Monthly Archives: June 2012

MIxed Martial Arts for a Real Warrior

An instructor at Quantico demonstrating a disarming technique

Mixed martial arts can go beyond the realm of fighting in the ring. The marine corps has developed their own system of mixed martial arts, marine core martial arts program (MCMAP), to combat enemy forces in close quarter combat. This particular martial art covers many aspects of engagement because a marine has to be prepared for every type of situation possible.

One aspect of this fighting technique that sets it apart form others used in traditional MMA is the use of weapons and lethal force. This is because on the battlefield or in a real situation there are no rules and everything must be acounted for. However this fighting style teaches many non-lethal techniques in addition to the last resort lethal ones.


The MCMAP was implemented in the year 2000 by General James L. Jones the commandant of the marine corps. Being a Vietnam veteran he was inspired by the way South Korean marines were all black belts in tae kwon do. Therefor now all marines are required to earn a tan belt in the MCMAP.

Also in today’s modern warfare setting some marines are not engaged in direct combat. However the marines pride themselves on the fact that every member is a trained killer. The MCMAP is one way the marines keep every member in prime condition for combat, physically as well as mentally.

Training and Belt System

The training regiment for a marine in the MCMAP is, not surprisingly, extremely intense. The marines train with a monk like zeal; performing drills and tasks that would seam impossible to the average person, and then starting their training on technique. This type of training is for the soldiers benefit though because in real warfare one needs to be able to perform these fighting techniques in any condition.

This martial art also has its own system of belts. Every marine has to earn the most basic tan belt. However they are able and encouraged to keep training to earn gray, green, brown, and then black belts as well. There has been an entire MCMAP handbook written describing all fo the techniques of the art.

Non-Lethal Training

Of course the MCMAP focuses on real life situations for a warrior, but every engagement does not mean a lethal outcome. This martial art includes many types of chokes and locks that can be used to restrain  an adversary as well as basic and advanced striking techniques. These tactics are taught, and encouraged to be used in today’s military engagements especially, because who the enemy is is no longer an obvious decision to make.

Another aspect of the MCMAP that is stressed is the mental discipline. This includes teamwork drills and drills designed to break the warriors down. In addition to this though there is required reading to teach the marine about the past warrior cultures and spirit in the hope they will understand and embody this spirit themselves.

Lethal Martial Art

The MCMAP does also focus on many techniques that can be used in real war scenarios. The MCMAP teaches techniques for quickly and effectively incapacitating an enemy. These techniques include everything from knife fighting to bayonet training to eye gouging and pressure point attacks, because all if fair in love and war.

A Marine trained in the MCMAP is ready for any situation. The advanced techniques taught include disarming an enemy of a gun or knife. Once disarmed an enemy can be dealt with by using precise striking techniques or, more realistically, by knife or bayonet strikes. Of course this is their last resort, a rifle being their main way of delivering punishment. However it is a necessary part of the training of the elite fighting force known as the United States Marine Corps.


The Rear Naked Choke

The seemingly natural move when given an opponents back from the time we were all children is the rear naked choke. This move however is also a very technical move in the hands of an expert. These chokes are seen all the time in professional fighting as well because its probably one of the most used submission when given an opponents back.

The proper way to perform a rear naked choke is to first get behind the opponent. Then the right arm is placed across the opponents neck with the forearm on the left side of their neck and your bicep on the right. At the same time both legs should be wrapped around the opponent and feet placed on the inside of the opponents thighs. then the left bicep is grasped by the right and and left hand placed on the right bicep. Pressure is then applied for the desired result.

The Hold and Pressure

The hold around the neck must obviously be very tight to apply the choke effectively. However there are a few simple ways to greatly increase the pressure  applied. First is the position of the hands. The choking arm’s hand should be firmly grasping the opposite bicep. The other hand should be placed over the choking arm and the back of the hand can be pressed against the back of the skull for maximum pressure.

For another increase in pressure the way you squeeze makes a big difference. It is not so much a curling motion with the choking arm. Instead with this grip the elbows are pressed towards each other to put pressure on both sides of the neck. With an effective choke there is no choice for the opponent but to tap out in seconds because after about four or five the opponent will be knocked out.

