Archive for the ‘MMA’ Category

[VIDEO] Vice Japan – Hip Hop vs Punk Fights w/ Enson Inoue

by Matt - Scramble ~ posted March 18th, 2015

Check this craziness out.

Legend Enson Inoue hosts a new show from Vice Japan, which basically pits two amateur fighters from some kind of music scene against each other.

I haven’t watched it yet, just the first minute, but there’s a lot of hilarious posturing already and I know it’s going to end with someone getting their teeth knocked out.






Doping and why the fence sitting attitude to drugs doesn’t cut it

by William Wayland ~ posted February 11th, 2015

Huge debate has opened up across forums everywhere in the light of recent failed doping tests in the UFC. I’ve seen advocates, anti-dopers and even marijuana advocates weigh in on the debate, it seems everyone has an opinion. First admission must be that we have a drug problem in MMA, where our athletes perception of what they can achieve in the gym is skewed by unnatural athletes they admire, the top guys with rigorous training schedules who proceed to tell everyone they are natural. Go to a local MMA show and you’ll see plenty of amateur and semi pro’s who are all on the “juice” but when the precedence for the top organisation is ambivalence and failure be decisive what do you expect the trickle down to be?

Recent scandals with GOAT Anderson Silva, Nick Diaz and Hector Lombard, respect is rapidly lost for fighters and their host organisation. I often wonder what effect this has on other athletes and the apparently normalisation of doping in MMA. The UFC’s fence sitting is seriously at risk of tarnishing their product and endangering athlete safety especially when their is apparent lying and covering up. Its something I discuss with the fighters I train with a lot.

GSP himself has come out stating “I am not interested to compete if the sport is not clean, that is one of my major concerns.” It’s important that athletes at the top of the sport make such statements.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I find it hard to relate to pro doping coaches and athletes and their are plenty of them, at that moment you decided to dope our personal experience of training has diverged. Worse yet if you continue to base your athletes training or training/nutrition based opinion off doped experiences then I just cannot take you seriously. You are deceiving people and potentially encouraging athletes to engage in that behaviour too. We know all too well doped athletes who have competed well past their prime, the TRT that was rampant for a long time allowed, the like of Chael Sonnen and Dan Henderson to stay in a sport they probably should quit far earlier.

People in my position as a strength coach know the difference in training stress that can be applied if someone natural vs doping, but often the athlete doesn’t and those who write their own programs and schedules will often try to mimic their heroes to potentially disastrous effect. When there are studies showing that steroid use made non exercisers stronger and gain lean mass without effort (7lbs in one study), plus growing evidence of permanent epigenetic change post use, meaning some positive change will stay with you even after coming off. It becomes hard to buy the “hardwork” required nonsense of those who do dope or are fence sitting on the issue, we all work hard! It’s what natural or not ‘successful’ athletes do!

Why anti doping? Why not just legalize it all?

To quote Ross Tucker for the excellent“As for the complete legalization of doping, that is a post or a series all of its own.  What I will say is that I’m not fond of the idea of watching sport when the result may be determined pharmacologically.  The problem is that drugs don’t affect people the same way.  Just as some people respond well to sleeping tablets, or pain killers, the effect of doping on performance is likely to be highly variable.  Now, if a drug improves performance by 0 to 5%, and the natural/physiological differences between athletes is 1 to 2%, then you have a situation where a drug can make a bigger difference than the normal differences between athletes.  It would be much like Formula 1 Motorsport, where the difference between cars is larger than the difference between driver ability.  The result is that the best (human, anyway) is often undiscernable. Then there is the matter of those who don’t wish to dope.  “

Lets face it most people don’t understand steroid usage for performance especially when contrasted to sports like athletics where the impacts of doping are obvious resulting in faster times and greater jumps or bodybuilding where the result is extreme hypertrophy. Sure doping won’t effect skill set, but it allows you to get through those 2 or 3 a day training schedules. You may say ‘its their body they can do what I want’ if you are an influencer just be aware of the ripple effect you have, the same goes with those who just say “everything should be allowed”. But in the case of sport like the UFC it is fighter safety of both the doping and opponents of doped athletes that are at risk. And that is the Key point the way we train in MMA and the way we approach drugs needs an enormous culture shift or this will keep happening. I am in favour of 2 or 4 year bans, enough for an athlete to really consider the risk of their doping activities. Some have called for lifetime bans this is probably too much as it takes an athletes livelihood away from them.

