In Part 2 of our three-part analysis of Lyoto Machida fighting techniques, we look at his grappling, timing, striking and counterfighting. Learn how to incorporate his approach to fighting into your own training!

In Part 2 of our three-part analysis of Lyoto Machida's fighting techniques, we look at his grappling, timing, striking and counterfighting. (Be sure to read Part 1 of our analysis!) The shotokan karate stylist has made it work for him in the octagon. Read on to see how you can incorporate Lyoto Machida's tactics and shotokan techniques into your traditional or mixed-martial arts training. Lito Angeles, author of Fight Night! The Thinking Fan’s Guide to Mixed Martial Arts, serves as your guide.


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Lyoto Machida’s Grappling Skills

Observation: “Machida is a seasoned grappler. He received his black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu in 2007. However, he doesn’t choose to focus on ground skills in the octagon,” Lito Angeles says. Explanation: “He uses grappling as a support system,” he says. “Like other mixed martial artists, he trains in all the disciplines to empower his brand of fighting, which is stand-up.” Action for Your MMA Training: Be like Lyoto Machida and take up Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Don’t forget to work on your clinch-fighting skills. Then you’ll know that if you lock up with your opponent and go to the ground, you’ll be OK. “Even if you don’t like grappling, learn enough to thwart takedown attempts — which is what Machida does,” Lito Angeles says. “Also learn how to get back up quickly if you are taken down. And if you get stuck on the ground, be able to defend against the most common submissions until you can get up. You don’t have to focus on submissions — I don’t recall any fights in which Machida [used one to win] — but you need to be able to stop them.”

Lyoto Machida’s Counterfighting Skills

Observation: Lyoto Machida is a consummate counterfighter. Explanation: “He obviously has the patience to wait for his opponent to make the first move,” Lito Angeles says. “That makes him very hard to beat unless his opponent has the patience to out-wait him. He makes you fight according to his rhythm, and once you do, he pulls you in.”

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Action for Your MMA Training: When you spar, work on the patient approach. Don’t jump in and attack. Wait for or encourage your opponent to leave you an opening, then exploit it.

Lyoto Machida’s Quick Strikes

Observation: Lyoto Machida seems to be able to read his opponents’ intentions and often uses a quick strike to stop them from finishing their attack. Explanation: It’s one of the benefits of having a background in a traditional martial art. You learn about telegraphing — both how to take advantage of your opponent when he does it and how to avoid doing it yourself. Action for Your MMA Training: Study Bruce Lee’s fighting methods along with shotokan. Jeet kune do teaches you to attack your opponent before he can complete his attack,” Lito Angeles says. “That’s why it’s called the ‘way of the intercepting fist.’”

Lyoto Machida’s Timing

Observation: “Machida’s timing is impeccable,” Lito Angeles says. “When he decides to attack, he makes every shot count. He’s a very efficient fighter.” Explanation: The champ knows that taking a few shots is a great way to save energy without sacrificing effectiveness — as long as you land them. Action for Your MMA Training: Even if you’re not one of the most powerful strikers out there, you can enhance your effectiveness by using the principle of addition of velocities, Lito Angeles says. “When two cars meet head-on, their speeds are added together. That’s why Machida tries to time his techniques to catch his opponents while they’re coming in — it makes the impact more powerful.” To apply that concept to your martial arts training, you’ll need a partner who likes to go on the offensive. Play the counterfighter against him and concentrate on your timing. A great place to do that is at your local point tournament, Lito Angeles says. “If nothing else, point karate teaches you timing.” To be continued in "Improve Your MMA Training With Lyoto Machida's Shotokan Karate Techniques and Tactics (Part 3)."
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Do you want to maximize your self defense skills? Learn the game of combat chess and most importantly the queen of all moves.

Allow me to intercept those who would object to the title of this article. I'm not claiming that there's a secret move, shortcut or hack that will give you the edge in any fight. Even if there was an ultimate weapon or strategy, you likely would avoid it because you
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Looking to buy some weights to gain some strength?

Looking at Dumbbell, Kettlebells or Weighted bar? How about an all in one that won't just save you some good amount of money but also space? Look no further, we bring you the GRIPBELL!

Let's face it, when we do want to work on some strength building, we don't want to go around shopping for 20 different weight equipment things. That would just not want us to even do any sort of strength training. But what if we only needed a few, a few that can do the things we want without having 20 things lay around? That's where the GRIPBELL comes in. Let me clarify with you first, these are not some heavy duty, muscle exploding weights, they are for building the level of strength we as martial artists want without going crazy and insane in bulk sizing!

