Enjoy 🙂

Donkey Kong

When using ground and pound there are many ways of landing effective strikes on your opponent however there are only a few methods that are both efficient and effective ways of producing some devastating ground and pound. There are two methods we are going to look at the traditional style and what I like to call the donkey kong.

In this video you have a demonstration of traditional ground and pound from inside someone’s guard. The main points are having your arms on the inside of theirs, good posture with your hands on the person not the mat. Then when delivering the strikes it is getting as much in to the punch as you can by getting your elbow up as high as you can, think starting a lawn mower, then using gravity and your body weight to put as much in to that punch as you can. There are plenty of other little things that can be done, like tying up their arms short punches before the big heavy long punches and so on. For me to make this type of ground and pound effective you need good posture and distance between their chest and yours, which usually happens when you opponent is trying to keep you at a distance or using an open guard

This is using hammer fists for ground and pound. With a hammer fist you are hitting with the little finger side of the glove. If you have ever worn an MMA glove then you will know that there is no padding on the side of the glove and with most brands there is stitching and other things that keep the glove together which make it quite a solid surface. One thing that is consistent across all brands is that the side of MMA gloves do not feel good when bouncing off you skull. If you really want to see how powerful the hammer fist strike can be check out a gorilla hitting the ground in a display of dominance. That is all very interesting I know but was has a gorilla have to do with MMA? When you are inside someone’s guard and they have broken your posture down so you can’t deliver any powerful strikes, short sharp hammer fists to the face is a perfect way to get a reaction so you can make space. Once you have space you can really open up with hammer fists. The most effective way I find too use hammer fists is to do a couple of powerful strikes with one hand, to get their defence up, then swap to the other hand. While you are striking with one you are trying to set up a max power shot with the other hand, the when ready alternate hands almost like a windmill. Once you have the heavy shots raining down then you can throw a double handed strike. The two handed strike really creates confusion with defence and makes it a nightmare for your opponent Donkey kong doesn’t have to be from inside guard it works just as well from half guard and mount, just like any effective ground and pound. However it is not the most effective from back control.

The benefit of the donkey kong ground and pound is that it is faster and uses less energy than traditional ground and pound. With a traditional ground and pound the lift of the elbow and the rotation of the forearm, on the striking arm, takes more energy than you would think. The other interesting thing that I have noticed is that with traditional ground and pound people can defend it more effectively and their movement causes more of a problem as they seem to be under less stress. Then with donkey kong I find that people cover up more and seem to be easier targets as they are under more stress. In fact there has been numerous times with a person in half guard that they go in to the foetal position and they just stay there as they have no idea where to go. Don’t get me wrong I still use traditional ground and pound and I really like it, especially when against an open guard, but when I see the opportunity to unleash some donkey kong I am always surprised with the effectiveness of it.

Here is some of the best ground and pound that I have seen in MMA

Gareth Lewis

Head MMA Instructor


When new people start MMA they usually ask what You Tube videos they should watch to get better. In general, training with people beats watching You Tube, but You Tube can be good to get an idea of what can be done with technique, along with some other good little tips. When asked, the BJJ video I tell people to watch is ‘Genki Sudo Westside Tournament’, as to me this is a great display of BJJ.

To put it in perspective, I have trained BJJ for years and it is the only sport I have competed in that I find boring as hell to watch. The top level matches, where they are fighting for every inch and their skill level is even can be 10mins of rather boring man-cuddle fighting. I have a lot of respect for their skill and understand what is going on, however it is just not that interesting to watch. A lot of matches have only 3 pivotal points, the takedown, the pass/sweep and the finish. For those reasons I send people to the Westside Tournament to get a view of what is possible in BJJ. Genki Sudo’s movement and transitions are so smooth and effective it can open the mind of a person new to BJJ.

