MMA Explosive Sprawl Training Drill - Without a Partner Can Aid Women in Takedown Defense

It is an ongoing argument
which art or sport provides the best foundation for mixed martial arts
fighting.  A single style approach
to training for mixed martial arts matches has become obsolete for champions
like Anderson Silva, Randy Couture, Andrei Arlovski, Matt Hughes, George St.
Pierre and Rich Franklin.  Each of
them could be characterized by just their original style of combat, but they
have all evolved into muti-dimensional fighters. They all have a responsive
sprawl, explosive take downs, a strong base, solid striking skills, a few
powerful kicks and enough finesse on the ground to enter an arena with an air
of intimidation and overpowering confidence.  

Women in mixed martial art must travel the same path as today’s male champions.  There are several fantastic programs for female fighters to develop grappling and striking skills.  Even women who have been lifelong martial artists, beginning in tae kwon do or karate have been exposed to the same grappling and boxing drills as men. Female mixed martial arts fighters must be thoroughly prepared to deal with viable attacks and capable of accessing defensive maneuvers that span from sprawling to shin blocks, coverage to clinching, parrying to ducking, and scooting to passing.  Where women fall short of possibly developing mixed martial arts skills equal to men is their accessibility to wrestling training.  Many successful male mma fighters have emerged from a high school or collegiate wrestling background.   Women on the other hand, have had few resources to learn and gain these same skills.

According to the USA
Wrestling Association, there are approximately 3800 girls in high school
wrestling programs compared to 250,000 boys.  In fact, only two states (Hawaii and Texas) offer a
sanctioned wrestling program for girls at the high school level.  Although there are current efforts
being made to allow women in Olympic wrestling it is still too early to expect
a women’s match under the 5 golden rings.

One of the most valuable
defensive techniques inherent in a wrestling program is the sprawl. It is mandatory for any MMA fighter.  Despite the lack of exposure most women
have had to wrestling, adding sprawling drills to existing workouts will
heighten mma skill sets to a championship level.  For many women who live and breathe MMA, the need to train a
sprawl is not news.  But it is sometimes hard finding training partners and working it into an MMA training regiment. However,
adding resistance training to the traditional sprawl drill may level the
training field for women in mixed martial arts.

Most have drilled the
two-legged takedown and sprawl with a partner. Sprawling relies on timing and
an explosive response.  
Coaches build it into punch-kick combinations and clinches to build
their fighter’s instincts and defensive skills.  The addition of the xercuff ( a cuffed resistance tube that
goes around the ankles) to all sprawling drills will increase the speed of

The addition of the xercuff, can also improve explosive power for kicks and knees.  Below is an example of an xercuff being used to train the sprawl technique when you are without a training partner.  Although it is not displayed in the photo, add this drill to your heavy bag rounds when you are training alone and want to integrate a higher intensity level of the sprawl into your workout that will increase your reaction time overall.  After a few round with the xercuff on, remove it and work the same number of rounds.

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