Friday, 30 May 2008

Meeting Wanderlei Silva in Las Vegas

You will probably have been aware that no new posts have been added for the last few days and this is because I have just spent the last five in Las Vegas.

Staying at the MGM Grand, I have to say that it was amazing. Being my first trip to America as well as Vegas I have to say that the place is great and the people are so friendly with an overall terrific atmosphere.

We arrived on the 24th, the night of UFC 84 which so happened to be at the MGM (what a coincidence, I told my wife).

Unfortunately though due to a delayed connect flight from Phoenix to Vegas we missed the event and checked in just as everyone was leaving the hotel so as you can imagine the place was very chaotic.

I did get a chance to meet Wanderlei Silva though. Although it was for a few seconds, it was clear that he is a friendly celebrity who does not mind meeting and greeting his fans, as the mass of people wanting to get there picture taken with him didn’t seem to bother him in any way. Well done to him for his victory over Keith Jardine and well done also to BJ Penn and Lyoto Machida.

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Friday, 23 May 2008

New Video Player

A new feature to markstraining.com is the new Video Player shown below. Its something I'm testing to see how good the promoted videos are, if they are relevant enough for this site and if its worth keeping.
I'm giving it a trial for around a week or so, and any comments on its effectiveness would come in handy.
To view different videos you will find arrow buttons on each side of the player, so if you would like to skip the current one being played, you are free to do so. Hope you enjoy!

Marks

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Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Limb Striking

Think back to when you where a child and you and the other kids at your school used to give “dead legs” or “dead arms” to each other. Im sure you can recall that the pain in the limb that was struck was sometimes unbearable. Or maybe the first time you received a shin kick to the thigh with power. Hitting the limbs can sometimes be more painful then a hit to the face or solar plexus.

If you have not felt any of the above, firstly you’re very lucky, and secondly, to get a taste of the pain, try hitting yourself with slight force in the bicep, or the inner part of your calves. The pain is felt straight away and when hit with full power it can even make the whole limb unusable for a certain amount of time.

Limb hitting is unexpected and very useful. In the street if someone has grabbed you or you are engaged in grappling a hard punch to the bicep or an elbow to the forearm can cause momentary pain, which could give you enough time for follow up strikes or to flee the scene.

Mauy Thai fighters use the knee to the inner and outer thigh plenty of times when clinched. These strikes rarely stop the fight, but repeated strikes to these sensitive areas can take its toll to a fighter and after a few rounds of taking these blows, the fighter will have trouble using there legs to mount a decent attack.

There are many vital points through all limbs and hard strikes, grabs and pinches to these areas are very effective for gaining the upper hand in a fight. For this reason it is something that should be carefully studied.


Marks

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The Inverted Heel Hook

Uchi Mata for MMA, the Exorcist Crank, Karo Parisyans Knee Bar, these are all recent articles which I feel give great demonstrations and explanations of certain MMA techniques which are definitely worth holding in ones arsenal.

The following is another great demonstration of the Inverted Heel Hook and how it can be applied in defence to an attempted ankle lock. Explained by Bas Rutten this technique requires correct leverage, correct body positioning and control in order to be successful. The reason I say it needs control is that it is a very dangerous joint lock which can not only damage the ankle but also the knee and if care is not taken when applying the technique you could injure your sparring partner or if it’s in competition, you could find yourself disqualified.





Marks

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Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Reality of Street Fights

Where ever you come from in the world, if you have had the unfortunate pleasure to be involved in a street fight or have even seen a street fight you shall have noticed that they can be quit intimidating. Before sparring in a martial arts school, there is either a hand shake, a bow or some other gesture to show that the sparring is to be kept respectful. This should also happen after the sparring is over. Unfortunately in the street though, it never happens like this.

Normally there is swearing, pushing, intimidating looks, spitting, throwing things at each other etc. It can be very different to how you train in the dojo. This is the reality of street fights however and it should be something practised within your training regime.

