Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Tai Otoshi Defence to the Clinch

Being caught in the clinch can be one of the worst places to be during a fight. If someone knows what to do when clinching there opponent it can sometimes be worse than if that opponent was on the floor with kicks coming towards them.

Learning a few basic clinch defences which are effective should definitely be a must for all martial artists, but against experienced clinchers such as Mauy Thai fighters these basic defences may not work.

One defence which has been tried and tested is the Tai Otoshi defence to the clinch. The advantage this escape has is that it is not very commonly seen and your opponent may not expect it. Also you use momentum and speed to break the clinch hold, which can be very powerful when combined and if performed correctly and the Tai Otoshi defence will leave you in the dominant position with your opponent on the floor in front of you.

(Note – The following is intended for those who are familiar and comfortable performing Tai OToshi. If you are unfamiliar with the throw, please learn it first before attempting this clinch defence. There are many useful Internet sites with information about it)

- Your opponent has cupped his hands around your head in the effort of trying to pull you downwards for his/her knee strikes,
- With your left hand you grip his/her right forearm and with your right hand you place it below his/her left forearm close to the elbow,
- You swing your left foot counter clockwise around your own body, placing it close to your opponents left foot, and then extend your right leg to the side in order to drop into the Tai Otoshi position, (Tip – try to keep your hips facing your opponent as much as possible until you actually drop your body weight)
- As you drop your weight for Tai Otoshi you twist your hips and body ferociously whilst pulling with your left hand and pushing up with your right.

The momentum of the twist, combined with the push and pull of your hands and the drop of your weight should be efficient enough to throw your opponent. As with a normal Tai Otoshi, the lower you drop your weight and extend your right leg, the better chance you have of throwing your opponent and the more powerful the throw is. Your opponent, trying and pull your head down may aid in doing this.

If the throw is not pulled off, hopefully at least you should have broken your opponents clinch hold, in which you should quickly resume your guard in order to carry on fighting.

It must be understood that there is never a guarantee that any technique will work, but with practise, at least there is always a better chance than without practise.


Marks

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Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Dan Grading Preparation

To some the Dan grade in any martial arts style is a significant step towards becoming a proficient marital artist. To others it is seen as just another belt and should not be given any more relevance over other colours.

What ever way you look at it, the black belt level of first Dan is seen by people with no martial arts experience, as a level where the practitioner should be of a certain decent standard, and is probably the grading where all your family, friends, girlfriends, boyfriends etc are going to be watching and because of this I think it is necessary to prepare hard for it.

Generally there are two type of Dan grading in the different martial art styles. A theory grading and a contest grading, or maybe if your unfortunate enough, you get both.

For the theory grading, you will probably be asked to demonstrate a repertoire of basic techniques, kata, grappling techniques on the ground, stand up self defence techniques or whatever else depending on your style. Because of this, learning the names of each technique is necessary. To many times at gradings, people get stumped when asked to perform something, simply because they don’t know the name. Also practise the techniques that you KNOW ARE GOING TO BE REQUIRED OF YOU. There’s no point practising what you will not need. What you are practising in class for the three or four months prior to the test are what you are likely to be tested on so study them well.

For the contest type grading you shall have to fight in a tournament or spar with a certain number of people. Kyokushin fighters have gradings where they have to spar with 50, 100 or more people one after the other without rest. Grappling Dan gradings also consist of tournaments where a certain amount of wins have to be obtained. For these types of gradings, it would be worth you preparing yourself well. To be in tip top shape for it, start your preparation at least three months before. Eat the correct foods, cut the fried food and junk. Perform cardiovascular training at least four times a week to boost your stamina. Workout with weights to condition and strengthen your muscles. Above all, do plenty of hard sparring. Do this until about two weeks prior to the grading in which after you should concentrate on sparring and workouts which are not as hard but enough to get a good sweat. This is to ensure that you go into the grading with full strength and no injuries.

As mentioned, if you are unfortunate to perform both types of grading, you will have to do all of the above. Preparation is the key with everything. If you prepare well, you shall have no problems on the day. Train hard and train with one thought in mind. To succeed.


Marks

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Saturday, 26 April 2008

Uchi Mata for MMA

Through my Judo training during the years I have always tried to think how Judo throws can be adapted for MMA. Since Gi's are not usually used for MMA fighting I always think about different grips for different throws and when they should be used, (for offence or counter).

The following clip shows Karo Parisyan adapting Uchi Mata, a very powerful throw used in Judo, for MMA and as a counter to a very popular MMA takedown. Enjoy.