To Quote Vernon GambettaNo shades of gray regarding drugs, you cannot walk the line. You either are on the side of drugs or opposed to it. For me there is no place for performance-enhancing drugs in sport or anything that remotely resembles them.”

At the end of the day we want a sport that is clean, fair and safe. Being pro drugs or ambivalent about them is being pro rule breaking and you would let someone who was blatantly soccer kicking, head-butting and eye gouging get away with it.

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

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[VIDEO] Scrambler Kenichi Itoh vs Masakazu Imanari!

by Matt - Scramble ~ posted January 20th, 2015

This is an exciting match! Announced for the next Grandslam, a relatively new Japanese MMA event.

Scrambler and brown belt no gi world champion Kenichi Itoh takes on Japanese leglock legend, Masakazu Imanari.

Grandslam 2: February 8th at Differ Ariake


Alactic Sprint Conditioning

by William Wayland ~ posted January 15th, 2015

Scrambler, do you like to sprint?

Ability to produce high power outputs, repeatedly, whilst maintaining low amounts of fatigue especially during rest (stalling and holding periods) in grappling/MMA matches is crucial to good performance.

MMA and BJJ conditioning often takes the form of simulated rounds, doing non-specific exercises in order to build what is perceived to be match specific fitness. Think athletes doing 30s sprawls, followed by 30s swings followed 30s tire flips and so on. This however amount to nothing more than 5 minute grind. Just ask the athletes and they’ll tell you it’s far more frenetic than that. This grinding approach is thankfully losing ground. Shorter sprint intervals with longer periods of rest are starting to receive the attention it deserves.

Alactic sprinting merely a 100% effort where the body is able to use its ATP and phosphocreatine store without drawing on oxygen to deal with metabolite build up. If we can increase our capacity for this type of work we can recover faster between each sprint.

Alactic Power: Maximum output in one endeavor, trained by full recovery alactic drills, like sprint jump explosive throw…

Alactic Capacity:  same drills, but with shorter rest periods (dictated by the sport so in this case MMA and BJJ)

Going back to our physiology text books we know that power and capacity of the main energy systems looks like this.

  • Anaerobic-alactic power — < 8 seconds
  • Anaerobic-alactic capacity — up to 20 seconds
  • Anaerobic-lactic power — 20 to 30 seconds
  • Anaerobic-lactic capacity — up to 90 seconds
  • Aerobic power — 90 sec to 2 min
  • Aerobic capacity — > 3 min

We want to work largely on Alactic power and Alactic capacity. I find this in conjunction with work capacity from sparring and training works extremely well for building conditioning for the rigours of grappling and MMA.

While there are numerous options when it comes to planning sprint intervals here is what I usually use. I like the use of battle ropes, sprints and sled pushing as the main means, sometimes you have to get creative depending on your equipment options. Special mention goes to watt bikes and rowers where you can track power in watts and track for drop offs over time if you are not taking enough rest between bouts.

Alactic Power Sprints

-       <8s : 2min+ rest for 6-8 reps

-       1-2 times per session @ 90-95% of max speed / effort

-       1-2 times p/week usually after heavy lifting sessions

-       Sprints, prowler/ sled pushing, agility, explosive jumps

Alactic Capacity Sprints:

-       10-15s : 60-90s- rest for 6-8 reps (possibly even shorter when peaking)

-       1 times per session @ 85-95% of max speed / effort

-       1-2 times p/week usually after moderate lifting sessions

-       Sprints, prowler/ sled pushing, agility, explosive jumps

After these types of sprints you shouldn’t be on the floor sucking air it probably means you’ve pushed too hard for too long or not had enough rest between sprints.

