A Breif Study of MMA Fighting Techniques

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A Breif Study of MMA Fighting Techniques
Original Poster: The BadBoy
Forum: Mixed Martial Arts Forums
Posted On: 05-04-2004, 00:26

Orginal Post: The BadBoy: Posted originally on SFUK Forum by Sankakudude

“Hiya everyone. You know there are millions of techniques and moves shown on instructional tapes, in books and so on but quite often when we try them on the mat they just don?t work?or was that just me

Anyway, I?ve been slowly going through all my NHB fight videos library, I got loads now, all UFC?s, Full Contact fights, Gladiator Challenge, Pride and so on. Must have gone through a couple of hundred fights in the past few weeks. As I watched them I?ve been taking careful notes of the actual techniques used. Often an instructional video will say this or that is a high percentage technique when in fact it?s just the instructor?s opinion rather than an actual fact. So I decided the only way to know if a technique was reliable in a MMA fight was to actually see it work on a NHB video and make note of how often those techniques were used. That way I?d know it was reliable.

So for weeks now I?ve been taking notes on the moves and techniques used in loads of MMA matches. Its been quite fun, I got pages of the stuff now, it?s a big mess, but I?m starting to make sense of it all and thought I?d share my observations. I can only describe how I perceive a fight so maybe the tactics I see are not 100% applicable so please feel free to comment and criticize. Here we go then:

First things first! Here is a rough guide to the main submissions I observed:

Top 10 Most Common Fight Submissions:

40% Strikes (from inside guard or mount)
15% Cross Armbar Juji-gatame (from mount, side control or guard)
15% Rear Naked Chokes (from facing up or facing down)
8% Triangle Choke (from mount or guard)
6% Guillotine Choke (from standing or guard)
5% Kimura (from side control or guard)
4% Key Locks (from side control or mount)
3% Heel Hooks
2% Kata Gatame Choke (from mount or side control)
1% Knee Bar
1% other mixed submissions

Note: the percentages are only rough guides giving you an idea of the quantities used. It?s not accurate statistics. I just wrote down as many attempts at submissions and as many wins by submissions as I could then tried to make a list. GI chokes are not included because no one wears a GI in competitions anymore.

Although these ten or so moves represent a small fraction of many instructors knowledge of submissions, from watching the fights I am confident that these are all the submissions you will ever need in a MMA match. There may be other moves which are illegal in many matches (i.e. neck cranks, suplexes, wrist locks, ripping and so on) that may well be just as useful in street fights or certain vale tudo matches. But I?d say for the majority of MMA events the ten techniques above are more than we will ever need to know. Of course its fun learning new techniques but as Bruce Lee even said, being a good fighter it?s not about adding more techniques but about stripping away the inessentials.

It is very possible that fighting a person of a significantly lower skill level than ourselves would completely change the techniques that would be most effective against them. But at the highest level of competition there are only selections of techniques that consistently work against an equal partner. My study focuses only on what worked in real MMA fights and nothing more.

Now let?s go into the actual fights. What happens most often and why:

Point 1: Ground fighting wins MMA competitions!
Most MMA fights end up on the ground within the first 30 seconds or less! This is of course no surprise but I might as well say it. Of those fights that don?t go to the ground we can say this:

A. The reason it didn?t go to the ground was almost always due to a KO or TKO in the first 30 seconds. And this KO is usually due to a superior boxer getting a lucky shot. Sometimes two strikers stay on their feet for quite a time but it still ends on the ground eventually.

B. The four most common stand up striking techniques used in MMA seem to be, in order of most used:

1. Straight Jab
2. Straight Right (or Hook variation including against the wall hooks).
3. Mauy Thai round kick to side of leg.
4. Kneeing from a double neck tie (plum position)

C. Only four striking defenses appear to be used effectively:

1. Boxing two arm high cover
2. Single side (wrist to ear) elbow block
3. Mauy Thai knee lift kick block.
4. Using forearm or knee blocks against knee strikes.