From Behind

The main advantage of this move is the fact that when you decide to execute it you are behind the opponent. Of course getting to this position might be easier said than done on an experienced fighter. However the vulnerability of the opponent when this move is executed makes it one of the most effective submissions in mixed martial arts.

Can It Be Defended

A sunk in rear naked choke

Once a rear naked choke is sunk in it is extremely hard to escape. Even with great strength, pain tolerance, and  determination it is almost impossible. however the best deffense against this move is preemptive defense.

Of course the best defense would be to not let the opponent get on your back. If you give that up though and the opponent tries to perform the choke there are a couple of preventive measures. The first of which is to keep your chin down, this denies the opponent access to your neck preventing the choke. Also slow breathing and a relaxed state of mind can help buy you the time to escape an incomplete choke.

Lastly the choking arm can be dislodged with some determination and strength before the choke is set in. This is also very difficult most of the time though because the opponent commits hard to the choke.   In a last ditch effort if the opponent sinks the choke in the elbow of the opponent can be pushed straight over the head for an escape, not likely but last ditch effort worthy.

For some additional ways to beat these defenses against the rear naked choke click here

The Art of Eight Limbs

Muay Thai boxing is a fighting stye that involves various strikes and clinches. This martial art originated from techniques ancient Thai warriors developed. It is sometimes referred to as the art of eight limbs because of the use of knee and elbow strikes in addition to the use of kicks and punches. This is a martial art that focusses on subduing an enemy through blunt force.


Although many types of fighting techniques focus on punching or striking with the hand muay thai boxing does not. There are all of the basic types of punches taught in this style. Of course the use of punches is important but it is not the main focus of this style of fighting because of the other arsenal it brings to the table.


Muay Thai has much focus on kicking as a form of striking. The notorious Yaang Sam Kun, a.k.a. the thai shuffle, a.k.a. thai boxer’s walk, keeps the fighter light on his feet which makes kicks fast and powerful.

The Muay Thai roundhouse kick is a powerful kick delivered to the body of an opponent. Also leg kicks are focused on as a way to set an opponent off balance when timed correctly. A teep kick is a key Muay Thai kick that can be used as a strong direct offensive move or a defensive move to keep an opponent at a distance.

Muay Thai Clinch

A special part of this type of boxing is its coverage of grappling type moves. This involves grappling while standing up and trying to knee the sides or stomach, and to pull the head down while bringing up the knee. This makes this type of grappling very unique. However, a well executed Muay Thai clinch can lead to punishing blows from the knee, very capable of ending a fight.

The Knee

The Flying Knee

In Muay Thai punches are rarely thrown to the stomach area because the knee is a much more effective weapon. A Muay Thai knee is powerfully thrown by stepping in, throwing the knee straight upwards, standing on the toes of the down foot, and always keeping the guard up. The hips are rolled like the shoulders are in a punch to put even more power behind the strike. Lastly the knee can be a useful body strike or as high as possible, in the opponents face if possible.

The Elbow

The elbow is used very often as the knockout blow from a Muay Thai fighter. It is a very versatile strike as well being used in uppercut, hook, and overhand styles. Posture, footwork, and technique are all very important in the use of the elbow. These are all essential to get the most out of every strike thrown.  The elbow becomes a deadly weapon in the hands of a master being able to quickly and efficiently end a fight.

A well known saying that goes along with Muay Thai tehcniques says, “kick loses to punch, punch loses to knee, knee loses to elbow, elbow loses to kick.” This, simply put, means one needs to master every aspect of Muay Thai striking to become be a successful fighter.

The Guillotine

A move that anyone who is involved with mixed martial arts knows of is the guillotine choke. It is used very frequently in the sport as well as in the art of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu which is the martial art it comes from. Although this is one of the basic jiu jitsu moves its ease of use and versatility make it an extremely effective weapon in the hands of a master as well.

Even though the guillotine choke can be performed from a variety of positions but the final position is always the same. The arm is wrapped around the back of the head and the forearm is placed on the throat of the opponent. The pressure on the neck is then increased by classping both hands and rotating the choking arm into into the neck of the opponent and pulling back with your body.


