Friday, 26 February 2010

Marcelo Garcia Sweep

The following video is a sweep demonstrated by one of the best grapplers of all time, Marcelo Garcia.

What is great about this technique is firstly, it is not very hard to master, and secondly, the opportunity to use it (or a variation of it which you should find out for yourself) nearly always crops up during ground grappling.

Weather it be passing your guard, trying for a submission or general scrambling, your opponent, most of the time, will provide you with an opportunity to hook one of his legs and if you can also control his upper body by hooking one or both of his arms as in the video you should be successful with this technique. Enjoy!



Marks
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Wednesday, 24 February 2010

The Element of Suprise

For stand up fighting (punching, kicking, clinch work and stand up grappling) as you progress with your martial arts and spar for a few years, not only will you improve(hopefully) but your sparring partners will also improve. This is great, however, it will become much harder to be successful during sparring. There may be times when you spar without striking your opponent at all.

This is where other factors apart from good technique come into play. Such factors include strength, speed, cardiovascular conditioning and the element of surprise.

The element of surprise is very important. Learning how to surprise your opponent by attacking when they are distracted and/or not thinking about there defense is a great way to be successful. It requires much thought during sparring and sometimes cunningness, rather than just simply padding up and going at it a full force all the time.

Some ways in which you can surprise your opponent and attack them when they are distracted include,

As soon as it starts – As soon as you bow, touch gloves or whatever it is you do to signal the start, launch an attack. Some may think that this is very unsportsmanlike, but is a great way to catch your opponent off guard.

Attacking on an attack – When your opponent attacks, you also simultaneously attack. Stop kicks and short jabs are great for this.

Attacking on the pull back – Imagine your opponent throws a cross punch which you defend. Most of the time, as they pull there punching hand back to their fighting stance they are not thinking about their defense and this is a great time to attack and be successful. This works when your opponent punches, kicks, and even throws.

Low/high – The classic strategy of attacking first low, to the legs, feet or body, then quickly throwing a second technique high towards the head area.

High/low – The same as above but attacking first high then low.

Seem to be distracted – This is cheeky. Appear to be distracted then launch an attack when you see that your opponent has reacted to this. My original karate instructor used to slightly rub his head as if he was injured or something and as soon as I looked to see what he was doing, which drew my concentration away, he would attack.

The element of surprise can be great if you are subtle enough with it and quickly use the opportunity when your opponent is surprised/distracted. It is only a split second or two so you have to be fast when the opportunity is there, but is great for finding openings to your opponents defense. It must be researched in depth.


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Monday, 22 February 2010

The Jab in MMA

The first technique any boxer will be shown is the jab. The jab is considered the foundations of a successful fighter. Many of the greats from the long history of boxing have developed the jab and used it to such effect that they have actually credited it for boosting them to the ranks of the best of the best.

Unfortunately in an MMA dominated world when it comes to combat sports, the jab is sadly very much underused. It has so many advantages and so many reasons for a fighter to use it. Yes, MMA is different to boxing, holding much more techniques for one to employ, but the jab should still be up there as one of the most effective.

The following are considerations and advantages when concerned with this basic but very unique technique. Hopefully they may change your mind if you feel that it should not be used as much as in boxing.

It is not used to knockout – The jabs aim is not to knockout your opponent. Although fighters have been hurt badly and some even knocked out with the jab, it has other benefits which are probably more important when jabbing.

Aim at delicate targets – When jabbing to the face, because the jab will rarely knock your opponent out, aim it towards delicate targets such as the eye area, the nose, the upper lip etc. Getting hit at these areas, will not stop one from fighting, but will cause irritation, and discomfort to your opponent.

Jab and close the distance – By jabbing as you move in, firstly you can camouflage your movement and secondly you can move in whilst keeping your opponent on the defensive. This will help when trying to clinch or shoot at your opponent.

Follow up techniques flow from it – Cross punches, hooks, kicks and shoots can be quickly seen by a trained fighter and defended easily. By jabbing before throwing these techniques one has a much better chance of “hiding” them and being successful.

