Manual MMA Mastery: Ground and Pound (MMA Mastery series)

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Open Preview See a Problem? Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Ground and Pound by Mark Hatmaker. Ground and Pound 4. Guaranteed to improve the game of even the best submission players, this handbook ensures tighter defense and enhanced offensive tactics, offering a one-stop solution for this vital but often overlooked aspect of the mixed martial arts arena. Paperback , pages. Published September 1st by Tracks Publishing first published January 1st To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about MMA Mastery , please sign up.

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Attack Proof 2nd Edition. And this is not a submission manual. We have addressed that topic elsewhere, and we will again in the future. We address a few submissions, but only at the margins. Meaning that if the submission has a direct dovetail with the offered ground and pound technique, we pro- vide that link.

We also address submissions plus striking where we use the ground and pound strategy to rectify a "stuck" submission. With those caveats out of the way, let's look at some quantifiable, qualitative backup for the ground and pound strategy as being even more valuable than the almighty submission. That's right, I said more valuable. Knock out versus tap out Before we get to the instructional portion of the mate- rial, I need to explain that "ground and pound is more valuable than submissions" remark.

I want you to fully comprehend that we are not dealing with opinion or personal wishes, but with direct observation of data. In our hook, NHBF: The Book of Essential Submissions, we introduce the science of fight metrics to MMA in order to quantify which strategies, tactics. Ground and Pound and techniques prove of high utility, moderate utility, low utility and, in some cases, zero utility in elite level MMA competition. That manual seeks to streamline the training process so you can trim the fat from your reg- imen and focus on the high return tools.

For an in- depth look at the fight metrics process and how you can apply it to your own training across all aspects of the fight, I refer you to that manual. But I want to review one portion of that material here — the portion of the data that has to do with ground and pound and how it stacks up against submissions in elite level com- petition.

Out of fights, were finished with ground and pound. If we add the total wins for striking, vertically and horizontally, the striking score is wins. Out of fights, were finished via submission. You might compare those numbers — ground and pound victories versus submissions — and deduce that my assertion is way off base and we need to give prominence to submissions, but Approximately 75 percent of those victories via submission were set up with a vicious ground and pound attack that seemed to make the acquisition of the submission viable.

In other words, without the ground and pound preceding the submission, the sub- mission, in all likelihood, would have failed. In many cases submission attempts without strikes preceding them were simply ineffective. In a great many cases the ending submission seemed to be in a gray area where 12 Introduction In other words, without the ground and pound preceding the sub- mission, the sub- mission, in all likelihood, would have failed. In many cases sub- mission attempts without strikes preceding them were simply inef- fective.

And it appears that a few more strikes would have done the job just as easily. In some cases more easily. If we revise my approxi- mation and add only 50 percent of the sub- mission wins to our already established via ground and pound alone, the ground and pound utility score rises to versus sub- mission victories. In addition to these raw numbers in favor of ground and pound, we need to factor in the time con- straint barrier and the value of our sweat equity.

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Sure, we know that striking is key, but which weapon do we choose to perfect — the jab, the rear knee, the elbow, the spinning outside cres- cent kick, the crane's beak? We face the same wealth of approaches when it comes to overarching strategies.

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Ground and Pound Develop the tech- niques and strate- gies that have direct, observable, high-yielding and reproducible rewards. Do we spend most of our time becoming better boxers or better ground fighters? Spend more time honing our kicks or perfecting our takedowns? Developing our submissions or tight- ening our ground and pound game?

You get the idea. We have an abundance of material to choose from and that is a good thing. But let's be realistic. There are only so many hours in the day and only so many of those hours or fractions of hours that we can devote to training.

3 Dirty (But Legal) Ground & Pound Tricks for MMA

Knowing that we must pare down our training schedule to realistic proportions, it is only logical that we make the most of those training sessions. Should we shoehorn every con- ceivable technique or strategy that comes down the pike into our already limited apportioned training time or is it wiser to prioritize like we do with any other limited time endeavor? Let's say you have a tight schedule this week and you can make only one trip to the grocery store and that trip has to be squeezed into 10 minutes.

Do you dally in the spice aisle ticking away the minutes seeking to pick up sage in order to recreate your grandmother's recipe for stuffing? Do you browse the international food section looking for a new sauce to shake things up at the table? Or do you stay mindful of the tight schedule and the immediate needs of you and your 14 Introduction family and head for the staples — eggs, milk, bread, coffee, whatever you consider important for the week at my house it's peanut butter and anything with caf- feine in it.

I'll wager you went for the staples. This quick shopping trip strategy is exactly the sort of men- tality with which we should approach our training — work the staples. Develop the techniques and strategies that have direct, observable, high yielding and repro- ducible rewards.