Here are some of the highlights that make this a great watch for me. In his first match they are standing in a lose grapple and out of nowhere Genki throws up a jumping triangle. In the second match there is a great display of an open guard sweep to top control, then a far side armbar. Next match sees some good wrestling defence which transitions to a triangle while defending a single leg. The next two matches are my favourites as they start with a beautiful double leg, with a trip, followed by a lovely transition, then a great demonstration of top control. Genki’s opponent goes from all fours to his side and repeats the sequence while Genki just sticks to him like a limpet. Then the opponent can’t keep up with the movement anymore and stops as Genki has his back. , There is a short pause in the action, then out of nowhere Genki catches him with a rear naked choke. Against the next guy there is great wrestling defence, then his hip movement, when passing guard and avoiding hooks, is just top shelf. There is also a pause after a lot of movement, with Genki standing and the opponent seated. Genki then jumps at him with a triangle and catches him. Following this is an arm drag that doesn’t get a great result, so Genki just drops to a forward roll and locks up a calf crank. To finish there’s some good wrestling defence top control and shoulder lock.

Overall watching Genki’s movement and anticipation always surprises me. With his guard pass, where he just keeps moving his hips and feet until the other guy can’t keep up,   Genki really makes them pay. When his opponent changes position he doesn’t try and stop them, he just uses it as an opportunity to move to a better position. His top control is what I call a hangman style – gives you enough rope to hang yourself. His control is tight, but at a distance, so the opponent can move. This allows Genki to take advantage with that movement. His knee ride transitions are a thing of beauty. He does all this against some decent grapplers. I have watched this many times and the opponents don’t really do anything wrong. There are a couple of guys who look very solid grapplers who get made to look very average.

For someone new to BJJ there are things that will be above their head, but that is true of any BJJ video. I expect the movement on display to really open the eyes and the minds of the people watching . If a new person thinks about their movement and transitions they will improve faster than someone who focuses on submissions. To get submissions you need to have good position with good control. The more a person can think about and work different and better ways to keep control, as well as come out on the good end of transitions, then the sky is the limit.



Gareth Lewis

Head MMA Instructor

The Most Painful Way To Lose A Fight

I was a kickboxing in the early 2000’s and therefore watched a lot of K1, this was in the days of Ernesto Hoost, Peter Aerts, Ray Sefo, Stefan Leko, Mark Hunt, Jerome Lebaner. At the time these were the best heavy weights on the planet and they could all kick like a wounded mule. Ernesto Hoost used leg kicks to break down his opponents, he would destroy their front leg until they could no longer stand. For me, watching a fighter get their front leg kicked so hard and so often that they can’t stand is the most painful way to lose a fight.

The leg kick is underutilised in MMA, there are some very good exponents of it – Jose Eldo – but in general it is a technique that is not used that often considering how simple and effective it is. So let’s have a look at why and when people use it and why people avoid using leg kicks.

So why use leg kicks, in a basic way they are very effective and easy to do. When I say easy I am saying in relation to landing a clean punch to the head, kick to the head or a clean body shot. Outside of a clean head shot and a liver shot this is a sure fire way that you can get a TKO. To get an idea on what it feels like to kicked in the thigh, imagine someone swinging a baseball bat, at 50% power just to be nice, in to your thigh 5 or 6 times in 3minutes, then see how well you are walking. When someone gets kicked in the thigh often enough and the leg shuts down, it is purely a pain response not a sign of toughness that stops your leg from working. Everyone that I have seen loose via kick kicks has always tried to keep fighting even though they can hardly stand to the point that their leg would give out from a light breeze. This all makes leg kicks are very efficient technique, and I can confirm that after 3 good kicks land on your thigh you have a hitch in you giddy up for a few days.

So when do you use leg kicks, there are some general ways in which leg kicks are used. The first is a distance keeper that is as soon as someone sets foot in to the ‘striking zone’ you kick their leg. This is usually used as distraction, they start thinking about their leg being kicked which takes their attention away so they are tentative when stepping forward and are concerned about getting kicked. This helps as your opponent is not that keen on moving forward, which makes your life easier, they also become easier to hit as they are thinking leg checks (lifting your leg to block the leg kicks) rather than blocking head punches and other strikes or even striking themselves. The other common use is the counter leg kick. This is usually used by a shorter person against a taller opponent. As the taller opponent has the reach, the shorter person waits for the jab, rolls their shoulder (which happens when you kick correctly) to avoid the punch then land their shin on the opponents front thigh. They can also wait for the opponent to throw a combo then follow up with a leg kick as a counter at the end as a response to the unanswered strikes.

