Monthly Archives: January 2012

January 20, 2012

Cage Fight 9 Results

PA Cage Fight Series returned to Scranton, PA for another installemnt on Black Friday 2011. Mixed martial arts fighters from all over the United States converged at Lackawanna College to go to battle inside the cage. Among the talent were two Scranton MMA fighters; Gary Peters and Terry Evans.

Terry Evans, Gracie Jiu Jitsu blue belt, made his in ring debut at 170 lbs. against Sean Oliveri. Although a 155 pounder Terry Evans took this fight because of a classic Old Forge – Riverside rivalry! Oliveri, an Old Forge native is a strong talented fighter training out of Balance Combat and he proved a stern test for Evans. Shortly after the opening bell the fighters engaged and Oliveri landed a solid one-two combination that sent Evans to the canvas. Evans was quick to recover and compose himself, returning to his feet and continue to battle and near the rounds end secure a takedown. Rounds two and three saw just as much action as the first with both fighters exchanging strikes and takedowns in a back and forth flurry of excitement! In the end Oliveri proved to be the better fighter that night securing a unanimous three round decision.

Gary Peters, Gracie Jiu Jitsu purple belt, faced off against Dave Spadell, Jr. for the PA Cage Fight Welterweight tile. Both fighters were 5-2 and both were coming off recent victories. The stage was set for a classic style versus style fight; Peters, a highly technical Gracie Jiu Jitsu fighter and Spadell, a gritty street tough fighter. The fight was an exciting fight and most definitely was the “fight of the night”. The fighters exchanged early strikes in round one until Peters closed the distance took Spadell to the canvas and enforced his more dominant ground game upon him. Peters managed to maintain top control position eventually moving to Spadell’s back and finish the round there. Round 2 saw Spadell begin to use his distance and angles more proficiently and frustrate Peters’ takedown attempts and land more effective punches and kicks. The round ended just as Peters scored another takedown. Round three was a carbon copy of the first, as Peters superior conditioning took over and allow him to control the round not only standing but on the ground. Round three ended with Peters again on Spadell’s back. When the dust settled and the score cards were read Peters had secured not only the unanimous decision but the Welterweight title as well!

January 18, 2012

Spotlight on Training: Kneebars

The kneebar to be the king of leg submissions: you are attacking one of the largest and most injury suseptible joints in the body. The kneebar has a higher finish rate than the heelhook or toehold, both often being lost do to sweat. Also, unlike heelhooks and toeholds, which often need to be applied gently in training to avoid injury, the kneebar is a fairly safe submission when applied properly.  To develop this submission into an effective attack you will want to be aware of three common errors to avoid when practicing and applying the kneebar: incorrect body position, lack of control over your opponent’s leg, and insufficient knowledge of counters.

1 – Wrong Body Position

The most common mistake with the kneebar is probably poor body position.  In this attack you need to use the power of your whole body against the knee joint. If you use your body inefficiently, then your ability to generate power is limited, and the submission takes longer to apply, or may not even work at all.

When applying the kneebar your body should NOT form a straight line.  In a stretched-out position you have limited ability to arch backwards, and you cannot use the power of your hips properly. To apply the kneebar from this position is like trying to bridge a mounted opponent off of  you with the back of your legs flat on the floor: very, very difficult!

To be in the correct body position for the kneebar, your body should  be positioned with a 90 degree bend in the knees and a 90 degree bend  in the hips. This is your ‘power position’: from here you  have much more ability to arch backwards while applying the kneebar, as  well as being able to use the power of your hips. This is basically the same position you would need to be in if you wanted to bridge off a mounted  opponent. In this position you will be able to bring the full force of your body to bear against his knee joint.

Try a little experiment: put your training partner in a kneebar and keep your body absolutely straight. Now see how far you can bend backwards,  as if you were applying the kneebar. Then try this again, but start in the power position: you might be amazed at how much further back you can arch, and how much further you could bend his leg if you had to.













Correct Body Position (Above)



2– Insufficient Foot and Leg Control

Foot and leg control is required to prevent your opponent’s leg from rotating or escaping into a safe position. In order to attack a limb  you usually need to control it first. Too often one sees a kneebar attack where the defender manages to escape the lock due to insufficient foot  and leg control.

Control over the leg is generated by using your legs, your arms, and  your head. There are many variations for these methods of control, so  I will only address the basics of each control method. There are of, course, variations and exceptions to these ‘rules’, but before you go breaking the rules you first have to learn them.

