2 May 2016
David Onuma is a second degree black belt under Ricardo de la Riva and head of his own team known as CFS (Combined Fighting Systems). His mantra is: 'Intelligent Combat' which promotes a more cerebral approach to learning martial art techniques. I have attended many of David's past seminars and I find his approach very good at looking at familiar things in a new light. Today's session on the mount position was no different.
Learning to escape the mount or learning to maintain the mount becomes one of the fundamental lessons a student learns from early on. But it's easy to make the assumption that once mount is achieved, the finish will follow. David opened up the session by explaining how the mount is often taught in isolation without any reference to how the person got there in the first place. He then demonstrated why this was an important consideration when it concerns the mount.
The first portion of the seminar was dedicated to top mount. David showed us how to progress from a basic low mount position to a very high mount. Once here, it was possible to execute all manner of high percentage submissions. The key to remember here was to concentrate on the space between the opponent's elbow and the side of his torso. A concept also covered in Ryan Hall's The Open Elbow DVD (see my review).
Following the first half of the seminar looking at the top position, David then switched attention to the bottom person - specifically how to escape the mount. He suggested we throw away our habitual assumptions about certain textbook style shrimping and bridging movements. Instead, David explained why he felt that the regular way everyone drilled their shrimping and bridging exercises were not applicable when used in a live situation. He referred to a seminar he attended with Rickson Gracie. During the seminar, Rickson taught his method of bridging out of a mount. At first impressions, just viewing the movement, it doesn't look any different to the regular way of bridging, but after explaining the subtle nuances we realised we needed to change the way we executed the bridge. David also introduced to us his favoured defensive arm position when under mount, something he referred to as one-up-one-down elbow. This alone was a huge nugget of wisdom.
The final portion of the seminar looked at the chess game of two combatants each using their fine tuned knowledge of the top and the bottom position to outsmart each other...intelligent combat style! It was here that all the bits and pieces from the previous two hours fell into place. We looked at one example where black belt Martyn executed his high percentage flower sweep from closed guard. Normally Martyn would land the sweep and instantly, almost without really needing to think about it, end up in high top mount and ready to target an armbar. His technique utilised the early parts of the seminar where we examined the space between the opponent's elbow and his torso. Now under normal circumstances, Martyn's sweep would be pretty high percentage against most folks, but here, David showed how the bottom person could anticipate the end position (ie bottom of mount) and be ready to place his elbow and knee to escape the top mount.
David Onuma seminars are heavy on theory, concept and principles as well as of course actual techniques. When combined together, he provides lots of food for thought and a refreshingly new way to look at familiar techniques and positions. In my opinion. seminars like these are often better than just trying to learn techniques by rote. I'm certainly looking forward to more of David's #intelligentcombat and #gamechangingshit !