This evening saw the beginning of my client’s first lesson in MMA ground-fighting. As the title suggests, this will involve both striking and submission work from top and underneath positions. My starting point for this course was to look at establishing strong pins and transitioning through pins to work the top position. In order to do this the fighter needs to have specifically trained core muscles. He needs to be able to coordinate weight distribution, maintain firm stability and yet be able to execute a variety of techniques from these top positions. Submission work is relatively easy to perform as this is where the main work in developing these pins originates. Striking requires a bit more thought.
We warmed up with a series of ground mobility exercises and calisthenics. The focus geared a lot towards bear crawl variations, oblique raises and rows, all of which are good for developing the right muscle groups and actions involved in striking from the top position. With solo work finished, we moved onto pin transitioning working around the body through side control, scarf-hold, north-south, knee pins, mount and so on.
Work began on side control. Once the position and transitioning to and from this position was confirmed we looked at making some adjustments for striking. The side hammer-fist is an obvious and effective tool from the side-control pin along with the side elbow spear. Arguably the side control position does not need a lot of adjustment when throwing this technique, although I tend to start stretching out my far side leg and flatten that hip in order to accommodate a bit more movement. The technique on its own has very limited function, as the defender is in a good position to cover and can continue to attempt to bridge or snake at the same time. Therefore, the overhead or vertical hammer provides an impressive secondary stage to this attack. Here the fighter must stretch out the far side leg, flatten the hip and come up on his nearside. An oblique raise provides yet more range on this particular strike. Next we added on using hammer-fists to clear covers, trapping arms, setting up Americana arm-locks, Kimura arm-locks and arm triangles. Finally, knee strikes were brought into play.
We then moved onto the scarf-hold where many of the same techniques were used, with the exception of knees, with the defender put in an even more restrictive position and the legs could be used to trap or hyperextend one arm.
The lesson finished with a five minute round of specific sparring, fighting from these top position pins.