction.

Kensei obliges Joe's invitation and begins to pass Joe's left shin across his midsection. Keep in mind that the threat of being finished by the Kimura itself is ever present.

As Kensei moves to finalize the pass (his motion and direction of force is shown here in green), Mr. Wiggins simultaneously moves his hips in the opposite direction (shown here in red, a clockwise direction of force), which gives him space and the potential for a parallel body alignment with Kensei. This is an important detail as at this juncture, Mr. Wiggins has 4 simultaneous options. 1. Finish The Kimura 2. Utilize Parallel Body alignment to execute the Kimura Sweep and finish with the Kimura 3. Execute the redundant Kimura Sweep and finish with the stereotypical Arm Bar or 4. Move directly to a Quarter Back Mounted Arm Bar

I generally fight to maintain my base and top position which usually persuades Joe to take option 4. To do this he immediately inserts his left shin in front of Kensei's left arm.

He then places his right leg over Kensei's head and inserts his right foot into Kensei's right hip. The whole while Joe maintains a T Wrap/Figure 4 Grip on Kensei's right forearm.

Joe finalizes the Arm Bar by using his hips to break Kensei's grip and extend Kensei's arm. In this case the direction of force on Kensei's arm is along the mat and towards Joe's head.

If Kensei is able to power his arm back in to defend the Arm Bar, Joe simply transitions to a Kimura. Kensei can look to his left and defend the Kimura by summersaulting over his right shoulder but then he runs straight into the stereotypical Arm Bar and is finished from there.

You’ve seen the evidence, you’ve had a chance to study the crime scene. Now let’s take a moment and discuss the problem solving methodology.

The Problem Solving Methodology

The problem solving methodology is two fold. I try to address said problems from both a technical and a tactical vantage point. The CSI approach is more on the technical level. It involves looking at the mechanics of the technique in question and then, countering the technique with other techniques or simply dismantling the technique by means of negating one or more of the necessary mechanics.

On a Tactical level we look at paradigm shifts. Sometimes, you get so stumped trying to untangle the limbs and levers, the weights and pulleys of a technique that you basically hit a dead end. A mental block if you will. When I experience these I usually try and attack the problem at the tactical level. That is, to look at the problem itself from a completely different vantage point.

Take for example this Wiggarian Arm Bar from a Kimura Set Up. I have attempted to break it down and disassemble it from a technical level, with limited success for months now. Frustrated at this progress or lack thereof, I’ve now begun to approach the problem at a tactical level. I try not to put myself in positions where Joe can set up his heinous technique in the first place, but as with many things, it’s a lot easier said than done. As a result, I’ve recently begun to postulate a new idea.

By understanding how Joe sets up his damned Arm Bar at a technical level, and by looking at the problem from a tactical vantage point, I’ve been able to decipher that his set up is based on a brilliant strategy. He sets his technique up and finishes it based on movements from his opponents that follow fundamental, but predictable predispositions. You see, if you’ve had any instruction in guard work at all, you are going to be predisposed to eventually attempting to pass guard whenever you’re caught in it. This is how Joe finishes. He will set up the arm bar from within the guard, but it’s the act of you passing that enables him to finalize it. As a result, he will actively create opportunities for you to pass and in doing so tighten the noose around your own neck. Tricky bastard!

Thus, I am led to believe, that if I do the opposite of what is expected, that is, once the arm bar is set via the Kimura Set Up, I move into his guard, I can stall and perhaps even completely demise his ability to finalize the arm bar or at least this iteration of his arm bar. I will call this the “Chinese Finger Trap Defense”.

Tune in to the next episode of the Mat Wars Saga to find out how it goes.

I also invite you to turn in your own solutions to this problem, and eventually your own Technique Failures for us to CSI and problem solve. Together, we can catch the bad guys and rescue your technique.

Now the challenge, for both you and me is to apply these same problem solving methodologies to the challenges that face us in our daily lives, at work, at play, in the home as well as on the mats. It’s the Jiu-jitsu of Life as my cousin would so aptly put it. The most important Jiu-jitsu of all.