Striking Mittwork & Partner Drills for MMA & Kickboxing

Since there is no UFC card to analyze this week and after several requests on Twitter I decided to share some drills from my mittwork and training curriculum.
These techniques were shot using a smartphone so please do not expect high production value. Hopefully you will get to appreciate the content and the information shared. I would like to thank my students Daniel, Page and Vangelis who helped me shoot these videos exclusively for BloodyElbow.
Part 1: Drilling techniques with a training partner. Using proper gear
Here are some fun moves you can use in MMA and kickboxing. Some are more high percentage than others. The important thing here is not the techniques themselves but how we use common training gear to train in a realistic way.
Conditioning and strengthening striking targets
This is a drill based on Kyuokushin Karate. It will help your body warm up and will enhance your ability to take damage. Light discomfort is the secret. Listen to your body. If it hurts you should stop, recover, and try again using less force. However, if you cannot handle a light low kick to the thigh maybe you should avoid contact sports.
Technique #1: Jon Jones style sidekick to the thigh to a spinning back kick (Tony Jaa kick)
This move was inspired by Tony Jaa and Hong Kong action stars. In martial arts movies, fighters often use a variation where they actually step on the thigh before delivering the spinning back kick. This is not a movie so we had to keep it real. The concept behind this is to set up the kick by landing sidekicks to the thigh, connect the left foot on the opponent’s thigh to check the distance, then land a spinning back kick. You need to use a kicking shield for this. I do not recommend using Thai pads. This video is from the first time my students tried this technique.
Variation #2: Using the Left Teep to set-up the Tony Jaa kick
This is the same technique as above but this time we use the left teep to set up the move.
Training Superman Punches.
Using a kicking shield your training partner needs to alternate targets on his front leg (both inside and outside of the thigh). The trick is to land a low kick, lift the foot up as if you are shin-blocking, kick back and land the punch. The combinations is as follows: Right low kick, superman right, left low kick, superman jab, repeat. Build momentum by having the partner move backwards or come forward and make sure to land several combos in a row without interaction.
Kicks to Punches
This is a great drill to combine kicks to the body and punches. As you can see a right kick is followed by a left hook and a left kick by a right cross. As the foot lands you can launch powerful punches and stop incoming opponents. Again, focus on moving from one kick to the other without delay or wasted moment.
The Shogun Punch
This is a way to train the Shogun punch. Dutch fighters often use the gloves as landing targets for strikes and this is also the method used here. I recommend using 16oz gloves for drills if you want to have an injury-free career.
This is a highly effective punch: the punch Mauricio “Shogun” Rua used to knock out Chuck Liddell back at UFC 97.
Striking Mittwork & Partner Drills for MMA & Kickboxing

