Friday, 27 February 2009

Medicine Ball Mistake

Medicine balls are great pieces of equipment for exercising. They have been used for combat athletes for years in order to improve balance, focus and produce strength in the core muscles.

An exercise, for which many use the medicine ball nowadays, is to hold the ball high above the head and throw it down on the floor as hard as possible. For MMA purposes, people say it is a great way to develop harder hammer strikes for ground and pound.

Although I think this may help in developing the muscles used for hammer strikes, I ALWAYS recommend you practise them on a bag which you have mounted on the floor. The reason why is shown in the following video.



Marks

 Subscribe to markstraining.com


Related Articles...
Shrimping, the Frank Shamrock Way
10th Planet Jiu Jitsu Flow Drill
Cro Cops Training Methods
Eric Paulson MMA Videos
Iron Mike Tyson

Tags: , , ,

Read More...

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Sparring Mistakes and Progression

When I was younger and was progressing through my belts during Karate and Judo training, sparring was an issue for me. I didn’t like it much, simply because of the fact that I was always getting pummelled. For some reason I was constantly sparring against other top level brown and black belts and during karate sparring I was eating strikes for dinner, and no matter how well I tried in judo I was always ending up on my back via some kind of vicious throw or submitted with ease.

Would I have changed any of it. Never! I know feel that I learnt so much during the old sparring sessions I received that it has helped me become better. Although im still progressing and every time I spar, I still pick up something new to think about and try and implement, I will always think that I learnt the most during the first few years of my training and sparring.

You always learn by making mistakes and understanding where you wrong in order to try and not make the same mistakes again. This is nothing new and applies to all walks of life.

I remember that one person I used to roll with was a brown belt in judo when I was yellow or orange, I can’t quit remember. He used to always catch me with an arm bar from the guard as it seemed that he was made of elastic. He was brilliant at it. After a while though I learnt how to counter the technique and now use the same counter nearly always to escape the submission. On top of that, I started to use the arm bar myself after learning it through having it applied on me, rather than being taught it. If I had not always been caught and submitted by it I would not have learnt the technique and the escape for it.

This is just one example of many, of how I feel I progressed through initial mistakes and by never getting the upper hand. The reasoning behind this article is because whilst browsing on a forum the other day, I read a post about how a young martial artist was getting upset and even depressed because of the fact that he was always getting submitted during his BJJ training.

The truth is, yes it is upsetting to always taste defeat and never victory, but in actual fact, if you stick with it, continue trying, learning and with regular practise, eventually you will understand where you are making the mistakes and shall stop doing them. Once this is achieved, chances are you shall improve, start obtaining victories of your own and shall realise that initial hard times during sparring lead to great rewards later on down the line.


Marks

 Subscribe to markstraining.com


Related Articles...
Marcelo Garcia Flowing Arm Bar Video
Arm bar from the Guard
High Roundhouse Kick Defence/Counters
Fighting When Mounted
Towel Chin Ups

Tags: , , ,

Read More...

Monday, 23 February 2009

Performing Kiai for all Martial Artists

There are two natural expressions of physical exertion. They are pulling a hard type of facial expression where you squint your eyes and show your teeth whilst they are grinding against each other (the type of grimace a power lifter performs when lifting a very heavy weight) and a shout of some sort. In Japanese martial arts this is called Kiai.

The kiai is a short shout which comes from the pit of the stomach as opposed to from the throat. There are some people who claim to be able to use there kiai as a fighting tool in order to physically knockout there opponents. Personally I have never felt that a kiai is able to do this and so will not dwell on the subject. But the kiai is definitely something which I feel should be performed by all martial artists for the following reasons.

For the person performing the kiai

• It is a way of releasing any stress, tension and negative feelings before and during fighting.
• Can help you place 100% focus on a technique. This is especially useful for strikers.
• Performing a kiai when receiving a blow can help block out the pain or sting from it.
• Can help you in breathing. Many people hold there breathe when fighting. By performing kiai, you exhale.

For the person receiving a kiai

• It can be off putting to hear, which can make you lose your focus and concentration.
• It can shock you and make you think your opponent is a crazy man/woman in capable of feeling pain!
• Can make you loosen up on your own strikes if the kiai is performed on you whilst you’re striking or just before you strike.

