Scrambling through the world of MMA, BJJ and grappling

Stronger less injury prone knees with one move

by William Wayland ~ posted February 18th, 2016

Ignore the clickbait inspired title. You may recall from previous post that ACL tears are a bit of problem in grappling and MMA especially in females. I’ve spoken before about the need for direct hamstring work when it comes to helping athletes prevent and bounce back from knee injuries and growing body of evidence is starting to support this.

Hamstring work is such a crucial part of the puzzle to prevent knee injuries, ask anyone who grapples regularly and they’ll tell you how much hamstring involvement there is. Where as there is involvement in running cutting and jumping found in field sports, grappling often requires active hamstring ‘squeeze’ to finish many techniques. To put it simply stronger hamstrings may help your jiujitsu!

Taking it up a notch is direct hamstring work, which involves mainly knee flexion where you’ll feel it in the distal part of hamstring (closest to knee) where as many movements like deadlifts and swings work hamstrings mainly as a hip-extensor where people often feel proximal part working (closest to the hip). A lot of athletes get part of the puzzle right and do heavy hip hinges. We use a lot of heavy eccentric romainian deadlifts for instance.  I’ve seen in the past very ‘strong’ athletes suddenly pull up with hamstring cramp when trying to finish a triangle or reverse shrimp, because they struggle with techniques demanding strong knee flexion. Again direct hamstring knee flexion work is crucial.

While you have a  lot of choice in hamstring exercises if we look at ‘Intensity based hamstring exercises classification’ see pic below by Yann Le Meur. And one exercise comes out on top the humble slide curl. I’ve been using it a lot especially with my female grapplers who risk higher incedence of ACL injuries so it’s important  we add this.

Below is a hamstring curl using a folded scramble grip trainer on smooth lifting platform, if your gym mats are smooth enough you could do it with any material that is low friction. When I spoke about the grapplers 5 before we could probably add this instead of the partner GHR. In athletes who’s hamstrings are lacking we’ll prioritise this and perform it 2-3 times per week for fairly high volumes (10-15 reps per set). The slide is a good test in itself of how strong your hamstrings are. Start with two legs and progress to one.

The body slide is another way of approaching this.

I sometimes find very heavy athletes really struggle with slide hamstring curl variations which can get a bit ‘crampy’. Below is the ball curl which can be later progressed to the slide curl.

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

Post Workout Recovery Routine

by William Wayland ~ posted January 7th, 2016

In a previous post I talked about Warming-up to workout the flipside to warming up is warming down and recovery work.

Often overlooked or not considered is the impact you can make in expediting the recovery process, as soon as you finish your last rep or step off the matt after your last roll. It pays to take time to encourage the body to go from a very excited state to more relaxed one.

Stages Covered in the video;

1. We can assist recovery mechanically by using gravity performing wall sits and shakes
2. We can address tightness accrued during training using isometrics, this work particularly well if you do a lot of squatting and bench pressing
3. Decompress the spine using various hangsm, such as bar hang or GH hang 
4. Re-establish parasympathetic dominance using deep breathing or relaxation

Key Points from video

‣Having a recovery routine is as important as having a warm-up routine but is often overlooked.
‣You can perform 1 or more part of the video don’t get too hung up and doing it all.
‣Deep breathing drills help re-establish parasympathetic dominance which is a relaxed state, as opposed to sympathetic dominance which is responsible for your ‘fight or flight’ response. If you have mastered the shoe drill than you can use wall or box diaphragmatic breathing drills as these allow for deeper breaths.
‣Switch your music to something relaxing, high BPM or load music is very stimulating you want something more down tempo.

This is an ongoing series of blog posts from William Wayland of Powering Through, who works with UFC and other high level combat athletes based in Chelmsford, UK Twitter. Facebook

Warming-up to Workout

by William Wayland ~ posted December 11th, 2015

The warm-up is often the most important and most often overlooked parts of a training session. Why is it so important? A warm-up often acts as barometer of your physical state there and then on the day. People often just rush through it without taking stock of how you feel. It is an opportunity to prime yourself for the activity to come, however many only see the value in proper warm-up strategy usually when they are working around some sort of ‘problem’. Be prepared and it may just help you have far more productive workouts. In the video I discuss how we approach warming up in brief.