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Working the jab pays dividends as it is arguably the most important striking weapon in the toolbox. Training the crane's beak at the expense of the jab when a crane's beak has never ever manifested itself as a viable strategy in MMA competition or street work is akin to dallying in the spice aisle letting your family go hungry. Of course, please invert my advice if your target goal is, say, wu shu competition where a beauti- fully executed crane's Aim to make high utility technique and strategy work your paramount focus and leave the esoteric or lower utility work shopping for spices for "free time.

I advocate that you approach each training session as a precious resource, akin to the forced short trip to the grocery store where you must select the most nutritious items that will feed you and your family. Aim to make high vitility technique and strategy work your para- mount focus and leave 15 MMA Mastery: Ground and Pound the esoteric or lower utility work shopping for spices for "free time.

Allocate training time for each propor- tional to their observable rewards.

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Do not be afraid to let low performing techniqvies or concepts go. Trash these low performers ASAE By being willing to subtract when necessary, are we able to add newly gained training time to higher utility tools and, thus, multiply our training rewards. Time isn't the only limiter Sometimes it's what's inside our skulls. For example, if you decide to remodel a room in your home yourself, you would wisely tally the costs of materials to ensure, at the outset, that the financial budget will permit the remodel.

What is usually not factored in do-it-yourself projects is the cos of your own labor We are accus- tomed to labor charges in all other arenas where others do the work, but in DIY projects we often forget to add the costs of our own efforts. These efforts are the sweat equity. For our hypothetical remodeling project, we need to factor in not only how long we think said project will take, but we also need to factor in the sweat equity 16 Introduction We want the most bang for our buck in the fastest amount of time. Given a choice between more now or more later, we usually opt for more now Again, there are only so many hours in the day We have some choices to make.

If we have determined that overall the proposed project will take approximately 30 hours of our time plus material costs, we then have a decision to make among three choices. We are comfortable with all costs and pro- ceed with the project. The costs of material or sweat equity or both outweigh the benefits of the project, so we kill the project. We are comfortable with the material costs, but the sweat equity costs are too high, so we pay someone else for their sweat equity.

We need to approach our training sessions with the same realistic eye on sweat equity costs. Human beings by design are stingy — both with time and resources. We want the most bang for our buck in the fastest amount of time. Given a choice between more now or more later, we usually opt for more now. Again, there 17 MMA Mastery: Ground and Pound The fight metrics data reveals no effective pounding without efficient grounding pre- ceding it.

In other words, without good grounding skills there will be no glorious pounding. Let's play the IF game. If you have your eye on being an MMA com- petitor, and if you have good athletic ability If you are technically a blank slate, and if you are wired like all other human beings with a natural tendency to grasp and strike over inculcated submission technique If you have only so many hours to allot to training, and if you are consumed with choosing highest returning yields for your time and sweat equity Look at those numbers again that reflect overall costs of time and effort.

What would you choose to spend your time on? Ground before pound OK, let's assume you buy the wisdom of the empirical numerical data regarding the efficacy of ground and pound over submissions or that you at least want to supplement your submission game with a ground and pound framework. The material within will work for 18 Introduction the believers and nonbelievers alike as is always the case where there is friction between empiricism and dogma.

Facts serve all equally well regardless of faith, whereas belief must be twisted into cognitive pretzels to "fit the facts. More often than not when people envision ground and pound, they are actually thinking "pound" and give little thought to the actual grounding beyond a cursory acknowledgement of a good takedown that preceded the pounding. This is a bit shortsighted — a cart before the horse situation. The fight metrics data reveals no effective pounding without efficient grounding pre- ceding it. In other words, without good grounding skills, there will be no glorious pounding.

What I mean by grounding skills is the vocabulary of movement that enables a good ground fighter to ride, pin, control and pressure his opponent into an inferior position. In essence, effectively cutting off most avenues of escape before dropping the bombs. The few very few fights in the fight metric data that show a ground and pound victory with zero to poor grounding preceding them were the result of a slow stoppage. The conscious fighter wisely pursued his quarry to the mat and exploited the situation before the ref diagnosed that the man was out on the way down.

In all other scenarios, a conscious fighter with his wits about him and perhaps more importantly his conditioning must be grounded effectively and effi- 19 MMA Mastery: Ground and Pound It is with a respectful eye on that first word "ground" that we have assembled this manual. We will offer a stripped down positional ground vocabulary, add a dollop of move- ment drills and a few other necessi- ties before the first blow is ever thrown.

