How to win more fights by tap out.

A lot of clubs I’ve visited regardless of if they’re Mixed martial arts, bjj or judo, tend to separate standing and groundwork. This is an odd way of training from my point of view and is probably a sort of coaching tradition because one of the best times to submit or takedown/throw an opponant is in a transition period, a brief moment of confusion when your opponant has to mentally shift their focus from one aspect of the game to another. I’m going to first talk about my success using transitions then some drills you can use in your sport be it Judo, BJJ or MMA.

So going back a few years I was on the national circuit and I gained a couple of national medals but never made the podium at the national championships. That summer we worked day in day out on our submission drills from checking a throw (mostly drop seoi-nage which at the time was very common in judo). Come the national championships, after a defeat in the first round I won every single fight bar 1 with the same strangle that I’d been drilling over summer from the transition. It’s a great time to attack.

The same can be seen in the top levels of the UFC, Jon Jones submitted Vitor Belfort, a much more qualified grappler, by taking him down and quickly moving to side control, then landing a couple of strikes and catching the arm for an americana. Ronda Rousey almost always tries to hit her throws such that she lands in a good position on the ground but her quickest win ever against Cat Zingano was in that brief moment of confusion between standing and groundwork where an arm was free.


So what can we do to work on these transitions? Basically identify when one distinct part of the game moves to another and practice that change so that you have a better position in the new part of the fight. This can even be as simple as passing a guard. Here are some examples:

  • Takedown to submission (Hip throw (ogoshi) to armbar (juji-gatame) for instance)
  • checked or sprawled takedown to submission
  • strikes to takedown
  • strikes to clinch
  • clinch to takedown

These are just a few MMA related examples but you can apply the same framework to any submission grappling, judo, BJJ or any others. The old saying “strike to pass, pass to strike” is essentially capitalising on that brief moment between striking and grappling which are so often kept separate which makes this a niche you can exploit.

Thanks for reading, if you enjoy reading our articles, sign up to our email list with this link to recieve updates as well as more free content, interesting posts I’ve found as well as early updates on any products we might bring out in the future.

What transition drills do you use? Comment below and like our facebook page for more free content.

Image credits to

How to optimise your cardio training for martial arts.

The traditional view of cardio is practice which is quite detatched from the martial art. Classic boxing training involves a lot of running sometimes even up to 10km runs aside from the sports practice. This was very much the case in my own competetive days I would be running 3-4 times per week along side 4 one-and-a-half to two hour sessions of judo per week and a circuit training session. This cardio heavy approach to training is somewhat outdated and we need a new look into what cardio we do as well as when and how we do it.

Make it sports specific

How often do you run in a relatily straight line or up a hill in martial arts? Imagine how much better your technique would be if you replaced a 20-40 minute run with sports practice like focus mits, throwing practice (nage or uchi-komi) or rolling drills. At the very least a skipping rope should be used in place of running as its somewhat more accurate to the sport than running. Mike Israetel has a good video on the negative effects of slamming people with extra running.

Change the workout structure (HIIT)

High intensity interval training (HIIT) is the new big thing at the moment amongst cardio shy gym rats as well as in the sporting world. It has tonnes of fitness benefits which you can find here:

Best of all it makes sense, you won’t normally be working for any period longer than 5 minutes in a martial art and probably not all at the same pace. It would make sense to make the intervals you train for the same length as the round you fight in competition as well as making the rest periods somewhat similar. For mixed martial arts for instance, if you had 3×3 minute rounds with 1 minute rests, do 3×3 minute intervals with 1 minute rests. Again don’t do this at a constant pace either, up the tempo or sprint for periods of time, even up to 15 seconds at a time. This specialises your body to your sport and uses your time optimally.

MMA workout exercises

So here are some examples of some movements you can do to work cardio, while practicing your sport.

  • Skipping rope
  • Focus pads
  • clinch fighting
  • throwing/takedown practice
  • wrestling
  • rolling
  • bag work
  • bjj drills

The forms of sparring I’ve included are the grappling centred as they carry the least injury risk in comparason to striking sparring. Obviously you shouldn’t neglect standup striking but if its purely for cardio training then why take the risk?

Judo exercises

I’m including these as its my first sport and they also carry great utility to mixed martial arts as well as another way to change up your training.

  • Skipping rope
  • uchi komi on bunjees (check out Neil Adams’ product)
  • uchi komi with an uki
  • nage komi
  • grip fighting
  • no-gi randori
  • randori
  • bag work
  • kuzushi

If you’re interested in more content on cardio for judo, check out this article on


Remeber, practice doesn’t make perfect, it makes permanent. Training time and recovery times are limited so make the optimum use of both. Running will make you better at running and maybe a little better at fighting but practicing martial arts specific cardio will give you the most benefit for your time investment.

Thanks for reading, if you enjoy reading our articles, sign up to our email list with the link below  to recieve updates as well as more free content, interesting posts I’ve found as well as early updates on any products we might bring out in the future.

What cardio methods do you use? comment below and don’t forget to like our facebook page for more articles and videos.