Warming up for the most part is a 4 stage process.

1. Mental Prep – Psychological prep – Pre-anticipatory response.

2. Getting Warm – Increased body temperature.

3. Mobility -Improve joint lubrication and flexibility.

4. Warm-up sets. – Engage the nervous system to a greater degree.

Key points from the video

‣Take stock of how you feel, go over your planned workout question your readiness.
‣Initially warm-ups need a jumping off point from a video or a coach, be sure to have it written down, then look to do some informed freestyle.
‣My intro warm-up is, Highknees, Marches, Knee Circles, Spiderman +reach, Roll-up to sit out, Supported Squat (all x 10) and selected foam rolling and stretching as needed.
‣When learning to warm-up start with something very general such as Joe D Franco’s Agile 8 as you become more experienced you explore other movements and overcome your own imobility and prepare personally for what ever you are doing that training session.
‣Don’t spend too long or get too abstract with your mobility, don’t forget you still have to lift!
‣Too few warm-up sets and you’ll be too tired, too few and you won’t achieve optimal activation.
‣The heavier you plan to go the more warm-up sets you need but the fewer reps you should probably do.
‣When doing power work at lower percentages we often warm-up to a heavier load for a single or double for potentiating effect.

This is an ongoing series of blog posts from William Wayland of Powering Through, who works with UFC and other high level combat athletes based in Chelmsford, UK Twitter. Facebook


[VIDEO] Using Jiu Jitsu & Training to Overcome PTSD and Bi Polar

by Matt - Scramble ~ posted November 11th, 2015

We’re very proud to support Robert Consulmagno (“Cozmo”) in his quest to bring awareness to mental health issues.

Check out this awesome video of Rob.




Article reproduced here:



Robert “Cozmo” Consulmagno is a man with energy to spare and a fight inside. And while he faces human opponents (both on a jiu jitsu mat and in a boxing ring), his toughest battle is the fight that goes on inside his head. Cozmo is a Marine Corps. veteran who lives with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and bipolar disorder.

His wounds run deep. In addition to whatever emotional and physical trauma he suffered in the Marines, he also wrestles with the physical and psychological abuse he experienced as a child. In spite of the painful memories, Cozmo is determined to create something positive from his life’s battles.



After his tour in the Marines, Cozmo embarked on a fairly traditional life path that included college and a job in sales. Inevitably, his demons would get in the way, and that path was often disrupted by his illness (including a few bipolar-induced cross-country road trips). He was unhappy and looking for meaning in all the chaos.

He was always a fan of physical fitness. A friend at a gym where he worked out introduced him to Brazilian jiu jitsu, and Cozmo hasn’t looked back since.

Brazilian jiu jitsu is a martial art and combat sport. It is designed for a smaller person against a bigger attacker. Rather than strike out at an opponent, competitors aim to control them by applying submission holds, so that the opponent cannot escape. Jiu jitsu uses leverage and technique to circumvent the larger opponent while minimizing injury. It is a sport that involves strategy and technique, and is as mental as it is physical.


Jiu jitsu provides him with an outlet and a focus for some of his remarkable “Crazy Cozmo” (a nickname he likes) energy. He is the proud and deserving holder of dozens of medals and a purple belt in the art form. His eyes are set firmly on earning a black belt someday, but the real prize is the feeling that his work is combating the stigma of mental illness. He now shares his journey willingly to encourage others to “go to the source,” and not be shy or ashamed to talk about the painful episodes that contribute to PTSD.

Cozmo says that jiu jitsu saved his life. He wants to spread his message of hope and healing. He is an active promoter of this idea. He reached out to us with his story. And quite honestly, he was relentless. The same characteristic, I’m sure, that makes him a successful fighter made us pay attention to “Crazy Cozmo.” So we contacted him about this video.

