Clinch Course Begins (diary entry)



Tuesday night saw my client embark upon his third martial arts cross-training course with me as we started hour one of stand-up grappling. This course is primarily concerned with take downs and take down defence. It is very loosely based on Freestyle Wrestling, but has elements of other stand-up grappling systems I have experienced that have relevance within the context of Mixed Martial Arts competition.

After a warm-up of Indian press-ups and Indian squats, performed at a progressive pace, we focused the majority of the lesson on landing correctly. Getting used to dispersing impact and rolling out are crucial behaviours for grappling, helping to avoid injury from falls, reduce the effect of a take down and to quickly recover to counter. Rolling, if done effectively, are also great methods for reversing a take down.

We covered front break falls, forward rolls and then combined them into a single action. Then we did the same with back break falls and backward rolls. This was repeated with the side break falls and shoulder rolls. All rolls were performed to return the fighter to his feet in a grappling stance. Arm placement was also very important. Firstly, the fighter was shown how using the palms to strike the ground spread out the impact surface area. Secondly, when performing the side break fall it was important for the fighter to keep his arm as close to his body and to keep it straight to avoid injury. All these techniques were taught in a progressive manner, beginning from a low position. Then the position was gradually raised to a more upright posture. Emphasis was placed on keeping the body compact to better regain balance and a standing position when rolling. Break falls also required strict form to better protect the body. Forward break falls require the body to land with a straight spine, resembling the plank or push-up exercises before moving onto a forward roll or to squat thrust back into a standing position. Backward break fall is best performed with the legs landing at a 90 degree angle.

The last section of the lesson involved the introduction of basic grips and stance. We covered the right stance, left stance and Japanese stance. This was then followed by the basic collar and elbow tie neutral position. We drilled attacking the dominant position from here, changing stance and ensuring both arm and head are locked up. We then moved onto looking at inside bicep grips and wrist grips to break a deadlock. There was an emphasis on keeping everything tight and slipping into holds rather than telegraphing them and losing control of the clinch.

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