Sunday, 16 August 2020

Get the most from your BJJ Training

Get the most from your BJJ Training - White Belt Mentality

BJJ Melbourne

The concept of having a ‘Beginner's mind’ is very important in your long-term success in martial arts training as well as in many other areas of life.

This means constantly treating each session as if you are learning the techniques for the first time even if you have been training for many years. Many intermediate-level martial arts students feel that some skills or techniques are too basic. Everyone learns this technique when you first start training and then once you have learnt them you can forget about them and move on to the advanced stuff.
In my experience, this is not the case. When a beginner is first taught a basic technique they have usually come from no previous training background. They learn a technique such as a kick, punch or arm-lock and from their limited point of view due to their lack of experience, they think they have got the hang of it and now it's time to move on to the next move.
This is compounded in some cases by the fact that they receive verification that they have mastered the technique because they were able to apply it in sparring against another beginner level student.
This is a pattern that is repeated often in martial arts training and it's something that is detrimental in the long term for the student.
The opposite of this is to constantly have a beginner's mind. For example, you may have learned how to do an arm lock on your first day of training three years ago but chances are that on that day your mind wasn't really ready to absorb all the important details of the technique. Even though you ‘think’ you already know how to do it it is very likely there are huge chunks of information that you missed out on or just didn't pay attention to.
I have often come across this lack of ‘beginner's mind’ when visiting other schools or academy's. Students who have been training for a relatively short period who obviously feel like they already have a superior skill level. These students feel like they don't need to waste their time paying attention to what the instructor thinks will be most beneficial for their long term improvement and development. This is illustrated by the huge number of ‘advanced’ students at the average school who don’t feel they need to turn up to classes and instead just come in for open mats or sparring.
I used to think that these types of students were just too arrogant and were un-coachable. I could never imagine myself ignoring the advice or instructions from someone with literally ten times as much experience.
Recently I have come to the conclusion that it isn't really the fault of the student. It is an inherent ‘fault' with martial arts training in general. In a famous interview Helio Gracie, Grandfather of Brazilian JiuJitsu, was asked about his son Rickson who was regarded at that time as the best fighter on the planet. Helio said it's not that Rickson is good but it's that Jiujitsu is good. What he meant is that his son didn't possess any particular talent that made him special. What made him special was that he had spent his life training in Brazilain Jiu-Jitsu.
I think this is an important statement because the majority of people who begin martial arts training usually have little or no natural fighting ability. Even if they consider themselves to be ‘tough’ they would usually only last seconds against someone with actual training. If the beginner trains regularly (in an effective martial art or combat sport) within a few months or years they will find that they go from zero to being able to legitimately control and defeat the vast majority of the non-training population.
Obviously, this will have some effect on their perception of themselves, Many people struggle to get their head around their newfound ability and rather than accepting that it was the training methods, techniques and hard work that led them to develop fighting skills it's easier to believe that it was just down to natural talent.
This inevitably leads to problems because once you start believing in your own talent you will tend to ignore the things that created that ‘talent’ in the first place.
Even as an instructor I think it is very important to have a beginner's mind. There are many techniques which I already ‘know’ and which I feel can teach very well. However, I am still constantly researching better and more effective ways of teaching. If I have a class with twenty beginner students they should all be able to perform the basic techniques correctly after I teach them. That is after all that I am being paid for. It is unacceptable to me that after I teach my favourite technique only three or four of the most talented students are able to perform it. To be a world-class martial arts coach. I need to find the best ways to teach and explain every technique so that all of my students can improve.
I remember speaking to another instructor who said he wasn't interested in learning or researching any of the modern developments in Jiujitsu because he’d already been training for over twenty years and didn't want to change the way he did things. I found this interesting because to me, martial arts and fighting is a science, why would anyone not want to learn or re-learn a better way of doing things if better technology becomes available? Especially if it's your job and if it will help your students to improve.
Keeping beginners or white belt mentality is one of the keys to continual improvement and avoiding hitting the sticking points in your training that ultimately lead most people to quit.

Check out our BJJ Classes at Australian Combat Sports Academy / ACSABJJ

Tuesday, 11 August 2020

MMA Striking Class Video

Karate Style Striking for MMA

Key Concepts:
1 - Side on Stance - Presents less of a target for Opponent.
2 - Distance - Bouncing in & out of range to land strikes. Not staying in the pocket.
3 - Single power strikes rather than combinations.
4 - Clearing obstructions - Opponent will have hands up so you need to clear them before you have a target to strike.
5 - Changing Stance - Stepping through on strikes to increase power or landing in a favorable angle.

