Scrambling through the world of MMA, BJJ and grappling


by Matt - Scramble ~ posted September 19th, 2014

Check this out. Friend of the brand, Robert “Cozmo” Consulmagno on ABC.

He talks about how jiu jitsu has helped him to overcome a difficult upbringing and PTSD from combat overseas.



[VIDEO] Jiu Jitsu Priest shows all of Genki Sudo’s IKKIUCHI!

by Matt - Scramble ~ posted September 15th, 2014

Kinya Hashimoto, the Jiu Jitsu Priest, was live at Genki Sudo’s IKKIUCHI event. Check out all the footage (and our new Scramble ad!) here!

Recover: Saunas Steamrooms and Dan Gable

by William Wayland ~ posted September 15th, 2014

The sauna usually strikes fear into the heart of any combat athlete at the mere mention of its name. This is a place of misery and suffering. Convincing them to step back in is a real struggle. However usage of heat therapy seems to be a nearly universal human tradition, from most well know swedish/finnish sauna (never tell either the other invented it) to  Japanese Onsen, Korean JimJilbang, Roman and Turkish Baths and Russian Banya. In England traditionally a smelly bunch we tend to be a bit prudish and still find sauna/bath house culture a novelty.

The sauna or steam room produces a very mild sympathetic stimulus, I’ve discussed manipulation of sympathetic and parasympathetic responses here. This is why subsequent cooling is so important a part of the process also.

Its interesting to note that traditional warrior cultures were also some of greatest bath house cultures. Some sort of secret to recovery? Now before I make an appeal to the ancients there is some good science under pinning the usage of sauna’s and heat therapy.

Saunas can lower cortisol (stress hormone) in fighters

Saunas facilitate recovery from muscular fatigue

Submersion in 42C water can help promote recovery from future training sessions

May aid fatloss 

Stimulates immune function in athletes

One other slightly less tangible benefit is quiet contemplation

Dan Gable endorses their use and when Dan Gable tells you to do something you do it! “Theres getting to be science!”

I generally suggest the usage of sauna is done during hardest training cycles.

Here is a routine I adapted from Joel Jamieson. Only difference is I add a short steam into the mix, as I find it helps breathing and evidence suggests it also has similar but slightly different benefits to sauna.

1.You want the Sauna to be at around 190F or 90c
2.Begin by getting in the sauna and stay in until you first break a sweat and then get out.
3. Take a Luke warm shower for a minute or so. Rest until recovered or start feeling normal again.
4.Get back in the sauna and stay in for 5-10 minutes.
5.Take another shower this time COLD as cold as possible. For 30seconds to a minute (be ready for cold shock!)
Get out of the shower, and rest in a cool place for 3-10 minutes, some fancy leisure suites have tepidarium for this.
6.Return to the sauna 10-15mins or alternatively a steam room for 7-10mins (in the UK we often has both in the same facility)
7. Take another shower this time COLD as cold as possible. For 30seconds to a minute (be ready for cold shock!)
8.Get back in the sauna for another 10-15 minutes and then get out
9.Take another shower, this time make it fairly warm and stay in for 1-2 minutes
Dry yourself completely off, lay down and relax for 5-10 minutes

The more experienced you are the longer you could potentially stay.

This comes with a warning be prudent when making use of the sauna or steamroom build familiarity first, everyone’s response to heat stress is different.

This is an ongoing series of blog posts from guest blogger and Strength & Conditioning coach William Wayland of Powering Through, who works with UFC, Cagewarriors and other high level combat athletes based in Chelmsford, UK. Facebook


[VIDEO] Yesterday’s Heroes, Tomorrow’s Legends – UFC JAPAN / GOMI

by Matt - Scramble ~ posted September 12th, 2014

Pleasantly surprised by this little video from the Vice Network.

Even has Sakikibara shilling for the UFC…


[VIDEO] Must see videos released recently – UFC Japan, De La Riva, Marcelo Garcia

by Matt - Scramble ~ posted September 10th, 2014

I still remember the days when literally the only MMA you could find online was the highlight videos on Sherdog. Myself (Scramble Matt) and Scramble Ben used to watch endlessly Kazushi Sakuraba, Rickson Gracie, and a few other highlight reels.

Now there’s so much good content I really can’t keep up.

Here are some videos you really must watch, if you haven’t already!

1) Marcelo Garcia documentary teaser from Stuart Cooper. So pumped for this!


2) BJJ Hacks: De La Riva, sponsored by Scramble. I love DLR, best seminar I ever went to!