Matt used an efficient stripped down wrestling vocabulary and took great pains to lock down his men and then pressure them tight before delivering the punishing pounding. These two victories are beautiful embodiments of a corollary of the "posi- tion before submis- sion" dictum, which takes as axiom that one must control one's opponent before set- ting up a submission. The obvious corollary is that one must ground an opponent effectively and effi- ciently before pounding. We will offer a stripped down positional ground vocabulary, add a dollop of movement drills and a few other necessities before the first blow is ever thrown.

If we wish to keep our energy expenditures at a minimum and still maintain top posi- tion, it is wise to re-position our thinking to a riding context Ride versus pin You can divide the grounding game into two broad categories — riding and pinning. Pinning easily comes to mind as it is the root of many wrestling systems where the object is to pin one or both an oppo- nent's shoulders to the mat for a preordained time.

To pin, it is neces- freeze the opponent into Pinning is energy intensive because it requires you to not only achieve top dominant position, but also to physically restrain a bucking, twitching and struggling opponent. Pinning is tough work, which is one reason why so many victories come via points and other allowances in the sports where the pin is, presumably, the ultimate objective. Ground and Pound Only once the bottom man's energy has been expended do we see an active com- mitment to lock the man into place to better set up the final blows.

To better envision the differ- ence between the two, let's go to a rodeo and observe our recollections of the bronco or bull riding event. When the competitor saddles up, he does not attempt to subdue the bull by sheer force of his leg squeeze. We see no attempts to subdue the animal into a stock-still position as ludicrous at that picture may be. What we do see in the most successful riders are good "spurring" technique hooks , good hip placement and fluid mobility to adjust to each pitch and roll of the massive animal beneath them.

If we wish to keep our energy expenditures to a min- imum and still maintain top position, it is wise to repo- sition our thinking to a riding context. Like the rodeo competitor, we allow the animal beneath us to burn its energy as it sees fit while we expend far less energy by simply reading and following his movement rather than attempting to physically lock the bull into place. The individual for each example is Brock Lesnar.

Those familiar with Lesnar's size he is a massive human being and skills dominant wrestler might imagine that he would have entered MMA competition with an eye on grounding his oppo- nents and then pinning them as both his skill and bulk would presumably dictate. But Brock took a different direction. He rode and rode beautifully. If we examine carefully Lesnar's riding in his matches versus Heath Herring or even his loss in the first match to Frank Mir, his fluidity is textbook. Instead we see agile movement that reads the bottom man's energy and uses that continuous feedback as punctuation to speed up the bottom man's exhaustion process.

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Only once the bottom man's energy has been expended, do we see an active commitment to lock the man into place to better set up the final blows. From an efficiency perspective, this is exactly the approach to pursue. Hands free Another huge benefit of riding over pinning is the ability to "multi-task " while riding. I am aware that human beings actually multi-task poorly. I use the term to indicate near simultaneous events in sequence as opposed to true multi-tasking, which leads to perfor- mance degradation.

Riding is more of a "hips thing" akin to body 23 MMA Mastery: Ground and Pound Another huge surfing and actually requires little input fi-om benefit of riding the hands or arms. Seldom do you see knock outs via hit- ting on the fly, but anyone who has been on the receiving end of this strategy can vouch for its frus- trating quality.

These hits serve as punctuation, tenderizers, demoralizers, spurs to the direction of your 24 Introduction Ground and pound training continuum I heartily suggest approaching the ground and pound material in the following stair step manner 1. Play with them in a stock-still manner checking for any defects in your positioning. If you can't hit them perfectly without movement, with movement there will be little chance for success. No Destination Riding — Next work the fluid form of the ride on a moving opponent.

No Destination Riding is exhausting, but building this stamina is essen- tial for an effective grounding game. Bear in mind that as tiring as this sort of riding is, it's far more sapping for the person taking your weight. Riding to Destinations — Use fluid riding to travel to designated static destinations or impromptu destina- tions. Learn to ride fluidly and then stop on a dime when a perfect "rest stop" presents itself. Your destina- tions may be called by your coach or may be of your own choosing. Static Destination Pounding — Return to the stock- still position of step one and work your entire round s , firing the appropriate pounding arsenal while checking that you never lose positional integrity.

Ground and Pound 5. Ride to Destination Pounding — Ride and each time you stop at a destination whether designated by the coach or self-designated , commence pounding. Stop pounding upon the command to "Ride. No Destination Pounding — Hit entire rounds of zero destination riding and punctuate with hitting while moving throughout. Ground and Pound — Here, it's all in — hitting on the move and hitting in destinations. I assure you I mean nothing eliminatory by the use of "man" in the heading. It's simply a phrase that should echo in all good ground and pounders' noggins.

Many a top position player ruins or at least mitigates his advantage by carrying more of his own weight than is needed. If at any point in your ride you find one or both elbows on the mat when they don't need to be, you are doing more work than the bottom player.