So why do people avoid throwing leg kicks, the big reason is the thought of your shin smashing in to someone else’s shin bone. This happens as the defence to a leg kick (called a check) is to lift your leg and turn your foot out so their shin hits your shin instead of your thigh. This shin on shin contact takes some getting used to, thinking of walking in to the tow bar on your car, thanks to adrenaline during the fight you don’t feel it. Then a few days after the fight you throw a kick at a bag and it hurts like hell as your shin is very tender. Everyone has taken some good knocks on the shin and it can make you a little gun shy when throwing a leg kick. The extreme version of this is when the person who throws the kick snaps their shin bone on the shin of their opponent’s leg – the most hideous injury to see. The other big reason in MMA is the fear of the take down. On a very basic level it is very hard to defend a takedown when you are standing on one leg trying to throw a kick. Your opponent can also catch your leg kick and use it to take you down, if you are up against a good wrestler / grappler this can be a concern. The ironic thing here is that when someone is in the wrestling stance it becomes very easy to kick the front leg as their feet are too far apart to be able to leg check effectively.

Therefore the leg is a great weapon the kick is a destructive force that can be used to destroy a leg of an opponent. Getting your leg kicked so hard that you can no longer stand has to be the most painful way to lose a fight. You are unable to stand due to the pain in your leg you just can’t put weight on it, think the worst dead leg you have ever had and that does not come close. To put that in perspective, remember that you can’t feel smashing shins with someone due to adrenalin but you are unable to put weight on your leg due to the damage / pain in your leg. Compare that to a kick or punch in the head where you just wake up confused but it doesn’t really hurt. The dreaded body shot hurts for about 10 seconds then you are absolutely fine and can walk out the ring with no apparent damage. When someone losses by leg kicks they are walking with a limp for at least a week, they need to get ice on their leg straight after the fight to help with swelling (ice bath is the best). Some fighters are on crutches for a few days due to the pain and damage. Even if you win and have taken a few kicks in the thigh then your knee doesn’t bend without pain for a few days which makes sitting down difficult. So as you can tell getting kicked in the thigh hurts and outside of a freak accident, (broken bone) or not tapping and something going pop, it is the most painful way to lose a fight.

Gareth Lewis
Head MMA Instructor

Boxing v Circus

This year we have already been blessed with a great boxing match, Joshua v Klitchscho. Where it was the old lion vs the young lion, both men got off the canvas and there was a great comeback for a finish in final rounds. Boxing has been on the down slide for as there has been lacking an exciting champion and it needed a shot of adrenaline, to me that could be Anthony Joshua to inject the excitement back it the sport. However what I do not think is good for boxing, or fight sports in general, is the Mayweather v McGregor fight. This is just an absolute farce and outside of the money I can’t see the upside for fight sports.

Let’s put the Mayweather v McGregor fight, or circus, in to perspective. On the 16th September 2017 there is, in my opinion, one of the most intriguing fights in years GGG v Canelo. GGG or Gennady Golovkin (37W 0L 33KO’s) is one of the best boxers of all time, he has one of those stupid amateur records with 345W 5L and is undefeated as a professional. His opponent Saul Alvarez (59W 1L 1NC 34KO’s) is also amazing, he doesn’t have the amateur record of GGG because he turned pro at 15 and that is why he has had over 60 pro fights and the tender age of 26. Canelo’s only loss has come from Floyd Mayweather, which is no real shame when you fight the best when you are only 23. What makes this fight so interesting is that two top fighters and going against each other and that does not happen as often as you would think. This is one of those fights where you can sit down and come up with a reason why each of them can win, then counter that argument and continue to go back and forth in your head. GGG does not do anything flash and makes boxing look easy, he takes away his opponents job walks them down then destroys them with over hand right left hook to the head and left hook to the body. When you watch him you can’t quite figure how is so effective with such a simple style, but he is and it is a thing of beauty. He is one of my favourite fighters to watch as he just so damn good. Canelo is extremely technical, he doesn’t really do anything wrong, his hands are up he punches hard with both hands, so he is hard to hit and then when he lands it does a lot of damage.