3) UFC Fight Night Japan, featuring Scrambler and friend, Bri-chan



[VIDEO] Genki Sudo’s IKKIUCHI Jiu Jitsu Tournament

by Matt - Scramble ~ posted September 3rd, 2014

Check this out, the official highlight of the recent IKKIUCHI (one against one) tournament, produced by Genki Sudo.

Man this looks like an awesome event… I hope to watch it live one day!


Ido Portal, Calisthenics and “Movement” as Strength and Conditioning

by William Wayland ~ posted August 27th, 2014

Tim Stokes, A client with very favourable leverages practicing L-sits and ring push-ups.

At the moment across social media Im seeing a lot of posts about Ido Portal, primal movement, holistic movement and the idea that these are somehow superior to conventional strength conditioning. The concept of holisms in movement attracts fitness yuppies with money to burn and what I’ll call “fitness free thinkers” like pigs to truffles. In a recent scramblog post I cautioned against getting caught up in pseudo scientific methods. In the past we’ve seen these types of coaches with a holistic USP such as Paul “astral projection” Chek, who is coined the father of core/functional training (Im sure Vernon Gambetta, Gray Cook and Stuart McGill would be better candidates) using the alternative therapies badge to push his methods. A beautifully edited video with nice Tibetan chanting doesn’t measure your value as a coach either(looking at you Naudi Aguilar) which is another promotional means. The same goes for those displaying various skill in video’s themselves, someone’s ability to train themselves while important is not a measure of their ability to train others either. These people are master image crafters and Ido is no different.

Conceptually I really like what is being said. The buzz around Israeli Ido is enormous with him hosting seminars all over the place. The price can be steep however, but the feedback seems largely positive. While there are other movement experts Ido is the most prominent and expensive it seems. Somewhat polarising hes made fast enemies of vegans and crossfitters criticising them both.

What doesn’t seem to help is Ido and other movement practitioners, keep their methodologies opaque and make heavy use of obfuscation in their language when discussing what they do. I know this lack of clarity ruffles the feathers of friends in the gymnastics, freerun and parkour crowd. I recently listened to Ido talking on London Real and while I found myself nodding in agreement with his sentiment, I was clutching at straws to pin down what his method was. Convenience of the vague maybe or maybe I’m just being dense. I just find the whole thing nebulous, when you start using vague neuro-physiology sprinkled with rehabilitative jargon as justification for what you do, you enter Depak Chopra and quantum physics territory. The thing is this, you present the idea that you possess a knowledge base that only you can teach and enact. Or as one of my twitter followers put it “justify their jobs by pretending they possess secrets/knowledge that only they can translate and apply?” very possibly. We had this when the Iron Curtain fell and suddenly every ex-soviet coach had Russian training secrets to sell. More over what irks me is the amount these people charge for their services.

Problems with strength and conditioning from a movement perspective.

There is a certain amount of indictment of strength and conditioning coaches from the “movement” crowd and its true, there are coaches who appear to let their powerlifting and olympic lifting biases control them. The Americanisation of S&C has probably not been particularly helpful, as it is heavily dominated by bench, deadlift, squat and bodybuilding approach which has proliferated all over the internet. What happens is a drift away from holism we further create mini powerlifters, mini Olympic lifters, strongmen etc the.  A prevalent “get them strong let the sport sort em out” attitude isn’t helpful either.

When we see displays like the above I can understand the undercurrent of willingness to reject mainstream strength and conditioning convention. However often it’s a case of difference for the sake of difference.

A good strength coach IS holistic its at the core of what we do. It’s just that some see it is STRENGTH and conditioning rather than what it is, physical preparation. I think maybe the confusion stems from what a strength coaches purpose is.

My personal definition is; A strength coaches job is varied application of stress to basic movement patterns to bring about systemic adaptation that allow athlete to better handle stress of sport.

What are the basic movement patterns? If you ask Dan John its “Squat, Hinge, Push, Pull, Carry”, if you ask the primal movement people is “Squat, Lunge, Push, Pull, Bend, Twist, Gait”. Now what Ido seems to be concerned with is the movement between these movements and the integration of these things. This is a notion that is hard to determine, it does allow for goal post moving in terms of objectives and outcome from training, measurability being crucial in S&C.

It was this video that someone sent me that first made me aware of Ido portal. Personally I don’t think this is good preparation for combat athletes, I do however use some low level gymnastics and suspension work with my athletes and context of video is hard to grasp from 5 minutes of video. Collision sport athletes need stability and hypertrophy (see dan john vid below). Now before you mention the letters GSP, George had a foundation in lifting from Joel Chaimberg and Pierre Roy before taking on gymnastics type work.

UFC’s Luke Barnatt does ring work and crawling drills

Athlete, Artist, Mover?

