I went in to work a no-gi class today, and I've been working mostly conditioning for a while, so it was about time to really do some technical work.
Apparently Steve Maxwell (of the 300 Workout, but he's also been a conditioning coach for pretty much every good grappler) has been teaching the Saturday no-gi classes. He's a blackbelt in BJJ, and a complete conditioning machine.
We opened the class with some mobility drills, and I had a hard time, but no harder than anyone else. It's hard for guys who do a lot of kettlebell to do the bodywork that requires flexibility and agility.
He worked on some drills from the front headlock, standing up. We started just working on grabbing on your opponents head and dragging it down under the arm.
Once you get to that position you're in pretty good shape. Your opponent will almost always grab your wrist to defend the guillotine. As soon as they do, shoot your free arm underneath their opposite arm and around the back as you step in.
Then turn and step out with your outside leg, tossing him over and take the side control. You can finish with the neck crank from side control, but it's easier just to take the position.
There are a few others that work pretty well, but this is the first one in the sequence and the easiest one to land.
It's been a while since I've posted in my training log, but a lot has happened (as it does as time goes by).
What might have been a fight contract with Wargods (which put on the Ken Shamrock show I almost landed on the undercard for) has deteriorated for lack of a 125 pound opponent. I'm taking some time off and working on some of the quirks in my game as well as working towards gaining some muscle mass to move up to a weight class that has some substance in the United States.
At the moment, I'm working to learn judo and adapting what I learn for no-gi. I'm sure that I'll compete in judo at some point (so I'm learning competition), but I've seen a great increase in my throws which I'm hoping will add another element to my throws from the clinch (which, up until now, were mostly just Greco-Roman and knee picks).
I'm also working on my kicks. I've always had good leg kicks and great knees, but my left leg (which I lead with) has never been a serious threat beyond the outside leg kick. After watching Anthony Johnson knock out Kevin Burns with his lead leg, I've decided I should really be training to make that a weapon too. I've also developed a lot more strength and speed with my leg kicks, with the help of my new kick boxer coach, and my legs, generally speaking, are a lot stronger and more explosive at every level.
The on-campus BJJ program shut down, which is one of the reasons why I've taken to judo. I'm very frustrated, not being able to roll matwork as much as I'd really like to, but I'm going to make sure I revitalize my jiu-jitsu game as well as add some elements of the judo pins.
What do you do for explosiveness and conditioning?
I do lots of burpees. I've recently started doing more pushups and pullups. I also do my variation of leg lifts for abdominal strength (hold onto the bars and left my legs up to either a straight 90 degree angle from the body or pull them into the body). That helps to develop core strength and tightens the hip-flexing muscles.
Most of my explosiveness and conditioning, though, just comes from rolling and sparring. I run a little, but I prefer to just do combat conditioning. Nothing's better, in my opinion, than simulating the fight.
Alright, I've been training a lot of judo and I'm going to get started competing seriously in judo as I build up muscle mass and develop my explosiveness.
My primary coach is Haruo Imamura, who started his training at age ten (I think in the late 1930s, early 1940s). He's an 8th Dan under Kokodan and a 9th Dan under the USJF. In college he won the national 180 pound title twice and the open weight title once.
My primary training partner is two time state champ Martha Tsutsui. She's a girl, but she's a helluva lot better than me, and has been helping me with my throws.
I'm going to spend a lot of time adjusting my matwork to judo. I won't be taking stuff out as much as I'll be working on improving the parts of my game that I can use in a judo match and avoiding moves that will get me DQ'd. (omoplatas, kimuras and, of course, footlocks)
The addition of judo will hopefully help develop my clinch game, and I can't help but think about the application for throws for MMA, so I'm sure it'll help when start actively competing.
I'm also working on developing my kicking. I just learned that I have a fantastic spinning back-kick (a technique I only just realized can be applied practically when your opponent is trying to force the fight into a brawl).
For those looking to follow my personal progress, I'll try and post on here when I can, and when I start competing a little in judo (I expect to have a competition in April, before summer break, though I don't know when exactly the tournament is, and I'll definitely be competing a lot in the fall).
I'm also doing regular writing on MMA, as always, for MMAOpinion.com, and my blog for the site, where I talk about the more personal and, I think, more entertaining stuff, is at valetudo.mmaopinion.com.
