Today’s double lesson took students through self-defence and mixed martial arts concepts. After a student-led warm-up we resumed our journey through basic self-defence tools, ending up with asymmetrical ground fighting. The objective here is to get to your feet as quickly as possible on your enemy’s feet and to get up as soon as possible. Mistakes to watch out for include not covering the head properly, not attacking the attack, putting hands down and giving your back.
We carried this into MMA, where we addressed the long guard from submission grappling. This began with a transition from the hook guard to the X-guard, which was then pressured with some guard-passing. We then moved onto a transition from hook guard into a single-leg takedown. This climbing principle was then applied in a self-defence scenario, where the grounded fighter had to deal with multiple aggressors. In this instance there isn’t the option of being able to place your feet on all your attackers. Here we train covering and finding a close enough attacker to use climb your way up and to use a shield. Turning back to MMA, we finished the asymmetrical section off with a drill beginning with one opponent standing in another’s closed guard and permitting striking.
We then completed two rounds of boxing, two rounds of muay Thai, two rounds of wrestling and two rounds of MMA. The class finished with shadow boxing and reps of sport-specific exercises, followed by student-led static stretching.
I introduced my students to the reverse engineering/feedback loop of sparring/proactive pad-work. This began with some progressive western boxing sparring, varying with defence-only/attack-only rounds. We then addressed this on the focus mitts. This consisted of a round of attack only, then a round of defence-only, followed by a round of mirroring footwork/sprawl reactions and finally a round of putting it altogether on the focus mitts. It is as important that student plays the roll of coach in these rounds. By isolating and then combining everything, using a flash-pad approach (no voice commands), the student grows more confident and his game gets much tighter. After working the focus mitts both students confirm any improvements by feeding back into sparring again.
We then took this principle over into MMA. One student dresses in full kickboxing kit and the other in full MMA kit. The kickboxer plays the role of coach and uses his larger, better padded gloves as targets. Coaching gloves are ideal for this exercise. The gloves provide a more rounded and small surface area for more realistic targets. Just about everything in the MMA game can be addressed here and the objective is provide a good step towards improving sparring. This is then fed back into MMA sparring.