Making Sense of Ground and Pound Part 1

June 17, 2009

This will be my attempt to breakdown the multi faceted world of facial melting. Over the years due to sucking at stand up striking I spent a lot of time on ground and pound and have developed a system that has been working well for our athletes.

Due to the dynamic nature of the sport these principles are not set it stone. There will be exceptions to every rule. However in the beginning of your journey towards being the next Fedor you should incorporate these principles and then with experience you can break the rules. I hope to give you a system that will allow you to wail away on your opponents head and avoid all those pesky arm bars and triangles

This is a huge topic with very little information; you can pick up a DVD instructional on every aspect of your favourite obscure guard variation but will struggle to find anything on one of the most fundamental aspects of mixed martial arts competition.

We will start the journey with Top Guard and give an overview of the program from there.

Basic Postures

There are 3 identifiable stages when striking from within an opponents guard. They are

Stage 1

Stage 1 Safety Position

Stage 2 High Postures and Hip Drive

Stage 2 High Postures and Hip Drive

Stage 3 Standing postures

Stage 3 Standing postures

The damage that can be inflicted tends to increases as you progress through the stages but unfortunately so to do the risks of reversals, submissions and scrambles.

Stage 1 The Safety Position

Stage 1 is your bedrock and the safest position you can adopt. Anytime someone even sniffs a submission on me this is where I go to. Its offers you safety, a reset and a recovery.

Follow these rules and you will be a complete arsehole to submit or move from guard:

  • Hand Position

By keeping the hands on the shoulder or biceps you limit your opponent’s offense. To do anything to you he needs an attachment; an over hook, head control, a foot on the hip. With this posture you control the attachment.

The forearm choke position is a variation on this position and designed for those who like dropping hellbows (scary elbows). You are increasing the possibility of a back take or an arm bar but so long as you control the bicep, do not put to much pressure on the neck and are aware of these dangers you should be golden.

  • Never put hand on mat

If you touch the floor you will have problems. I have worked with too many guys who, if they get an over hook ,will ruin me. Keep hand position correct.

  • Keep toes tucked

One of the things that I found while attacking one of my training partners was their desire to demonstrate his 420kg leg press on my 67kg frame. With the toes flat I went arse surfing across the mat with toes tucked I kept hold of an ankle and ended up in Stage 3 which is way preferable. Keep the toes tucked it will make your life easier.

  • Follow hips

This is huge. Your opponent has very limited offensive options if you mirror his hip position. Think about it; nearly every single offensive technique that can be utilized against you requires an angle. Take that angle away and you will have much more fun.

  • Head to chin contact.

Ok so spike elbowing your brain repeatedly does not require an angle. To avoid this keep head to chin contact thus negating this space and avoid a scar that could make your shaved head look like a Willy.

  • Clear attachments

If an opponent does manage to get hold of you; get rid of the attachment. It only takes a second to get rid of the attachment then your back to your game plan. The videos below show the best way to clear some common attachments safely.

Seeing somebody trying to strike will being in a deep over hook is tragic to watch and usually ends with that person getting nailed with a triangle pretty soon afterwards.

A good saying that has stuck around in the gym is “break the grip then break then face” I have always liked it.

  • Basic combinations

And finally we get round to actually punching people. Again develop your own combinations based on your body type, preferences and game plans. Body body head is a pretty safe place to start then working on tying up wrists can be fun. If the principles are in place youll figure this bit out yourself. Ill post some videos of ground and pound sparring when i get a chance.

See you next time.

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