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This Is Sparta

There is no better example of a well timed teep kick than by King Leonidas in the movie 300.

Although he looked cool doing it, it is of course not a very good technical representation of the strike. The teep kick, or thrust kick is a surprisingly versatile strike to add to your arsenal. It is also a good kick for powerful fighters with shorter stockier legs who aren’t going to be throwing any ridiculous kung fu kicking combos. A teep kick also has variations which make it an offensive as well as a defensive strike.

A more traditional kick involves a lot of hip rotation and rotational speed to generate power. A teep kick however is very different and involves a more of a straight shot style. The power is generated from the quad of the kicking foot as well as thrusting the whole body forward towards the opponent through the hips. This puts the force of the whole body into the kick. There are three main variations of the teep kick as well which are all very similar. Those along with the basics of the teep kick are explained in this video

Lead Teep Kick

A lead teep kick is generally a very defensive strike. It can be executed quickly and with a good amount of power. It is generally used to keep thee opponent away from you when he moves in close. Almost like a jab but in kicking form. This can also be used as a quick body shot to wear down the opponent.

Rear Teep Kick

What a left jab is to a lead teep kick a straight right is to rear teep kick. This strike can generate more power than a lead teep making it a more effective offensive weapon. Staying on the balls of your feet and leaning into the opponent is especially important for this strike. The greter transfer of weight in the rear teep kick is what leads to the increase in power.

This strike can be extremely powerful but is kind of slow and is a pointed strike that could be easily dodged by a quick moving opponent on his toes. Also this strike can be a very powerful body strike if it connects with the right spot on the body. Directly under the ribs in the center of the torse there is a spot called the solar plexus. This is a nerve center that controls breathing and such. If struck with enough force it causes muscle spasms which interrupt breathing temporarily.

Lean Teep Kick

A leaning teep kick is a longer range strike but similar in usage to a lead teep kick.  It is a quick strike which can be performed with either the lead or rear foot, the lead being quicker and the rear being more powerful. The strike is good for keeping an opponent at a good distance from you if he has a long reach or kickboxing skills.

Also because you natrualy lean back durring this kick it takes you out of punching range. This gives the opportunity for a quick counterstrike to the body. However the right technique is needed because if you are not effectively out of the oppoenents punching range the engagement could end bad for you.

Dont Miss

A teep kick is not an all powerful move, it can be blocked and it can be countered. The video below shows examples of counters to the teep kick. An opponent that is prepared for it can lean into you so the kick does not gain as much power and slide off the kick or hold the foot. Imagine an overhand right  following up a failed teep kick attempt that renders you defenseless.

 The Overhand Right Strike

Chuck Liddell on the receiving end of an overhand right

An iconic punch that is seen so often in a mixed martial arts fight is the overhand right. This strike can be delivered with great power and when it lands more often than not it ends in a knockout blow. This punch gets its power from a combination of rotational speed and a downward angle to the striking motion. UFC mixed martial artists like Dan Henderson and Chuck Liddell are known for using this powerful punch with devastating consequences.  

I refer to the strike as an overhand right but is technically a rear arm overhand strike that is described throughout.They achieve maximum power through a swinging motion that looks oddly similar to throwing a baseball when practiced. As with other power punches the power comes from rotation of the orso through core strength. It is also critical to follow through on the punch; stopping a strike and not punching through the opponent leads to much decreased power. The video below is Chuck Liddell demonstrating his overhand right technique.

Proper Time To Strike

The Overhand right is a mid-range strike that give you a little more range than a hook because of the extended arm rather than it being bent at a ninety degree angle at the elbow. Also the long arcing striking motion can be used to essentially punch around an opponent’s guard. This makes it a good strike to throw when your opponent is taking a defensive approach. The powerful less straight forward attack could break the opponent’s defense briefly to allow for different attacks.

Against a quicker opponent this might not be best to lead with this strike. If the opponent sees this not so discreet of quick punch coming he can circle out of its range. However if taking the opponent to the ground is a viable option; you can use your momentum to go from an overhand right to a take down attempt when the opponent circles away from the punch. Also he could dodge it or duck underneath it and put himself in a great position to strike you when your defenseless after a missed striking attempt. Click Here for a video of some simple overhand right counters.

To turn the tides on an opponent trying to counter your overhand attack, use the overhand itself as a counterattack for some thrilling results. When you throw overhand you can use the natural motion of your hips dipping and head turning away to dodge a punch while throwing the overhand right as well. This takes more finesse and confidence in your own striking ability becuase it does put you clearly in striking range of the opponent if executed incorrectly. Trully a high risk high reward option.

