The second lesson of the day was a two-hour session focusing on dirty boxing/stand-up MMA. Please note that this is an advanced course connected to the transitioning work I have been doing with this particular client and not part of a set 10 hour course I am also teaching to another client. To avoid confusion I will always indicate the stage of this other course in these diary notes.
We began with the cover and discussed the context of in-fighting. Just like the aesthetic of this stage of combat, matters can get messy. There are important differences in terms of intent and objective when it comes to covering the dynamic of different types of fight. If left uninterrupted, just about all hand-to-hand combat fights will quickly deteriorate to a stand-up grappling range if the fight is not concluded early on. This is why I teach self-defence students to pre-empt and then maintain distance the best that they can by keeping on the front foot with percussive techniques. It is also why I devise asymmetrical pressure tests as a defining aspect of self-defence (although I also use it for specific sparring in combat sports). There are circumstances when the clinch needs to be sought. For example, if the defender is overwhelmed by strikes and needs to regain the initiative. In the sporting world it becomes more of an option. Some fighters like to fight from the outside and some from the inside. Most do a combination of different degrees. The cover is an excellent tool for either regaining the initiative or closing in to grapple. We trained for this action doing a simple open-handed warm-up exercise. My client began with just closing the distance. He then added on limb control, trapping and clearing to strike.
Whilst on the subject of trapping we did some grip fighting, working on wrestling positioning and reinforcing effective holds – collar ties, wrist grips and escapes, under-hooks, over-hooks and inside arm-traps. From here we went to the Muay Thai clinch and looked at setups for knee strikes.
We then moved on Western Boxing and used the Robert Duran/George Foreman closing strategies. This involved using a circling jab and an overhand clearing method to set up for strikes. We then built on the various wrestling holds whilst still using modern boxing gloves to set up for body shots. From here we covered positioning of the hips and head during the clinch-fighting range (Duran and Frazier style). The Muay Thai push and kick was added on and then we switched MMA gloves. Trapping became more evident and as did setups for shoulder-locks and single-leg takedowns.