Grappling

Gokor Chivichyan Grappling Video: How to Execute a Takedown and Heel Hook

MMA grappling and judo master Gokor Chivichyan in action for Black Belt magazine.

If you’re into real grappling techniques, only a few names should come to mind — and one of them should definitely be Gokor Chivichyan.

Gokor Chivichyan — who was inducted into the 1997 Black Belt Hall of Fame as the Judo Instructor of the Year — is an iron-clad resource for submissions techniques … leg locks in particular.

Gokor Chivichyan’s curriculum vitae, however, extends far beyond just judo. In addition to his ninth-degree black belt in the Japanese martial art, Gokor Chivichyan holds a sixth degree in sambo as well as a sixth degree in jujitsu.

Prior to earning those those black belts, Gokor Chivichyan entered — and emerged victorious from — his first competition in 1971. Since then, he really hasn’t stopped winning. This icon in the Armenian martial arts community now oversees nearly 30 affiliate schools in the United States and more than 40 across the Atlantic in Europe. In addition, he organizes 10 Hayastan Grappling Challenge tournaments a year in the United States, as well as another seven in Europe.

In this exclusive video shot at the Hayastan MMA Academy in North Hollywood, California, Gokor Chivichyan demonstrates how to execute a takedown and heel hook.

GRAPPLING/MMA VIDEO
Gokor Chivichyan Demonstrates a Takedown and Heel Hook



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Ronda Rousey: An Exclusive Interview With the Gene LeBell Protégé,
Olympic Judo Medalist and MMA Fighter


At a location tucked away in a nondescript industrial section of North Hollywood, CA, Gokor Chivichyan opened up the Hayastan MMA Academy in North Hollywood, CA, on March 7, 2010. Since then, the school has gained a reputation as one of the premier mixed-martial arts training centers in the state. Running the show at the Hayastan MMA Academy are Black Belt Hall of Fame members Gokor Chivichyan and “Judo” Gene LeBell.

They oversee a state-of-the-art 12,000-square-foot gym, the grand opening of which attracted such luminaries as Kathy Long, Richard Bustillo, Bas Rutten, Stephen Quadros and kickboxing legend Benny “The Jet” Urquidez.

Click here to go behind the scenes of the school’s opening day in an exclusive video!

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The Grappler’s Handbook: Gi and No-Gi Techniques

Winning on the Ground: Training and Techniques for Judo and MMA Fighters

Training for Competition: Judo — Coaching, Strategy and the Science for Success

Ronda Rousey: MMA Fighter and Olympic Judo Champion Demonstrates How Mat-Work Connections Are the Key to Winning on the Ground

Ronda Rousey from Winning on the Ground: Training and Techniques for Judo and MMA Fighters.The secret to winning on the ground is connections.

In fact, we were going to call this book Mat-Work Connections, but our editors suggested Winning on the Ground: Training and Techniques for Judo and MMA Fighters because, they pointed out, no one would know what we meant by mat-work connections unless they read the book, and people usually don’t buy books when they don’t understand what they are about.

Everyone knows what winning on the ground means, and most people want to do it.

Mat-work connections are the secret to winning on the ground. You connect several techniques that you do very well, linking them in ways that are a little different each time.

So if your opponent blocks your half nelson by putting a hand out, you grab the wrist and do the wrist-control series. If he or she is on top of you, you can “collect the arm,” go into the mount (either pin in judo or start punching in mixed martial arts) and then execute the armbar. If your opponent rolls to his or her stomach to escape the armbar, go for the half nelson.


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The diagram illustrates why it is not as easy to avoid an armbar as some people think. This is an example of three different techniques and the end being an armbar.

Ronda Rousey: MMA Fighter and Olympic Judo Champion Demonstrates How Mat-Work Connections Are the Key to Winning On the Ground
Let’s say you only know three moves to set up an armbar: throwing your opponent to her back and then doing an armbar; being on top of your opponent in the mount to an armbar or a turnover from your back; and throwing your leg over to an armbar. Five different options are shown in the diagram, but there are actually many more.

Options

In Option 1 (shown in the photos below), you could throw your opponent, then do the mount, and if your opponent managed to roll you over to the bottom, you could do the turnover to armbar. You could do the throw, and if that misses, try the turnover.