By having someone shout at you “im going to f*&$%”g kick your face apart” while pushing you with full force (or something along those lines) before a physical confrontation can be quit daunting. It can raise your adrenaline, shock you and sometimes make you freeze up. Defending yourself effectively when in this state of mind can be difficult to say the least.

Training in the gym/dojo, we prepare ourselves to be able to defend ourselves if involved in a street fight of some kind, and yet it is very rare to see this kind of preparation.

Im not saying that from now on, before you start sparring, swear and taunt at each other to feel the fear factor of a real fight, but understand that you cant just expect to be able to deal with it effectively, if faced with it in the street and that some preparation by acting out these conditions is necessary.

Im sure that there shall be some who disagree with this and that this type of training should be prohibited from the dojo, but it happens on the street so it should be something that we should keep in mind.


Marks

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Monday, 19 May 2008

Roger Gracie VS Yuki Kondo

Royce, Rickson, Renzo and Royler. These are the main names that ring a bell when you mention members of the Gracie family Jiu Jitsu clan. Since MMA exploded in the 1990’s they have secured big wins over big names.

For the past few years though, a new Gracie has been training hard to maybe carry on the family tradition. Roger Gracie has won numerous submission grappling tournaments and now trying to establish himself as the MMA cream of the crop, a win against Yuki Kondo helped him in further making this a reality.

Gracie easily brought Kondo to the floor after a well timed and well prepared takedown and in the same way, he waited until the right moment to gain the mount. From here in pure Rickson style he used ground and pound, waited for his opponent to turn, then landed a sweet rear naked choke.

Roger is sure to be a big name in MMA with many fighters probably wanting to fight him because he bears the Gracie tag. The future should be promising and with such an experienced family behind him, he could be the next Gracie legend.





Marks

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Saturday, 17 May 2008

Kettlebell Training for Martial Arts

I recently found on Youtube, VinceChoos channel in which he has videos related to kettlebell training. Although I have never used kettlebells before it is clearly obvious how some the exercises shown in Vince’s videos are very practical for martial arts training.

They seem to work wonders in developing core strength, muscular endurance, balance, and explosiveness, all the qualities needed for a first class martial artist and if you notice, it is possible to train one exercise after another without stopping. An excellent form of circuit training and overall body conditioning.

Exercises such as the deadlift squat and arm swings will condition all of the muscles used for grappling. By concentrating on high reps also, it is more than good enough to develop stamina and endurance as you use a lot of muscles and a lot of energy to carry out the reps. Also you have to bend your knees at the right moment as the weight lowers to keep the reps going in a smooth fashion, especially when doing the swings. This will help train your coordination and timing.

The above video should be obvious to all grapplers that it is great for practising armbar transitions (as Vince states at the start) but also for the balance needed when scrambling on the floor. I have practised this same type of movement but with a medicine ball instead of a kettlebell and it really helps strengthen the abdominal muscles. Its an exercise that also works the chest and shoulders so expect them to burn after a few reps.

There are many other kettebell videos on Vince’s channel and I advise you to check them out and try to incorporate them into your training.


Marks

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Friday, 16 May 2008

Bettering Yourself in the Martial Arts

When training in any martial art which requires sparring, at the beginning you shall find that you can easily adapt to the free exchange of techniques. Strikes will start to instinctively be attempted without even thinking, throws will feel more and more natural to you and your body will react and defend smoothly whilst ground fighting.

You shall start to feel that what you have been studying is well worth it and that it actually works. You may even start to be thinking about certain techniques that feel more natural to you than others. Good for you. This is the correct thought and the correct frame of mind to have.

However, as you spar more regularly and with more and more advanced martial artists you shall eventually come across someone who constantly gets the better of you. It could be that they constantly manage to land that low roundhouse kick even when you prepare for it, or that on the ground they submit you using techniques you never even knew existed.