If you compare a fight of two truly great fighters to the circus, on the 26th August 2017, that is Floyd Mayweather (49W – 0L) who is one of the best fighters in history and arguably the best defensive fighter of all time against Conor McGregor (0W – 0L) is a MMA fighter that has a very good left straight. What frustrates me is that more people will watch the circus than are really good boxing fight, then as a flow on effect the fighters in the circus will also get paid more. I am planning to pay to watch both, which bugs me somewhat, but the GGG v Canelo is a lot more interesting to me.

So who will win, in the boxing match I am going for GGG because these guys are very close with skill and ability he seems to have a more dominant style and haven’t ever really seen him backed up, where as we have seen Canelo loose. In saying that both fighters can land a big shots and change the course of the fight, not an easy fight for either of them.
For the so called ‘boxing’ match between a big mouth and a retired fighter seems to have got everyone talking, which shows how things have changed. The chance of McGregor winning is very remote, most people have said that all he needs to do is land his left hand and it is over. Where that argument falls down is that Mayweather fought 7 southpaws and did not hit the canvas or get any standing 8 counts, then to top it off he fought the best south paw in history, Manny Pacquio, who missed 85% of the punches he threw at Mayweather. So if one of the best and fastest punchers in history can’t hit Mayweather how the hell is McGreggor going to land a shot. People use McGreggor’s MMA history and gauge on his striking prowess, which is also unfounded when you have level changes and kicks to disguise your punches it makes it a little easier to disguise your punches, which gives them a greater chance of landing. Now all McGregor has is his right and left hand and that will make it very difficult for him to land anything.

If we put this in to a Rugby context people are choosing to watch the Warriors play the 2010 All Blacks in rugby, yes it is kind of interesting but wouldn’t you rather watch the 2017 AB’s play the Lions and watch a potentially a great contest and see all the skills on display??

Gareth Lewis
Head MMA Instructor

Who Scares You?

Who are the scariest people on the UFC roster right now I do not mean the best fighters in the UFC I just mean the ones that you would least like to spar against. Here is my list of ‘hell no’ I don’t want to spar them.

The list is in no particular order and is based on what I believe it would be like to spar against these people.

Khabib Nurmagomedov, 24-0. Khabib is one the most dominant fighters the UFC has seen. There has been plenty of great fighters in the UFC so why would I put this relative new comer on the list. Keep in mind that he fights at 70kg so we are not talking about big guy here, however with his style of fighting it doesn’t matter. He has a background in wrestling and judo and has landed some of the most spectacular take downs in UFC history. So this is how I think sparring against him would go, he is not much of a striker so I can imagine he would strike for a bit until he got a little frustrated and then he would go for a takedown, you might be able to defend the first attempt but he would flow from attack to attack and would get you down, most likely in a big dramatic and with a rather painful landing. Once you are on the mat your soul belongs to him, his smothering top control means every movement you make is met by control and punishment. If he decides to add in some ground and pound he will tie up an arm and punch you until he either gets bored or decides to change position. Once Khabib takes you down then for us mere mortals then are two ways that you are getting up one is the end of the round, and this is most likely you one and only useful escape which is to either tap out or start crying from taking a beating. There is nothing worse than sparring someone who does not give you enough room to breathe and then punishes you every time you try and move with tighter and tighter control with side order of GnP it would not be fun. As Khabib is one of the best ever (maybe the best) at this style that is why sparing against him would be a very scary prospect.