Our initial planning meeting was filled with story after story of a childhood filled with tragedy — of a father who committed suicide, a young mother who tried her best to handle the violent men in her life, and a step-father who was beyond abusive.


Ideas for filming flowed — they included his workout, a jiu jitsu demonstration, a session where he played DJ (Cozmo is a most excellent DJ!), and a scene of him working out on the lawn of his high school in Jersey City — Dickinson High School, to be exact.

He came up with the idea of revisiting Wallis Avenue in Jersey City, where he was born and raised. His childhood home was filled with more than its fair share of violence and death. Going to the source of the pain, facing it head on, would be tough for any of us, and it wasn’t easy for Cozmo, either. But he was able to see the good and the bad that happened on Wallis Avenue. There were a few nostalgia-filled smiles amongst the painful memories. It is worth noting that in spite of such a close-knit neighborhood, no one stepped up or attempted to intervene to stop the violence that neighbors must have known was going on. A sad part of his sad story. But Cozmo is seeking to put the pain to use, to make life better for anyone who has traveled a similar path.


His goal is simple — to end stigma. But to achieve that goal, it’s more complicated. He wants to use his success as an athlete to bring attention to the things that no one would talk about when he was a child — physical and emotional abuse. He wants men, tough men, to talk about tough things that have happened to them, breaking the cycle of silence that surrounds such abuse. And he wants people to know that some form of exercise can be helpful in maintaining our mental health.

For Cozmo, physical exercise is a way of managing his bipolar disorder and PTSD. His workouts are incredible. Music pumps into his ears as he lifts, skips, pushes, wrestles, and stretches. He works himself into a trance-like state at the gym until he is exhausted. After a moment’s rest, he hurries off to the next activity of the day.

In addition to his jiu jitsu tournaments, Cozmo is a public speaker who encourages people to find their “thing” — any activity that engages a person, creates a release, and contributes to good mental health. On the homepage of his website,, he shares his message. “Everyone has problems. Everyone goes through battles. The victory starts when we decide that we are going to fight like hell to do something about it, because we can.”

For so many years, he was a man struggling to find his place in the world. At 42 years of age, it looks like he has found that place.


Tom Hardy Spotted in Scramble

by Matt - Scramble ~ posted October 30th, 2015

British actor Tom Hardy, famous for playing a load of flippin’ nutcases including Bane and Bronson, wore Scramble at a recent launch party for Triumph Motorcycles.

There were many high fives exchanged around Scramble HQ.

He’s wearing the Strong Beard t-shirt, which you can find here.



New Products Out Now – Sushi Spats, Imanari Tees, Winter 15 Hoodies

by Matt - Scramble ~ posted October 29th, 2015







[VIDEO] Vice Japan – Do the Muscle! (Ladies try MMA in Japan)

by Matt - Scramble ~ posted October 29th, 2015

Vice Japan has been pumping out some really good content, if that’s your kind of thing.

The latest is Do the Muscle, where our friend Abe-sensei of AACC in Tokyo takes a couple of ladies under his wing and teaches them the benefits of combat sports training.

It’s great for JMMA nerds like me.

Check the YouTube channel for the full playlist, I will leave the Yamamoto Kid video here…


Arthritis and Brazilian Jiu-jitsu

by William Wayland ~ posted October 26th, 2015

We often document the benefits of Brazilian jiujitsu, but murmur in mention of some of the draw backs. While all sports carry risk of injury and overuse injuries, Brazilian jiujitsu in particular is known to be rough on the joints and I have heard much anecdotal evidence of finger and pain in particular in more experienced players. Below is a picture of Joao Miyao’s hands. Keep in mind he is just 24 years old.

What is Arthritis?

People are often confused as to what arthritis is and the difference between osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. The difference mainly being one is wear and tear the other is a auto immune disease.

