The fourth hour of my client’s five hour course in junior MMA began with father and son warming up on the agility ladders. It is important to note that this lesson is as much about helping the father client to coach his son outside of lessons as it is for me to directly teach the son. Feedback from the previous lesson was that footwork and punching were fine in isolation but there were problems with them both together. Therefore, I decided to shift the focus on better working on combining these two skills and breaking them down into simple procedures. Agility ladder drills began with front, back and side chopping. Then we did some serpentine movements that encourage fluid stance changing – arguably a more advanced technique but still works well for developing coordination. Next we moved onto shifting in and out in a stance, which was layered on with a jab. Here we got into the nitty gritty of moving and striking. I broke it down into look – as in don’t look down at the ladder but at the imaginary target – step – as in step into range with guard up – and punch.
At this point I noticed two area that needed attention. Firstly, we looked at keeping elbows in. This is a common problem even with advanced students, but it needs early and regular attention. I had my junior client pin his elbows in holding a pad under each arm whilst moving through the ladders. Last week this was done with punching. Secondly, I realised that the back-step hasn’t really been taught much. We have been focusing mainly on circling away. In order to address this, we worked on forward and backward stepping before layering the jab back in. Finally, I took the ladder away and we combined the forward and backward stepping with the circling footwork. My junior client stepped and jabbed, stepped back out of range and then stepped back into range before circling out. Crosses and rolling can also be layered in back home. They will feature next lesson.
We finished off with some more grappling exercises. Today we looked at area awareness and training skills within a restricted space. This began with the sumo game. We then did two foot touching games, designed for defending against ankle picks, single leg takedowns, foot sweeps as well as training footsweeps.