Low and high – Fighters mainly aim the jab towards there opponents face, however it should also be practiced and used towards the midsection.(The picture shows that even a larger fighter can jab to the body)

Frustrate your opponent with it – Nothing is more frustrating when you attempt a technique and your opponent stops you in your tracks with a fast jab. This frustration will eventually bring sloppiness, hence mistakes. Find out how else you can frustrate your opponent with it.

More than once – Because the jab is so fast, it can be thrown more than once in combination. This is a great way to move away from corners when combining it with footwork. (any Muhammad Ali fight will show this!)

The jab is such a useful tool a fighter can employ and by dismissing it simply because it may not provide one with a knockout is a crying shame. The advantages the jab can provide easily out way the disadvantages and a fighter will be wise to develop it thoroughly.



For the best utilisation of the jab in MMA, watch GSP vs Josh Koscheck from UFC 124 (here)

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Friday, 19 February 2010

George Dillman, Pressure Points and Knockouts

Today we present to you another George Dillman video in which he describes and demonstrates his theories.

For me, the start of the video and the demonstrations where actually interesting and the applications can probably have some truth in them. However, he also included some of his no knockout stuff towards the end which I don’t agree with.

What do you think of the video?



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Wednesday, 17 February 2010

The Heavy Bag, for Martial Artists

The heavy bag is one of the oldest and most useful training apparatus ever devised for the fighter. It allows one to punch with full power, which develops not only a strong punch, but also develops ones cardiovascular endurance. All in all, apart from sparring, some may think it is one of the best training exercises a martial artist can have.

In order to develop strong hard punches, one must do exactly that, punch hard! However, punching hard constantly drains a martial artist. It saps the muscles dry of there vital stamina which is needed to carry one through a workout, which is not very good if one wants to gain the full benefits of a heavy bag training session.

By using the heavy bag, one can work on their timing, distancing, body rotation with techniques and stamina. If one drains their energy through constant heavy, hard punching they will not be able to work on these vital attributes, which in some cases are more important than a powerful punch.

For this reason, the martial artist should save practising power punching for the last five minutes of their bag workout. They should use the last five minutes of the workout to hit as hard as possible, weather it be through rounds or repetitions of the same punch or combination. This is enough time needed to train for power.

The time spent on the heavy bag before the power punching phase should consist of punches performed at a hardness of about 50-70% of ones maximum power. This will allow for one to hit the bag with some force and will “move” the bag which is important in order to practise the attributes listed above plus more. Also it will not tire out the martial artist and he/she will be able to perform a solid, full workout which will also provide the cardiovascular benefits that come with it.

Amateurs quickly find out that hitting the bag with full force may be good for distressing, but for training to better oneself as a martial artist is not very wise. Use the heavy bag wisely and the benefits it can provide will quickly become apparent.


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Friday, 12 February 2010

Adult Karate Program

The title for this article is a search phrase which many people enter into search engines. Adults, with no prior martial arts training wish to learn self defence and most of the time, karate is the first martial art to pop into there heads.

The fact is, whether it is karate, judo, muay thai or any other art, one has to understand that learning self defence is not simply a case of attending a few classes, being taught a handful of self defence techniques and hey presto, you are now an expert able to fight crime.

Proper self defence training is so much more. There are many issues which need to be addressed if one is to learn self defence and before you start a program called Adult Karate Program, Self Defence Tuition or Learn to Survive on the Streets, find out if they address are following areas.

Initial Skills – These initial skills include awareness, reasoning, concentration, cunningness, tactics plus much more. A self defence program being taught should address all of these areas as obtaining basic knowledge in them is vital in being able to predict, avoid and even stop a situation ever becoming physical.

Resistance training – At the start, when learning techniques, you must practise on a partner who does not resist. However, when a handful of techniques are learnt, you must practise on a partner who resists. This will not only provide you with realistic self defence training, but will force you to learn how to adapt and flow to other techniques when the one you are trying fails. This is vital to learn.

Weapons training – Most thugs, muggers and some innocent civilians now carry weapons. It is a fact, and without training in not only how to defend against weapon attacks, but how to use them to your advantage, you may be wasting your time.

Multiple attackers – Gone are the days, when two gentleman fight empty handily with there friends circling them never daring to get involved. Attackers have no shame and will have no quarrels in ganging up against two or even one person. You have to learn to deal with this.

