Saturday, December 27, 2008

Another MMA Fighter Shot and Killed This Year

Hey guys just wanted to give you all the heads up, sadly another MMA fighter was killed this year.

His name was Justin Eilers, he was shot and died shortly after on Friday morning, the day after Christmas.

In an apparent domestic disturbance at an acquaintance's home in Canyon County, Idaho.

The cause of death was a single gunshot wound to the chest, the bullet punctured his lung before exiting his body.

Justin Eilers was 30 years old.

The shooter James Robert Malec, 48, was arrested and charged with second degree murder in relation to the shooting.

Justin was a heavyweight fighter who fought for the UFC Heavyweight Championship against Andrea Arloski at UFC 53 in June 2005.

He also fought for Elite XC in 2008 for a title shot against Antonio Silva.

What I wanted to point out was his killer wasn't a big heavyweight MMA Fighter or a tough thug, but a 48 year old man who wasn't a fighter but someone who became deadly due to the use of a firearm.

This tragic death could have been avoided but unfortunately wasn't, what started out as an argument ended deadly.

For all you MMA Fighters or Martial Artists out there you need to be careful what you do outside the gym, that secret stand up combo or new jiu jitsu move won't work against a committed individual willing to kill you with a weapon.

When real violence enters your life you may not be able to make it tap out or be able to knock it out!

What you really need to know doesn't involve strength or sweat, a punch or a kick.

What you need to learn is awareness and deescalation skills and tactics to deal with this type of situation, no amount of kicks or punches will help when the bullets start flying.

Also if you're not training in how to deal with weapons of any kind then you're training is incomplete and needs to be reevaluated.

So take off the gloves and get up off the ground and start learning how to protect yourself from this type of violence, at the very least you'll have some options that may save your life and those of your love ones.

Take care and be safe.

Daniel Sambrano
"Keep It Simple and Savage"

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Your defense is always offensive in muay boran

Just because my arms aren't wrapped up in hemp and I'm not wearing long shorts doesn't mean it ain't muay oran. Here's a few things to consider about muay thai in general, but more specifically the older styles(muay boran, muay chao churd, mae mai, even lerdrit):

1. Even your defense is offensive, be ultra aggressive
2. Face the weapon
3. You rarely move back, more often you move in as your opponent strikes
4. Like in bando, you're always looking to take your enemy's territory (drive him back)
5. Strike hard, use your elbows often, and aim for soft tissue.
6. Blogspot's content editor doesn't auto format numbering...annoying.

I really don't recommend going under and hooking a kick in any street fight scenario. You leave yourself way too open, but in the ring when you're sparring, now that's another story.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Punch Your Way to Fat Loss!

Hey guys here is a great article by a friend and student of mine by the name of Aaron Briscoe, check it out and learn some new twists for fat loss using punching and fighting drills, enjoy.

And don't forget to check out his website to see some samples of his training via video clips and to read more interesting articles.


Ever wonder why you hardly ever see a boxer, muay thai fighter, or any other combat athlete with a soft mid-section or soft anything else? Well, aside from the intense conditioning they must go through, prior to a fight or competition, they are on a strict diet, but in reality, these people BURN CALORIES!

Making weight can be difficult for anyone, but when you consider their profession, it's no wonder the vast majority of pugilists are lean.

For the rest of us, boxing can provide an unreal calorie burning workout that few can rival. The average boxing session can burn up to 600 calories per 60 minutes. Now, in this sense, when I refer to boxing, I'm referring to bag and focus mit work. Not actually sparring. If we talk about sparring the rate of caloric expenditure goes up much higher.

In order to get the absolute most out of our boxing sessions, what I like to do is incorporate movement drills with the boxing. For instance, there's one drill we do often--"Running to Battle".

Basically, the client throws 20 punches, then has to run a pre-determined distance, and then back to me for another round of punching. Try doing that for 5 straight rounds and see if the sweat doesn't pour down. Once comfortable with the coordination of the movements, I also incorporate Thai knees into the equation, making the body work just that much harder.

Also, boxing offers amazing core work. The constant rotation of the hips and upper body creates tension throughout the entire abdominal complex, in particular, the obliques. Your obliques are your shrink wrap. Work them well, and they help pull the rectus abdominis in creating a leaner mid-section. You will also develop a strong, defined back. Look at the back of any combat athlete and see if you can't point to each specific muscle.

For stress relief, aside from maybe meditation, I don't know of a better exercise. If a client comes in and says they've had a bad day, we go straight for the gloves. If their mind is distracted, even in the least, clean and presses will have to wait!

Now, for safety considerations, I highly recommend taking a few lessons, buying some large gloves and hand wraps. Some contraindications to boxing are if a client has any shoulder, elbow, or wrist conditions.

When I teach clients to punch, I prefer to teach them the old bareknuckle style which is to NOT turn the hand over as you see in boxing today. The reason is simple, it protects the wrist. As you turn your wrists over during a punch, it is easy to "snake", or bend, the wrist and upon impact if your wrist is not straight, it will hurt....bad. Having done this before, I can assure you, this is something you do not want to do.

Also, when first beginning, I never advise punching hard. Most people don't spend time punching anything, and to, all of the sudden, start slamming your fist into bags or pads will result in bad cramps in the hand. Go easy and focus on speed and movement. After all, this is to burn fat and not to train to fight.

Boxing offers a change up to the traditional workout. It makes things fun and exciting, and at the same time, helping to burn fat at a high rate. I have yet to see a client not have fun with this while working extraordinarily hard at the same time.

Again, make sure you always focus on what you are doing to protect yourself from injury. Just like any other exercise in the gym, one lapse in concentration can result in you getting hurt and that's not point of any workout plan.

