Archive for March, 2009

Judo Throws for the Non-Judo Practitioner – Pt 1

Friday, March 13th, 2009

On occasion we have people attending our class from the jiu jitsu school, or whose backgrounds are in other disciplines, specifically to work on judo throws. They may or may not have had any exposure to judo throws before. We cater to their experience and skillsets, body type, and type of tournament they are entering and teach a few judo throws to add to their arsenal. 

Right now, we have a fellow training with us to help prepare for the NAGA world championships in New Jersey at the beginning of April, 2009.  His matches will begin from standing, so his main concern is taking someone to the ground with control and to land on the ground in control. We haven’t much time to work on the throws, so initially we are working on throws he is already familiar with and then will add perhaps another few to the mix which compliment his style.

Francisco has an extensive background in karate (3rd dan), although in recent years he has been doing BJJ. Since he is strong in karate, we are not concerned with outside leg techniques; he’s been doing these for almost fifteen years.

The start position for these matches is standing and, not unlike Greco-Roman wrestling matches, the competitors tend to bend from the waist, keeping their hips/legs away from each other while keeping their heads close together.  It seems that the most common strategy is for them to simply pull guard as soon as possible.

The opponents grasp one another’s gi collar or lapel and sleeve, sometimes both sleeves at the wrist. Since they are bent forward to begin with, we are working on throws that put the opponent off-balance even further, pulling him forward or attacking at awkward or unexpected angles.

Our philosophy is to win by throwing and acquiring a dominant top position, then maintaining that position while working toward a submission via choke or lock.  Check out the book Mixed Martial Arts Unleashed for an in-depth explanation as to why we feel this is best - we don’t have room in this article!

First off is seoi nage, which Francisco already knows. We are doing a variation on ippon seoi nage, one in which his back is exposed for as short a time as possible, but still allows him to control his opponent in the forward direction. He can do this from standing or dropping to his knees. He can either drop deeply between his opponent’s legs and throw forward, or move farther outside, such that he is on his knees well to the right of the opponent and then the throw is at an angle of about 90 degrees.  He still has a tight grip on the lapel or collar and the sleeve. As soon as he drops to his knees, he angles his right shoulder to the mat: this manoeuvre makes the throw very fast and powerful and also enables the opponent to roll without drilling his head into the floor.  Since he still has control of the lapel and sleeve, he can move quickly into a hold of some kind.  We’ve also added a number of simple entries to this throw for him that involve combinations and action/reaction sequences in order to make the throw more likely to succeed.

Francisco has also used tomoe nage with good success, so we are again doing a variation of tomoe nage, but having Francisco end up on top, in the superior position. Tomoe nage is the high circle throw, in which you drop to your back while placing your foot beside your opponent’s hip or in their stomach. In the movies, you see this done with a powerful leg extension, propelling the opponent up and a long way away from the thrower.  Since we want to stay attached and wind up on top, we’ve modified this so that the leg doesn’t really kick him or even straighten out; it is used to direct him up and over. The arms are more instrumental in the direction. In Francisco’s case, we are also working on hooking the opponent’s leg either with Francisco’s hand or free leg, so that as his opponent goes over, Francisco stays attached to him, rolls with him, and lands on top.

Tawara gaeshi and sumi gaeshi can be executed the same way: as your opponent goes over your head, hook his leg with either your own leg or your arm (or hand), so that you remain attached and go over as well. You will end up on top of him and can immediately go into a groundhold.

There is also yoko tomoe nage, side high circle throw: You use your outside leg, (assuming you are holding one of your opponent’s arms, the outside leg would be the leg further away from him) planting your foot sideways onto his stomach. At the same time, you drop to your back, twisting such that you are about ninety degrees to his body. You can throw your opponent to one side of your body or the other depending on how much he is fighting the throw and/or how deeply you manage to get under him – either way allows you to end up on top.