Performing a flying guillotine choke

The guillotine choke can be performed from literally almost any position. Some of the most common positions its seen from are form a sprawl position or full guard positions. However it can also be performed from the butterfly guard, standing, halfguard, sidemount and others if your being creative.

What also makes this move so deadly is the ability to execute it either extremely fast or very slow and technically sound. For example in a sprawl position after an attempted takedown or a flying guillotine choke can catch an enemy in a vulnerable position and take advantage of it quickly. However form sidemount position or full guard position this move can be set up in a sense and executed with expert percision.

The Grip

A very important aspect of a successful guillotine is a correct grip. Using the correct grip gives the ability to place much more pressur on the neck fo the opponent. This makes the likelihood that the opponent breaks out of the move before it is complete much less.

The correct grip involves placing the area of the wrist right under the thumb right on the throat of the opponent. From there the palm of the other hand is placed over the back of the other handand the figners wrapped around to the meat of your palm. This give a very solid grip and allows for roation of the choking arm using the other arm.

By holding the grip, pressing the arms across the body, and putting the forearms into a “10 and 2” position the choking arm is pressed hard against the throat of the opponent. As the other arm is rotated over the shoulder and back of the opponent the pressure only gets tighter around the throat of the opponent.


A seasoned fighter will not so easily leave his head vulnerable for a quick guillotine becasue it is an extremely common move and many fighters have been caught in it enough times for them to be looking out for it. Also a strong opponent can make it difficult to set up a guillotine choke; by keeping good posture when he is in a closed guard for example.

However a seasoned user of the move would be ablso to execute it from almost any position so at some point the opponent would finally not be expecting a guilotine from that position and be caught in it, ending the fight quickly.

The Omoplata

The omoplata armlock is a very interesting move to use or see used. It is in essence it is a kimura lock but instead of applying pressure with one’s hands the pressure is applied using the legs and body.  This move is slightly more difficult to set up and complete than your average submission. However its effectiveness is almost unmatched if one can land it successfully.

In recent years more and more people have been using the omoplata and variations of it like the gogoplata and the monoplata. this move has grown and become very dynamic with multiple submissions stemming from its set up.

Submission or Sweep

One big aspect of the omoplata is its dual purpose use as a sweep or a submission. Since the move is most commonly used from the full guard it is a great way to sweep one’s opponent even if the move cannot be completed as a submission

One way that this move is commonly used as a sweep is in transition from a triangle choke. Durring a triangle choke a common defense is to wrap the trapped arm behind the attacker’s leg. Unluckily for him this then puts him in the perfect position for an omoplata.

The Submissions

If a submission is the desired endgame there are plenty that one can complete from the setup of the omoplata. This makes the omoplata a hard move to defend against because there is not one set way to perform the submission but many many variations

A finished omoplata with the kimura style armlock

The most common way to end it is the kimura style lock. For this submission the opponents arm ends up being chicken winged via your legs. This puts incredible pressure on the shoulder to force the tap out

Another submission that can be completed is a wristlock. Once on top of the opponent, instead of using your body to put pressure on the shoulder, the opponent is held down easily from the position that is set up and a wristlock can be easily applied.Also a footlock can be completed from this position as well. Commonly an opponent will try and roll into you to relieve pressure from his shoulder. As he rolls his legs and feet become readily available for attack and a fotlock can be applied. In addition to this as the opponent rolls the arm is still entangled and an armbar can be used.

Defending the attack

There are a few ways to defend against this attack. One is a preemptive defense and as soon as you feel the arm being isolated for the omoplata you need to start rotating towards the isolated arm side. From there the opponent cannot complete their move and will have to change strategies

If the opponent has already isolated the arm and flipped on top of you there is the rolling defense. Although very cool looking and fun to do, if this defense needs to be used top position is given up and it means the opponent almost had you in the submission.

Or there is the Turtle Roll defense

The Armbar

A submission one sees a lot of in professional fighting is the armbar. This move is very simple by design which makes ease of use a large factor in its popularity among all types of fighters. This move also has many variations in setup which makes it a threat from many different positions. In addition to that it has both offensive and defensive variations which make it and even broader threat.