Point 2: The fighter best at takedowns usually wins the fight!
Watch almost any fight and you will see one of the fighters consistently taking down the other fighter. Although not always the case this fighter usually wins the fight! Why? Well it could be one of two possibilities really. Either the fighter that takes the other down is just the better fighter and hence just takes them down and wins. Or perhaps this fighter is just a little better than the other at taking people down. And, even though this fighter may be less skilled in ground techniques, he might still win due to the fact his takedown put him in a better position to win the fight from.

Certain qualities of a good takedown artist can be seen in closely watching them fight. Most specific is that they have a strong determination. They use constant forward pressure at all times forcing the double leg while still on their knees or pummeling their opponent against the wall. Very rarely will you see arm or hip throws in a MMA fight. The most common takedown techniques are, in order:

1. Double leg against the wall
2. Double leg (including lifting them up and slamming them down)
3. Trips from against the wall (including bearhug spin around trips)
4. Single leg
5. Judo style Uchimata and Harai-goshi from high tie up positions

Arm drags and being able to get someone?s back for a takedown is quite rare in MMA events. And, since the most common takedowns happen against the wall, pummeling and moving your opponent to the wall seems like an important skill. It seems to me the reason most takedowns happen at the wall is because we defend takedowns by either:

1. Moving our hips back in a crouching position (to avoid hip throws & sweeps etc)
2. Throwing our feet back to sprawl (to avoid leg attacks).
3. Jumping or circling around twisting arm throws.

Against the wall it is impossible to sprawl effectively or put our hips back very far and it?s hard to jump and circle very well to avoid other takedowns.

Note: Although the occasional falling-back throw (such as Judos Tomoe-nage) is sometimes seen this is actually very rarely attempted. When it is it?s usually because one man has already fallen back into guard and wants to sweep the opponent as they are followed down. On other occasions the throw just fails anyway and leaves the thrower stuck on their back trying to use guard to defend themselves.

When a double leg fails one man is usually sprawled out flat. If they are not too close, the man underneath can often push away and get up onto his knees and stand again.

Point 3: Position is everything!
Isn?t that what BJJ enthusiasts have been saying for years?! Well, the video footage seems to prove time and again that the person in the best position will win the fight nine times out of ten. With the exceptions being those who, in the heat of the moment, made silly mistakes and gave out their arm foolishly.

A great deal of modern MMA fights are won by strikes from a top position! The man on top wins nine times out of ten regardless of if he is in someone?s guard or side control. Arm locks and chokes only constitute a small part of fight wins, the majority seem to be from KO?s, TKO?s or point decisions given to the man on top. This is probably partly due to the fact that the fighters get so sweaty, making it harder to get a good grip. Also it?s harder to catch an opponent who is expecting a choke or armlock than someone who is not used to this kind of fighting. The two ways most people win MMA fights are:

1. Strikes from being caught in someone?s Guard (as you wouldn?t expect!)
2. Strikes from the Mounted position (as you would expect)

The Guard
Once the man on top is caught in your guard they will either stand (in a highly sprawled position) or kneel with a wide base and slowly force you back until your head touches the cage (limiting your movements to escape). From there the top man will punch and tire you until you loose the fight. It takes much longer to win a fight from inside someones guard but punching in the guard seems to be one of the most efficient ways to win a MMA fight. Grabbing the back of the head or holding down the head are the common techniques to keep someone in guard position while you pound them.

Sweeps from the guard almost never work in a MMA fight for various reasons. Maybe because the fighter in the top position is just so good at avoiding them. They are not high percentage techniques and tend to waste a lot of energy. Also a guard pass is very often the result of the man on top riding over the sweeping leg. The most successful sweep is the elevator sweep or and unexpected upa (bridge n roll), there are few others ever attempted. In many cases an escape from a grounded position will usually require kicking an opponent back at the hips or pelvis and scrambling to get to their knees.

The Mount
The next most common winning position is the mount as everyone knows. From this position an attacker will raise their knees high into their opponents armpits and ride them striking as the man underneath bucks and twist to escape. They defend their opponents escape the same as with guard by holding them on the back of their heads and pounding them or just holding their faces down with one hand and hitting.

