A Brief History of the Rubber Guard: How it Affects the Future of MMA

A Brief History of the Rubber Guard: How it Affects the Future of MMA

The sport of mixed martial arts is currently experiencing an incredible boom in popularity; one can even argue that it has surpassed boxing as the number one combat sport. During MMA’s brief history, a number of distinct evolutions can be noted: from the domination of Royce Gracie using Gracie jiu-jitsu, to the Olympic caliber wrestlers like Randy Couture and Mark Coleman utilizing the takedown and ground and pound, to the devastating strikers like Chuck Liddell with excellent takedown defense, and finally to the current crop of well rounded athletes trained in all aspects of mixed martial arts with the current UFC welterweight champion, Georges St. Pierre as a prime example.

Rubber Guard-a Jiu-jitsu Revolution

Frustrated with the current state of jiu-jitsu in MMA, Jean Jacque Machado blackbelt Eddie Bravo spearheaded the innovation of a no-gi style of jiu-jitsu tailored towards MMA competition. Eddie Bravo was able to put his innovations into a complete system by around 2004 with the McGraw Hill Publishing’s release of his book, Jiu-jitsu Unleashed.

The principle behind the rubber guard is a simple one. Traditional Brazilian jiu-jitsu focuses on using the gi(training uniform) as handles and points of control. However, the gi is not allowed in MMA competition thus rendering a lot of the gi techniques ineffective during a MMA fight. The rubber guard’s emphasis is on the clinch; using over hooks, under hooks, and head control while breaking down the posture of the opponent using an advanced form of the high guard.

The key to rubber guard success is clinch strength as breaking down the opponent and holding him tightly in order to eliminate space lessens the likelihood of the opponent landing powerful punches from the top. A plethora of submissions can be performed from the rubber guard position; even though a lot of the submissions are common place in traditional jiu-jitsu, performing them using the rubber guard greatly increases their success rate.

More and more MMA fighters have started learning the rubber guard system and a few MMA standouts can already be seen using the system on some of the world’s biggest stages.

Notable Fighters Using the Rubber Guard

Shinya Aoki -Ranked as the number one lightweight in the world according to quite a few popular MMA websites and magazines. Aoki most recently utilized the mission control and New York position from the rubber guard against world class jiu-jitsu fighter Vitor “Shaolin” Ribeiro during their bout at Dream 10 in which Aoki won via unanimous decision.

BJ Penn -The current UFC lightweight title holder. He has openly stated in interviews praising the effectiveness of the rubber guard. Penn used rubber guard in his loss against Georges St. Pierre at UFC 94.

Dustin Hazelett -Up and comer in the UFC lightweight division. Used the rubber guard against Tamdan Mcrory at UFC 91. During the fight, Hazelett used the rubber guard to transition into the omoplata position and submitted Mcrory with an inverted armbar.

Learn the Rubber Guard

The best fighters have always been the ones who continually strive to evolve and better their overall fighting ability. The rubber guard has emerged as a legitimate fighting style in MMA competition and the best way to not fall victim to somebody well versed in the system is to take an in-depth look into the rubber guard system. Even if a fighter chooses not to use the rubber guard, at least learn how to defend against it.

How To Strike Effectively for MMA: Generate More Punching Power With Better MMA Striking Technique

How To Strike Effectively for MMA: Generate More Punching Power With Better MMA Striking Technique

Is MMA the Pinnacle of Combat Sports?

Mixed martial arts is considered by many to be the pinnacle of combat sports because it combines the elements of boxing, kickboxing, wrestling, and grappling. But the reality is that MMA training often leads to a watering down of each discipline and an overall loss of technique. This can be very apparent in the stand-up game, where many fighters could improve their strikes substantially by internalizing a few boxing basics.

Protect the Chin: Keep the Hands Up and the Chin In

Keeping the hands up and the chin down is one of boxing’s most fundamental lessons. One clean shot on the chin and it’s lights out. Many high-profile MMA fights have ended because a fighter came out with their unprotected chin on display. Rampage Jackson’s KO victory over Chuck Liddell? Boxers around the world are still shaking their heads.

Move in Circles

The typical beginner reacts to being hit by moving straight back away from the attack. That leads to one place – jammed into the corner, ropes, or cage and absorbing more punishment. Experienced fighters move in circles so that they’re constantly stepping out of their opponent’s line of attack and always keeping an escape route open.

Never Be Flatfooted

Footwork is one of the most important elements of the stand up game. Landing punches and dodging attacks requires mobility, something a flatfooted fighter doesn’t have. Staying light and on the balls of the feet enables explosive movements and quick changes of direction.

Speed Before Strength: Always Use Clean, Short, Sharp Techniques

Speed is the predominant factor in generating punching power. A fast, clean punch packs more power than a slower, heavier one. Any introductory physics textbook will tell you that the formula for kinetic energy is 1/2 mass multiplied by velocity squared. In layman’s terms, doubling the speed of a punch will quadruple the power behind it.

