Friday, 30 January 2009

Judo Grips - Shota Khabarelli

To be successful in Judo you have to know a think or two about grips. In Judo competition, most likely, the fighter with excellent grips will win.

The traditional basic grip where you hold the sleeve with one hand and the lapel with the other although can be very powerful, is the most common and because of this, fighters can easily break it or counter it.

The following video shows the Russian great Shota Khabarelli versus Seppo Myllyla from Finland. Khabarelli was known for his outstanding pickup which was named after him. To execute the pick up Khabarelli would use a behind the back grip with one hand holding onto his opponents belt and with the other hand he would grip his opponents gi trouser near the knee. With this grip he would get in close drop his hips, lift his opponent and they end up on there back.

In this video he uses the same powerful over the shoulder, behind the back grip, holding onto his opponents belt, but instead of lifting his opponent he performs a strong Koshi Guruma. The grip which he has behind his opponents back is very strong and it is because of this grip that he is able to get in tight to his opponent in order to throw him. Enjoy the video.



Marks

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Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Weight Training Mistakes for Martial Artists

Weight training is the best way to improve ones strength. Nothing compares to it. For martial artists it should be supplemented along with technique training, sparring and cardiovascular conditioning. If two fighters are equally talented and are competing in a fight, it is there bodies that is going to decide the winner, i.e., the stronger and fitter fighter.

However, without proper knowledge, weight training can not only be a waste of time but it can actually be detrimental to martial artists. Some common mistakes which are witnessed and heard of are the following,

Not consuming proper nutrition – When you train with weights, or martial arts for that matter, you are breaking down your muscles in order for them to grow back stronger. Proper nutrition is what repairs and builds your muscles once they are broken down through weight training and without it your muscles will struggle to do these things and shall lose out. Consuming the correct amount of quality nutrients before and after training is crucial for maximum benefits.

Training too heavy – As martial artists, you should be obtaining 8 to 12 repetitions on each set (apart from certain occasional power sets where you use enough weight for 6 or less reps depending on the weight). If the majority of your sets don’t allow you to do this or you are using extra muscles which are not meant to be used for the exercise to lift the weight, then drop a few pounds so you are in your rep range and are using strict correct technique.

Training to light – Many people believe that training for more than 15 reps per set will pack on the strength or will enhance muscular endurance. Although every now and then this will benefit you, the majority of your repetitions should be between 8 – 12 per set for maximal strength gains. If you are performing more than 12 reps per set, add more weight.

Not training the full range of motion – Many times in order to lift more weight people perform only half of the movement of a particular exercise. Take the bench press for example. Instead of lowering the bar so it touches your chest and then pushing it back up, some will lower the bar only halfway. By doing this, you are not fully working the muscle, and are not reaping in the full benefits of the exercise.

Resting adequately between sets – It is very easy to become side tracked when resting between sets. A cute girl (or guy) walking past, a conversation with someone, writing a text message etc. Make sure that you are not resting more than 1 min – 2 min, (depending on the intensity of your training) between sets. Also make sure your taking enough rest needed between sets in order for you to have enough energy for each set.

Training with weights after cardio or martial arts – To gain maximum strength your muscles must be fresh and full of energy. If you weight train after a cardiovascular workout or martial art workout you will not be fully energised and will not be able to lift as much weight. This will hinder your strength gains.

Rest between training sessions – With the weight training, martial arts, cardio etc, your body will need a good amount of rest. Make sure you give it what it needs along with enough sleep and good quality nutrition.

These I feel are the most common mistakes which martial artists make when weight training. It is important that martial artists conduct research on the best methods of weight training and how it can be used to enhance performance. There are plenty of websites which give information on this subject, however, I feel that bodybuilding.com provides the best articles and information for this.


Marks

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Monday, 26 January 2009

Turning away when Sparring or Fighting

When a new martial artist who is studying a striking art starts sparring, they are usually very keen and eager to fight. Within a few minutes however of there first taste of it, they soon realise that it is a lot harder than it looks and most of there basic training goes out the window and natural instincts take over.

These natural instincts are things that untrained people do when faced with strikes coming towards them, including, throwing up there hands to cover themselves, ducking or probably the most common and dangerous, turning there heads away.

