Thursday, January 17, 2013

MMA: Hematoma Fight Club - Partner Exercises for the Primer by Joe Silvia


These drills are to be done loose and light. Do not hog all the glory, but share it. The sole goal here is to review old material, work on proper form, develop athletic attributes, and prime the body. This isn't sparring, even though the contact may be moderate. Do NOT turn it into a sparring session.

These exercises and drills have been specifically chosen for a reason: they are FUNDAMENTALS and therefore the most important movements in your training and why they must be done when fresh and at every workout. Sloppy fundamentals mean pile of crap perfomance and why these must be done loose and light. Proper fundamentals make life easier, because things are done efficiently and intelligently which is the WHOLE IDEA behind martial arts or combat sports. You aren't trying to use your strength and speed advantage to overcome and opponent, because if you are the bigger, stronger, and faster person, you don't need martial arts. You want to be strong, fast, skilled AND intelligent.

The mental toughness, doggedness, and determination developed alongside these exercises are also fundamental. So place a priority on these exercises. You are building your whole ability to perform on them. Don't build your foundation on a rowboat, but bedrock.

Lastly, don't be fooled by the words "Primer" or "Warm-up." In the past we have lost more potential members because of how intense this primer is than anything else. Initially I thought that being hit, slammed, twisted and choked would be a barrier to membership, but as time went on it was the WORK that was most intimidating. Because of this, there will be no obligation to do every exercise at an athletic pace. Every person can work at a pace that is comfortable for him or her. However, anyone that is not challenging themselves will be told to ratchet things up a bit. Ideally, anyone starting out would get a number of privates to learn these exercises so they aren't "left in the dust", but the economy where it is makes that difficult. Everyone who just signs up will get one free private lesson to get adjusted. I will also reward good attendance with discounted privates.

I always suggest that people begin the primer with that which they are worst at. That is your weakest link, so bringing that aspect up is something you should always be doing. However, it is up to each person to customize the primer. Do the exercises they need and like, at the intensity and pace that is right for them. One can do ALL the exercises in a marathon style primer, can pick one or two aspects to focus on, or a theme i.e; armbars, posture, mitts, etc. The mats during this phase should be a medley of all kinds of exercises. Having said that these exercises are detailed in no special order.

Acclimatizing and Tempering (Absorption)
This drill is often incorrectly thought of as a superman drill. Listen, I would never recommend that a person brace up, and take a punch or kick to the face. That is plain stupid. The reason why you are taking a punch to the face is to develop relaxation, and mental pliability. The physical aspect of the drill is to maintain a normal breathing pattern, and to roll with punches, slams, and submissions. The psychological aspect is learning to be relaxed, free of tension and tone, and to maintain focused.

A normal untrained response maybe to have tone in the muscles: raise the shoulders, hold one's breathe, blink, or flinch. You simply are slower to respond, IF you have the wherewithal to respond at all, when these things are going on!

Doing this drill will help you to not do those things, and remove the "fight or flight" response and replace it with cool headed, relaxed attention. Secondly, you can reduce damage and injuries by downgrading it's impact. By rolling with things, you can downgrade a KO punch to a heavily damaging one, a heavily damaging one, to a lighter one, and a lighter one to hardly anything. Once an automatic response is built in and this drill is done with eyes closed, you will then begin to downgrade sucker punches for those of you interested in street applications.

Some options for this drill are:
  • 1, 2, or 3 for 1, 2, or 3
  • One man barrage, one man all "D"
  • Eyes closed
  • Phrasing or passing through 2 or more ranges
  • Strikes, fibbing, ground and pound, submissions, takedowns 

Stance & Motion
Chin tucked, shoulders rounded, hips thrust, knees bent, elbows in, and a profiled torso are the starting points for base camp in everything from standing to the ground. Being able to utilize this posture WHILE in motion under stressful conditions is called composure.  The following drills need to be known inside and out: 
  • Jockeying: Using footwork to one of the three zones of distance or flanking while keeping the measure. 
  • Break ins/Break outs: Using footwork to get to the clinch or get out of the clinch.
  • Clinch: Using staggered and square stances to fibb or grapple, while pummeling for superior control-ties.
  • Fighting Short: Moving from the 4 directions through inferior and superior positions.
  • Ground: Moving from escapes and pins, passes and sweeps.  
These areas can be drilled by using dry runs, position for position drills, soft flow, chains, stay and play gripfighting, base camp, and canting and tilting drills.

