June 13, 2011

Positional Hierachy

I have often heard many a student and instructor recite the mantra, “position before submission”, only to later watch as they trained and sparred completely contrary to their words. It seems this “position before submission” idiom is misunderstood by most practitioners at best, practitioners who lose the spirit of this most valuable lesson while instead questing  for the hot new submission or latest sweeping fad.  At Scranton MMA students are taught to view this adage akin to a recipe; a delicious meal prepared upon a stove top, the chef directed by the recipe to “allow to simmer to perfection”.  In other words, by achieving your position and allowing it to “simmer” you will ultimately cook your opponent and savor the delicious final moments when you stick a fork in him.

Below you will find a listing of the most widely recognized positions in Gracie Jiu Jitsu. This list begins from the perspective of the top practitioner. Note, however, that if the top practitioner is in a dominant position, then by default the bottom practitioner is in an inferior position. The more dominating the top man’s position the more inferior the bottom man’s position. Thus this list goes two ways, starting with the perspective of the fighter in the top position, working down to neutral positions (where neither the fighter on top nor the one on the bottom has a decisive advantage), down to the increasingly bad positions of the fighter on the bottom.

TOP REAR MOUNT (dominant)


MOUNT  (dominant)

KNEE-ON-STOMACH  (dominant)

SIDE CONTROL  (dominant)

TURTLE  (dominant)

HALF GUARD (neutral)

GUARD (neutral)

HALF GUARD (neutral)

TURTLED (inferior)


KNEE-ON-STOMACH (inferior)

MOUNTED (inferior)



Note that there are many variations of each of these positions and other irregular position that may occur in the course of a fight. In addition certain position that do not easily fit into certain other positions (such as head locks and scarf holds) are not covered above. Nonetheless, this hierarchy should serve as a guide to the positional strategy that is vital to the realm of Gracie Jiu Jitsu. Note immediately that the objectives and strategies of the two fighters are different according to whether they occupy the top or bottom position — indeed the objectives of the two are usually polar opposites!


June 13, 2011

Mom, Can I Go to Scranton MMA

PC. MAC. Wii. Playstation. Xbox. These are the current trends in the world of electronic gaming. Exciting games like World of Warcraft, Call of Duty, Grand Theft Auto and Madden all suck our children into spending more than half of their 24-hour day in front of the computer monitor or television turned mega-arcade! This may be good when mom is rushing about trying to finish those house chores before dad comes home from work or company arrives for dinner; less noise, less goofing around, less clutter in the living room. But wait! Let me ask, is this really beneficial to our kids?

Gaming Addiction

Locked in front of the screen for a longer time than an 9-5 employee? Ignoring hunger and staying off thirst?. Not wanting to take a shower because one was just taken last Tuesday? Refusing to go to the bathroom? All of this simply because the child doesn’t want to interrupt the continuity of the game currently being played! Addiction? Yes. It is one.

Based on an article that was published by MSNBC, up to 90 percent of American youngsters play video games and as many as 15 percent of them – more than 5 million kids may be addicted, according to data cited in the AMA council’s report. The said article has also highlighted some recorded cases of gaming addictions such as the following:

A 13-year-old identified only as Ian told of playing video games for nearly 12 hours straight; said he felt suicidal and wondered if he was addicted.

Joyce Protopapas of Frisco, Texas, said her 17-year-old son, Michael, was a video addict. Over nearly two years, video and Internet games transformed him from an outgoing, academically gifted teen into a reclusive manipulator who flunked two 10th grade classes and spent several hours day and night playing a popular online video game called World of Warcraft.

The above cases are real and are the glaring truth about the psychological effects of gaming addictions. Health wise, it is worse. Why? Aside from developing eye and vision problems from too much television exposure, these games let our kids do nothing but sit in front of the console for long periods of time just as like a couch potato. Obesity! should now be flashing in our minds in bright neon light. Worse yet, we parents seems to be encouraging the encroachment of childhood obesity into our children’s lives!