Why Choose the Overhand

This punch is truly designed to be a knockout strike to the opponent. The arc of the strike makes it more difficult to block. The strike is aimed for the side of the jaw or the temple area, the classic spot for a knockout punch. For a power striker in a mixed martial arts fight an overhand right is a deadly strike to master.

Bones Vs. Hendo

tThe upcoming UFC match is sure to be an intense fight between two great contenders. Jon “Bones” Jones is set to defend his UFC light heavyweight title against Dan “Hendo” Henderson. Both of these fighters have proved to be forces inside the ring in multiple mixed martial arts arenas. Henderson being a shot, stocky power based fighter has the experience to back up this title shot. While on the other hand Jones is a newcomer who has quickly proven himself to be one of the most dangerous men in the ring.

The Contender

Henderson was born in 1970 and started his professional career back at UFC 17. Since then has competed in multiple Pride, King of Kings, and UFC events racking up a professional record of 28-9-0 to date. In addition to this Henderson has also competed in Olympic greco-roman wrestling in addition to numerous other international greco-roman wrestling events.

On the mixed martial arts stage Dan Henderson is an animal in the ring. Compared to Jones he is shorter, has a smaller wingspan, and has a stockier build. However Henderson is known for the pure power he hold in his fist. The best display of this potential knockout power is seen in his fight against Michael Bisping which won him the knockout of the year award in 2009.

Henderson’s experience in the ring is probably his greatest asset against the relatively inexperienced light heavyweight champion. Henderson was even quoted referring to him as “sloppy” in reference to his technical mma skills. However Jones is explosive and unpredictable so even if he is slightly sloppy Henderson will have to use all his experience to his advantage.

The Defender

Jon “Bones” Jones was born in 1987, making him significantly younger than Henderson, and has an almost impeccable record in professional mma of 16-1-0; having only one loss by DQ to Matt Hamill. He is an explosive and unpredictable striker that is known for using spinning backfists, spinning back kicks, flying knees, and devastating elbows. However for someone who is known as a striker he has ended a good portion of his fights by submission as well.

In his fight against Henderson, Jones will need to avoid his opponent’s powerful punches; his agility and distinct reach advantage will be his strength in this match. His own striking capability is on par with the best as well and could easily catch Henderson off guard like it has so many fighters before. Another interesting fact is that the UFC website has it listed that he has avoided 100% of take down attempts. Going up against an international greco-roman wrestler could break this streak though.

Jones gave a revealing pre-fight interview on UFC.com. Jones in no way is underestimating Henderson, and actually respects him very much calling him “an animal” and “a winner’. He is also very confident in his own abilities and wont give up his belt easily.

Jones has become the youngest member of the UFC to win and to defend a UFC Championship Belt. However, this has done nothing to deter the critics to point out his inexperience in the ring. Also he has exchanged words, over social media of course, with the infamous Chael Sonnen and some people suspected it would take his mind off the fight. His final response to this was very interesting.

Jones statement was “For everyone who thinks I’m ‘falling into chaels game’ I know exactly what I’m doing..#AreYouNotEntertained“. Jones is no idiot, he knows whats going on and is certainly keeping his mind focused on Henderson. This attitude might be his secret behind his unorthodox style of fighting as well. He seems like he is out there throwing errant strikes but he knows exactly what he is doing, which can be backed up by his 16-1 record in the ring.

Who Will Win?

It is anybody’s fight but i would like to think that Jon Jones will be able to defend his title. But Henderson also seems to be a pretty good counter for Jones’ style as well. The world will find out on September 1st at UFC 151.

The Hook

This fighter is clearly feeling the effects of a well placed hook

Mixed martial artists seek to train and better themselves in all aspects of their fighting game. In today’s mixed martial arts arena it is crucial to be able to strike effectively because if you can’t you, make for an easy target for your opponent. Boxing skills in the ring are crucial to round out one’s skill set and prepare for a fight.

One of boxing’s iconic strikes is the hook. It has been used for years in the boxing ring as a powerful strike that can easily be a knockout punch. On the mixed martial arts stage the hook can be an even more powerful weapon. This mostly comes from the smaller gloves that make any strike much more effective than when wearing the boxing gloves. If landed cleanly on an opponent a powerful hook can easily knock even an iron jawed fighter out.

The Technique

Anyone can throw a flailing hook at somebody but the real power comes from using the correct form while doing it. The majority of the power while throwing a hook does not come from the arms but from the legs and core. For clarification’s sake i will describe a left hook from a right handed stance, or whats referred to as a lead hook.