This is a jab/left hook hybrid using momentum generated by stepping in at an angle with your back foot. This particular type of footwork covers a longer distance and this punch is way stronger than a jab. For a split second it looks like you land in a southpaw position, however a simple hip twist can correct this problem and you can land a right hand, a left kick or a takedown.
You can see the punch in action below:
As you can also see in the following gif, Shogun tried to land this punch in his fight against Jon Jones but JJ, (who studies tape a lot in order to prepare for fights), was able to duck under and counter : Gif link
Machida Style training: Using cones
Here is a way to train leaping left hooks to right crosses while cutting angles. This was inspired by Lyoto Machida training highlights where he often uses cones on the floor as markers. Again, you should try to build momentum and rhythm by landing several combos in a row without interruption
Training the Weldon reset footwork
This footwork is the cornerstone of our training. The objective of the partner holding the mitt is to touch the fighter’s left shoulder and move towards him in a manner that his ear is fully visible. The fighter uses the this footwork to reset (I call it the Kenny Weldon reset) and attacks with a left uppercut and a right low kick. When drilling this move try not to land in a southpaw stance.
Boxing Footwork Drill: Step-Pivot Left, Right Uppercut, Left Hook, Right Uppercut
This time the focus of this drill is to help you become familiar with pivots towards your left side. The training partner keeps moving with his right hand extended trying to touch your right shoulder and leaves the hand extended to be used as a target. You should pivot left and land a right uppercut, left hook, right uppercut. Keep your left hand up to protect yourself from incoming overhand rights. This can also be trained with your partner using focus mitts instead of gloves.
Training the “stiff” jab. Drill #1, right low kick
This is a way to train constant jabs and mix them with right low kicks. I prefer the training partners to hold a 16oz boxing glove against their chest to provide solid pressure. This makes the distance more realistic. Try to go for single, double and triple jabs keeping your target at the end of your punches forcing partners to stay away. Do not stop unless you feel tension on your left shoulder. This drill is deceivingly difficult and requires a lot of energy.
Training the “stiff” jab. Drill #2, Left low kick
This is the same drill as above but this time you should try to attack with an inside low kick. As you can see in the title of both videos these are conditioning drills for the jab. A fighter needs to land many thousands of jabs to be able to use this punch correctly.
Part 2. Mittwork Fundamentals
Although this is just a short introduction, in this part I will focus on some mittwork drills of a mitwork system that I call “Continuous Feedback”© mittwork.
Although I was the one who came up with the terms “Continous Feedback” and “Continuous Pattern Striking Drills” the fundamental principles behind these drills originate from the following sources:
  • Dutch Muay Thai Drills (using the training partner’s gloves and shin-guards as targets). Especially the ones used by Rob Kaman and Ramon Dekkers.
  • The (highly recommended) Kenny Weldon DVD instructionals and his mittwork drills.
  • Cus D’Amato’s principles on cutting corners and attacking from angles.
  • The Roger Mayweather mittwork system.
  • The main boxing counterattacks of the Continuous Feedback mittwork and the training concept of moving from one drill to the other in a non-stop continuous fashion is based on Roger’s system. The main difference between his system and the one analyzed here is that he uses the right hand as the connecting link between combos whereas, depending on the distance, this system also uses the jab. Kicks, knees, elbows, Thai clinching and takedown defense drills are also integrated as the main focus is MMA and/or kickboxing.
    To mix such diverse fighting disciplines in a mittwork system is no easy task, so my advice is to study the aforementioned sources diligently. Studying is one thing but mixing things up needs a lot of experimenting and learning from your mistakes. The process is: study, learn, evaluate in action, discard, repeat.
    The purpose of this article is to help you create your own drills (although you are more then welcome to try my own). To quote Italian philosopher, famous semiotician, and university professor Umberto Eco, “originality & creativity are nothing but the result of the wise management of combinations. The creative genius combines more rapidly & with a greater critical sense of what gets tossed out & what gets saved, the same material that the failed genius has to work with.“
    Continuous Feedback Mittwork Modes
    There are three main modes of mitt-work:
  • Providing targets for a student to attack with strikes (single attacks or Continuous Pattern combos)
  • Initiating attacks forcing the student to use defensive moves and counterattacks.
  • Moving and cutting the ring/cage forcing the student to get out of bad spots and check the distance using long range attacks creating an offensive shield.
  • As a coach, try to use constant motion in order to not let students catch a breath, attack with different rhythms and putting constant pressure. There are ways to turn the pressure on like transitioning to kicking combinations from punches, using MMA drills like sprawls, or forcing them to push you away when you go for the clinch. Other ways are transitioning from blocks and parries to roll-unders, slips, go behinds and duck-unders.
    It is also important to use rounds and often asking students to continue drilling after the end of the round, or telling them that the drill will last for three minutes while you set up the timer for five.
    The purpose of mittwork drilling is to expose weaknesses both in physical aspects of their game, but more important to strengthen their determination to keep pushing and overcome adversity in order to get the win. That being said, safety is of utmost importance and the student-coach relationship is one that grows through respect and teamwork.
    Here is a highlight of my mittwork sessions:
    Proper Mittwork for the Jab.
    The first thing you will notice in my mittwork highlight is that I use the right mitt as the target for the jab. This is based on Kenny Weldon’s mittwork method as you can see below:
    He is not the only one. Here is Floyd Mayweather Sr. :
    And finally Mike Tyson:
    There are significant advantages in using the right mitt for the jab:
  • It teaches students to keep opponents behind their jab without crossing their punches.
  • The mitt is closer to the head and the student needs to step-in to land the jab. If you use the left mitt the target is too close and is not realistic in terms of distance.
  • Your left hand is free and you can always counterattack with a left hook. You can catch students coming in to land the jab.
  • You can use your left hand to go for the Thai plum or go for a bear hug (I do this often when the student keeps getting too close. As a counter, the student needs to push me away and attack).
  • Continuous Feedback Mittwork Introductory Lesson #1: The Jab
    When training mittwork drills from a distance, the left jab is the connecting link between combinations and counters. This means that all sessions should start with a double jab (jab-in) and finish with a double jab, move back (jab-out). As a coach I teach my students to avoid lead right hands. The jab should be constant, unpredictable and launched in a manner that demands respect. My students can throw at least a hundred jabs per round (spoiler alert: they all hate it).
    From a shorter distance, the right hand is the punch that ends all combos and invites the coach to launch another attack in order to keep the mittwork moving.
    To illustrate this, here is a basic example:
    As you can see, using the right mitt as the target makes it easy for me to use my counter jab as my student’s face is way closer than if I used the left mitt.
    As I extend my left hand, this is a signal for the student to keep me away with jabs. Constant, non-stop jabs. To illustrate the difference between using the jab or the right cross I initiate my first attack which is a jab. I also provide an initial target for the follow-up counter. If the mitt is close to my chest and in front of me, the student should block, pull or parry and come back with a right cross, left hook, right cross. After the last right cross I will attack with another move to keep the combinations moving.
    If I throw a jab and my right mitt is high and to the back requiring the student to step in with the right hand in order to land for a counter, the student should instead attack with a jab. If the fighter goes for a right hand I will catch him with a left hook like most boxers would. This is the great advantage of using the right mitt as a jab target.
    To summarize, in this drill the distance is the determining factor for the counter.
    Part 3. Continuous Pattern Striking Drills
    In this section I will present four great pattern-based drills designed to build cardio, muscle memory, and fluidity in motion.
    The Dos Santos Drill
    This is a drill popularized by Junior dos Santos and his coach Luiz Carlos Dórea. This is a left uppercut to left hook, right uppercut to right hook. Here is JDS:
    And here is my short instructional:
    I like to add movement and footwork in all drills so here are two clips with pressure movement:
    The Tyson Drill
    This drill is similar to the “Dos Santos” drill. This time the combo is: left hook to the body, left uppercut, right hook to the body, right uppercut.
    The “Page” drill
    This is a more advanced drill. The combination is as follows: left uppercut, right hook, left hook,right uppercut,left hook, right hook, repeat.
    The “Daniel” drill
    This is an advanced boxing drill: left uppercut, right hook, left hook to the body, right uppercut, left hook, right hook to the body, repeat. We call it the “Daniel” drill.
    This combination goes from high to low while avoiding consecutive uppercuts. You can use this combination on the heavy bag.
    Thank you for your time. If you would like me to post more Continuous Feedback mitt-work drills in the future please let me know in the comments section.
    It took a lot of effort and time to shoot these videos so hitting the rec button also helps the good people here on BloodyElbow know you appreciate articles like this one.
    That will be all for now. Please join me next week for another breakdown. For a list of my previous technique breakdowns on Bloody Elbow, check out this link.
    About the Author: Kostas Fantaousakis is a researcher of fighting concepts, tactics, and techniques, and a state-certified MMA, grappling, and wrestling coach in Greece. He teaches his unique Speedforce MMA mittwork system © which combines strikes, takedowns, knees, and elbows applied in the Continuous Feedback © mittwork system of the Mayweather family. Kostas is a brown belt in BJJ under MMA veteran and BJJ world champion Wander Braga (the teacher of Gabriel Napao Gonzaga).
    Follow Kostas on Twitter: and search #fantmoves for more techniques.