Ronda Rousey: MMA Fighter and Olympic Judo Champion Demonstrates How Mat-Work Connections Are the Key to Winning On the Ground
If that misses, go into the mount and try the armbar from there. That’s Option 2. You could start out in the turnover — maybe your opponent missed a throw and ended up on the bottom, so you went for the turnover. Then you tried the mount, couldn’t get that, gave up, went back to standing, threw your opponent and then transitioned to the armbar. That’s Option 3.

Practice Both Sides

One thing we hope Winning on the Ground: Training and Techniques for Judo and MMA Fighters teaches you is that you should always learn every technique on both sides. So you don’t have just those possibilities because you should be able to do them to the right side as well as to the left. And you don’t have to always do the three options together. You could throw and jump into the armbar — that’s another possible option. That is, performing each move individually (throw, mount, turnover) gives you three more options. Or you could do combinations of any two of them. That is why we said there were many more than five possibilities. In fact, because you can do the same move in a sequence more than once, there is an infinite number. (For example, you can throw, go to the mount, roll over, try the armbar and then roll back on top in the mount.)

To illustrate further, an interviewer once asked Ronda Rousey, “You’ve won eight matches in a row in the first round using an armbar, including the world title. What are you going to do if one day you can’t get that armbar in the first round?”

She shrugged and answered, “I guess I’d probably try it again in the second round.”

There are two points here:

1. When you train, your mat techniques should be connected.

2. If you do train the connections between techniques, you can vary those paths so that no matter which way your opponent turns, it all ends up with you winning.

Related Martial Arts Books, E-Books,
DVDs and Video Downloads

Ultimate Conditioning — Volume 2: Ground Fighters

Winning on the Ground: Training and Techniques for Judo and MMA Fighters

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Gokor Chivichyan Grappling Video: Options for Kneebars and Heel Hooks

When you think about grappling, whom do you think about? If you’re into real grappling techniques, only a few names should come to mind. And if one them isn’t Gokor Chivichyan, then you might be barking up the wrong tree.

Gokor Chivichyan is the go-to guy for submissions techniques, especially leg locks. Disagree? Well, for starters, Gokor Chivichyan was inducted into the 1997 Black Belt Hall of Fame as its Judo Instructor of the Year. However, Gokor Chivichyan’s curriculum vitae extends so far beyond that art. In addition to his ninth-degree black belt in judo, Gokor Chivichyan holds a sixth degree in sambo and a sixth degree in jujitsu.

Long before he earned those black belts, Gokor Chivichyan entered his first competition — and went home victorious — in 1971 … and he hasn’t stopped winning since. The Armenian expatriate now oversees 27 affiliate schools in the United States and 43 in Europe, and he organizes 10 Hayastan Grappling Challenge tournaments a year in the United States and seven in Europe.

In this exclusive video shot at the Hayastan MMA Academy in North Hollywood, California, Gokor Chivichyan explains and demonstrates options for kneebars and heel hooks.

GRAPPLING/MMA VIDEO
Gokor Chivichyan on Options for Kneebars and Heel Hooks



Go inside the mind of a modern judo champion in this FREE download!
Ronda Rousey: An Exclusive Interview With the Gene LeBell Protégé,
Olympic Judo Medalist and MMA Fighter


On March 7, 2010, Gokor Chivichyan opened up the Hayastan MMA Academy in North Hollywood. Tucked away in a nondescript industrial section of the Los Angeles suburb, the Gokor Chivichyan school has gained a reputation as one of the premier mixed-martial arts schools in California. Running the show are Black Belt Hall of Fame members Gokor Chivichyan and “Judo” Gene LeBell.

The state-of-the-art 12,000-square-foot gym in North Hollywood promises to produce even more rising stars. Its grand opening attracted such luminaries as Kathy Long, Richard Bustillo, Bas Rutten, Stephen Quadros and kickboxing legend Benny “The Jet” Urquidez. Click here to go behind the scenes of the school’s opening day in an exclusive video!

For more information on grappling, judo and MMA, check out these awesome books, e-books, DVDs and video downloads available now in our online store!

Winning on the Ground, a judo and MMA book featuring Ronda Rousey and Kayla Harrison.Winning on the Ground: Training and Techniques for Judo and MMA Fighters (book) — Dr. AnnMaria De Mars (1984 world judo champion) and James Pedro Sr. (coach of international judo medalists) present a variety of techniques developed over the years. Their coaching has helped such winners in the worlds of judo and mixed martial arts as Ronda Rousey (De Mars’ daughter) and Kayla Harrison take home medals at the highest levels of competition.