One of the worst things you can do against someone like this is to focus your training and sparring, on beating this ONE person. Getting caught up by this one person’s ability to always get the better of you can be detrimental to your progress as an all rounded martial artist, capable of adapting to different situations.

This is because when you train, your focus shall always be on ways to beat that one opponent. Eventually after sparring with him/her a few times you shall become accustomed to there style, you shall learn the ways they move and shall develop counters to beat them. But then what. What about the person who always beats them, and everyone else. You shall have a tough time against them because you have had the single thought of gaining victory over a single person.

Your training should be about YOU and you only. You should concentrate on YOUR form, on YOUR balance, on YOUR speed etc. It is YOUR technique that you need to be focused on. Through hard training, lots of sparring with different people and the single thought of bettering YOURSELF, you shall eventually develop skills which will allow you to deal with any opponent who happens to be standing in front of you. This is not a guarantee that you shall always win, but it is a guarantee of knowing that you did the best YOU could and that you tried according to your own abilities.

Don’t let the thought of winning against a certain person enter your mind. Train hard and train smart, with the thought of being able to deal with any type of situation. This is the way to become a proficient martial artist.


Marks

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Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Loren Christensen's Training Tip - Double Tapping

Loren Christensen is an ex law enforcement agent with many years of martial arts experience. If you’re not familiar with him, just search the web and many pages about him shall appear. Through his experiences he has been able to produce a vast amount of useful books with lots of ideas and training methods for martial artists to enhance there abilities.

Solo Training, is one of his books, full of tips and techniques designed for martial artists who train mostly on there own. In it, he talks about Double Tapping.

Double tapping is a method of training where you perform a technique twice. Take the front kick for example on the heavy bag. You perform the first front kick hitting the bag as fast and powerful as you can. As soon as your foot touches the floor at the end of the kick, you immediately raise it to perform another front kick trying to match the same speed and power as the first one.

The tendency sometimes is to perform the second technique slightly slower and less powerful than the first. Try to avoid this and always keep in your mind that the second must be performed faster and more powerful than the first.

Double tapping can be used with any striking technique of the leg or arm. Through double tapping you develop speed in your strikes, speed in retracted back to your fighting stance after the strike and power in your strikes. Loren Christensen warns that because double tapping is fairly strenuous on your joints and muscles it is a good idea to warm up thoroughly before performing them.

A good way to gain maximum benefits from double tapping is to devote one workout a week to it for a month. During that workout, every technique that you perform must be done twice. So if you would perform a jab, cross, hook combination for example, you would perform two fast jabs, then two fast cross’s followed by two fast hooks. It’s great for building stamina. After the month, you should start to notice a difference (hopefully good) in your speed when shadow striking, and when hitting the bag.


Marks

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Monday, 12 May 2008

Sumo Wrestlers in MMA

Whilst surfing on YouTube I came across the following clip of a seemingly very strong, yet small sumo wrestler Asashouryuu.

I was thinking how these guys would do in MMA. Obviously they would have to learn some striking and submissions and maybe boost up there cardio if needed but maybe they could do quit well.





Marks

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Friday, 9 May 2008

Is MMA Safe?

In a Renegades Extreme Fighting bout in 2007, Sam Vasquez took on Vince Libardi. The fight was over after a punch to Vasquez in the third round which saw him lose consciousness, suffer a blood clot and remain in a coma for 42 days where he then died. RIP SAM

It is a great tragedy for someone to die doing what they enjoy. When the UFC first started, people saw it as brutal and unacceptable. It was labelled as human cock fighting and still some see it as completely unsafe. But is this the real case?

Compared to boxing gloves MMA fighters use smaller ones which don’t hold enough padding. And this is exactly why they are safer than boxing gloves. Because boxing gloves hold lots of padding, more punches can be absorbed, which means a fighter can be hit more times. These constant hits over the course of a fight can leave a traumatic effect to a fighter’s head. If you watch a boxing match most of the hitting is done to the head area. Few people attack the body much as the best way to knock someone out is through head strikes. In MMA fighters don’t limit there striking to just the head. They strike the legs and body also as kicks are allowed, so less blows are absorbed to the vulnerable head area.