Multiple ranges of combat – If a self defence program teaches just one area of fighting, (punches, ground fighting, clinch fighting, kicks) stay away from it. A proper self defence program should address every area of fighting, the worst situations to be in during a fight (in the middle of a pack, on the ground) and how to get out of these bad situations as quickly as possible.
It takes time – If a program claims to turn you into a self defence expert within a few weeks, STAY AWAY! Learning self defence takes a long time and patience.

One can not simply attend a few martial art classes, learn how to spar against one person and think they can survive on the streets. Proper, thoughtful training is necessary.

The best thing to do if you are an adult with other commitments in your life but really want to learn to be able to defend yourself is to find some spare time to stat training regularly in a martial art which offers proper self defence training, tackling the issues stated in this article rather than one which simply shows basic techniques without proper real life scenario training. Yes, learning how to defend yourself takes time and commitment, but simply ask yourself, how important is it to learn in the world we live in today?


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Thursday, 11 February 2010

The Fence for Self Defence

The fence is one of the best self defence tools one can use as soon as they see a potential situation developing with an attacker.

A while back, we posted an article dedicated to this special technique (here) which all should get used to practising and using when learning self defence.

Below is a great video which gives a good demonstration of different variations of the fence and an explanation of the value of it. Enjoy!



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Tuesday, 9 February 2010

How to Take your Opponents Back

The last article talked about one of the most practical ways in which one can quickly take control during a self defense encounter, which is to take the opponents back

Taking the opponents back as discussed should provide plenty of opportunities to defend oneself and should always be strived for if possible.

What are the ways in which this can be achieved though? Simply trying to move behind an opponent will not work, especially if dealing with multiple attackers. One has to take there opponents back via some other route. Below are a few ways in which this is possible.

After a strike – Probably one of the most common ways of taking an opponents back is after one performs a hard strike to the side of their face, which causes an opponent to turn their head. It is nearly always the case that the body follows in the same direction so when the head turns, the body will follow, presenting the opponents back. Hard hook punches are good for this.

Side stepping a strike – After your opponent strikes, side step the attack rather than moving backwards. This may provide an opportunity to take your opponents back, especially if one side steps outside of the opponent, rather than inside. This is one of the reasons why it is stressed so much on this website to learn to move to the side of an opponents attack rather than just moving backwards.

After a sprawl – A tackle is a common attack which one of the best defenses for it is the sprawl. If the sprawl is performed correctly you should land on your opponent’s upper back, which is a great position to be in order to take control of the situation. Just make sure that you don’t fall to the floor with your opponent, if possible.

Via the clinch – If one tries to take an opponent’s back from a distance away, it is very hard indeed. However, when clinching an opponent one has a chance to pull there opponent towards a certain direction which allows for an easy route to their back. Hopefully the clinch is practiced by all and the value of using it understood. Obviously, clinching and opponent who has friends behind ready to do damage to you may not be a wise option, but sometimes one does not have a choice and finds themselves in that situation so its best to learn how to cope with it in the best way possible.

Taking the opponents back should be a result, not an aim. This means that one should take the opponents back when it is presented. One should not aim to try and obtain this controlling position but should definitely take the opportunity when presented. The aim is always to defend oneself as safely as possible, and if caught in a position where fighting is a must, to end the conflict quickly. However, when you do have to fight, taking the opponents back will provide one with a good chance of getting out of the situation with little injury, so when practicing self defense and you are presented with your opponents back, take it!


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Monday, 8 February 2010

Self Defence Tactics - Taking the Back

In a self defense situation, the aim should always be to get out of the unfortunate position as fast as possible whilst keeping oneself safe. Running away is always best in order to accomplish this.

Fighting back, whether it is against one or multiple attackers may not be the best option in a self defense situation, however, sometimes there is no other choice.

In a situation where you have to fight, one strike may not be enough to end the conflict and a full scale brawl may develop. If this does occur then one of the best ways you can quickly take control of the situation is by “taking the opponents back”.

Taking an opponents back is literally as it sounds. Getting behind an opponent in order to control, take down, perform submissions or strike. In most combat sports however, striking an opponents back, or back of the head is not allowed, so from a standing position in MMA, or combat sports involving mainly strikes like Muay Thai and Karate it is not seen as much. When ground grappling though, one can gain a dominant position from the behind in order to control and perform submissions so it is seen often.

