Thursday, January 31, 2008

Brock Lesnar - Fake wrestler a UFC star

Brock Lesnar's notoriety as a World Wrestling Entertainment champion and headliner has created great interest in his Ultimate Fighting Championship debut on Saturday night against former UFC champion Frank Mir.

But because his fame comes from scripted entertainment, many aren't aware of his successes in legitimate athletic competition.

Lesnar was 106-5 in four years of college wrestling, winning the junior college national championship in 1998 and the Division I championship for the University of Minnesota in 2000, both as a heavyweight.

High-level amateur wrestling is a great asset in mixed martial arts, as many of UFC's biggest stars all have a substantial wrestling background, Randy Couture, Chuck Liddell, Quinton Jackson, Dan Henderson, Matt Hughes, Josh Koscheck, Jon Fitch, Diego Sanchez, Rashad Evans, Tito Ortiz, Clay Guida, Keith Jardine, Roger Huerta, Jake O'Brien, Frankie Edgar, Matt Hamill, Brandon Vera, Gray Maynard, Corey Hill, Matt Grice and others.

But wrestling success is no guarantee of MMA success. For every Couture or Dan Severn, both of whom competed on the U.S. national team in international competition and are among only a few fighters in the UFC Hall of Fame, there are great wrestlers, including national champions and Olympians, who have gone nowhere in MMA.

Arguably the best wrestler to ever enter MMA at his peak was Karam Gaber Ibrahim of Egypt, who not only won the gold medal at the 2004 Olympics in Greco-Roman at 211 pounds, but destroyed everyone in his path, tossing around world champions like they were high schoolers. He was universally considered the best wrestler of any style or weight class in Athens.

A few months later, Ibrahim debuted in MMA against Kazuyuki Fujita on a New Year's Eve show in Japan. Fujita was a well known pro wrestler who switched to MMA. Ibrahim had only a few weeks of training for MMA. Instead of trying to wrestle Fujita, he decided to come out and box, which he had no experience in. It was a bad idea, as he was knocked cold in 1:07 and never fought again.

On the flip side, there was Rulon Gardner, the superheavyweight Greco-Roman gold medalist in the 2000 Olympics who retired as an amateur after capturing a bronze medal in 2004. On that same New Year's Eve show in Japan, he debuted in MMA in "the battle of the gold medalists," facing Hidehiko Yoshida, who had won a gold medal in judo, and years later, became a famous MMA star for the Pride Fighting Championships.

It's a routine Japanese promotional trick to take Olympic medalists out of their sport, and put them in with Japanese favorites, who have experience in MMA fighting. The idea was that Gardner would get Yoshida to the ground, but with no knowledge of submissions, he would then get submitted – similar to what many MMA fans expect to happen to Lesnar on Saturday. Instead, Gardner decided to stand and box. He was taller and about 75 pounds heavier. It was an ugly fight because Gardner was no boxer, but just through size and power, he battered Yoshida and took a unanimous decision. Gardner never fought again.

Perhaps the closest equivalent to Lesnar in the MMA world is Sylvester Terkay. Like Lesnar, he took second in the heavyweight division as a junior, losing to an American wrestling legend -- Lesnar to current New England Patriot Steve Neal and Terkay to Kurt Angle. Like Lesnar, he was a dominating powerhouse as a senior, winning the 1993 national championship as a 6-6, 275 pounder. Like Lesnar, after winning the NCAA title, he burned out on the sport, and never wrestled another amateur match. They even had the pro wrestling similarity after college, although Terkay was never a star in the U.S.

Terkay had been out of competitive wrestling for 10 years, and was 33 when he debuted in MMA for K-1 in Japan. Lesnar was 29 and out of wrestling competition for seven years when he debuted last year, although he was less than two years out of NFL camp with the Minnesota Vikings.

There have been 14 NCAA champions, including Lesnar and Terkay, who have gone into MMA. Here are the other 12:

Royce Alger: The 1987 champion at 167 pounds and 1988 champion at 177 for Iowa, Alger had a 3-2 MMA record, but his two losses were in UFC during its early days, being submitted by Enson Inoue quickly, and knocked out by Eugene Jackson.

Mark Coleman: The 1988 champion at 190 pounds, Coleman was UFC's third champion, winning two tournaments and then beating Dan Severn for the title. He left UFC for Pride, where he won the first Grand Prix tournament in 2000. Coleman, 15-8 in MMA, was a wrestler who was still at the world class level when he started in MMA in 1996, and his simple takedown and ground-and-pound style worked early on. But as the game changed, he was less successful.

Johny Hendricks: Hendricks captured the 165 pound title in 2005 and 2006 for Oklahoma State, and placed second in 2007. He is currently affiliated with Team Takedown and is 2-0 in shows in Oklahoma, training out of Couture's gym in Las Vegas.