Ido also makes a point of being not an athlete, but an artist and generalist, this is key. Art is only given value by the observer where as athletic movement is about efficiency. The athletes physical preparation model needs to be like a pyramid it always has to have a base but it also needs a point! Athletes must specialise because their lively hood comes from being a specialist. But we know that the best athletes are the one who in their youth developed high movement literacy, by playing multiple sports and engaging in multiple activities. Ido and others talk about foundation of movement but at what point does being able to squat to being able to do Cossacks become a specialism? Or being able to do hand-stand into single handed hand stands or HSPU become specialism. Mastering these skills pose a risk of becoming a time sink that could be spent doing other things.

The other thing I see movement experts tout is what im calling the “The gymnastic fallacy” is the idea that gymnasts are the most complete athletes. It is similar to the “Olympic lifting fallacy” touted by oly coaches that their athletes are the most powerful. The notion that because one set of athletes displays mastery over a domain of movement or force expression means that this would translate well to other sports. This does’nt work because it does’nt respect required task specific performance, skill acquisition and respective anthropometries (limb/torso lengths) of athletes. For instance being light helps the gymnast to achieve a high strength-to-weight ratio, and being small helps with rotational skills. Olympic lifters also are smaller athletes with excellent lifting leverages. You have 2-3 hours a week in which to get a 6’9 110kg basketball player to improve his performance are you going to do planche straddles and handstand push-ups? Or do something that helps him put force through the floor and make it through a playing season. Anthropometrics have a larger effect on our movement biases than you can imagine. Vernon Gambetta talks about the notion of focusing on what they can do not on what they can’t. Ido talks specialism having a trade off, we know this, the athletes knows this. Training for well-being is not the same as performance. Dan John explored this in one of his intervention video’s the idea that we spend our post athletic career undoing the damage of career in sports.

Now before we play necromancer and resurrection the old the bodyweight vs resistance training dialectic, we love dualism which is weird because the intent is holism, but most coaches know that a foundation of bodyweight movement is crucial. The patterns mentioned earlier are developed initially with bodyweight alone. Most decent programs will have you dipping, chinning and doing pull-ups. Even Ido suggests squatting and olympic lifts for gross lower body training.

The notion of having fun with physical expression vs performance to perform work is important and I feel one of Ido’s most import messages. Physical expression and self mastery are intrinsically very important and extremely satisfying, its the same reason why Scrambler Dan Strauss bends stuff. I recently took it upon myself to get good at one armed push-ups, it took about 1.5 hours spread over 4 weeks to go from incline reps to floor reps. My upper body strength did’nt really improve but my core strength shot-up, but most importantly I had fun! And better yet I did’nt pay someone thousands of pounds to show me how.

Methodological silver bullets just do not exist, good athleticism is built on a foundation of movement but what determines good movement is down to the coach. While I like Ido’s message of reconnecting with physical expression and movement and the idea’s of squatting everyday and hanging for shoulder health. His methodologies are somewhat confounding and vague. Just remember it’s exercise (sorry movement), not making world peace.

This is an ongoing series of blog posts from guest blogger and Strength & Conditioning coach William Wayland of Powering Through, who works with UFC, Cagewarriors and other high level combat athletes based in Chelmsford, UK. Facebook


by Matt - Scramble ~ posted August 24th, 2014

Playlist of all the videos we have made during our visits to Japan so far.



Nakamura Daisuke

Tsuyoshi Tamaki


Roberto Toshi

Enson Inoue

Tatsuya Onose

Masakazu Imanari


Maximo “Maxi” Blanco

Shinya Aoki

Megumi Fujii

Rikako Yuasa

Hiroyuki AbeAni Abe



Tags: , ,

Diaphragmatic Breathing Drill for better BJJ, Lifting and Recovery

by William Wayland ~ posted August 19th, 2014

A few weeks back I wrote post for scramblog Meditation, deep breathing and avoiding quackery

I thought I would expand a little on “Deep Breathing” element and how to get started with a beginner deep breathing drill, we use for recovery and relaxation but also to teach people how to breathe in diaphragmatic fashion.

This is an ongoing series of blog posts from guest blogger and Strength & Conditioning coach William Wayland of Powering Through, who works with UFC, Cagewarriors and other high level combat athletes based in Chelmsford, UK. Facebook

Meditation, deep breathing and avoiding quackery

by William Wayland ~ posted July 21st, 2014

Combat athletes are prone more than any other athlete to superstitions and weird ascetic practices. Weird diets, behaviours and other practices are all pretty common among high level and amateur competitors and practitioners. I can understand why this is appealing, I have met some BJJ athletes many of whom interpret zone of optimal functioning or heightened arousal states as a near religious experience. Now we all love a good post roll endorphin glow, but you probably haven’t touched the face of Buddha. For some reason Brazilian jiujitsu has a propensity to appeal to new agey types who bring alternative practice with them. Considering the modern martial arts movement is so fixated on outing quacks, its surprising that they still get a pass in topics suck as wellness, health and sports performance.

