Monday, 29 December 2008

UFC 92 - Forrest Griffin vs Rashad Evans Video and Analysis

Over the weekend, UFC 92 saw Forrest Griffen Vs Rashad Evans, in which Evans won the championship title, beating Griffen via ground and pound. It was a very steady fight with both fighters landing hits with good striking skills until the third round, in which Evans exploded, taking Griffen to the floor and finishing the fight. So what lessons can be learnt from watching it.


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Pace yourself – When the opening bell rings, instead of rushing in on your opponent looking for a quick knockout or takedown to submission, pace yourself. Throw a few jabs, maybe a couple of combinations to study the reaction of your opponent. By this you will be able to see what kind of fighter you are dealing with and which strategy is best to gain victory.

Kicking – Legs are always going to be more powerful and longer than the arms. Although not as fast and easy to apply than punching, kicks should definitely be trained just as much as punches and used regularly. Many people are not familiar with kicks to the legs and a few of them using the shin bone can be very effective and frustrating for your opponent.

Retracting EACH kick – Once you kick, weather it lands on the target or not, quickly bring your leg back. Many times Griffen let his leg drop or swung his roundhouses to vigorously and let his body turn. Maybe this is the reason that Evans was able to catch Griffins leg kick, take him to the floor and gain the victory. Just as you would snap punches back after they have been thrown, always snap your kicks back. This is the safest way to kick and also it is safer on the knee joint.

Wrist control – On the ground, at times, Griffen controlled Evans’s arm by holding the wrist. Not the elbow, forearm or anywhere else. By holding the wrist you should be able to get a good firm grip, wrapping your hand around nearly the whole wrist (depending on how big your opponent is) which should stop your opponent striking and can provide you with a chance to gain a good position for either a submission or an escape.

Trapping the leg when Ground and Pounding – During the final set of strikes by Evans which won him the fight he had Griffins left leg trapped under his right arm. Weather this was his intention or not, it is definitely a great way to control your opponent, making it harder for him/her to defend strikes. Don’t go looking for the leg trap but if it is possible use it.


Marks

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Tuesday, 23 December 2008

How Would Bruce Lee Fight Today

Bruce Lee is probably the most influential if not the most famous martial artist who ever lived. The charisma and excellence which he portrayed in his films has been an inspiration to many people. A common question which has been asked since he passed however, is how would he fair out against some of today’s MMA fighters.

Well in order to answer this question, you have to do some studying on Lee. If you do this you will come to understand that Lee was not one to stick to what he knew.

His formal training was in Wing Chun from Sifu Yip Man. However, as he continued through his training, he studied many aspects of other arts using what he considered useful and practical for him and disregarding what he thought was not.

If you have read some of his books you will quickly see that the style of martial arts he portrays in them is completely different to what he shows in his movies. Flashy fancy techniques are definitely a hit in Hollywood, but not practical for real life fighting. Bruce Lee knew this and it is evident in his books.

Chances are, if Bruce Lee lived, he would have continued cross training, keeping what was useful and practical and disregarding what was not.

The following is a fight between Toney Valente vs Takayuki Kohiruimaki. Obviously Valente is portraying a fighter based on Bruce Lee’s movie performances.

Would Bruce Lee fight like this if he where alive and competing today. Persoanlly I think it is very doubtful.


Marks

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Thursday, 18 December 2008

Children Black Belts

Years past, the black belt was seen as an honour to achieve, and people who where certified black belts had to go through vigorous testing before. Although just a grade which never guarantees victory in competition or the street, the black belt was only given to people who trained hard and gained a thorough understanding of all basic techniques of there style.

Today however, is a completely different story. It is more and more common to see children who have gained there black belt, some even below the age of 10. Is this right?

As mentioned, black belts where seen as martial artists who had gained a thorough understanding of basic techniques. However, martial arts nowadays prohibit children from learning certain techniques. For instance the Judo syllabus states that a child has to reach a certain age before they can be taught chokes and arm locks. So if a child of 12 years old for example has never been taught or practised such techniques, is it right to grade them to Dan level.

There are still many styles do not just give there black belts away. Hard work and thorough testing is needed in order to achieve Dan grade. This could be winning a certain amount of competitions, performing gradings which go on for hours, sparring hard for a certain amount of time with a certain amount of fighters etc. Whatever the test is in order to achieve Dan grade, a large amount of preparation is needed for this. Either studying theory, sparring hard for weeks before the grading or preparing the body to be physically capable of performing the event, which in turn involves strength and cardiovascular training.