Rex Holman: The 1993 champion at 190 pounds from Ohio State, where he was a teammate with Kevin Randleman and coached by Coleman, Holman had long since retired as a wrestler when he went into MMA. He's 4-2, with his only UFC appearance a loss last year to Matt Hamill.

Mark Kerr: The 1992 champion at 190 pounds for Syracuse. Kerr was considered the No. 1 heavyweight in MMA in 1998 and 1999, and his fall from grace was documented in the HBO documentary "The Smashing Machine," which vividly displayed his drug addiction issues. He is still active today with a 14-6 record. In a trivia note, the person he defeated in his championship win was Oklahoma State's Couture.

Josh Koscheck: The 2001 champion at 174 pounds for Edinboro College. He's currently 9-2 and one of UFC's top-rated welterweight fighters. He came out on the short end of what was largely a wrestling battle on Aug. 25 in Las Vegas with Georges St. Pierre.

Kenny Monday: University of Oklahoma 1984 champ at 150 pounds, and later a gold medalist in the Olympics. Monday fought once in 1997, beating John Lewis, and later lost a submissions-only match to Matt Hume.

Mark Munoz: The 2001 champion at 197 pounds at Oklahoma, Munoz debuted this last year and has a 3-0 record fighting in California. He coaches wrestling at Cal-Davis, the alma mater of Urijah Faber, and trains with Faber's camp.

Kevin Randleman: Randleman took the 1992 and 1993 championship for Ohio State at 177 pounds. Randleman was an MMA pioneer who is still active, with a 16-12 record. He has held the UFC heavyweight championship and was a top star for years with Pride, both winning and losing fights with major names including losses to Couture, Liddell, Jackson, Kazushi Sakuraba, Mirko Cro Cop (who he also beat in one of Pride's most famous moments) and Fedor Emelianenko.

Jake Rosholt: A three-time champion at Oklahoma State, winning in 2003 at 184 and 2005 and 2006 at 197, Rosholt is also a member of Team Takedown and training at Couture's gym. He has a 3-0 MMA record and is expected to be a major star before long.

Mark Schultz: A three-time champion for Oklahoma from 1981-83, and a 1984 Olympic gold medalist, he was in Detroit for a UFC show in 1996 to work the corner when there was a pullout. The night before the show, on almost a lark, he agreed to fight Gary Goodridge, and used his wrestling to beat Goodridge. But he never fought again. At the time, he was head wrestling coach at Brigham Young University and UFC was being savaged by the media. The college told him he couldn't be associated with MMA.

Mike Van Arsdale The 1988 champion at 167 pounds for Iowa State. Van Arsdale, who competed for years internationally for the U.S., went 4-1 in 1998, losing a brutal match in Brazil to Wanderlei Silva. He came back years later and although in his early 40s, still competes and has a 9-5 record, including a high profile loss to Couture.

Dave Meltzer covers mixed martial arts for Yahoo! Sports. Meltzer, who has published the pro wrestling trade industry publication the Wrestling Observer Newsletter since 1982, began covering MMA with UFC 1 in 1993. He is a graduate of San Jose State University, and has written for the Oakland Tribune, Los Angeles Times, and The National. Send Dave a question or comment for potential use in a future column or webcast.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Technique - Triangle Choke

A triangle choke is a type of strangulation technique used with four-figure chokehold trick which encircles opponent's neck and an arm such that the whole posture looks like a triangle. It is commonly known as Sankaku Jime in judo. Triangle choke constricts blood flow from carotid arteries to brains. The technique can cause unconsciousness from 10 to 15 seconds. It may kill the opponent when held too long. It is used with strict guidelines in judo fights since it is the most dreaded technique to be used. And is also used in various grappling martial arts including Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Judo, Professional Wrestling, Sambo and other mixed martial arts competition.

In Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, this technique is usually applied with the legs from a guarding position held from the ground. One leg of the attacker encircles the neck and arm of the opponent, with the knee next to the opponent's neck; the other leg crosses the ankle of his first leg, using the foot of the first leg to lock the second leg of the opponent at the knee. The effectiveness of the technique can be increased by pulling the legs together and using the arms to pull the opponent's head towards the attacker's shoulder.

Triangle chokes are of different types such as arm triangle choke, anaconda choke and side triangle choke. These triangle chokes are widely taught or practiced under the basic kimura closed guard and open guard techniques. The triangle choke method has become immensely popular, and is depicted in many movies, for example in Lethal Weapon, this triangle choke is illustrated.

Nerve Strikes - With Your Knee

You face your attacker. It's going to be a close-range fight. Your assailant grabs you, and drops to the ground in pain. You already know this nerve strike. The beauty of this application is you execute your nerve strikes with your knee.