Karate fighters are all familiar with kiai as it is a part of there kata training and should also be performed during kihon (basic) training. The shout is usually performed as “Eiaa” but anything will do. The shout could be “argh”, “come on”, or even a grunt. As long as it is a natural expression of physical output it should do the job, although I can’t see many Karate instructors taking to there students shouting all sorts during training. Normally a natural shout will be a sharp short one, rather than a word or two., or even a grunt. As long as it is a natural expression of physical output it should do the job, although I can’t see many Karate instructors taking to there students shouting all sorts during training. Normally a natural shout will be a sharp short one, rather than a word or two.

I have found that the Kiai is very useful when fighting against non Karate fighters. For me, in Judo tournaments it has helped in securing throws and even when scrambling around during ground work, and has put many Muay Thai and MMA fighters off during sparring. It is something that non Karate fighters don’t expect and can be very off putting when hearing.

All martial artists should practise Kiai regardless of there style, and the best way to practise it in the beginning is against a heavy bag. Use your strongest punch and start hitting the bag with it, performing kiai every time the strike. You will notice straight away how performing kiai with a technique can help. Once you have become familiar with this start using it during sparring. Obviously performing kiai every couple of seconds will not do anything but give you a sore throat. Let it come naturally. Using it just before you strike can make your opponent lose focus as mentioned above, and is a good time to use it.

With practise Kiai will become a natural expression which will aid your fighting ability. As long as it is free flowing and naturally occurs it will do its job.


Marks

 Subscribe to markstraining.com


Related Articles...
Gi or No Gi Grappling
"One Punch One Kill" is it Practical
Mastering the One Handed Press Up
Awareness for the Street
The Axe Kick

Tags: , , ,

Read More...

Friday, 20 February 2009

Ernesto Hoost Highlights

The following video is of one of my favourite Muay Thai Fighters and K1 veteran, Ernesto Hoost. Known to his fans by his dancing he performs after he wins, he has become a firm favourite with fight fans, and only Hoost could get away with having his highlights performed with background vocals by Ricky Martin and Livin La Vida Loca.

On a serious note, what always impressed me about Hoosts fighting style is how unless he is about to finish a fight, he nearly always finishes his combinations with a strong low roundhouse kick. Fighters are doing there very best to defend the punches which are thrown at there heads, that they do not think about anywhere else, which gives Hoost the perfect chance to kick hard to the legs. Enjoy!



Marks

 Subscribe to markstraining.com


Related Articles...
Sparring Intensity in Martial Arts
Ring and Cage Fighting
Mike Zambidis
Which Martial Art is Best to Learn
Abdominal Toughening for Martial Arts

Tags: , , ,

Read More...

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Workout times

Every one has a time during the day that they feel suits them best for working out. There are some who workout out each and every day at the same time. Weather it be a morning, afternoon or night workout, they know that when that certain time kicks in, if there not working out, they are doing something wrong and missed from the regular activities. Is this right? Should your body get used to training at the same time, day in day out?

For me, I have always preferred late afternoon or early evening workouts. This is the time for me when I have enough energy for tough workouts due to the food and drink I have consumed and because I have been active during the day any way, which in a way warms me up. However, I have found that occasionally changing workout times can shock the body into doing something at a time when it normally is less active.

Weather it be an early morning run or weight session, sparring on weekends in the middle of the day or performing a few sets of press ups and crunches half an hour or so before bed, it all forces the body perform at a time that it is not used to.

Shocking the body like this is similar to the way muscles are shocked when training with weights in order for them to grow. If you change your weight routine, by adding basic weight training principles, you shock your muscles by making them perform something they are not used to, hence making them grow.

By changing your workout times not only shall you be shocking your body but you may also find that it provides you with time to pursue other activates. For instance, whenever I train in the morning, although I find that I have to push myself to get it done, it leaves my afternoons and evenings free to do other things. For people with families you shall understand how precious this can be, and how much nagging from the wife it can save!

Try occasionally changing your workout times. See if it makes a difference not only to your fitness or martial art goals, whatever they may be, but also to your personal and family lives. Maybe you and others may appreciate the time you have to spare instead of working out.