The arm is bent at ninety degrees at the elbow and positioned parallel to the ground. The arm is effectively locked into this position for the punch. The body is then turned using the core muscles to rotate the torso. In addition the feet are pointed in the direction of the rotation to swing your hips and throw your body into the punch.  This rotation and foot movement allows the momentum and force of your entire body to be transferred upon impact making this punch devastating.

Here is a video demonstrating the proper technique. of course it is from a left handed stance but the fundamentals still apply.

Double Edged Sword

This powerful offensive strike can also easily leave you undefended. If you put everything into one punch and miss, or worse the opponent dodges it, the chances for a counter attack are very high. If you end up off balance your opponent could shoot for a quick takedown. Also if you don’t quickly raise your hands for defense against a counter strike one could land and put you in a very bad position. This means that planning and executing these strikes in a smart fashion is essential.

However a hook can also be used as a great counter strike itself. This comes from the natural movement when you throw the hook. When faced with a straight right or left it gives the opportunity to slide to the side of the striking arm and throw the hook on the opponent. This also places you in a prime position without a blocking arm for the opponent.

Body Shots

Another good use for the hook is for a powerful punch to the body. Again the turning motion of this punch serves to take you out of striking range as well as provide enough power to effect the body. A liver strike can be used to stun an opponent along with a quick follow up strike to the head for a knockout, easier said than done though.

Top Half Guard Position

The half guard position

Getting your opponent on his back and getting on top of him is a great position to be in, in general, during a fight. Of course there are a variety of ways this can happen and not every position is as sought after as the other. Being on top and caught in half guard is usually on the less sought after side of the spectrum when it comes to grappling. This is probably because from bottom half guard you have a good amount of control even from your back and there is a lack of familiarity from the submissions from top half guard as well.

A lack of familiarity only means that a lot of people have room for improvement from this position. Or they need to find a way to get into a position that they are more comfortable in. There are a variety of passes and submissions possible to achieve that form this position.

Top Half Guard Passes

Passing somebody’s half guard is not usually the easiest thing to do. This is because if they have had any type of training they will have your leg locked down tight with their legs. Also though when in bottom half guard the last thing you want to do is slip up and give up a full mount to the opponent because its all downhill from there. However of course there are a variety of passes that you can perform of course and all involve a good amount of technical skill. Here is a website with a variety of these passes.

Striking from Top Half Guard

Top half guard offers a variety of ways to land strikes on the opponent as well. If they break your posture like they should shoulder punches and quick elbows can be used to soften up the opponent for your next move. Also if you posture up and control your position straight shots to the head, body shots, and hooking strikes can all be thrown at the opponent. Striking from this position can be very effective because your orientation to the opponent offers pretty much the same striking options as a full mount. However the opponent is not as defenseless as in full mount so one should also be cautious of a good grappler.

Submissions from Top Half Guard

There are also a good amount of possible submissions that can be performed from top half guard, some being more technical than others. One submission is the arm triangle choke. The concept is similar to that of a regular triangle choke except using the arms instead of the legs and from top half guard it is an easily accessible choke. Another simple submission is the kimura. This joint lock is easily accessible from top half guard  as well because of the leverage and position you have over an the opponent on bottom.

A couple of more technical submissions include the darce choke and a personal favorite from any position the guillotine choke. Both of these chokes are powerful blood chokes that require a slightly more setup than the others mentioned but are very similar in execution. Instead of trying to explain the complexity of these chokes here a couple videos to illustrate them

 

The Mixed Martial Arts Workout Plan

Mixed martial artists are known for being in great condition. An MMA fight is a grueling endeavor that puts strain on every muscle group in the body because of the complexity of motion required to do a wide variety of moves plus the energy it takes to do them. However even if your not the next Anderson Silva or Georges St-Pierre you can use this sport as a great way to stay active and healthy

The Workout

A full mixed martial arts workout is a very diverse workout that trains many muscle groups in one sitting. This is because it is not only the large muscles that are needed in this style of competition but also the small muscles needed for the finer movements and overall control. This combination of strength and explosive power is the key behind the MMA workout plan. By exercising smaller, and most of the time previously unused, muscles one can gain a lot of formerly unknown strength.

One other benefit of an mma workout is that it is almost always a full body exercise. Punching, kicking, plyometrics, isometrics, grappling exercises all combine to workout pretty much all the muscle groups you can think of. Along with focusing on various muscle groups the training is always high intensity which makes you push yourself beyond your limits to get in even better shape. Although they can be very tough a full body exercise is great for burning calories because it takes a lot of energy to use all the muscles in your body.

