Daily Decrease

I've been around the martial arts for quite a while, and in the process of my evolution, I've found myself adding less and less to my arsenal, and actually stripping away more and more.

So what techniques did you use/rely upon, that you no longer use?

Here's a list of mine:

1) Stepping side-kick: this was my bread and butter up until my instructor Armando showed me that a simple coup de pied bas will counter it and make you look silly. But before that, I was kicking air shields, using it for sparring, MAN that was THE kick for me. Long gone now...replaced it with decalage/chasse median j'ambe avant. Hits the liver nicely.

2) Upa: if the guy is blue-belt and above, I don't even bother with this. Too much exertion, and easy to counter or defend. I feel much more comfortable with the elbow-knee-escape. Easier to recover with this technique, if you keep your elbows tucked.

3) Disarms: I used to do this A LOT...until a savvy kali practitioner yanked his stick from my snake disarm. YOWWWCH!! Left a heck of a rug-burn on my arm. Now I just punyo when I'm inside. More deadly, and more fun. :)

4) Spinning kicks: I sometimes still pull them out during assaut when I'm up against a beginner, but forget it if the savateur is experienced! I use faking and decalage/deplacement to mess up their footwork and set them up for the strike.

5) Backfist: yes, LAUGH AWAY, I used to use this when I was a teenager, but hey I was FAST with those! LOL!! Turns out they were great for tournaments, but they only pissed off determined opponents. I've since replaced it with a double-jab (increased shoulder rotation gives it more power).

This is a short list of what I've stripped away. The more I look back, the more I understand that I had LOTS of technique, but only a notion of strategy. The more cohesive my understanding of strategy and mechanics, the more streamlined my collection of techniques became.

what have you stripped away over the years?

"The more I look back, the more I understand that I had LOTS of technique, but only a notion of strategy. The more cohesive my understanding of strategy and mechanics, the more streamlined my collection of techniques became."

Absolute gold dust right there.

I have got rid of about four folders full, some like my Silat notes, JKD and my Kali notes I have kept but just for old time’s sake.

Techniques I have dumped (for the time being?):

  1. Back fist.
  2. Jeet tek
  3. Side kick
  4. Straight blast for boxing blast.
  5. Wing chun/kali like trapping.
  6. Some MT plum.
  7. Kali limb destructions (empty hand).
  8. Lots of grappling techniques
  9. More that escapes me right now.

Training methods dumped

  1. Dead patterns (lots and lots including wooden dummy).

Training things that had always pissed me off that I have dumped:

  1. Titles and the associated I am better than you thinking.
  2. Grades.
  3. Foreign terminology.
  4. Bowing and shrine worship.
  5. Misplaced hero worship

I have stripped my twenty five years of boxing right down for MMA, added crazy monkey and Chico’s cave man hits etc. Added some Greco for clinch range. I only use my MT kicks once in a while in sparring. I have added some savate like boot kicks. Foot work is stripped down.

I would say that considering I now only teach kickboxing and Vale Tudo and not silat, kali and JKD I have about 20% of what I used to teach ten years ago.

I do however have twenty five years of coaching and fighting with it, i.e. I have used it in the ring and the street. The three I’s coaching method has totally changed my classes and I have old students who left me when I stopped teaching JKD, coming back.

I am learning gi BJJ as a white belt but that’s really because I have ten years of no gi and I feel like I do not have the full sorry, like only having read a few chapters of the book.

All of the above is thanks to SBGi and Burton who came to the UK and gave a great workshop. I have to say that I have never had such great fun training and coaching as lately but like everyone else I realise I have a lot I still do not know.

4 Ranges,

Are we bros from another planet or dimension??? Every single technique you enumerated hit the spot except disarms.

for me its more arts to focus on, than individual moves. For example this year, I have committed myself to studying Judo and Wing Chun mostly, with some bjj on the weekends. As far as the upa, that is my bread and butter mount escape and in my experience it does work on blue belts and above, even REALLY heavy blue belts and above. But to each their own! Good idea for a thread.
- FB

"All of the above is thanks to SBGi and Burton who came to the UK and gave a great workshop. I have to say that I have never had such great fun training and coaching as lately but like everyone else I realise I have a lot I still do not know."

Cool to hear, thank you.

It's refreshing when people finally let go of all "that". It is so healthy.


Hey Fats:

talk to me about how you use the upa, because I freakin' hate that technique. Could you explain how you use it, so maybe I can re-add it to my arsenal? Muchas gracias. :)

Gotta agree that the Upa (bridge) is a keeper! Especially for MMA/self-defense, where the elbow-knee escape at the wrong moment can open you up for some hard head shots.

I use it in different ways to escape the mount, depending on how the guy is pinning me:

  1. (his hand is in my collar or attacking an arm) No brainer here, look to trap that arm and bridge to escape. For me, the key to rolling people who don't want to be rolled is to really get my hips high off the ground. I make sure to come up on my toes and really go as high as possible before turning.

  2. (His arms are posted wide) Combinations! Elbow/Knee escape to Upa to Hydraulic and repeat! As long as you keep moving and cycling through this pattern, it makes it really hard for the man on top to stay on top. If you can stay one step ahead of him, his counters will open up a window for you.

  3. (He has one arm behind your head, the other arm posted wide. His weight is all on the side of his posted arm, his shoulder is crushing into your jaw.) This one sucks. Elbow-knee escape can work from here, but it opens up your arm to attacks. On Erik P.'s advice, I started trying this, and it works a good bit of the time. Bridge hard to the WRONG side first - toward the side of his posted arm. You won't be able to roll him because of his base, but he will have to bring his weight slightly back toward center for just a moment to compensate. Now (on the half beat) bridge hard back in the OTHER direction, keeping his arm trapped behind your head. Many times you can roll the guy if your timing is good.