Turning your head away when sparring or fighting is bad. There is no other way to describe it. Sometimes a fighter gets lucky when he turns his head and there opponent does not take advantage of the golden opportunity presented to them, but most of the time it ends in either repeated strikes which can not be defended, a choke hold of some sort or in the most luckiest of circumstances, a telling off from the coach.

Obviously practise through sparring is the only way to fight this natural instinct and remain facing your opponent when bombarded with strikes. However some tips to deal with this issue include,

Keeping your guard up always – By keeping up your guard and developing a good defence you will get used to learning to defend without having to turn away.

Learning to take a blow – Fighters turn there heads because they don’t want to get hit. Through regular sparring and by getting hit (something that happens to everyone who spars) you shall get used to it as much as possible and the fear of getting hit will disappear.

Defend by attacking – People turn there heads because they are thinking too much about defending themselves. If you stop thinking about defending and think about attacking you may be able to counter the thought of turning your head. Ways to do this include, stop hits, blocking and countering at the same time and shooting in on your opponent as they attack.

Spar against two people – As you spar against one person, have someone standing behind you and as soon as you turn away, have the second person attack you while the other one stops. This will force you to deal with constant attacks even if you turn your head or not.

A good coach – A good coach who points it out whenever you turn away and makes it known to you, will help you in realising that its bad. This will help you to think about it more during sparring and to eventually stop it.

Last but not least…..practise, practise and more practise.


Marks

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Friday, 23 January 2009

MMA Fighters out of there Element

A while back I wrote an article about Bob and Weaving while Free Style Fighting. A comment was made on the article in which the person wrote “we are talking boxing here stupid! Not mma. MMA anyone can do in their backyard or basement. But boxing is an art and take any MMA fighter out of his element and a boxer would kick his ass anytime in the ring of boxing. It's a fact and truth MMA fighters have no boxing skills whatsoever other than throwing a punch which anyone can do but to block and bob and weave and dip now that is strategy unlike MMA style which is whatever works use it. That is not strategy just dumb luck.”

My personal opinion is that this person has a very na├»ve and ignorant view on MMA, and he/she obviously has no experience in it. But what got me thinking is a statement he/she makes. “Take any MMA fighter out of his element and a boxer would kick his ass anytime”.

Anyone who trains MMA knows that one day grappling is trained, the next day maybe striking, the next day throws and takedowns etc. Although fighters also train by combining all of the elements needed for MMA fighting, a lot of the times, these elements are broken down and each one is worked independently. The reason for this is so each element can be concentrated on fully and a high level of experience can be achieved in them.

Because of this we see many MMA fighters trying there hand at combat sports of a single discipline as they have gained experience in them. Many MMA fighters compete in the ADCC which is pure grappling, Vitor Belfort has fought under boxing rules, Lyoto Machida has competed in Karate tournaments.

Obviously MMA fighters will not be experts in each discipline. Sometimes we see that MMA fighters are good in one area of fighting but are weak in others. But being weak in an area and not having any experience in an area are two completely different things.

A good MMA fighter should be able to compete and hold his/her own in any type of combat sport, since there MMA fighting requires them to have knowledge in these areas of fighting. No one is required to always win regardless of there fighting style, as that always comes down to who is better on the day. An MMA fighter can walk into a Boxing match a win, but a boxer can walk into an MMA fight and win.

This is the value of cross training. Achieving good knowledge in one art and then broadening your horizons, and training with many other people from many other disciplines is the best way one can learn, so as to never be completely out of his/her element. By gaining knowledge wherever possible and not just sticking to one persons opinion or one styles way of fighting and training is the best way to become a complete fighter.


Marks

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Thursday, 22 January 2009

Gi or No Gi Grappling

Gi grappling or no gi grappling. Which is better to practise. Out of the many grappling arts which are practised in today’s world, they all share the same principles of good balance, correct body positioning, the ability to flow and transition from technique to technique etc. Weather a gi is worn or not, these principles must be strictly carried out or ones grappling will never be effective. So what other factors must one take into consideration in deciding weather to train with a gi or not.

What are you training for - Obviously if your training for competitions where the gi is worn it would make sense for you train gi grappling the most. If you are an MMA fighter or fight in submission grappling tournaments where the gi is prohibited than train without it.

