Sunday, August 02, 2009

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Round Kicks, Takedowns, Rice and lamb ...



The technical development of MMA, as a seamless tapestry of stand-up, takedowns and groundwork, is still in it’s embryonic infancy. There is much work to be done and I predict that the next decade will see dramatic and profound improvements in both MMA technique and MMA coaching methodologies.
The most common approach by far is what I call the 3-coach-approach. That is the various aspects of stand-up, takedowns and groundwork are treated as totally separate and distinct phases of the fight dynamic. The simplest MMA training model consists of Muay Thai on Mondays and Wednesdays, BJJ on Tuesdays and Thursdays and Wrestling Clinchwork and takedowns on Fridays – or something similar. This cross-training approach is great but it leaves much to be desired in terms of ‘connecting’ these things up. In fact, each of these approaches needs to be slightly modified from their original forms when the goal is to seamlessly connect them together.
The MMA recipe of 2020 will certainly be a very different one than what most people are using today. I may as well continue with the cooking analogy – so here goes …
Imagine two countries, say China and Greece – suddenly were connected up via a giant bridge … now the Chinese have certainly worked out how to cook rice – and the Greeks, have certainly perfected the art of cooking lamb – so it seems kind of logical that the first thing that aspiring new chefs would work out, once the two cultures became one, would be to see if they could successfully combine those two (already perfected) cooking styles. Let’s transplant this thinking over to MMA …
The most common kick thrown on planet earth today was without doubt – the Round Kick. The most common takedowns executed on our spinning globe today were probably the double and single legs … so if we are to connect up the two world of takedowns and kicking (for example) it makes sense to look at how these two things might go together. The interesting questions to ask are …
-How the rear leg (basic) round kick can set up a single and double leg?
- How the lead leg round kick might set up the single and double leg?
- Are there any ways in which the kicks need to be slightly modified to set up a better double or single leg?
- Do the delivery angles of the round kicks need to change slightly to better set up the double and single legs?
- What distancing issues are there in combining round kicks with the takedowns?
All these questions are actually pretty easy to answer, once the questions are posed and some time is spent in drilling on the mat. The reason why the simple re-combination of these common elements hasn’t hit the mainstream is because most of the people who have spent much of their training lives working the round kicks havn’t spent enough time working technical single and double leg takedowns – and visa versa. So good kickers are often doing bad takedowns, and good wrestlers are often doing poor kicks. The lamb chefs don’t understand rice and the rice chefs have never seen a lamb. But the bridge has been built and the two worlds are now connected – it only takes the right chefs, with the right amount of experience in both cultures to start creating new delights that will inevitably be regarded as simply mainstream.
Who can say that martial arts training is boring … what a time we live in!!!

JBW

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2 Comments

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Excellent post as always John. As a student I always appreciate hearing your point of view. As a coach I always admire the way in which you communicate your point of view.

I think there's another option available to the budding chefs of China and Greece though; learn from a Middle Easten chef who already specialises in combining rice and lamb. The middle easten chef's lamb won't be as good as the greek's and their rice won't be as good as the chinese' but his combinations will be be superior.

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Thanks Ben - I love your idea. Great work ... you've captured and explained the idea perfectly!
Well done.
JBW

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