Scrambling through the world of MMA, BJJ and grappling

Call to arms by Gina Hopkins

by Ben ~ posted April 27th, 2016

Hopefully you will remember my story, the disabled women who went to New York on a mission just to raise awareness, and ended up being very successful?It’s all been an incredible journey and I’m now looking at the impending Grapplers Heart 2 and the plans ahead.

After last year’s success in the first disabled only Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) competition in New York, in which, against all-male opponents, I managed to win my category and bring home bronze in the absolute, I am prepared to return for Grapplers Heart 2.

This year I have trained harder, gained more knowledge, more skills and once more my community has rallied around me to support me. Everyone, from my butcher and printing shops to my training locations. Even more than that, people have given their precious time from their own families and their own training to help me in my goals. I’ve had a small back operation which has improved my movement, so I’m heading to California, ambitious and confident, all this is entirely due to my community support. It’s not been easy or all plain sailing but its people who give me confidence to do what I continue to do and people who give me the inspiration to achieve. The support and sponsorship I receive reinforce the need and support I have to meet my goals, to try to inspire others and to be a positive role model.

On my return from California the next goals is to run showcase disabled BJJ/Grappling at some major events, setting up a charity specifically to actively encourage and enable disabled to try Martial Arts, primarily BJJ. These plans are already in motion, I’m looking forward to start expanding the opportunities for disabled people in this area of sport and continuing the momentum which my community has given me. Now is the time to start BJJ if you’re disabled and have been toying with the idea, make the decision. I love BJJ because on my bodies’ good days I can really test myself against my teammates, I can roll and really enjoy the mental and physical challenges. On a bad day, I am on soft mats with my teammates, learning new things and stretching out my body and at the very least being a live training dummy for my teammates! It really is win win.
My academic background reinforces the practical health benefits of sport, all of that aside, I have two objectives. I want my [disabled] population to discover the joys and benefits of Martial Arts for themselves and my second objective is to provide opportunities to enjoy competing in the effort to normalise and create a demand in all tournaments for fairer categories.
I urge all disabled Martial Artists to contact me, so we can group and move together.

Give these recovery breathing and stretching drills a try after your next training session.

by William Wayland ~ posted April 7th, 2016

I have posted before about recovery routines before, elements of which can used after both sports training and weight training sessions. I have also spoken before about the need for deep belly breathing post training also. In brief  using deep belly breathing we can re-establish parasympathetic dominance and get out of stressed state training encourages. I find many athletes jump off the mat and straight out the door, investing sometime in ‘coming down’ will help kick start your recovery and reduce training stress. These come via Cal Dietz of university of Minnesota, I’ve been experimenting with them myself and with some of my athletes post training and we’ve really been feeling the benefits. Give one or all of these a try after your next training session.

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

Alactic based GPP Circuits

by William Wayland ~ posted March 16th, 2016

Alactic based GPP Circuits is the final phase of the GPP method I’ve used with much success with UFC fighters, grapplers and boxers.

Continuing from my last post Lactic based and Aerobic based GPP if you have not read these I suggest you go back and check those out first, these posts are pretty training theory heavy. To really get a grasp on this method a basic understanding of energy systems is needed. The intention is now to build alactic (sprint) specific qualities but locally for improved sprint ability but also tax the body globally for continued aerobic training effect (running 60-100m would be a global alactic GPP method for instance) because of the nature of alactic work multiple bike or track sprints with short rests would cause a massive build up in peripheral fatigue and wind up becoming more lactic dominant. By doing largely 10s work with big neurological component we can keep the training very alactic. Best way to do this is to monitor HR and make sure the athlete does’nt pass threshold. Cal Dietz talks about this here starting at about 46 mins. This part of a six week plan moving through Aerobic, Lactic and Alactic phases. Let me just warn you this is HARD really hard. Often with many athletes I just run the first two blocks and move straight into regular training.

Why is it so hard? Because the weapons of choice are 90% isometrics and 70% oscillatory exercises both lasting 10 seconds to keep the training alactic. There is a third option of extreme myelination circuit which involves 10 second holds against immovable resistances take a look at the method here it is however some what harder to do. Oscillatory (OC) movements are different as they are extremely dynamic and require a great deal of focus, I have posted before about oscillatory work here. Rapid back and forth action may look strange to the casual observer, the idea being that reciprocal inhibition brought about by this oscillating (pulsing) increases levels of neuro muscular activation. It requires a lot of focus and is very tiring.

We use 10 second isometrics on Day 1 and 10 second oscillatory exercises on Day 2. Rotating around the body and resting 4-8 minutes between circuits. Its important to rotate limbs for unilateral (single arm) work.

Below is MMA fighter Matt Hughes program.

Example Day 1 Block 3 sets of each
Bench press 90% 10s hold
paired with
KB split Squat 90% 10s hold Right Leg
paired with
DB Bent over row 90% 10s hold Right Arm

Rest 4-8 Minutes

Below are some of the exercises we used for Day 1

10 second Isometric series

Example Day 2 Block 3 sets of each
Bench Press 70% 10s Oscillatory
paired with
DB Split Squat 70% 10s Oscillatory Right Leg
paired with
RDL 70% 10s Oscillatory

Below are a few Oscillatory Options


Bench Press

Hex Bar

Generally employing this model we will use Cal Dietz Six week plan of 2 Aerobic/2Lactic/2 Alactic with my athletes as it fits well into my reinterpretation of the triphasic training model. You could possibly drop different elements based on what the athlete needs. After all this you should be ready attack heavier lifting to come. You can grab the raw programs from XLathlete downloads page.

The end idea is that the athlete is better prepared (greater work capacity) for sports specific and strength work to come.

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

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…