Although juji-gatame is one of the most successful submissions from the mount it is very risky to try. The man attempting the cross arm bar is giving up the mount in the hopes the man underneath will not manage to slip out of the lock. But only something like one in three juji-gatame armbars seem to work first time. It often safer to punch or attempt keylocks or chokes from this position.

Escapes from the mount position are never easy. Those having most success seem to be those who bridge hard and shoot a knee up between the mounted persons legs. From there they can work at kicking their mounted person away. Other escapes involve fooling your opponent into taking an arm bar etc., i.e. straightening their arm to push their opponent away and then capitalizing on the fact a mounted man will try a juji-gatame attempt.

Everyone warns against it but turning over and getting into the turtle position is another escape from mount that often works. Of course if it doesn?t they get choked or pounded from behind but sometimes they manage to wriggle out. The turtle is surprisingly hard to attack and seems like a good last resort move. Also the back of the head can take many more blows than the front.

Side Control
Lots of attempts to strike and submit from the side control and north-south positions are attempted and only a handful of fights seem to end in side control. Usually the man on the bottom will manage to bridge, shrimp etc., and get guard or half guard before the end. Then the man inside the guard will usually then punch the man underneath to a pulp. Lots of key locks are attempted from side control but usually fail. Cross arm bars (Juji-gatame) seem to be the most successful submission from side control. This is usually attempted when the man on the bottom turns towards the opponent to escape or just as a follow up from a keylock. North-south position is often done with the man on top on his knees. Hence many escapes from north-south are done when the man on bottom turns over into the turtle position and grabs the other at the knee of one leg pushing them onto their backs. There are very few legal submissions from the north-south position and maybe that?s partly why it?s so rarely used.

Knee-on-Stomach
Didn?t see very many attempts at a knee on stomach. Mario Sperry uses it sometimes in his fights and describes the wonders of it in his older videos but in his newer videos says it?s the ?old way? of doing things. Usually a knee on stomach is attempted with punches more as a way of mounting.

Back Mount
Rear naked choke is a very common finish and very effective. On Par with the cross arm bar it is one of the most reliable submissions you can learn. People seem to get back or half back after someone has attempted an arm bar from mount or failed in performing a certain technique and are scrambling to get to a good position or sometimes directly after a sprawl the top man will jump to the others back.

Some escapes from rear naked are seen. They are almost always done as the choke is attempted and not once the choke is sunk. Fast bridging and spinning motions are used. No set techniques as such but a wriggling to turn to face their opponent and to wriggle out of the leg hooks. Some bridge back hard to slow the force of the choke but often tap anyway. The trick seems to escape the hooks and spin towards the elbow of the forearm across their neck and they then have a chance to escape. But usually they are finished from this position.

Well that?s everything I could think of. Hope you?ve found it useful.

Nick “

For full thread go here http://pub13.ezboard.com/fsfuksubmissionfightinguksfukmmaforum.showMessage?topicID=17765.topic

Post: zefff:

Really great post. For those of us not versed in Japanese derived arts what are Kimura and Kata Gatame Choke?>

Post: The BadBoy:

The Kimura is the shoulder/Elbow lock as applied at UFC 40 by Carlos Newton On Pete Sprat for the win. The same move with which Sakuraba popped Renzo’s elbow.

The Kata Gatame is the Arm Triangle choke which Kimo used to defeat tank Abbot at what I believe was UFC 44 or 43, can’t rememebr exactly which one those guys fought on.>

Post: MrApollinax:


Kimura – In japanese Ude Garami. I’ve also seen this type of lock called a key lock, chicken wing or a bent arm lever lock depending on the position of the arm and the combatants.


Kata Gatame – Also known as a shoulder hold. I actually learned this more as a pinning technique rather than a choke.>

Post: The BadBoy:

I always though that the Key Lock was an Americana? Maybe a BJJ Practioner can clear this one up.