Osteoarthritis (also referred to as degenerative joint disease or wear-and-tear arthritis) is caused by the breakdown of joint cartilage. Cartilage acts as a cushion between the bones that form a joint. Cartilage loss can cause bone to rub on bone in a joint — a condition that is very painful. The ride along of this condition can be bone spurs, bony enlargements (Heberden’s nodes and Bouchard’s nodes). This is related to but not caused by aging. It appears that mechanical stress on joints underlies all osteoarthritis, with many and varied sources of mechanical stress, including misalignments of bones caused by congenital or pathogenic causes; mechanical injury all contribute to the condition. Oh and cracking you knuckles has no effect!

Im no Joao Miyao but I’ll never make it as a hand model either

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic, inflammatory type of arthritis. It is also classified as an autoimmune disease (i.e., immune cells attack the body’s own healthy tissues). The synovium (lining of the joint) is primarily affected by rheumatoid arthritis, but organs body-wide can be affected as well. Multiple joints are usually involved with rheumatoid arthritis.

Incidence in Jiujitsu

Speak to more senior members of school or gym and more than likely they will have stories pertaining to hand injuries, joint pain, mangled finger/toes, dislocations and more. Very little research has been done into BJJ and arthritis so numbers are hard to fathom. But BJJ’s nearest relative Judo has had plenty of research into the subject. In 1997 Strasser P et al did a study into “Traumatic finger polyarthrosis in judo athletes”  they found that “Extensive Judo seems to be a risk factor for the development of osteoarthritis of the finger joints due to chronic-repetitive micro- and substantial (macro-) injury.”

In 1984 Frey A, Müller W. found that “X-ray showed that all judokas examined have more or less severe osteoarthritis of the distal interphalangeal joints (DIP), whether Heberden nodes were present or not. At the same time, in most cases osteoarthrosis of the proximal interphalangeal joints (PIP) was found by X-ray and clinical examination. Osteoarthrosis of DIP and PIP in this young age group is due to overstress and injury to the joints involved.” It is the repeat injury, re-injury, micro trauma and over stress over a period of time that appears to accumulate and then manifest as arthritis. More than likely athletes who play a grip heavy game see a high incidence than those who don’t.

Those who play a heavy grip game risk injury of Proximal and Intermediate  Phalanges


Mitigation and treatment

Practical solutions to limiting and preventing arthritis are few in number, the ultimate solution being suspension of the activity but seriously when has injury ever stopped you grappling? So you have a few choices.

1. Introduce more no-gi training in order to give your grip a rest

2. Cycle play styles, avoid spider and other grip play that is rough on the distal and intermediate phalanges.

3. Stronger muscles can help stabilize the joint, improving range of motion and aid in pain reduction. That’s the goal of arthritis-oriented physical therapy, just be sure to work extensor and thumb strength too, as finger flexion is often over worked.

4. Some evidence suggests that hand flexibility may reduce arthritis risk

5. Taking NSAIDS (ibuprofen etc)

6. Some evidence suggests people with arthritis need longer warm-ups

Supplementary Solutions

As soon as joint pain is mentioned people are quick to ask for supplementation. Often supplement sellers pray on those in discomfort to shift shoddy produce or gimmicky devices. Often avoiding acitivity that causes problems is enough to help with recovery from osteoarthritis but often people want a quick fix.

Worth Trying (evidence for):

  • Omega 3 fish oils, There is evidence that rheumatoid arthritis sufferers taking long-chain n−3 fatty acids from sources such as fish have reduced pain compared to those receiving standard NSAIDs. Krill oilor omega 3 capsules comes highly recommended.
  • Curcumin, In vitro and animal studies have proven that curcumin has antioxidant, antiarthritic,  and anti-inflammatory properties. See

Maybe Worth trying (some evdience or good anecdotal evidence)

Best avoid (No evidence)

  • Powerbands and Magnet therapy research has shown that magnetic wrist straps are ineffective in the management of pain, stiffness and physical function in osteoarthritis
  • Glucosamine and or Chondroitin – A meta-analysis published in the British Medical Journal published in 2010 concluded: “Compared with placebo, glucosamine, chondroitin, and their combination do not reduce joint pain or have an impact on narrowing of joint space. Health authorities and health insurers should not cover the costs of these preparations, and new prescriptions to patients who have not received treatment should be discouraged.”

