I'll agree on the point that it may be premature for him to pursue another gym. However the most basic and fundamental striking is that you keep your hands up and there should be no exceptions to this rule. Your fighting/competing is a reflection of your training and I'm entirely unsympathetic to counter-productive training methods no matter how well intentioned.
While your concerns are fully merited, I don't think it is completely prudent to make "find a new gym" your first recommendation. Secondly, as a trainer you should know full well that sending the new guy into sparring (even under controlled settings) without knowing what they are capable of isn't the best thing to do. At the very least, you get the guy beat up. At the worst, you get the guy completely beat down mentally and they completely drop any enthusiasm to train ever again.
I'm going to put that aside because I don't think that applies to our thread starter. Just as there are garbage TMA McDojos, there are a number of garbage "fight club" style MMA gyms popping up that don't care for bringing along new guys in a safe manner. There are a few things that we haven't learned about the situation the thread starter is in. For instance:
Did they require safety gear that the thread starter didn't have? I know lots of reputable places that won't let you spar if you don't have mouth guard, the right size gloves, head gear, or other applicable protective equipment. You asked about that yourself, we never got any info if he did have any of that. There have been times that people have been indicated "body only" at the place I train at (and we have quite a few guys who fight on an amateur level) because they don't have a mouth guard.
Were they trying to work specific defenses or techniques? Isolated training comes in many flavors. This could have been one of them.
Was his trainer telling him and the other guys to keep their guards up? Even when we go all body, we always keep our hands up. It helps us develop form and good habits.
This is just a few viable things we just don't know about.
Originally Posted by Fieos
My views are based of years of traditional martial arts; I'm not dismissing the merits of that kind of training and I feel that traditional martial arts teach discipline in ways MMA gyms may not be able to replicate. My chosen avatar reflects my view of the McDojos that have dilluted the tradional arts to the point that I spend an absurd amount of time on this forum defending the viability of Taekwondo in MMA competition because so many of the posters have experience in these buy-a-belt schools and have only experienced a bastardized version of the art. I've spent years as a Taekwondo instructor trying to get martial artist to keep their damn hands up because they joined a Taekwondo school where punching to the head was not allowed! There are literally a million+ Taekwondo students who train 3X a week to keep their hands mid-chest. They are a KO buffet for any competent striker in the world, trained or not. Worse these people are instilled with a false sense of confidence that could potentially put them them in more danger than if they had no formal training at all.
While that is true, we just do not know how reputable the place the tread starter is going to is or how they would normally train their established students. While I fully share your sentiments on the gross bastardization of the Martial Arts by the machinations of mass marketing, I would reserve judgement on how the thread starter's place of training hold's water that in regards until later on. If the place is for real, he'll get punched in the head soon enough.
Originally Posted by Fieos
I have a personal zero tolerance policy for people training with their hands down. If the original poster wants to continue with that gym I would at least make the recommendation that the question is asked about concerns of counter-productive training and that it is a very, very short term training method. One thing a lot of 'MMA' and 'TMA' schools do is get cheaper insurance rates by being a 'no' or 'minimal' contact school. Some policies explicitly restrict punching to the the head or demand higher premiums. No school wants to advertise that they teach a dilluted version of an art, especially with MMA so mainstream. If he is potentially at one of these gyms he should find out early and determine if he is training for viability or just for some cardio.
I fully agree. However, I've noticed that within our vis-a-via pontification that neither of us have addressed his initial question. He wants to know how to be effective in this situation. In which case, neither of us have been helpful!
To the TS: Okay, I know when a lot of guys are doing the "body only" type of isolation/situational sparring they tend to hunch over and shell up. Their elbows are tight to their ribs, and they aren't moving no matter what. However you said that you can kick to the legs, so here is something you can try:
You want to begin setting up your body hooks by doing 2 things:
1) Step across and leg kick. If you are in an orthodox stance, step 45 degrees to your left and leg kick. Really make it obvious and put a little behind it to make your partner concerned over it. When you see that they start reacting by checking your kicks, what you want to do is:
a) Hit the step deep like you are you are about to kick.
b) On the step dip your lead shoulder to ready your lead hook.
c) While your partner is left with his leg in the air, pop them in their side with your hook.
If you get that to work, then the fun really starts. This is what you want to do after that.
2) If you find that you can get them with that once or twice, start switching between lead hook and the leg kick.
a) Once they start reacting to the hook, start following with the leg kick after you throw the hook.
b) If they start paying attention to that, start throwing double hooks.
c) Mix-and-match until you have their head spinning.