And the Kata gatame is an excellent choke. This that might be why it helps you hold the guy down. Cause he’s unconcious. :twisted:>

Post: MrApollinax:

From what I’ve learned is that the Kimura, Keylock, Americana, Paintbrush etc are all variations of the same lock – ude garami. In Judo Ude Garami is used to describe the lock from different positions if its forward (keylock) or if its reversed (kimura) the lock is still called Ude Garami. The only difference is the position of the combatants. All the following positions would be considered Ude Garami variations in Judo:






>

Post: zefff:

thanks guys!and the pics are great Apollinax mate. Its amazing that I do this stuff all the time but have no name for them. :roll: Now when I hurt a man I will shout “Ude Garami!!!” :mrgreen:>

Post: Tease T Tickle:

So what did we learn from this guy watching a bunch of videos? That a sport dominated by BJJ and Muay Thai enthusiast will fight with a high emphasis of BJJ and Muay Thai techniques. Wow. He’s bright.>

Post: The BadBoy:

what we learned des is that the biggener and expert all know the dame moves. there arent any black belt moves for say. and a sound grasp of the fundamentels is all u need most of the time. none of this fancy shit>

Post: :

What we learned is BASICS BASICS BASICS!!! Master the basics.>

Post: Tease T Tickle:

[quote=The BadBoy what we learned des is that the biggener and expert all know the dame moves. there arent any black belt moves for say. and a sound grasp of the fundamentels is all u need most of the time. none of this fancy shit[/quote 

Sure….but there is basic, non “fancy shit” that exists outside of the realm of what is used in MMA. Like, our genius observer you quoted said that very rarely was freestyle wrestling throws like suplexes used. However, if you go back in time and watch Dan Severn, you can see that basic freestyle throws WILL work if people use them. The “high percentage” moves that we see are there because everyone trains essentially the same way and leave out a good number of techniques.

How “fancy” is getting a grip on somebody and popping your hips? How “fancy” is a Judo throw as opposed to an ankle pick (especially when you consider that Judo uses ankle picks). How “fancy” are kicks that chamber the knee to produce whip like speed to kicks as opposed to using the Muay Thai club swinging kick?>

Post: The BadBoy:

Des your looking for an argument where there isn’t one. Sorry but I aint playing this time.>

Post: bamboo:

Badboy:

You be interested in comparing these stats with similar ones presented in “journal of asian martial arts” volume 12, #3 2003. The article made for an interesting read for me as a TmA practitioner.

cheers,
-bamboo>

Post: The BadBoy:

Bamboo where can I get a hold of these stats. As far as I know we don’t get that magazine in the U.K. Can you post them on here for all to see?>

Post: bamboo:

I will compile and post them, I just need a little time. I will have them up for middle next week.

BTW, you can order issues and back issues at www.goviamedia.com.

-bamboo>

Post: Tease T Tickle:

Quote:
Des your looking for an argument where there isn’t one.

I guess I’ll have to show it to you then…

[quote=The BadBoy Posted originally on SFUK Forum by Sankakudude

“Hiya everyone. You know there are millions of techniques and moves shown on instructional tapes, in books and so on but quite often when we try them on the mat they just don’t work…or was that just me[/quote 

That’s a thesis. He makes a statement of an idea that may or may not be true. The ‘argument’ follows in that original post as the child you quote attempts to prove his stance.

Quote:
what we learned des is that the biggener and expert all know the dame moves. there arent any black belt moves for say. and a sound grasp of the fundamentels is all u need most of the time. none of this fancy shit

This is another thesis from you. Easily enough, you use the other guy’s proof to support your argument. I like to refute shit like this, however. My post previous to this one threw down the gauntlet as it were for you to prove that techniques we never see in MMA are all “fancy shit” and worthless. Honestly, I’d like to see how you can do that with freestyle wrestling, Wing Chun, Defendo, Systema or any other style unrepresented in MMA circuits that have excelled in other vectors of combat. But, if you don’t want to ‘play this game,’ I’ll be content to take that as a silent affirmation that MMA is wholely biased towards only a small percentage of martial practicioners.>

