Monthly Archives: February 2017

What move was that?

Nowadays, most people recognize the finishing moves used in MMA as well as the basic techniques. There isn’t a lot of mystery left in what move actually finished a fight or did a lot of damage. Not everybody knows all of the technical terms for moves so I wanted to review some of the main moves used in MMA. I have blogged about this in the past, but I feel that we all need a refresher course from time to time. After all, a jab in boxing can also be called a front punch in other martial arts so maybe we will learn something in the process.

There are a lot of fights finished with punches, whether they be standing or during a ground-and-pound. Contrary to natural instinct, when a fighter is right-handed (also known as orthodox), most of the time they stand with their left foot in front. This is to be able to utilize their power hand and leg most effectively. A left-handed fighter stands the opposite way (again, for the most part) and is also known as a “southpaw”. For the purpose of this discussion, I will use the terminology that applies to an orthodox fighter. So keep in mind it is the opposite for a southpaw.

The fight ending punch is usually the right cross.

A cross is a punch that is thrown straight down the middle with the power hand. Fights can also end in close quarters with a left hook, which is a turning punch executed with the lead hand at while the arm is at a ninety degree angle and is thrown horizontally. These are the two main punch fight finishers in MMA. When a fight ends in MMA due to a kick, more often than not, it is ended with a head kick. This is when the fighter throws a roundhouse (not spinning) kick aimed at the opponent’s head. This kick can finish whether the fighter lands with the foot or the shin, but the shin is compared to a baseball bat’s force when it lands. MMA has hammerfists, spinning backfists, superman punches, and several other exclusive techniques but these hardly ever finish fights.

Wrestling may be the next most understood part of MMA. Being an Olympic Sport doesn’t hurt its popularity. Finishing moves in wrestling are non existent since wrestling is a sport about total control over an opponent, not submitting or knocking them out. When a fight ends from wrestling, it is from a “slam” nine times out of ten. Since slamming an opponent with intention to injure is illegal in wrestling, it isn’t practiced much. There have been cases of fight-ending slams in high profile fights. The most famous is probably the slam executed by Quinton Rampage Jackson against Ricardo Arona in Pride. Arona put a submission hold on Jackson, but Jackson elevated Arona’s body over his head and brought all of his force straight down and knocked Arona out cold. The topic of wrestling being a fight finisher is debatable, but doesn’t hold much merit.

Besides boring decisions, fights are ended with submissions executed by good grapplers. Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, catch wrestlers, and submission grapplers are all dangerous opponents. There are two main types of submissions: choke and pressure. An arm bar is a good example of a pressure submission. Since opponents in MMA have a lot of pride, some boast that they will let their arm break before they tap to a pressure submission. An arm bar is the most used pressure submission for fight stoppage. Arm bars are normally executed by the grappler taking an opponents arm, bringing the hand near their own face, forcing the opponent’s arm between their own legs, pulling back on the hand, then elevating their hips. It creates a hyperextension in the opponent’s elbow. Now, there are a lot of ways to defend before and during this submission, but some people like Giva “the arm collector” Santana and “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey have made this the most effective pressure lock in MMA. As for the main finishers in grappling, you are going to have to learn the difference in three chokes. The Rear Naked Choke or RNC, the Triangle Choke, and the Guillotine. The RNC is when an opponent gets behind another opponent, wraps one arm around the neck of the other, and then grabs the inside of their opposite elbow to add squeezing power. The oxygen to the brain is cut off and the opponent must either tap or go to sleep. The Triangle Choke is when a grappler traps an opponents head and arm between their legs, applies a figure four lock with their legs, then squeezes until an opponent taps or goes to sleep. A Guillotine is a front choke executed by wrapping an arm around an opponents neck when the opponent attempts to take them down. They are normally standing up with the opponent bent over facing the ground. Pressure is applied to the choke and the victim has to either pass out or tap.