Now, get out there and punch your way to fat loss!

By Aaron Briscoe

Aaron Briscoe is a Martial Artist and Personal Trainer specializing in unique and funtional
training programs for fat loss. For more information and video exercise clips... Go To =>

Monday, December 08, 2008

Spread 'em! Simple street combat entry technique

On my November 22nd post I went over the flower technique to gain entry past an opponent's guard. The flower technique is a muay chao churd (older combat form of muay thai) method that's very effective getting to the center line. Tonight, I go over a ledrit entry technique that splays out your adversary.

Some call it a punter's, kick, a splay kick, a football kick - it's actually an inside bando drive kick aimed at the shin instead of the inner thigh. It's a very aggressive move, meant to drive through the attacker's shin, and it's only a set up strike (however, extremely painful for unconditioned shin).

Drive against your opponent, driving your shin through his, This will cause him to lose his balance. As his off set leg is splayed outward, he buckles at the waist and his head drops forward. He's spreading himself out in effort to maintain his balance. Setting him off like this gives you the opportunity to follow up with strikes to the inner thigh, legs, his head is exposed, and most importantly he opens up his lower back to you.

It works well in multiple opponent sitations as it allows you strike and move to the outside of the group, soften up a target, give you an opening to control an individual, who becomes your asset/shield. I'll save multiple opponent strategies for another post.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Holiday gift ideas for the muay thai enthusiast

Two years ago I set out to find some training gear as Christmas gifts for some of the other instructors at my school and I was hit by the harsh reality that finding good muay thai gear locally, at a fair price, is nearly impossible. If I, who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, a martial arts hot bed, can't get good quality gear in town, how does the guy in Kansas, or in Erie, PA get a hold of decent thai pads for less than $180? Seriously, if you're paying more than $150 for a pair of Twins or Windy full sized thai pads, you're paying too much.

I've done the research to find some of the best online deals for good quality muay thai training equipment at the best prices. Pass this post on to friends & family to help them get you want you want this year. Happy shopping!

Thai liniment: MuayThaiEquipment, an eBay store has the lowest prices thai liniment out there, starting at $3.50 for a 120ml bottle.

Focus Mitts: Some of the best quality boxing equipment comes from the folks at Everlast. Right now they're having a sale on professional focus mitts for $29.99.

Thai Pads: Another eBay store, BlackEye Athletics offers Twins leather thai pads for $106.99 a pair (XL).

Shin Guards: BlackEye Athletics also carries Twins shin guards, all priced around $55. carries ThaiSmai leather shin guards for $44.94, but shipping takes about 6 weeks.

I also shop at, they have great close out sales. They recently launched a 50% everything sale, but be warned, it appears that the retail prices have been artificially inflated. You're not getting 50% off of anything. I suggest that you wait it out before shopping at that site. Let them figure that shoppers aren't stupid.

If you have any great equipment vendors, let us know! Happy holidays!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Ancient Gladiator Exercises

Here is an interesting article on the exercises the ancient gladiators used to get conditioned, add them to your training, who knows they just might bring out your inner warrior...

A List of Ancient Exercises from Galen's De Sanitate Tuenda Galen (130 - 200 A.D.)

Hailed from Pergamon, an ancient center of civilization, containing, among other cultural institutions, a library second in importance only to Alexandria itself. Galen's training was eclectic and although his chief work was in biology and medicine, he was also known as a philosopher and philologist.

Training in philosophy is, in Galen's view, not merely a pleasant addition to, but an essential part of the training of a doctor. His treatise entitled That the best Doctor is also a Philosopher gives to us a rather surprising ethical reason for the doctor to study philosophy.

The profit motive, says Galen, is incompatible with a serious devotion to the art. The doctor must learn to despise money. Galen frequently accuses his colleagues of avarice and it is to defend the profession against this charge that he plays down the motive of financial gain in becoming a doctor.

Galen's first professional appointment was as surgeon to the gladiators in Pergamon. In his tenure as surgeon he undoubtedly gained much experience and practical knowledge in anatomy from the combat wounds he was compelled to treat. After four years he immigrated to Rome where he attained a brilliant reputation as a practitioner and a public demonstrator of anatomy. Among his patients were the Emperors Marcus Aurelius, Lucius Verus, Commodus and Septimius Severus.

Galen divides his exercises into three categories, which we may term "strong", "rapid and "violent", which is a combination of the preceding two. Galen's listing of the exercises gives us a fascinating glimpse into the everyday activities of the Paleastrae, Gymnasia and other more leisurely-areas of the ancient world.

The affinities they have with the various sporting events can be made out: kicking of the legs for Pankration, rope-climbing for wrestling, holding the arms up for boxing.

1) Digging
2) Picking up something heavy
3) Picking up something heavy and walking with it
4) Walking uphill
5) Climbing a rope using the hands and feet: commonly done to train boys in the wrestling schools
6) Hanging onto a rope or beam for as long as possible
7) Holding the arms straight out in front with fists closed
8) Holding the arms straight out to sides with fists closed
9) Holding out the arms while a partner pulls them down
10) The preceding three exercises but while holding something heavy such as jumping-weights
11) Breaking loose from a wrestling waist-lock
12) Holding onto a person trying to escape from a waist-lock
13) Picking up a man who is bending over at the hips and lifting him up and swinging him around
14) Doing the same but bending oneself at the hips also when picking him up
15) Pushing chest to chest trying to force the opponent backwards
16) Hanging from another's neck, attempting to drag him down

Exercises requiring a wrestling pit:
a) Entwine your partner with both your legs around one of his and try to apply a choke or force his head backwardsb) The same but using only one leg to entwine the opponents leg closest to yours
c) The same but using both legs to entwine both of the opponents legs.