Marks

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Friday, 25 April 2008

Blindfolded Grappling

One time at a Judo competition I just finished one fight and was preparing for my next. While I was sipping on my water I watched a few fights that where happening and noticed a fight where one of the fighters was blind. The ref guided the blind person to his opponent and they started the fight already holding each other. My initial reaction was that the blind person was going to get easily beaten.

It turned out that the blind person won the fight via an armbar and went on to do quite well. I was shocked, and after the tournament when most of the fighters where chatting, I went up to him, congratulated him on his success and naively asked how he trained because of his blindness.

He went on to explain that because he can not see, he has been forced to use his other senses. He told me that he relies on hearing and sensitivity.

Eager to understand what he meant, next time a went to Judo training, I told my teacher about it. He told me that many times he used to train with a blindfold on and encouraged us to also do it from time to time.

When we did train with a blindfold on, we learnt that you become extra aware of your,
Hearing - By listening to your opponents breathing pattern to try and determine when he is about to attempt a technique,
Your opponent’s grip - By becoming aware of how your opponent is gripping you (behind the head, holding near your shoulder etc) you think about what techniques can be attempted and what can not.
Your opponent’s movements – Your sensitivity to your opponent’s movements become clearer and you learn to react to your opponent’s movements appropriately.

With time, and by combining all of the above you are able to feel which attacks and counters you should apply, and also when to apply them. It is very easy to relay heavily on the eyes and forget about our other senses. It is something that everyone does, but sometimes are eyes miss things that could have been captured by our other senses, and for this reason blindfolded grappling is highly advised from time to time.


Marks

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Thursday, 24 April 2008

Yoga for the Martial Arts

Flexibility, core strength and endurance are probably the three main attributes a good martial artists should have. For striking and grappling, they are needed to ensure that a basic foundation for fighting can be achieved. Timing, distance, speed, agility and other secondary attributes, can all be worked as long as the three primary ones are obtained.

The following clips show one of Agustin Aguerreberry, a yoga practitioner for seven years showing some advanced yoga techniques and positions and one of legendary MMA fighter, Royce Gracie sparring.




When viewed, it is clear how yoga and not just grappling, but martial arts are easily adaptable with each other.

Everyone knows that being flexible is a must for martial arts. The high kicks, suppleness of the lower back and waist when punching and evading blows, being able to scramble and roll when ground fighting, and having the flexibility to apply certain submissions such as the triangle choke all require flexibility in the body and yoga certainly proves it offers this.

When fighting, you need to be able to have the cardiovascular stamina and muscle stamina to carry on fighting even when tired. Failure to do this could lead to defeat. The yoga positions demonstrated require this type of strength and stamina so this ties in well with the martial artists needs.

But the main similarity which I think is shown with the two videos is the relaxed state of both Agustin and Royce. Royce is seen to be very relaxed, almost as if playing with a child, and Agustin demonstrates the same relaxation and concentration on breathing when flowing through each of his movements. This relaxation can aid in all of the main attributes for the martial arts. When tense you are not as flexible and agile as you can be, you easily spend all of your endurance and stamina and you are not able to think clearly as you would like.

I have never done a day of yoga in my life, but by what I see in these two videos is that yoga can very beneficial for martial artists. If anyone has any experiences with yoga and martial arts, we would love to hear from you and weather the two compliment each other.


Marks

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Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Body Blows for Strikers

If you watch most MMA or boxing fights you will notice that the majority of punches are aimed towards the head area. Obviously this is because a good shot to the head will knock your opponent out and end the fight. But a good shot to the body could be just as effective if not more.

Bas Rutten is a firm believer in the liver punch. He has used it many times to gain victories in his fights. The pain which you FEEL when hit to the liver can be so bad, it can make you curl up into a ball on the floor. Notice how the word “feel” is highlighted. When knocked out through a head shot, you don’t feel the blow long enough to feel the pain. You just wake up moments later to be told that you’ve lost the fight. When hit to the body you feel the pain since you’re not unconscious.

Apart from the liver there is anywhere along your centre line from the bottom of your throat to the top of your pelvis, which includes the solar plexus. If hit to this area hard, you may have trouble breathing which could cause you to start panicking, and lose all sight of the bad situation you are in. This gives your opponent enough time and a great opportunity to finish the fight.

Then there are the vulnerable ribs. If you manage to land a shot to your opponents ribs hard enough, you could bruise them or even break them. If this happens your opponent will find it difficult to breath and move in any direction. Also he/she may concentrate so hard in defending there hurt ribs, they may leave themselves open to a head shot. If the ribs are broken, the ref may be forced to stop the fight gaining you the victory.

