Monthly Archives: October 2012

Quick Striking with the Jab

Always keep your off hand up while throwing the jab

The jab can be an extremely effective weapon in a mixed martial arts match, if used correctly. It is not a power strike but instead more of a finesse strike that leads into other things. The jab needs to be used at the right time though because if not it will really be a useless strike. Take down setups, defensive or counter strikes, range finding, and just plain quick strikes are all aspects of a mastered jab.

There are individuals who don’t think the jab is a necessary component of one’s striking game in mixed martial arts. For some more information on this side of the argument CLICK HERE.


The jab is a quick strike that is not meant to knock out an oponent but that doesn’t mean it can’t pack some power behind it.  As you push of your back foot, rotate your shoulders, and snap your arm out in one fluid motion you effectively channel the energy of your whole body quickly into the strike. Also a crucial aspect of any striking in mixed martial arts is to always protect your face with your off hand while striking so you don’t get caught with a quick counter strike yourself. This is a quick video of the steps of a jab by Anderson Silva.

Timing is Everything

The jab just isn’t that knockout punch you can land and end a fight so you really have to pick your time to use it carefully. However depending on how you choose to use the jab it can have different benefits depending on what you need to accomplish.

The jab can be used as a range finding strike that keeps your opponent on his toes and allows you to prepare for strikes or take downs better. This range finder can kill two birds with one stone and be used as a distraction strike too to set up for another striking combination or take down attempt. This is a great example of how the jab can be effective without even needing to strike the opponent.

A strong jab thrown with some intent can be enough to stun an opponent in mixed martial arts This is where the jab in mixed martial arts really differs from that in traditional boxing; which mainly stems from the different gloves. A quick counter jab can stun the opponent long enough to be able to follow up with a powerful strike that will be unavoidable by the opponent. Using the jab in this manner takes great timing and good power behind your strikes but it can be a great way to sneak in a knockout combination in a fight.

Putting It All Together

The jab is a multifaceted striking tool. It takes much practice to know how to effectively take advantage of all the different things that the jab can bring to the table. However, the jab can give you the opportunity to really take control of a standing fight.

The jab is the perfect way to make the opponent have to play your game. With annoying jabs and faux jabs and counter jabbing into different combinations you can really control the standing match in the fight. This will not only get into the opponent’s head but the real advantage is that you control the tempo of the fight. In a real matches this will gain you points but also give you a much better chance for getting a knockout as well.


Float Like a Butterfly

Everybody knows being on the bottom in mixed martial arts is not a very good thing. You can get punched and elbowed and potentially knocked out. Getting comfortable with the butterfly guard in mixed martial arts can give you a good platform to work with when stuck on your back. It gives the opportunity for a ton of sweeps from the bottom along with powerful submissions.

The butterfly guard is really like an alternative to the closed guard position. Where the closed guard allows you to anchor your opponent to you and work from there. In contrast, the butterfly guard is a much more versatile position that allows a more dynamic defensive strategy when on your back. Instead of anchoring your opponent the idea is more to keep the opponent off balance and use that to advance your own position.

There is also another position called the X guard position which is very similar in concept but is utilizes different techniques. Mastering both of these guards can be a deadly combination for mastering the bottom position.

Butterfly Basics

the butterfly guard position

In butterfly guard your two legs are positioned on the inside of your opponent’s thighs. Your feet anchor your legs to your opponent’s body and are used to control their position. Your arms are ideally placed in double underhooks on your opponents arms which gives your tremendous control. However a single underhook is more likely and can still be very effective. Using your feet and arms to control the opponent’s position is crucial for completing techniques from butterfly guard.

Butterfly Guard Sweeps

The butterfly guard can make sweeps very fluid if done correctly. You essentially anchor your opponent to yourself and use yourself as a pivot point making it easy to throw your opponent in a direction of your choosing.

The basic butterfly guard sweep is simple and straight forward as you would expect it to be. This move could be used against larger opponents because of the leverage you have over them from this position. Your arms control his upper body and your legs are used to throw the opponent. In addition to The leverage you have over your opponent, the action of moving around and keeping the opponent off his center of balance helps to throw him to the side.

