Tonight’s MMA lesson focused on bringing everything together. This is where we look at transitioning through ranges and skillsets within a limited rules format. Although MMA isn’t self-protection training, it provides a very rich training ground for mining practical attributes and provides an excellent area to test various specialised techniques in conjunction with others.
We warmed up with some dynamic stretching; focusing a lot on unilateral bodyweight calisthenics that allow for a large range of movement i.e. Cossack squats. Then we moved into partner-training for all ranges. This began with mirror footwork for western boxing and then for Muay Thai. Differences were observed in guards, stances and movement. Links were made by adding kicks onto the same western boxing combinations. We then moved onto neck-wrestling, progressing onto Thai clinch footwork, exchanging strikes, before moving into more Wrestling-based territory. We drilled upper, mid and low-level takedowns. Some were improvised from low resistant grappling whereas others were more conventionally trained as entry repetitions. Next we went to ground, going through pin transitions first as an uninterrupted flow and then against bridging and snaking defences. This was then reversed with the fighter going through defences against pins. The ground section was finished the guard, where we first drilled four basic submissions from closed guard followed by the mid-guard flow drill we did last lesson and finally we worked long-guard positioning.
Having covered each individual range as part of a series of warm-ups it was time to incorporate them into MMA. Training first involved focus mitts – conventional and Thai – and then turned into partner work before sparring and then tactical appraisal. We began at stand-up range, linking takedown entries to boxing combinations. After this we linked takedown entries to kicks and as counters to kicks. We then began from the clinch position and linked in knee strikes to takedowns. Finally we went to the ground, defending and attacking strikes from pins and guard. After these exercises, we had a five minute round of MMA sparring. After the sparring, we looked at defence under the mounted position. The objective of this specialised training was to remain in the cover whilst bridging and snaking at the same time. It is a true test of keeping composure as the fighter tries to coordinate productive movements whilst being struck and to resist the urge to throw your arms out, leading to a submission (most likely an arm-bar).
Photography by Zoe Nelson 2012
Some videos touching upon subjects discussed with my client: