MMA 101 (diary entry)


This marks the beginning of a series of two-hour MMA lessons for an old client of mine. My new regular gym is situated out in the sticks and I appreciate it is not easy non-local clients to get to me on a weekly basis. Therefore, it is often better for those who live further away or have a more sporadic lifestyle to book me in for fortnightly double sessions. However, the dynamic of these lessons will always be different from the one hour lesson. You cannot simply double the information in a lesson, as there is only a limited amount of time the average individual can absorb what is being taught and only so much progress they can make within that space of time. It needs to be taken away, drilled and reinforced before being taken back to the next lesson for further critique. However, the double lesson provides a more relaxed atmosphere to go over the same new material being taught and there is the added benefit of getting a more demanding physical workout.
Having had a year-long layoff I decided it would be best to theme the lesson MMA 101, to use an American educational term. We began with Western Boxing footwork using the agility cones. Here built up a series of coordination exercises moving onto specific fighting tactics and combination. We covered angling footwork, slipping, jabbing and overhands, and then built off these. This moved us into kickboxing combinations, using round kicks and wrestling add-ons, using variations on the single-leg takedown. They were worked on the heavy bag as well as on a partner. Then we covered takedown defence, working on the sprawl into the anaconda choke/alligator roll. This segued into the sit-through and the back mount bringing us onto ground work. We revised side-control, where I noted my client’s Americana and Kimura key-locks were still a firm part of his muscle memory. From a counter to the key-locks I introduced him to the Brabo/Darce choke.
Here is a quick tutorial, very nicely arranged and taught, concerning the Anaconda and Brabo choke.
From the guard position, we revised the Kimura and a simple sweep.
The lesson was completed with some conditioning exercises, this included working on the sit-through using two exercises – one with the Swiss ball and the other with a kettlebell – and tyre flipping to help build the right driving muscles for the lowline takedowns.


Photography by Charlotte Von Bulow-Quirk featuring Jamie Clubb and Tony Hughes from a photo-shoot for “Mordred’s Victory and Other Martial Mutterings” and the upcoming “Bullshitsu and the Fight Make Martial Arts Work”.

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