Body shots should not be attempted constantly, as your opponent will soon discover your number one way of attacking and shall counter as needed. They should be used in combination with head shots and leg shots. Many fighters cover there head area too much and neglect there body. There are great opportunities to many targets on your opponents midsection for you to land heavy blows and this should be practised constantly and always kept in mind in the course of a sparring session, so in competition it becomes second nature.


Marks

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Monday, 21 April 2008

UFC 83 Review

UFC 83 saw some great fights, including a victorious win for Canadian sensation Georges St Pierre over Matt Serra.

Lasting just under two rounds, from the opening bell it was clear that GSP wanted to take the fight to the floor, which he did by scoring with a takedown as soon as the two fighters both took the centre of the ring. On the floor most of the fight stayed, apart from brief stand-up encounters where both fighters attempted superman punches and GSP as also tried to score with a spinning kick, which is custom with him.

Whilst on the ground GSP dominated with amazing passing through Serra’s guard, some hard ground and pound and some vicious body knees. Using these knees just before the end of round 2 GSP landed continuously with them and the ref was forced to stop the match, giving the Canadian the victory.

Also in the night Rich Franklin showed why he is still a threat in his weight division by gaining a victory over Travis Lutter. Micheal Bisping completely out struck Charles McCarthy breaking through his guard to find his head with knees and Nathan Quarry proved that he can be viscous with his leg kicks beating Kalib Starnes as if it was a sparring session for him.

Its great to see with each UFC and any other MMA event that these fighters just keep getting better. There conditioning continues to improve, technically they are becoming great all rounded martial artists and combined with dazzling speed and power gained through many gruelling hours in the gym, these MMA fighters are proving that they are the dominant breed of fighters in the world today.


Marks

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Thursday, 17 April 2008

Iron Mike Tyson

Iron Mike Tyson was in some peoples opinions the greatest boxer to ever step into the ring. His training was rigorous, unique and consistent. Mike Tyson’s record is one of the most amazing in boxing. Most of his fights went barely a few round without him gaining victory through a knockout.

Lets examine his fighting style below from some of his fights…

Firstly what you may notice is his punching power. Well if you examine his punches you will see that Tyson clearly makes use of his body, twisting his hips and shoulders when he punches. His back foot heel also comes off the floor and twists with his body, whilst, along with his amazing muscular strength obtained through weight training, he is able to deliver blows which destroy his opponents.

Then there is his stalking. Sometimes from the opening bell, Tyson rushes his opponents with punches, and when they move away, (through themselves or by his power blows) he stalks his opponents thick and fast, continuing with punches which ever direction they move until he knocks them down.

His ability as a skilled boxer is also displayed wonderfully. Many people think Iron Mike is just a street type of brawler but he clearly shows this is just not the case. His skills and speed in defence as a heavyweight has been matched by only a few in history. His amazing bob and weaving is displayed best against Michael Johnson. After successfully “peek a booing” his head from Johnson’s swings, Tyson lands a body punch to the liver that knocks his opponent down in agony. Then when he courageously stands to face Mike again, he pays the ultimate price. A knockout with all the ferocity of a sledgehammer.

Mike Tyson surly was one of greatest heavyweights of all time. The above video clip shows him at his best, and if examined closely everyone who practises striking can learn something from it.


Marks

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Monday, 14 April 2008

Martial Arts in the Movies

Wesley Snipes, Bruce Lee, Jean Claude Van Damme, Steven Seagal, Jackie Chan, Jet Li. These are just a few of the people that have brought the martial arts to the world through the years via cinemas and televisions. Has this been a good idea or a bad idea.

Well firstly, without films the publicity that martial arts have, would not be near as big as it is today. By seeing these different ways of fighting, people enquire about them, find out where they are taught and start training, so martial art films give this advantage.

Also martial art films and actors are seen as role models for young people and give them motivation to strive to be successful at things. The amount of people that have said that Bruce Lee or Chuck Norris are there heroes can not be counted. People that are not even martial artists have been inspired such actors.

So how about the disadvantages,

Well imagine a young child has just seen a film where the star takes on and beats all his adversaries with high kicks, flying punches and uses back flips to dodge attacks. Inspired by these techniques he practises daily in his room to learn them, thinking that he will be invincible and untouchable. A few weeks later he gets into a confrontation at school, tries to use the techniques used and gets beaten up as he painfully finds out that fights in reality are not like fights in the movies. He then abandons watching martial art films or learning anything to do with martial arts as he thinks they are not worth it.

Martial arts are great for marketing fighting systems, showing feats that can be obtained through practise and motivating people to set, and achieve goals. The techniques used are mostly unrealistic but help for all these reasons and will probably not be altered. The best thing is to not try and replicate these techniques but try and replicate the hard work that these actors have used to get where they are, so as to be successful in your own life.


