Originally published by Stephan Kesting in Ultimate Grappling Magazine
Marc Laimon is one of the foremost grappling coaches for mixed martial arts fighters. Not only was he a coach for the hit Spike TV show “The Ultimate Fighter,” but the list of competitors who have passed through his school in Las Vegas includes such fighters as Randy Couture, Jeremy Horn, BJ Penn, Jens Pulver, Kevin Randleman, Mark Coleman, Ricco Rodriguez, Phil Baroni, Jason Miller, Joe Stevenson and Jay Hieron
Marc is a radical jiu-jitsu thinker and innovator, and his approach to fighting from the guard in MMA is particularly unique. he teaches fighters that an important part of fighting from the guard is standing up and returning to the standing position.
Many ‘conventional’ jiu-jitsu fighters will stick to the guard even when they aren’t able to sweep or submit their opponents, and they often get worn-down and beat-up by staying on the bottom. Instead of this, they should try to do a guard standup.
In this article Marc shares a couple of his favorite methods to stand up out of the guard. Nobody is saying that sweeps and submissions aren’t important, but if you master these techniques then you will always have an ace up your sleeve when you find yourself on the bottom in a fight.
Technique 1: Standup from Closed Guard
Here Marc controls Jay in a good defensive guard
Jay attempts to posture and create distance to strike,
while Marc hangs heavily on the head and bases on his right elbow
He raises his hip off the mat, and is now ready to stand up.
Marc moves his right leg back and escapes the bottom position
He snaps Jay’s head down and sprawls back, applying a front headlock
Technique 2: Standing Up from Against the Fence
Marc uses ring awareness not to let his head get trapped against the cage.
He hangs his weight off of Jay’s head with his hand.
Marc walks his shoulder blades further up the fence. He bases on
his left hand and continues to control Jay’s head
Marc wraps Jay’s left arm with his right to apply a whizzer …
…and pushes against the fence for balance as he starts to stand up
Marc now squares up and digs for the left underhook to achieve a neutral pummeling position.
Marc Laimon on MMA
How long have you been training in Jiu-jitsu, Marc?
I have been training since January 22’nd, 1998. I started with Royce and Rorion. Then I trained at the Beverly Hills Jiu-jitsu club under the only man who can claim to be my teacher: Ethan Milius. I was then asked to go to Hawaii, and ended up teaching there for a while. Then I came to Vegas and was training at John Lewis’ school. Now I have had my own school (Cobra Kai) in Vegas.
Why did you start on this Jiu-jitsu journey?
I got into Jiu-jitsu after I paid a co-worker to tape UFC 4 for me. When Royce fought Ron Van Clief, it made sense to me. The way Royce fought was not how fighting was portrayed in the movies, but it was like a science. I have been obsessed ever since.
how and when were you exposed to MMA (Mixed Martial Arts)?
My first experience with MMA was training with some guys from the Gracie Academy. I soon realized that the game changes when striking is added in. I also trained a lot with Oleg Taktarov and Bas Rutten. Bas would use me to get ready for his Pancrase fights: every morning he would come in and beat me up. I had to change the way I played jiu-jitsu in order to adapt to that.
What mistakes do pure grapplers make when they try switching over to NHB training and fighting?
Pure grapplers think that if they can tap someone in training that they can win in a fight. I have tapped many MMA Champions, but I do not think I would beat them in a fight. A fight has very different variables that must be taken into account, or the grappler may be picking up his teeth afterwards!
Can you give us a couple of good training drills to use when preparing for MMA?
The best drill is actually fighting! Nothing mimics MMA like MMA. You have to get in there and do takedowns with the strikes, and grappling with the hitting. Of course you have to be careful with this type of training. You need to have training partners you trust and you must really watch out for overtraining, because that is when most injuries really occur.
What sort of conditioning should MMA fighters be doing?
For conditioning a fighter must run, do plyometrics, and other types of exercise suited for that fighter and his body type. I feel that specific types of weight training are also good, but lifting heavy with low reps is not the way to become the best fighter.
Who are some of the fighters who have trained at your school in Las Vegas?
Fighters that I have trained for competition include Kevin Randleman, Mark Coleman, Ricco Rodriuguez, Phil Baroni, Jason Miller, and Jay Heiron. Joe Stevenson will also be fighting soon. I run a school with no politics, so I get lots of great people stopping by: Randy Couture, Jeremy Horn, BJ Penn, Jens Pulver and many others have been on the mats at Cobra Kai.
Marc Laimon is a world-renowned grappling and MMA coach and has appeared on the MMA reality show The Ultimate Fighter. Visit his website at www.marclaimon.com
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