Post: setsu nin to:

The BadBoy
“Hiya everyone. You know there are millions of techniques and moves shown on instructional tapes, in books and so on but quite often when we try them on the mat they just don’t work…or was that just me

Well in my opinion its problem in him becouse he buy wrong books. Also you may writte same thing on 99% of crap books, videos…
Its truth, in my opinion, that moust books and videos are crap, but not all of them. Some videos and books are full of techniques and techniques are really good (effective).>

Post: .smoke.:

DeStRuCtIkOn
“freestyle wrestling, Wing Chun, Defendo, Systema or any other style unrepresented in MMA circuits”

I’m wondering why certain styles like this aren’t represented? (BTW…serious question, not a smart ass remark )
[/b >

Post: The BadBoy:

Des this is what section? MMA? . That is a study of what sport? MMAt? So where do these other systems come into it? Where do your argument of MMA being unrepresentative come into it? Nowhere did I say that MMA represented reality. Hell even the title of teh thread is a brief study of MMA FIGHTING TECHNIQUES.

Ok lets for a minute say that we are taking this ‘childs’ study as a lesson to all arts. In that case I still think the valid point is stick to the basics. Learn them well and you will be successful. the fancy shit don’t work. It is not high percentage. Hell if you want refute that then I suggest you get of your ass and spar some.>

Post: zefff:

[quote=turbo_d DeStRuCtIkOn
“freestyle wrestling, Wing Chun, Defendo, Systema or any other style unrepresented in MMA circuits”

I’m wondering why certain styles like this aren’t represented? (BTW…serious question, not a smart ass remark )
[/b [/quote 

there have been threads on this but I dunno where they are now since the big change.

Generally speaking, people who take self defence or combat arts take them up initially and continue to practise them for unforseen self defence and combat application, not ring art. If they wanted to test themself or had interest in the ring or competition they would have taken up ring arts in the first place. The ring is not the best place for a combat artist to test themself, but it is the safest! :lol:>

Post: :

The arguing on this topic will just kill it. I think the topic is a good one, and it makes a good point. Don’t kill it by bickering about words.

Anyone who has trained in any martial art for a decent amout of time, especially grappling, will hear the instructor say that it is basics that win.

In our style we have certain charts that represent our levels. In order to progress, you must be able to effectively do every technique, not only in demo, but in fight. The first two charts (beginner) charts are the basics for fighting. Every single technique that was listed in the article from SFUK is in the charts. Sensei St Hiliare (Forum Sensei) has said many times that if you know those two charts or the basics, you can effectively defend yourself in street combat and the ring.

Have you ever watched any of Rickson Gracie’s fights? Besides a slick counter to a double-leg, I’ve never seen him deviate from the basics. Simple takedown, get mount, punch the head, take the back choke him out..

I’m sure this type of philosophy carries over into every martial art, not just grappling. I just thought it was a really good post, and have been talking about it quite a bit lately out of the forum as well. Thanks Badboy for posting it.>

Post: zefff:

I thought it was a worthwhile observation and good thread for me too and Im not even a MMA type.

It clarified certain techniques and their importance defined by success rate for me and confirmed that fundamentals and a base portfolio of technique are most important in the ring arts (and for me – combat).

I have taken apart quite a few champions in the past with my basics in sparring. People who dont know nothing used to diss my school saying it was boring doing the same thing everyday but the proof is in the pudding when you come up against others and cant believe how sloppy or rough round the edges they are.

I am looking forward to Bamboo’s stats as well but what I would like to see is the difference in success rates between aggressive, explosive attackers and slow and steady types of fighters.>

Post: bamboo:

O.K., for fear of copyright infringement I took only what was legally allowed in my province. Please remember that all I did was take these directly from a studydone by Daniele Bolelli, M.A. His study, although, brief went into much detail. It was stressed that this was BEFORE weight classes.

These stats were compiled from the first 176 UFC fights BEFORE many of the rules were in place.