Use Straight-Line Punches on the Outside

There’s a reason that overhand haymakers aren’t a common boxing technique – good boxers see them from a mile away and will dodge or block almost every time. On the outside, it’s the straight-line punches – the jab and the cross – that are most effective because they’re quick to reach their target and leave the opponent with less time to react.

Uppercuts and Hooks at Close Range

The curving punches like hooks and (especially) uppercuts are most effective at close range when the fighters are locked up and there’s less distance to cover. The hook can also be used on the outside, but with correct technique. A hook shouldn’t be a large swinging motion, rather it travels in a straight line until the very end of the technique, when it quickly curves in towards its target.

Strike From the Hips

Ask any boxer where their striking power comes from and they’ll give the same answer – from the hips. It’s the basis of the famous “Joe Louis hip swivel”. Watch a boxer’s lower body – every punch is accompanied by a hip twist in the direction of the punch. Good strikers don’t just punch with the arm and shoulder muscles, they punch with their whole body.

Power is Rooted in the Feet

A fighter’s feet are his foundation. They provide the purchase point for making the swiveling motion with the hips. For maximum power, both feet should be set solidly (but not flatfooted). Boxing trainers often talk about “squashing the bug” when throwing a punch. This refers to the twisting motion of the ball of the foot on the floor, which provides that extra bit of power – enough to turn a sting into a knockout.

Martial Arts for Kids: Finding the Right Instructor for Your Children

Martial Arts for Kids: Finding the Right Instructor for Your Children

Martial Arts for Kids: Finding the Right Instructor for Your Children

As a parent it can be difficult to know what to look for when checking out martial arts programs. Not every instructor is Mr. Miyagi. When looking for an instructor, there are four factors to consider. They are clientele, curriculum, instructor and style.


When you walk into the martial arts studio, take a look at who else is studying there. If there is no one near your child’s age, your child is going to have a difficult time with classes. While a class with children and adults is a sign of a family program, a class with no children is a sign of a studio that will be too physically demanding for your child.


Once you have found a child-friendly studio, find out about the curriculum. Many schools offer belts every few weeks or months, as well as patches and other rewards. Systems with more belts and rankings have a better chance of retaining a child’s interest over the long term. You should also take time to find out what is expected of you and your child. There are often additional testing fees and sometimes students must write papers to advance. Find a system where you and your child will be able to meet the expectations of the system, and that rewards your child for effort at reasonable intervals.


Third, check out the instructors. When looking for an instructor, look for one that engages the students. When a student needs to be corrected, pay attention to how that correction is handled. Is he firm, but kind? Or is he verbally abusive? While you cannot expect all instructors to be warm and fuzzy, you should expect them to set an example of respect. If the instructor does not show respect to his students, your child will not be able to respect him and will most likely be miserable in class.


Often parents will have their heart set on karate because they saw The Karate Kid, or tae kwon do because they watched it during the Olympics. Style should take a backseat to the three factors above, but if you have the luxury of a number of good schools in the area, do some research on which style would be best for kids. Styles like Aikido and krav maga are going to be less well-suited to children than karate and tae kwon do.

Martial Arts is Fun for the Whole Family!

There are many factors to consider when shopping for a martial arts instructor. For children the martial arts experience should be more like being on the soccer team than on the drill team. Finally, keep in mind that children who attend classes with other family members end up staying twice as long as children who take classes by themselves. Consider signing up with your kids and enjoying the fun together!

Determining boxing gloves size whether you are a pro or an amateur

Determining boxing gloves size whether you are a pro or an amateur

Determining boxing gloves size whether you are a pro or an amateur

One of the most common questions I get asked is picking the right size boxing gloves. Boxing gloves size is not an overly complicated topic but it does require a bit of research. The last thing you want is to invest in an expensive pair of boxing gloves that are overly big or overly tight. I put together a quick guideline that breaks down boxing glove types and sizing.


Training Boxing Gloves VS Competition Boxing Gloves

The first thing you must ask yourself is what you will be using the gloves for. Boxing gloves for training are meant to be used for training such as heavy bag work, pad/mitt work and sparring. Competition grade boxing gloves are designed to be used inside the ring for the sole purpose of competition. Gloves used for training and gloves used for competition are built very differently with a fairly big price gap between the two. Decide what the gloves will be used for before you get into actual boxing gloves sizing.


The different types of boxing gloves

Boxing gloves are not all made the same. A boxer will not be using a pair of muay thai gloves in his training and an MMA fighter will not be using training gloves meant for pad work in his or hers actual match. Here is a quick list of the different boxing gloves and their intended purpose:

Training Gloves: Training Gloves are meant to be used for pad/mitt work and heavy bag work and in appropriate cases, sparring.