The two most basic ways to position your legs are: 1) with your ankles  crossed on his butt, and 2) with your legs triangled to the outside of  his leg. Pinching the legs together as hard as you can is very important: this limits his movement and makes the lock come on faster.

Your arms should hold his foot close to your body. If you are holding  his leg at arms length from you then you don’t have as much control  over his foot. Furthermore you will be using more arm power instead of  legs and back power to apply pressure. Generally speaking, you should  hug his leg to your chest when applying the kneebar, but placing his leg under your armpit is also a good control position.

An important, yet often overlooked detail, is the position of your head.  If you get the chance, place your head above your opponent’s foot,  trapping his foot between your head and the floor. This limits how much his foot can rotate, and really cuts down escape options. There are, of course, exceptions to this rule, but try incorporating this detail into your kneebar attacks and see how much more efficient they become!



3 – Insufficient Knowledge of Counters

‘Why should I learn the counters’, you might ask: ‘I want to learn how to apply kneebars, not to get out of them’. Knowledge         of counters, and counters to those counters is critical to mastering any  technique. It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about kneebars, armbars, pin escapes, or takedowns – you have to understand what  your opponent’s options are and what to do if he tries to counter  you.

There are many different counters to the kneebar, including triangling  the legs, leg prys, cross-faces, spin outs, etc. I encourage you to learn and experiment with as many different counters as you can. You may not use all the counters yourself, but you never know what someone will try  on you.

After you familiarize yourself with the common counters you then need  to start practicing the counters to those counters (what I call ‘re-counters’).  To every counter there is one or more re-counters: sometimes all it takes to prevent an opponent’s counter is a subtle weight shift, and sometimes it takes more drastic measures, including switching to a different submission. Once you understand the counter and re-counter game you are on your way to mastering the kneebar submission.

January 15, 2012

Spotlight on Training: Ringworm

Ringworm is actually a fungus, not a worm. The first symptom of ringworm is severe localized itchiness. Basically it starts out as a little, red,  itchy pimple. Soon this grows to solid pink circles on the skin, usually  between the size of a pimple and a quarter. The border of these circles will eventually develop scaly red skin and the center become paler. Related  forms of ringworm can also occur on the scalp (causing hair loss), the  crotch (‘jock itch’) and the foot (‘athlete’s foot’). Just remember that all ringworm starts small – be suspicious of an itchy or scratchy area, especially when it associated with a small red area.

Take ringworm seriously. It’s ugly, itchy and very contagious. Once someone in a team gets infected with ringworm it spreads like wildfire and stays around for a very long time unless strict measures are taken quickly.  A ringworm infection at a club can cause people to quit: do you really  want less people to train with?

With ringworm there is usually a 1 to 2 week incubation period between exposure and visible infection. The fungal spores that spread ringworm can survive on a variety of surfaces for a long time, so eradicating this  sucker is really difficult. To make matters worse, some people are asymptomatic carriers meaning that they carry the infection and can infect others but don’t have the characteristic skin markings.

If being infected with ringworm doesn’t bother you too much then think about your training partners, ESPECIALLY those training partners who have children. Children are very susceptible to ringworm and if it gets in their scalps it can cause permanent scarring and baldness. The standard treatment for ringworm of the scalp in children is 6 weeks of  prescription oral medication that has potentially serious side effects,  so PLEASE be considerate.

If you have ringworm stay off the mat! This is the most difficult part of the treatment for many grapplers, who just want to keep on training. Stay off the mats until your ringworm is under control or you’ll turn  your infection into a club-wide epidemic. After the red circles have cleared up the grappler is no longer infectious and can return to training. It  usually takes about a week to treat if you catch it early; delay treatment and it could take a lot longer.

Simply covering up the infected sites is NOT sufficient! Many  times people will just put some tape over the itchiest ringworm sores and go train anyhow – this is not cool. For one thing the offenders in question might not have noticed every single sore, and also they ave certainly been scratching those sores all day, spreading fungal spores to their hands and any other bodypart they touch with their hands. Stay off the mats.

Treat the infection with an antifungal cream. There are many antifungal creams and gels available. ‘Lamisil’ is one of the best creams, but usually requires a doctor’s prescription.

There are also over-the-counter medications like tolnaftate (‘FungiCure’, and others). I haven’t found the clotrimazole products as effective – sometimes all they do is suppress the fungus. Most products are applied  twice daily. Some creams also contain hydrocortizone or cortate, but this  just reduces the inflammation and doesn’t actually kill the fungus. As a rule of thumb, if your ringworm isn’t a lot better after one or wo weeks of using over the counter anti-fungal creams go to a doctor  or walk-in clinic and ask for a Lamisil prescription.

