Here’s some technical drilling with MMA fighter Liz Carmouche before her last fight. There are many stages of learning technique, none can be skipped. Professional fighters still shadowbox and work their Jab, professional basketball players still take free throws, professional baseball players still take ground balls. Don’t cheat the process, learn right, you will fall to the level of your training under pressure.
There is a level of precision that can be obtained through rigorous repetition and analysis of movement. Just because we do the same thing does not mean we are the same. Check out Coach Vince and Fighter Zach in this cool MMA fight sequence.
Coach Charles Martinez:
Hey, what’s up? It’s Coach Chuck. Just give you another drill to work on while you’re at home. So you can use anything. You can use anything that you can use as a base to support your weight. It’s not really supporting your weight, because your weight should be mostly over your center of gravity. So I’m going to find something. I’m going to reach. I’m going to touch, now I’m just going to sit here, leg extended, hand out, head over my center of gravity, and just kind of find that shift.
If I shift to the side of my foot, I start to fall backwards at the end of my kick. Whichever direction my head goes, that’s the direction I fall during the kick. So I raise my leg. I’m not even trying to kick. I’m just raising my leg. Any direction that you lean your head will shift your center of gravity. Then as you try and retract your leg, your feet will set close together, and then they’ll fall backwards. So touch, if your balance, if your head is over the ball of your foot, no problem. You could be up on your heel or you could be more set down, either way. As long as this is a straight line, everything else should be fine.
So using that stop kick to kind of find your balance, switching out, touching, retracting, and then taking that pause out, where even though I’m not hitting hard, I’m just working on shifting my weight, turning my hips. Everything stays up. My hand stays up. My elbow stays close to my body. My other hand goes out. My chin is hidden. My chin is hidden on this side. And then just swinging my leg. So you don’t need a heavy bag to practice all these mechanics, and you can go high on the ball of your foot if you want. But as long as your foot turns out and your heel is able to move, you should be able to rotate your hip.
All right, so just finding any surface to act as a balance point so you can check your balance while you’re standing in your kick.
We pride ourselves on having the best coaching staff that is here specifically to teach you how to fight. Take an inside look at Coach Vince Salvador during one of his Kickboxing classes.
Coach Vince Salvador:
I’m shooting the jab at his face. I see the parries a lot there. I’ll start mixing in things, frame across. Look, my foot work. Now I’m here, same combination: body, head, and cross. Don’t move until you’re done punching. All right, once I get here, here, then I can move.
His time to strike is gone now that I’m here, all right?
So, you can come all the way across. If I know this guy has a big right hand, he can’t do anything. He can’t even throw it from here. So, same thing: jab here, I’ll wait for the parry, he starts to parry. Now look, I step across. Body, up, and across, all right?
All I’m doing now is when I throw my two, I’m going to set it up by throwing the one-two, and I’m going to step out. I’m going to throw the one, then I’m going to bring my shoulder forward without throwing the two. But now I bring my shoulder forward, I look down at the body. His body comes down, and I go right to the head. I didn’t mean to hit him, but his hand was…
You put your hands up.
So, the way you can set up… So, throw the low kick. I check it. Now do the same thing: shoulder feint, go to the body. Now look, bam, my leg comes back down. Then you chop the leg. Do it.
But a lot of times when I move my head, they’ll throw a punch because I’m turning my head over with my punches and my head and my arms move together like a… If my weight’s this way, this is punching. If my head’s this way, I can punch, but it’s not limited to that. You see what I’m saying?
Now, my head’s always moving, so there’s built-in defense. I’m not just here waiting for the shots. Block, block, block, right? I’m going to make the target hard. So, when you’re doing it, mix in the movement, mix in the feints, the level changes, and start trying to build the setup from there, all right?
Go grab your partner. Finish off with that. Guys, let’s build the setup with the feints. Use the frames.
The best training partners hold you accountable; they help you push yourself to new heights; they’re not on the sidelines watching; they’re right there with you in the trenches grinding, sweating, bleeding and suffering beside you. Adrian and Drew can be found at The Arena every morning helping each other to sharpen their Muay Thai skills.
Coach Vince Salvador:
What’s going on guys? This is Coach Vince from The Arena. Today, we’re doing a boxing tip that you can use in footwork. When fighting as a southpaw unorthodox, and my feet are always in the same position, you’re taught when you’re going one direction, you move the foot that’s in that direction, and then you recover. An unorthodox way to keep someone in front of you is to back step. A back step is made popular by a lot of the Cuban boxers because they’ll take their back foot and cut you off by stepping behind themselves. If they’re here and you take a step that way, this foot will come behind me, this one will recover, then I can keep him in front of me and you can do it from both stances.
I could go from orthodox and I can make it a drill by going orthodox. I can back step, pivot, then I can switch my feet the same way I showed you earlier by stepping forward. Now, I’m south pole. Using my stance, again taking my back foot, shooting it behind me and recovering. Now, taking a step back, back to orthodox, recover back to center, same thing. When I do that, it opens up my stance.
When we’re back stepping, what we need to do is make sure that our foot creates this angle so that when I bring my other foot to trail, I have this angle, right, orthodox. When I’m doing it, I can combine movements. Let’s say my opponent moves this way. I can move my feet here, use this to draw back and I can keep him in front of me. It’s just another way to keep my opponent in front of me so he can’t get away.
Team Arena’s own Ninja Princess, Janelle Freiman, has consistently shown the warrior spirit necessary to succeed in Boxing, Kickboxing and Muay Thai. A lifetime of hard work and dedication prepared her for the uphill battle of learning how to fight in a tough environment. We build fighters and have very high standards for anyone that we would consider fighting for us, Janelle has met and exceeded these standards. Enjoy!
When I first started combative training, the whole gym just went silent like, “Oh no, maybe she’s lost. What is she doing here?” There were a million times I felt embarrassed like, “What are you doing at this age trying to do something like this?” So I just realized like, well, this time’s going to pass either way so if I put the dedication in and do the hard work from ground up, I’m only going to get better.
Prior to fight training I had been a professional dancer. I did ballet. I did modern dance. I started at 18, which is a really, really late age. I had all the odds against me. I started training with ballet just full dedication. I’ve performed actually all over the world and I did that for over two decades.
When I first started training with Basheer I loved his training. I really love technique. I love mastery of a trade and having the technical proficiency. I didn’t know I was going to ever fight or was that even an option? Then I started to realize, “Wait a second here. I would love to get in the ring and do this.” And I think I can do it and I have the right coaches behind me.
The first thing I did was a boxing tournament. I had to fight two people, one of which had already been the previous winner for the Masters title and the World title so I had to fight her first. And I just brought in with me the same composure and focus that I brought into dance performance into the ring. I won both of those fights and I won the title. And then I went on to do six boxing matches. Then I did one kickboxing world championship in Australia, which was a six-round fight. And that was a really great experience. Really great accomplishment, just a dream come true.
I love that, since I’ve been here, I just get in the mix. In the beginning, there was a separation between me and them, female, older, etc. And so then over time, people have seen me putting it in, doing what it takes, having injuries, overcoming injuries, super dedication, and work ethic, and I probably train like three to four hours a day. And I feel like that I have earned the respect and that, over time, I think that age barriers or female/male barriers have just blurred. It’s a comradery here. It’s a “brotherhood” here. I find that everybody help each other, everybody want to see you get better. They see the dedication and then they’re going to honor that. It’s family and feel family here.