Monthly Archives: March 2017

10 Devastating Karate Techniques Every MMA Fighter Should Know

#1: Ude Uchi

First up, we have ude uchi.

“Ude” is Japanese for “forearm”, and “uchi” is strike.

In other words, ude uchi means that you smash either the outside or inside bone of your forearm (ulna/radius bone) into your opponent.

Why it works: When you use ude uchi, the distance between you and your opponent is closer than “regular” ounching range, but longer than elbow strike range. Since most people use the fist or elbow for attacking, your opponent won’t expect an attack from this distance, using the forearm. It’s unexpected. It’s brutal. It’s sweet dreams!

#2: Ura Ken (Without Spinning)

Next up, we have ura ken.

“Ura ken” literally means “backfist” in Japanese.

Sure, a lot of MMA fighters use the backfist. However, they always use it horizontally, and they always spin before striking.

I suggest you try it from different angles, and without spinning.

Why it works: The ura ken is a perfect addition to your striking arsenal. It combines seamlessly with jabs, hooks and uppercuts, and it can be delivered from unorthodox angles with great accuracy. Besides, everyone knows circular attacks have the potential for generating huge power. That’s why people spin when they do the backfist, since it adds momentum. But if you don’t spin, it’s more versatile and sneaky.

#3: Ashi Barai

“Ashi barai” means “foot sweep” in Japanese.

Okay, I admit. It’s not really a “devastating” move.

But it’s the perfect way to set up a devastating move!

Yet, few people know how to use foot sweeps it in MMA – except Karate-based fighters.

It’s so easy though. Just lightly tap your opponents foot when he is about to step. Then follow up with a flurry of strikes to capitalize on any openings created by the sweep.

Why it works: Ashi barai is nearly invisible. While it’s relatively easy for your opponent to spot a regular leg kick, ashi barai is harder to notice since you’re sweeping down by the foot – not the thigh. And it’s super quick, because you don’t need great hip rotation. The key is to time it with your opponent’s step. Try it!

#4: Gyaku Mawashi Geri

This kick is crazy effective.

But it requires a certain degree of external hip rotation to generate power.

If you have stiff hips, work on mobility and flexibility before you start using this kick!

In Japanese, “Gyaku mawashi geri” literally means “reverse roundhouse kick”. Coincidentally, I taught this kick at my first UK seminar the other week.

The idea is simple: kick from inside > out (instead of outside > in), but still use the top of your foot as tool of impact – like a regular roundhouse kick.

Why it works: Gyaku mawashi geri is totally unexpected and mega powerful. It’s also diverse: You can do it with any leg (front/back), you can easily combine it with other kicks (especially circular kicks) and you can aim for both the head and the mid section.

#5: Ura Mawashi Geri (Without Spinning)

This attack is like #2 (ura ken/backfist) but with the foot instead.

You probably know it as “hook kick” in English.

Most people do this kick with their back leg, after spinning – but I want you to try it with your front leg, without spinning.

Why it works: Imagine getting b*tch slapped by an elephant. That’s how it feels when someone hook kicks you in the face (take my word for it). You don’t even have time to blink. It’s so fast! The tool of impact can be either your heel or sole. You don’t need to spin for power – your legs are already powerful enough. Trust me.

#6: Mae Geri (Snap)

When Anderson Silva knocked out Vitor Belfort with this head kick at UFC 126, the MMA world went crazy.

I was like: “Congrats! You are now a yellow belt in Karate!”

The snapping front kick (mae geri) is basically the second technique you learn in Karate, after the straight punch. But most MMA fighters only know the pushing front kick of Thai Boxing/Muay Thai, which is better for creating distance than damage.

However, recently I think more fighters are starting to discover the snap mae geri, which can be done both to the face and midsection. Here’s a perfect one!

Why it works: Your leg muscles are the most powerful muscles in the human body. When all of that power is concentrated to the ball of your foot, great force is generated. The trick is to keep your weight centered, so you can retract your leg. The kick can be aimed at both the head and the mid section. Honestly, I would rather get hit by a dump truck than receive a piercing mae geri in the belly or face.