Yoel Romero 14 -1, Yoel is an Olympic wrestler who won the 1999 world champs and a silver medal at the 2000 Olympics. If my knowledge is correct he has beaten 3 Olympic Gold Medallists including Cael Sanderson. To put this in perspective Cael Sanderson is America’s most successful College wrestler he is the only wrestler to go through college undefeated (151-0). If you have ever wrestled you will understand how cray that record is. In Cael’s post college career Yoel defeated him twice, think about that for a second. Cael does not lose and Yoel beat him twice. This should give you an indication of his talent. I know that there are plenty of good wrestlers in the UFC so what makes Yoel so scary compared to the others? Here is your answer, take Daniel Cormier for example who is also an Olympic Wrestler and won a Bronze at the World Champs which also makes him a unreal with his wrestling. I get the impression that if you sparred against DC he would take you down and beat you for sure, but as he is such a clever fighter I can’t see him using any extra strength than needed to take you down, in short you would be more or less safe against him. Now with Yoel, going by the way he fights, has two speeds. One is slow and just moving around with no real effort, then the other is the most explosive and powerful movement that you will ever see from a 85kg man. Even against the top level competition when he does a takedown he seems surprised how hard he takes them down. As in his fight against Lyoto Machida, a simple foot sweep with an opposite side under hook put Lyoto at right angles with the ground roughly 3ft high, which is unreal. Then against Chris Weidman, who had never been taken in the UFC, he did a double leg and drove him 15ft across the cage. In sparring against Yoel there is a good chance he would put you in to orbit when he went for a take down, then to add insult to injury, he wouldn’t mean to or said in another way he thought you would be better. If he threw a ‘quick’ punch at you with his speed and power you would starve to death rolling after it landed. I am sure he is a great guy and is gentle by nature, but he has a nuclear generator in the nucleus of his muscle cells and it seems that Homer Simpson is at the control panel. When he goes at 60 – 70% that would destroy most normal people and I can only imagine how tentative you would be sparing him waiting for the inevitable lighting fast attack which will leave you on your back, from a strike or more likely a take down, staring at the ceiling thinking what just happened.

Chris ‘Cyborg’ Santos 17 -1 -1(NC), Firstly I truly believe that Cybrg is one of the scariest people male or female in the UFC. Cyborg has one loss on her record, she lost he first fight via knee bar in 2005 she has not lost since. It is not her record that makes her scary it is how she dominates her competition and makes it look like they should not even by in the same division with the gap in talent and physicality. Cyborg is known for he aggressive striking but she has also won world BJJ titles in the purple belt division. That is a big concern as she doesn’t usually need her grappling skill to win fights as she just punches their face off. Cyborg’s intensity is one of her big weapons she has an aura of complete confidence and destruction. I can imagine being on the same mat as her and then she taps your glove to signify you are sparring next, then your blood pressure would increase to level similar to trying to push a golf ball through a hose and your pulse would need the rev counter from your car to count the beats per minute. Then the round would start and those heavy hands start thumping on your guard and the power of the punches feel like a 90kg guy not a 70kg lady. You go in to survival mode and the harder you go the more she plants her feet and matches everything you have then goes to level you will be not be able to handle. To save from knocking you out she takes you to the ground dominates you, taps you out and lucky for you it all starts again as the round is not over. After sparring she would take your lunch money, give you a wedgie and you would say thank you before running away to the corner to lick your wounds.

Cain Velasquez 14 -2, Cain is quite simply the most dangerous guy in the UFC. He has had injury problems which has slowed him down. When he is not injured he is hands down the most dangerous heavy weight the UFC has seen. His striking is top shelf with great timing and his counter punching is just evil. Then he has his wrestling and ground and pound. He has the power of a heavyweight and the movement of a middle weight. To put it bluntly I find it unfair when someone is a bit ‘loose’ around the midsection and then is really fit, fast and strong. He is so focused that I can’t imagine him giving you an easy round, he would give you 100% to get the best out of the session. Your brain would be going like a hamster on a wheel trying to deal with his striking, then the level change happens and you are going for a ride, because you are so out of your depth with the striking you can’t even see the takedown coming. Every time you moved you have a 105kg lump keeping you in a bad position. He would make you look like a baby and he would do it effortlessly, I can see him being polite and respectful afterwards and he might even give you your organs back in a vacuum sealed bag so you can keep training after the operation.
To me these are the scariest people in the UFC, it is hard to define what puts people on this list and keeps others off. There are some very talented fighters that would not be as scary to spar against, Damian Mia is on the nice list he is a very tough guy and would tie you up in knots but that is to be expected against the best grappler in the UFC. Stipe Miocic would beat the snot out of you but doesn’t seem like a scary dude. However Wanderlei Silva nearly made the list even though his best days are behind him and he doesn’t fight for the UFC. I don’t quite know what the measure of scary is, and what makes someone who has crazy skill and tough as nails not scary. It mayb is their image or their mind set. All I know is that everyone on the list would be scary as hell to spar against.

