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Kicking It - Ian Ransburg Muay Thai Seminar

Reviewed kick defense, the base foot is flat on the mat and the base leg straightens. The check leg is at an angle, as if you had a “V” coming from your center line.

Jab - Rear Kick - Lead Kick: Your partner picks up the kicks with the leg check on the ipsilateral side.

Jab - Fake Rear Kick - Rear Kick: Throw the jab rear kick combination, if your opponent is checking, fake the rear kick by rotating the hip, tricking them to defend with the leg check. When they put it back down, kick the leg.

Jab - Fake Rear Kick - Lead Kick: Set-up the jab-kick combination. Fake the rear kick to make them leg check, freezing on one leg for an instant, switch step 45° across their center with your rear leg, and throw the kick to the opposite side.

Jab - Fake Rear Kick - Rear Tiip (the Heatseaker): Again set-up the jab-kick combination. If they are leg checking then turn the kick into a tiip by rotating the foot down and medially before thrusting forward.

Have your partner practice the same side and cross side leg check by throwing jab - rear kick - lead kick. To defend, leg check laterally for the first kick then across the centerline to pick up the other kick. Step back in the opposite stance then walk back to your original stance.

Jab - Fake Lead Kick - Sweep: Provoke the cross leg check, by faking a powerful lead kick by stepping in, then use the opposite leg to kick sweep their legs as your same side arm comes across their guard.

Low-line Kick Evasion: Your partner comes with the jab-rear kick combination and you leg check. The next time they do this, roll onto the flat of your rear foot and retract the leg to the opposite stance, landing on the ball of this foot. Return a kick.

High-line Kick Evasion: Roll your lead arm so that the forearm is perpendicular with the floor, elbow pointed laterally, rock back on the toes of your lead foot as you lean backward to allow the head kick to fly over your chest and face. Return a kick.

Ian also talked about using the jab and the cross to hide bringing the rear foot to lead foot to throw the lead offensive tiip. He also discussed tactics for closing with a larger opponent, including (1) Throwing the jab to the rear glove to “staple” it so that you can throw a body shot (2) following the retracting strike of a larger opponent, (3) reading the decreasing range adjustments your opponent makes as they get “comfortable”.


Fall 2017 Megaton Dias Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Seminar

Strategy, Technique, and Mechanics

You need to apply strategy to win, taking the techniques you know to create reaction and opportunities to attack. You need one good takedown, one good guard pass, one good sweep, and one good submission. Thus we can prune techniques from our game because they are not optimally effective for our style or body type, but we cannot prune them from our mind because we must fully understand the art of Brazilian jiu-jitsu.

Learning technique is easy, application and strategy taking time and sweat. There is no right or wrong, there are better and worse options.

Understand the mechanics of each movement and how it teaches you something in the greater context of jiu-jitsu. Understand what principle         does the mechanic embody.


You will get into better shape with jiu-jitsu, but you cannot excel at jiu-jitsu unless you supplement your training with conditioning. 

Escape From the Rear Mount


On the side you wish to slide to your back on, place the ipsilateral forearm on your forehead with your ear to your biceps. Your other arm comes across with the hand protecting the “negative air way”. This is a defensive posture to prevent grips around your neck.


If they have the seatbelt, grab the top forearm with your ipsilateral hand and push down with the underhook side arm. You are going to have to go away from the overhook arm of the seatbelt to escape.

Collar Control

If they have collar control, grab the forearm of with your ipsilateral hand. You will have to go in the direction that their collar grip hand is pointing.

First, bridge up and move superiorly toward their head, this removes leverage for the choke. Next move your back to the floor on the appropriate side, either the one you selected with good defensive posture or the one your opponent has selected for you by their grips. Move your back to the floor, before they attempt to mount, shove their superior leg between yours  and as they attempt to get on top, slide away to open guard.

Worm Guard Sweep

Control the distal end of their gi skirt, place your ipsilateral foot in their hip, wrap the skirt under your leg and pass it to your opposite hand. Regrip with the ipsilateral hand. They must either stand or post up on the opposite leg to set-up the rest of the worm guard, you may have to wrestle them to create reaction. Now pass the gi skirt behind the other leg, grab it with your opposite hand then regrab with your ipsilateral hand but now palm up. Bring your free leg behind the posteriorly wrapped leg and place the foot below your hip post post, anterior to their other leg. Control their near arm and pull them to their back as you roll on top of their legs, pinning them together. From here, either “hike” their leg through for the mount or slide your knee nearest their far hip to the floor, then pivot your other leg free to the side mount.

