MMA Footwork Drill to Close the Distance in a Fight

Striking Coach Charles Martinez shows a simple drill you can do at home to practice your footwork and how to use punches to close the distance with your opponent and how to safely back out of range. This can be used in Boxing, Kickboxing and MMA.


Coach Charles Martinez:
Hey guys, this is Coach Chuck from The Arena. During this difficult time, we’re forced to be closed. We want to provide you with some content, simple drills you can do at home to still work on your technique. All right, so here’s a really simple drill you can do in your living room with anything as a focal point, boxing glove, shoe, anything that you can use just to give you a point of reference. In this drill, this point of reference is your opponent. So a lot of times people ask. If you have a good base and a good fighting stance, knowing what range you’re in as you advance towards your opponent really should tell you your weapons that you can use and what weapons they can use against you.

So we’re going to use this central focus point out here. I can be a little bit more relaxed. My hands can be a little bit wider. My fighting stance is good. I’m faking, I’m faking. I’m shifting my weight. As I advance, I don’t advance with my head sitting in the middle and trudge my way in here with my head sitting in the middle of my hands still up. All right, nice and easy from out here. I have a little bit of space because my opponent is technically out of range. I know they need to cover distance to get to me so I can let my hands be slightly looser here and shift my weight. As I advance, my head is moving. My fighting stance sinks a little bit, my hands come in a little closer. And then I leave again. Out here I have a little space to play with. As I advance, my hands come in tighter.

I set my weight. When I’m in here, everything is tight, and I clear again. That’s kind of the first layer, just using the footwork for in and out. Then as I cover distance, I start to use punches to punch my way in. I circle my way out. Out here, there’s even things that I can start to shield because in kick defense range because of my distance to the focal point. But as I come in, everything closing off. Small, tighter movements, and then clearing out and being loose and relaxed out here when I’m out of the danger zone.

Stay tuned, we’ll be providing content daily between all the different martial arts. We’ll try and give you different things to work on at home. Also, we’re diligently working on an online training program for the, which is coming soon, and it’s going to provide lots of information for beginners intermediate advance. Thank you for your continued support and we hope to see you soon.

How to Use Punches to Lay Down Cover Fire

In this Tip of the Week, Striking Coach Vince Salvador shows how to lay down cover fire, meaning he throws punches to help him move to the angle he wants. This lesson is good for Boxing, Kickboxing or MMA.


Coach Vince:
How’s it going? I’m Coach Vince from the arena and this is your striking tip of the week.


A lot of times when you’re striking, your exit plan is almost as important as your entry. So what way I go after I punch is really important. If I throw my left punch and I move this way, he’s going to hit me with something that’s in that direction.


So when I use punches to move, I’m setting myself up by laying down cover fire before I actually take the angle. It could be this side, this side, it doesn’t really matter. If I want to go this side, I punch with this side. So if I’m throwing my right hook, in kickboxing, we’re in this range here. But I throw here, I can use this to step off to the angle. He has no time to throw a hook, no time to throw anything.


And what I’m doing is I’m putting a defense in my offense and I’m moving my head, my feet, everything off the center line. And when I do it, I’m not swinging my head wild so he can kick me in the head, knee me in the head. I’m just using this head movement to get me into a better angle.


If I want this side, it’s the same thing. I could use it in combination, punch it and move to the other side, but if I punch in that direction, his counter will be a little bit late before after I move. So if he throws anything after that, let’s say an uppercut, when I move my head, I come offline by setting off that trap and taking the easy way to the angle right here.


If I want to use it in combination to the other side, I can do it this way, get to the corner. If I have a more a higher IQ or ability with my stances, I can switch my feet. I can be southpaw. I can do it on this side, too. Same thing. They all work in the same idea of me punching in a direction that I’m going.


If it’s pure boxing, simple boxing, it’s the same idea. If I throw my left hook and I move this way, I’m a lot safer. Same thing with kickboxing and MMA. It all applies.


So tip of the week, punch into the direction that you’re going. Don’t just go without laying your cover fire.

How to Use Inside Leg Kicks to Shift Your Stance

In this Tip of the Week Striking Coach Vince Salvador goes over inside leg kicks, and how you can use them to shift your stance and set up other combinations in a Kickboxing, Muay Thai or MMA fight.