1) Running
2) Shadow-boxing
3) Boxing
4) Hitting punching bags
5) Throwing and catching a small ball while running
6) Running back and forth, reducing the length each time until finished
7) Stand on the balls of the feet, put the arms up in the air and rapidly and alternatly bringing them forward and back; stand near a wall if afraid of losing ones's balance
8) Rolling on the wrestling-ground rapidly by oneself or with others9) Rapidly changing places with people next to one in a tightly packed group
10) Jumping up and kicking both legs together backwards
11) Kicking the legs forward alternatly
12) Move the arms up and down rapidly with open or closed fist, increasing in speed

1) Digging rapidly
2) Casting the discus
3) Jumping repeatedly with no rest
4) Throwing heavy spears and moving fast while wearing heavy armour
5) Any of the 'strong' exercises executed rapidly: presumably running uphill, swinging jumping weights forward and back, and lifting them up and down, chin-ups and so on.

Other Exercises:
1) Walking
2) bending up and down repeatedly at the hips

3) Lifting a weight up from the ground
4) Holding up an object for a long time
5) Full and loud breathing
6) Placing two weights on the ground approximately six feet from each other, picking up the one on the left with the right hand and then the one on the right with the left hand, then in turn placing them back where they came from on the ground and doing this many times with the feet stationary

The translation of this Galen text come's from an article at Submission Fighting and the Rules of Ancient Greek Wrestling By Christopher Miller

I hope you enjoyed the article as much as I did, now get out there and start training like a gladiator.

Daniel Sambrano

"Keep It Simple and Savage"

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Muay thai round kick redux

One of the first web videos I did was a demo of the old style muay thai round kick. Since then I've had a couple of people tell me that my technique looks nothing like the muay thai that they're learning." Well, that's because the widely popular modern form of muay thai has become bastardized by martial arts franchises like Master Toddy, Fairtex, and to an extent, the UFC. What's being taught is static-stand up ring style kickboxing. Like modern boxing, muay thai has been watered down over th years for the sake of the fighter's safety. It's the sport version of a nearly forgotten combat system. Yes, there's more than one branch in the muay thai family. Thanks to people like Tony Jaa, old style muay thai is gaining recognition.

I've been lucky enough to train the old combat forms of muay thai: the muay baron, the muay chao churd, the ledrit and boar bando systems for over 13 years. The differences between modern sport muay thai and old (military/combat) style muay thai are numerous. Take the round kick for instance. The video below shows a side by side comparison of the two kicks - modern and old style muay thai.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

People Over 30 Should Be Dead

Here is an article I came across that sums up why this generation is having trouble today.

In this day of political correctness, self esteem issues, I'm offended, lawsuits, and blame the other guy, we need to come back to reality and realize that we are not the center of the universe.

While the article is humorous, sadly it is so very true...

People over 30 should be dead
Here's why.

According to today's regulators and bureaucrats, those of us who were kids in the 40's, 50's, 60's, or even maybe the early 70's probably shouldn't have survived.

Our baby cribs were covered with bright colored lead-based paint. We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets, ... and when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets. (Not to mention the! risks we took hitchhiking.)

As children, we would ride in cars with no seatbelts or air bags. Riding in the back of a pickup truck on a warm day was always a special treat. We drank water from the garden hose and not from a bottle. Horrors!

We ate cupcakes, bread and butter, and drank soda pop with sugar in it, but we were never overweight because we were always outside playing. We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle, and no one actually died from this.

We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then rode down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem. We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the street lights came on. No one was able to reach us! All day!

NO CELL PHONES!!!!! Unthinkable! We did not have Playstations, Nintendo 64, X-Boxes, no video games at all, no 99 channels on cable, video tape movies, surround sound, personal cell phones, personal computers, or Internet chat rooms. We had friends! We went outside and found them.

We played dodge ball, and sometimes, the ball would really hurt. We fell out of trees, got cut and broke bones and teeth, and there were! no lawsuits from these accidents. They were accidents. No one was to blame but us. Remember accidents? We had fights and punched each other and got black and blue and learned to get over it.

We made up games with sticks and tennis balls and ate worms, and although we were told it would happen, we did not put out very many eyes, nor did the worms live inside us forever.

We rode bikes or walked to a friend's home and knocked on the door, or rang the bell or just walked in and talked to them. Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment!

Some students weren't as smart as others, so they failed a grade and were held back to repeat the same grade. Horrors! Tests were not adjusted for any reason. Our actions were our own. Consequences were expected.

The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke a law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law. Imagine that!

This generation has produced some of the best risk-takers and problem solvers and inventors, ever. The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas. We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned how to deal with it all. And you're one of them! Congratulations!

Please pass this on to others who have had the luck to grow up as kids, before lawyers and government regulated our lives, for our own good !!!!!

People under 30 are WIMPS!

Daniel Sambrano
"Keep It Simple and Savage"

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Don’t Be a Punching Puppet

When I was a little boy my dad bought me a punching puppet.

You know the kind on a plastic rod that has a handle that you squeeze and it punches at whoever you point its boxing gloves at.

It always looks funny when you punch someone with your puppet, the way it moves its arms straight out when it punches.

Many strikers remind me of punching puppets, the way they move their arms like someone is squeezing their handle when they punch.

They often look very silly as they throw their punches as hard as they can only to come up short of their goal of knocking out or incapacitating their adversary.

The reason being is that they are primarily arm punchers and not body punchers.

You may be saying what’s the difference, well my friend there’s a big difference, it’s like I tell my students all the time when they train their strikes, “Do you wanna knock’em out or piss’em off?”