Combinations
A - Left Hand Trap to Rt Cross / Right Elbow
B - Left Hook Kick (Ura Mawashi Geri) to clear hand - Rt Cross
C - Step through Rt Cross - Left Body Kick (Mawashi Geri) - Right Spinning Backfist (Uraken)
D - Right Body Kick (Mawashi Geri) then Right Cross while retracting kick
E - Right Front Kick (Mae Geri) - Step through to Southpaw - Rt Jab - L Rear Hook - L Head Kick (Jodan Mawashi Geri)
F - Rt Cross - bring feet together - L Head Kick (Jodan Mawashi Geri)
G - Rt Cross - L Hook (Pivoting to Left) - Rt Head Kick (Jodan Mawashi Geri)
H - Bounce in Jab - Cross - Bounce back - Left Head Kick (Jodan Mawashi Geri) or Left Side Kick (Yoko Geri)
I - Jab - Skipping Left Side Kick (Yoko Geri) - Rt Spin Back Kick (Ushiro Geri)
J - Side step Left vs. Rt Cross - Rt Side Kick (Yoko Geri) land in Southpaw - L Cross - Rt Hook - L Uppercut - L Knee (Hiza Geri)


 

Monday, 6 July 2020

Grappling Movement Drills


Here are some Solo BJJ movement drills that we’ve been working on in my classes in the first stages of returning to training post lockdown. Inspired by the ginastica natural seminars I’ve attended over the years. 


Tuesday, 23 June 2020

InFocus Video Interview with Will Luu

Here's a recent interview that I did with Australias top fight photographer and one of my first MMA students William Luu as part of his InFocus series.

InFocus Interview




Saturday, 30 November 2019

ACSA Fighter Annie Thatcher wins Amateur MMA World title in Singapore

Last week Annie Thatcher won the GAMMA amateur MMA world title in Singapore. Annie had two great fights in one day first defeating an opponent from Belarus by TKO and then after a few hours rest stepped up to defeat her Canadian opponent by TKO in the final.

This was an especially impressive achievement because Annie had her first MMA bout only 18 months ago. She is now 6 fights for 6 wins in amateur mma and has also had 3 wins in boxing and Muay Thai. Annie has trained almost every day since she first stepped foot in the gym and she has shown tremendous improvement.

Annie is a great example of the kind of work ethic and dedication that we look for in our athletes at Australian Combat Sports Academy. Looking forward to see what the next year will bring for Annie’s fight career.

MMA Melbourne


Check out our MMA Classes at ACSA MMA & BJJ Melbourne:


Thursday, 28 November 2019

Advice for MMA Fighters - MMA Melbourne

MMA Melbourne


Be Consistent - Forget about 'Fight Camps'.

Train consistently at the same classes and sessions every week. Don't train hard for a few months and then drop-off for weeks at a time. Early in your career, you need to be ready to fight all the time, often at short notice. If you arent staying ready you'll miss out on good opportunities which could be the difference between reaching your goals or going nowhere. If you keep taking time off then needing to do intense training camps, it will cause injuries, lack of technical improvement and you won't reach your full potential. 

As a coach, one of the worst things a fighter can do is to train hard in the lead up to a fight and then quit training straight afterwards. This is even worse when the fighters teammates also have upcoming fights to prepare for. It is very unlikely the coach will be prepared to put the same effort into training the fighter in the future if he knows they lack commitment. Another side of this is to not chop and change your training every couple of weeks, stick with what has been getting you results and gradually increase the volume and intensity of your training.

Train Smart but be prepared to Train through Injuries.

Avoid unsafe training environments. These are usually found in tough-guy gyms where every session is 100% sparring with nobody actually learning anything or improving. If you have an experienced coach and a good team they will be able to supervise and plan your training and workload in such a way that you don't get injured. However, the reality is that MMA is a tough contact sport. You will pick up bumps, bruises and minor injuries along away the way no matter how careful you are. If you need to take three weeks off training every time you have a sore elbow you will never reach the top.

At the elite levels of any sport, every player is playing injured all the time. Get used to it, strap up your injured knee, elbow or foot and keep going. Select different exercises or techniques that won't exacerbate the injury but avoid taking time off at all costs. If training consistently to achieve your goals is important to you you will find a way to make it happen, if it's not important you will find an excuse.

Don't give up your Day Job. 

Do not try to become a full-time fighter until you have a winning record in a major MMA organisation. You will need money for training fees, competition fees and other expenses. You should be prepared to fight for free for at least the first few years of your fight career so you will need an additional income to support yourself. Beware of fight offers with promises of attractive fight purses early in your career. Chances are you are being set up to lose against a more experienced local fighter.