There are many subtle differences between the types of armbars but they all have the same basic finish. The move is performed by putting both feet across the opponent’s chest with one arm between your legs. The trapped arm is then held at the elbow joint with your arms. then pressure is applied by rolling the hips up and pulling back on the arm.

Offensive Aspect

This move can be used in many ways as a strictly offensive move. For example Its use from the mount or knee-on-belly position is a very hard move to defend against. The attacker has a full range of motion and has the leverage of his whole body at his disposal. Also because of the increased amount of control when on top it makes setting up this move easier as well.

Another derivation of the move that is rarely seen but would surely surprise an opponent is the flying armbar. This move is executed from the standing clinch position where the opponent is expecting strikes or some sort of take down, not a submission. If landed successfully fast and unexpected type of armbar is sure to end a fight quickly.

Deffensive Aspect

One of the most commonly used variations of the armbar is used when in the guard position. Its set up is straightforward and easy to complete. Also once comfortable with the move it can be locked in very fast. This makes its use as a counter move a very real threat. This is true especially in mixed martial arts where mounted opponents use strikes a lot which opens up arms for attack

Also this move can be used when in bottom sidemount position. From a sidemount the armbar requires a little more strength and flexibility to complete. This could also surprise an opponent with a quick submission because many people feel very comfortable on top in sidemount position.

Lastly a variation of the armbar from the half guard position can be used to overpower an opponent. This move is a more complex setup and finish which requires some finesse, so it is a more advanced move. However it is just one more of the positions an armbar canb be successfully landed from.

The Veteran’s Move

The armbar is probably one of if not the first moves that people learn as they enter the world of mixed marital arts and has probably been tried by people with no training. This does lead to a host of counter moves and defensses against the move as well. However an experienced grappler who practices this move can use this move very effectively because of its versatility and speed.

Ronda Rousey bends Meisha Tate’s arm the complete opposite way

The armbar is also a very dangerous move. With an experienced user and enough pressure an armbar can rip the tendons and ligaments of the elbow or even break the bones of the arm.

The Triangle Choke

The triangle choke is a widely used move in the world of mixed martial arts fighting. This move originated in Judo but is now a very common move among many different styles of fighting. The triangle is performed by encircling the opponent’s head and  one arm with the legs, which makes the triangle  shape, and cuts off blood flow from the carotid artery to the head.

Using the Triangle

The triangle choke is generally performed from a full guard position. From this position one arm is isolated and the other is pressed down to allow one leg to be placed across the back of the opponent’s neck. The bend of your knee is placed over the ankle of the first leg locking it into place. from here pressure if applied and the choke is complete.

Stefan Struve lands a flying triangle choke

One aspect of the triangle choke that makes it a “go to move” for many people is the move’s versatility. Although the most common way to perform it is from a full guard it can be landed from half guard, side control, mount, or even standing.

The triangle choke is also very hard to defend against. Since this move consists of trapping the opponents head and one of his arms it makes this move easiest when used as a counter. Your opponents needs just to leave an arm away from the body and unprotected for a second.

When locked in the triangle choke provides a hasty tap out as well. This is due to the three points that all contribute to pressure on the neck and carotid artery. There is the leg locking down, the hips being raised up, and the head of the opponent being pulled down into the hips.

Counter Move

The triangle choke is most commonly used as a counter move or defensive move. When in a full guard it is not uncommon for an opponent to get a little confident on top and leave himself open for attack. This is especially true in mixed martial arts because strikes are very common from top position and striking leaves one’s appendages away from the body and unprotected.

One other aspect of a triangle choke is the different moves it sets up. Someone that is expecting a triangle choke will usually keep themselves well defended against it because it is best used as a counter. However in defending against or waiting for a triangle they open themselves to other submissions or sweeps in the process.

By backing away and posturing up in preperation for getting caught in a triangle the opponent opens themself for a sweep or possibly an armbar.

Opponents could also counter this move by wrapping their locked arm around your leg. However this opens them up to an easy omoplata.

A triangle choke is easy to use and learn when first entering the sport as well. It’s set up from full guard is one of the frist moves most people learn. Because of all its different variations the old adage easy to learn hard to master certainly applies. once mastered though this move will serve and martial artist well in his quest for greatness.