You see you need to know how to strike with your whole body and not just your arms for true power.

You need to learn how to generate the maximum amount of weight into your strikes, to hit like a jackhammer and cause major trauma and pain to your adversary.

Fist fighting is a lot different than gloved fighting, you do it wrong and
you break your hand, you do it right and you break their jaw.

And finally you need to understand the principles and techniques that truly work on the street that will keep you alive.

Don’t be a punching puppet, having your adversary laughing at you as you fight for your life in some dark alley.

Put fear in their hearts when you hit them and make them regret that they ever messed with you.

And learn to be the puppet master.

Daniel Sambrano
“Keep It Simple and Savage”

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Fighting with Flower Power

You know, most martial arts train its practitioners to be reactive. Drills usually consist of one student throwing a technique on another student, whether it be a punch, kick, grab, et al. The receiving student is taught to react with a block, perry, counterstrike, what have you.

What isn't taught is the fact that there may be a time when you'll need to be the one who starts and finishes an altercation. The streets aren't bound to the rules, boundaries, or respect that you'll find in a dojo.

The flower technique is a great fight starter. Based in muay baron and muay chao churd, the technique is a great way to break through an opponent's guard and gain access to his center line.

Watch the video for the nitty gritty.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Great Muay Thai Round kick Drill - The Pyramid

Here's a great drill that will increase the speed and power of your muay thai round kicks, but will it will help you also help you increase your ability to recover quickly between strike combinations. The pyramid is the best kicking drill that you'll hate to do.

With a partner holding thai pads (or a heavy bag - I prefer a partner) 4 sets each leg of the following:

single kick
double kick
triple kick
4 kicks
5 kicks
4 kicks
triple kick
double kick
single kick

If you've trained muay thai for more than 6 months you should be comfortable with at least the double kick... make sure that each strike has equal power. It's only 200 kicks, I promise it's effective.

Try the drill out and let me know how what you think of it.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Beware the Shredder Cometh

Hey everybody, just got done participating in a seminar at our gym on Saturday, and let me tell you it was a real eye opener.

The man teaching it was Richard Dimitri of Canada, he is the founder of Senshido,a realistic based self defense system who's primary directive is enhancing your survivability.

He came to teach a "Close Quarter Conceptual Tool" that really works for the street, this tool is called "The Shredder" and let me tell you it will put fear and terror in the hearts of the violent if they encounter it.

Now don't get me wrong, Rich is a very nice person and went above and beyond to teach us this valuable information and he did it without any ego or bravado.

As a matter of fact right up front he told all of us that if we just came here to learn new techniques to fight and kick someones ass, then we were at the wrong seminar.

There were many Law Enforcement Personnel as well as Martial Artists participating at the seminar and they all enjoyed the information that was taught that day.

As for me and my students, we were all impressed with what Rich brought to the table and let me tell you it takes allot to impress them.

After going over the physiological and behavioral concepts of the "Shredder" we got into the physical aspects by learning through progressive drills demonstrated by Rich and his assistant Ted Williams.

Then we would work the drills with at least three different partners and even Rich himself, to get the concepts down.

The great thing about the "Shredder" is that you can add it to your present fighting system no matter what it is immediately and not miss a step.

Rich was constantly working with everyone correcting any mistakes while performing the progressive "Shredder" drills.

He even extended the seminar to make sure everyone got the "Shredder" down and answered every question asked.

For those who have never experienced the "Shredder" get to one of Rich's seminars as fast as you can and learn this life saving tool or get the DVD's and manual.

Don't just learn to survive, learn to prevail.

You can contact Rich at or at

Daniel Sambrano

"Keep It Simple and Savage"

Friday, November 07, 2008

Old Style Muay Thai Clinch, Whoohoo!

The standard muay thai clinch simply isn't effective in a street/combat scenario. Once you grab onto your attacker his natural instinct will be to grab you - now you're wrestling with one (or more) opponents.

The ring style muay thai clinch serves two main purposes: 1. It gets you inside your opponent's strikes, providing an opportunity to score points (take down, or knees), and 2. it gives the winded fighter a short break. But in a street combat situation points don't count and your attackers certainly aren't going to tie up with you to catch a breather.

It's super important that you keep a hand free, and (more importantly) that you don't lose your ability to maintain visibility of your environment. The old style (ledrit, muay chao churt, muay baron) clinch allows you to control your opponent, use him as a shield from other attackers, and enables excellent visibility.

It's difficult to change old habits, and if you've been training to clinch up as soon as you get inside a one handed clinch is going to feel foreign (and maybe a little unrealistic). But if you give this technique a shot, I'm willing to bet, you'll soon realize that it opens up your striking & controlling options. Now you can throw elbows at different angles, knees, and even round kicks to your opponent's front and back. Try it out with a partner, you'll like it!

Watch video below. I provide technique and I touch on just a few of the options that open up. You won't learn this stuff at Fairtex.

Watch out for the man sandwich!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Reality Always Wins!

When we ritualize our training we tend to take the fangs and claws out of the equation.

We have all known or heard the stories of some martial artists with black belts getting their butts handed to them by some street thug who knew the game all too well.

And yet time and time again in dojos and gyms across the country this type of training predominate the martial arts community.

Now I realize that many take up the martial arts to better themselves and to achieve the goal of receiving a black belt.

But somewhere in between the white belt to black belt journey, what is tradition, what is myth and what is reality gets blurred or lost.

All too often what ends up happening is that they are not ready to face reality when it hits them square in the jaw.

It's like somebody training in flag football for years and then trying out for full contact professional football, what do you think is going to happen?

Instant reality check!

It just doesn't make much sense to train this way, your setting yourself up to be victimized due to your own ignorance and training.