Fights were ended-
60.2% on the ground
19.3% standing.

Remaining fights were won by decision or considered a draw.

Ground

35.8% submissions-
23% chokes or neck cranks
most common were:
Hadake Jime- 16
Forearm to windpipe-6
Guillotine- 4
Arm triangle-3
Triangle- 2
Last three undecipherable

Arm locks- 8.5%
Most common- Jujigatame-11 times
Ude gatame- 4 times
Leg locks- 4%
Most common- 3 knee bars
2 heel locks
2 achilles locks

Striking techniques to end fights- 24.4%
Standing strikes ?16.5%
Most common- 8 combinations which had cumulative effect
Hooks- 7
Right cross-2
Knee to face-2
Punch to downed man while standing-2
Knee drop to downed man ?2
Round kick to downed man-1
Foot stomp to ribs of downed man-1
Round kick to face (both standing)-1
Downward elbow-1
Round kick to thigh-1

Standing submissions

4 standing chokes (all guillotines)
1 throw to end fight

Hope this aides in the conversation. :)

-bamboo>

Post: Tease T Tickle:

[quote=The BadBoy Des this is what section? MMA? . That is a study of what sport? MMAt? So where do these other systems come into it? Where do your argument of MMA being unrepresentative come into it? Nowhere did I say that MMA represented reality. Hell even the title of teh thread is a brief study of MMA FIGHTING TECHNIQUES.

Ok lets for a minute say that we are taking this ‘childs’ study as a lesson to all arts. In that case I still think the valid point is stick to the basics. Learn them well and you will be successful. the fancy shit don’t work. It is not high percentage. Hell if you want refute that then I suggest you get of your ass and spar some.[/quote 

Such hostility, BadBoy, and to think that it’s all stemming from misinformation.

Why limit yourself to what is most popular when there is a large array of what work? Look at what the child wrote in the post you brought here. Everything is stripped down, not to the basics, but the basics of only a small selection of arts. The category of “what works” is much greater than the category of “high percentage.” Who cares who is using what? Use what works and fuck the rest.

Now, if you’d really care to demonstrate how Freestyle Wrestling does not belong in MMA or wouldn’t work in MMA, go for it. If you’d really like to respond with flames and anger, go for it. However, the bottom line is still that I am right and shit like the child’s “brief study” only serves to mislead practicioners.>

Post: Ninja Kl0wn:

Kris, stfu. From a neutral 3rd party perspective it looks like you’re really reaching for an arguement here. Don’t ruin a good thread.>

Post: zefff:

Des mate how can u say u r right anyway? right about wot? If I went into MMA and used a pressure point attack or some other little known technique to win, would I be supporting your view of wider possibilities? I think not…not in the context of the obvious ratio of success of simple moves in MMA with defined rules. The original post doesnt say “this technique is best for this situation”. It just shows one mans observations of MMA ring-sport results.

Take boxing. It is full of relatively simple moves. It promotes closed fist striking above and to the detriment of all else but we dont moan that it is a narrow-minded combat sport, developed from a blinkered viewpoint that misleads and distorts the truth of real combat! (Although I have noted that some ignorant general public see boxing as a total combat art) We just love how the competitors improvise and perform within the rules of that sport. It is the same for MMA. But I must admit I prefered the old tapes with fewer rules myself. It is further and further from real combat nowadays and this widening gap must be remembered when critising the sport or its participants and followers. Respect bros.

:mrgreen:>

Post: locosete:

cool info>

Post: Dcrjr:

Forgive me for not getting political here but I’m more a realist. No matter what name you want to call a hold or were you may apply it from. Weather it be sport or for you life. Weather you call it bye a Japanese name, American name, Chinese name ext. When you cut the bs its either offensive or defensive gesture and your goal is survival Or to win. Never train bye what you read the statistics are just train that you don?t become one.>

Post: Dcrjr:

If you are one for statistics hears some worth reading my opinion. Don?t over think the post’s if you don?t understand don?t frit don?t cry just move on.

http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/cvict.htm>

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