The Ultimate Guide to Grappling (book/e-book)The Ultimate Guide to Grappling pays homage to the art with more than 30 years’ worth of instructional essays and interviews collected from the Black Belt archives. Written by the world’s foremost experts on the subject — including Mike Swain, John Machado and Gokor Chivichyan, among others — this book will slam you on the mat and teach you how to armbar your way to victory.

Fight Night! The Thinking Fan’s Guide to Mixed Martial Arts (book/e-book) — Structured like an encyclopedia, Fight Night! The Thinking Fan’s Guide to Mixed Martial Arts dissects the anatomy of more than 90 MMA techniques. Starting with the Americana choke and ending with the wrestling clinch, each entry contains a concise description of key characteristics that clearly identify each MMA technique; detailed photo sequences of common applications for easy visual reference and understanding; and entertaining and educational insights, such as common counters and notable executions by famous MMA fighters like Georges St-Pierre, Cung Le and B.J. Penn.…

Gene LeBell on Training, Weaknesses, Workouts and Respect

When mixed martial arts competitions such as the Ultimate Fighting Championship were first getting their start, one of the results was a refocusing of attention on several then-new concepts in fighting strategy and techniques. Traditional martial artists reacted with everything from curiosity to rage.

Regardless of individual opinion, one concept became clear: In real fighting, there are basically two types of fighters — grapplers and strikers.

This crucial observation — echoed by outspoken figures such as Bas Rutten in his Mental Strategies for Fight-Winning MMA Techniques and Lifesaving Self-Defense Moves e-book — inspired the original version of this article, consisting of an interview with Gene LeBell, the “Ultimate Grappler,” and Benny Urquidez, the “Ultimate Striker.”

We present the Gene LeBell portion of that interview here, which was originally published in the special issue Black Belt Presents Grappling & NHB.

* * *

Gene LeBell is so highly regarded by martial artists that he has become a living legend. How does a person beat a guy like him in a match?

“You don’t,” says Pancrase champion and UFC 6 superfight winner Ken Shamrock. “A guy like that is so tough that you’re not going to intimidate him. He’s so strong that you’re not going to knock him out. Basically, to beat a [guy like] Gene LeBell, you have to cheat. You either have to come up from behind him and get lucky to get a choke, or you have to kick him in the groin.”

Black Belt: Do you fight a grappler differently from a striker?

Gene LeBell: You always go for what you consider his weakness. You attack or counterattack his weakness, no matter if he’s a wrestler or karate man.

If your opponent is built strong on top, you go down for his legs?

Gene LeBell: Yes. Everybody has a different weakness. Some are jabbers; some are plodders; some are fast movers. You attack them all differently. Every martial artist has weaknesses, some more than others. And every art has weaknesses, and that includes judo and wrestling.

Can you give an example of taking advantage of the other man’s weakness?

Gene LeBell: If you’re fighting a boxer, he has no defense below his waist; you take him down and then it’s the best wrestler [who wins]. You play your own game, not his. A boxer can’t force you to stand up, but you sure can force him to lie down.

Are certain techniques more effective for certain body types, like a 5-foot-4-inch, 130-pound man who has to fight a big, strong wrestler like Ken Shamrock or Dan Severn?

Gene LeBell: The first thing you do if you run into a Shamrock or Severn is get out of his reach fast. You must live to fight another day. But if you can’t get out of there, you can open your hand so you have a four-inch longer reach, and the toughest guy is the one who can take out the other man’s eyes first. The nerve endings are so close to the brain that you don’t even have to take the eye out — you can “dot” it. If you get a thumb in the eye, it can be all over.


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No one can resist an eye strike?

Gene LeBell: Right. The ultimate martial artist is a guy who can humiliate his opponent instead of hurting him. Benny Urquidez can hit you 100 times in a minute and kill you with any one of them, or just humiliate you like that and not hurt you. The thing I admire about Benny is that not only is he a classic in his field and a legend in his own time, but he’s also an outstanding grappler. People don’t know he’s a grappler because when they see him, he’s doing full-body contact. Grapplers should also know how to block, bob and weave. You should learn all arts so you can defend against all arts.