Marks

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Friday, 11 April 2008

The Best Way to Diet

The reasons people start martial arts are many, ranging from competition to meeting new people. One of the main reasons people start though is to lose weight. By weight, what most people actually mean is fat. I’m sure if people lost fat, but gained muscle, maintaining the same figure when stepping on the scales they would be just as happy. Exercise does help when doing this but the main concern should be your diet.

Dieting is something that has to be done to lose fat. You have to consume fewer calories which means, not eating as much. There are many types of different diets around. The Atkins diet, South Beach diet, Cabbage Soup diet, etc. There are plenty of them but they all do have one thing in common, REDUCE YOUR OVERALL CALORIES.

All of these diets do work, but what makes them work is the commitment of the individual to the diet. Imagine being on the Cabbage Soup diet. As the name suggests you have to eat mainly cabbage soup, if anything else. Well to stay committed to this can take a lot, and most stray off it after just a couple of meals.

Then there are the diets that are only for a specific amount of time. Maybe for just a week, month or a few weeks. Again these may work for some, but because your body has resisted certain foods for so long, when you come off the diet, it is very tempting and easy to start over indulging on foods that are of no benefit to you apart from providing you with extra warmth in the form of fat.

The best and healthiest way of losing fat and keeping it off is to just be careful of your intake. About 90% of your weekly food should be freshly prepared. If you have to prepare it yourself at home, you know exactly what is going into the meal. Eat vegetables whenever you want. Fruits are excellent for your vitamins and minerals (berries are the best). Try and get lean cuts of meat which are skinless. White meat will always be healthier than red meat. Nuts are great sources of healthy fat. Have plenty of water. Cereals can work as great snacks when you need something quick and easy. Oatmeal with honey or peanut butter tastes great. Milk is what is given to babies to make them strong and grow, and so should adults have at least a glass a day. If you want to lose fat, cut down slightly on some of these types of foods but don’t cut them out. You will get some cravings but not as bad than if you were cutting out food groups completely. Exercise at least three times a week, and after a few weeks, you shall notice the changes, without it being unhealthy. Having an ice cream or a pizza will not make you instantly obese, but having these types of food regularly will, so don’t beat yourself up if you occasionally splurge, just be aware of it.

Eat healthy. Try not to be fooled by these fad diets, diet pills or anything else claiming to give your results within a few weeks, because they are mostly unhealthy money making scams. Good luck.


Marks

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Thursday, 10 April 2008

When to Start Competing for Martial Artists

More and more people today, start training in martial arts so as to fight or compete in competitions, and one of the most asked questions is when to start actually competing.

This is one of them questions where there really is not an answer. You could wait for a few months or years before beginning or you could start even before your first martial art class. If you start straight away, your fighting techniques will obviously be minimal but you shall soon gain the experience and adrenalin rush of competing in an event with other people, and this WILL benefit you. This type of experience can only be gained once you start competing, irrelevant of how many years you have been training.

What martial art style you train in could depend on when you start competing. There is less chance of injuries occurring at grappling tournaments than there would be at a Mauy Thai fight or Karate tournament. If you are caught in a joint lock or choke hold you can tap out, and leave the competition unharmed, where as in a ring/cage fight or striking competition, if you have no defence training, you could be easily hurt or knocked out. So maybe training for a while in striking arts may be a good idea before starting to compete

Also stamina is an issue. You can be a great fighter with lots of skills or an average Joe who has never done a days training, but when out of breath, it would be nearly impossible to tell which is which. For this reason, building cardiovascular endurance maybe should be achieved before stepping foot in the ring or on the mat. Having said that, you could compete, and win a fight within a few seconds, without needing to use up much energy.

As said, there is no time limit that should be passed before competing. It is always the decision of the individual wanting to compete. You shall always gain experience in fights and tournaments, regardless of your skill level, so it is up to you to make the decision.


Marks

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Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Importance of Stamina for Competition

The sport of MMA is a hybrid of all the practical fighting methods available. To be an efficient fighter you need a good understanding of the different phases of combat, from long distance stand-up fighting to ground grappling submissions and everything in between. Having abilities in all of these situations though is not enough.

Throughout this website, the importance of cardiovascular endurance has been stated plenty of times. You can have all the fighting skills in the world, but MMA is a sport. You are competing with someone who is also a good fighter. Someone who trains just as you do, so they shall have skills also. When you compete in the ring or cage, you shall each be trading blows, takedowns and submissions. All of these things require energy and stamina. If you do not have good stamina then after a couple of minutes, you shall get tired, start to drop your hands leaving yourself open to knockout blows, will not be able to defend takedowns effectively enough and shall probably lose. In the street, it is rare that a fight will last more than a few seconds so stamina would not be as important, but this is not the street. Along with good technique, stamina is a top priority for ever fighter wanting to compete.