    Bruce Lee Uses Lightsaber Nunchucks in This Fan Edit

    Bruce Lee Uses Lightsaber Nunchucks in This Fan Edit

    Would you believe that Bruce Lee was a Jedi? The late actor was one of the most famous martial artists in the world when he died in 1973, four years before the original Star Wars hit theaters. But this week, the unexpected mash-up of Lee and Star Wars took place when a fan re-edited a scene from Fist of Fury by giving Lee’s attacker a red lightsaber of the Sith while Lee wielded lightsaber nunchucks (or nunchaku) as he displayed his superior skills with his “elegant weapon…for a more civilized age.”

    This video was made and posted by Patrick Nan for his YouTube channel. As one commenter put it, Lee’s moves in the video were “the most skilled and reckless use of a lightsaber I have ever witnessed.” Can’t really argue with that! Lee’s character, Chen Zhen, seems very self-assured of his victory once he takes out his weapon. That kind of confidence and swagger would have made Lee a very interesting Jedi to watch, and it’s unfortunate that this is the only way that we’ll ever see this idea become a reality.
    As it happens, Nerdist is also the proud home of The Bruce Lee podcast, which is co-hosted by his daughter, Shannon Lee, and cultural anthropologist, Sharon Lee. A while back, our science editor, Kyle Hill also put Lee’s signature “one-inch punch” under his scientific analysis as he explained what made Lee’s move so powerful.

