MMA Escapes and Submissions Begin (diary entry)

armbar from guard5 (close up)01.09.18


This morning was my client’s penultimate lesson is a scheduled 10 hour course on MMA Ground-Fighting. After some discussion, we have decided to extend the course due to the sophisticated nature of submission fighting. Today we focused on basic escapes and began guard-work.


The warm-up was entirely geared towards callisthenics from underneath – snaking, bridging and crab-crawls. We then did a partner warm-up using bridges (upas) from underneath side-control.


We looked at escapes from four major MMA favoured pins – side control, mount, scarf-hold and knee-pin. With side control and mount we used bridge/reverse and snake to guard. Side control can be completely reversed into a side control if the weight of the opponent is far enough forward. Likewise, mount relies on the person pinning having an uneven balance of weight. We looked at timing this with bridging and responded to an opponent posting. When an opponent posts with their leg the fighter can bridge to the opposite side. If the opponent posts with their arm the fighter can wrap the arm and bridge in that direction. Snaking to both these pins is to achieve a guard position. With the mount, the fighter often ends up in half-guard, where he should immediately seek the under-hook. Generally the snake and move to long-guard positions are the most effective defence against the knee-pin. The scarf-hold is a very tough position to counter; even the original head-lock version can be a nightmare if the opponent has it on tightly and knows how to distribute their weight. The original version fell out of favour in the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu world due to the fact that is exposes the back. They introduced an adjusted variation with an under-hook, which is very effective. However, it is still important to know how to defend the original position, which can be reinforced in MMA with strikes. We looked at using reversals, including one that was followed up with a triangle choke.


Moving onto guard-work, we focused on the arm-bar and triangle choke. In both cases, we looked at the problems presented when defending against a striker that knows how to base themselves. Here the importance of hip positioning and tightening the guard came into play in order to set up the submissions. Moving quickly to a position in the guard to restrict arm movement is the next port of call. After this point we looked at setting the arms up to complete the submissions.




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