Marks

 Subscribe to markstraining.com


Related Articles...
MMA Fighters out of there Element
Rear Naked Choke Variations
Goshin Jutsu Training
Straight Strikes Vs Circular Strikes
Shadow Fighting, the Martial Artists Way

Tags: , , ,

Read More...

Monday, 16 February 2009

Boxing Rounds in MMA?

The great boxing fights of the past have always gone the distance, or at least many rounds of the fight. Ali Vs Foreman, Ali Vs Frazier, Tyson Vs Holyfield, even Rocky Vs Apollo. These are just examples of some of the greatest fights ever witnessed in the square circle. Obviously, the fighters all being excellent athletes, is one of the reasons why the fights are remembered and considered classics, but also maybe because of the long distances each fight went and the anticipation, excitement and suspense which was built up each time during each fight.

In today’s era, MMA is the ultimate combat sport. Combining most unarmed elements of fighting, it seems to have overtaken boxing as the most exciting combat sport around.

However, could MMA’s round system be improved. 3, 5 minute rounds for non title fights and 5, 5 minute rounds for title fights in some people eyes is not good enough.

What if MMA adopted boxings round system? What would be the advantages and disadvantages?


Advantages
A Build in Excitement – A fighter could be losing the first few rounds, but towards the final rounds, could start winning. As the long rounds continue, the excitement could rise, allowing for great fights.

Longer Fights – Fights would last longer. 12, 3 minutes rounds would last 36 minutes in length (without breaks between rounds) and 15, 3 minutes rounds which could be for title fights for example would last 45 minutes (again without breaks between rounds). Sometimes paying to watch only 3 or five rounds feels like your getting robbed. If its an exciting fight with plenty of action, people paying to watch the fight would certainly feel that they have got there money’s worth.

Disadvantages
Could be boring – Some fights tend to be very boring, especially when fighters get tired (gas) and spend most of the time lying on each other on the floor. For fans who have paid to see these types of fights, chances are they shall not return.

Less fights on the Card – With shorter rounds and quicker fights, there is the opportunity to have many fights on the same card (on the same night). If fights last longer, the amount of fights will be limited.

More punishment – Because of the longer fights, fighters will endure much more punishment through strikes and the risk of injury is greater.

These are just a few advantages and disadvantages given. If MMA adopted boxing’s round system maybe it would be a good idea or maybe it would not. It would certainly be worth tested though to see the results and opinions. Many people would very interested just in seeing if it made a difference or not regarding the excitement, and suspense of each fight.

Im sure people have there own reasons why this would be a good or bad idea and I encourage you to share your comments and opinions below.

Boxing rounds for MMA fights, what do you think?


Marks

 Subscribe to markstraining.com


Related Articles...
Top Submission Holds in MMA
High Roundhouse Kick Defence/Counters
Mike Tyson Training Video
How Do I Become a UFC Fighter?
Is MMA Safe?

Tags: , , ,

Read More...

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Shrimping the Frank Shamrock Way

Any good ground fighter will tell you that shrimping is one of the most important movements when grappling. When you shrimp, what you are doing is moving your hips backwards away from the position they are in, which in turn moves your body. This is used to create distance from your opponent.

In order for hold downs and submissions to be effective there must be correct leverage and control. This is created by keeping very close to your opponent, closing as much of a gap between the two of you as possible. For the person holding down or attempting the submission, this is what is needed for success. For the person defending the hold down or submission however, he/she must move there body away from there opponents, in order to create distance. Shrimping is one of the best methods used to do this.

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu fighters know this. Most of there training time is spent perfecting ground fighting and shrimping away from there opponents is a major part it.

For Judo fighters and Wrestlers, learning to shrimp away from there opponent in order to create distance should be a major part of there training also, but sadly it is sometimes neglected. In Judo and Wrestling competition, fights can be won by being held down for a period of time, so learning to shrimp away to escape hold downs should be practised regularly.

The video below is of Frank Shamrock escaping the side mount (yoko shiho gatame) by using the shrimp method.

Notice how Frank talks about pushing his opponents hip (which also stops his opponent from closing the distance) whilst turning to the side and moving his hips away. With the distance he creates from shrimping he is able to quickly move his knee inside between him and his opponent so as to be in a better defensive position and out of the hold down.

The blow video shows Frank Shamrock now performing a shrimping drill with a partner from the guard.