Obviously, in a self defense situation taking an opponents back on the ground is not a good idea as one should always remain standing if possible so as to have a better chance of fleeing or defending oneself more successfully, however taking an opponents back when standing is a great tactic as it offers the following advantages,

Your opponent can not see you – For multiple attacker purposes, this may give you more of a chance of better defending yourself by using your turned attacker as a shield. He can even be pushed towards assailants in order for you to make time to escape. When fighting a single attacker, by having his back towards you, he will not be able to see what you are doing allowing you to strike without the possibility of him defending himself.

You can easily take an opponent down – Any grappler/wrestler will tell you how easy it is to be taken down when your opponent has your back. Again this relates to the fact that one can not see what their opponent is doing behind.

You can easily control your opponent – Apart from taking your opponent down when behind them, you can easily control/restrain them from behind. This is clearly seen by police officers when trying to control thugs from a standing position. From here, an opponent can be easily directed to wherever the person holding them requires, or can be taken down to the floor.

Many vital targets are available – The reason why striking an opponents behind is illegal in combat sports is because it is dangerous. For self defense purposes and only if the situation calls for it, one has easy access to the spine, the back of the head, the liver, the groin and the back of the knees. Striking these targets can cause severe injury and must only be used if the situation is life threatening. The no contact rule should be enforced when practicing this.

These are the four main reasons why taking an opponents back when standing, in a self defense situation is a tactic used by many well trained martial artists or law enforcement officers. It offers many possibilities to gain the upper hand of a fight whilst very little possibilities of getting hurt.

However there is never a 100% guarantee that one can not be hurt, even from this position. You must also which out for some strikes such as swinging elbows, back kicks and stomps and keep in mind that although your opponent can not see you, you can not see his/her front. They may be able to pull out a weapon or some sort from there jacket pocket for example, so once you have obtained your opponents back, do what you have to do quickly and get out of there!

Our next article (here) addresses ways in which obtaining an opponents back can be achieved so check it out!


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Thursday, 4 February 2010

Rhadi Ferguson - Power Grappling!

Submission wrestling and BJJ is all about making an opponent submit through either a choke or a joint lock of some sort.

Although Judo matches can also be ended in the same way, a solid throw which results in an ippon decision can also determine the winner from the loser.
Because of this, Judo fighters, maybe more than other grapplers require very explosive strength. Today’s video shows such a fighter.

Rhadi Ferguson is strong and definitely explosive! Below shows highlights of some of his most devastating takedowns. Holding Dan grades in Judo and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Rhadi has the “best of both worlds”. He is able to combine the explosiveness, raw power of Judo throws along with the technical submission fighting of BJJ. Enjoy!



As an extra treat, check out Rhadi’s squat routine and keep in mind that not much in this world comes for free. Hard work is always required!



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Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Recipe's for Healthy Eating

Many people are looking for ways in which to develop a well shaped physique. They go to the gym, pumping the weights and do endless amounts of cardio. However if one never gets there diet correct, they are wasting there time.

The problem here though, is that many people eat dull food and quickly get bored.

Eating endless amounts of grilled dry chicken, boiled plain rice and snacks consisting of only rice cakes may make one lose weight for a while, but can quickly demoralize a person and make them head straight to there local fast food outlet the first chance they get!

In order for one to eat healthy and to keep eating healthy, one has to add variety and excitement into there food.

Below are some recipes which I have used in the past to help me get through diets, which are also pretty healthy and nutritious and taste quite nice

Oats Honey and Peanut Butter – Mix 3 tbl spoons of oats into a bowl with enough water to just cover the oats, add a tbl spoon of peanut butter. Microwave for 2 mins, then add a large thumbnail size of honey. Mix until the honey and peanut butter dissolve into the oats.

Eggs and Meat – This is best with chicken or beef. Warm up a pan then add a tbl spoon of hot oil. Chop up your palm sized portion of meat into thin slices then add to the pan. The meat should take about 2-3 mins to cook since it has been chopped. Add 2 -3 beaten eggs (depending on how much you wish to eat) and constantly stir until the eggs scramble and combine with the meat.