Worm Guard Choke

If you attempt the worm guard and they stay down, dropping their head to create pressure, pass the gi skirt under their neck and pass it to the opposite hand, your ipsilateral hand will regrab it with the arm behind the neck for the choke. The wrapped leg can come toward you, with the knee near the ear. The other hook can go wide or drop between the legs to bait your opponent to create more forward pressure.

Worm Guard Armbar

You have set up the worm guard but because they are in a tight kneeling position you cannot thread the leg for the sweep. Move laterally to your opponent and place the free foot across their distal shin. Pull anteriorly to allow your wrapped leg to slide above their knee and across their abdomen. If they fall forward, rotate 180° to a prone position to armbar. If they posture pull them backward into the standard cross body armbar.

Two-on-one Guard Sweep

You have cross grip control of the gi sleeve and ipsilateral grip control at the elbow. Your elbow grip side foot is in their hip. Grip their opposite heel with the elbow grip hand. Now your free leg goes behind their same side knee and you extend your post at the hip, sweeping them to their back and the ground.

Two-on-one Omoplata

Use your elbow grip to pull anteriorly and up while the wrist grip pushed inferiorly and back, creating a window for you to pivot to the omoplata. Look for this when they a posturing more.

Two-on-one Triangle

Place your free foot in their cubital fossa, if they are bringing their head down/lowering their weight, pull their arm across as you move your foot in their elbow joint into the triangle.

Spider Guard Armbar

You have one foot in their hip with same side collar control and the opposite foot in the cubital fossa with ipsilateral sleeve control. If they have their hand on your pant leg you will have to free this grip, if they have control of your collar then cup their elbow and pull gently as you swing the leg over the head and squeeze with the opposite knee for the armbar.

Spider Guard Triangle

 Use the same palm up guidance of their extended elbow to pull the forward as the elbow control side leg snakes behind the head for the triangle.

Baseball Slide Pass

When passing the guard look for one leg inside and one leg outside, now reach cross collar with the inside arm and drop your forearm laterally across your opponent’s neck as you slide your inside knee over and laterally to their thigh. Grab their gi sleeve on this side.

Baseball Slide Counter Knee Bump

If they are doing the knee slide, pinch their leg with yours and turn on your side, counter grab the gi sleeve with your same hand. Grab their belt with your top hand, using this hand and your top knee bump them forward to come to your knees.

Baseball Slide Counter Roll

Use your bottom leg to extend and pull you underneath your opponent in three “slides”. Place your palm on the lateral service of their far knee. Bridge and roll them to the far side. Bring your hook on the side closes to your opponent under his leg and lift, allowing your to insert your far hand and go to side mount.

Leg Drag

Cross grip their gi pant leg and grab under the heel with your ipsilateral hand. Hip bump forward and then pull your hip back, pull the leg to the far side, rotating your gi pant grip on the far side of their leg, lean forward placing their knee in your axilla. Now free this hand and grab their far collar, and lean toward this side bringing your knee between their legs and to the mat. Secure your position and walk around to the side mount.

Second Degree Faixa Preta

Today I was promoted to second degree black belt. I don’t believe I’m that good of a black belt and I’ve done martial arts for so long that I don’t put much stock in promotions, stripes and belts anymore. To me you’re only as good as what you can back-up with your skills and only as talented as what you can transmit to others about doing the art. That being said, I’m tickled that my instructor and his instructor think enough of my evolving jiu-jitsu to promote me.


First Fall 2017 Ian Ransburg Dragon Leg Muay Thai Seminar


  • Jab: Rock step to rear foot, then lead foot, back to the rear. As you rock forward step (both feet) and jab.
  • Jab-Rear Knee: As with the jab above, after the jab rock to the rear foot and then as you rock forward, rise on the toes of the front foot, straighten the lead (base) leg, and deliver the rear knee. Point the knee to the midline, with the foot lateral. Return to your original stance.
  • Jab-Rear Knee-Rear Kick: As with the jab-rear knee above, rock to the rear foot, as your rock to the lead foot, straighten the lead leg, bring the knee of the rear leg up, pointing at your target, then flick the foot for the kick. Bring it through 180° to the same stance.

Jab Counters

If you play on the outside, you prune your opponent’s option, they have very few options to attack, e.g. the jab, tiip, possibly the kick.

  • Rearward Slip Cross: Catch-step back, catch-step back, rearward slip either just with your upper body or by stepping only the rear foot back. Return to upright (and return to regular stance) throw the cross.
  • Hook Catch to Elbow: Catch-step back, catch-step back, catch and pull the jab laterally, throw the elbow in an upward diagonal with the lead. If they are punching hard, you will be able to pull them into the elbow. If they are flicking the jab, you will have to step forward with the lead foot to land the elbow.
  • Catch to Lead Kick: Catch-step back, catch-step back, catch and simultaneously switch step to throw the lead kick to the abdomen. As they drop their hand to protect their side, deliver the head kick (sometimes waiting 1-2 rounds to do this).