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 : Dan John on Joint Mobility

by William Wayland ~ posted November 11th, 2014

Dan John discussing joint mobility for collision sport athletes, yes thats means you scrambler, aging and stretching. When this man speaks listen!

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

Grappling With The Common Cold

by William Wayland ~ posted October 7th, 2014

Credit to r/BJJ user Katamusprime

Grappling With The Common Cold

It’s that time of year again, summer is dead like the leaves on the ground and suddenly a disease pandemic appears to be spreading across social media. The kids have it, your team mates have it and who knows you might get it! I am of course talking about the common cold.

“A cold is basically an inflammation of the upper respiratory tract caused by a viral infection. The common cold is probably the most frequently occurring illness in humans worldwide. More than 200 different viruses cause colds, and rhinoviruses and coronaviruses are the culprits 25-60 percent of the time. Rhinovirus infections often occur during the fall and spring seasons, while the coronavirus is more common during the winter.” –ACSM

Contrary to common belief damp, drafts and cold weather does not increase your risk of infection. What does, however is contact with other people, particularly wet nasal discharge from the infected. Hence a lot of colds are brought home by snotty children. The worst colds in particular are spread by coughing and sneezing, because virus count per volume is higher. In athletes we see phenomena called the ‘tournament cold’ where lots of people travel to a small enclosed space with lots of personal contact especially in martial sports. This is a perfect environment for a transmissible disease like the common cold to spread.

Should I train?

The burning question! Most athletes especially martial athletes hate time off from training with a passion and will often try to train even when sick. Mild-to-moderate exercise when sick with the common cold does not appear to be harmful. It does go without saying that BJJ or MMA training should only be resumed once symptoms have disappeared unless you want to upset your team mates and risk them catching what you have got.

More serious colds bring out symptoms like fever, tiredness and muscle aches. In this case we follow a simple rule if the symptoms are from the neck up moderate training is acceptable but if from the neck down  your probably better off staying in bed or on the sofa. Lifting weights is usually fine also, but be polite and wipe down any equipment you use and carry a tissue to stifle sneezing when you train. If you have Flu which is more serious training should be suspended and you do have flu and not ‘man-flu’ your desire to train will be seriously diminished.

So to be clear, moderate exercise is fine. But BJJ or MMA is out of the question due to communicability of cold viruses.

How Can I Stave off and Treat Common Cold?

Regular and moderate exercise lowers the risk for respiratory infections so by already training you are doing the right thing! Immune function is linked to stress levels, sleep, diet and age, you need to do what you can to keep it in the best shape possible. Immune function is suppressed during periods of very low caloric intake and quick weight reduction so fighters cutting weight for competitions have to especially wary.

For cold to propagate firstly enough virus has to enter the body before the immune system crushes it in the first instance. If enough virus does get in to multiply the body takes 3-4 days to ready an immune response. Most colds last for around 7 days and for the most part your body is equipped with what it needs to fight cold. What you can do is look at cough medicines, decongestants and other remedies to lessen symptoms and make yourself feel more comfortable. Inhaling steam doesn’t improve recovery times but it does help with congestion. Vitamin C doesn’t prevent colds either but some studies show that it can lessen symptoms and speed recovery slightly. So those of you training hard for competition during cold and flu season pay heed to the advice above to try to stay virus free and if you do get sick don’t be that guy, take a few days off.

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

HUGE NEWS! Sakuraba to face Renzo Gracie at Metamoris

by Matt - Scramble ~ posted September 25th, 2014

Our hero and now long time collaborator Kazushi Sakuraba will face Renzo Gracie (the coolest Gracie if you ask us, hahaha) at the next Metamoris event. This is the kind of legendary grappling match up fans have been waiting for, for years. We can’t wait to see the outcome and to produce some exciting content for Scramble and Sakuraba fans. We already have a number of official Kazushi Sakuraba products (below) in stock so check them out.


[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



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