#7: Mawashi Geri (Ball of Foot)

The mawashi geri (roundhouse kick) is certainly not new in MMA.

But, few people do it with the ball of the foot. This is the old-school way of doing it, and works pretty much like the previous kick – except it’s circular, not straight.

This kick is becoming more popular lately. Here’s a recent example.

Why it works: The roundhouse kick is perhaps the most powerful kick ever. So imagine all that power concentrated into the ball of your foot. It’s brutal! It’s also quite sneaky, since it can reach behind your opponents guard/arms due to the foot position. Aim for the liver, ribs or kidneys. Just pull your toes back, so you don’t break them.

#8: Kansetsu Geri

“Kansetsu geri” is Japanese for “joint kick”.

As the name implies, this is a stomping side kick aimed at the knee joint, or hip joint. The damage it can cause is horrible. That’s why few people use it – because nobody wants to practice with you if you use it all the time!

One of the most successful fighter in the history of MMA, Jon Jones, used this kick with great success in many of his fights. Perhaps that’s why he had so many haters?

Why it works: Every joint has its limits. They don’t bend 360 degrees. By stomping the knee or hip out, you can easily stop the fight – and perhaps your opponents whole career as well. It’s also a good strategic technique for creating distance and keeping your opponent away from you. Use with caution!

#9: Hiji Ate (Upward)

Next, we have “hiji ate” – the elbow strike.

In this case, I’m talking about the upward elbow strike.

Most MMA fighters use elbows in a sideways or downward fashion. That’s good. But, just like most of the techniques in this article, this version of the elbow strike is more sneaky and dangerous.

Why it works: If you stand in a regular fighting position, your elbows naturally point down. So, just bring your elbow forcefully up when your opponent is close enough. It’s almost effortless. You can strike the jaw in a upward motion, or even the solar plexus/sternum in a forward motion. Put your whole body into it. There is no elbow protection being used in MMA, so this technique is extremely devastating.

#10: Morote Zuki

Lastly, a real show-stopper.

“Morote zuki” literally means “double handed strike” in Japanese.

Back in the days, Kazushi Sakuraba used this technique with great success, especially on the ground. The concept is simple: Slap, punch, strike or chop with both hands at the same time. Your opponent will have difficulties defending himself against both hands.

MMA Fighters of a Devastationg Loss

Not all losses are of the same breed in MMA. This is unique in the world of sports. Sure, landslide losers of tennis matches, football games, or skiing competitions suffer to a certain degree after a demoralizing loss. But in MMA, such a loss results in being rendered unconscious. It’s a setback of a different ilk than being on a football team that lost 48-7. Being completely removed from your senses while you’re half-naked with all eyes on you takes the word “lose” to a completely different level.

For many of us it’s unfathomable. We can think of a million other bad things we would rather have happen than being knocked out cold in an arena full of people. In some of the more devastating knockout losses you will see in MMA, the victims are not as far from actual death as you would imagine. Losing consciousness as a result of blunt head trauma is no joke.

You get desensitized after seeing it happen so many times without much averse affect. No fighter has ever died on a major MMA card that immediately comes to mind. At the same time, the sport is perhaps not old enough for us to really internalize the true affects of being rendered near-comatose on numerous occasions. In boxing, the casualties are apparent. Punchy fighters are a readily-accepted concept, with many examples that we can see to clarify our understanding of the dangers of that sport. What condition will MMA fighters who took ungodly punishment be in when they’re 60 or 70 years old? Well, we don’t know yet.

How this all pertains to betting is that you should exercise caution betting on fighters coming off a truly smashing loss. Is Michael Bisping probably a bigger force at middleweight than Wanderlei Silva at this point? (This article written in 2013) Sure, but after getting knocked spark out in graphic fashion by Dan Henderson, he was perhaps a little leery of the “Axe Murderer.” Even though he had won a fight since losing to Henderson, Bisping was very likely a bit spooked by the reputation of the once-fearsome Silva.

