Over the years I have seen two distinct approaches to training fighters. Quite a lot of programs I know take whatever the student’s strength or experience is and just work on that. If they are a good striker, they work on his striking. If he was a wrestler in high school, it’s all takedowns and ground and pound. You take their “A Game” and make it A+ (I suppose?).
My approach is quite different. I believe in the well rounded fighter. I do things some people think are crazy, but I have my reasons and I think that experience has proven me correct.
If I get someone with a wrestling background (and I’ve had a few), I work a lot of guard. Yes, GUARD. I have them work a lot off their back. It’s a given they want to use their wrestling to take down and control their opponent, but what happens when things don’t go as planned?
Hope for the best, PREPARE FOR THE WORST.
Of course, I am a striker. I work a lot of striking with guys with wrestling backgrounds. In one sense, striking is a great way to set up a takedown. But there are other variables here. If you are a wrestler, the other guy is thinking about defending takedowns. Fake a shoot and throw the uppercut and BOOM, you’ve landed a huge shot!
But you also have to assume that if the other guy knew you were a wrestler, he should have been working a LOT of takedown defense. Guys gas BIG TIME trying to take down opponents with good takedown defense, especially when that is their only trick on the bag. And what if you simply CAN NOT do it? Give up halfway through round 2? Not likely!
You may have an “A Game” but you’d better be competent in every potential situation. The difference between an amateur and a professional is being able to adjust when things don’t go as planned. The difference between a professional and a CHAMPION is being able to still pull out the win and dominate when you don’t have your “A Game” going as planned.
In other words, if you plan to fight for me you’d better be able to kick, strike, clinch, takedown, work from the top, work from the bottom, know submissions and have a decent ground and pound game. That’s my vision, not everyone agrees, but that’s how we do it!
NOW GO AND TRAIN