Progressing the ranges (diary entry)

Dani Castillejo - Triangle choke

Image by xharekx33 via Flickr

If you are going to teach lengthy set combinations, even in combat sports, I think it pays to do some target familarization. This works for both attack and defence. Today after some shadow boxing at all ranges for a warm-up we went straight to the 11 punch boxing combination and the standard punch/kick combination without the focus mitts. This is far from the first time we have done before, but some new beginners hadn’t done it and I noticed plenty of room for improvement at even the highest grades.


Common errors to avoid: aim for specific targets. If you are doing the combination with enough control you shouldn’t have to worry too much about injuring your partner. Do not get into the habit of hitting gloves – a common bad habit developed from over-use of the focus mitts – and do not aim to miss. The receiver or defender should work in what ever defence seems applicable and not play at a distance. Slip, roll, bob, parry, cover and try not to retreat or cower. Defend proactively.


After the stand-up section we moved onto the clinch range. We covered a mid-range takedown, the sometime dramatic hip throw or toss. This was worked off an over-hook/under-hook clinch position, using a pull-down to encourage your opponent to pull away and then set them up for the throw.


The ground section returned to the closed and long guard positions from last week. Previously we trained sweeps from these positions. This time we looked at the triangle strangle or blood choke. From closed guard it is a very basic set-up and perfect for the beginners. For the intermediate to advanced students, the triangle from the hook guard (also known as the De La Riva guard) is a little trickier. It requires a more aggressive attack from the person holding the guard and for the standing fighter to push forward.


The lesson finished with some MMA sparring. It was great to see new techniques being pulled off under full resistance and against opponents of similar ability.

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