Prepare yourself correctly before competing. Eat clean good wholesome food, work on your technique and prepare your body for combat by improving your stamina, flexibility then your strength.


Marks

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Monday, 7 April 2008

Training Tip, Weak Points

When someone starts training, be it martial arts, bodybuilding, athletics or any other type of physical activity, he/she will eventually discover weak points. This could be one arm weaker than the other, weakness in the leg muscles when throwing high kicks, weak pectoral muscles etc. To work weaknesses you have to do exactly that, work weaknesses.

For example, let’s use the weak pectoral situation. You find that your pecs are a little weaker than you would like them to be. Try this to bump them up a bit.

When in the gym, after every set of every exercise you do, be it squats, abs work, cable rows or whatever, perform one set of bench presses with a weight that allows you to do 12 reps. Do this after every set (unless your doing bench presses). Or when at home at night time whilst watching TV, every half hour perform 20 press-ups. Do this for about a month or so, and hopefully you should see a difference. Its nothing too demanding. Just a couple of seconds after every set in the gym, or about half a minute every hour whilst at home. But by adding this small extra attention to the weak area, it should be enough to see differences. Use this method for any type of exercise. As a martial artist you may have a weak left side kick, well after every round of sparring, perform twenty side kicks with your left leg, or again in the gym, after every set, throw out 20 side kicks. You may decide that after every time you walk into your kitchen, then that’s when you should perform your twenty.

If you devote extra work to a weak spot, you will eventually iron out these weak areas. When you perform these extra reps is completely up to you, after every set, every round, whenever you answer your phone, send a text etc. It can be at any time of the day you want, but you must do it to see the results. It can be very tempting to say to yourself, “I can do it after the next set or after the next hour”. Try and resist these thoughts. Resist them, do the extra few reps, and the gains will start to show soon enough.


Marks

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Friday, 4 April 2008

Bas Rutten Interview

I came across the following video of Bas Rutten describing MMA training including,
Training involved to become a pro fighter,
How MUCH should one train to become a pro fighter,
The best style to study to become a pro fighter,
Where to find a good MMA gym.


It really does answer some questions that many, if not all beginners ask themselves. Bas talks about his own training quantity, and what is interesting is that Bas says he dose not "max" out always with his training. By doing this you shall wear yourself out and maybe do yourself more damage than good. Enjoy!

VideoJug: Mixed Martial Arts Training Tips

Marks

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Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Defending from Rape Attacks

Most of the time, when talking about self defence, it is referring a mugging attack, gang attack, a brawl with someone whilst on a night out or a rape attack. Defending from rape is something that nearly all women fear. Hopefully after reading this article, you may feel better equipped to deal with this unfortunate situation.

Firstly, IT IS ALWAYS BEST TO RUN AWAY FROM ANY TYPE OF ATTACK, including rape. If you have the chance to flee, do it quickly. If this option is not given to you then to stop the rape from happening you shall have to fight back.

If you are being held whilst standing, either by the wrists, shoulders, around the waist, or even the throat, you should have your legs free. Use them by kicking at the attackers shins and knees, stomp his feet or knee him in the groin. Do this as many times as needed for him to release his grip on you. As soon he has released, flea the area as soon as possible.

If you have been forced to the ground, again if your feet are free use them as above. Usually the attacker will be on top of you and his hands will be preoccupied. He may be holding one of your arms, but will be nearly impossible for him to be holding both of your arms, so with your free one, pull his hair, his ears, scratch his face, and punch him at vital spots like the eyes, nose or lips. Biting is also an option too. A bite anywhere will hurt. Good targets include fingers (if his covering your mouth) or anywhere on his face.

If you are on your front and your attacker is on your back, then the first thing you have to do is get on your back so you can see your attacker and defend better. Use your elbows and swing back towards your opponents head. Hitting him in the face or temple or ears will hurt. Do this as much as needed. Another option is to reach below grab his private parts and squeeze them as hard as you can. If he does not get distracted after this, then he is not human. Once he has been distracted, roll onto your front. Do this by rolling sideways or by rolling forwards just like a forwards tumble. From here you shall be able to see your attacker, defend yourself more efficiently if needed, or get up and flee if the option is presented to you.

Of course there is never a guarantee that any of the above will work, but there is a good chance. If you are attacked by a rapist, although it will be terrifying, do your best to face the fear and fight back if fleeing away is not an option, and hopefully you stop the attack. Good Luck


Marks

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