Training for self defence – If your grappling is mainly for self defence then where you live in the world should have a lot to do with your decision. The gi is used for controlling your opponent with throws and also for applying certain chokes and hold downs. In hot climates the chances are that people will not be wearing thick jackets or jumpers when out and about (where self defence situations are most likely) because of the heat, opting for thinner materials like T shirts. Learning to be dependant on a thick gi to grapple if you live in these types of climates may not be your best decision.

If you have a problem with sweat - Although his may be a silly reason when influencing your decision, a lot of people don’t like even touching other peoples sweat. If you are one of these people, ALWAYS OPT FOR GI GRAPPLING.

Like every aspect of martial arts it is always best to become knowledgeable, grappling with and without the gi. A lot of Judo and Jiu Jitsu fighters, although very good at grappling with the gi, can sometimes become completely helpless when grappling without it, as the different ways of controlling your opponent become limited to only a few. Also without the gi, in order to gain better control, fighters are forced to hold behind there opponents head with one arm and there upper arm (below the tricep) or wrist with the other, when throwing and rolling on the ground. This forces a much closer wrestling style of combat, and can be difficult to adjust to for some.

On the other side of the coin, no gi grapplers who start grappling with the gi must be extremely cautious until they become used to it. The different ways of controlling and applying submissions with a gi are vast and you may find yourself caught out many times because of this.

Just as a good striker will train with many fighters from different fighting styles in order to gain experience striking in all kinds of situations a good grappler must also be prepared to grapple with and without the gi. This is the best way to be ready for any situation.


Marks

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Monday, 19 January 2009

Marcelo Garcia Flowing Arm Bar Video

To some, a grappling match between two experienced fighters can look boring. A lot of grappling matches nowadays also end up with the victor being decided over judges or a referees decision. Why is it that two experienced grapplers who have trained for years can not obtain a submission hold. Could it be that today’s grapplers are rubbish?

Fortunately no, the reason many grappling matches go the distance nowadays without no one obtaining a submission hold is not because they are rubbish. Probably the opposite actually. It could be because they are both very skilled fighters.

Two skilled grapplers will also be very cautious when grappling. Each fighter knows what he can do but also knows that his opponent can do the same and maybe better. It is probably because of this great skill level that the word rolling is used when grapplers spar. Grapplers know what there opponents intentions are, weather it be to pass guard, mount, try for a certain submission etc and because of this they can flow with there opponent and defend and attack accordingly.

Marcelo Garcia is a master grappler and below is a video of him demonstrating a technique. The beauty of this technique is all in the flow of it which is brought about by his opponent trying to pass his legs and Garcia using his opponent’s movement and momentum to fall back into a great position allowing him to perform an arm bar.

It must be stressed that Garcia acts before his opponent moves. When his opponent holds his feet, Garcia grabs his wrist with one arm and feeds his other arm under his opponents armpit which will enable him to gain good control of him.


Marks

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Thursday, 15 January 2009

Ineffective Martial Art Techniques

With all the different martial arts in the world and millions of techniques which form these arts, there has always been some, when performed either are not as effective as they could be, can physically hurt the person performing them or leave the person performing them in a bad situation. A lot of people recognise these techniques and understand why they are probably not the best ones to use. However some still don’t and continue to use them.

Below is a short list of some of these techniques and the reasons why they should be avoided if possible.

Nukite (finger strike) to the Body – This should really be nukite to any where other than the throat and eyes. Hitting a hard surface like the body may annoy your opponent, but it will not do much damage. On the other hand, you can severely damage your own fingers in doing so.

Double Hammer Fist Strike – Clasping the hands together and usually when mounting an opponent, raise your hands and strike down. This becomes a dangerous technique for the little fingers. If the fingers hit, which is very likely you can injure them. Also you leave yourself unguarded, allowing your opponent an opportunity to strike you if its possible.

Roundhouse Kick to the Thigh with the Foot – The thigh is a big limb and can become very hard when tensed, which is what happens when your opponent is standing in a fighting stance. By striking hard with the foot, it is very possible to break there small bones. Always use the shin in striking the thigh.

Blocking a Punch by Punching the Striking Fist – By trying to punch a fist travelling towards you is very dangerous. Firstly it will hurt if you are successful. Secondly the chances of being successful are small. Its hard enough sometimes seeing the fist coming towards you, never mind hitting it when it is thrown at full speed.

Standing Head Lock – Although many will not see this as a bad technique others will. By holding your opponent down with both arms it is very easy for him to take you down or strike you in the groin, or claw your face without you being able to defend yourself.