Competition/Amateur Boxing Gloves: These gloves are used in amateur or pro boxing matches. It is recommended you contact your states guideline on glove size before researching what gloves to go with.

Mexican Style Boxing Gloves: These gloves have bubble a straight base with a large bubble shape in the knuckle region. These gloves are primarily designed for boxers and the sport of boxing but are sometimes found in MMA and Muay Thai gyms.

Muay Thai Gloves: These gloves are designed for muay thai fighters and kickboxers. They are also commonly found being used among MMA fighters and MMA training. Thai gloves are built much larger then traditional boxing gloves and are also padded very differently than traditional boxing gloves as well.

MMA Gloves: MMA gloves have a designed that is vastly different than a tradional boxing glove. These gloves are designed specifically for Mixed Martial Arts

Bag Gloves: Bag gloves are designed specifically for the heavy bag/punching bag. Due to the gloves minimum padding design, they are offer minimum hand and wrist protection.

Contact Gloves: These gloves are commonly found in the taekwondo, karate and the various other traditional martial arts scene.


Boxing Glove Size in OZ Measurement and What To Go with

The most common measurement for boxing gloves is in OZ. Boxing gloves are broken down into an 8oz, 10oz, 12oz, 14oz, 16oz, 18oz and 20oz. Let’s take a quick look at each one and determine what size will work for you:

8 oz gloves: Recommended for Competition Use. Not recommended for pad work, heavy bag work and sparring.

10 oz gloves: Most Common Glove Size for Competition Use. It can also be used for light pad work and heavy bag work. Not recommended for Sparring.

12 oz gloves: Used in some amateur competitions. It can also be used for medium intensity pad work and heavy bag work. Recommended glove size for women and is not recommended for Sparring.

14 oz gloves: All around glove that can be used at medium intensity bag work and pad work. The gloves are recommended for sparring if you’re in a lighter weight class. Not common in competition use.

16 oz gloves: Designed for power and strength which can be used at a high intensity for heavy bag work and pad work. The gloves are recommended for sparring for light, medium and heavy weight classes. Not common in competition use.

18 oz gloves – Designed for power and strength which can be used at a high intensity for heavy bag work and pad work the gloves are recommended for sparring if you’re in a very heavy weight class. Not common in competition use.

20 oz gloves – Designed for power and strength which can be used at a high intensity for heavy bag work and pad work. The gloves are recommended for sparring if you’re in a a very heavy weight class and are prone to hand breaks. Not common in competition use.


When The Manufacturer Does not List Boxing Glove OZ size

When your shopping for boxing gloves, you will notice that some manufacturers will not display the boxing gloves in OZ but rather a small, medium and large size. Let’s take a quick look at each one:

Small Boxing Gloves: The average size of small boxing gloves is roughly 12 oz

Medium Boxing Gloves: The average size of medium boxing gloves is roughly 14 oz

Large Boxing Gloves: The average size of large boxing gloves is roughly 16 oz


Wrapping It Up

I hope this guide answered a few questions you guys might have had. With that being said, this guide should be used as a reference and not a holy grail to finding the perfect size. For example, some light weight fighters have very heavy hands that are prone to hand breaks. In that case I would recommend a 16oz+ boxing glove size despite being in a higher weight class. Lastly, if you are planning on picking up a pair of boxing gloves for competition, be sure to contact your state’s athletic commission and ask what glove size you will be using in your match. The last thing you want is to drop a couple hundred dollars on some pro gloves that cannot be used in your actual match.

At what age is to late to start training MMA?

At what age is to late to start training MMA?

When a person wants to become an MMA fighter, they need to be physically and mentally prepared for the grueling training camps that are both mentally and physically draining. This sport really takes a toll on the body despite it being in its infancy. It can take years for a person to become good enough to enter the amateur circuit let alone compete as an actual pro. Many people wonder at what age is it too late to start training to become a professional Mixed Martial fighter.

To answer the question, if you are beyond the age of 25, you will have sadly missed the window of becoming an MMA fighter. Yes, there are special cases where a fighter gets into MMA at a late age but they usually have some sort of training prior to entering Mixed martial arts. Take Daniel Cormier for example, the man got into game fairly late but before that he was wrestling. Same exact story with the natural Randy Couture who also got into mixed martial arts in his mid-30s. If you have zero martial arts training and you are pushing 25, then the chances of you becoming a fighter is virtually slim.

Mixed martial arts has evolved and is very different than what we watched in the early royce gracie era and even the pride FC era. Many of the fighters we see today have been training since they were kids. Take the new UFC superstar sage northcutt who has been involved in martial arts since he was a tiny toddler. Another good example of a popular MMA fighter who has been training since he was a young child is the former lightweight champ Anthony pettis who was practicing TKD.

If you’re beyond the age of 25 and you want to pursue the career of a fighter. Be warned that the task ahead is a tough one and the lifestyle is a straight grind.