Another version of this sweep is where instead of throwing the opponent to the side you go directly back over the top with him, which is why its called the over the top sweep. This variation would be especially useful when the opponent pushes back into you after you rock him back, like in MMA if he went for a strike. You can use his momentum against him to put him on his back and take the fight to him.

Butterfly Guard Submissions

Being in butterfly guard give you great opportunities for submissions as well. Its almost like operating out of a closed guard with you legs being free and much easier to use to manipulate your opponent and in submissions like an omoplata or armbar. Also the rocking motion used in the basic sweep can also create enough space to pull your opponent into a deadly guillotine choke. Or using the arm drag from the butterfly you can transition to a d‘arce choke or a rear naked choke





Where Do Women go to Kick Ass in RI?

Black Diamond Mixed Martial Arts is where. At BDMMA women’s only kickboxing classes are now being offered for women seeking to lose weight, improve their fitness level, and/or simply learn kickboxing technique. Not only do they have womens only kickboxing classes but private lessons are also an option if you really want to get into it.

BDMAA is also a great venue for these classes. there are great coaches and a newly renovated facility. The facility is located in the peacedale mill complex in South Kingstown, RI. There are even a whole bunch of free incentives for signing up for classes. For more detailed information on these classes you can visit the BDMMA site HERE

Kickboxing and Fitness

The biggest reason for a lot of women to join a kickboxing class is fitness. Whether it is to lose weight or to gain some muscle and definition kickboxing can provide a great workout for anybody. The reason is because kickboxing is such a full body workout. Kicking, Punching, elbowing and kneeing takes a lot of energy. And just common sense will tell us that the more energy you use the more calories you will burn and more muscle you will potentially build.

The class environment is also a great motivation for working out. Sometimes working out alone just gets boring, you lose interest, start making excuses, and eventually just stop going all together. Just having one friend there to motivate you can be extremely helpful but a whole class of people kicking and working hard and sweating can be great motivation to push yourself and keep at the classes to improve yourself.

Lastly the program is referred to as the Black Diamond Women’s Fitness Boot Camp which should tell you something about the program. There is more to the classes than just kickboxing. These classes implement workouts that help build muscles that are needed to hit harder and move faster. This means that abdominal, leg, and buttox muscles are all focused on in addition to the kickboxing workout.

Learning Technique

Its sad but women are stereotyped as not being able to hit hard or fight well, we’ve all heard the phrase “hits like a girl”. Taking some kickboxing classes can teach you how to correctly punch or kick and adversary, whether it be in sport or in a real life situation. The kicking part of kickboxing can be especially useful for women, who have  a naturally strong lower body and somehow always seem to be more flexible than men.

Knowing kickboxing technique can certainly come in handy for anybody in a dire situation. God forbid anyone ever has to use fighting techniques they have learned to truly defend themselves, but knowing what you are doing when faced with a threat can change the encounter completely. If someone was coming at you with bad intentions and you knew the kick from the video below, I think your attacker would start to think twice about their target.

Getting Caught in Bottom Turtle

your standard turtle position is demonstrated here

The turtle position, or what i like to simply call the fetal position, is not the ideal position to be in, especially in MMA. In a strictly grappling arena this is really not the best position to be in but not nearly as dangerous because of the absence of striking. However there are a host of techniques to either sweep or even submit the opponent from this position.

You Better Scramble

Bottom line you usually do not want to be caught in turtle position. You are really just a sitting duck if you curl up and sit there. Even though you feel secure in your own little world a good opponent will be able to slowly pick you apart and defeat you. The key to escaping the turtle position is getting out of it as quickly as possible. This is especially helpful because if you have to turtle quickly, you can sometimes catch the opponent scrambling expecting you to stay in turtle and take advantage of that.

This is especially true if the opponent is trying to take your back in the turtle position for a rear naked choke. This is because if the opponent locks his leg hooks in even if you think your protected for a shot while, your chances of victory plummet.


You need to escape from this position but the question is how. There are a host of different escapes for the turtle position because of all the possible orientations of the opponent on top of you.

