All posts by bdorris

Classic fight: Hulk vs. Bitetti

When I first watched this fight years ago, I was really upset by the outcome… BJJ was supposed to be the best and Bitetti was a legend! 

Now, I consider it a good reminder to keep well rounded skills. It’s also a reminder that anything can happen and no one is unbeatable.

[video_player type=”youtube” width=”640″ height=”360″ align=”center” margin_top=”0″ margin_bottom=”20″]aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cueW91dHViZS5jb20vd2F0Y2g/dj02YU04YWdXQ3RXUQ==[/video_player]

Keep training!

Controlling the Timing & Landing More Strikes

Ok guys, here’s a quick tip to control the timing and land more strikes. I’m talking about when you’re on your feet here, not so much when you’re grappling. Here it is…

Add more fakes, setups and rapid succession movements (i.e. fake punches, fake head & body movements and misdirecting footwork) into your training and fighting. 

Does that sound too simplistic to you to really bother with? Then think about this saying I learned years ago….

“The more of your movements that an opponent has to recognize, decipher and make a decision on, the longer it will take him to respond to those movements.”

That means that if you do multiple rapid succession movements, your opponent has to SEE them, DECIPHER which ones are real attacks and which are fake, then DECIDE what his response will be.

That’s confusing and a lot of work (relatively speaking) for your opponent, and it can slow his reaction time to a crawl and cause openings he’d otherwise never give you. 

In my experience, when multiple fast movements are done in quick succession, it’s almost impossible to tell which one is intended to be a fake attack, and which one is intended to be a real attack. That forces an opponent to have to GUESS which is which, and he’s likely to guess wrong.  

He’ll often try to block an attack that was only a fake, counter an attack at the wrong time, or just blindly throw an un-timed attack hoping to hit. Either way, his timing and movement is going to be way out of sync, leaving you openings and opportunities to land a clean attack. 

I’ve also found that rapid succession movements, since they are so hard to interpret, will often cause an opponent to just NOT attack when he otherwise would, due to the feeling that he’s not in control of the timing.

Regardless,  it works in your favor. That’s why using rapid succession feints and setups before an attack allows your attacks to land more often than simply throwing an attack with no setup. 

Keep training!


How To Self Analyze Your Performance

We all have times of “poor performance” in our training, right?

And, if you’re an instructor, you see times of poor performance in your students.

Usually, you’ll feel you just need to try harder the next time. But, the correct response is a bit more nuanced than that. Think about it this way…

…if a race horse under-performs, is it always best just to push him harder the following day?  Obviously not! So, here’s a better method…

When you have those days of poor performance, run this quick 2-question analysis on yourself (or your students):

1: Was the poor performance due to LACK OF ABILITY OR APTITUDE?

If so, then the solution is PATIENCE.  You’ve got to give yourself (or your student) more time and training.

Criticism, being firm and forceful, or increasing motivation  just won’t work in this situation. They’d only be the equivalent of whipping a racehorse harder when he’s already doing everything he can!

Now, if it’s not due to lack of ability, then ask yourself  this…

#2 Was the poor performance due to LACK OF EFFORT?

If the answer is yes, then patience isn’t the right prescription. In this case, FIRMNESS, FORCEFULNESS  and MOTIVATION is a better prescription.

The bottom line here is that it’s important to recognize the cause of the poor performance.  Even though the problem is the same, the solution is dramatically different.

The next time you have a training session where you feel a bit disappointed by your (or your students’) performance, ask your self whether the reason was lack of ability or lack of effort, then apply the correct prescription above.

Keep training!


How to Watch a Fight


Here’s a couple tips for how to get more out of watching a fight. 

Fight Watching Tip #1

Remember that when YOU fight, you’re usually trying to process what your opponent is doing and react based on that.

However, when you watch a fight on TV, you’re trying to process and analyze what TWO people are doing… at the same time!  Guess what?

That’s too much info!  It’s enough of a job just analyzing just one opponent. When you fight, you’re fighting one (or more) opponent… but not two opponents who are fighting each other at the same time!

So instead, try focusing on just one of the fighters at a time. If you were facing him, how would you respond to his tactics? Can you  spot weaknesses? Can you spot any opportunities against him?

If you haven’t done this before, I guarantee you’ll get much more useful information just by watching from this perspective.

Fight Watching Tip #2

Do you have favorite fighters? Do you root for someone to win?

If you really want to learn while watching fights, let me explain why being a “fan” might not be such a good idea (pure entertainment value aside).

When you watch a fight, you want to see what’s “really” happening, right? Well, there’s a famous Zen saying about the problem of  using your judgement to determine “reality.”

Pardon my being philosophical, but here’s a couple excerpts:

Neither love nor hate,
And you will clearly understand…

Be off by a hair,
And you are as far from it as heaven from earth…

If you want the Way to appear,
Be neither for nor against…

Get the idea? If you are WANTING something to happen (that is, wanting your fighter to win), you’re not really seeing what IS happening (for example, the opponent demonstrating better skills than the one you’re rooting for).