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Many different types of "blocks" are taught in most martial arts school. We are taught high blocks, low blocks, middle blocks, knife hand blocks, etc. Some schools will also teach how to use the legs to block an attack, as well.

The purpose of this writing is to possibly open some minds to the possibilities of going outside the box and considering alternatives to the basics.

Blocking is taught as a way of protecting oneself from harm. Truly, we don't "block" anything, as a non-martial artist would think of it. What we call "blocking" is more of a redirection of an opponent's attack, or even a counterstrike against the opponent's attacking limb.

To block something would mean to put something, like your arm, leg or other body part directly in front of the attack. That would certainly hurt and possibly cause some damage. The goal should be to move the attack out of the way in order to prevent injury and provide a way to fight back. For example, many schools teach blocks as a limb moving toward the strike such as a circular high block.

The movement required for a block might have other uses, if you keep an open mind. The blocking techniques can also be used as attack techniques. For example, your "low block" may be used as a striking technique against the outer thigh of the attacker. Your high block might be used as a strike to the jaw. The set up for a block can be used as a deflection, as well as the actual block.

Doing a block or a series of blocks will most likely not end an attack. A block needs to be followed by a counterattack. While the block is usually taught as a separate technique in order to learn it correctly, it should also be used in combination with a counter.

The more you know, the more you realize how much you don't know. Intensive books can and have be written about basic techniques. With this writing, I am hoping to create interest in exploring the additional possibilities for what we have been taught and what we teach others.

About Grand Master Stevens

GM Stevens has been training in taekwondo for 47 years under the tutelage of the late legendary Grand Master Richard Chun. He holds an 8th degree black belt and is certified in the USA and in Korea. Grand Master Stevens is a member of the Board of Directors of the prestigious Richard Chun TaeKwonDo World Headquarters organization. He has been very active in his community and has been a volunteer with the Glen Rock Volunteer Ambulance Corps for over 11 years. He is a certified member of C.E.R.T. (Community Emergency Response Team).

Gary Stevens Taekwondo is located at 175 Rock Road in Glen Rock, New Jersey.

For more information: call (201) 670-7263, email: StevensTKD@aol.com or go to www.StevensTaeKwonDo.com

Having partners at or above your skill level is important for improving in your martial arts training. At some point, however, you will probably find yourself with a shortage of skilled partners, especially if you are an instructor.

This can happen for any number of reasons: students can move away, change their work schedules, start a family, etc., and just like that, you find that you're the highest-ranked student, or sole instructor, in your gym or dojo. This doesn't have to be a bad thing. In fact, if you take advantage of it, even working exclusively with lower-ranking classmates or students can improve your skills.

I used to host a twice-a-week training session at my dojo where I invited mostly black belts from other schools (as well as a few of my advanced students) to come and run drills. It was a blast. These were tough two- to three-hour sessions where I got to work with fighters of all different sizes, speeds, and technique preferences. My sparring improved dramatically over the next few months, and I don't think I've ever been in better shape. But unfortunately, it doesn't always work out that way. And as the old saying goes, "You gotta work with what ya got." So, make it hard on yourself.

I like to set handicaps when fighting my students. Specifically, I focus on forcing myself to work on improving my weak areas. Is you right leg weaker than the left? Then only kick with the right leg when sparring your students. Not much of an inside fighter? Don't kick at all. Training with partners of lesser skill not only helps you improve your weak points but gives them an opportunity to improve as well by working on strategy. It's also great for building their confidence. It can also be a low-cost opportunity to test new techniques and combinations, which benefits you as well.

In grappling, just like sparring, there is little benefit to wrapping lower ranking classmates into pretzels over and over, for them or you. Instead, let your partner put you in a bad situation. Let them get the mount; help them sink in that choke or armbar. If you start standing, such as in judo, allow your partner to get the superior grip before attempting a throw. This way you will get comfortable working out of a weaker position and your less-experienced partner can perfect their technique (and get experience using multiple techniques, if you get out of their first one).

You might think that giving advantages like these to students who may be far beneath your skill level is much of a challenge. Trust me, you'll reconsider that sentiment when you wind up sparring a 6'5" novice with zero control over his strength after deciding to only use your weak leg, or have a 250-pound green belt lying across your diaphragm trying to get an armlock after you let them get the pin. Remember, this is exactly what you signed up for: a challenge.

If you find yourself at the top of the heap without partners who are sufficiently challenging, there is no need to despair. Use it as a low-stress opportunity to improve your weaknesses and develop avenues to help your less experienced classmates and students to grow. You may even be surprised. One day they might present more of a challenge than you ever imagined!
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