Understand the way you train in the gym may not translate well on the streets.

Case in point, I once had a kickboxing student come up and say that while he had kickboxing experience he had never been in a streetfight in his life.

I asked him if he would like to experience a streetfight scenario and he said YES.

So I hit him upside the head twice as I pushed him across the gym floor into the wall, there I tripped him and he hit the floor hard.

Panic was etched across his face as I pinned him to the wall and the floor with my knee in his chest.

I instantly started punching him in the head with one fist as my other hand held me up on the wall.

After 5-6 punches I lifted my knee off of him and started to stomp on his chest and stomach.

As I started to walk away I looked back at him and said "Congratulations you just had your first streetfight and you survived! Now learn from it".

As he sat there on the floor he just shook his head and said "that wasn't fair, I wasn't ready, you didn't tell me you were going to hit me right then and there, and you kinda hit me hard and didn't give me a chance to fight back and you fought dirty".

Exactly! You learned a lot from your ass wiping I told him.

This was one of the many examples that I've had the pleasure, I mean the opportunity to teach a student.

By the way I've taught this lesson to grapplers, boxers, kick-boxers and so called weapons experts and they have all come away with practical information that will one day save their lives.

And now it's your turn are you training as truthfully as you should be or are you hiding behind the skirt of your martial art traditions.

Pressure test what you know as often as you can and find out what works and what doesn't work for you.

And don't just discard what doesn't work but find out why it didn't work and see if you can modify it to work, and if it still doesn't work then discard it.

This will help ensure that your training will be there when you need it most and will not fail you.

And always remember "Reality Always Wins!"

Daniel Sambrano
“Keep It Simple and Savage”

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Defending Against the Muay Thai Round Kick

It's late, and I should be sleeping - so this will be quick.

There are number of techniques to block or counter the muay thai round kick. The video below outlines only a handful. We shot this in one take over the weekend, so pardon the slop in my technique, but it will give you some ideas of how you can use your angles to completely negate the muay thai round kick.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

5 Dangerous Mistakes Not To Make In a Streetfight

When a person puts their fists up to form a guard to protect themselves from an attacker’s strike, they make the biggest mistakes that will cause them to be ineffective in their self preservation.

Here are the top Five mistakes and the solutions to fix them to give you the edge in a streetfight.

1.) Keeping the hands to close to the face.

When the hands are held to close to the face, an attacker needs to just punch your forearms and fists to make you hit yourself with your own fists.

Now the reason people tend to do this is a fear of being hit in the face and the pain associated with it.

This is a perfectly normal behavior pattern, but it must be overridden when it comes to fighting.

If you keep flinching and closing your eyes, then it will not take long for an attacker to finish you off.

Unfortunately the only way to fix this is to get punched in the face. Have a training partner punch you lightly to the face in different areas.

For example the mouth, eye socket, cheeks, nose etc… this does two things.
First it gets you used to impact and pain. Second it trains you not to flinch and close your eyes.

Start this training with boxing gloves, then progress to just hand wrapped punching then finally bareknuckle.

You can also train the rest of the body to withstand punches by punching different areas of the body.

This will train you to receive impact and having the ability to shrug it off and continue to fight if need be.

This type of training will toughen you up and get you ready to take a punch.

Remember to keep your hands down or behind your back and allow your partner to punch you with a predetermined amount of impact force.

2.) Keeping the arms bent at ninety degree angles.

Due to the fear of being struck, another thing people tend to do is keep the arms bent at about 90 degrees or less.

This faulty tactic will weaken your defenses and allow your adversary time to smash through your forearms, as they collapse into your face and leave you defenseless and open for attack.

The best way to place your forearms is by extending them to about a 45 degree angle. This will help ensure that your forearms will not collapse into your face.

The structures you have created with your forearms become a solid open triangle.

All you will need to do is tighten your forearms muscles slightly to stiffen the structure of the triangle to insure that it will not collapse.

This will also help to keep him away from you, as he tries to close in and attack.

This structure can also be used as an offensive weapon to use against your attacker. By simply stepping forward and driving your forearms into your opponent, you can strike him in his clavicles and possibly break one or both of them.

Depending on how hard he comes in on you is how much damage he will inflict on himself.

He will literally impale himself into your forearms.

3.) Raising the fists too high.

When your fists are held too high in the guard position your elbows will tend to point towards the opponent.

This will cause the angle from which you will strike with your fists to be too high and make your punches ineffective and powerless.

You will be mostly slapping and pawing at your attacker instead of punching him.

Due to the high angle of your elbows your arms will come down like a draw bridge on a castle.

Again this is a very unrealistic way of striking. I am sure you have seen someone who didn’t know how to fight or throw a punch, do it this way.

So what you must do is keep your elbows low, by doing this you will have more leverage to throw a more powerful punch without having to telegraph your strike.

The way to do this is by rolling your shoulders forward and down, like a surgeon getting ready to operate.

Make sure to keep your elbows in front of your hips and not to the sides.
This will help increase the speed of your punches and also aids in breathing deeper.

Not to mention that it helps your abs contract harder and brings more of your bodyweight to your punches.

And lastly with the rolling of the shoulders your ribcage will cover and protect your solar plexus.

4.) Raising the shoulder girdle away from the torso.

Many tend to raise their shoulders to the ear lobes to protect themselves from getting hit from the sides and getting knocked out.

While this method may hold some truth, there is a better way to do this.

What you need to understand is when you raise your shoulders you are lifting the shoulder girdle away from your torso.

If you were to strike from this position you will not punch with very much power.

Also your full bodyweight will not transfer into your punch. And when you do strike your opponent, the harder you hit him the more recoil you will absorb.

