Thursday, 9 October 2008

Dealing with the Sprawl and Brawl

The Sprawl and Brawl (SaB) tactic is one that is basically designed for the striker. If a striker knows that he would get dominated on the ground by his opponent, then what is it worth for him to try and start ground fighting. By keeping the fight standing through well timed and placed strikes and good sprawl technique, the striker may be able to keep the fight in his comfort zone.

As for the grappler however, what must you then do, how do you deal with the SaB so as to try and keep the fight where you want it to be.

Firstly, in order to get the fight to the floor, it has to be done via a clinch of some kind and then quick work on your behalf before your opponent tries to wriggle out of it. When your opponent starts striking via an attempted takedown or some other reason, KEEP YOU HANDS UP. This is the first rule. Keep you hands up and guard yourself, then when you feel your opponent is close enough throw your arms around him, clinch, holding him tight and go for your takedown. Once you have this clinch position try not to let go until you have your opponent on the floor, be cautious for knee strikes or short sharp elbows.

Tip - If you are always working for a takedown from the clinch, it is rare that your opponent will try these strikes as he will be too busy defending the takedown so keep working and don’t use the opportunity to rest.

Secondly, feint the shoot. Your opponent being a striker by nature will have no doubt practised his sprawls and will be waiting to use them if necessary, so once you go for the shoot, he shall instinctively sprawl and try and stay on his feet. If he does not sprawl, you know that your feint was not convincing enough. By feinting a shoot (in a manner that makes your opponent believe it is a real one), you make your opponent react by sprawling. Once he does this and his body drops, as quickly as possible jump on his back. It’s important again from this position not to rest. Your opponent will either be lying on his torso or dropped on to a knee or two trying to get up, so work quickly to gain a good ground position with your opponent under you.

Lastly, strike yourself. As an MMA fighter, hopefully (if you’re a grappler), you would have still practised your strikes and have become confident enough to use them. Do not go for the shoot straight away. That’s probably what your opponent expects you to do as a grappler so guard well, be cautious and strike when able to. The Gonzaga VS Cro Cop fight is a great example of this. The last thing which Cro Cop expected Gonzaga to do was to throw a high kick, but he did, caught Mirko off guard and won in spectacular fashion.

The key to beating the SaB is to think smart. As a grappler who is trying to take the fight to the floor, by immediately trying to take your opponent down you are doing exactly what is expected off you and it is easily countered. Use timing and thought when caught in this type of fight and hopefully you will come out on top.


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Are MMA Fighters Predictable
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How to Sprawl for Fighting and Training

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Bob Patterson said...

Hey that's a good post! How about one for us strikers who are not so good with grappling?

My old TKD school occasionally practiced a sprawl drill but it was not enough.


MARKS said...

BOB PATTERSON - Thanks for your comment. I shall think of an article for the strikers then. All the best.

Lori O'Connell said...

Very good advice. Especially about striking yourself. My trainer constantly reinforces the idea of striking your way into the clinch.

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