There is no standing 8 count in MMA. In boxing if a fighter is in trouble, the ref will momentarily stop the fight via a standing 8 count allowing the fight to recover slightly but then the fight resumes allowing for further possible punishment. In MMA if a fighter is in trouble, the fight will be stopped, allowing for no further punishment.

Rarely, you see fighters choked out or get injured due to not tapping out. This is there own fault. If you are caught in a submission hold you should tap out. The ones that don’t are silly and risk injury. But if this happens not only will the ref instantaneously break the hold, but doctors are on hand to examine any injuries.

Where there could be accidental injuries is through falling. Slams, throws, and take downs are all allowed in MMA. Although there are rules regarding these, such as you cant drop an opponent onto his head or neck, accidents may happen. But it has to be remembered that MMA athletes are used to falling and getting thrown. They learn the correct method in break falling and these types of accidents are very rare.

This discussion could go on and on, and with various people, it shall. What is a fact though, is that MMA has been around for a number of years. Rules are kept so as major injuries can be prevented and up until now they are proving successful.

Instances such as Sam Vasquez are rare. Injuries happen in most sports and will continue to happen, but long as we train safe and train smart, major injuries can easily be prevented.


Marks

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Wednesday, 7 May 2008

Increasing Throwing Strength and Explosiveness

If you view some Olympic Judo videos, one thing which will become immediately noticeable is the strength that the fighters have when performing throws. They explode into position with maximum speed which helps create the momentum needed to pulley there opponents up, and then down on there backs. So what are the core leg exercises to develop this explosiveness?

In the same way a 100 meter sprinter explodes of the starting blocks, the judo fighter explodes into his/her throwing position. Weight training exercises which are recommendable for this, are squats, calf raises and leg presses. These help in developing the strength of the leg muscles, but these alone are not enough.

For explosiveness the following exercises are recommendable.

Jump squats – Holding light dumbbells at your side, bend down and then jump as high as possible. On landing, try and land again in the bent knee position. Carry on jumping up and down in a smooth manner, concentrating on form. This can be carried out for ten, twenty or thirty seconds. Its advisable to rest after thirty seconds so as not to place to much stress on the knees.

Straight Leg Calf jumps - Using just your body weight, keep you legs straight and concentrating on not bending them, push with your legs (mainly your calves) and try to take your feet completely off the floor. By not bending your knees before pushing, you use no momentum and it becomes very hard to push off the floor. As with the jump squats, rest after thirty seconds of this movement to give your leg muscles a chance to recover.

Duck Walks – Without any weights, you simply lower you body so your thighs are no lower than 90 degrees to the floor and walk. Its simple effective and can be done anywhere. Again no more than thirty seconds of walking each set so as you do not wear your knees out.

These exercises are great because you strengthen the exact leg muscles used for nearly all throws, pickups and takedowns, but nothing should be practised more than uchi komi/nage komi. By practising the actual techniques themselves you shall expand your muscle memory. You shall get your muscles used to moving in certain ways, so you are able to explode with full power in the blink of an eye without even thinking. By practising these, along with the exercises listed above and many others that are available, you shall build the strength and explosiveness needed for fast and furious throws.


Marks

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Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Training Log

When you become committed to achieving a goal through training it is important to know what you have tried, tested and achieved with. As a martial artist or just someone who wants to achieve a certain fitness level, there is nothing quite as annoying as performing countless sets of certain techniques only to find out that it has been a waste of time or that it is harmful for you. For this reason it is worth keeping a record of all your training and dieting via some sort of training log.

Imagine you plan to achieve a six pack within 10 weeks. You start to perform your ab training, do your cardio and watch your diet, however at the end of it all, you have not achieved you goal. You then think to yourself, that you did everything you where meant to do, why has this not worked?