Not to mention it will also restrict your breathing and cause you to hyperventilate.

Now let’s fix this by making one simple adjustment. Just roll your shoulders forward and down.

When you do this you instantly attach the shoulder girdle to the torso making you a more solid and powerful striker.

When you punch, you will be bringing your bodyweight with the strike; there will be no recoil as your force will transfer into your opponent.

You will also be able to breathe better and be more relaxed, the more relaxed the faster and more powerful your punches will become.

And the more dangerous a fighter you will be.

5.) Keeping the chin up and the mouth open.

More guys get knocked out or hurt badly not paying attention to these two important potential targets.

Many fighters get caught doing this as the adrenaline starts to flow and they start swinging with gross motor type punches.

Again another reason is the fear of getting hit in the face. The head will get pulled back as they throw their strikes and the chin will be exposed.

Now due to the large amount of energy being expended, heavy oxygen intake will ensue, causing the person to open his mouth to breathe more easily. This is a recipe for disaster.

Now let’s fix these two dangerous habits.

First you need to train to keep your mouth shut and second to keep your chin down.

And one of the easiest ways to do this is by wearing a mouth piece when you train.

Working out with a mouth piece trains you to bite down on your molars which by the way will give you an extra boost of power in your punches, some say by as much as 30 percent, not to mention keeping your jaw set solid when struck.

Also learning to breathe in through your nose and out through your pursed lips or clenched teeth, helps to slow down your heart rate and keeps you from opening your mouth.

Another way that works well is to just breathe in and out through your nose and grunt as you throw your strikes.

You can also try keeping your tongue pressed against the roof of your mouth. This will increase the power in your punches, as you train to keep your mouth shut.

Now to train you to keep your chin down just place a small handball or rolled up hand towel or hand wrap and place it under the chin, then start to shadow box or hit the heavy bag or have a partner hold focus mitts while you strike them for time.

If you lift your head up for any reason the object you have under the chin will fall out letting you know that you raised your head and opened yourself up to the attacker.


So there you have it the five dangerous mistakes not to make in a streetfight and how to avoid and eliminate them.

Go over this material and train and practice getting your fighting skills honed to perfection.

The only way to do this is by repetition, repetition, repetition, you must get these skills internalized and getting the reps in, is the only way you are going to do this.

Yes it will take some work on your part but the rewards will be well worth it, trust me.

It must be ingrained in you and become second nature or when the time comes you will revert back to your old ways and possibly set yourself up for some serious damage to your face and head.

These tactics will go a long way to enhancing your fighting ability and give you an edge over your adversary without opening you up to danger.

While these tactics might not fit your typical boxing or kickboxing stand up style of fighting, they do fit perfectly for the street.

Lastly get serious with your fighting skills when you go to the gym and train as you will fight in the streets.

After all you can’t hide in the gym or dojo forever; you have to come out sooner or later.

Daniel Sambrano
“Keep It Simple and Savage”

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Drive Kick + Down Kick = Ouch

The muay thai drive kick lets you leverage you weight and momentum to deliver power. The muay thai down kick leverages torque and downward force to deliver power. Now put those two forces together and you have a strike causes serious damage. The video shows the basics of the technique, but here are the main points:

Drive kick:
  • It's used to quickly deliver a muay thai round kick from a distance, covering the distance with a lateral drive.
  • You still have to turn your hips over and pivot - but the pivoting takes place during the drive.
  • Lean forward - keeps the momentum driving
  • Kick through your target
Down kick:
  • Drive down kicks hurt a lot more than standard round kicks, I speak from experience.
  • It's slower than a standard muay thai round kick
  • You have to lift your leg higher - the strike lands downward on the target.
  • The movement of the kick takes the form of an arc.
  • Rotate the hips in a downward diagonal motion
  • When thrown against the front of the thigh it will buckle your opponent at the hips, setting him/her up for elbow strikes or knees into the high chest/throat area.
Its a subtle difference between the the drive and the down drive kick is subtle, you can only really see it by watching how the bag holder's body reacts to the impact.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

The ledrit knee: you'll never see it in a UFC match

And why is that? Because most MMA fighters are learning a watered down sport version of mauy thai that their trainer learned at some Master Toddy seminar or maybe at a JKD workshop. The ring style knee is primarily used to wear down your opponent, and to score points, much like body punches do in western boxing. Diesel Noi proved that knees were powerful enough to end a fight.

But what I see from fighters in MMA matches is, in my humble opinion, an utter disservice to muay thai in general. I cringe when I see fighters go for a knock out knee to the jaw. Look at the location of the knee in relation to the face. Do you really think you'll generate that much force and maintain that force 5 to 6 feet high? The knee is meant to drive into the lower abdomen, groin of thighs. Thats the old style muay thai knee. It's meant to buckle your opponent, its your entry into the head/throat strikes that will incapacitate. high, low - that's the secret formula. But I guess until these MMA guys gets a knee full of teeth (no one taught them to turn the head) they'll keep aiming high.

Her's the difference between a ring style/MMA knee and a ledrit knee.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

One of my favorite online martial arts resources

When it comes to martial arts, I'm not a big fan of learning techniques through books or websites. With that said, I have to give credit to StickGrappler (, a fairly comprehensive martial arts knowledge base. The site covers the traditional martial arts as well as the less common systems such as bando and jail house fighting.

The site is basic - devoid of design elements - which is something you can appreciate, especially when you're there solely to reference information. Systems are categorized well and it also includes information on nutrition and conditioning. Although, the muay thai section provides technique outlines, most of them are applicable for the ring. There's info on krabi krabong but nothing I found on ledrit or other traditional muay thai sub-systems.