There are not many children that have the physical capabilities to do this. Weights should not be allowed for children as they are still developing. Although cardiovascular and bodyweight exercises may help them to develop good health, the intensity they would need to exert is to demanding for them and should be left for when they get older.

Normally you see children black belts from schools where gradings are very simple tests in which a few basic techniques must be demonstrated. Sometimes you see, 3rd 4th Dan or even higher. Maybe this is acceptable or maybe it is not. It certainly helps the schools in profiting. Normally, achieving Dan grade costs a lot of money and that may be the reason it is happening.

Peoples views on this are varied and it would be great to here them so please leave a comment below.


Marks

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Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Street Fighting Weapons

People familiar with this website will know that all martial arts and self defence articles here do not involve any information regarding weapons, weather it be training with them or weapon attacks which occur during self defence situations. This is not because I believe no thought should be given towards weapons, quite the opposite in fact, but because there are more sites which I link to, that give far better information on weapons than I ever could. However, weapons DEFINITELY have there place in martial arts and street fighting.

Every day when you hear on the news or read in the newspapers of shops getting burgled or people getting robbed on the streets it nearly always involves a weapon of some kind, be it a knife, gun, bat or something else. Occasionally there are still instances where samurai swords are used on the streets.

So how can one prepare for weapon attacks on the streets? Well first of all, its never a wise decision to face someone who is armed. Running away and living to see another day is the most sensible option. Sometimes however, this is not always possible, and if this is the case you have to be prepared which means training with weapons.

If you are involved in a situation where your opponent has a weapon and you don’t, you are at a disadvantage. Unless you are carrying your own weapon, which is highly unlikely, the odds are in favour of your opponent. However, there are a few weapons which most people carry and don’t even know about.

Keys – Although not as sharp as knifes, keys can definitely do some damage. Used to thrust, swing or throw at your opponent, key strikes can hurt, sometimes cut, but above all, can distract your opponent enough to either control the arm which is holding the weapon or preferably, get out there.

Mobile phone – Who does not carry a mobile around with them in today’s day and age. They can be thrown at your opponent to distract them, buying you a second or two if you’re lucky to flee the area, or can be used strike. Because mobile phones are pretty solid, the head would be an ideal target for a hammer fist type strike.

Loose Change – Throwing coins at your opponent will if not do anything else, distract your opponent, providing you a chance you to flee.

Credit Cards – It is common for muggers to mug people as they are withdrawing cash from the wall. Holding a credit card tight in your hand with only two or three centimetres popping at, as if holding a guitar plectrum can turn it into a sharp cutting object which you can use to slice across your opponent, faces or hands.

Car Doors – Imagine you are about to step into your car. You open your door to get in and are approached by someone who demands your keys, money or something else. Your car door can be used to ram into your opponents body or preferably his knees.

Nearly anything can be used as a weapon, or as something which can slightly even the odds against an attacker who is armed. Try and think of other items that are commonly within your reach and practise ways in which they can be used for self defence purposes.


Marks

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Saturday, 13 December 2008

Triangle Choke Variations

The following is a demonstration video on one of my most favourite submissions holds, the triangle choke (Sankaku Jimi).

A common and feared submission due to the fact that when your head and arm is caught in between your opponents legs, it can be very difficult to escape.

If you notice in each variation in the video, the person applying the choke makes sure that the foot that wraps around the opponent is securely tightened in the crook of the other leg, pulling it into place if need be. Many times people don’t do this and obtain a choke by pulling down on there opponents head. Although this is possible and should also be mastered, by performing the submission with the foot in the crook of the knee, then pinching the knees together to gain the submission, you gain better control of your opponent making it harder for them to escape, and can obtain a tighter and more complete choke. Enjoy!



Marks

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Friday, 12 December 2008

Bodyweight Circuit Training

Weight training and running has long been known to produce strength and stamina for fighters. Apart from building a great looking body when coupled with healthy nutrition, this combination has enhanced martial artists and professional boxer’s performance in the past.

However as MMA has evolved and is now seen as the number one combat sport so has many people’s theories on training and preparation. Although weight training and running when done correctly, will still produce great results, many MMA fighters now rely heavily on bodyweight circuit training to prepare themselves for combat along with the more traditional methods.

By performing bodyweight exercises not only do you work strength, but it is also possible to work explosiveness through polymetric type exercises, balance and coordination which will help improve grappling and striking and one can enhance there stamina greatly when performed as a circuit, which can help during the late stages of fights when you start to feel fatigued.