Lastly the type of muscle that is being built up in an mma workout is generally considered to be “lean muscle”. Lean muscle is really just muscle mass that isn’t overly bulky but is well defined and full of power. This comes from the low/no weight hi-rep environment of an mma workout which focuses on body movement and control over purely pumping iron.

This is a video of Jon “Bones” Jones’ workout in preperation for a fight. Of course his workout is extremely intense because him, like most other professional athletes, are freaks of nature.

Cardio

Another great part of the mma workout is the cardiovascular benefits. A lot of people tend to only consider running or cycling for their cardio workouts. Although there is a lot of running done by mma competitors, lets face it its probably the most fundamental workout one can do, there are other types of cardio that one encounters in mma training.

Circuit training is often used in mma training.  This workout consists of a low weight high repetition style of weightlifting where four or five different excessive are performed one after the other, again focusing on different muscle groups throughout. Also boxing/kickboxing is known to be one of the best cardio workouts around and that is always part of an mma workout. Cardio is another great way to trim fat off your physique and increase your overall health as well.

Snack Pack to Six Pack

Doesn’t everyone wish they could have a six pack as defined as Georges St-Pierre’s

I challenge anybody to find a professional fighter that doesn’t have core muscles made of wrought iron. These fighters have strong cores because it is essential to performing like they do. This means that an mma workout will practically always include a tailored abdominal workout. Abdominal exercises can be very hard but also are a main component of the mma workout.

However an ab workout isn’t nearly enough for a professional fighter to build up his core strength. The very nature of the sport demands and builds core strength, just like almost every other physical activity to some extent. You use your core to twist for a punch, to rotate your hips when you kick, and for almost any movement you do in a grappling situation. So if you want to try and build up to a strong defined midsection, an mma workout is for you.

Also for information on diet tailored fro this type of exercise click here

The Top Sprawl Position

When avoiding a double or single leg takedown attempt one good defense is to get into a sprawl position. Often stand up fighters will find themselves in this position because a grappler will quickly want to takedown a stronger stand up fighter. The sprawl position can be a very dominant position after a failed takedown mainly because you have the opponents back and he therefor doesn’t have many offensive options. If you can control a sprawl position form the top without letting the opponent slip out easily you can tire him down substantially and possibly end the fight right from this position.

Belfort sprawling in UFC 142

To get into a dominant top sprawl position, when an opponent shoots in for the takedown you need to shoot legs back to avoid the opponent from grabbing them. If your opponent can get ahold of either leg or ankle in the sprawl he has a much better chance of passing to a beter position. Also a firm grip around their neck provides a solid hold and a way of depriving the opponent of oxygen. Lastly you should be up on your toes pressing your hips down and pressing your body into the opponents back so it is harder for him to move.

Submissions from Top Sprawl

The two most notable and fundamental submissions from this position are probably the anaconda choke and the guillotine choke. The anaconda choke is a pressure choke that has a simple setup and simple execution. This move however is easy to defend against as well. The guillotine choke from the sprawl position can sometimes be executed as soon as the sprawl happens catching the opponent off guard and allowing him to slip into the submission. However with a little positioning and agility the guillotine can be worked durring the sprawl as well.

A rear naked choke is also a posible submission because you already have the opponent’s back. To perform a rear naked choke you can use your opponents position as a sort of pivot point and scurry around 180 degrees to be in the correct position to execute the hold.  This submission also takes some agility to use effectively because it takes a second to get into the right position and in that time the fighter on bottom has time to escape.

Striking from the Sprawl

Most fighters who opt for a sprawl durring a takedown prefer to use striking over grappling in the first place. From a sprawl position the opponent has no way of hitting you because he has his back to you. This leaves the opportunity to land some powerful strikes that could be blocked but matched by the opponent. The opponent’s body and his head/face are all ready targets for some quick powerful strikes from a dominant position.

Also a move called the cement mixer puts you in an extremely dominant striking position from the sprawl position

Possible Escapes

There are a host of possibilities for your opponent to consider when he is on the bottom of the sprawl position. A common defense is for the opponent to use a sit-out in which he essentially drives his body up and twists around to a sitting position throwing you to one side, then he takes a back mount position. There is another variation of this escape where the opponent fully rolls over you from the bottom switching to top sprawl position. These two escapes can be avoided by pressing into the opponent by staying on the toes and keeping yourself centered over the opponent not allowing him to throw you to one side.

Also the opponent on bottom will try to grab and control you legs to use them as leverage to better his position, possibly getting into dogfight position. By keeping on your toes and keeping your hips raised and pressing down you can avoid this escape as well. One other defense to watch out for is the opponent simply rolling back and pulling you into full guard position, which is especially dangerous for striker oriented fighters against a strong grappler.