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MMA Training Beyond Your Own Horizons

Recently Coach Kiser and I had an old friend stop by for some mitt work and conditioning for an upcoming fight he had here in Utah.

That friend was none other than TUF Contestant and Pit Bull Attack Survivor, Kyacey Uscola.

Between training sessions, Kyacey shared with us some of his favorite tricks he’s picked up during his time out in Sacramento while training with Urijah Faber and Team Alpha Male.

I always enjoy the opportunity to see what’s going on in other parts of the MMA world, especially when they come from teams whos style has as much contrast to our own as Team Alpha Male’s does.

It’s always good to come in contact with new ideas.

Whether you choose to adopt them in their original form as we have (for the most part) with the “Sixes” circuit that we picked up fom former Team Quest Member and Extreme Couture coach Dennis Davis (Kiser replaced the Olympic Bar with Kettle Bells), or to modify them to suit your needs is up to you.

You may even decide to completely avoid the exercises, techniques and tactics you see being used in other camps. But even then, you do so with the benefit of knowing what’s going on beyond your own horizons, and what others are doing to prepare for a battle they may some day wage with you.

At any rate, I urge you to look beyond your own MMA horizons and explore other ideas and possibilities.

Until next time… Happy Hunting!

CSW, CACC, BJJ, MMA Training, Oh my!

To say it’s been a busy couple of months would be an understatement.

Coach Kiser and I have been racing from one place to the next to train with some of the World’s Greatest Instructors so that we can bring you the absolute best in MMA technique, tactics and training.

Below is a brief overview of our adventures over the last few months.

Kiser and Yamasaki batte on the mat yet again.

Two friends battling it out and pushing each other yet again, at the 2010 Utah Erik Paulson Seminar.

Kiser: Erik Paulson 2010 CSW Seminar (Salt Lake City, Utah) – A huge success. The biggest seminar we’ve ever hosted. The highlight of the seminar for me was that Yamasaki and I got to see our student Shane promote to coach level 1 in CSW. Shane has been training with us for about 6 years. During that time he has attended all of the Erik Paulson seminars and traveled to 3 CSW camps. He is the first student of the Kiser Yamasaki Duo to get a coaching certification straight from Erik Paulson.

The seminar was a total blast.

Erik Paulson knows how to make training fun and productive at the same time.

I picked up some new tricks, got in a lot of rolling and shot a new segment for Damage Control MMA.

Yamasaki: I have to agree with Kiser 100% on this one. We’ve worked so hard to build a CSW coach with the skills, and personal qualities that Shane displays. Many others have come and gone, during the time that Shane has been with us, but he has stayed the course and worked equally as hard to be a qualified and respectable representative of CSW and of the Mushin Self Defense gym.

I have to admit however, that another one of the highlights was to be able to work with my best friend, Coach Kiser and enjoy the Seminar as a couple of students, just like everybody else.

Kiser: Billy Robinson Catch As Catch Can Seminar (Salt Lake City, Utah) –

This was one of the most significant “game changers” that I have ever experienced.


So much time and attention was spent on the basics of Catch Wrestling which didn’t feel basic to me because the art is so different from BJJ.
Kiser and Yamasaki working referee position at the CACC Book Photo Shoot.

Kiser and Yamasaki working referee position at the CACC Certification Course with Jake Shannon and Coach Billy Robinson.

I felt my game getting better by the minute in Billy’s
presence. Not only is he one of the most effective instructors I have worked with, he is also one of the greatest characters.

Yamasaki: Coach Robinson continues to impress me with his wealth of knowledge and inspiration.

Every time I see him it’s like getting an energy recharge in terms of my passion for the Martial Arts. If he can be so enthusiastic and excited about the Martial Arts after as many years of teaching and fighting, there must be many, many more great times in store on my journey!

We worked on those little things, so easily incorporated, so subtle, but have immediate and profound positive effects on your grappling game.

Kiser: Erik Paulson CSW Camp 2010 (Fullerton, California) – This camp continued to re-enforce the same mantra that came from Billy. Basics basics basics.

Kiser with Cub Swanson after a hard roll at the 2010 CSW Camp

Kiser with Cub Swanson after a hard roll at the 2010 CSW Camp

Good positioning, posture, stance, footwork etc. I have been to every single CSW camp since the birth of the organization and this was
my favorite! The pace was perfect and the coaches were top notch.

Yamasaki:

Camp was no joke this year. Plenty of hard training and intensive instruction. Again I will echo Kiser’s synopsis of the stress on the Basics. And I loved it.

Boiled down, easy to digest and implement BASICS! Basics and fundamentals that make your game so strong and so internally sound that it makes it difficult for any opponent to find a point of entry. Wonderful, wonderful experience, technique and advise from some of my favorite Instructors in the game.
Chris shows off his souvenir from CSW Fighter Camp. A proper black eye.