This time he pushes his opponent head, opposed to his hips then shrimps.

As mentioned, shrimping is very important for all grapplers. It helps you conserve energy whilst ground fighting instead of using brute strength to create distance and it also teaches you to use your hips, which is applicable for striking also. Practise the shrimp every time you grapple so it becomes second nature when rolling or fighting.


Marks

 Subscribe to markstraining.com


Related Articles...
Gi or No Gi Grappling
Rear Naked Choke Variations
Judo Ne Waza
Dynamic Russian Judo
Ultimate Fighting VS Boxing

Tags: , , ,

Read More...

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Tips for the Arm Bar (Juji Gatame)

A while back I wrote an article about obtaining the arm bar from the guard. The arm bar is a very strong and hard to defend submission and once you are caught in it and it is locked on tight, the chances of wriggling out are minimal. Whilst training last night, I noticed that some less experienced grapplers where having trouble performing a straight forward basic arm bar (juji gatame) whilst there opponent is lying on the floor. Below are several small, but often overlooked tips which should help.

Assuming you are in the arm bar position shown below with your opponent lying flat, and both your legs over his/her body,

Stay close – Keep your body close to your opponents in order to gain the best possible leverage for the arm lock. To do this, try and get your butt as close to your opponents head as much as possible.

Keep your feet flat on the floor - Some people cross there feet which can work just as well, but by having your feet uncrossed and flat on the floor, you can control your opponent better with your legs and can prevent him from sitting up or rolling into you which can break the submission hold.

Pull your feet in – With your feet flat on the floor you can further control your opponent and bring him closer to you, in order to create a tight and powerful submission, by pulling your feet in as if trying to touch your butt. Just watch you don’t kick your opponent in the face as this may get you in trouble in some grappling only tournaments.

Pinch your knees together – By pinching your knees together with your opponents arm in between, you control his/her arm in the best way in order to apply the lock easier.

Grip your opponents arm tightly – The strongest grip you can have on your opponents arm is to hold it near the wrist area with both of your hands (one under the other). Alternative but less powerful grips include hooking the arm as if you where choking it with hadake jime or holding it with one hand, as you may be controlling another part of your opponent (a leg for example) with the other.

Be prepared for an alternative – There is never a guarantee that any technique will work, so if your opponent does wriggle out, don’t use up all your energy trying to force the lock on, but flow to another technique or a good defensive position.

The arm bar is a basic but probably the most used submission. It requires constant practise and reviewing even if you have had years of training. Always use care when practising submissions and never apply a lock by pulling hard and fast on the joint as it can result in injury.


Marks

 Subscribe to markstraining.com


Related Articles...
Triangle Choke Variations
Kata Gatame Choke
What Martial Art is Best for the Police
Standing Locks, Effective or Not
Karate Basics (Kihon Training)

Tags: , , ,

Read More...

Monday, 9 February 2009

5 Ways to Cheat in MMA (from Sherdog.com)

I came across an article on Sherdog.com entitled 5 Ways to Cheat (and not get caught). This applies to MMA but some cheating methods also apply to other combat sports. Enjoy the read!

5. Grab the Fence - Forbidding a basic human instinct isn’t exactly cut and dry, but most referees are successful in admonishing athletes who react to a takedown attempt by clutching the chain-link fence that’s often within arm’s reach.

Problem is, unless the referee deducts an immediate point -- which happens infrequently -- the grabber has negated his deposit into a submissive position on the ground and the grabbee has been deprived of a dominant position. History’s course is irrevocably altered.

All right, so maybe it’s not that dramatic. But even so, without harsher penalties, fighters can usually get a fistful of fence without suffering the consequences -- the ref’s “HeystopgrabbingthefenceI’mwarningya!” notwithstanding.

4. Slick Up - Anti-GSP observers ignore a simple fact of his slick epidermis: If he and his trainers wanted to turn his skin into an oil slick, they could’ve done it more covertly with emollients that would excrete a slippery film only when he started to sweat. (This gets complicated once you get into your warm-up routine. Technically, you couldn’t have one and then confront commission members with a gelatinous body.) But thanks to the champ’s debacle, the days of covert lubrication may be over. Commissioners will be paying special attention to athlete skin.

