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  1. Vieux Normand is offline

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    8/12/2012 12:03pm

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    Quote Originally Posted by greatheight View Post
    Vieux Normand - just out of curiosity, are you a trainer or something? What martial arts do you partake in?
    Background in past: KK, Judo and DJ (Japan), wrestling in college. Two kinesiology degrees from University of Toronto, PE teacher (high-school level) for 15 years, nightclub peacekeeper for more decades than I would like to admit (obviously concurrent with other jobs: club door is usually only a part-time thing), and former adult correctional officer (BC and Yukon).

    Now pretty long in the tooth, so only current rank in anything (I don't count past ranks) is 3rd dan (instructor) in Tak Kubota's IKA organization.

    In short, nothing special.

    I'm merely curious about this business of closing range with the non-striking hand down and how it helps to "keep balance" when making that change. Of course, when distance permits, one can have one's hands in one's shorts if one wants to, but closing range would seem the most important time to be as protected as possible (while still being able to attack effectively).

    Not being an MMA expert, I saw no sign of any effective feint or attack by Bader's left when he closed with Machida--just some sort of pawing motion--and (this is what surprised me) no sign that he was protecting his head with it either...which should be the default position of a non-attacking hand, shouldn't it?

    That's why Bader's approach mystified me: Bader is a top-level MMA competitor and I'm trying to figure out what he was doing right at that time.

    Again, it's merely curiosity on my part.
  2. greatheight is offline

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    Posted On:
    8/12/2012 5:58pm


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    Coolio! I wasn't challenging your points or anything, I just wanted to see what sort of experience you have. I'm enjoying this discussion between you and Danno (and I already know enough about him!).
  3. Vieux Normand is offline

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    Posted On:
    8/12/2012 6:35pm

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    Quote Originally Posted by greatheight View Post
    Coolio! I wasn't challenging your points or anything, I just wanted to see what sort of experience you have.
    It's a perfectly-legitimate thing to ask of anyone on this forum.

    As stated, I'm the farthest thing from an expert on current MMA tactics, which is exactly why I was asking about Bader's approach just before Machida KOed him. If it was just a mistake, well...that happens to everyone, regardless of level. Why I am having so much trouble seeing it that way is that, given the drills and sparring I've done over the years, I'd have to literally force my non-striking hand to paw out like that (and loop downwards after) when closing range.

    I learned that "keep-'em-up" instinct the hard way (which is why, imbecile that I am, I only have 26 teeth...but all that happened just after I started any sort of striking-related training in the late 70s: once I learned to protect my face, I got nothing more from sparring than a bit of brow-scarring from slipping punches, some ear-draining needed--but not as often as from Judo--and a somewhat remodelled nose.

    On the job, the automatic "keep-'em-up" instinct has served me well because there are times (which one obviously tries to make as infrequent as possible) when fists aren't the only thing racing for one's head--and I'd rather get blunt-force damage, stabs or cuts to the hands and forearms than to the face.

    My hand-position makes me stick out like a sore thumb in my current dojo, though, but the Kancho (the IKA's number-two after Kubota)--a Takushoku-University-trained KK-friendly pragmatist with a Judo and Sumo background which predates his Karate practise) tolerates it.

    Point of all this is: I have that "keep-'m-up" instinct long-established to the point where I'd be more tired from forcing my hands downward when closing than I'd be from keeping them up...and I'm Joe-fucking-nobody. Hence my perplexity about Bader--an elite-level MMA athlete--and his left-hand-down attempt to close with Machida.

    I'm enjoying this discussion between you and Danno.
    As am I. It's always good to discuss the basics--what little of them I understand.
  4. danno is offline
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    Posted On:
    8/12/2012 11:29pm

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    I'd cautiously hypothesise that if we were to record you fighting and broke it down frame by frame, Vieux, we'd see you opening up sometimes when you throw. Just because I've observed it happening so often in every combat sport. Actually fighting and breaking down fights via still frames and slow motion video on the internet are two very different things, sir!

    As for Bader's "pawing" to set up the right hand - yeah, that's part of the reason he ended up face-planting into Machida's fist. Before this happened, he'd been doing exactly the same thing repeatedly - pawing with the left, then throwing the right.

    If other people here are enjoying reading along, I might as well go balls deep.

    Machida had spent all but a few moments of the fight leading with his right. They were both feeling out the range and touching lead hands:



    Bader was pawing with the left a lot, trying to simultaneously clear Machida's lead hand and feint the jab in an attempt to set up the straight right:



    Notice that both frames occur within the same second (4:40), yet the two fighters are in completely different positions. Machida is already far out of range.

    Less often, when Machida doesn't move out of range, this happens:



    Bader is now conditioned to expect these outcomes. And he's not yet been hurt in any of the exchanges.