Chris shows off his souvenir from CSW Fighter Camp. A proper black eye.

Especially rewarding to me was finally starting to get a handle on the Boxing Method presented by Coach Marvin Cook. I’ve been studying his approach to Boxing for the last 3 years and found it very difficult to understand as it seemed to be completely opposed to the method I had adopted and come to love from Professor Leonard Trigg. But after being open minded and truly giving it a fair shake I finally felt like I understood what Coach Cook was presenting. Rather than being opposed to Professor Trigg’s Method, it was actually and completely complementary. It was the second half to the same coin.

What I discovered was that when your opponent counters the style the Professor Trigg has taught me, openings for Coach Cook’s style began to open up, and vice versa.

It was such a great feeling to consolidate the genius of these two Pugilistic Masters.

On top of all that, I was able to vanquish the Evil Wolf Within me and send him home, tapped out and demolished.

Round two with my baser self goes to the better side of me. And I am very proud of that accomplishment.

Kiser: Catch photo shoot (Salt Lake City, Utah) –

Our friend Jake Shannon is putting together a Catch Wrestling History and Technique Book

and picked Jake Paul, Brian Yamasaki and myself to be the models for the instructional portion of the book.
Jake Paul and Coach Kiser demonstrating the basic CACC Ready Stance.

Jake Paul and Coach Kiser demonstrating the basic CACC Ready Stance.

I love doing this kind of work so needless to say I had a great time hanging with my friends and doing the photos for Jake.

Yamasaki: What an experience.

Kiser got hypnotized by Jake Shannon, got regressed between lighting adjustments for the photos and discovered some deep and hidden self revelations. No Joke!

Jake Paul learned things he shouldn’t have by hanging out in a CACC gym, that’s all we need is a professional fighter with super human strength walking around with nasty new Catch tricks. I’m going to be steering clear of him on the mats for sure lol.

Kiser: Ricardo “ICA” Medina Half Guard seminar (West Valley, Utah) – My first time training with Ica and it was anything but basic. Half guard and X-guard for an entire day. I partnered up with my friend Mike Stidham and did everything I could to improve these two unique positions.

Kiser with Ica Medina and Mike Stidham

Kiser with Ica Medina and Mike Stidham

The moves were unorthodox for my game. Despite the complexity of the techniques I felt like I was starting to get the hang of it thanks to the detailed instruction that Ica was giving us. I couldn’t wait to get to the gym and try some of this stuff out.

The techniques actually worked better than I expected. I was sweeping guys left and right!

The Frontiers of Submission

In the modern game of submission grappling it seems as though new rules are being written, old rules are being revised or recounted, and sometimes even broken at a break neck pace.

At times this leads to great leaps in the progress of the art and at others, great disasters. And there are still other instances, where these changes in conventional thinking simply further a particular strain of the overall submission fighting game. For instance, there are many techniques and tactics that work well within the confines of submission grappling, but not as well when applied in the area of Mixed Martial Arts. Even within MMA, there are rule structures (soccer kicking/kneeing the head of a downed fighter) and environments (cage vs ring vs open mat) that will foster the development and favoritism of differing methods.

The object of this article isn’t to pass judgment or to push an agenda (stick to the basics vs. explore the frontiers of possibility). I think there is great value in both areas of study. The object of this article is simply to compile some material I’ve found interesting and explain why I feel it has some merit.

I’ve found similar types of articles on other sites, though their subjects are a lot more focused. To this day, I believe that the Darce/Brabo study and the “No Posture Guard Pass” articles on www.aesopian.com are some of the most ground breaking compilations on the internet.

So lets get down to the analysis and explanation.

The first article, the “Brabo Choke Homework” caught my attention because it showed so many different angles and set up possibilities for this one type of choke. It’s funny because I am horrible at it. Despite all the research and information available though articles like this as well as first hand personal accounts from my own, very qualified instructors, I swear, I can’t remember the last time I was even close with one of these arm chokes.

I want to say it’s because I have short arms but the truth is more likely that I am an epically slow learner and not that bright to begin with.

But what I took away from this article was a realization that paired with something I heard Sensei Erik Paulson once say concerning triangling with the legs.

“So long as you have an arm and an leg between…” you’ve got a triangle choke. This article made me realize this to a much broader and higher degree.

Moving on to the second article, The No Posture Pass series. I thought this to be very interesting. For me, I think it would be dangerous to try this pass as a first option. I much prefer to establish and maintain solid posture from within the guard. But that doesn’t mean that I have to turn my nose up to something like this. In fact, there are plenty of times when my opponents or training partners are skilled to a degree that I am unable to regain or establish posture in the first place.