Two Hand Choke – This is usually seen as a finisher in movies. The attacker grips the victims throat with both hands, and both arms extended. In this position like the front head lock it is very easy to strike the attacker in the groin and many other places. Also with both arms extended it is very easy to apply an arm lock from this position.

As mentioned above, these are just some of the hundreds of techniques which should be avoided. If you know of any others, please leave a comment letting us know.


Marks

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Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Not Tapping Out when Grappling

Through many peoples training, some can eventually develop a level of pride. This pride is most evident when they spar and are being overwhelmed. Particularly when grappling, some decide, that they will not tap out when caught in a submission hold as it is seen as defeat and something which they must not do.

If someone decides to not submit during training do you decide to teach them a lesson by not submitting, by choking them unconscious or breaking there joint, or do you show mercy and let go.

First and foremost, everyone should tap if caught in a submission and there is no way of escape. By letting pride get in the way and choosing to go through pain rather then giving up, you are silly.

However, if you are the person applying the submission hold and you know that your opponent will not tap out (which you automatically know when you apply a submission correctly and are experienced enough) should you also show the same pride and think “well if he does not tap and gets injured its his fault so im not going to let go” or should you show mercy, let go of the technique and carry on training.

If it was a fight in the street or in competition, then there may be more at stake if you let go of the submission, but in daily training, hurting your sparring partners, even though they are silly enough to let themselves get hurt probably is not the best thing to do.

A hurt sparring partner is one less person who you yourself can train with. Just because they refuse to tap out does not mean that you can not get some good training in with them. If there hurt, you will miss out on this.

Secondly, some may argue that the whole point and basic foundation of martial arts is not to hurt people through fighting unless there is no other alternative. If you are applying a submission hold and your opponent is not tapping out and helpless and you decide to apply more pressure with the submission hold, you are deliberately hurting someone when they are helpless, and are going against this martial arts code.

There are mixed feelings on this subject and I suppose the final answer is it all depends on the situation. But as mentioned many times, this issue would not be an issue at all if some people just swallowed there pride and TAPPED OUT! You gain no kind of respect by not tapping out and can hurt yourself, never mind losing out on good training time.


Marks

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Monday, 12 January 2009

Top Submission Holds in Martial Arts

When the UFC first unleashed the true importance of grappling to most people everyone rushed to learn arm bars, chokes, leg locks and many other submissions which we see quite often in today’s martial arts. Because of the rise in popularity of submission grappling and peoples skill level there are now endless submission techniques practised and used which not many had even thought of about 15 years ago. But has there ever really been a stray from the most basic submission holds. Are these new and sometimes, movie like submission holds really worth practising?

Well to answer this question I asked one on Yahoo Answers in order to find out peoples top 4 submission holds which they use the most during training or fighting.

The majority answered with,

Although the guillotine and various leg locks where answered a couple of times, the above four where the most peoples answers.

So what does this all tell us?

1. These are the four most basic submissions to perform. Within two lessons of grappling at the most, many should be able to perform them to a good standard.

2. They require the least amount of energy, flexibility and speed to perform. Just with striking, the basic techniques (knees, basic punches, roundhouse kicks etc) are more common and probably more effective than extravagant ones like spinning jumping elbows and such.

3. They can be performed from most positions, and if unsuccessful, they rarely leave you in an awkward position.

4. Whilst performing any of these basic techniques, you do not leave yourself open to be struck much, but do leave yourself in a position to strike if necessary. (Obviously this applies more for MMA fighters than submission grapplers)

Should we bother learning any other submissions? Of course we should. Learning as many techniques and variations will always provide you not only with more expertise and confidence to try other things, but to also recognise techniques that may be performed on you. By knowing other submissions you shall be able to use them and defend against them adequately. However it must be noted that these are the four basic submission holds and its best to study them and defences to them the most.


Marks

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Friday, 9 January 2009

The Banana Split Submission

The banana split submission technique is one which I feel does not get enough credit and is not used as much as it could be. If you have ever been caught in the banana split you will know that it is very painful if done correctly. Having your groin stretched to the max is pretty painful, as Jean-Claude Van Damme found out after he got stretched out in Kickboxer.

Once you hook and lock your leg around your opponents (the first movement of the submission) it is very easy to then finish the technique. Many times I have seen people from this position attempt so many more complicated submissions without a hope of them working when the banana split is available.