Another throw which lends itself well to this starting technique of heads close together is a variation of o soto gari, sort of a combination o soto gari and koshi guruma - o soto gari’s leg movement and koshi guruma’s arm placement. If you’re doing a right-sided version, give your opponent a slight jolt to his right, causing him to try to straighten up, then go in at an angle while wrapping your right arm around his shoulders and your left hand tightly grasping his right sleeve. Sweep out his far leg with your right leg and go down to the ground with him.  He’s already in a groundhold when he lands.

 We have also worked on sasae tsurikomi ashi, propping drawing ankle throw: you grasp your opponent’s lapel with your right hand in order to lift his torso, while simultaneously blocking his right ankle and pulling the right sleeve horizontally to the left. As he falls, move your right arm around his shoulders and go to the ground with him. Change the grip on his sleeve as well. You will be in a groundhold (kesa gatame) right away.

Although Francisco has had experience with a few judo throws, non-judo practitioners can pick up these variations of judo throws and handily use them when needed. For videos of judo throws with gi, go to the Traditional Judo section of this website; videos of no-gi judo throws may be found in the Judo for MMA section of this site.

Click here to go to Judo Throws for the Non-Judo Practitioner - Pt 2


March 13, 2009

UFC 96 Jackson vs Jardine

Sunday, March 8th, 2009

Living on a sailboat has its disadvantages: in winter, we’re frozen in most of the time. That means the boat doesn’t move and we have satellite reception. In the last four days, though, we’ve had very warm weather and, as of yesterday, no ice. My main concern was, would I have paid for UFC 96 Jackson versus Jardine, invited friends over, etc., just to have the wind pick up to move the boat and lose the signal? In the hour before the fights, the signal was sporadic. We could only hope that the wind wouldn’t pick up.

First off, Joe Rogan was wearing orange! What’s with that?! I’ve only ever seen him wear brown or, once, black, I think. It threw us all off.

The first fight was between Gray Maynard and Jim Miller, both undefeated in the octagon. Maynard is an all-American wrestler and Miller, a BJJ brown belt, known for his submissions. The fight started with Maynard possibly breaking Miller’s nose and Miller mouth-breathing throughout. They traded punches and Miller attempted takedowns. Just at the bell, Miller walked into a shot, resulting in a huge mouse below the left eye.

Round two had Miller doing lots of leg kicks and Maynard punching only. Miller managed a takedown, but Maynard got up immediately, to continue punching. Miller was bleeding profusely, muttering, frustrated that he couldn’t take Maynard down.

Round three was the same as before, Miller with kicks, Maynard with punches. Then Maynard did something inexplicable: he took Miller down. Why do this when he was winning the standing game? Miller came close to accomplishing a kneebar. Then he was in half-guard, but Maynard kept punching Miller’s face, which was looking raw meat-like. The match finished standing with the guys trading punches again.

Miller’s one tough guy, considering his injuries, but the unanimous decision went to Maynard, who controlled the fight.

Next came Matt Hamill against Mark Munoz, both wrestlers. Hamill has certainly changed since he was in The Ultimate Fighter. There was no groundwork here. He traded punches with Munoz, stuffed Munoz’s takedown attempt, did a little dirty boxing. Munoz had his hands down a lot. Out of the blue, Hamill kicked to Munoz’s head, connecting from the shin to the tips of his toes. Munoz dropped immediately, hitting his head on his own knee and then against the fence. The guy was out for a long time. Knockout of the night. 

Next came the welterweights, Pete Sell and Matt Brown. Sell is one of Matt Serra‘s guys, a BJJ black belt. Brown has about an even number of submissions and knock-outs. The fight started with a kick and two punches from Brown, such that Sell hit the mats and the referee went to stop the fight. This was the strangest part of the evening, because the referee changed his mind and let them continue. For the next minute or so, Brown clobbered Sell from one area of the octagon to the other, waving his hands around, imploring the referee to stop the fight. When the referee finally stopped it, we were all relieved. I think Sell really was out of it from the beginning and the ref’s instincts were right. Brown didn’t give Sell any time to come to his senses, so it was just a prolonging of the agony. Then again, some fighters complain loudly when fights are stopped early, so it’s all subjective.

