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Up Group Workout - 60 Minutes of Action
By Pete Kautz, 2009
In this article I'm going to share a class or small group workout for you to try at home. It's a good test for endurance and the ability to fight open hand through a variety of ranges and scenarios. It can act as a diagnostic test to see what you might improve and where you feel comfortable.
It's called the Ground Up workout because it starts from bad positions on the ground and develops into longer and longer stand up fighting ranges. All you'll need is a round timer and two good friends to do it.
By having a group of 3 people you can switch off half-way through each round so the active person has to fight a fresh opponent. Also in the later drills the person who is out will call for takedowns and stand-ups to be done, making the fighters go from standing to ground fighting and back up in a seamless way.
The whole thing will take exactly 60 minutes if you follow this outline. If you find it's too easy you can make it harder by reducing the breaks from 1 minute to 30 seconds each and dropping the optional break between drills. This will bring it in at 45 minutes of go go go! Try both and feel the difference.
You will do 6 different drills throughout the Ground Up Group Workout. For each drill, set the timer for 3 x 2 minute rounds with 1 minute rest basic, 30 sec. rest for advanced as mentioned before. After each drill is completed by all 3 people everyone can take a bonus 1 minute rest before hitting the "go" button on the timer to begin the next drill set of 3 x 2 minute rounds.
When fighter "A" is doing their round, they work against "B" for 1 minute, and then right away "C" switches with "B" for the rest of the time. Then "B" and "C" get to do the same in rounds 2 and 3 respectively. Make the transitions fast - don't give the person doing the round a chance to rest on the transition!
Ground Up Drill #1) - Escape the Mount - Open Hand Striking OK For Both, Reset Position Immediately After Escape
Ground Up Drill #2) - Escape Cross Body or Scarf Hold - Open Hand Striking OK For Both, Reset Position Immediately After Escape
Ground Up Drill #3) - Pass Guard OR Sweep from Guard - Open Hand Striking OK For Both, Reset Position Immediately
Ground Up Drill #4) - Standing Grappling Flow to Takedown to Ground Work with Open Hand Striking to Standup
Ground Up Drill #5) - Striking with Hands & Elbows to Standing Grappling Flow to Takedown to Ground Work with Open Hand Striking to Standup
Ground Up Drill #6) - Kicking, Knees, Striking with Hands & Elbows to Standing Grappling Flow to Takedown to Ground Work with Open Hand Striking to Standup
In Drills #1-3 be sure to reset back the starting position immediately after the escape. The reward for getting out of the bad position is to get back in the bad position asap. Do not let this be a rest or turn into a fight from the new position after the escape.
When I refer to Standing Grappling Flow in Drills #4-6 I'm talking about working for position using a mix of Dumog, Thai, Western Wrestling, etc. When you hear it all lumped under the term "Clinch" it sounds like a static event, as opposed to the dynamic flow of action that is taking place (especially when there is the danger of strikes) but by any name that's what you should be working.
During these rounds the Takedown to Ground Work to Standup sequences are called out by the fighter who is watching. To avoid confusion on the takedowns be sure to call out the name of whoever you want to do the takedown. For this drill, the fighter who is being taken down should go with it and learn to work out of whatever position they end up in. When the standup is called, both fighters should do it intelligently because the round is still going and the standup means going back to grappling flow and striking depending on range and the specifics of the drill.
One thing you'll notice missing in all of these 6 drills is any kind of submission hold. Instead, the focus is on escapes, movement, transitions, standing grappling, striking, and the ability to flow from range to range doing what is appropriate - skills that perhaps are more street applicable for practitioners of self defense and weapon oriented arts. For most of us in the arts we're never going to get in the cage so if we're fighting at all it's probably an "all in" kind of street fight.
I trust that if you can do all this you can also find the places where that arm lock or choke will work in the mix as well! Every lock works better after a couple strikes anyhow. To keep the action flowing my suggestion when doing these drills is to act like a sport fisherman - make it "catch and release" - get the hold but then let it go again right away.
I hope you enjoy the Ground Up Group Workout and if your group does it, let me know how it goes!
All the very best,