Progress with Transitioning (diary entry)



Tonight’s training continued my client’s series of lessons on ground to stand-up transitioning. We focused on working from the clinch starting position, combining strikes with grappling and pressure testing.


The lesson began with a warm-up of MMA partner-drills. They were of the build-up nature I have currently been using with my clients. This is a great way to build muscle memory and encourage the mixing of ranges and techniques from different martial art disciplines. Please see previous recent diary entries for details on these drills.


We then revised the deck squat, which is an excellent exercise for building the attributes required for better transitioning through ranges. The movement can be done with momentum, without momentum, with weights and with add-on exercises. We then looked at the constituent postures that are used when fighting from the back to standing. These were each isolated with specific exercises, broken down and trained with their connecting posture i.e. seated/mid-guard to half-kneeling/combat base. Here we looked at strengthening balance and improving mobility. Although it is relatively easy to train most able-bodied people to move from their backs to standing without putting their hands down, they are often still quite vulnerable throughout the transition. The entire movement requires a lot of muscular exertion, explosive movement and a certain degree of coordination. This opens the fighter up to being attacked. Often we see people taking damage as they are transitioning, particularly when are transitioning through postures. We see this both in Mixed Martial Arts competition and in self-defence. This is why many contact and combat sports (particularly those that allow striking) have strict rules regarding what a standing opponent can do to someone who is getting back to their feet.


After putting all the postures together and practising them fluidly, it was time to go back to the various techniques we have worked on over the past couple of weeks. We began with the punching combinations, looping the last punch of the combination with the first one at the point of posture-transitioning. For example, jab/cross/hook/cross from the back/closed guard posture linked the last cross with the first jab from the seated/butterfly guard posture. We then replaced the strikes with covering and then put them together. Next we brought the submission and clinch work we covered last lesson.


We also reversed the entire action, training the negative transition. This concept is in alignment with the training theory that all exercises should be trained through their negative motion as much as their obvious positive motion.


Finally we did some specific sparring, beginning from a certain position and with the focus on using the various options we had already trained.


Photography by Phil Shirley


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