    ‘Karate Kid’ YouTube Series ‘Cobra Kai’ Is Faithful to the Movie, Not A Comedy

    ‘Karate Kid’ YouTube Series ‘Cobra Kai’ Is Faithful to the Movie, Not A Comedy [TCA 2018]

    YouTube Global Head of Original Content Susanne Daniels was on an executive panel for the Television Critics Association, an /Film got the chance to ask her about the upcoming YouTube Red original series Cobra Kai, based on the 1980s classic The Karate Kid.
    In Cobra Kai, Ralph Macchio and William Zabka reprise their rival roles as Daniel LaRusso and Johnny Lawrence from the original movie. Though the series comes from Harold and Kumar franchise creators Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg, and Hot Tub Time Machine writer Josh Heald, Daniels said Cobra Kai is not a straight comedy.
    Find out more about the Karate Kid YouTube series below.
    “It is a half an hour format but I would call it a dramedy,” Daniels said. “I think it leans into the tone of the movies in that there are dramatic moments throughout. I think it’s very faithful really in some ways to what the movie set about doing, the lessons imparted in the movie if you will. It’s next generation Karate Kid.”
    The premise of Cobra Kai, set present day, is that Johnny (Zabka) reopens the old Cobra Kai dojo, reigniting his old rivalry with Daniel LaRusso (Macchio). Both Daniel and Johnny have teenage kids of their own now.
    The Karate Kid spawned three sequels, and 30 years of people saying “Sweep the leg” or “Wax on, wax off.” However, Daniels acknowledged Cobra Kai can’t coast on nostalgia alone.
    “What’s interesting, I find, is that it doesn’t have to be a hit movie,” Daniels said. “A hit movie doesn’t necessarily mean a hit TV series. Clueless is a movie I still like and still watch. The TV version of it wasn’t great, I thought, all due respect to Amy Heckerling. Buffy the Vampire Slayer was not a great movie and Joss [Whedon] did a great job making the series. It’s about finding the right movie and finding the right director/producer/writer team that understands how to take the movie and make it into a series franchise.”
    Clueless did run for three seasons, but to Daniels’ point, TV is littered with short-lived adaptations of the likes of Ferris Bueller, Limitless, Minority Report and Rush Hour. YouTube is also turning the Step Up franchise into a TV series, and Daniels is open to other TV series adaptations of movies too.
    “I can’t say I have anything in development right now, but I’m certainly open and always looking to working on that kind of content,” she said.
    Cobra Kai debuts this spring on YouTube Red.

    Fredericton's Karate Kate begins her Olympic journey

    While most people are preparing for the 2018 Olympics in PyeongChang, Fredericton's Kate Campbell has her sights set two years further down the road, to Tokyo. 
    There she hopes to become one of the first competitors in karate at the Olympic Games. It was announced in August of 2016 the 2020 Olympics would include five new sports, including karate.
    She leaves for Paris in a week to being her qualification journey.
    "It would mean the world to me. I really, really, really want to go. Obviously I have to earn it, but I am definitely on the way there," said Campbell.
    Campbell competes in a style of karate called Chito-Ryu in the 55-kilogram category.
    'I do want to eventually go on to med school and become a pediatrician, but when you're at a sport for as long as I have been this is definitely something I couldn't pass up.' - Kate Campbell
    And she's got the chops. She is currently ranked 16th in the world in that category and is the top in Canada. 
    "Up until recently it wasn't even in the cards so this is a huge opportunity and I'm extremely extremely proud to be able to even consider it."
    The first major qualifier is at the German Open in September and every international event Campbell competes in between now and then will matter.
    Making sacrifices
    While it is Campbell's dream to make the Olympics, it hasn't come without its sacrifices. Her other dream is to be a pediatrician, and that's been put on hold.
    "I think being an Olympian is an incredible thing, and I think the opportunity to even attempt it shouldn't be overlooked," said Campbell.
    Fredericton's Karate Kate begins her Olympic journey

    Kate Campbell of Fredericton won a silver medal in karate at the Pan Am Games in 2015. (CBC)
    "Naturally I do want to eventually go on to med school and become a pediatrician, but when you're at a sport for as long as I have been this is definitely something I couldn't pass up."
    Her sport also keeps her away from her friends and family.
    "My social life definitely takes a hit every once in a while," said Campbell.
    The Olympic journey, as with all athletes, costs money. Campbell said that's going to be the biggest challenge over the next year.
    "Obviously the challenge is always money. So that's going to be definitely a little bit of a burden. I'm hoping some of my funding opportunities will come through," said Campbell.
    Fredericton's Karate Kate begins her Olympic journey