Be careful when using this technique when striking is allowed as your opponent may be able to land one if he/she is fast and limber enough. To defend this keep your elbow closest to your opponent high, to act as your guard, and be quick when applying the submission (remember to take care however not to injure your opponent).


Marks

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Wednesday, 7 January 2009

The Importance of Good Reflexes

When practising techniques through shadow fighting, heavy bag training, focus mitts or sparring, your guard must always be one of the main things you think about. Without a good guard, you leave yourself open to strikes when attacking. Plus, if your guard is held in the right place whilst you are attacking, it is easier for you to defend stop hits, counters and other defensive measures your opponent decides to use.

Because of the importance of a good guard and in order to be sufficient in defending attacks from your opponent through covering up, blocking etc, most martial artists spend much training time developing these skills. However, guarding properly and good defensive requirements are merely 50% of what is needed to not get hit.

This 50% is practised regularly and clearly understood from very early on by most martial artists. However, the other 50% requirement which many rarely practise is ones reflexes.

A reflex is defined as “an automatic response to a simple stimulus which does not require mental processing”.

So, you can be guarding yourself in the best possible way when attacking and can have the best defence in the world, but without good reflexes, you wont have time to stop yourself getting hit. Many martial artists develop there reflexes merely through sparring because this is the only time they have someone striking back at them.

Although this always helps, there are so many other ways to develop good reflexes. A speedbag and top and bottom bag are excellent training tools for this. Simply having a partner throw single strikes at you as you defend, getting faster over time, is also a good drill. One method which is very old school is to stand about half a meter away from a wall and in a continuous rhythm, throw a tennis ball against it, then catch it using only one hand. By constantly keeping your eyes on the ball and full concentration on catching it, you can develop very good reflexes with this drill.

After much time developing your reflexes you shall automatically respond much faster to attacks and counters from your opponent making yourself a much better fighter. Also by constantly successfully defending your opponents strikes, not allowing him to hit you, can frustrate your opponent and when he/she is frustrated it is very easy for them to become sloppy and careless maybe giving you an opportunity to dominate.


Marks

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Monday, 5 January 2009

Circuit Training - How to Develop your Own

Circuit training is one of the best known overall training concepts. Depending on the exercises used, circuit training develops strength, flexibility, cardiovascular and muscular endurance via a workout which is exciting and fast. A good workout of circuit training can be completed within half an hour at the most.

Many people interested in circuit training search for hours on exercise forums and fitness websites, looking for the best circuit for them to implement. Rather than doing this, others find it more beneficial to develop there own.

So how do you go about developing your own circuit? Check out the following suggestions below.

Reason for circuit training - Do you want to develop strength, flexibility, endurance, explosiveness in your movement, weight loss, weight gain etc. Many require developing most of these areas and for this reason nearly all circuits include many different types of exercises for many body parts.

Your current fitness state – If you have never trained before, you may want to develop a circuit with very basic exercises like press ups, sit ups and squat jumps. Once you have developed a good level of fitness then your circuit can be altered by adding more advanced exercises to develop different muscles and other areas.

How many exercises and for how long – Again depending on your current fitness state you may decide to perform only 4-6 exercises unlike more advanced people who may perform more. Performing each exercise for a certain time period (30 seconds, 1 minute etc) will give you the ability to challenge yourself and beat the number of repetitions you previously performed, however, this is more taxing and maybe performing a certain amount of repetitions (8 – 12 etc) in your own time is better if you are just starting off.

Choosing exercises – It’s a fact that exercises which train many muscle groups at the same time (squat jumps, heavy bag punching etc) provide the most benefit. By training as many muscle groups as possible you are not only working a number of muscles but you are getting the blood flowing through the body. This helps when developing your health and fitness level. Single muscle exercises like bicep curls will not provide you with this benefit.

Moving around the body – If you perform three exercises for example for the abdomen, a lot of blood will be rushed into that area. By exercising different muscle groups with each exercise, the blood circulates in each area of the body rather than clogging up in one muscle only. Press ups followed by squat jumps, followed by chin ups would be a good example of moving the blood around the whole body.

These are very basic considerations which many people do not address when looking for circuits to perform. By understanding each point above, you should be able to create a circuit specific for your own needs and provide variations to it as time goes by.

Marks

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