Coach Vince Salvador:
How’s it going? I’m coach Vince from The Arena. This is another striking tip. And we’re using kicking to setup this now, and we’re using it to set up angles by setting up the kick to the inside leg. When I first throw the kick, really important where I land, right? So if I start for my kick here and I land here, I’m in range for getting hit. Another thing that will happen there is if this is MMA, easy take down where my legs are so close to him and I don’t really have power to the inside leg. So if I’m using it to set something up, I’m going to watch my right leg drop to the corner here. So if I fire that inside leg, I step off line already. Now my right foot is already in kick position. So if I need to, I can just fire this again, right?


If I want to fire a hard shot to the body, I’m already there. But I’m going to use this to move instead, right? So I use my footwork to set up my positioning again, but now I’m doing it off a kick. So I’m setting it up with the right hand, I shift off line, now I’m southpaw. He comes forward, I’m in a different angle now. So I’m just using this to shift and I’m not going to wait for him or draw myself into any kind of battle. If I go here and I go backwards and shift, he’s already waiting for me. I want to go as fast as I can. So when I go to the inside, he moves forward right away. So when he feels that, he moves forward right away, I’m already in the angle, right? So in the kickboxing, I want this guy to come forward. I’m going to keep him at my range, and so I’m ready. When he comes down here, I’m having a better angle. Now I can hit him from southpaw using a different stance and a different attack. That’s your tip of the week.

Enson Inoue Shows a Painful Way to Finish an Armbar

During his recent seminar here at The Arena, MMA Legend Enson Inoue taught a very painful way to break through your opponent’s armbar defense and finish the fight. Check it out, but remember to be kind to your training partners.


Enson Inoue:
If you’re going for armbar here, there’s all kinds of ways you can leverage with that. You can kick in with that. You can reach over and pull over that side. What I found good is when they hold it, I’d like to get in here and I always like to put this hand in. The reason being, I can strike with this hand and it’s way more damaging than striking this side. So I always have a habit of coming in this way. The next thing I do is here and here. So just like I’m choking his hand. Okay, from here, see how my elbows are open? I’m using the power of my arms. So what I like to do here is I like to sit up on the arm, sit tight, and just use my hips. It hurts like shit.


When I started doing this, I started asking… I had Sarah do it. I’m strong so I could hold, but a lot of times when you’re in this holding, you’re holding tight, whichever way you holding, and the guy starts prying. You can feel you can hold and you’ll feel like you’re, he’s going to break it anytime soon, but you’re stuck.

But it’s a different feeling. When I had Sarah did to me, I could hold, but I could feel the… I knew eventually she’s going to break it soon. Yeah. So here, in here, elbows against and make sure don’t have just against like this, yeah? Everything against. That’s a hold it, hold it, and then you just come back. It hurts like shit, yeah? If he’s strong… Let’s try that, two, three. Don’t do that here.

How to Land Fast and Effective Low Kicks for MMA

A low kick can be a very effective weapon for a fighter. In this video striking Coach Vince Salvador breaks down how you can use the low kick in Kickboxing or Muay Thai.


Coach Vince Salvador:
How’s it going, I’m Coach Vince and this is Enrique Marte. Today’s tip of the week is a kickboxing and Muay Thai tip of the week. A lot of times when we’re throwing the low kick, you see a lot of people in MMA or even in kickboxing, they’ll throw a big wide kick jumping into the kick for power and it’s not wrong, some guys prefer that. José Aldo is really good at that, by getting you to go backwards, as you go backwards, he jumps into the kick. Good, it’s a real powerful kick, but in MMA it can go both ways. I can take him down if he misses that kick or if he times it wrong. Right, so we’re going to work on a shorter kick. It’s more of a cut kick. The kick is to score and to damage a leg. I’m not really picking up my lead leg too much.

I’m not jumping into the kick. If he jumps into the kick and I punched at the same time, he’s going to be off balance. We want to score with the kick. A lot of times we can use this for the low-low as well. We’re chopping really low. But when we’re chopping that kick our whole body is not turning much. Then we’re scoring with the same power as a regular low kick without having to jump. So when we throw the hook, in boxing when you’re taught to throw the other hook, you’ll pivot that front foot to get more of the angle for the hook. But in kickboxing, if I turn the hook and miss, my leg’s exposed, get my leg chopped off. So I want to make sure when I throw the hook, I don’t really turn my foot just the hip so I can still chop the kick.