Shooting is one way to break-in or bridge the gap/measure. For the love of all things holy and unholy do not shoot from "Timbuktu." WORST case scenario is shooting from punch range...the distance where if you raise your hand it will contact your partner. The only greater pet peeve I have than seeing someone shoot from a mile away with no set-up, is someone throwing a kick to a thigh with no set-up, eating bombs, and then ignorantly repeating it. Grrrrrr.

EVERY shoot should have this progression: nPound step-> Level Change->Penetration Step->Contact->Bring Trail Leg Up->Base Camp.

The only exception is when this progression is mastered, you may omit the pound step. Everyone is expected to know the following drills:
  • Hit 'n Run: Of pivotal and fundamental importance is punching the hip. Either ricochet or Barsagar/Flair
  • Double Leg Series: High, Mid-level, Lo-Lo
  • Single Leg Series: High, Mid-Level, Lo-Lo, and Sweep Single; Inside and Outside Penetration
  • Swinging Gate: Head inside, switching from Japanese/Blast double to outside and inside singles depending on his response
  • Magnet Drill: Doing a swinging gate at mid and lo-lo level.  
For more detail on the shoot, refer to this Guide to the MMA Shoot.

As a gym known for it's wrestling, lifting is considered fundamental. If done with the right mechanics, you can easily lift someone twice your size. Some of you may recall how Amy, who weighed about 100-110#s would demo this by lifting me when I was averaging 205-210#s. She would even rep it. Since there are hardly easier finishes to execute when you have one or two of a person's feet off the ground, this is a mandatory skill.

Most of these lifts will involve the forward wave, which everyone should have mastered in the solo exercises. This wave is a modern version of the "squatting" style lift. Using body posture and momentum is simply more efficient and reserves your energy in case you want to suplex, back arch or lateral drop someone. Here are the lifts, beginning with the "Big 5":

  • Single Leg Lift: high knee, treetop, and crotch lifts.
  • Double Leg Lift: pickup, Barsagar/Flair, and Tablecloth lifts.
  • Hi-Crotch: 2 grip variations of crotch lift Fireman's Carry: proper, near-arm/far-leg, high and low Backstep: with multiple grip variations. REMEMBER PASS YOUR HIPS THROUGH AND DO NOT SQUARE THEM TO HIM.
  • Bear Hugs: Many facing and grip variants for Lift 'N Dumps, Back Arches, Suplexs, Lateral Drops, and Saltos.
  • Ground Lifts: From fighting short, including reverse crotch lift and bodylock and reverse bodylock lifts.
"D" Core
Defensive core is going through all one's strikes and allowing the other person to prime his defense. There are 3 types of defensive options that a person has that are utilized on a PLATFORM of keeping the measure:

1. Evasion: head, torso and limb movement.
2. Covering: using your forearms to soak an incoming strike. A more advanced option is spiking.
3. Parrying: using your hand to re-direct an incoming strike. Paired with evasion to double it's efficacy.

Drills can be done in a 1, 2, 3 for 1, 2, 3, one man barrage, or isolating one defense in a crazy monkey, or onion layer drills (softwork). 

In addition, clinching by breaking in is another form of defense. A person should be able to break in on any and all manner of strikes from the opponent, as well as offensively breaking in by using "sticking the opposum", feints, fakes, and drawing.

Miscellaneous Techniques
Pass and sweep starts, submission chains, bump-ups, breaking closed guard, guard forming, sub escapes, counters, re-counters, set-ups, follow ups, etc.


My sincerest gratitude to Joe Silvia for his kind permission in posting this primer.



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