Kick Defense

  • Blocking: Roll the rear foot heel to the mat as this leg extends, bring the lead leg up about 20° off midline to meet the lead elbow (which will fit outside the knee). Toes pointing at the floor. We also did this alternating kicks to the body and the head.
  • Catching: To catch the kick, step laterally with the kick, the arm on the side that is getting kicked reaches high and laterally as the other hand cross midline to protect the face. Wrap the kick tightly by sucking the arm up.
  • Catch to Leg Sweep: Once you have the leg caught, you can sweep the base leg. If they are leaning it is simple just to kick the leg out low between the calf and the foot. If they are standing up, then use your free hand to push as you sweep the leg.

Knee Counters

A drill to practice knee range: Have your partner put one glove on their abdomen and the other on your shoulder. From here throw the knee to touch your  partner’s glove and work on hip extension/thrusting of the knee.

When you clinch for knees with your partner, grab behind the neck with your lead hand (which your partner will mirror) and grab their cubital fossa with your rear hand. Place your forehead on their shoulder (not ear-to-ear!).

  • Knee for Knee: Throw the rear knee, they counter with their rear knee, throw the lead knee, they counter with their lead knee, rinse and repeat.
  • Snap Down to Body (or Head) Knee: Throw the rear knee, they counter, throw the lead knee, drop step the lead knee back, snapping their head down, throw a straight knee to the (body) or head.
  • Knee to Dump: This is a Thai-style sukui-nage. Throw the rear knee, they counter, throw the lead knee, step this leg behind their leg almost creating a seat for them with your thigh. Keep control of the neck from behind, and place your front hand on their far hip (to prevent them turning back into you. Rise on your toes and bend the knee of the leg between their legs as you look over your shoulder to throw them.


High single to knee tap

Notes on the high single:

  • Head up listening to the chest, legs square - think dead lift or squat with a slight lean.
  • The initial grip on the leg: lateral arm goes underneath the leg and is palm down, the medial hand is palm up.
  • To bring the leg up, drop your far leg back and the medial hand grabs the heel. Bring the leg up and guillotine it. To make him light on his base leg you want to guillotine at the ankle where the sock line would be, and lift. You can also punch up at the cubital fossa.
  • Pass to the side mount by putting them in a fetal position.

If they whizzer you by overlooking and grabbing the inside of their thigh, bringing their leg to the outside, switch to the knee tap. Underhook and punch up as you step around the near leg, loading them on their far leg. As you pressure forward tap the lateral side of the far leg with your free hand. The punch literally acts a wedge to tilt them onto one leg which you briefly block to let them fall.


Leg day! Singles and kicks


Opposite lead set-up

Figure 1: If you want to do a single leg and you are in opposite leads, you will need to do a drop pivot step for them to switch leads so that they are mirror with you.

From your wrestling stance, lead hand protecting your lead leg (the most likely one to be attacked) and rear hand to make contact with your opponent (feel their movement). Use the “wristwatch grip”: grab the medial side of the ipsilateral wrist just proximal to the hand. If their lead foot is a mirror image to you, proceed directly to the single (Figure 2). If your leads are opposite, use your rear hand to pull them in a 90° pivot by dropping your rear leg back and keeping your same lead (Figure 1) then proceed to the single as above (Figure 2). Use your wristwatch grip to twist it anteriorly so their thumb is pointed to the rear. This opens the “door" for you to fit your shoulder inside as you step with your lead leg behind their lead leg (creating  shelf behind their lead thigh), with your head on their chest listening to their heart, eyes up. Push with your head and pick their leg up, slide your arms in a guillotine grip at the ankle. Lift up to bend their knee, drawing them closer. Use your far leg to hook their base leg with the bottom of your foot.

Single leg footwork

Figure 2: From mirrored stances, set up the single leg by stepping behind their lead leg.

Once they are on the ground, you can clear the leg and pass to the side mount. Alternatively you can knee or kick their leg, followed by punching to the head with your far hand.


See the Fall 2017 Mokuroku pg 39.


Regardless of the "Rules of Engagement", The Human Body Can Only Move In So Many Ways


Well at least some of them.