Have you tried observing your kids while playing Super Mario Brothers Smash in front of your television panel? They are indeed enjoying themselves, no question about it! But have you noted the posture? Hunched back, head buried between the shoulders, arms and fingers in a very unnatural position as they button mash Y! The only brief moment of exercise coming when they leap up and jump to and fro with excitement because they just slew the major boss of level four. Now tell me, are you looking at the next Gollum, or Pillsbury Doughboy?!

Most of us would probably say we can’t you do anything about it. What?! Of course you can. You are the parent and definitely, you have to be in control. You need to take the child out of that health hazard and lead them into healthier lifestyle. A lifestyle of fitness, confidence, and discipline available at Scranton MMA!

(join us for part two for more information on ways for your child to beat the gaming addiction)


June 13, 2011

How to Choose a Team

You can neither train nor progress alone. In order to achieve your goals you need to have motivated training partners and coaches around you at all times, therefore selecting an academy with qualified instructors and a deep pool of training partners is a must. Right from the start you must be honest and ask yourself, “Am I training because I want to be a champion or am I training because I want only to tell people that I train?” The higher you aim your sights the better training and coaching you will require; your academy must have advanced students and experienced instructors alike. Fortunately, Scranton MMA is just such a place!

Let us first consider the faculty at Scranton MMA. The instructors have years of direct experience in competition and coaching. Gracie Jiu Jitsu practitioners mentored by Royce Gracie, national champion Judokas, golden gloves and professional championship boxers, as well as numerous wrestling and mixed martial arts champions, the Scranton MMA faculty has them all! You can remain confident that over time you will develop a solid camaraderie with your coaches and that they will know exactly how to keep you on pace and focused not only in your training but on fight day as well! If your corner man’s only coaching advice is “Kick ass!”, “You’re a savage!”, “You’ve got to escape that!” or some other emotional response based in ignorance you need to find new coaches. A coach must know your style and provide advice based on your preferences and what you do best. For instance, if you find yourself in a position to execute an arm lock, an omoplata, or a triangle your coaches better know which you do best and not instruct you to do what they would do!

What about your training partners? Your coaches will always be there to provide guidance and point out technical mistakes but often times that requires they are removed from the training session. This is why your training partners now become a vital part of the team. At Scranton MMA the training pool is deeper than the Mariana Trench! Scranton MMA is home to over 150 students; each with there own styles, body types, specialized moves, and fight experience. The training partners will always be there to provide you with different “feels” or “looks” thus constantly forcing you to develop certain parts of your game that may be lacking. For instance, if you will be fighting a very good wrestler you will have access to a wide variety of training partners that are great at guard passing and staying on top thereby forcing you to develop your guard and bottom game escapes. Maybe your opponent is a devastating kick boxer, you will have access to training partners that are experts at keeping a fight standing thus forcing you to perfect you slip, blocks, and takedowns. Your training partners become your siblings!

In the end, when all things are considered Scranton MMA is the choice for you! Full time staff, full time schedule, full time training all means one thing…you will be ready come fight day! See you on the mats!


June 13, 2011

Earning a Brown Belt at Scranton MMA

The brown belt is arguably the stage at which you will have the most fun! The Gracie brown belt has all of the knowledge and most of the technical execution of a Gracie black belt without the weight of responsibility that a Gracie black belt carries! The brown belt is able to walk about Scranton MMA with a sense of pride knowing he is within range of the ultimate goal but always has a parachute when he performs because after all he is not a black belt! It is this cushion of non-perfection that allows the brown belt to mature into a black belt.


What then is a brown belt? The brown belt at Scranton MMA has a deeper understanding of techniques within a strategy and is quicker to recognize and transition between techniques and strategies. On the mat the brown belt is a mentor to purple belt student and an ambassador of the academy in all endeavors both private and personal. In victory or defeat the brown belt is holding his own against all other fighters.

So how does one reach the ultimate goal of black belt at Scranton MMA? To reach the highest level, the brown belt needs to refine his technical skills, sharpen his timing, and improve his ability to select the correct move from his vast library of technique. Time on the mat and asking intelligent and critical questions of his instructors are the keys to the brown belt attaining his black belt dream.