Nerve Strikes From Childhood Antics
When you were a kid, did you ever receive (or give) a "Charlie Horse?"

It's that sickeningly painful feeling you get when someone raps his or her knuckles on the center of one of your muscles.

When we were kids, the older boys in the neighborhood would pound us a good one on the edge of the biceps or on the middle of the thigh. Boy, did those punches hurt -- a nerve strike, right on the muscle. Ouch.

Using the Thigh Nerve Strike
Early in my martial-arts studies with Steve Golden (original Bruce Lee and Ed Parker student), the more senior students reacquainted me with the nerve strike on the thigh muscle.

Except, they executed their thigh nerve strikes with their knees.

We would be in close, fighting. I would concentrate on the hands, and make the beginner's error of forgetting about the lower lines of attack.

Suddenly, when my opponent's leg was slightly to the outside of mine, he'd angle his leg back in and dig his knee into my upper leg -- right on the Charlie Horse spot.

The knee would strike my leg, and I would instantly feel like vomiting. The pain started as a sharp pain, but would quickly spread to the rest of the thigh. I had to limp to the side of the workout area.

Improving Your Nerve Strikes
Execute your nerve strikes when your opponent's attention is focused on your face or hands. In other words:

* Take advantage of unexpected distractions

* Create your own distractions

* Knee strike as a secondary move

* Don't look down before you strike -- no sense warning your opponent

And as you strike with your knee into the nerves on the thigh, already be on your way with your follow-up technique.

What and where will you strike while your opponent is reacting to the nerve strike on the thigh? Will you follow with another nerve strike to a different part of the body?

If you like efficient martial-arts strikes and counters, then read my new, Free ebooklet:

Download this Free ebooklet: Elbow Strikes and Counters

For an article on martial arts solo training, read Training By Yourself.

Here's a site about punching harder and faster ... Free Punch ebook.

Keith Pascal is a martial-arts writer and has taught martial arts for 25 years.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Technique - The Turtle Mount

The turtle mount is also know as rear mount or the back mount - Top. In Brazilian Jiu Jitsu techniques the turtle mount involves one to be behind the opponent, with one's legs hooked around them(the opponent). In this turtle mount position, one has a major advantage over the opponent. It is an excellent position by which one can apply chokes since the opponent is unable to see what you're doing. The back mount is used when the opponent is on all-fours position. It is advised to be sure and confident, and hook your feet around the opponent so that the opponent can't throw you off. This is yet another transition of the turtle mount from behind. In this position the back mount can also be used when one is on their own back. This position arises when the opponent tries to roll you off from the first back mount position. For the turtle mount one should always remember to hook the feet on to the opponents hips and never cross the feet, else this will end up in a nasty foot lock.

Modern day competitions have proved that the 'turtle mount' is a very powerful way to control an opponent. However the medieval samurai and submission grappler's had different concerns while grappling on the ground. The major advantage of this position is that an opponent becomes helpless to a number of submissions and has very little options or positions to escape and counter-attack. The turtle mount is not favored much in classical Ju-jutsu, because disengaging from an opponent and moving to another position quickly, is quite difficult.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Technique - The Guard

In Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and ground-fighting the most common position used is the Guard. In this position the opponent is said to be the guard when one wraps legs around the opponent. This becomes a dominating position as one is on the back of the opponent. In the guard position it is easy to apply joint locks and chokes. With the legs crossed behind the opponents back it is possible to straighten the legs, so as to crush opponents chest. This position could be very uncomfortable for the opponent and obviously make it hard for them to breathe.

It is said by experts that 'being in someone's guard is not as severe as being mounted'. There are not many techniques that will defeat the opponent. It is better to escape and attain a position such as the mount and then apply submission holds. Yet another variant of this position is the simple 'closed' guard. In this guard position one has to keep the head on the floor to save energy. If the opponent is throwing strikes, it is better not to leave head on the floor; it becomes easy for the opponent to knock out with nothing to cushion the blows. For beginners the 'closed' guard position is the best, it prevents the opponent from escaping easily. Scissor Sweep or the 'Guard to Mount' is a transition technique. In this guard position the feet are uncrossed and put on the ground by putting weight on your right foot and left shoulder. With this movement on can take up the mounted position.

Standing Locks - Effective or Not

Many times the following has been seen and experienced. Two martial artists are sparring. They spar using strikes, clinch fighting, takedowns and ground fighting. There strikes are impressive, there clinching fighting is smooth as are there takedowns and they move from submission to submission incorporating locks to nearly every joint and a variety of chokes when on the ground. They seem to be experts in there field, except that not one can apply a lock of any type while standing. Why?

