MMA counters to advanced Muay Thai (diary entry)



Tonight we began my client’s second course on Mixed Martial Arts for Martial Arts for Martial Arts Cross Training. The direction of the training is somewhat different in my client’s personal programme. Having just completed an extended second course in Muay Thai for Martial Arts Cross Training, which included three extra lessons on advanced techniques, we decided to take this experience/knowledge to a Mixed Martial Arts line rather than a self-defence one. Usually we spend the last two lessons of a course taking the informating a particular area of study back to the self-defence line. The last course was a little different. The last lessons were focused on advanced techniques from the area of study in question due to the extra time required and at the request of my client. Therefore, we decided that the beginning of this new course should immediately dovetail off these previous lessons. The above title might be a little misleading, as these counters aren’t just MMA counters to advanced Muay Thai, but also Muay Thai counters. We only finished the lesson on a complete MMA transitional combination.


We warmed up with a series of MMA drills, working the three ranges – stand-up (boxing and kick-boxing), clinch (Wrestling and Muay Thai) and ground (top and bottom game). We then began looking at countering basic techniques, moving onto countering advanced techniques. I covered parrying, blocking and evading. We revised the basic mechanics of dealing with straight and round hand strikes. Moving onto bobbing and weaving off hooks, I encouraged tighter movement to prepare for the spinning elbow. This technique was lined up with a jab and a hook. My client went to the body whilst evading the elbow.


We then applied a similar combination using the back-kick. This time the counter was a teep to the attacking leg. From here we looked at engaging with the clinch and, in this instance, the rear waistlock takedown.


Moving onto spinning kicks, such as the reverse round kick, we discussed the instinctive jamming defence. Jamming is a time-honoured defence against most above the waist kicks. Spinning kicks and high kicks in general have a lot of inherent vulnerabilities due to the compromise on balance. However, a good and committed spin kick can be a very dangerous move to engage. An experienced kicker will not execute it without a strong set-up, which means getting distancing and timing correct. Therefore, you need to be fast and accurate to intercept such a powerful move. An alternative strategy is to simply step back. We drilled stepping out of the path of the spinning kick, acknowledging the set-up beforehand, and then countering with a superman punch.


We then looked at a transitional counter to an above-the-waist kick. This began with catching the kick. Rather just have my client catch the kick, which is the idealistic and often naïve way many believe can be achieved with an experienced kicker, we revised checking and catching. The kick needs to be properly stopped before it can be successfully caught. We then quickly covered a jumping knee counter, which is an unusual yet highly effective move, as a slight tangent before moving onto a more transitional clinch move. The MMA counter involved checking and trapping the kicking leg and then moving in for a back-heel sweep. The then fighter kept hold of the leg whilst breaking the guard posture on the ground with his opposite knee. His free arm is used to strike using overhands or hammer-fists. From here he can continue striking or transition to a simple straight foot-lock.

Images by Catch Jitsu Wrestling and Fight Coach TV

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