I can’t help but shake my head when I hear a legit fitness personality and BJJ Black belt such as Steve Maxwell speak on Joe Rogan’s podcast and espouse a known pseudo science such as Ayurveda (Ayurvic medicine – Good examination on quack watch here).  I have in the past had to explain that keeping blood pH neutral via Gracie diet is physically near impossible, seeing as the body is very good at maintaining its pH levels. Another one that I think has peaked was the brief obsession with Acai that everyone seemed to have, eating Acai because you do BJJ is like chowing down on kimchi because you do taekwondo. The studies on the benefits were not particularly convincing either. While eating fresh fruit, drinking veg smoothies and doing kettlebell swings is great we have to divorce the pseudo science fluff from the legitimately beneficial stuff. What works, what is placebo and what is down right waste of time?

So toss out your tongue scraper, maybe keep your blender, but listen up because there some practices that are particularly useful.

Deep Breathing & Meditation

Eastern mysticism, Gurus and new age consciousness expanders has done much to undermine two of  the perfectly legitimate practices of meditation and deep breathing.  Western scepticism means they wind up being shelved shrugged off as new age wishy-washy crap with everything else.

First up Deep Breathing. Rickson and Kron are defiantly on to something here and its great that some BJJ practitioners do examine deep breathing practices.

There is some evidence that it can help with CNS recovery by decreasing the amount of time it takes an athlete to return to a parasympathetic state. Most combat athletes I’ve met are very sympathetic dominant types (probably why they are great at fighting), who can trigger a strong fight or flight response, but have a hard time coming down after training. I’ve had clients especially those that train in the late evening report back that they have trouble sleeping.

This fight or flight ‘high’ puts us in a state of elevated cortisol levels which is useful short term, but repeat exposure can be destructive as it eats away at the body’s recovery capacity. By performing deep breathing we can get the body back into a parasympathetic state and get cortisol back under control

Other Research has shown that it can also improve posture, improving lumber lordosis which is great if you spend time stuck in lordotic or kyphotic posture. This is particularly useful post training after heavy loading of the posterior chain. We  often perform deep breathing drills as part of recovery or in warm-up to encourage proper breathing patterns for lifting.

Mike Guadango has talked about deep breathing drills over on freak strength website, applying the method to baseball players.

Try this post workout and see how your recovery improves:

50 Belly Breaths or 5-15minutes of belly breathing after your workout

  • Supine (laying on back) with feet elevated
  • Seated
  • Seated with back against the wall
  • Prone (face down)
  • 5 seconds in 5 seconds out or 4:6

Meditation is another practice bound up in eastern mysticism. A broad term but for us its a practice that promotes relaxation. We know that stress, devastates recovery , impairs immune response and influences your perception of things like energy levels and muscle soreness. So with a proven practice like meditation it is shocking we don’t do it more. With benefits as wide ranging as improved cognitive functioning, the need for less sleep and improved recovery times. Some people take it further and claim it improves emotional states and sense of self, this is some what subjective, however research does state it improves mental health measures. While similar it does differ to deep breathing drills.

How to do it. (abbreviated from nate greens 5-minute monk)

1. Find a place with no distractions, turn off phone, computer.

2. Find a comfortable sitting position with a tall spine, cross legged, chair key is comfort.

3. Eyes Can be open or closed.

4. Focus on breathing but don’t actively try to control it.

5. Distracting thoughts will appear but push them aside and go back to focusing on breathing.

6. Focus on this process of breathing and keeping your mind free of intrusive thoughts

7. Set a timer, theres one here you can use

Nate suggests trying it for 5 minutes a day for a full 30 days and then gauge how you feel.  While this just one way to approach it, I personally find walking, sauna’s and steam rooms meditative. While the last two can be stressful they do allow opportunity for quiet and introspection.

In a mile a minute society people are moving but not being productive especially when you look at the average population. People have a real problem being comfortable with silence and presentness, I see this in athletes who reach for phones during rest periods, chat endlessly and look for distraction. I even see it in coaches who find a quiet gym perplexing. Stillness is something that is almost reviled and thats a shame.

This is an ongoing series of blog posts from guest blogger and Strength & Conditioning coach William Wayland of Powering Through, who works with UFC, Cagewarriors and other high level combat athletes based in Chelmsford, UK.