For a more north-south turtle position, there are escapes such as the hook and roll where the opponent has his arms around your body and you use this to plaster him to you as you hold his arm and roll over putting your opponent on his back and isolating his arm. There is also a simple wrestler’s sit out which literally switches your position with your opponent’s.

When your opponent is more behind you or to the side there are also sweeps that you can perform. A hook and roll is still feasible because your opponent will need to stabilize himself by wrapping his arms around your body and the same basic technique is applied (1:50 in video below). Also you can take the fight to your opponent by stepping back when in turtle position, grabbing your opponent’s legs, and taking him down (3:00 in the video below)

This is a video with a whole bunch of escapes from the turtle position along with a submission I will talk about next.

Turtle Submissions

Just looking at the turtle position you would probably imagine that there are not many submissions that you can perform from the bottom. However this combined with the fact that the opponent is probably in offensive mode not defensive it could turn out to be a perfect chance for a submission.

One of my favorite, and surprisingly easy once you get the hang of it, submissions from the turtle position is the knee bar (4:20 in the video ). It involves from finesse and looks really crazy to do but it can be very effective. Although is the opponent sees it coming it can be pretty easy to defend against. This is why if you decide to perform this, or any submission from turtle, you should remember to do it as quickly as possible once the opportunity arises.

For a much more indepth look at the turtle position check out THIS SITE full of video of Eduardo Telles explaining the turtle guard

Bringing the Fight to the Ground

In mixed martial arts takedowns are a very important part of the game if you are more confident in your grappling game than your stand up/striking game. Your opponent will not just roll over and flop onto his back so that you can attack him on the ground. However ineffective takedowns can be dangerous as well. Taking down a grappler can be dangerous since well he is a grappler, and a striker will probably be very familiar with at least his takedown defenses.

Judo Throws

A Judo leg weep takedown attempt. And I’m pretty sure this will be successful

What Muay Thai is to knee and elbow strikes, Judo is to throwing and takedown techniques. Judo’s throwing techniques are very widespread and can be implemented with much speed and power. However there is a very specific technique that makes them exponentially easier to perform and it is why experts make it look so easy. There are also many takedowns taught in this martial art that are equally as quick and powerful when performed right. HERE is a site with tons of great videos of judo techniques, throws, and takedowns. 

Some judo moves you see a lot in the mixed martial arts arena are the leg sweep and hip toss. Both of these are effective takedown techniques when in close while standing up with your opponent. This makes them great for grapplers, and really BJJ users since takedowns are not emphasized in it, because it neutralizes some striking opportunity before your takedown. Videos of both can be seen in the link above.

Single and Double Leg Takedowns

The single leg takedown is a classic takedown in mixed martial arts and knowing how to do it is almost crucial if you want to round out your mma game. This is a dangerous technique if you fail though because you are =vulnerable in the position you are left in. If your opponent sprawls or gets a good push on your head to put you in a guillotine it could mean goodnight for you. This is why the correct technique and also importantly the correct timing are required for this takedown as well.

The double leg takedown is a powerful takedown that can be very technical or very powerful, ideally both. Former football players will have to take notes because the idea behind a takedown in mma is not to land in your opponents guard. One main concept to remember is that during the takedown you need to turn your opponent to the side to land in a better grappling position. Also with the right technique getting enough leverage to lift your opponent high off the ground can be easy and that opens up the opportunity for a slam.

Watch Out

A takedown is certainly not a guaranteed success like anything else you try in mma. Even with the right technique there are a lot of good counters to many of the takedowns you can execute. It is easy to slip in a guillotine on a bad takedown attempt becuase your head is just sticking out there. Or even a well timed strike can ruin your takedown. The reality of the situation is that if you are a grappler in a mixed martial arts arena you better start practicing your takedowns so that you can fight your game not the opponent’s.

Triangle Chokes From Everywhere

The triangle choke is so easy you can celebrate while doing it

I have said it before and ill say it again, triangle chokes are awesome. They are a triple threat submission: quick, simple, and effective. With some know how and some flexibility triangle chokes can be your greatest friend in the submission game. There are so many positions that triangle chokes can be performed from it is disgusting. You could learn how to do only triangle chokes and probably still be able to submit somebody from three quarters of the positions you found yourself in.

