Thursday, August 21, 2008

Boxing - back to basics

Just broke my own record. Not fights won or lost, but attendance record! I managed to train twice a week since, err... this year. ;D

This week we sparred one pair at a time while the others observed. Everyone will then comment on their performance. This is really helpful for us to reflect on our strengths, and to correct our mistakes.

Although I wasn't aware of it during sparring, it appears that I dropped my hands too much (see pic above), esp when delivering body shots and was slowed to pull my hands back when doing straight shots. Everytime I dropped my hands to do body shots or even hooks, I got decked in the face. I felt like a sitting duck in an open field.

Some comments were:

1. I need to pull my hand back faster. Earlier I was worried about my control when I jab and pull fast I might hit too hard. Then Vince suggested I pull back fast but keep an open hand instead of a clench fist. This worked rather well for me tonight.

2. Remember TES - Tight Economical Structure. Hunchback, hands up, diving board punches and circle off.

3. Stick to boxing basics: level change when throwing body shots, bend the knees, keep the hands close to body, rotate the hips and use the legs to drive up the shots.

4. I need to do more pad works and focus mitts. Argh, how to spare time for this lar?

Thanks guys for the feedbacks.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

My first MMA sparring

I finally got a taste of the what MMA sparring is like on Wed. And it was nothing like what I imagined it would be!

After another class featuring more takedowns from the clinch, we move on to some light sparring covering standup, clinch and ground aka MMA. I've done sparring before during my Karate days and Boxing lessons but none in a proper MMA format.

Things I learned from my first MMA sparring:

1. You can tire easily especially when you clinch or grapple too much. OK I admit, I'm as fit as pig trying to do horse jumping.

2. Be careful when kicking because it compromise your balance. Don't let your opponent trap or catch your leg. Anderson Silva vs James Irvin comes to mind.

3. Keep the defense tight. Do not neglect defense in favour of an offensive game. Do not engage openly if you are exhausted. Slither away to catch your breath. I failed to learn this the umpteenth time and guess I need some hard knocks to be reminded of this.

4. Setup for kicks or takedowns. Do not blindly rush in or you'll eat many nasty shots.

5. It's real hard to defend strikes when you are in the bottom. See my post on Ground and Pound.

6. Focus on my strengths and do not try too many things at once. This is probably more applicable in a real match because it's only through sparring you can discover what works best for you. So it's ok to try out whatever you've learned. Sparring is also the best way to discover one's strengths and weaknesses.

7. Despite learning maybe 4-5 throws/takedowns from the clinch, I didn't get to make it work during sparring. Guess I just need to put in more mat time.

Looking forward to the next sparring sessions.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

The Whizzer of Octagon

I gotta admit I know very little about takedowns. I preferred standup striking to takedown or grappling, except for the clinch or Muay Thai neck tie.

Things have gotten to be very interesting this year. With focus sessions and integration of MMA techniques into our Crazy Monkey boxing structure has ignited my interest in a whole different way. I missed pure boxing, and BJJ rolling too. Too bad we have limited time to feed our infinite interest.

One of the most interesting technique I've learned is the whizzer, or some called it overhooking the arm. This common MMA technique has multiple use: from defending a single leg takedown to controlling your opponent or taking him down.

As demonstrated above by one of my favorite MMA instructor, Mark Hatmaker, the whizzer is a must have tool in any MMA fighter arsenal. Because of my hectic schedule, I still haven't got the opportunity to put this to a test. Will write more as soon as I get the chance to try this in sparring. Felt kinda awkward having learned so many MMA techniques recently. I'm worried I'll be slowed down by the increase of techniques in my fighting toolbox - too many to choose from. Hope more mat time will disprove this.