4 Ranges - definitely bro, I am at work and leaving in about an hour to Florida for a job interview, but I will try to get to it before I leave, if not, then definitely wed or thurs - thanks!

Hey fats:

thanks man, and good luck with the interview!


great detailed stuff man! I agree that the elbow-knee opens you to punches. I'm still trying to figure that out with sparring partners.

I usually end up with number 3. The opponent is crushing my jaw, so turning my head in the opposite direction is very hard for upas.

Mounts 1-2 I can usually handle with elbow-knees, although #2 can be VERY tiring, especially if the guy has ridiculous base.

3 upa I've been able to do, interestingly, from half-guard or sidemount. I got it from my dad who was a judo brown-belt. But even THIS is hard when the guy knows your game and your timing, etc.

Elbow-knee has always worked for me no matter what because I have a pretty good frame and hip-movement. Those two things distract my opponent so that I can get some sort of half-guard going. But, I do have problems with it because if it's MMA sparring, I get hit. I don't get hit too hard because I still shell somewhat...but in the back of my mind I know it'd be different if it was Fedor hitting me. :)

thanks 4 Ranges! Don't have time to read JRockwell's post but I'm sure it is good advice. I will try to write a few things before I leave for the airport:

First, I learned the basic escape from Rorion-Royce's Basics tape way back in the day. They go over the upa escape and the elbow escape in great detail - I haven't seen many things they covered shown anywhere else and I have almost every bjj instructional tape on the market.

The upa and the elbow escape are the 2 escapes that should be your bread and butter. You should alternate between the 2 to keep your opponent occupied on 2 different things but as a general rule try to go for the upa escape first since you end up in a more superior position (on top inside guard as opposed to on bottom having guard).

You do different thing with your upper body depending on how they are grabbing you, but the starting position and what your lower body does doesn't change. Your head is on the ground, your feet are as close to your butt as possible for a higher bridge. Your elbows are on the ground, against your body so that his hips are under your hips. If he is under your armpits scoot away from him until your elbows are on the ground preventing his knees from advancing under your armpits. Fight to get this starting position before you even begin your escape.

Lets say their right arm is in your collar or on your throat. Trap their right wrist with your right hand and grip their right tricep between your thumb and index finger with your left hand (palm up so your elbow stays down. Put your right leg in the middle and put your left leg on the outside of his right foot. Bridge your hips 12 O'clock (not to the side), STAY UP, and then use your left knee, left elbow and head against the mat to carry you over. Immediately put your right hand on their left bicep to prevent the choke/punch.

This is the basic upa. There are many different arm situations that you will change your arms different ways, but the basic concept is the same: trap one side, bridge 12 o'clock, and take them over. One thing that is very important is that you cannot upa unless their head is directly over your head. For example in the previous situation I described (right hand in the collar) if their head is to their left, you must wait until their head is over your head to upa. Usually this happens when they move their head over your head to insert the 2nd hand for the choke or to punch you. Thus, their attack creates the opportunity for your escape.

The elbow escape occurs often in the situation where the leg that you trapped becomes free during the upa. Hence upa to elbow escape is a very basic, yet effective combination escape.

There are also many situations where you must untangle your legs before doing the upa or elbow escape. Wrestlers will grape vine your legs, bjjers may cross 1 ankle over the other under your butt, etc. The Grace Academy has very specific ways to untangle your legs in these situations but the end result after you untangle your leg is always to go for the same basic upa and elbow escape.

If the person is able to break your first defense of keeping both your elbows planted to the mat and against your sides by going to high mount (1 knee under your armpit, the other leg curved around your body) - there are different specific escapes for this too. Royce shows a nice sequence on the Advanced Gracie Academy tapes to deal with this.

Finally there is the issue of dealing with gi chokes. The Gracies have developed something called the "catch" which catches the 2nd hand as it comes in. These escapes also end with the basic upa escape.

I hope this helped somewhat. Unfortunately, I have to run and don't have the vocabulary to describe everything in detail. Good luck!

damn, did I miss my plane?!

"The three I?s coaching method has totally changed my classes"


Would you mind explaining what the three I's are, and how the method changed your teaching/coaching? Thanks!

OK there are better people here than me like the SBGI crew etc that can explain this better than me.

In review, when I was in the Army we would coach by showing a technique, do an alive drill and then spar it. Then repeat as necessary.

I then got into JKD and when I became a coach, I coached as I was taught by my sifu i.e. lots of technique, lots of dead pattern drills and sensitivity "games" and a little hard sparring once in a while.

Now I have switched back to showing the technique, having the students drill it in an alive way, i.e. against progressive resistance. Then we spar at the end of class and if you find your situation like that of the drill you integrate your new techs in (well actually they just flow out). Then after sparring we do Q/A and look at a repeating the process next time or look at spin off areas which came up during drilling and sparring. Repeat as necessary.

The sparing can be light or hard but either way you need to do the complete process in each coaching session.

Now if you go to the SBGi page they will explain it better than me, all I and my students know is that it works very well.

All my beginners are building good games in all areas very quickly. Add to that the zero terminology, no pecking order in the gym, no misplaced idol worship and good coaching skills makes for a fun environment to learn from. It also keeps me on my toes at 39 because each week the students are pushing me as they improve (in a nice way)

I hope that helps, I may not be to clear today as I have an mouth infection which is driving nuts.

I just don't have any moves any more. It's sad.