Gareth Lewis
Head MMA Instructor


Listening to an interview recently it really stuck me how accurate it was. We are clones in MMA, most of us have learnt the ‘best’ way to punch, kick, double leg and arm bar. As everyone is learning this in all the same way are we all just chasing our tail to get ahead.

To beat someone like me you just have to do the moves a bit better and win the transitions (which is kind of the same for everyone), I am the first to say that I don’t do anything flash I just try and make it right. I am always looking to make things a bit tighter faster and so on, but in reality all that is happening by doing this is just keeping up with the MMA evolution.

The people that do it different is where MMA is heading now, MMA has reached the point where everyone is so damn good at everything it takes something different to take it to the next level. Even though he has big issues out the cage, Jon Jones, was the first to go from doing it well to doing it different and was very successful. He did spinning elbows against the cage the little kicks to the front knee, was just a small part of what he did different. While he was clean he dominated his division. Dominic Cruz is still the person I think of when I think of someone who breaks the mould and does it so well.

When Cruz fought Dillashaw to win the title back it was a blue print for what we are talking about. TJ Dillashaw is a great fighter, he does everything right and does it really well if you could copy him and reproduce at the same level you would be doing very well. But he is the clone, everything he does is what you should do there are no real surprises just clean sharp good technique and good decisions. When he fought Cruz he was made to look bad, Cruz used weird angles and techniques to keep him off balance and catch him with clean shots. In the first 3 rounds of the fight Cruz dominated, he got a little tired in the last two rounds but won the fight without any doubt.

To be honest this kind of bugs me, every sport I have done I have always tried to do it right then do it better. When this dawned on me it made me re-think everything I do and really appreciate the people that have the ability to change the way things are done in any aspect of sport. Damn them for being so good, but thanks for the progression you have given us.

Gareth Lewis
Head MMA Instructor

You do it wrong, but you do it well.

When everyone learns technique in MMA there are guidelines that everyone learns, keep your hands up and don’t cross your feet with striking. In wrestling keep your posture, heavy hips. In BJJ, keep your arms in tight and don’t be flat on your back. However there are always those that change the rules and make it work. Mohammed Ali for example against and heavyweight in boxing you would not recommend having your hands down and dancing around the ring, or lean against the ropes and let one of the hardest punches in history hit you for 6 rounds to tire them out, but he obviously made it work.

In MMA the person who comes to mind is Dominic Cruz, his footwork is wrong his head movement is not by the book. Then in fights with his constant movement and weird angles he makes it a nightmare for his opponents. He steps left drops his head to the left and up comes the right head kick. Then more ducking and weaving while crossing his feet and throwing perfectly timed counter punches from weird angles. Using weird angles for his striking is exactly why it is so effective.

Over the years I have sparred hundreds of people and have always done well against people who go by the numbers, as in hands up and throwing good clean combos. There are always people better but when they were beating me in a way I could understand what they were doing at least I always felt that there was a good chance of picking up their timing or when they repeat the same moves to give me an opening. However this is not the case when sparring against people who did things wrong but well. Sparring someone that has their front hand on their hip and throwing the jab from there and keeping good range. When the jab comes from the hip it comes at angles that I don’t practice, I work the jab coming from their chin. With these slight changes there are different tells and signals that tell the jab is coming and if you haven’t practised it over and over you don’t know what you are looking for, and you get hit.

So let’s say you are fighting someone like Dominic Cruz how do you train for a fight like that. Where do you find someone that can replicate his style, you can have people try but at the end of the day what he does in unique. If you fight GSP on the other hand you more or less know exactly what he is going to do to kick your ass and it is your job to stop it (not that anyone could). GSP will keep the fight where you don’t want it and he was the best at it. Dominic Cruz keeps you off balance and lots of different looks and angles. His constant movement is very impressive and the only fact you need to know that his style works is that he was out for three years with two big injuries, then came back to win the title. When he won the title he fought a guy that does everything right but doesn’t do anything unexpected and against a style that Cruz’s has, with all the unexpected moves, gave Cruz the advantage and the win.

