Monday, April 26, 2010

Drill Post #9: I "Heart" Foul Tactics

So, as we've mentioned, that list of illegal/foul tactics that are part of sport combat MMA contests are what are known as (and should be sung to) "My Favorite Things." And again, before the MMA crowd gets their panties all up in a bunch, this is not to deny any of the many valid methods of that crowd, but it does go back to our view of costs versus benefits (how labor intensive is it to functionalize a tactic/technique versus another that will give you as good a result, our primary goal being the ending of someone's attack).

When taking someone through a progression of training, I don't like to wait too long before dealing with some standing vernacular grappling. By that I mean the "tent hug" mutual bear hug that guys often get into when the punching ranges collapse into a chest-to-chest scenario. This happens easily when one or both of the people fighting don't manage to control their effective punching range because they are both trying to agress. (We're assuming in this case that neither party is deliberately trying to crash/shoot in to grapple). It just takes an instant of inattention for this to happen.

Before I work with this material, I always like to ask a student what his instincts are when the bear hug-ish situation occurs, and by and large, when I bear-hug them (under their arms at first) they bear-hug back. The central point being that they respond with a defensive, not particularly effective thing. I then ask what the closest thing is that they can effectively attack. They may mention some decent possibilities, but not they ones I want to ingrain first. That's when I point out that the hand on the same side of my head (i.e. their right hand if my head is to the right of their head) is free to thumb an eye or attack the windpipe. These are the primary targets most easily available.

To drill this into instinct, the trainer throws a flow of very controlled light punches at the trainee who is up against a wall and not allowed to simply evade. On occasion, the trainer will start to "get messy" as in drill post #8, and although knees and close hand counter-strikes are good to do, the trainer will go for the under arm bear-hug and ideally the trainee will have his hand on the trainer's throat or thumb on the eye brow (the training target for thumbing the eye) before the bear hug is on. At that point the trainer gets pushed back into elbowing/striking range, so the trainee executes available variations. Do I need to say that both partners have to really control the contact? Light to no contact is the name of the game here. The Thais have drills they lump under the category of "Play/timing" and that's what we're after here.

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