Right, so it’s a little faster too. So he throws a hook a lot faster. If he throws the hook, pivots his foot as he throws the hook, it makes it perfect, there’s no way he’s going to turn back for the kick. So, again. A lot faster it scores, harder for me to do anything if this is MMA. I come forward, he’s out of the way. If he does a big, big jumping kick, I can take him down if I really pressed the issue. And that’s your tip of the week.

Is Your Ego Preventing You from Growing in Martial Arts?

Switching things up in this Tip of the Week, MMA Coach Charles Martinez discusses something that can hold any athlete back. Your ego. Your ego can really limit your ability to step outside of your comfort zone and learn new skills, so listen up closely to what Coach Charles has to say.


Coach Charles Martinez:
Hey, this Coach Charles Martinez from The Arena, and this tip of the week slightly different than what I normally put out. I’m always really focused on technique, but today I decided to talk about how to actually make growth in the sports, right? All of these sports have a similar thing. You’re trying to learn new technique, you’re trying to add to the technique and then you have to do it under pressure.

A lot of times what prevent us from getting better really is our ego. Our ego doesn’t want someone to best you. You want to go harder and harder, and you want to make sure that you win every exchange. That’s not always the best way of being, right? You want to make sure that your technique is getting better. In order for your technique to get better, sometimes you have to do it against people that are better than you. They’re going to get the better of you, and then you have to try to analyze what’s working, what isn’t working, especially with sparring and live rolling.

People are going to get the better of you, and there’s always that, “Well, he started it. That’s why I started going so hard.” That’s the most common thing I’ve heard. I’ve heard guys in the fight team say it all the time. “Well, he started it.” Well, just cause you can do something to him doesn’t mean that you should. Right? There’s varying skill levels. You can learn from each level of someone better than you or worse than you, depending on how you take the lessons.

If you want to smash and smash and smash, that’s fine, but eventually someone will smash you and it limits your growth, right? Yes, you want to practice your technique perfectly, but you shouldn’t see someone getting the better of you as a failure. You should see as an opportunity to analyze what you’re doing, and see why they were able to get the better of you rather than seeing it as a bruise to your ego or a challenge to your manhood. It should really just be taken as a lesson. They got the better of me. Now, let me see why and let’s see what changes I can make to make my technique better so I don’t have to just use brute force or speed in order to win. That’s your tip of the week.

Chris Leben Shows How to Takedown Your Opponent Against the Cage

In this tip of the week, UFC Veteran and MMA Coach Chris Leben shows an extremely effective old school way to takedown your opponent against the cage, and position him for a solid beatdown.


Coach Chris Leben:
Hey, what’s up everybody? This is Harris, he’s one of our competitors on our fight team. My name’s Chris Leben, I’m one of the coaches here at The Arena and this is your tip of the week.

So what we’re going to go over here is a very basic take down to a beat down position. One of my favorites, old school. This move has always worked and it will always continue to work. If you’ve ever watched Khabib, this is one of his go tos on the cage. Very simple. My head goes in the jaw. I control the bicep with my under hook. I’m going to use my head to drive him up, give him something to think about. That gives me my level change. I pin the hips. Now I’m going to use the bounce in the cage to bounce, that makes the legs light, as I slip him back he goes down.

Now as he lands, if he’s got any game at all, his first reaction is going to be to scoot his hips back to the cage. He’s got to post that hand on the mat to do it. I’m going to go ahead and trap that hand. I’m going to angle my body a little bit and drive across. If you notice my fist is going in front of his arm into the mat. My head comes around and goes all the way to the cage. I walk my hips around here and now even though my weight isn’t on him, with his both arms stuck behind his back, it takes zero power for me to keep him here and land devastating shots.

So it’s an oldie but goodie, cage work 101 right there. Trap the arms, beat him down. One more time. Bicep under hook, drive him up, level change, bounce pop, control the hips, suck them back a little bit. Trap the arm, drive across. Fist goes in front. Now this is important, here I need to get my head to the cage so he can’t get that arm around. Now that I’m here, he’s stuck and I can just go ahead and fire away. Now this fight is all but pow at that point. So Harris, Chris Leben, and that’s your tip of the week.

Breakdown of Conor McGregor Shoulder Strikes VS Cowboy Cerrone UFC 246

After Conor McGregor easily defeated Cowboy Cerrone in UFC 246, a lot of people had questions about the shoulder strikes he was using in the fight. MMA Coach Vince Salvador breaks down how Conor used them and why they were so effective.