Of course the good old triangle choke from a closed guard is what many people in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu learned first, and it really teaches all the fundamental concepts of all the the different variations of it. If you don’t know or want to brush up on some basic technique CLICK HERE. Any guys who didn’t click the link because they think they have it down already, you might want to brush up on your technique… trust me.

Mounted Triangle

Many people in mixed martial arts might prefer to simply punch there opponent in the face when they get to a mount position. However this option is not present in strictly grappling tournaments. A mounted triangle is a great submission  to perform from the mount.  You maintain your center over your opponent the whole time from the mount and you have both of your hand free to work with. This combination is great for maintaining your dominant position throughout the submission.

CLICK HERE for a full mounted triangle tutorial.

Half Guard Triangle

Although there are a lot of feasible sweeps from half guard, being on bottom in half guard does not always leave you very many good options for a submission move. But of course there is a sneaky way to pull off a triangle choke with a little quickness. This would not be an easy technique to finish under real conditions but it shows how quick and unexpectedly the triangle choke can be applied.

Side Control? No Problem!

When you are on top in side control you have very many options. One is to transition to mount and work from there. However you can skip that phase completely and go right into, that’s right you guessed it, a triangle choke

Bottom side control is not the first position you would try and perform a triangle from. Well its not, but a reverse triangle choke certainly is. This move is slightly complicated and relies and your opponent trying to gain control of your arm from side control. But add this one to your playbook to surprise your opponents.

Still More…

We can’t always lock in a triangle choke, but even a failed attempt can be salvaged. This video shows how to turn a failed attempt from closed guard into a sweep and then easy submission. The ending submission in the video is a type of kimura armbar; but I’m sure you could find a way to change that up into a mounted triangle if you so choose.

I implore anyone who has seen all of these types of triangle chokes to keep learning about them! There are so many more variations of them. I only picked a couple of them to talk about but they can be a martial artists best friend if you know them well enough.

Using the Hip Bump for Sweeps and Subs

the first part of the Hip Bump sweep

The closed guard is not all that bad of a position to be in for jiu-jitsu and can even be to your advantage. however in straight mma competition a strong opponent can seriously hurt you even when he is trapped in your closed guard with strikes. The hip bump is a good technique to use when trying to escape this position and with good technique it doesn’t even require a lot of effort on your part.

In addition to being a good sweep setup the hip bump can be combined with a bunch of submission techniques making it a very versatile attack from the bottom. This makes it especially useful to add to your arsenal of attacks. Especially if your in mixed martial arts and are taking a lot of punishment from the bottom of closed guard.

The Sweep

The hip bump sweep from closed guard can be extremely effective if used correctly. The technique is not even that complicated but in practice it can be much harder than when your reading how to do it. First you break your feet around the opponent and sit up into him. While you sit up you twist and grab (for example) the opponent’s right arm with yours. You simultaneously post up on your opposite hand pushing your hips and chest into your opponent.

The closer your are to your opponent the more control you have over them. You then use your legs and arms to sweep the opponents legs and twist them down at the same time. Also this sweep puts you in a mount position on your opponent which is one of the most dominating positions in a fight. For an in depth explanation and video of this hip bump sweep basic technique click here

The Submissions

What makes this sweep so deadly is quick transition to a variety of separate submissions. One submission that works very fluidly from this sweep is the kimura lock. When you sit up and twist to grab the opponent’s arm you have it pretty well isolated. You use your planted arm to grab your opponents wrist and rotate it behind the opponent’s back while turning off to the side to get a greater range of motion over your opponent’s arm.

Another submission that works great from this sweep is the guillotine choke. this is especially true when your opponent counters your advance by driving into you with his shoulder. Instead of grabbing your opponent’s arm with the up hand you reach it behind your opponents head and around to his neck. when your opponent pushes back into you you can slide your hips back and lock in the choke and seatbelt to finish the submission.

Still further is the omoplata which is a more advanced move and more difficult to use in a fight successfully. However because it is not used often it has a higher chance of catching the opponent off guard. Another thing is that this submission starts off just like the kimura submission but obviously ends as the omoplata.