Kendall Grove and Jason Day, from the undercard, came next. Day had nice techniques and Rogan mentioned that he looked much better than his previous match, but Grove got him to the ground and that was it: ground and pound and the match was over.

The heavyweights were on with Gabriel Gonzaga and Steve Carwin. Gonzaga is best known for dropping Mirko Cro Cop with a huge kick. Carwin came into the fight undefeated at 10-0, with none of his fights going a full round. My concern there was whether he had the stamina to go three rounds. I shouldn’t have worried about it, because Carwin made a name for himself last night: Gonzaga had him in full mount, but Carwin managed to stand up (Gonzaga was 257 lbs.). Gonzaga then threw a punch, which connected, but Carwin counter-punched, just a short right punch, no hips, and Gonzaga went down. Knock out.

The undercard again: Tamdan McCrory versus Ryan Madigan, welterweights. McCrory had control on the ground, moving from one position to another, easily passing guard and going wherever he wanted. He planted lots of elbows and eventually went to double elbows, resulting in referee stoppage. Interestingly, we covered holding your opponent down using your chest and body placement just Friday night. All McCrory’s moves from side mount to full and in-between were exactly as we’d done the previous night.

The main event of the night, Quinton Jackson versus Keith Jardine came next. Both these guys are characters: Jackson stared at Jardine to psych him out and Jardine grinned into Jackson’s face. Pretty funny. They are both heavy hitters, with Jackson being exceptional at clinch takedowns and clinch strikes, and Jardine having high connects with leg kicks, and body shots (92%!). Jardine had some inside leg kicks and a nice uppercut. In the latter half of the first round, Jackson connected with some good punches and a couple of kicks.

Round two had both kicking again, and then Jackson dropped Jardine. Jardine managed to come to standing, but was taken down again. They were in a clinch at the fence, but the referee broke them apart. Jardine looked as though he were out of it for a while, but came back to apply lots of shots, such that Jackson was in trouble by the end of the round.

The final round had Jackson doing another takedown, but the men got up immediately. Jardine scored with solid leg kicks. Just before the bell, Jackson dropped Jardine, the last thing the judges saw in the match. Unanimous decision in Jackson’s favour. Fight of the night.

The remainder of the fights were from the undercard: Brandon Vera against Mike Patt and then Tim Boetsch versus Jason Brilz.

Vera vs. Patt: Brandon Vera was in control from the start, switching from left to right stances, connecting with virtually all his kicks and punches. Mike Patt took several minutes to accomplish anything, but he didn’t give up. Round two had Vera attacking Patt’s lead leg such that eventually the leg gave out and the referee stopped the match.

When Tim Boetsch and Jason Brilz started fighting, the announcers talked at length about Boetsch and his jeet kune do and his strengths. Brilz was sort of an afterthought, that is, until he found his rhythm. Then the men traded punches, Brilz took Boetsch to the ground, knee on neck (we like that) and was in total control. When they stood up and were at the fence, Brilz still holding Boetsch, Brilz kneed the back of Boetsch’s legs. In the third round, Brilz took Boetsch down again, immediately went to side control, applied some knees to Boetsch’s side and then elbows and forearms to the head, and the full mount again. Unanimous decision in Brilz’s favour.

There were no cool submissions last night, but Miller sure tried. McCrory had lots of opportunities in his match against Madigan, but mostly just jumped from one position to another applying elbows – in control, yes, but where are those armbars or chokes? The main event was the fight of the night for a change (in my opinion) and the fighters put forth all they could. Our satellite signal held. We had a good time with friends and family watching UFC 96 Jackson versus Jardine. What more could you ask for?


March 7, 2009