In short it is easier to fight against people who do everything that you have trained for. When you are fighting someone with a different style like Dominic Cruz or against someone with physical attributes that are hard to replicate like an extremely tall fighter it makes it that much harder to train for and the preparation is going to be that much harder. At the professional level there is the money and you might be able to afford to bring someone in to your training camp. For the rest of us all you have are the people around you at your local fight gym. Therefore these people that do it wrong but do it well I find it frustrating as hell but respect what they can do by bending the rules and making it their own, as Cruz said “MMA is such a young sport that no one knows what is right or wrong yet”

Gareth Lewis
Head MMA Instructor

The Next Round

Watching a documentary on a very successful and famous sports man who talked about his never say die attitude I found that his words had a big impact on me and really reaffirmed some of my beliefs.

In sport it is certain that if you quit you will not succeed. It is also very easy to say, keep going don’t quit it is however a completely different thing to actually keep going when things are hard. What was said in the documentary was along these lines, everyone has their last rep, last set, last step you can run, last hour you can study, last round, everyone has their limit before they have to stop. Then the question is what do you do now? There is a big difference between stopping and quitting.

Let’s put that in to an MMA perspective. In sparring you are having one of those nights where you are getting hit standing up, missing your takedowns and getting stuck on your back and that is against the guy that you usually beat. Next up you have someone who usually gets the better of you and it goes as you expect and you have a hard round where you are trying to just survive. The next few rounds are more or less the same, then you are up against that guy you always beat and he taps you out, controls you does something that happens only once in a blue moon. How you deal with that round is what makes the difference, you can go sit down and have the rest of the night off, you can have a round off, you can play on an injury and avoid training for the rest of the night or you can have another round. Once you have had that crap round it can only get better, once you have ‘lost’ to the guy you never lose to the only way is up.

When you are having the bad night’s that is when you find out who you are, anyone can do the easy nights. There is saying which is great ‘Anyone can do it when they feel like it, it’s the people that do it when they don’t feel like it who succeed’. The way to deal with these nights is to understand what is happening, ‘ok I am having a bad night I am going to stay on that mat for every round’ you have to understand that you will get angry, pissed off grumpy and every other negative emotion associated with fight training. Once you get out of that bad round then the night takes a better direction and you will leave that night feeling better.

Just think if you take rounds off because you are having a bad night think how much training you are missing out on over the space of a year. The only difference between a good training and bad training is what is going on in your head, if you can get passed that think about how much more you can get out of your ‘bad’ nights.

Gareth Lewis
Head MMA Instructor

Ground and Pound

After a good sparring session at Lockdown, where I took a few shots on the ground, I was left thinking who are the current GnP experts and I came up a little short.

Over the years there have been some very destructive ground and pound exponents, these fighters made it an art and used this effective system to win fights. Most of them are wrestlers who have great takedowns nasty top control and rely on position over submission. The first, who was known as the God Father of ground and pound is Mark Coleman as he was the first to use takedowns and top control to beat the hell out of someone. Before Mark Coleman the expected way to win a fight was a knock out standing up or, thanks to the Gracie’s, win via submission. Then Mark Coleman, who was a very strong wrestler, showed up and won the UFC 10 tournament where he beat all 3 opponents with Ground and Pound then from that day on Ground and Pound was a legitimate way to win fights.

Thanks to Mark Coleman Ground and Pound took off and was used by some very good fighters to create destruction. Matt Hughes dominated the welter weight division for years with the very simple formula, pick them up slam them and beat the hell out of them. Mark ‘The Smashing Machine’ Kerr was well known for his ground attack. Tito Ortiz was another recognised GnP artist. Uriah Faber had a great ground attack and was relentless with his great elbow attack on the ground. To see a seminar in GnP all you need to do is watch Fedor v Big Nog I, Fedor throws his punches a little different, but what made is attack so destructive was the fact that he threw everything he had in to the punch. Fedor did not seem to be concerned about losing position rather all he worried about was landing the punch. His mentality was great, ‘if I get any space then I am going to punch you in the face as hard and as often as I can’. Think about being on the receiving end of that, all you are doing is trying to stop him from throwing punches rather than escaping. If you have never experienced ground and pound then you might be thinking why not just escape? Well that is because there is someone on top of you trying to turn you head in to a little red puddle on the mat and protection becomes a lot more important then escaping.

