Clinching the Deal (diary entry)

General Lesson


After a student-led series of warm-up exercises, I asked a senior student what area of training he felt the class needed to address. There was a brief discussion and it was agreed that everyone could do with improving their takedowns and takedown defence. We only had time to deal with the actual takedowns in this lesson, but it will be an ongoing topic.


We began with some grip-fighting; a simple resistance exercise that helps develop tactile awareness for grappling. Fighters learn how to grip and break grips in pressurized environment. However, the emphasis is always on working smoothly and in as a relaxed way as possible.


Next we looked at a highline takedown. This particular takedown comes from the Thai clinch or plumb position. The fighter grips the back of his opponent’s head and hops backwards to pull him off balance.


This was followed by a midline takedown. We worked on the hip-throw. The variation I chose to teach obviously does not involve a gi as it would do when being performed in judo – the art most famous for using the throw. My take is more of a croo-buttocks version often used for highline takedowns. I have just always found it has a lot of leverage and is easier to teach.


The lesson finished with some MMA sparring. I limited the time spent on the ground, so that everyone had more opportunity to work on their stand-up/clinch work.


Private Lesson


The private lesson looked at working combinations off the jab. We were particulary interested in dropping levels. So, the jab was immediately followed by a lowline takedown. We also did the same technique followed by a round kick. Then we did a combination of jab/lowline takedown/kick, taking the premise that the lowline takedown had been countered early.


We then looked at the double leg takedown and the sprawl defence. This was trained at varying degrees of resistance.


The lesson also consisted of a discussion on the best foundation strength exercises – deadlift, pull-ups, squats and chest dips.