Coach Vince Salvador:
How’s it going? I’m coach Vince, one of the coaches of the MMA team, and this is your tip of the week. So over the weekend we watched the Conor – Cerrone fight. The shoulder strikes were one of the strikes that he used to set up a lot of things. It’s not a new move. A lot of people have been doing it for a long time. It really has a lot to do with the grip. And we’re going to go over ways to stop it, prevent it, and also how to use it. In that situation, the over hook, come on, we’ll go on this side and the bicep right. From here, if I control this and over the hook here, his head’s exposed unless he changes his head position. So if he changes head position and gets his head to the inside, I can’t hit him with the shoulder anymore.

Right? So to prevent this, bring your hips in, shoulder position and you want to be tight so I can’t get into that position anymore. I have to push, bring my head on this side to hit him with this shoulder. So if his heads on this side, it can happen, especially if I have the bicep control because I have control of this arm. Now I can go over hook here and I can just help with the shoulder. If I want to, I can, if I’m shorter than my opponent, like I am here with Jeff, I can drive from down low and bring it upward just to make space. A lot of times when we use that, it’s just so we can make space so we can fire that inside to make space that we can turn to here. Right? But if you don’t defend it, it can be a weapon and it’s a good weapon to use against the cage.

So if I’m here and his head’s on the wrong side, right, I can hit him here, use that to start busting him up to set up, take down and stuff like that. So another thing … Grab me the same way. Over hook bicep head position is key for me. So if he wants to hit me with the shoulder, what does he need? He needs to get his head on this side and put from this position here. So what first things first for me to prevent that, I got to get the same grip as he has. Now I have shoulder control. He tries to bump, doesn’t work anymore. Now with my underhook and this position here, I have a stronger position than he does. I get my head back into position where I can use it and none of this ever happens. That’s my tip of the week.

MMA Legend Enson Inoue Teaches His Favorite Way to Mount His Opponent

While teaching one of his seminars here at The Arena, Pride Fight Veteran and MMA Legend Enson Inoue shows his favorite and most effective way to mount his opponent. This technique can also be used in Jiu Jitsu or Submission Grappling.


Enson Inoue:
So I’m here and I sit for the mount. One big point I like to emphasize is you always want something connected to the hips. If it’s your hand, if your hands going to leave, I like my knee there. From here, when I like to mount, is I don’t like to commit my whole body weight. A lot of you guys might know this, but when you spar, you’re still probably doing this type of mount. So, what I mean by that is, when my knee will hit the mat first before my feet. You see how my whole body is committed to it? So what I like to emphasize is, here, when I’m going to mount, it’s just my feet.

I’m real tight, but what I want to imagine is a cockroach. And if you don’t like killing cockroaches then you imagine your ex-girlfriend or your ex-wife. So you just want to give it a little. So you want to do it as possible to the hips if you want to control the hips. So what I like to do is, I like to come here, even if I don’t slap, I hook here.

So right here, my only movement is my leg. And if he were bridged and go back and try to turn it backwards, I can easily base. If I’m here, and my whole body weight is on him, and he bridges, he’s got the momentum of my whole body weight going back. So it’s hard for me to maintain position.

So what I want you guys to do, this basic here. You come here, you’ve got to know your plan. For me, if Baret lifts, and he’s defending, he lifts up here, I know I’m not flexible enough to get that. But I know if I can get it about here, I can probably clear. So you’ve got to know your own plan, and all you need was a split second because the foot is so fast. Okay, so get a partner and let’s just try doing this, okay? Ready, one, two, three.

Chris Leben’s Favorite MMA Beatdown Position

In this video, UFC Veteran and MMA Coach Chris Leben shows a brutal beatdown position he loves to use that leaves his opponent virtually defenseless. There’s a reason they call him The Crippler.


Coach Chris Leben:
What’s up? This is Gavin. I’m Chris Leben, one of the coaches here at The Arena, and here’s your tip of the week. Okay, so we’re going to look at a very simple beat down position. I take this guy down on the wall. Now his job, he wants to scoop, post his hands and come back up against the wall. All I’m going to do here is trap this hand and put my right hand in front of it. Now I’m going to run in front of his legs and drive my head against the cage. Now Gavin has no hands to defend himself and it’s an easy finish from here. Chris Leben, there’s your tip of the week.

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