    Fredericton's Kate Campbell, right, earned bronze at an international championship in the Netherlands. (Submitted by Kate Campbell. )
    "It's really important for people to realize it does cost money to compete at this level."
    Campbell estimates it costs $2,500 to go to an international competition.
    "If you're doing five, six, seven of those a year then that quickly adds up, and then of course there's also the national stuff, and provincial and regional stuff," said Campbell.
    "It's costly to be an athlete, but again, if you love it, it's worth it."

    oldest and most scientific martial arts in the world

    Kalaripayattu of Kerala

    Kalaripayattu of Kerala is considered among the oldest and most scientific martial arts in the world is acknowledged and respected across the world. Kalaripayattu helps to gain mental peace, physical strength and flexibility. 
    The training begins with an oil massage of the entire body until it is agile and supple. Feats like jumping, running and somersault are also integral parts of the art form.
     The primary aim is the ultimate coordination between mind and body. Another focus of Kalaripayattu is specialisation in indigenous medicinal practices. Kalaris are also important centres of religious worship. Once the course is complete, one should engage in oil massage and practice to maintain shape. 

    Kalaripayattu is the exclusive martial arts legacy of Kerala, taken to China by the Buddhist monks which became the fabled model for the modern martial arts. Kalari means school or arena and payattu is skill training exercise or practice. Buddhist writings show that Kalaripayatt flourished during the 5th century AD. 
    The founder of Zen Buddhism, Bodhi Dharma, had visited the Southernmost part of Kerala, stayed here for a long period of time and learned Kalaripayat.
    Bodhi Dharma later went to Shaolin in China and there he taught his disciples Kalaripayattu. All the modern day martial arts such as Kung-Fu, Karate, Judo, Kick-Boxing, Tai-Chi etc are believed to have been originated from Kalaripayattu. Early written evidence of martial arts in Southern India dates back to the Sangam literature of about the 3rd century BC to the 2nd century AD. 

    Kalaripayattu had developed into its present form by the 6th century, during an extended period of warfare between the Cheraand Chola dynasties.

    From black belt to the bench: Martial arts expert, 37, appointed to judiciary

    A government barrister who moonlights as a martial arts teacher has been appointed to the bench.
    Siew Ying Loke, who currently advises the Attorney General’s Office on issues relating to criminal and public law, is set to become an immigration judge in the first-tier tribunal. The 37-year-old lawyer’s new role will be based in London and will take effect from 14 May 2018, according to a statement published on the judiciary’s website.
    What the statement omits is that Loke is effectively a deadly weapon. This is because the University of Exeter grad is also a martial arts master with a sixth-degree black belt, who spends her time teaching self-defence (when she isn’t offering legal pointers to Jeremy Wright QC, that is).

    “Many people ask me if I have ever got bored of training, having trained now for over twenty-five years. I can honestly say that although I have been frustrated at times, I have never been bored,” Loke explains on her instructor profile. The former Lamb Building barrister continues:
    “Training has been an integral part of my own personal growth and self-discovery throughout the years and that has not stopped yet.”
    Interestingly, Loke is not the only lawyer to share a passion for martial arts. Civil law barrister Sarah Robson shot to Legal Cheek fame in 2013 when she produced an interesting martial arts video of herself breaking pieces of wood.
    Back to Loke, and her appointment is unusual not just because of her martial arts passion, but also her sprightly age. In a similar vein, Hardwicke barrister Sarah Venn has been appointed a circuit judge on the south eastern circuit. Venn — who will be 41 when she starts her new role later this year — becomes one of the youngest circuit judges ever appointed.
    Commenting on Venn’s move to the bench, Harwicke’s joint head of chambers, PJ Kirby QC, said:
    “We are absolutely thrilled for Sarah at this very well deserved appointment. She will be an asset to the south eastern circuit and her appointment is a refreshing signal of growing judicial diversity. We are very proud of her achievements and wish her every success in the next stage of her career.”
    In 2016, Legal Cheek brought you news of Anna Midgley, a junior barrister who was appointed as a Crown Court judge aged just 33. Briony Clarke, a criminal solicitor who now sits as a deputy district judge, is believed to be the country’s youngest female judge. She was 31 when she was sworn in.