Now, in conclusion, there are a lot of techniques that were not covered in this blog, but when you see finishes in MMA, it is usually by the means mentioned above. Knowing these terms and what they look like will definitely help your knowledge in MMA. Watch some videos now and search for the names of the moves. You’ll see some exciting stuff.

Who is Your Favorite Fighter?

It certainly isn’t exclusive to MMA, but if you are a fan of a football team, like the Cowboys for example, you are less likely to drop them as your favorite team just because they lost, or even if they have a losing season. I guess in MMA it is a really easy thing to do, change your entire opinion of a fighter once they have lost a fight. In Mixed Martial Arts it is very clear that people on the bandwagon will quickly abandon you if you lose. People love to say “I told you so” when it comes to a fighter losing. Conor losing to Nate, Ronda losing to Holm. How quickly people will share meme when a great fighter suffers a loss.

I am a fan of McGregor so when he lost to Nate Diaz, it wasn’t much for me to see the probable reasons why. Nate is way better on the ground, he is physically bigger, he is way more experienced, and he is tough as can be. Conor fought him hard and was murdering him until the round of his demise. I certainly didn’t drop McGregor as one of my favorite fighters because he suffered a loss to Nate. I know that is part of the fight game. They say styles make fights and they are right. Just because fighter A can beat fighter B nine out of ten times and fighter C has beat fighter A, does not mean fighter C automatically beats fighter B. I don’t want to be confusing but you should get the point. The main thing about this blog is you should appreciate the skill and enjoy the show when rooting for your favorite fighter, don’t let your own ego get in the way just because you were in support of the “loser” in a bout.

Taking into consideration the Rousey vs. Holm fight, the fight had to be seen to be appreciated. Now, the aftermath is the most interesting thing about this fight. There were a lot of “quiet” Ronda haters out there. Well, it could be that these Ronda haters were actually fans that didn’t want to be wrong. You can know MMA news, Martial Arts styles, MMA training techniques, and anything about Martial Arts that you want to, but something that had been obvious before Ronda changed the game was that Judo was not in itself a great base for MMA. Ronda changed all of that. Here aggressive approach included big take-downs and the arm-bars heard around the world. Like I say about most fighters that are confident (borderline arrogant), I may not like them, but they are enjoyable to watch. If it means watching Cael Sonnen take a beating because of all of the things he called an opponent, or Conor McGregor predicting his own dominant victories, it draws curiosity from the fans. Whether you are paying to watch someone win or lose, you are still paying.

To draw the conclusion best suited for this blog, I would say that when a fighter loses, it is easy for our egos to say “I knew it.” But keep in mind that the loyalty you show to a fighter if you truly enjoy their style, should be the same that you show to any other sports team you support. You don’t stop liking the Los Angeles Dodgers because they lose an embarrassing game if you’re a true fan. I have personally always been a BJ Penn fan even though he didn’t end his career on many high notes. So to all of the “fair weather” fans, you were never a fan in the first place. I hope humble Holly reigns as the champion for a long time and I hope Ronda does whatever is necessary to regain the confidence of her true fans.

Trash Talk In MMA

In the spirit of sportsmanship, I want to say that I am not for trash talk. But some of the characters in the UFC have made it a science. Trash talk goes against the humble nature that is supposed to be instilled in martial artists, but MMA fighters are more athlete than martial artist in regards to fighting in professional shows. Yes, martial arts is the basis for their training when they begin but when they become professionals, they become part of what entertains us all. Professional sports is prevalent with trash talk in every sport. Roberto Duran was famous, after him was Mike Tyson… combat sports have always had their colorful monologues aimed at demoralizing an opponent.

The reason I bring this up isn’t to talk about one of my favorite fighters, Conor McGregor who in my opinion is one of the wittiest trash talkers in the fight game, but Yoel Romero. Not known for being the type of fighter who talks badly about his opponents is what makes this interesting as well. Although Yoel Romero hasn’t been known for his trash talk, but he’s upping his game for a fight with the current middleweight champion Michael Bisping later this year. The Cuban-born Olympic silver medalist in wrestling was confirmed as Bisping’s next opponent, but he’s currently waiting for the champion to heal from a minor knee surgery he recently had. In anticipation of their championship showdown, Romero really did go and make a GoFundMe page to help pay for the medical expenses that Bisping will incur as a result of their fight. I thought it was pretty funny.