The bottom line is, you may have done what you where meant to do but did not do it correctly, otherwise you would have achieved your goal. What’s worse, because you did not record your training and eating you do not know where you went wrong and how to fix the problem. It could have been that you where eating too many calories or the wrong food types. If you wrote down what you consumed, showed it to a professional, he/she would be able to tell you instantly where your problem was and next time around you wouldn’t fall into the same trap

Following on with this it can’t be stressed enough how much a log can help when dieting. It is so easy to consume little nibbles and snacks, thinking that they are not adding any extra calories. If you kept a log of the exact foods you consumed during the day including the nibbles, you may be amazed at how much these nibbles can dramatically effect the way your body looks and the amount of weight it holds. The log will instantly inform you where your dieting may be going wrong. Without the log you may never know.

A training log will also help in gaining strength and size through weights. How many times have you seen someone at the gym pushing the same weight, workout, after workout after workout, without any change in there appearance. By keeping a log of the amount you lifted during your last months training, you can make the decision to try and lift an extra couple of pounds during next months training. You would be amazed how much a written figure can motivate you to try that little bit harder to exceed you boundaries.

A training log is a wise extra to have on board in your quest for bettering yourself. By knowing what you have done in the past and where you achieved the most, over time you shall be able to plan what works best for you and disregard what does not.


Marks

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Friday, 2 May 2008

The Exorcist Crank, by Bas Rutten

MMA and grappling are now household names. Many martial artists have learnt submission fighting and at the very least basic submission holds.

Because of this grappling contests can often end up as stale mates as the two fighters know exactly what techniques are coming and defend well in advance from them. This has forced fighters to slightly adjust there techniques or come up with variations so as there opponents find it harder to counter them.

The following technique is one of these types. It is demonstrated by Bas Rutten and it is called the Exorcist Crank. Similar to the twister technique made popular by Eddie Bravo, the Exorcist crank relies on you twisting your opponents lower body one way and there upper body/head the other.

This is a very dangerous technique and must be practised with complete caution in mind. Heres Bas




How To Do Bas Rutten's Exorcist Crank

Marks

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Mokuren and TDATraining

The aim of markstraining.com is to supply information regarding fighting and training methods, but today I would like to write about something different.

There are many martial art websites and blogs at there, and most of them hold relevant information and tips to help people become more knowledgeable with whatever fighting style they study. Two which I feel are worth your time and I encourage you to check out, are tdatraining.blogspot.com and mokurendojo.com

The guys at tdatraining provide frequent, educational and anything but boring articles which martial artists can benefit from. They provide videos which are entertaining as well as links to other sites where further reading on similar subject matters can be done.

Patrick Parker over at mokurendojo also archives an array of interesting and useful articles. Concentrating mainly on Judo and Aikido, this website is definitely a must for sensei’s and coaches of the arts, as many of the articles relate to Patricks training program and give information and tips on what can be taught and implemented during training times.

I advise you to at some point check out these sites. They are both well established sites with plenty of time online and the information they hold can be of serious value to all.

Marks

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Thursday, 1 May 2008

Close Quarter Striking

Close quarter striking is something that must not be ignored. Nearly all fights on the street will involve close quarter strikes and every MMA and boxing fight that lasts more than twenty seconds will involve close quarter strikes.

Its amazing that many martial artists who train striking still don't seem to realise this and think that long distance punches and kicks are all they need.

I have uploaded a couple of videos demonstrating close quarter strikes. The majority of techniques are elbows and knees, but the occasional punches and low kicks are used.

This first video demonstrates striking very close to a wall. This is to simulate close distance striking. By training close to the wall, you are forced to use only close quarter techniques. Notice in the video, that right and left stances are both worked. Working your weaker side is just as important as working your stronger side.



This second video demonstrates close distance striking with the heavy bag. Again, left and right side is worked and concentration is placed on balance, a tight guard and variety in the combinations



Marks

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