Well the reason why, is because of the fact that they are both experienced fighters. To be able to apply a lock (standing or on the ground) a few factors need to be addressed. Firstly the person being locked must not be able to move away from it. When standing, it is very hard to control an opponent from moving away. On the floor it is much easier especially if they are on there back or lying on there front. When standing, as soon as your opponent sees that you are going for a lock, he/she will quickly move away. On the ground your opponent may see that you are going for a lock but it may be nearly impossible for him/her to move from it, so there is more of a chance they shall be locked. Secondly, when standing, and after moving away from the intended lock, your opponent creates gaps and breaks the tight hold that is necessary for a lock to be applied. There must be leverage in order to apply a knee bar, arm locks or any other type of lock. Being very tight into your opponent is the only way to create this leverage. So when your opponent moves away from you, the leverage is lost and the lock will not be applied. Thirdly, being easier for your opponent to hit you when standing, than when on the ground, as you try to put on a lock from a standing position, your opponent can easily strike you with any limb available, and since you are trying to lock your opponent with one or both hands, your defence is weak. On the ground, your opponent may be in a position where it is impossible to strike effectively as a lock is being applied which makes it easier for you to apply it.

This is not to say that locks have no place in standing situations, but they are much harder to apply. Against a trained opponent who may expect locks during sparring, then there is a small chance of pulling one off, against someone on the street with no fighting experience, it may be easier. Following up locks after a hard strike are good times to apply them as your opponent may be stunned from the strike, and his/her reflexes and attention might not be available to react to the lock. The bottom line is that practice is needed and experience of the best way to apply locks from standing positions is necessary to be able to pull them off.

Markos Fighting and Training Methods for the Realistic Martial Artist

Sprawl and Brawl Guide for Mixed Martial Arts

Sprawl and Brawl is the hottest thing in Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) right now. Just ask fighters like former Ultimate Fighting Championship light heavyweight champion Chuck Liddell.

A kickboxer who prefers to stand and pick his opponents apart with strikes rather than grapple either standing or on the floor, the 'Iceman' is one of the best no holds barred fighters in the world, and you can bet it's because he knows how to stop the takedown.

Liddell may be known as a kickboxer, but not many people know that before he started training as a striker he competed for many years in both high school and college as a freestyle wrestler. Not all of us have the luxury to be able to spend that long learning the intricacies of the grappling arts.

If you're a boxer or kickboxer who trains in mixed martial arts, you'll know how difficult it is to stop a determined grappler from putting you on your back. Once a submission artist has you on the canvas, it can feel like you're drowning in quicksand, with a choke or joint lock only seconds away.

For a striker, getting drawn into a grappling match is the last thing you want. Even if you're on top of your opponent, a skilled jiu-jitsu exponent can still submit you from his guard, ending the fight and taking away the victory you wanted.

Learning how to wrestle is one answer, but it is only one answer to the anti-grappling conundrum; 'Keep it Standing' is another.

'Keep it Standing' is a revolutionary sprawl and brawl strategy, a cutting edge style of fighting that has found it's way into cages and rings across the world. Everyone from aspiring fighters to seasoned professionals are now using this highly effective and easy-to-learn system.

The keys to staying on your feet and off the mat are simple: good footwork, clean and controlled punches and a knowledge of how grapplers think. Even though it sounds simple, learning how to resist and combat a grappler's game plan is a subtle and complicated endeavour.

You'll need to learn that distance is the key to preventing the takedown, and that footwork is what controls distance. Punching from a solid and stable, yet mobile base is paramount. One of the biggest errors made by strikers is over-commital, putting everything into shots that miss and allow a grappler the opportunity to take them down. If you fight with flat feet, you're asking to be taken down.

If a grappler does get in range, then the last thing you want to do is grapple with him. Even sprawling on your opponent gives him what he wants - you've entered his world now, a place where your strengths are negated and his will prevail. By entering into the grappling phase you're deviating from your strategy, and taking away your ability to knock him out.

Resisting the temptation to clinch with your opponent is another mistake made by strikers. Even if you remain on your feet, clinching with a grappler allows them the opportunity to not only take you down but to tie you up on the fence or ropes and work for position. You can't punch somebody in the face with knockout power when you're chest to chest.

Simply put, if you want to defend the takedown then you need to learn how to Keep it Standing. Leading mixed martial arts coach and trainer of champions Karl Tanswell understands exactly what you need to do to keep it on the feet, and his DVD breaks down exactly what you need to know.

Keeping it on the feet is what all strikers want to do. If you're a boxer or a kickboxer who fights in mixed martial arts, or even a martial artist concerned with realistic self defence applications, then you'll want to discover the secrets to keeping it standing.

Glyn Powditch
BJJ Purple Belt
MMA Instructor

Copyright 2007 Glyn Powditch


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