Tuna and Rosemary – Mix a can of tuna (which is packed in spring water, not oil) with a teaspoon of some light mayo and a few dashes of chopped rosemary. Add on top of some toasted bread slices (brown granary bread works great with this).

Prawns and Tomato Sauce – Fry off some prawns with a teaspoon of olive oil. Add a can of tomato sauce, some garlic and some chopped parsley. Cook until the sauce bubbles well. I always have this with salad or a slice or wholemeal bread.

A Healthy Breakfast – Grill your bacon (removing the fat), your reduced fat sausages or turkey sausages and halved tomato for a healthier alternative to frying. Poach your eggs, or use boiled eggs. Spread a teaspoon of olive oil on your toast instead of butter (plus some oregano for a great flavour), and drink freshly squeezed orange juice. This is a much healthier way to have a breakfast which in many eyes is seen as an artery blocker.

Banana Smoothie – In a blender add some skimmed milk, a banana and some protein powder. Blend until smooth and creamy.

Fruity Desert – Mix some protein powder (I use strawberry flavor for this) with a small amount of water so it forms into a paste like consistency. Add some blueberries, raspberries and strawberries. Leave to cool in the fridge for about half an hour. Enjoy it as a late night snack about an hour before bed.

Who said that eating healthy was meant to be boring and bland? Eating healthy can still mean having some great tasting food. The above are simply my own recipes which I have used to make food go down a bit better. There are hundreds of recipes which people use in order to make healthy food taste great. Research them and use them. There is no point eating bland food, when it can be made to taste much better without adding the calories.


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Monday, 1 February 2010

The Black Belt, what Next?

There are martial artists every day who achieve their 1st Dan grade. This is usually the time where one is given the “magical black belt”. Does it all stop here? Is there more to do after this point, or can one quit, thinking to themselves that they are now masters of their art.

A lot of martial artists feel that achieving 1st Dan and wearing a black belt is like climbing the top of a mountain. From such a height they can look back at all their encounters over the years and think now they have reached the peak of their training they have nothing but easy times ahead.

Ha Ha Ha Ha!!!.... (Excuse me)

The reality is im afraid, that once one posses their black belt they have just started their climb at the bottom of the mountain. All the training before hand, all the sweat, the blood and in some cases the tears was merely the time spent preparing for such a harsh climb to follow.

One must learn the basics of martial arts which includes techniques and attributes, before they can even think about putting it all into practice, in a way which is unique only to them. This is what all the colored belts are about. Levels of learning which have been grasped but not in any way perfected. The perfection (or as close as possible) of these basic techniques comes from even more years of harder, more vigorous training.

So what are the training requirements after Dan grade? Well, firstly one must never think that they have learnt every technique. There will always be something new to learn plus the endless variations attributed to that technique. It is very easy to forget this once a black belt is obtained.

Secondly, one must now start to think about techniques which work specifically for them. Chances are that one will not have the physical abilities to perform certain techniques and must realistically find out what works for them. This is not to say that the techniques which are not suited for ones style should not be practiced. This should never be the case. One must simply find out what works best for them and what does not. This takes time and plenty of training.

Thirdly, one will now start to think about aspects of their art that maybe were not considered before hand. One of these aspects that usually crops up is relaxation. For example, have you ever sparred with a Dan grade who has been training for years and years. Most of the time, these types of martial artists seem to be completely relaxed, almost lazy like, but still also dominate. They have learned that through years of tense sparring, where a lot of energy has been used, that this leads to nothing but tiredness which then brings sloppiness, carelessness and ultimately, defeat. The more experienced martial artist knows that relaxing their muscles and using up energy only when required, relying more on technique rather than brute force, is more beneficial and more practical.

There are so many new aspects of training that a new Dan grade must consider. Ultimately however, they all lead to one finding their own style. Their own way of doing things which works for them. This is the unreachable goal that one must aim for. Unreachable in the fact that being a life long process, the martial artist will soon discover (if not already) that nobody is perfect, mistakes will always happen and because of this there will always be a chance to learn from ones mistakes. One must never ever think though that they have achieved a level where there is nothing new to gain from martial arts training.


Marks
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