The amount of extra training you'll get done by not working will usually end up not being worth it. Most gyms and martial arts schools do most of their training outside of work hours. Even if you quit your job in order to train full time most of your training partners will be at work.

Find legitimate Coaches and a Team you can trust and stick to their advice.

Find experienced and trustworthy coaches, follow their advice and stick with them. Lots of experts will appear out of the woodwork and start offering advice once you achieve some success, but be careful who you listen to and take advice from. Beware of people offering to help out for free, usually, there is still going to be a price to pay, As a coach you are more likely to want to help and focus on the fighters who have been with you form the beginning and who feel part of the team rather than outsiders,

Forget about building your Social Media Profile. 

The amount of time and effort that people spend on this will be much better spent on working on developing your fighting skills. Let your fight results speak for themselves and then the opportunities and sponsorships will follow. There's no point building your social media following and then getting a chance to fight on a big event like the UFC if you actually aren't yet ready for it because you haven't put the time and effort into your training. 

Forget about lucrative Sponsorship Deals.

MMA is a relatively inexpensive sport compared to some others, the only expense is gym fees, occasional competition fees, training equipment which usually lasts a long time and some supplements. Being a sponsored athlete is usually good for the fighters ego but in general its not usually beneficial or necessary to their long term career. 

Get Experience.

Jumping into professional level fights too soon without adequate amateur experience is a recipe for disaster. Get as much experience as you can especially early in your career, Amateur fights are necessary to develop and build up your skills and experience. It's important not to fight above your level too soon as a bad loss may be very demoralizing and affect your future training and performance in fights. Fix the holes in your game before you reach the bigger stages. An MMA fighter needs to be skilled in the areas of striking, takedowns and groundwork and be able to combine them.

Focusing on only one area at the expense of other skills will leave holes in your game which will be easily exploited by more experienced future opponents. Competing in other combat sports such as BJJ or amateur Kickboxing is a good safe way to gain valuable experience and develop your skills so that you are more well rounded and more of a threat when you fight in MMA.

Check out our MMA Classes at ACSA MMA & BJJ Melbourne

Tuesday, 12 November 2019

Our first Amateur MMA Promotion - MMA Melbourne

This weekend we held our first-ever amateur MMA competition at Australian Combat Sports Academy,

MMA Melbourne

We've been planning to run something like this for years and now finally felt the time was right.  Over the years of training fighters we always felt that there were very limited opportunities for fighters to develop and get suitable competition experience in a way that prepared them for success in MMA.

The number one aim for our event was to provide a good avenue for fighters to gain competition experience in a way that would benefit them later in their fight career.

We were all very happy with how well the event ran and everyone who took part really enjoyed it and had great reviews,

We put a lot of work into the organisation of the event to ensure that it ran smoothly on the day and that everyone had a good experience.

Some of the things we focused on to make our event work well included.

A modified ruleset with No headshots. We were very clear about this in the lead-up and in the rules meeting before the matches. This rule-set is safer and means fighters can have several matches on one day. of course, it's going to feel different to fighting with headshots but the point is that fighters can gain valuable experience fighting under these modified rules that will serve them well when they do eventually progress onto fighting in pro-MMA rules,

We had several Fighters and Coaches say that they felt they would be at a disadvantage because they come from a kickboxing background and need to be able to strike to the head. In my opinion, the point isn't to win every match at this very early stage of your career. It is much more beneficial in the long term to gain valuable experience early in your competitive career and become a more well rounded and skilled fighter so that you don't get exposed later on in your career when the stakes are much higher.

I've always believed that the best career path for the long term athlete development of an MMA fighter is to compete in Grappling or BJJ tournaments as much as possible, compete in around 5 to 10 Amateur Boxing or kickboxing fights, compete in as many amateur (No headshot) MMA events as possible, then move on to Amateur MMA with head strikes and after 10 amateur MMA matches then you can fight under professional rules.

I believe this sort of long term plan is very important because too many fighters try to rush into pro rules MMA and then hope to learn on the job.


Another difference was that we made sure that all the referees and judges were experienced in MMA and or grappling so they understand the rules and were on top of the action at all times. This takes out a lot of the confusion and mistakes that I've seen in the past when you have kickboxing or boxing referees trying to understand what's happening on the ground during a fight.

We also made sure we were very clear on the rules meeting and that everyone knew exactly what was and wasn't allowed and the type of event we were trying to create. All fighters and teams stuck to the rules 100% and there was a great atmosphere.


Finally, we spent a lot of time making sure the format for the day was well organised and scheduled so there wasn't too much waiting around and less confusion about what's happening when. This, in turn, leads to less nerves for the fighters and overall and more enjoyable.