What happened to Bisping can play mind games on a fighter. He seemed to shake off that defeat pretty well as put more fights between him and that loss. But what happened to Bisping is not atypical of fighters coming off what is surely the most demoralizing sporting outcome in all of sports. We see fighters bounce back from this all the time, but styles also figure into it. A fighter who suffered a scary-looking knockout can still thrive against fighters who might not be known as strikers. But if they face a noted smasher of faces shortly after a harrowing knockout defeat, they might not represent the ideal bet. A lot of times, they’ll be more concerned about not getting blasted than focusing on what they need to do in order to win. Who can blame them?

The Ring Versus The Octagon

It’s difficult to say how much of a role it plays in fights when fighters switch from the ring to the octagon. There is a school of thought that says superior fighting techniques will hold up regardless of whether it takes place in a ring or an octagon. Sure, there is an adjustment to be made, but the difference in the long run is negligible. But it’s difficult to ignore the general lack of success of fighters moving from the ring to the octagon.

Unfortunately for our purposes, it’s hard to fully determine if the issue facing fighters coming to fight in the UFC was the change in ring to octagon or simply age. By the time a fighter was good enough to come to the UFC and when the big shows in Asia lessened, a lot of those guys were at the relative end of their careers. I’m sure if fighters like Wanderlei Silva, Fedor Emilianenko, and Crocop came to the U.S. in their primes, it could throw this analysis into a new light.

It’s hard to deny that there isn’t a significant difference. Some fighters make the transition seamlessly while other do not. It could be that fighters are unaccustomed to being pinned against the fence. It could just be the different look, going from an open-air ring to the confines of a cage. But when a fighter starts fighting in an octagon for the first time, it merits some consideration in your wagering. The style of the fighter could play a role, especially if the new arrival to octagon fighting is facing someone who makes copious use of the fence.

10 Tips for Strength

I mean really, a buddy recommends a great restaurant, or a cool beach to surf at. How cool is that friend? Well let me drop a few strength training tips that will keep you going. This coming from someone who notoriously ease drops on as many conversations from top trainers, athletes, bodybuilders and fitness experts. Knowledge is power and you need that power to perform at the gym!

1. KEEP YOUR MUSCLES NIMBLE

  • As you age your muscles become less pliable. General rule if you are under 40 years old hold that stretch for 30 seconds if you are over 40, hang onto it for at least 60.

2. BUILD YOUR CORE

  • There are tons of ways to build your core. Anchoring your feet is one sure way to injure your lower back. Try using a swiss ball or doing putting a towel under your lower back for support. The more your core is built up the better you will find your range of motion.

3. REPAIR MUSCLE FASTER

  • Most people cringe at me when I say this. Try a short and lighter version of the previous days workout on the next day. It will bring more blood and nutrients back into those muscles so they can repair faster.

4. BUILD STRONGER LEGS

  • I am not advocating skipping a gym day. In fact if you go more than 3 days without a workout you should reevaluate your life. However, if ever there was a day to NOT skip, it would be leg day. Do reverse lunges, Bulgarian squats, one legged deadlifts, anything to build up some strength in one of the largest muscle groups in your body. More muscle = better strength.

5. PUT AN END TO YOUR BACK PAIN

  • The yin and the yang, the core and the back. We need a balance between these two. For every core exercise we do, add a superman stretch or do a yoga move like cobra. That balance will help preserve your spine and keep it from injury.

6. FLEX FOR MUSCLE

  • You know that guy who does all of his workouts in front of the mirror….. yeah, i am that guy. The reason is I like to see that flex at the end of each repetition. Working your muscle through a full range of motion ensures that you are getting the most out of each rep.

7. DON’T BURN YOURSELF OUT

  • Going to the gym and stacking workouts on top of each other is not going to get you any closer to your fitness goals. In fact it will likely reduce the effectiveness by adding cortisol and free radicals into your system that will lower your hormones, increase weight gain and add years to your figure. Simmer down, one to two workouts a day is plenty.