    About 3 seconds before Bader makes the final advance, Machida changes stance to lead with his left. An important detail I missed before.

    Bader makes a subtle move forward. Machida hops back.

    Seeing the retreat, Bader commits to a deep lunge in an attempt to reach with the right, expecting Machida to continue moving back. Machida has anticipated this and plants his feet.

    Bader knows something is going on with Machida's left hand. He reaches towards it - but because Machida has changed his lead, the hand is too far away. Bader's hand gets nothing but air. It's half way between a feint and a paw to clear Machida's lead hand, and it's completely ineffective for either job.

    Not only is the hand he reached for too far away, but Machida's head is far closer than he expected it to be. Machida has already technically dismantled Bader, and the knockout punch is just the coup de grace.

    I was going to add more photos for that description, but it takes time. If I get requests I'll add them in.
    Last edited by danno; 8/12/2012 11:35pm at .
  5. danno is offline
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    Posted On:
    8/12/2012 11:39pm

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vieux Normand View Post
    ...and I'm Joe-fucking-nobody.
    We must be related, I'm Dan-fucking-nobody.
  6. mike321 is online now

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    Posted On:
    8/13/2012 12:58pm


     Style: kenpo, Wrestling

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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Enjoying the analysis. Here is my question: why does Machida's grappling frustrate so many fighters? He gets that clinch and then seems to magically spring out if it. What is preventing him from getting thrown or jammed against the cage?
  7. Vieux Normand is offline

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    Posted On:
    8/13/2012 2:44pm

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    Quote Originally Posted by danno View Post
    I'd cautiously hypothesise that if we were to record you fighting and broke it down frame by frame, Vieux, we'd see you opening up sometimes when you throw.
    By "opening up", if you mean leading a closing-in with an attempted jab, sure. I'd try to cut down on the opponent's angles of possible response by making sure my chin is tucked behind the shoulder of the jabbing-arm and keeping the other side of my face covered with the other hand.

    If, by "opening up", you mean I'd reach-and-drop-and-loop my nonstriking hands while attempting to close range, you would have seen me make that mistake quite a bit when I was first learning to strike in the 1970s.

    You would also get footage of my mouthguard and, sometimes, teeth flying out of my head. Since my previous styles didn't feature striking, grab-and-clinch was my instinct and it cost me when I tried to close range with strikers...until I drilled and drilled and learned never to close range that way. So, yes, I initially made that error and learned--the hard way--not to make it again.

    Just because I've observed it happening so often in every combat sport. Actually fighting and breaking down fights via still frames and slow motion video on the internet are two very different things, sir!
    Which is why I was attempting to focus on something that can be identified regardless of speed. Of course, things happen so fast that it's tempting to say that **** just happens, and that is indeed true.

    I'm not sure if that conclusion is applicable in this specific case. Question: if Bader had protected his head properly with the nonstriking arm and thrown a straighter right than the one he did, might Machida's angles of possible counter not been reduced? How might closing range this way have affected the outcome of this fight? Top-level fighters drill protecting the head and they drill straight rights, so this was far from anything Bader couldn't have chosen when closing.

    As for Bader's "pawing" to set up the right hand - yeah, that's part of the reason he ended up face-planting into Machida's fist.Before this happened, he'd been doing exactly the same thing repeatedly - pawing with the left, then throwing the right.
    Bader is smarter than to do something repeatedly against Machida, isn't he? At his level, I"m sure he is. Ah, well, another mystery.

    If other people here are enjoying reading along, I might as well go balls deep.
    Not to worry: the mods will doubtless realize what has happened and move the thread. Just tell 'em it's Vieux's fault; I'll take the hit.

    Machida had spent all but a few moments of the fight leading with his right. They were both feeling out the range and touching lead hands:



    Bader was pawing with the left a lot, trying to simultaneously clear Machida's lead hand and feint the jab in an attempt to set up the straight right:

    Now I'm really mystified. Pawing and clearing the opponent's hand away is a staple...of Karate (except for people like me, who never bother with it). It's bread-and-butter Shotokan. Why anyone would attempt to do this against Machida, who would be far more familiar with it (and ways of responding to it effectively), I just don't get.

    Notice that both frames occur within the same second (4:40), yet the two fighters are in completely different positions. Machida is already far out of range.

    Less often, when Machida doesn't move out of range, this happens:

    Yeah, what were those? Sort-of standing clinches--but nobody did anything with them and they just broke it up themselves. Bader, the wrestler, would have had all sorts of options from here, and Machida has a BJJ BB.

    Bader is now conditioned to expect these outcomes. And he's not yet been hurt in any of the exchanges.
    Except that Bader had clinches, and the chances that go with them, but didn't rassle.

    About 3 seconds before Bader makes the final advance, Machida changes stance to lead with his left. An important detail I missed before.