Overall ACSA Bushido #1 was a great success and we are already looking forward to running the next event on Saturday 1st February 2020.

Thanks again to everyone who helped out as judges, referees and staff. Thanks to all the fighters and teams who came along to take part and thanks to all the spectators who came along to support, Hope to see you all at the next one.












Check out our official ACSA Bushido Website here for details on future events:


Check out our MMA Classes at ACSA MMA & BJJ:


Monday, 21 October 2019

ACSA MMA Fighter Mitchell Carter wins the XFC Title - MMA Melbourne

MMA Melbourne

This weekend my student Mitchell Carter won the XFC Amateur Featherweight Title. XFC is the longest-running MMA promotion in Australia and this was their first-ever event in Melbourne.

Mitchell has been training hard as part of our MMA fight team and has won four MMA fights, one Boxing match and a NOGI Jiujitsu tournament in less than a year.

In the leadup to this title fight, Mitchell put in a solid eight weeks of preparation focusing on his takedown and wrestling skills as well as adding some new tools to his striking arsenal.

MMA Melbourne

He actually had three changes of opponent for the fight due to injuries and pull-outs. His eventual opponent was a very good, experienced striker who Mitchell fought once before. The end result was a great fight and a good clash of styles.

Thanks to everyone on our team who helped out in the preparation in the weeks leading up to the fight. How a fighter performs on the night of a fight is a direct result of the training partners who he has trained with day in and day out over the weeks leading up to the fight. We are very lucky at Australian Combat Sports Academy to have so many great strikers and grapplers all training together under one roof in a safe environment that allows us to get great results like this. 


MMA Melbourne


Check out our MMA Classes at ACSA MMA & BJJ here:

Monday, 14 October 2019

The Importance of Amateur MMA - MMA Melbourne


The Importance of Amateur MMA - MMA Melbourne


MMA Melbourne

One of the biggest problems I see with aspiring fighters is that they are in too much of a rush to fight Pro. If you intend to have a successful long term fight career it is essential to gain as much experience as possible as an amateur. Generally, you will only get one shot at a contract with a major promotion such as the UFC so it's important that you are close to being the finished product when you get there rather than hoping you'll improve once you get there.

If you look at the most dominant UFC champions of the modern era you will see that they were all championship level by the time they made their UFC debut. If any fighter has serious flaws or holes in their game they will quickly be exposed and will have their contract cancelled then its back to fighting the next batch of UFC hopefuls as a gatekeeper on the local shows.

MMA Melbourne

I encourage all my fighters to gain experience in amateur MMA, amateur boxing, kickboxing, muay Thai, compete in BJJ and grappling events. The time and money you spend on these smaller competitions will pay off in the long term because you will have a more well-rounded skill set.

MMA Melbourne

MMA is a young sport which is changing and evolving all the time. In the past, it was possible for fighters with limited experience to walk straight into the UFC and do well but I believe we are at the end of that era. If you look closely at the previous champions you'll see that they actually had 100's of matches in other combat sports such as wrestling or BJJ before ever stepping into the cage.

Professional boxing is the biggest and most established combat sport. It is unheard of for any Boxer who wishes to become successful to fight professionally without first having an extensive amateur career. Floyd Mayweather fought over 90 amateur matches before turning pro, Muhammed Ali fought over 100 matches including winning an Olympic Gold medal and Roy Jones Jr fought over 130 amateur bouts before turning pro.

If you want to be a successful professional MMA fighter make sure you get as much experience as possible as an amateur first.


MMA Melbourne


Our next Bushido Contenders Novice MMA Event is coming up on Saturday 9th July & our next Bushido Fight Night takes place at Thornbury Theatre on Saturday 30th July. Details for all events can be found at our official ACSA Bushido Website here:


Check out our MMA Classes at ACSA MMA & BJJ Melbourne:


Monday, 30 September 2019

My 5 Most Popular Blog Articles

Here are my 5 most popular articles since I began writing my MMA coaching blog in 2012.



How to get ready for your first MMA Fight: January 2012



Advice for BJJ White belts to get the most out of their training: May 2018



What I've learned so far as an MMA Coach: July 2018



Being a Martial Arts Dad: August 2018



My system for developing fighters: October 2017




Amateur MMA tournament - Saturday 9th November at Australian Combat Sports Academy:

ACSA Bushido Amateur MMA - MMA Melbourne

MMA Melbourne

We are running our first ever amateur MMA event at our Australian Combat Sports Academy on Saturday 9th November. There will be no head strikes allowed (standing or on the ground) and will be round-robin format so everyone will get a few matches on the day.