I hope that this has been a helpful insight into a fairly common issues, more than any other sport BJJ and our grappling brethern are at risk of can be a painful and in the long term debilitating condition.

This is an ongoing series of blog posts from William Wayland of Powering Through, who works with UFC and other high level combat athletes based in Chelmsford, UK Twitter. Facebook

Should my BJJ kid do S&C?

by William Wayland ~ posted September 30th, 2015

A question I often get asked by energetic BJJ parents is “should my Bjj kid do s&c?” as a parent who wants the best for your childs sporting career I can understand the desire to give them the best training in all aspects. Its great that you are interested in helping your child be and do better especially when we are very much beyond the flawed notion that strength training will stunt growth or damage growth plates. Strength and Conditoning for children has many health benefits, injury prevention benefits and psycho-social benefits much the same as adults.

Strength training for kids is safe but it comes with caveats.

I’ll go over the main points when concerning this question.

Children are not little adults.

Children are biologically and mentally different to adults, especially when it comes to exercise. It must be made very clear that simply adapting an adult training programme to suit a child will not only produce poor results, but will likely increase injury risk and dissatisfaction. Very rigid and structured exercise programs can be particularly tricky for children especially the younger they are. Children especially young ones derive much of their physical capacity and literacy from play and this can be challenging for adults to understand. Remember they started BJJ because they found it fun, so exercise needs to be engaging also. Where as children see exercise as fun adults can be pretty darn self flagellating with it, if you want drop out, don’t use exercise as punishment.

Biological age and chronological age can be wildly different

Childhood development is a very individual experience, children of the same chronological age can be significantly far apart in physical development. I’ve seen children of the same age who looked like they where 5 years apart physically and this discrepancy can impact participation. Early developers are often the favourites of coaches as they rapidly develop physical capacities their less developed training partners just don’t have. With this in mind their training needs will differ also. Children who have not gone through puberty produce testosterone and growth hormone in very small amounts so cannot recover from very intense training sessions.

So what type of training can children do?

Children are extremely pliable skill-wise and engage in bodyweight training pretty much at every opportunity (we used to call it play!) and they certainly can perform this type of exercise with high frequency, things like pull-ups, push-ups, climbing, crawling, tumbling. If you do teach them strength movements, ala squat, hinge, push, pull and carry keep everything simple, don’t progress them too fast and once puberty kicks in you can progress them to more serious training taking advantage of the hormonal changes. In short Basics Basics Basics, much like BJJ.

My usual age recommendation for very ‘structured’ S&C begins at 14 to 16 for most youth athletes, at this point they are often psychologically mature enough to knuckle down to more serious training. It is about this age I start to introduce more conventional strength training in the form of ‘heavier’ barbell work. Even during this period natural strength levels, training age and biology still play a factor.

Take Away Points

1. Strength and Conditioning for Children is safe when properly supported.

2. Much like training adults weight training needs to be properly implemented and coached.

3. Respect the biological age of the children, what they do should be age related not age determined. Biology, mental maturity, natural strength levels, training age (how long they have been training) and technical proficiency all play a role.

4. Properly designed program can improve performance and  health.

5. Technical competency should never ever be compromised.

6. If its stops being fun they’ll stop wanting to do it.

Below is 16 year old BJJ Blue belt and aspiring MMA athlete Cory, she has deadlift numbers that would make most adults jealous. A foundation of Boxing, Wrestling and BJJ has given her a solid foundation and a capacity to learn

@corydonttap getting her #sumodeadlift on back from her travels. #mmalife #PWRTHR #deadlift #wmma #mmafighter #womensmma

A video posted by William Wayland (@poweringthrough) on

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


[VIDEO] Supernova – The return of Nick Osipczak by Sam Rowland

by Ben ~ posted September 2nd, 2015

Check out this awesome short following Scrambler, Polaris commentator and Mixed Martial Artist Nick Osipczak on his journey to his comeback fight earlier this year.


SUPERNOVA from sam rowland on Vimeo.