Agility exercises and combination work (diary entry)

ST. LOUIS - JULY 31:  Jason Smith #77 of the S...

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Contrary to the usual CCMA approach, today’s session session did not have much of a theme outside of introducing the class to some new MMA concepts. After a student-led warm-up incorporating blitzing, side-steps footwork, bear crawls, sprawls, snakes, crab-crawls, break-falls, rolls and the sprint catch game the class did some agility training. Using the cones we did the following routines for three sets each:


Pogo jumps

Running in and out

45 degree step-outs

45 degree step-outs with diagonal sprints

45 degree step-outs with leg whip

45 degree backward step-outs

Sprawl/double leg take-down entries

Side lateral plank walks

Side lateral plank walks with crossovers


These exercises work fast-twitch muscle fibres and improve specific reactions from various different common positions found in MMA bouts. Many sports use agility drills to improve footwork, employing either cones or the more specifically designed agility ladders. I first saw it used in boxing and other martial arts, aside from MMA and Brazilian jiu jitsu, have been relatively slow to pick this practice up. They are brilliant as part of a warm-up or could even take up an entire workout. You will note we trained the upper as well as lower body, training stand-up, clinch and ground movements rather than just standard footwork.


We then moved onto a basic boxing combination – jab/cross versus slip/slip/high hook/low hook/rear hand straight. Hand skills haven’t been covered a lot recently, so this was covered to bring it back into regular training. This was followed with a combination that combined all three ranges – jab/low-line take-down versus sprawl/arm-triangle/alligator roll/anaconda strangle.


The session was finished with two types of specific sparring. First we pitted boxing against a student attempting a low-line take-down, and then we pitted the turtle defensive posture against double over-hooks. In the second instance students were encouraged to get the arm-triangle on.

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