Oh, and a fair word of warning to those looking to do additional research: Do not Google “oily sweat wrestling men.” Just don’t do it. Some things can’t be unseen.

3. The Eye Poke - Ninety-five percent of the time, extending your fingers out during a strike is a condition of the kinetic nature of MMA. Your hand might decide to open a bit to block a punch or go in for a takedown, but more urgent circumstances warrant a smack in the face instead. The result of that gear change is a kind of half-fist, half-slap hybrid that can jam digits into the delicate corneas of your hapless foe, causing an interruption of the bout and possibly affecting your opponent’s vision for the remainder.

Aside from a break in the action and a stern warning, there’s little punishment for perpetrators, and the poker can go on to take advantage of an opponent’s impaired vision. Bereft of any blindfold training, Van Damme-style, the poke-ee can look forward to broken blood vessels, lots of clinching and a better chance of spending the loser’s purse.

2. Magic Socks - In a rules alteration that still has Mark Coleman mumbling profanities, wrestling shoes were banned from Unified Rules competition in 2000. It provided traction to the wearer, and it’s conceivable the laces/tongue could increase the number of facial lacerations.

Dennis Hallman’s solution? Take an ankle wrap -- perfectly legal -- and apply some traction to the bottom sole. Jeff Monson sported them against Tim Sylvia. (Clearly, they’re not foolproof.) While not technically prohibited, increased traction can make a difference in a bout. Why they’re not more widely used remains a mystery.

1. Human Growth Hormone/Testosterone - Who needs steroids when there’s a chemical cocktail out there that speeds recovery, halts muscle wasting, sheds fat and otherwise makes for a leaner, meaner athlete?

While dirty-alley pundits advise HGH is best used with a cycle of anabolic steroids, the compound can provide plenty of advantages by itself and state commissions have yet to introduce a test that can reliably detect its usage. No less a physical specimen than Sylvester Stallone, aged 63 and with abs that look like a biscuit tray, was cornered in an Australian airport with a duffel bag full of the stuff.

A drug that can mimic more potent, dangerous chemicals -- working diligently in cells without detection -- has inarguably altered and lengthened careers in all sports. In MMA, where a constitution able to withstand gruelling training is paramount, it may have given us some of our best fighters.

And while synthetic testosterone is a banned substance, it is possible that athletes with a doctor’s record of low levels could be placed on excusable replacement therapy that would -- in theory -- raise their reading beyond what’s considered “normal” for an adult male, a dial that varies widely depending on the expert consulted. Perhaps Fighter Y’s reading of 436ng/mL, raised by artificial means and brought back to what his physician considers “baseline,” provides a more aggressive, alpha-male environment than his opponent’s natural 636 ng/mL number. He has, in essence, been positively affected by chemical means.

The point? A “fair fight” in a major arena extends only to an absence of bricks, cue-wielding buddies and broken bottles. Thank our win-at-all-costs culture.

The apex of this blind drive: Vassily Ivanchuk, a Russian chess champion, refused to submit to a urine test amid allegations he took steroids. (The beta-blockers in some of the drugs could keep his heart rate down during marathon sessions.)

In a world where we can’t even trust the result of a board game, GSP’s asterisked victory is hardly the last of the sport’s slippery slopes -- just the latest.

For comments, e-mail jrossen@sherdog.com


Obviously cheating gives MMA and any sport a bad image and should be constantly condemned. Although lots of people have gotten away with cheating in the past, most of the time it always catches up with you and does nothing but damage an image which you may work hard to achieve. Don’t do it.
Marks

 Subscribe to markstraining.com


Related Articles...
Not Tapping Out when Grappling
Sparring Intensity in Martial Arts
Mike Zambidis
Self Defence and Going to Far
Female Fighters

Tags: , , ,

Read More...

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Nutrition of Bodybuilders

The following is an interview given to top bodybuilders Jay Cutler, Chris Cormier, King Kamali, Branch Warren and Johnnie Jackson. It regards there nutrition, and how it plays a big role in chiselling there physique out. For martial artists who compete or who are just looking for a good overall diet to help them get through training, this may help them. Obviously martial artists are not bodybuilders but the diets can be similar.