These days there are no stand outs. That does not mean however that ground and pound is a dying art. Cain Velasquez has a great takedown and top control game, he also has great striking so does not rely on ground and pound to win. Being a heavyweight myself, the person I would least like on top of me is Brock Lesnar just with that strength and massive hands pounding in to your head does not seem like much fun.

What has happened is that everyone has got some damn good that against almost everyone at the top level you have to worry about their stand up, takedowns, submissions and ground and pound. With all these tools available they will use any of them to win against equally strong opponents. This means if you fight the same way it will not work these days, all the best fighters change their plan against other top fighters. GSP was a great example of this, he would use his wrestling to stand up against ground fighters and take down strikers. Ground and pound is still there and will always be on the high light reels, Gufstasson v Johnson for a recent example of nasty Ground and Pound, long may it continue as it watching vicious GnP is just so entertaining.

Gareth Lewis
Head MMA Instructor

Two Fights One Blog

The two fights that are on my mind are Aldo v McGreggor II and Brock Lesnar reportedly fighting the winner of Overeem v Miocic.

First of the big boys, Brock Lesnar is freak athlete he is an absolute specimen very big and very fast. Watching him fight Mark Hunt was impressive with the speed and power of his takedowns, he put the heavyweight division on notice after that performance. Then a few days later I read that he was going to face the winner of the heavyweight title fight between Overeem and Miocic. If the report is accurate is it crap that Lesnar can have four years away from fighting then come in and beat one person, although it was a very good fighter in Mark Hunt, then go straight in to a title shot. I realise that Lesnar is a massive PPV draw card and makes a lot of money for the UFC but I think if they went with another way that they would not lose a cent they might even make a couple a little more. What they should do is have Velasquez, who also looked great at UFC 200, fight Lesnar then Overeem v Miocic then the two winner’s face of at a later date. Yes I would like to see a 4 man heavyweight event in one night but that does not seem likely. The rematch between Lesnar and Velasquez makes sense as the last time they fought Lesnar lost the title, they have both come of long layoffs and neither of them deserves an immediate title shot. Also for both of them another fight would do wonders to get rid of ring rust, plus I would like to see them go at it, then I would be happy to see Miocic fight either Lesnar or Velasquez as I think they could be good fights. Yes Overeem might win, but the Miocic option seems a lot more appealing to me.

Aldo v McGregor II, to me the first fight proved only one thing but was really disappointing. At UFC 200 I was very happy when Aldo won his fight impressively as that would set up a rematch with McGregor. The first fight showed that McGregor could get in to Aldo’s head and effect the way he fights. At the time McGregor was on a tear and riding a wave of confidence and since his trash talk is second to none McGregor seemed unstoppable. The constant barrage got in to Aldo’s head and caused him to fight more aggressively and he got caught and KO’d with the first punch of the fight. Where I say that it was disappointing is that it proved nothing in terms of fighting, a few seconds and one punch and over. You can’t call a punch lucky as by nature punches are thrown to land and do as much damage as possible, but the chance of throwing a punch that lands with that effect is minute at the best of times. What was needed between those two is a good fight. The set up to the second fight is a lot different, McGregor got beaten by Diaz and the hype wagon hit a serious speed bump. Aldo looked great in his last fight and looked like he had put that fight behind him. Whoever wins the rematch I only hope that it is a good fight and the fight matches the hype, or at least gets close.

These are two rematches that I would really like to see, yes I have my favourites and who I would like to win but mostly I would like to see two heavyweights, Lesnar and Velasquez have a good scrap. Also I would like to see Aldo and McGregor have a good battle especially when you have a very aggressive fighter against a very good counter fighter.

Gareth Lewis
Head MMA Instructor