8. THE RIGHT WAY TO YOUR WARM UP

  • Either we get all excited that its bicep day and run to the free weights or we hop on the treadmill to get the blood pumping. For me the most effective is target those muscle groups with a little light exercise that will also free up the range of motion. Is it chest day? Try a few push ups before you hop on the bench to press weight.

9. FREE WEIGHTS, BARBELLS, MACHINES

  • Let me repeat that, FREE WEIGHTS, BARBELLS, MACHINES in that order. Not that I don’t mind having all the access to the free weights when I show up to the gym. But if you are really wanting results, skipping right to the machines is going to hold you back big time.

10. DITCH THE WEIGHT BELT

  • Yeah, there is a reason I saved this one for last. Its the hardest for some to cope with. But over time, regular training with a weight belt actually weakens your abdominal and lower back muscles. Sure, if you want to go all Hugh Jackman and try a 400lbs deadlift, you better strap one of those on. But only on max lifts like squats, deadlifts and overhead presses. If I see you doing biceps or chest with a weight belt I am coming to your house and taking it away from you.

Golden Boys

Every sport has them. The guys who have juice. For whatever reason, they help put fannies in the seats. They generate revenue for the sport and there is always a large contingent of fans who hate the “pretty boys.” And that’s because at some point, they seem to get some preferential treatment. Maybe they get opportunities other more deserving fighters fail to receive, they win a decision or two they didn’t deserve, or the ref improperly rules in their favor a time or two.

In MMA, there is far less perceivable corruption than in most fight-sports. A PPV giant in boxing who puts half of Vegas to work every time he fights can be almost impossible to defeat on the cards. In MMA, the dark-horse gets a fairer shake. That doesn’t mean that network poster boys and anonymous fighters are treated the same, not necessarily champions–but flashy guys who get a lot of attention.

Often times, when you handicap a fight, it’s easy to identify who the “powers-that-be” want to win. A lot of times, there is no apparent choice. But when there is, it’s worth some consideration to the bettor. You might, for example, think an underdog has a really good chance to win. But if you can’t see him winning in decisive fashion, it might not be worth your wagering consideration.

Choose Advice Wisely

When trying to find worthwhile analysis on the internet, you are often times forced to sift through mountains of manure before finding a few gems. The Internet has given everyone a voice, which is good to a certain point. The flip side is that there are now hundreds of millions of people proclaiming to be experts on various topics.

Attention-getting seems to be the bigger motive than making sense. And in order to get attention, the last thing a person does is provide a balanced opinion–a thought-out position that takes both sides into consideration and acknowledges a lack of all-knowing super-power. People speak omnipotently and in absolute extremes. Everyone is either great or they suck. The future opponent they think will lose will get “smoked,” not just beat. Then they say so-and-so is a bum. Then you notice that “bum” is ranked number-three in the world. In what Bizarro world is the person who is the third-best at what they do a bum?

This is not meant to imply that there are not people in the comment section of articles or on youtube clips who know what they’re talking about. There are many and part of your heart has to go out to them. Because talking to these people can be pretty unfulfilling for a person trying to have a well-reasoned understanding of the sport. Part of being an astute bettor is knowing that nothing falls along the lines of 100% vs. 0%. Most people “discussing” MMA in venues where no qualifications are required characterize everything in two categories–100 % or 0%. You never see a comment that begins with “I’m not sure, but…” or “There’s a good chance that…”

Everything is in shades. A fighter might be slow, but he’s not 100% slow. He might just be 68% slow. A fighter doesn’t have “no chance.” He might have a 17% chance. There are many degrees used by the astute bettor. A fighter’s ground game doesn’t usually either “rule” or “suck.” The thinking-mans bettor might call it “moderately vulnerable” or “unflinchingly solid.” A guy’s takedown defense isn’t always either great or horrible. You might be inclined to be more specific and determine that his takedown defense is “shaky against big-striking shooters.” There are wise MMA minds out there, so focus on listening to them and avoid the hordes where the sport serves as just a different canvas upon which they can practice their art of arguing on the Internet.