If you attribute your favorite fighter’s loss to  “the ref wasn’t fair”, you’re not learning from his mistakes.

If the “bad guy” won because he was lucky, you didn’t learn from his strengths.

The next time you watch a fight, try NOT rooting for either opponent, and I believe you’ll see the fight with much a clearer perspective, and you’ll learn more from it in the process.

Keep training!

Hooks, Training, Filming


[feature_box style=”33″ title=”%3Ccenter%3EStriking%3C%2Fcenter%3E” alignment=”center”]

The Power in a Hook Comes from Body Rotation & Leg Drive… the Fist is Just What Happens to Hit


If you haven’t developed power in your hooking punches yet, try thinking of it as being all about body rotation and leg drive, with the arm (fist) just happening to be what makes contact.

That will put your focus on the major muscles driving the punch, rather simply contracting your pectoral muscles for an arm punch.


[feature_box style=”16″ title=”%3Ccenter%3ETraining%3C%2Fcenter%3E” alignment=”center”]

The Way You Train is The Way You’ll Fight


It’s so important to realize that there is NO thinking during a fight. You won’t suddenly change what you do, or “remember” to do things differently in the heat of battle. Simply put, whatever you’ve done the most repetition during training is what you’ll do when you fight.

And possibly just as important as applying this to your physical skills, is applying it to your mind. You need to repeatedly practice the “mindset” you want to have in a fight, otherwise it just won’t be there when you need it. 

And, once you’ve found your ultimate “mindset”, don’t try to suddenly adapt a new “wild-eyed intensity” when you fight. If it wasn’t optimal for training, it won’t be optimal for fighting, either. 


[feature_box style=”13″ title=”%3Ccenter%3ETraining%3C%2Fcenter%3E” alignment=”center”]

Film Yourself for Fast Improvement


Think about how easy it is to critique someone’s fighting when you’re watching them from the sidelines. 

Now, imagine how great it would be if you did that for yourself, too. If you’ve never filmed yourself grappling or striking, do it. You’ll see lots of things about your abilities (good and bad) that you didn’t realize.

The bad things will give you things to work on, the good ones will build your confidence. It’s a great tool for improvement.


Keep training! 

For Self Defense, Trust Your Instincts “Big Time”

Your instincts are MUCH more powerful and “tuned in” than you have any idea.

One of the jobs of your subconscious is to help you survive. It “patrols” your environment constantly, behind the scenes, for dangers that you aren’t consciously aware of. It compares what it sees or senses with it’s database of “dangerous” situations it’s learned in the past, then alerts you when it finds a match.

It knows dark alleys are “bad”.  It knows that aggressive male behavior leads to danger.  It’s already determined that certain “personality types” aren’t to be trusted.

When it spots something it believes is dangerous, it gives you an “uncomfortable” feeling. You sense something’s wrong, but often can’t put your finger on it.

Ever walk into a restaurant or bar and just get a bad feeling about someone there… even though they really haven’t given you reason to (yet)? That’s your subconscious at work, trying to alert you to possible danger.

Unfortunately, that can also lead to inappropriate profiling, distrust or stereotyping of people based on past experiences you’ve had with similar looking or acting people. Unless you want to engage in racism, xenophobia and other unacceptable behavior, it requires you to filter out some inappropriate signals it’s giving you.

Your subconscious Usually Knows Better Than You Do

But, many times, it’s dead on, and there is real, potential danger. Your subconscious very often knows much better than you do, and it wants you to survive and is screaming at you in the only way it can to get out of that situation.

If you’re hoping an overly aggressive person in the area doesn’t turn their attention toward you, that’s your intuition telling you to remove yourself from that situation asap.

If you walk into room, or a group of people, and don’t like the feeling your getting, that’s your subconscious saying to get out. It knows something you don’t.

If you want your built in self-protection mechanisms to do their job, you’ve got to listen to your intuition. If you sense someone is a bad person, there’s a pretty good chance they are. Just get away and defuse it before the problems start.

Keep training!

Starting Point, Don’t Fight, 80/20


[feature_box style=”16″ title=”%3Ccenter%3ESkill Learning%3C%2Fcenter%3E” alignment=”center”]

The Culmination of Someone Else’s Lifetime of Work is Only Your Starting Point


Once you’ve really learned a new move or skill, don’t stop there… try to improve it. Don’t fall into the trap of “it’s been done this way for 100 years…”

The way it’s been taught to you may be the culmination of someone else’s lifetime of work, but it’s your starting point. See it as you’re “standing on the shoulders of giants”… you should be able to see further than them BECAUSE of all their hard work!


[feature_box style=”33″ title=”%3Ccenter%3ESelf Defense%3C%2Fcenter%3E” alignment=”center”]

Fighting is Not Self Defense


Sorry to have to tell you this, but actually using your fighting skills is the LAST thing you want to do to protect yourself. 

The goal of self-defense is to return home safely to your loved ones at the end of the day. If you fight with someone who’s threatening you, here’s some of the likely outcomes: 

– You risk going to the hospital, living with chronic injuries, or dying
– You get sued by this jerk for hurting him
– You go to jail, possibly for years

Nursing your bruised ego is a far better choice than risking the above.