Questions asked during this interview include, what pre and post workout meals do they take, How they keep there energy up when dieting, do they prefer red meat or chicken, if they weigh food plus many more. Enjoy!

Part 1


Part 2


Marks

 Subscribe to markstraining.com


Related Articles...
Kettebell Training for Martial Arts
Bodyweight Circuit Training
Mastering the One Handed Press up
Bodybuilding and Martial Arts
One More Rep

Tags: , , ,

Read More...

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Bad Balance when Punching

In order to deliver the fastest and most powerful punch possible it is necessary that the body be in the correct position always. This means that when punching on the spot, the knees are bent, the body is upright and the feet are about shoulder width apart. Even when you twist your hips and shoulders for the punch and when your back heel twists off the floor for punches with the reverse hand you should still keep this body position.

Of course punching is not always carried out on the spot and most of the time it is done when moving in towards an opponent. When moving forward it can be very easy for this correct body position to alter which in effect will make the punch much weaker.

One of the main habits which many create when moving in and punching, is to bring the back foot forward and in towards the body which disrupts your balance and makes the punch very much less effective.

The above diagram (forgive me for the poor quality) shows this. Fig A shows the feet position when moving forward. They stay shoulder width apart always, even when a punch is executed which provides the best balance possible allowing for a powerful and fast punch (as long as all the other criteria are met). Fig B shows what happens sometimes. When a fighter moves in and strikes, instead of striking with the feet kept shoulder width apart, the back foot moves forward and in towards the other foot nearly crossing over the centre line, which all martial artists should know is a big mistake. Why is it a mistake? Because it puts the body well off balance and when the body is off balance speed and power is sacrificed. Not to mention the fact that a fighter is much easier to take down when off balance.

Obviously with a good trainer by your side telling you when you do such a thing, you should not fall into this trap, but, nearly always, bad habits are created when training alone.

The best way to look out for this is to do just that. Shadow box in front of a mirror at a medium pace and look out to check weather you are making this mistake. If you are, do your best to fight the temptation of bringing that back foot in to your body when moving forward. After you cut this bad habit out, you will notice that your punches will be more faster and powerful and your balance when punching and moving will improve.


Marks

 Subscribe to markstraining.com


Related Articles...
The Importance of Good Reflexes
Superfoot Training for High Kicking
Guarding When Kicking
Gi or No Gi Grappling
The Axe Kick

Tags: , , ,

Read More...

Monday, 2 February 2009

Leg Lock from Yoko Shiho Gatame

Leg Locks have a long history. They are very painful if executed correctly and can be very dangerous causing major damage. However, leg locks are no where near as tempting to go for as arm locks. One of the reasons for this is because with most arm locks you leave your opponent in a position where he/she can not escape out of them because you also control there body with your own. With most leg locks however, because they are large limbs, it is hard to gain good control over your opponent for them not to escape out of.

There is one easy leg lock though that can be applied whilst gaining good solid control over your opponent, preventing them from escaping.

From the following Yoko Shiho Gatame position...

...you control your opponents head with one arm, apply pressure to your opponents chest area by dropping most of your weight onto your his chest so he cannot move, keeping in mind your balance in case he tries to turn you, then with your other hand, you hook your opponents leg. To apply the submission you simply pull your opponents leg inwards towards his own head, in which pain is felt in his knee and hip. Igor Yakimov demonstrates perfectly (below right), the position you should be in, which is taken from the front cover of his DVD set Ultimate Leg Locks.

As with all submission holds, the best way to perform this submission is if it is presented to you. As you are holding your opponent down in yoko shiho gatame, once he/she bends his leg enough for you to hook it, (which he/she will probably do when trying to escape the hold) go for it. However, if his/her leg is not bent enough for you to hook and control it firmly, move onto another technique which is best for the position you are in.

The beauty of this lock is that you are also controlling your opponents body with the hold down, making it very hard for him/her to escape. It is a very painful submission hold and must be practised carefully in order to be applied correctly. Start off slowly, with your partner offering no resistance and once you are capable of applying it, slowly incorporate it into your sparring.


Marks

 Subscribe to markstraining.com


Related Articles...
The Inverted Heel Hook
Karo Parisyans Knee Bar
Finger Locks
Arm Bar from the Guard
Leg Locks in Judo

Tags: , , ,

Read More...