Learning to fight, mixed martial arts

Published by adviser, Author: Tim Durr - Sports Editor, Date: February 17, 2012

Are you looking for a good workout?

I think I have an answer for you: mixed martial arts.

Recently, I met up with Rich Cantolina at the Aebersold Student Recreation Center to learn the ropes of some mixed martial arts training.

After watching Cantolina workout on the heavy bag, focus mitts and Thai pads, he put the focus mitts on himself and showed me some moves.

I put on Cantolina’s North American Allied Fight Series (NAASF) gloves, which he wears in his fights, and he got me into a fighting position.

Since I’m left handed, everything was backward from how Cantolina fights so he had to invert the stance for me. My right hand was assigned as my jab hand and my left hand was my power hand. He told me to bend my knees down some and hold my left hand up tight to my face and my right hand in a striking position.

He held the focus mitts up in front of me and had me swing my jab hand into his right glove and then bring my power hand into his left mitt. After a few swings, I started to get the technique down. He said that making it into a fluid move made the combination more successful.

After showing me the first two strikes, he had me bring in a hook with my right hand followed by a hook with my left hand.

After working through the jabs and hooks, he brought in a fifth move, a kick. For the kick, I put my right foot forward and slightly pivoted it, then brought my left leg up for a kick to Cantolina’s thigh.

Cantolina said that this kick is a very successful move because it works at the nerves in the opponent’s thigh.

“This kick is a move that you want to land on your opponent’s front leg because it makes it harder for them to move,”Cantolina said. “I’ve seen instances where a guy lands two or three good kicks and it will knock the opponent out because it sends a shock up your spine.”

Cantolina said that when you’re working with a trainer, each of your strikes and kicks have specific numbers for you to work through. Your jab is one, your power is two, right jab is three and left jab is four.

After working through these combinations a few times with Cantolina, I don’t think I’m prepared to get in the ring with anyone, but it was definitely a good workout and I was definitely sore the morning after our workout.

Cantolina said that I grasped the basics but I don’t think I have a very bright future in MMA fighting. It looks like I’m heading back to Morrow Field House in attempts to become Emily Strickland’s baton twirling duet partner.



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