Stick to the conditioning, nutrition, and street smarts pages as if you practice ledrit or muay chao churd you probably know everything the muay thai section covers.

Friday, September 19, 2008

5 Key Components to Bareknuckle Power

To strike with power and be effective you need to be able to generate speed and force and be able to drive it to its destination.

Also you need to be able to do it without losing balance and stability or you will give your adversary the advantage.

Below are five key components that will help you be a more powerful Bareknuckle Striker.

1. Move the feet from under the center of mass to quickly drive the body in the direction it needs to go.

In order for you to develop the power to knock someone out quickly, you need to bring your body weight behind your punch.

Footwork is the key but it must be a coordinated effort with your body mass.

You must be able to move as one unit, not as fragmented parts.

Both feet must be under your hips and on the ground or your punch will loose up to forty percent of its power output.

Drop Stepping and Trigger Stepping, two powerful components of power punching use the drive created from footwork to generate a large amount of force.

But, it must bring the body’s mass with it or your punch will not have knockout power.

2. Keep the hips low and level when moving linearly, laterally or diagonally.

If your hips are moving up and down like a buoy being tossed around on rough seas, you will be wasting your strength, energy and sacrificing speed.

Keeping the hips level as you move takes advantage of leverage and gravity to help increase your speed and movement.

Having your hips low gives you explosive balanced energy.

Your legs become compressed springs ready to explode and drive the body.

3. Be quick with your fists.

Never let your fists get behind the drive of your legs, hips and torso or your punches will lack power and follow through.

The fists must move in a coordinated effort with the feet and torso to be able to generate maximum power.

This will speed up your strikes without losing power.

This is what I call “Striking Off Your Move”, this principle is very important to use in a street fight.

Remember never drag your weapons to war.

4. Decelerate with purpose.

Nothing is more dangerous than to throw a punch with such force that it throws you off balance and leaves you open for a counter attack.

What is the use of throwing bombs that end up being duds and draining you of precious energy you can’t afford to lose?

You need to develop what I call “Controlled Aggression”, to be able to control your power and not let it get away from you.

Using this powerful principle will allow you to harness your power, you will be able to flow smoothly and chain your punches more effectively.

Having intent with every strike and step you take is the tactic you want to cultivate for better knockout stopping power in a street fight.

And if you miss, you will be able to instantly fire off another powerful strike, as you will be balanced, controlled and explosive without missing a beat.

5. Stop the power leakage.

Improper fist and body alignment will contribute to power leakage in your strikes and slow you down.

You will leak out power through your joints if they are not properly aligned when you throw a punch.

Adjusting and aligning your structure will go a long way to developing your power when striking.

So there you have it five key components to help you unleash bareknuckle power on your unlucky adversary.

Using these five keys will help to unlock your potential to strike with power and destruction.

It will also take you less time and energy to do what needs to be done in a dangerous situation.

When violence tries to touch your life, take it out with Speed, Power and Intent using these five key components in your fight game.

Daniel Sambrano
“Keep It Simple and Savage”

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

How To Block Elbow Strikes in the Ring and on the Street

I'm focusing on elbows this month. In the video below I demonstrate various elbow blocking and evasion techniques. As far as blocking goes, the double elbow block is the most solid defensive technique, however, you've got to move quickly in order to get the block up. As I say in the video clip, the best tactic is to bypass the elbow and get behind your opponent. Take a look.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Dressing for success in realistic training / scenario combat training

by Don Baker

A hot trend in the world of self defense is to re-create attack scenarios in order to make the training experience as authentic as possible. Great idea, its important to do that from time to time. However, I've found that one aspect in scenario training is almost always overlooked: your clothes.

We train in order to protect ourselves and our loved ones in the off chance that a predatory individual tries to rob, abduct, murder us. But odds are high that you won't be wearing muay thai shorts or a gi when/if an attack occurs. Most likely you'll be in a parking garage after work, or in a night club and it's vital that you re comfortable fighting in office and/or semi-formal attire (even jeans). I require that all of my students train in street clothing at least one week a month.

Just go to Goodwill and buy slacks, dress pants, even a blazer if its not too pricey, and keep those old wingtips you have in the back of your closet. Take one week a month out of your regular regimen to train in street clothes, it will benefit your skill set and your overall confidence in your abilities.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The 9 Stupidest Mistakes Made by People Who Really Don't Know How to Fight

When people get into streetfights there are always those that don’t have any business fighting in the first place.

I can usually spot them a mile away, and if I can spot them you better believe the predators can too.

So here is a list of the stupid mistakes that people make who don’t know how to fight.

Read the list and if you find yourself doing any of these things you better get rid of them fast before your luck runs out.

Remember fighting experience is something you don’t get until just after you need it.

While this list is not exhaustive, it is a start, so here is the list in no particular order:

1. Acting like they know how to handle themselves, when they don’t. Like Mike Tyson says “Everyone has a plan until they get hit”

2. Not being aware or paying attention. In the Jungle if you look like meat you will be eaten.

3. Not realizing they’re in a fight. Freezing up, talking to themselves, being in denial, not turning on, all will lead to their undoing.

4. Keeping their eyes closed or head turned away when striking. Always face the attacker, don’t rely on a lucky punch.

5. Leaving themselves open for attack. Mouths open, chin sticking out, arms out stretched too far from their head and torso, can all lead to trouble.

6. Keeping the elbows out and the fists high when striking. This will make the strikes weak and ineffective when fighting.

7. Not breathing properly when striking. Causes loss of balance and stability, also loss of power in the strikes.

8. Throwing strikes that lack power. Not throwing hard fast power punches and not having an aggressive defense will all lead to your doom.

