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How to Finally Strike the Heavy Bag: 80/20 Kickboxing and Minimalist MMA
Learn the most efficient strikes!
With the recent dominance of wrestling in MMA, learning good, balanced striking has become nothing more than an afterthought in the minds of many fighters. However, if one watches an Anderson Silva, Lyoto Machida, or Cung Le fight, we see how striking can become an art form.
In this Hub, I'm going to teach you the very best striking techniques for MMA and how to incorporate into your striking game and execute them quickly and effectively.
The jab demonstrated on a punching bag.
The jab is one of the most effective strikes that a mixed martial arts fighter can have in his or her arsenal. The jab can be damaging, but is best for setting up either a takedown or another punch or kick. When a jab is not thrown, it is a common result for the thrown move to be telegraphed because the fighter has nothing to focus on.
To throw the jab, bend your knees slightly, tuck your chin, and punch straightforward with your forward hand. Do not fully extend your elbow to avoid injury. When throwing the jab, simultaneously step forward with your lead foot. This will add power to the jab. Retract your fist immediately to a fighting stance.
Utilize the jab often to set up different combinations or to create space between you and your opponent.
The cross is considered a power punch, and is usually set up by a jab, and followed with a hook, uppercut, or leg kick. The cross is a key component of any striking arsenal, and must be used by fighters going for the knockout, especially those that use "punches in bunches."
To throw a cross, punch straightforward with your rear hand. Bend your knees slightly, tuck your chin, and swivel your hips and move your body with the punch for maximum power. Your left shoulder should move back as your right moves forward. After the cross is thrown, remember to quickly bring your hand back to your chin to avoid counter-striking.
Shogun lands a right uppercut on his opponent
The uppercut is a mixed martial arts strike that is most effectively utilized in close quarters. It is often used in MMA because of the heavy use of the clinch game. Use when grappling for position to damage or distract your opponent The uppercut can also be used to stop an opponent going for the takedown in his tracks. While difficult to land on a charging opponent, the meeting of the opposing forces is sure to knockout or at least daze the receiver.
When throwing an uppercut, initiate the move from your belly to generate the most power. The uppercut can be thrown with either hand. Swing the fist in an upward arc with the intent to land the punch on the opponents chin or midsection. When in a clinch situation, the uppercut may need to be thrown straight up instead of in an arc.
Muay Thai expert Brandon Vera uses the outside leg kick on his opponent.
The Leg Kick
The leg kick is a damaging mixed martial arts striking technique, and one of my personal favorites. When thrown properly, it can hobble a fighter and slow their movement. The leg kick can be used to begin or end a combination. When fighting a wrestler, make extensive use of leg kicks because weakening a wrestler's legs will slow their takedown attempts. Leg kicks alone have made a huge difference in several high profile UFC fights, most notably Machida vs. Shogun I and Forrest Griffin vs. Quinton "Rampage" Jackson.
There are two main types of leg kicks: Inside leg kicks and outside leg kicks. The inside leg kick is best used to throw an opponent off balance and to attack from an unexpected angle, while outside leg kicks are best used as a damaging weapon.
When throwing an inside leg kick, strike with your forward leg at the opponents forward leg, aiming for about one inch above the knee. To throw it, simply quickly swing your leg towards the opponent's front leg and slightly rotate your rear foot. The objective is to hit one inch above the knee with the shin.Thrown properly, an inside leg kick will lift an opponent's leg off the ground, making it easier to move in with punches and knees.
An outside leg kick is thrown with the rear leg, and is also aimed at the opponent's front leg. To throw it, begin by stepping slightly to the side with the forward leg and bring your rear leg down into your opponent's leg in a chopping motion. Again, the objective is to aim approximately one inch above the knee with the shin. Be sure to kick all the way through the leg, and not to pull back. This will allow maximum power.
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