    Bader makes a subtle move forward. Machida hops back.

    Seeing the retreat, Bader commits to a deep lunge in an attempt to reach with the right, expecting Machida to continue moving back. Machida has anticipated this and plants his feet.

    Bader knows something is going on with Machida's left hand. He reaches towards it...
    ...and there's the rub. Why reach for it, before or then? Why not keep the nonstriking arm close to his own head, where he can parry if necessary. That's my question. It's not typical of anything he trains (as far as I know, Bader doesn't do Shotokan), so why try it against somebody whose style features it?

    but because Machida has changed his lead, the hand is too far away. Bader's hand gets nothing but air.
    All the more reason not to reach 'n' paw. Bader's camp must have been aware that Machida changes **** up like that, seemingly on a whim. Getting caught with the hand down-and-out is never advisable...and particularly suicidal when facing someone like Machida. Machida is exactly the sort of fighter one should properly cover up against, or face dismantlement.

    It's half way between a feint and a paw to clear Machida's lead hand, and it's completely ineffective for either job.

    Not only is the hand he reached for too far away, but Machida's head is far closer than he expected it to be. Machida has already technically dismantled Bader, and the knockout punch is just the coup de grace.
    Is it my imagination, or did MAchida actually look a bit to his right and actually let loose some kind of "Kiai" thing when unleashing that right? Srs.

    I was going to add more photos for that description, but it takes time. If I get requests I'll add them in.
    In any case, I've got lots of ammunition to use with the Karateka I now work out with. They keep annoying me about why I don't try to "clear the opponent's hands" rather than just unleashing from stonewall as is my wont. The grabbing I save for when I have already closed to clinching range.
    Last edited by Vieux Normand; 8/13/2012 2:50pm at .
  8. greatheight is offline

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    Posted On:
    8/13/2012 10:18pm


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    Quote Originally Posted by Vieux Normand View Post
    Now I'm really mystified. Pawing and clearing the opponent's hand away is a staple...of Karate (except for people like me, who never bother with it). It's bread-and-butter Shotokan. Why anyone would attempt to do this against Machida, who would be far more familiar with it (and ways of responding to it effectively), I just don't get.



    ...and there's the rub. Why reach for it, before or then? Why not keep the nonstriking arm close to his own head, where he can parry if necessary. That's my question. It's not typical of anything he trains (as far as I know, Bader doesn't do Shotokan), so why try it against somebody whose style features it?
    At the pre-fight press conference, Bader mentioned that he had a high level Shotokan Karateka for his fight camp. Perhaps he was looking to make Machida engage in a more predictable way?
  9. Vieux Normand is offline

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    Posted On:
    8/14/2012 8:39am

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    Quote Originally Posted by greatheight View Post
    At the pre-fight press conference, Bader mentioned that he had a high level Shotokan Karateka for his fight camp. Perhaps he was looking to make Machida engage in a more predictable way?
    An understandable strategy in terms of learning what an opponent might try against you (a reason why Machida cross-trains: know thy enemy). However, Machida cross-trains so that--knowing what an adversary may try--he can then counter it...with Karate as much as possible. He has a BJJ Black Belt as we all know, but look at the Bader fight to see how much of that was in use. He'll do what he has to in a relatively-open ruleset (arm-triangling Sokajou, among others), but he tries, whenever he can, to win specifically with Karate. Learn what others do, but use your strengths.

    That's what Bader should have done with his Shotokan training-camp member: not try to use Shotokan in the bout itself (it takes a **** of a lot longer than one training camp to learn to use Shotokan effectively)...but to learn what, in that style, might be used against him so he could expect it, counter it, and impose his wrestling. From those weird "clinches" we saw, the opportunity was there.

    Why Machida didn't use those clinches is obvious, given the way he prefers to fight if possible. Why Bader didn't use them to set up a fight more advantageous to his wrestling background is something I'm still trying to figure out.
    Last edited by Vieux Normand; 8/14/2012 8:43am at .
  10. danno is offline
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    Posted On:
    8/14/2012 9:31pm

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    Quote Originally Posted by mike321 View Post
    Enjoying the analysis. Here is my question: why does Machida's grappling frustrate so many fighters? He gets that clinch and then seems to magically spring out if it. What is preventing him from getting thrown or jammed against the cage?
    Wrestling is the weakest part of my game, but I'll give you my opinion.

    A lot of it has to do with his footwork. It can be hard to shoot on someone while they're backing and circling out of range, and rarely engaging with strikes for more than one or two shots.

    To get someone against the cage you need to back them into it and cut off their exit points, sort of "sheep dog" them in. But Machida doesn't engage the way his opponents want him to, and he goads them into playing his own game. It's very hard make him do what you want under any circumstances.

    As for takedown defense from the clinch, it's just good basics I think. He's not the only fighter who is good at that.
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