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Monday, March 8, 2010

Boxer vs. Grappler

We did something out of the ordinary on Saturday: a boxer vs. grappler scenario.

One guy had on boxing gloves and had the sole goal of punching or kicking their opponent. The other person, the grappler, was supposed to take the boxer to the ground and submit them if possible. The boxer could grapple a little as well, but they were mainly supposed to hit, even after they were taken down. Keep in mind we were only supposed to hit/kick at 30%, but with the exception of one fifteen year old boy, I was the smallest one in the class. And I was the only girl. Woohoo.

Needless to say, I was intimidated. Ok, let's be honest. I was terrified. For you guys that also train in Muy Thai or Kick Boxing, you may think I'm a wimp. But I don't do MMA. I've never had to grapple someone who was going to try to punch me in the face. Doing this exercise was optional and I considered sitting out. But I HATE backing down from things when I know the only reason why I am backing down is fear. So I talked myself into doing it.

Fortunately, my instructor sensed my terror and asked if I wanted to do the exercise with him. I quickly agreed. It's funny that I was less terrified of a brown belt than a white belt. It certainly has nothing to do with skill level. It's that I knew he would be able to control his punches and not accidently knock me out!

This is what I kept telling myself. "Ben isn't going to hurt me. He's just going to punch me a little bit. He's just going to tap me with the gloves. Not a big deal." (I actually thought of your slogan, Dev. Fueld By Fear, baby!!)

Meanwhile, I knew that I was going to have to try to take him down. As I have mentioned before, I SUCK at takedowns. So as I watched the other guys go, I devised a plan. I knew Ben would likely start out with jabs. Most people do. I planned to counter the jabs and then wait for a rear hand punch. As soon as the rear hand punch came, I would block it and shoot in for the take down.

And that's exactly what I did.

Usually take downs are terrifying to me. But, I was so worried about countering the punches (and they were really not punches. Ben was going really easy on me) that the takedown actually happened without me having to think about it. I went in and grabbed around his waist, trying to barrel him over. Unfortunately, I got stuck. It was like I hit a brick wall wearing a brown belt. But I wrapped one leg around his and tried to trip him backwards. He obligingly went down.

Then I grappled like normal. He was still punching me. That was distracting, even if the punches weren't hard. But I was surprised at how I was able to still work even with the distraction. I have a sneaky feeling that things would have been a lot different if I was getting hit with real punches. lol. But hey, everyone starts somewhere, right?

I loved this exercise. The point was to prove that the techniques we learn in class can be applied in a real street fight situation. Like I said, I think I would have had less success against someone who was trying to hit me with full force. But I think it actually broke me through a barrier with my takedowns. I was so worried about the punching, I didn't have room in my tiny brain to worry about the takedown. And low and behold, I still did it. It was sloppy and clumsy, but I'm still proud of it! ;) Guess I HAVE retained some minimal takedown knowledge after all.

16 comments:

Dev said...

Good job Allie! I'm really proud of you. I don't even know what I would do in that scenario - I don't have ANY takedowns. :) Team Fueled By Fear wins again! :)

Georgette said...

YAY! You totally need some of Dev's patches!

A.D. McClish said...

I do need one!!

Dev said...

I'm getting set to order some more. I promise you you're first on the list. :)

A.D. McClish said...

Yay! How much do they cost?

Dev said...

Don't know yet, but it'll probably be about 5 bucks. I'm not looking for a profit. The bigger ones cost me $5.60 apiece, so I just asked for $6. These are slightly less, I just haven't ordered them yet. I'll let you know!

A.D. McClish said...

Awesome! Thanks!

The Part Time Grappler said...

This is such an awesome post Allie. I always love the honesty that shines thru your blog anyway but this was great to read.

I feel it's all about a heightened awareness, and someone throwing punches (of any level) can automatically does one of two things: 1. raises your awareness and makes you sharper. 2. scares you and makes you shut down.

A huge congrats on rising to the challenge and on breaking into new realms of awareness :)

A.D. McClish said...

Thanks Liam!! It felt good to have done it, though, as I said in the blog, my sparring partner wasn't even really throwing hard punches. It gives me a new respect for men and women who do MMA and come at each other with everything they've got.

jiujitsu365 said...

It's good that you guys train in a controlled environment.

I would be wary of people punching at me in BJJ practice as well, especially if they were new. I briefly attended a place that stated they taught BJJ and MMA but in reality they were a "Karate" school that allowed their students to grapple with strikes on Fridays. They were completely dangerous and unpredictable.

A.D. McClish said...

Yeah, they make sure that we are going with partners our size. Only two people go at a time and the instructor is standing there watching the whole thing--or in my case participating. ;) It was a really great experience.

Meerkatsu said...

Great drill. I wish we did this sometimes.

jo said...

We do this sometimes in BJJ class, but we do it a TON in MMA class. I remember the first time we did this drill and then a drill where your only job is to stop punches and reverse while on bottom and a guy is punching you. Right afterward I felt EMPOWERED with all caps. I realized the basics work better when punching is involved because people are thinking about punching. I learned I could tie up someones arms from below. I learned that my opponent will be lucky to get off two shots on me if I really want to take him down. It was like my tough chick skills went up by two points that day. :) I'm glad your school does that too.

A.D. McClish said...

Jo, it was cool to see that I could till work while someone was trying to punch me. I'll have to do it a few more times before I feel empowered! But it definitely gave me a small boost of confidence.

Ben told us in class that what we're working up to is coming into class wearing jeans and t-shirts and just going out into the grass and doing this drill in "real life" type scenarios. How much closer to an actual self defense situation can you get to in training?!?! I'm excited.

Dev said...

Allie,

Got my patches! Shoot me an email with your address and it'll be on the way!

A.D. McClish said...

Awesome! Will do!!

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