9. Keeping the head pulled back as they fight. Allows the attacker to strike with full leverage and power.

So there you have it, if you have any of these bad habits in your fight game, get rid of them now!

Before it’s too late, and they’re scrapping you off the pavement or worse.

Streetfighting isn’t a game, so take it seriously and train with that reality in mind.

And above all don’t make these stupid mistakes, let your adversary do it.

Daniel Sambrano
“Keep It Simple and Savage”

The Foolish Illusion of Reality

Ritual: A customary procedure.

Everyday martial artists train in ritualized confrontations, complying with each other as they train.

Never realizing that what they do may condition them to fail against an adversary that will not comply.

They may not be able to “Turn On” or worse yet, they may freeze up due to indecision and the adrenaline rush.

“Violence of Action” the intensity and full commitment of going after a target will not be present as the adversary attacks at 100% intensity.

The martial artist will find that his flashy techniques and movements do not stand up against the onslaught of a committed attacker. What went wrong?

In ritualized confrontations the danger or element of death is not present or does not exist.

Emotion or intensity is not challenged and put to the test.

Once rules and familiarity enter, the confrontation soon becomes a “Game of Skill” and not true combat training.

It is not the same thing to fight for survival as it is to fight for ego based gratification set by rules which are respected by both combatants.

And yet it is another thing to know the difference.

All martial artists must be cognizant of the knowledge they posses and its usefulness in real combat.

The traditional movements of their style long ago forgotten and used for something it may not have been intended for in actual combat, never truly tested or questioned.

If they’ve been trained in the art of
“Ritualized Confrontation”
(Rules, Sports, Win or Lose) they may be in for a rude awakening
when fantasy and reality clash.

Remember the difference between fantasy and reality is reality has bad breath and hits hard!

The martial artist may find that the opponent he is facing in the street does not comply with his fighting style or he fights with 100% intensity and feels no pain.

Or worse yet, the one opponent may well be many and carrying weapons.

It is then that the “Foolish Illusion of Reality” hits him right square between the eyes and the school of “Hard Knocks” will be in session teaching a new student the fine art of survival.

It has been said “Experience is what man calls his mistakes” and if this new student survives, he will have learned a lifetime of experience in one session.

When the smell of death and uncertainty is in the air, your training will lay bare, naked for all to see.

And you will know what is real and what is illusion.

It is when the shackles of tradition and theory are cast off that you soon discover what it takes to survive.

When this epiphany illuminates the dark and secret areas of your heart and mind and you come to know the truth.

You will find that “Life and Death Conflicts” are their own entity, different from the dojo and the ring.

What you do with this knowledge is up to you, but know this, you will never be the same again.

You will possess what every warrior before you has known for centuries, “You are Mortal” and the illusion of invincibility will not be there.

So train hard, intensely and most of all truthfully and never fall for the complacency of ritual.

Daniel Sambrano
“Keep It Simple and Savage”

Monday, September 08, 2008

So Many Bad Elbows

I'll make this quick. I know a lot of muay thai experts are posting web videos demonstrating elbow technique, but virtually all of them completely neglect their cover. I've been training muay thai for 14 years and I'm in my 12th year as an instructor, I know from experience how inneffective

If you are within range to throw an elbow then you are within range of getting hit with an elbow. Being that close, your cover is as vital as your strike. trust me, it hurts a lot when you're hit with an elbow. Watch the short demo clip I put together to demonstrate an old style muay thai elbow strike with proper cover.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Old Style Muay Thai Round Kick

There are three key differences between the modern 'ring style' muay thai round kick and the old style, military muay thai round kick: the lean, the target and the bio mechanics. Ring style fighters tend to stand upright, back leg flat - old style requires the fighter's stance to remain leaning forward, which translates into every strike. In the ring, the goal is to score points or get the knock out, so kicks are aimed at the center of the thigh or thrown up high to the head. Never throw a high kick in the street, you're more likely than not to either slip or get caught. Ledrit and muay baron kicks are aimed lower towards the knee. In combat you won't lose a point for blowing you your opponent's knee, you survive. Thirdly, the bio mechanics between the two are completely different. I trained at a ring style school in Seoul and having never seen my style of kicks before, they continually tried to correct me.

I put this short video today to give a little demonstration of the difference between the ring and the old styles of muay thai. Pardon the production quality and the fact that my form is a little messy. Take a look...

Sunday, August 31, 2008

School Profile: Muay Thai Academy - Santa Clara, CA

For those of you who are not interested in ring competition or MMA fighting I recommend the Muay Thai Academy International (MTAI) in Santa Clara, CA. MTAI, the oldest muay thai school in the US offers old style, military and street combat training based on ledrit, muay baron, muay chao churd and Burmese Bando styles. The school rarely advertises and provides a hard core training regiment that focuses the student on efficeincy of movement, building power and preparing the student for fighting multiple opponents. The school specializes in close quarter combat, and I mean close.

In the MMA, commercialized 'Fairtex' world of retail martial arts MTAI gets little respect, due mainly to the fact that the school refuses to compete. But it must be remembered that many of Muay Thai Academy students are law enforcement officers, military special ops, executive protection professionals (not bouncers), and federal officers. Sport muay thai and MMA does not work in a counterterrorist situation.
Another thing to note is that MTAI spawned many of the most repected names in the MMA world. Javier Mendez, founder of the American Kickboxin Academy in San Jose, home to many UFC fighters got his start as a student at MTAI, along with the late Alex Gong of Fairtex fame and the founder of Rey's Muay Thai/Wing Chung in San Jose.

Here's a link to the site:

Its a bare bones site, but what they train is lethal and more effective than anything else out there (includine krav maga). Its worth a look.