Transitioning Positions in Grappling (diary entry)




Following my client’s previous lesson, we are embarking on a series of classes focused on transitioning work. This is composed of various drills that can be layered and then applied under pressure. Their purpose is to promote more effective movement and general fluidity through Mixed Martial Arts and Self-Defence. Ideally the movement provides the fighter with options he can use to build on using his own experience.


We began with a series of MMA build-up warm-up exercises. This began with mirror footwork and changing heights for grappling and striking. This was built on with targeting and sprawling. From here we included bulling (collar and elbow tie-ups), pummelling (over-hooking/under-hooking), breakaways with strikes and one-for-one knee and kicking exchanges. Then we went to the ground drilling guard and pinning transitions.


The main lesson then started with the deck squat. This simple, primal exercise involves rolling from ones back to the standing position without use of the hands. It can be made harder by excluding momentum or by adding weight. We trained all three. However, its most simple form is conducive to developing the mobility needed for transitioning through postures. Once this exercise was confirmed, we went through individual links in the MMA transition. We transitioned


This MMA transition took a purely grappling-based strategy. This began with closed guard, moved to butterfly/mid-guard, then to a hook guard/long-guard, next to single-leg takedown attempt and finally to rear waist-lock. At each stage there were various options available. We looked at a response from an opponent stacking the fighter when a triangle choke was attempted from closed guard. This moved swiftly to mid-guard and then into a long-guard, attempting a sweeping using the hook-guard position. From the drill took the fighter into a single-leg attempt and when this pushed against the fighter shifted his weight in the opposite direction, aiming for an under-hook and taking the back. The point of the exercise is to promote a fluid range of movement from the ground to standing.

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