Below is a video which demonstrates many bodyweight exercises for the lower and upper body. Most (nearly all) of these exercises can be performed in the comfort of your own home and without any experience of bodyweight training. Just remember to thoroughly warm up before each workout, and perform stretches to cool down after.

Choose 5 lower body exercises and 5 upper body exercises which are demonstrated. Perform each exercise continuously for 20 seconds to begin with working up to 1 minute as time goes by and your level of strength and stamina develops. Do not rest between exercises. Alternate between lower and upper body exercises during the circuit, so as to not keep your blood in one area of your body, but to force it to travel everywhere. This will help in producing better stamina. Pace yourself, working in a smooth, continuous but not speedy motion and remember to breathe constantly. Open your mouth and get as much air into your lungs as possible. Keep some water close by and takes a few sips between each circuit. Try to perform at least 5 circuits to begin with increasing as time goes by.

As with any workout, try not to get stuck into performing the same exercises day in day out, but constantly change them around. Also, to develop a better and more overall complete physique do not stick with just bodyweight training. Train as many methods as possible to always keep your body trying to adjust and adapt to new situations. This is the best way to improve.


Marks

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Wednesday, 10 December 2008

"One Punch One Kill", is it Practical?

Karate is known for its concept of “one punch one kill” or in Japanese Ikken Hissatsu. Many people interpret this to mean that conflicts should be finished with just one strike. Although this is one of the most effective ways of ending confrontations, is it at all possible?

If you have ever been involved in a situation where you have to fight in order to defend yourself, you will know that your adrenaline as well as the adrenaline of your opponent can sky rocket. With this adrenaline boost it can sometimes be, that when you get hit, you do not feel it, only to realise much later after the confrontation through a bolt of pain somewhere on your body, that you may have been hit several times.

Also in today’s modern world, a lot of street fights occur because of alcohol. At bars, night clubs etc, many fights take place each week because people drink to the point where they feel like supermen. They can get aggressive or upset easily and this can provoke hostile situations where fights break out. Being drunk can sometimes have the adrenaline effect where someone could get hit several times and not feel a thing.

For karate ka to believe that one punch or one strike of some sort is all that is needed to end a fight should read the above again and again until there minds are changed.

Yes, one strike can sometimes be enough to end a situation, but many times it will not be. You must keep in mind when training that you have to be prepared to hit again and again in order to defend yourself. There is a famous saying that “you fight like you train”. So if you train with single hard strikes against the makiwara or punch bag, or practise prearranged sparring always defending and countering with one strike, chances are, this is what you will do if you have to defend yourself on the street and it may not be enough, leaving you in a bad situation.

To defend yourself successfully, you have to do as much as is needed. This could mean simply talking to your opponent in order to get them to calm down, running away from the situation, striking once, striking many times or maybe more. Never train just one method of defence. Train as many methods as you are able in order to prepare yourself as much as possible for any encounter.


Marks

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Monday, 8 December 2008

Finger Locks

Joint Locks are dangerous. We all know that. They also hurt like crazy when applied properly. However, the smaller the joint, the bigger the pain. I have no idea why this is and it could be just me, but I have found that smaller joints hurt much more when hyper extended. This is why I think that one of the most painful joint locks has to be the Finger Lock.

Martial artists who practise finger locks will know that once you apply one on your opponent, he/she will basically act like your slave, doing whatever you ask and moving wherever you take them. To get a feel of how painful these techniques are, try curling up your thumb and pushing the top part of it, above your nail, down and away from your hand. Do it slow however because if you get it right the pain is unbearable.

Finger locks are definitely not practised as much as they should be. This is probably due to the fact that because fingers can be damaged so easily (and even ligaments in the wrist and lower arm if applied correctly), hyper extending them is forbidden in most combat sports such as MMA, and grappling tournaments.

There is an argument as to weather finger locks are practical for self defence situations. Some believe that while you may be looking for a finger to bend or twist, concentrating on using maybe both your hands to control the arm/wrist and apply the lock, your opponent will be free to strike you as necessary. Well this is absolutely true. It would leave you in a bad situation if you tried to apply a finger lock when your opponent is trying to strike you, or wrestle you. However as with any technique, you should not try to apply them but only use them if the opportunity is there.

Finger locks work best when grappling rather than striking. If your opponent has wrapped his arms around you or grabbed your wrist etc, you should be able to secure a grip on one or more fingers in order to lock them. From here, your opponent will be putty on your hands leaving you to do what ever you please.