You can also take prescription oral medications (like an oral form of  lamisil or ketoconazole) for severe and/or stubborn cases. These may be  hard on your liver and you should take them with care.

Keep on applying the topical medication for one week after your  infection clears up! Often it appears that the infection is gone,  but the ringworm is actually only dormant and will soon come back. Apply the cream or gel for at least one additional week. If you are taking orals take the full course of prescribed anti-fungal medications.

Change your bedding every couple of days and don’t share towels – your training partners may be pissed if you infect them, but that is nothing compared to how upset your spouse or ‘special friend’  is going to be if he/she catches it. Besides, if you are treating your  ringworm but sleeping in the same old bedding or using the same towel every day you are basically re-infecting yourself. Use your bath towels  and wash cloths only once, and then wash them.

January 13, 2012

Spotlight on Training: Post Training Recovery

Are you sore after one of your Scranton MMA training sessions? There a two important and simple things you can do to help your body recover faster from your intense training! According to most sports science studies the two most important meals of the day are your pre and post-workout meals.

Getting some extra liquid, carbohydrates and  protein into your body shortly BEFORE a workout allows you  to train harder, longer, and minimizes muscle damage and compromise to your immune system during your workout. Eating or drinking within 45 minutes AFTER exercise actually helps heal your body, builds new muscle, and replenishes your body’s energy stores so that you’ll feel fresh for your next workout.

Lack of proper postworkout nutrition is a huge contributing factor in overtraining.  If you often feel like a stumbling zombie for 24 hours after intense training then the first thing you should try is making sure that you get good nutrition into your body soon after the training stops.  If you’re doing multiple workouts in a day then then postworkout nutrition is often the only thing between you and total system breakdown. It is important that your post-workout meal be consumed soon after your workout (within 45 minutes).  After training your body experiences an ‘anabolic window’, during which the cells of your body are especially able to absorb and use nutrients.  This window starts to close soon after you stop training, so it is better to get something into your belly fast rather than waiting and having the perfect meal two hours later.

OK, so what should these meals look like?  Most people agree that the pre and post workout ‘meals’ should be in liquid form, both to provide you with liquid to replace lost sweat and to speed absorption of the nutrients.  Basically we’re talking about an athlete’s version of the bodybuilder’s shake.

THE PREWORKOUT MEAL (c. 10 minutes before exercise)
This is a chance to get some liquid, fuel (sugar and carbohydrates) and electrolytes into your body before your workout, giving it something to burn up and sweat out.  The addition of a small amount of protein helps limit muscle breakdown.  A typical preworkout meal might consist of:

  • 12 oz of water
  • 20 to 30 grams of  carbohydrates (glucose, sucrose and/or maltodextrin)
  • 5 to 10 grams of protein (e.g. whey protein)
  • electrolytes (mostly sodium, potassium and magnesium)

THE POSTWORKOUT MEAL (within 45 minutes of finishing exercise)
This feeding gets nutrients into your body at a time when it needs them most and also when it is most receptive to them (the ‘anabolic window’ window again).  A typical postworkout meal might look like this:

  • Lots of water
  • 20 to 30 grams protein
  • 80 to 100 grams carbohydrate
  • electrolytes (e.g. sodium, potassium, magnesium)

These formulations have a lot of carbohydrates, and that’s not random or accidental.  Many athletes are so fixated on protein that they overlook carbohydrates, but carbs help replenish your body’s energy supplies AND have stimulate your body to build more muscle.  If you have to choose between a postworkout meal consisting either of carbs or protein go with the carbohydrates every time (but obviously having a mix of protein and carbohydrate is the best).

You can buy powdered shake mixes that purport to give you the exact right mixture of these ingredients, typically with the addition of some secret or proprietary compounds (exotics like black mamba venom, or fancy chemical names like 2,3-diethyl-dichloro-cancer-some-day). While these mixtures are convenient they are also very expensive.

A cheaper alternative is to buy bulk powdered sportsdrink (Gatorade, Powerade, etc), maltodextrin (an easily absorbed carbohydrate) and protein powder (whey, hemp, egg, etc.).  Play mad scientist, mixing up different concoctions using water or diluted fruit juice as a base until you find a mixture with flavor and consistency that you like. Feel free to experiment!

The bottom line is to try and get something into your belly immediately before and immediately after exercise.  If all you can get your hands on is a small bottle of Powerade or Gatorade then that is still way better than having nothing at all.  Please note a lot of chemistry and physiology have been skipped over here: if you want to know more about these topics check out just about any sports nutrition book.

Train hard, recover smart!