What should students look for in an art, an instructor and a school?

Gene LeBell: If you’re going to talk the talk, walk the walk. The man that enjoys himself will [learn] better. When I say learn, I mean …

… That it becomes second nature in a real fight?

Gene LeBell: Good. How many people have taken grappling or karate and when they get in a real fight, they start swinging [wildly] with their arms? Make sure the techniques work — whatever art you practice — and that they become second nature, like walking or eating strawberry shortcake.

What does it take to be a great fighter?

Gene LeBell: Practice and conditioning. To get good, you have to be in condition. This is critical. Also, full-body …

Strengths and Weaknesses of 5 Popular Grappling Arts

Part of being a complete martial artist is knowing how practitioners of other styles think, train and fight. This article will provide an introduction to five popular grappling arts — Brazilian jiu-jitsu, judo, sambo, shootfighting and wrestling — and clue you in as to how you might defeat people who train in them.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

The basic strategy of the Brazilian jiu-jitsu stylist is to mount or submit his opponent — by outlasting him, if necessary. He’s almost always superbly conditioned aerobically (to endure a long fight) and muscularly (to prevent the buildup of lactic acid in the muscles when clinching for eternity). He generally is very patient, slim and smart, and often described as “unbelievable on the ground.”

His weaknesses include the fact that he usually trains and fights while wearing a uniform. Without it, he has no extra “handles” on his opponent and loses the ability to execute many chokes. His standing techniques, including takedowns and striking, are often weak.

Secret: Overpower him in the first moments of a fight. Don’t stay in his guard. Use techniques that are illegal in his type of competition: low strikes, groin attacks, etc. Whatever you do, don’t try to beat him at his own game, for then you will be the underdog.

Judo

The strengths of the judoka include throws, chokes and joint locks. Therefore, his basic strategy revolves around throwing his opponent to earn points and, if possible, making him submit.


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His weaknesses are most easily exposed by strikes. Also, competitive judo is one of the more “lopsided” methods of fighting in that it has strict rules (no tackles, neck locks, strikes or leg locks; and the referee can make the players break and stand up). The judo practitioner spends an eternity practicing throws, but he often neglects other critical aspects of a real fight.

Secret: Beat him with strikes or “dirty tricks.”

Sambo

The strengths of a sambo stylist lie in his locks first and his throws second. He’s usually very strong and tough. His basic strategy is the same as that of the judoka — takedown and submission — but because he spends most of his time practicing locks, his takedowns may not be so refined.

Secret: Beat him by using tactics that are illegal in his art. When he shoots in, you can use this very brief opportunity to strike the face and go for a front face lock. If he doesn’t shoot, keep a fist in his face. Remember that the sambo practitioner is not used to blocking punches.

Shootfighting

A shootfighter is almost always superbly conditioned, knowledgeable and clever. This makes him very tough. You must be in great condition to face this type of fighter. If you tire first, he wins. His basic strategy is to straighten a limb — thus exposing a weakness — and lock it.


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One shortcoming is that the shootfighter competes under rules such as no closed-hand strikes to the face. That can impart a false sense of security and may cause him to fight in a relaxed, almost casual manner. This prohibition of punching also can lead him to develop a habit of resting while in his opponent’s guard. In a no-rules fight, he’ll get punched if he does this.

Another weakness is that the shootfighter may be used to grabbing the ropes to bail himself out of a sticky situation. However, some proponents argue that this rule forces the shootfighter to learn how to apply locks more quickly than other stylists — so his opponent doesn’t have time to grab the rope.

Secret: Beat him at what he does not practice (i.e., punches to the face) by using a frenetic, “go-ape” style. This can thwart the shootfighter’s usual pace.

Wrestling

Bruce Lee said the hardest guy to beat is the wrestler, whose basic strategy is to crunch his opponent, flatten him and pop something — if he knows how to fight. (If he’s a sport wrestler, he may lack finishing holds and may not strike well.) The wrestler likes to ride his opponent to tire him out. This is effected by making the opponent carry the wrestler’s weight.


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The wrestler’s biggest strength lies in making his opponent perpetually “think defense.” It’s usually suicidal to try to out-wrestle him, since wrestling is all he does.

Secret: Be in better condition and do …

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