Hands - head - forearms - hips are the layers of defense in takedowns. Thus protect the lead leg with your lead hand, elbow at knee height, hand in front of the knee. Keep your head at or below your opponent’s. Use your rear hand to check and range find their head or shoulder. If they do not clear your lead hand it, your arm blocks the takedown with the help of the hip, checking into them perpendicularly.

To do the snap down your rear hand cups the head and the lead hand their elbow pull them down and lateral to your lead leg, using your legs not just your arms. Then double leg them laterally.

If they grab your wrist with their ipsilateral hand pull them across your body and grab their wrist with your free hand while freeing your hand. Pull to the single leg.

Remember that you must be eye-to-eye to engage your opponent, when you are ear-to-ear your are in a stalemated defense. To break this pull them forward, then push their ipsilateral elbow medially to break their clinch.

90° muay thai pivot drills.

Lead pivot: Rear kick, your opponent with step toward you, while you step 45° anterior laterally with the lead foot, check hand with your head hand (which will remain lead), pivot to the same stance, cross, lead hook, rear kick. Repeat. The lead pivot is easier but unless your are opposite leads will mean you are pivoting into their power side.

Rear pivot, version #1: Rear kick, your opponent with step toward you, while you step 45° anterior laterally with the rear foot, check hand with your rear hand (which will become your new lead hand), pivot to the opposite stance, cross, lead hook, rear kick. Repeat. This allows you to pivot to their weak side but is more complicated because of the lead switch.

Rear pivot, version #2: Rear kick, lead hook, cross, your opponent with step toward you, while you step 45° anterior laterally with the rear foot, check hand with your rear hand (which will become your new lead hand), pivot to the opposite stance, rear kick, lead hook, cross, pivot step. Repeat.



Wristwatch Grip

Grab the medial side of the ipsilateral hand palm to the posterior side of their hand, twist it anteriorly so their thumb is pointed to the rear. From here step in next to them shooting the underhook and “popping” their near chest with your shoulder, options:

  1. Reach down with your free hand and then your underhook hand to secure their near leg. Take a step back to “drop them in the hole”.
  2. If they step the foot back to avoid the single leg, drive your underhook up, as you step past them and knee tap the far leg
  3. If they try to whizzer with their overhook, control their head with your free hand, elbow pointed to the mat with your forearm along the neck, a drop step first your near foot (the underhook side) then your rear foot to spin them to the mat.

Later we took this same set-up of striking, using the catch and parry to underhook and do the same takedowns.


Combinations or Combinatorics

Combinations are the closest thing combat sports gets to forms, e.g. kata, poomse, etc. They are phenomenal tools for making "words" out of the alphabet soup of techniques taught. They train form in an engaging manner and work cardio by their repeated application. To fight these combinations must be contextualized and made tactical. They need to be applied with and without rhythm. They must be improvised in the timing and speed they are delivered. Otherwise they doom us to low yield applications of high yield fundamentals.

Tonight we worked the jab-cross-kick or 1-2-kick set-up of the hands, in three ways:

  1. Jab and multiple jab until the cross opens, e.g. corrections to defend the jab open the cross line.
  2. Jab-catch jab-cross: Your jab forces the counter jab opening the line for your cross.
  3. Jab-evade kick-cross: Your opponents provoked response is the tiip or kick,which you evade by clearing or pulling your lead leg back.
Next time we'll review this and delve into the addition of the lead kick.


The Clinch is a Cinch

A private lesson on the clinch. First about the grip:

  • Classic plum position your make your hands two hooks and grab the neck
  • Fist grip: Place the thumb of one fist behind the neck and grab this hand with your opposite hand.
  • Gable grip: Grip palm to palm keeping one forearm across the back of your opponents neck, use this to leverage, e.g. twist down to be able knee to the head.
You can if necessary head pummel in so that your head is under or lateral to your opponent’s chin. This allows you to see where your knees are going.

Pressuring drill

Throw soft hook knees. Your partner pressures into you, either on the left, right, or middle. If they push to one side, drop step away from this side, If they push center, choose a side and drop step. Deliver a knee with the drop step leg.

Knee drop step, knee takedown

Throw a hook knee, place this foot near and lateral to your opponent. Drop step with the opposite foot and throw a knee with this side. Repeat as you move them around the ring. From the hook knee, place your foot next to your opponent and transition into a lunge, bending them backward with your body. Pull with your far hand and push with your near hand over your leg.

Countering the overclinch

You have your opponent in the full clinch, they clinch over your arms. Rapidly elevate the elbow on one side, twisting your body to bring it nearly vertical. This should throw them off you.

Countering the counter to the overclinch

If you are the one clinching over your opponent’s arms and they attempt to do the elbow lift, go limp on that side and pummel inside to get underhooks.