I've thought about posting videos of myself to youtube before, though I don't have very many and the quality sucks (and they're short, because I shoot them on a little, digital camera).
Anyway, I threw this one up because there's a lot of confusion about the RNC and I address this "Hand Behind the Head" bullsh*t the same way that Eddie Bravo does (end of the video), just very quickly.
Oh, and rate to appreciate.
I don't think I'll post many, but I'd like the one's I do post to do get some good rankings. Besides, I'm posting all of this on my personal account, not the business one.
Iíve been training with some local beginner kickboxers, some who live in the dorms with me at Fresno State, and when we were sparring last week, I noticed a few things about the way that they utilize the thai clinch that made me shake my head.
Now, Iím not at all a master of the thai clinch, but I understand why the position is so devastating.
The first thing that they all noticed is that, when working with me, they couldnít get out of my thai clinch. They could duck or strike their way out of another guyís, but when I locked mine on, they were having a hard time escaping. After our sessions, I let them try and lock one in on me, and figured out why.
The popular dictum among fighters who donít take thai boxing classes with serious thai instructors (as Iíve recently started doing) is that they think the thai clinch is two dimensional. You pull down on your opponentís head to keep him from straightening up. The thai clinch is so much more complicated than that, and when itís used properly, thatís one of the reasons why itís so much more devastating.
If you watch someone like Anderson Silva demonstrate the thai plum just in a stationary position (so you can really get a look at it) or just slow it down while youíre watching one of his bouts, you can see that thereís also a compression in on the neck, the elbows are pinching together to secure the head. Iíve heard stories from people who have trained with Anderson, and other world class thai fighters, who have almost been choked out by the pressure the thai clinch puts on the arteries in the neck.
That compression allows the fighter to really secure the head, and it was the reason why my thai clinch was harder to escape. With each other, they were finding that they could duck a little bit and slip out of the clinch by getting around the elbows, because all of the pressure was on the back of the head, while the elbows were open. Iíve actually seen professional MMA fighters do this before, and as I go back and watch tape, I realize that this is a really solid pointer for everyone to think about as they work that clinch game.
Thereís a secondary factor, though: torque on the neck.
I learned this little pointer working with my old kickboxing coach, Nathan, in Oakland, but it didnít really work as effectively until I figured out how to properly secure the thai clinch.
By turning your own shoulders, wrists and hands, and keeping the clinch tight, it becomes very easy to manipulate your opponentís body position and deliver punishment. Of course, based on your own height, it requires a certain amount of experimentation. Since my current coach is a great deal shorter than I am, his leverage is totally different, so some of the movements that work for me donít work for him, and vice-versa. Still, by playing with this position, we can discover ways to open up the ribs and head, as well as ways to force the opponent into moving.
The ďthai toss,Ē as Iíve started to refer to it, is generally thought of as a brute force move where a fighter with solid upper body strength and a tight thai clinch will twist his body and force his opponent to stumble awkardly around, but the thai toss is really just about turning the shoulder and wrists in toward the body in a way that opens up the ribs, while turning your hips to force him to move. Again, itís a move that has to be played with, and how you do it will depend, to some degree, on whether or not youíre taller than your opponent. Still, itís about keeping that clinch tight and knowing how to manipulate the body of your opponent.
The thai clinch is an incredible position, with a lot of depth behind it that Iím just starting to work out, but hopefully will grow to understand. The ability to use only the knees from this position may seem, at some points, like a limitation, but the angles that it opens up (especially for fighters who, like me, have proportionally long and flexible legs) are great and offer a lot of power and explosiveness, and itís definitely worth learning and experimenting with.
Tell me what does your Judo training looks like. What techniques did you start with, and did you start sparring right away?
I started sparring after about a week, but that's because I had a fairly developed grappling background already, and knew how to fall.
Basic techniques are generally seio nage, osoto gare and the hip throw. I've learned all three in jiu-jitsu, but the level of detail was so high that I spent a few weeks working on them, especially osoto gare, which is one of my better throws.
From there I went into advanced stuff. Harai goshi has become a favorite throw for me, so I train that one a lot, and I'm working on a lot of variations of seio nage that I can do without the gi.