Six More Techniques and Associated Exercises (diary entry)

DSCF1418Tonight’s first private lesson used the ground fighting range for combat conditioning. We began with a series of floor exercises working the top and bottom positions. These consisted of various crawls, which gradually increased heart rate and warmed the muscles up as well as reinforcing movements that are fundamental to the required range. We focused on six areas as inspiration for tonight’s conditioning. The exercises were a mixture of muscular endurance and cardiovascular conditioning.

Knee Pin

The knee pin can be isolated and trained as a type of lunging or split squat exercise. We performed the technique on the Swiss ball to engage stabilizing muscles. Then it was turned to a pad the up increase intensity and train muscular endurance. The technique was also performed as a direct application.

Top Transitioning

I ran through a standard pin transitioning exercise to promote better top position mobility. This was performed both on the Swiss ball and on a live training partner to add some pressure from underneath.


This movement, mainly taught as an escape but also useful for overall groundwork mobility, was trained as a solo cardiovascular exercise and also with a kettlebell. The kettlebell version encourages explosive coordinated movement, actively engaging the right muscles and force vectors by applying resistance. It is crucial not to use a too heavy kettlebell, which can easily compromise body mechanics and restrict movement.

Standing Guard Pass

This was trained using human bodyweight as a direct application first. Then we worked on two factors: the upward momentum and the forward moment. To perform this move correctly the fighter needs to be able power up through the guard and forward to break the posture of your opponent’s position. Some people cannot perform the motion of jumping up from knees to feet and occasionally this is not possible in a sparring situation. Stepping up in a less explosive motion is fine and can also be performed using a specific strength exercise, such as the Atlas the stone get-up I covered in a previous private lesson. However, for those who can jump up this is a great exercise that can be performed using bodyweight only, with the weight of a training partner holding guard and also in combination with a barbell or similar. The forward motion is best trained using frog jumps and I also find the kettlebell swing/frog jump is a great combination exercise for training overall body strength for explosiveness.

Butterfly Guard

We trained the butterfly guard as a solo forward movement exercise and then under pressure using the infamous “Crazy Baby” game. We then used the tyre leg press variation for added weight resistance and reversed the action using resistance bands. A butterfly sweep was also trained in full application and then just the rocking area of the sweep was trained to focus on core strength development and maintaining a firm posture when holding this particular guard position.

Closed Guard

For this particular area we trained a series of muscle memory/cardiovascular exercises from the closed guard position. We drilled a simple sweeping reversal, which involves a sitting up twisting motion as a series of repetition entries. We also did some high intensity straight and hook punching whilst holding the 45 degree position to, once again, work core firmness.

The lesson finished with some standing PNF stretching.