This is where I give ideas like the No Posture Pass series, their due. They have a place in my game as a last resort or plan B. I haven’t necessarily had that much success with this series either. But to be honest, I haven’t worked on it that much either. I put my effort into keeping, regaining and maintaining posture. But I like knowing that there is another route I can take if things don’t go the way I plan.

I like to keep series like this in my back pocket for rainy days. They’re like building a motorcycle in your garage on the weekends.

You work on them, piece by piece, now and again, when you have a moment of free time. You never know. One day, you just may be riding that bad boy right out of a nasty situation.

Recently I’ve found some new food for thought at www.jiujitsushare.com

The Kimura and Straight Arm Bar from within guard from Phil Migliarese and Jiujitsumatrix.com. This is another technique that I just don’t ever see myself “going for” when given a choice. But, as I’ve said before, there have been numerous times where I’ve found myself without a choice. Where a skilled BJJ Black Belt has set me up and put both my arms to one side of his body, or God forbid, I made a mistake and put them there myself.

When my opponent is all over me and simply will not let me get my arm back over to the other side. Why not go for a Kimura? If you are unable to get your arm back into position, your opponent’s probably going to take your back anyway. At least this way you might be able to put him in a reactive mindset and possibly on the defensive.

I like these types of clips because they are unorthodox and can catch your opponent off guard.

The challenge is really in finding how they fit into your personal game.

I like this technique and those like it because they give you a ray of hope, just when things are at their darkest. Sometimes you might even be terrible at pulling them off, which more times than not, is how I roll.

But so long as you have something to pull off, you’ve got a glimmer of hope. You’re not just sitting there waiting for your back to be taken.

The Kimura with your legs from bottom Side Cross:

This is craziness. And I Love it! This one is so far out there that I haven’t even drilled or begun to try to figure it out for myself. But I still really enjoy the clip.

What I like most about it is that it dares to think of the possibilities and challenge the limits. It looks at the essence of a submission hold and then asks, what tools do I have at my disposal to make this work?

And that to me is what is most valuable about this clip. If you can think that way about a Kimura, you can think that way about any submission using any available machinery to get the job done.

And finally, Ryan Hall’s 50/50 Guard and No Hands Leg Lock: http://pageman.multiply.com/video/item/109/ADCC_Verbal_Submission_via_5050_position_Ryan_Hall_Vs._Rafael_Gordinho_Correa

I’ll be honest, when I started hearing about this new thing, the 50/50 Guard, I had to learn more. But once I got a look at it, I have to admit, I was a little disappointed. It just looked like a plain old, leg lock war to me. Nothing out of the ordinary, or exceptional about it. It just looked like a position I’ve seen plenty of times before and worked within myself over the years.

But once I saw Ryan ripping knees apart without so much as hooking a heel, I took a second look.

This was what sparked my imagination. Being so technical with the isolation mechanics of a lock that you could submit or even break someone without even putting on the final touches. It inspired me to look at all my submissions in the same way and to begin the refining process, an over hall, of my submission arsenal if you will.

The first clip or Mr. Hall reminded me of Imanari’s iconic leg Kimura, except that Ryan’s was inverted/reverse but essentially the same mechanics were utilized to effect torque on the knee.

I’d love to see the clips that have inspired you guys or made you think again about your game or a technique in your repertoire. Please post them here and share.

I’ve shown you mine, it’s time to show me yours. It’s alright… I’m a Doctor.

The Half Guard and Guardless Guillotine Chokes

For the next few weeks we will be focusing on the Guillotine Choke. I’ve had more changes of opinion concerning this technique than perhaps any other. I’ve gone from simply noting it as a possible option/threat, to considering it a total asset, back to being casually aware of it and then back to thinking that it’s the cat’s meow. No other move has had the ability to reinvent itself to me as the Guillotine.

It’s such a simple move but just when you think you’ve got it pegged you come across a different variation, a small tweak, a different way of using it. It’s like the duct tape of submission holds. And here is a real beauty demonstrated by my good friend and CSW coach, Brandon Kiser.

I’d like to note a couple things here. You will often find us demonstrating or sharing unconventional techniques on this site and our youtube profile (www.youtube.com/TakingItToTheMMAT). This is not because we value the unconventional approach more than the conventional. It is not because we think these techniques are any better or higher percentage than the basics. Our position is that our viewers should be training under qualified instructors who should be more than capable of presenting and teaching the basics and traditional methods. And there are plenty of resources where more information can be found concerning these.

Our hope is that we can share some ideas that may not be so readily available and or give our viewers food for thought concerning possibilities they may not have otherwise considered.