This format will be a good first step for beginners who are looking to eventually compete in MMA but also just for martial artists of various backgrounds to try it out and test their skills under a compromised rule-set.

I believe that no head strikes is the best rule set for beginners to try out MMA. It's a great way for aspiring fighters to gain valuable match experience without the unnecessary risk of injury. I personally competed in many of thees types of matches in the UK in the early 2000s alongside future UFC stars such as Michael Bisping.

Here is the link to register:
https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/bushido-amateur-mma-competition-tickets-72835722607


ACSA Bushido Amateur MMA Rules:

Time Limits:Matches will be fought over 2 x 3 Minute Rounds

LegalTechniques:Punches, Kicks & Knee Strikes to the Upper Body
Kicks and Knee Strikes to the Legs
Punches to Body and Kicks to Legs are allowed when Opponent is in the downed position.
All throws and Takedowns
All Arm-locks and Shoulder Locks
Chokes and Strangles Excluding Neck Cranks
Leglocks Excluding Heel Hooks

Illegal Techniques:Instant Disqualification:
No strikes of any kind permitted to the head.
No Slamming of opponent either as a result of a takedown or to escape a submission.
No Neck Cranks or Heel Hooks.
No Standing Submissions.
A fighter will receive Warning: Two warnings leads to Disqualification
No Grabbing Opponents clothing or Shin-guards, gloves or Knee-pads.
No running out of the competition area.

Safety Equipment:Eight Ounce MMA Sparring Gloves
MMA Shin Guards
MMA Knee Pads
Mouth Guard
MMA or Muay Thai Shorts

Competition Area:The competition area will be 6 x 6 meters with an outer safety Perimeter of 2 Meter.

Referee Decision:The referee can stop the match and award victory if:
One fighter has taken too many unanswered strikes from any position.
One fighter is in a locked-in submission but is refusing to tap and is risking injury.

Ways to Win:Submission via Tap Out due to Choke, Arm-lock, Shoulder Lock or Leg Lock.
Submission via Tap Out due to Strikes.
Technical Knockout due to strikes either in Standing or Grounded position.
Referee Stoppage
Judges Decision
Disqualification

SCORING TECHNIQUES:In the event of a Judge's decision the match will be scored based on the following criteria:
Effective Striking - Strikes that have an immediate or cumulative impact with the potential to end the match.
Effective Grappling - Takedowns, submission attempts, reversals and the achievement of advantageous positions that have an immediate or cumulative impact to end the match.
A successful takedown is not just a changing of position, but an attack from the use of the takedown.
Submission attempts taking considerable effort to escape are given greater weight than those that are easily defended and escaped without effort.
Impactful throws and takedowns are weighted more heavily than athletes who are tripped or bundled to the mat.

Wednesday, 25 September 2019

MMA & BJJ Seminars at ACSA MMA Melbourne

We recently held two great seminars at Australian Combat Sports Academy.

First, we had UFC and Grappling legend Jake Shields who covered some great details on Takedowns, Guard passing, Back control position and Leglocks.

MMA Melbourne

The following week we hosted Japanese Leglock legend Masakazu Imanari. This was another great session where we covered some excellent drills based around his famous 'Imanari Roll' Leglock entry as well as some great details on finishing leglocks.

MMA Melbourne

Coming up next on Sunday 7th October we are hosting one of my former coaches, Chris Brennan.

Chris "The Westside Strangler" Brennan, Pro MMA from 1994 until 2012, has competed for the UFC, PRIDE, Cage Rage, King of the Cage and Shooto. He is a former King of the Cage Middleweight Champion and former King of the Cage Middleweight Superfight Champion. In 2014 Chris was inducted into the Mixed Martial Arts Hall of Fame.
After retiring from MMA competition Chris switched his focus back to grappling and won the No-Gi Black Belt World Championships in 2013, 2014, and 2015 was also the 2014 Nogi Pan American Champion.
He made his UFC debut at UFC 16 in March 1998 and won via armbar submission in the first round.
As a professional MMA fighter has accumulated 21 wins including 18 first-round submissions. he holds a 95% finish rate, amongst the highest in MMA.

In September 2002 I moved to Irvine, California to live and train at Chris Brennans Next Generation Jiujitsu school. Next Generation was also one of the only BJJ/MMA schools in the world at that time where you could live and train at the gym full time. I shared a small room at the gym with several other aspiring fighters from all around the world and trained 3 times a day for 3 months.

I'm very excited to be able to bring him to teach at my school nearly 20 years later. This session will run from 9am on Sunday morning and will be a 3 hour Kimura Masterclass.

You can book your spot at this link:




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