Practise them cautiously and practically. Don’t rely on them always but do keep in mind that if the opportunity is there to apply them they should leave you in a dominant position able to control most situations.

Below is a video of what is known as the “Dance of Pain” performed by Professor Wally Jay. It shows just how painful finger locks can be and how you can control any opponent regardless of there size. Enjoy!


Marks

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Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Rear Naked Choke Variations

Out of all the submissions available to a martial artist one of the most dangerous of all but simplest to apply has to be the rear naked choke (RNC). Known as Hadaka Jime in the Judo world it can end a fight in seconds and if held for a few more seconds can possibly do some serious damage to your opponent. As long as you block the windpipe or the arteries in the neck with nothing but your arms or hands you are successfully performing the RNC but which is the most effective way of performing it.

People familiar with the UFC and other MMA organisations will typically see the RNC performed by circling an arm around the opponents neck and trapping the hand of that arm in the crook of the other elbow, then simultaneously pushing the head forward and squeezing the neck in order to stop blood flowing through the arteries or/and air passing through the windpipe. (see picture on the left)

However, people who perform the RNC and come from a Judo background will most likely be familiar with the variation where the arm passes around the neck and then the hand is clasped by the other hand, then, whilst digging the sharp bone of the inner forearm into the windpipe the arm is pulled backwards. (see picture on the right.)

Although there are more variations, these are the main two and ones which should both be practised. One is not particularly better than the other. The first variation is a more solid and secure choke hold, but compared to the second variation it can be very hard to apply against a seasoned grappler who is well trained in defending such attacks as you have to completely encircle your arm around your opponent’s neck. With the second variation, just the forearm needs to cross your opponent’s throat to apply the choke, but it is not as secure as the first variation, and targets just the windpipe instead of the arteries as well.

As mentioned, both variations are effective and have been used by many MMA fighters. Practise them frequently in your grappling training and become accustomed and skilled in applying both variations.


(Photos taken from http://www.jigorokano.it/Cartella%20Ne%20Waza/Hadaka.html)
Marks

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Most Commented Martial Art Articles

Since Markstraining.com started last year more than 2oo articles have been published. I thought you may like to read some of our most commented articles and if you care to share an opinion, please feel free. Thanks.

Defending from Rape Attacks
Punching without Gloves
Why Should I Study Martial Arts
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Are MMA Fighters Predictable
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Where your Eyes Should be Looking when Sparring

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Monday, 1 December 2008

One Handed Head Grab

If any one has ever been caught in a full double handed behind the head clinch from someone who knows how to apply it like a seasoned Muay Thai fighter then you will know how powerful it can be. Apart from wasting a lot of energy trying to get out of it you may start to face some devastating knee strikes.

However, when going for the double handed head grab, you can leave yourself open to strikes and at best, can only be attempted when you are at close range to your opponent. An alternative is the one handed head grab.

With the one handed head grab there are many advantages.

1. Firstly it is fast. From a distance where you can stretch your front hand out, you can quite easily grab the back of your opponents head and maintain a secure grip long enough to deliver your next technique.

2. Secondly, you can guard yourself with your free hand. Usually when any type of clinch is attempted, your opponent will try and retaliate with strikes. You can guard these by using only one hand.

3. Thirdly, you can easily stop yourself getting involved in a clinch grappling exchange. By clinching with two hands, your opponent can easily try and stand up grapple you, body lock you or possibly take you to the ground. One handed grabs can prevent this from happening much easier.

4. Lastly, you can strike with not only your knees but also with your free hand or elbow. Randy Couture is well known for using this famous dirty boxing technique, where you grab the back your opponents head with one hand and strike with the other. If anyone is familiar with Karate kata, they will know that elbow strikes are nearly always performed into the palm of the hand. The main application of this is that you have grabbed your opponent and have delivered the elbow strike, (how well would this go down during sparring in many Karate dojos know a days though, and yet it is a constant kata technique.) The advantage of this is that the grabbing hand can be used to detect where the target is easily allowing for a more accurate strike.

The one handed behind the neck grab is a great technique to learn which can open up many possibilities and should be practised by all. This type of training combined with full two handed clinching can provide great all round close range combat control methods where the most effective strikes possible can be performed.

(Pictures taken from http://www.karate.org.yu/images/mawashi%20empi.jpg and http://www.arach.net.au/~burnie/clinch.jpg)


Marks

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