Yoel is quoted as saying “This is Mike, he will be needing money to survive after me and him meet in the Octagon approximately May of 2017, he is happy in this picture after defending his title against another fighter and the devastation he went through has caused him to have surgery on his knee where all the visible damage was on his face.” This is from his gofundme page. “This surgery has prevented him from competing in a timely manner. After his fight with me, I am convinced he will need this money to rebuild his life, he has a family and I am deeply concerned for him. Please help any way that you can as all funds will be used for medical expenses and his retirement party. Thank you for your time and #ynuevo.”

Romero’s post is after Bisping started an attack where he put Yoel’s business out there for cheating after he tested positive for a banned substance last year. Ultimately, Romero was found to be a victim of a tainted supplement and USADA (United States Anti-Doping Agency) suspended him six months as opposed to a potential two-year sanction if he was found at fault. Either way, Bisping has been aiming at Romero’s drug testing history while the number one challenger is saying that the champ may never fight again after he’s done with him. I want to see this one. Bisping has found ways to beat big, fast, strong opponents in the past. He has proven his toughness and to sit at the top of any division in the UFC is an amazing feat in itself.

Reasons for Kids to Practice Martial Arts Continued

To catch up on the blog I started, I haven’t really discussed reasons for kids to practice martial arts lately and I feel that we need a reminder. I happened upon an article that was talking about this subject so I named the reasons they gave and am giving my opinion of those reasons.

Their fifth reason was that kids will be able to connect their mind and body. Once again, I have to agree with this notion overall. I believe they are talking about a more spiritual sense here as opposed to a more coordinated physical body. When reading their reasoning, it is apparent that they are talking about the spirituality of Martial Arts. By there reasoning, it would always depend on the individual. If your child wants to participate in Martial Arts because they want to win medals or not fear bullies (which are perfectly acceptable reasons), they will most likely not tune into the spiritual side, especially if they are in boxing or wrestling. Now, connecting your thoughts to how you perform physically is how I would say they gain an advantage. I would say this is true for sports in general.

It boosts agility, speed, power, and response when you participate in physical activities.

Hand-eye coordination is also a great benefit to connecting your mind with your body.

A great one, is learning conflict resolution is another reason according to the article. I would say that problem solving is probably a more accurate answer. I know many a child that gets into several conflicts weekly and needs an adult to intervene. These same children probably have the behavior reinforced at school and home, so Martial Arts, in my opinion wouldn’t be any more advantageous to conflict resolution than any other aspect of their life. Problem solving is also learned at home and school, so my opinion of this reason isn’t that it is wrong, just not any more beneficial than other areas.

Reason seven is that they will learn to breathe (properly at the right time). I concur fully, but again, it must be taught correctly. I have seen many instructors that don’t emphasize breathing properly. For people who don’t know what I’m talking about, the article and I are talking about proper breathing technique. Proper breathing technique would be exhaling while exerting force such as a fast twitch movement to throw someone in Judo, or deliver a knee in Muay Thai. This technique extends to inhaling correctly for recovery between techniques. This is a great reason for kids to join Martial Arts because it can prevent injuries and help them achieve optimal training for whatever sport they choose to participate in.

If you are still skeptical about making the long term commitment to a Martial Art for your child, visit a few schools but chances are you have a friend, or friend of a friend who is already enjoying the benefits and will be happy to guide you on your first steps. Many schools offer trial options, especially for younger kids, so you don’t need to make a huge financial commitment up front if you feel that it isn’t for your child. It really can’t hurt, as I discussed, there are a lot of great reasons to start and not any good reasons to keep putting it off.