Realize now, rather than in the heat of the moment, that you have to do what might feel very unnatural… that is, just let him say what he wants while you simply try to defuse the situation.  


[feature_box style=”13″ title=”%3Ccenter%3ESkill Learning%3C%2Fcenter%3E” alignment=”center”]

Apply the 80/20 Rule to Training


Ever heard of the 80/20 rule? For you, that means only 20% of what you’re practicing gives you 80% of your results.

If you want to get the most bang for your buck when training, find out what that 20% is, and spend most of your time doing that. You’ll not only improve skills A LOT… you can do it in a lot less time!


Keep training! 

Write it down, Details, Getting Tough


[feature_box style=”16″ title=”%3Ccenter%3ELearning%20Skills%3C%2Fcenter%3E” alignment=”center”]

Write It Down… or Forget it!


When you learn new techniques or concepts, you MUST write them down in a notebook for later review… otherwise, I guarantee you’ll eventually forget 90% of what you are taught.

Conversely, if you write it down, you’ll eventually surpass all your training partners who don’t.

Even if you never go back and review it, the simple act of writing down techniques and concepts causes you to focus on the details of the technique, which solidifies it in your memory (see below). 


[feature_box style=”33″ title=”%3Ccenter%3ETechnique%20 Recall%3C%2Fcenter%3E” alignment=”center”]

Focusing  on the Details Commits It to Memory


One way to improve your memory of techniques is to focus on DETAILS. Heres’ why:

Details tell your mind that whatever you’re focusing on is IMPORTANT. And, when your mind sees something as important, it becomes more AWARE. And, (here’s the really important part)…

…when you’re highly aware, you soak up information like a sponge and create a STRONGER MEMORY.

Here’s the process:

Details → Importance → Awareness → STRONGER


[feature_box style=”13″ title=”%3Ccenter%3ESelf Defense%3C%2Fcenter%3E” alignment=”center”]

Spend Time in a Boxing Ring to “Toughen Up”


If you train for self-defense purposes, and are overly timid about being hit, spend some time doing some sparring in the boxing ring. You can start slow and easy and wear head protection.

Doing this will quickly desensitize you to being hit, make you less afraid and, MOST IMPORTANTLY, will give you some confidence that you can survive a confrontation against an attacker who is probably less trained than your sparring partner. 


Keep training! 

Armbar to Armbar (Very Slick!)

Armbar to Armbar (Very Slick!)

I’m sure you’ve had a nice armbar (from the guard) on your training partner, and he yanked his arm out… right?

Here’s a beautiful technique that you can use to put him right back in an armar on his OTHER arm. It’s super slick and he’ll never see it coming!
[video_player type=”embed” width=”640″ height=”360″ align=”center” margin_top=”0″ margin_bottom=”20″]PHZpZGVvIHdpZHRoPSI2NDAiIGNvbnRyb2xzPSIiPgogIDxzb3VyY2Ugc3JjPSJodHRwczovL3MzLmFtYXpvbmF3cy5jb20vYmVhdGFueWF0dGFja2VyL2FybWJhci10by1hcm1iYXIubXA0IiB0eXBlPSJ2aWRlby9tcDQiPgogICBZb3VyIGJyb3dzZXIgZG9lcyBub3Qgc3VwcG9ydCBIVE1MNSB2aWRlby4KPC9zb3VyY2U+PC92aWRlbz4=[/video_player]

The steps to this move are:

1 – You have him in armbar from your guard

2 – As you feel him yanking his arm free, grab his neck with one hand.

3 – Put your foot to his hip

4 – Drop your other shin across & in front of his neck

5 – Throw your leg over his head for an armbar

Keep training!

5 Mount Escapes 90 Seconds

High mount is a tough position to escape, especially for beginners. So, here’s 5 slick tricks to help you escape and get top position where you then can submit your opponent.

If you like these moves, you’ll find lots more like them in the iGrapple© online grappling software. It’s the best way to get your grappling together fast.

[video_player type=”embed” width=”640″ height=”360″ align=”center” margin_top=”0″ margin_bottom=”20″]PHZpZGVvIHdpZHRoPSI2NDAiIGNvbnRyb2xzPSIiPgogIDxzb3VyY2Ugc3JjPSJodHRwczovL3MzLmFtYXpvbmF3cy5jb20vYmVhdGFueWF0dGFja2VyLzUrbW91bnQrZXNjYXBlcy5tcDQiIHR5cGU9InZpZGVvL21wNCI+CiAgWW91ciBicm93c2VyIGRvZXMgbm90IHN1cHBvcnQgSFRNTDUgdmlkZW8uCjwvc291cmNlPjwvdmlkZW8+[/video_player]
The 5 moves you just watched are:

1 – “Walk” yourself forward so you can get your opponent below your elbows again

2 – If opponent blocks #1, trap his arm & bridge

3 – Lift his leg, bring your knee under & hip escape

4 – Pull his foot back, do a “foot drag” knee escape

5 – Sit on his foot, trap arm & bridge escape

Keep training!