Posted in young then older

On the Mat: Pilates

From 3/10/10:

“Inner control allows you outer freedom without the fear of injury.” Ellie Herman


In this mat class, students will put their Pilates training to the test.  Exploring the “ground game” of MMA (Mixed Martial Arts)–how to escape from the bottom, how to defend from your back–we will practice drills that  will engage your core and your imagination.  This class features no contact, but offers lots of MMA ideas to explore.  Bare feet are a must, please wear loose fitting clothes. 


Class One:  How to Avoid a Take Down Using Switches and Sprawls 


When Joseph Pilates created his exercise program he called it, “Contrology”  The study of Control.  Therefore the most important concept of the Pilates method is to control your body’s every movement.


Ideally you go into a pose, you practice the movement with sustained attention to detail–quality not quantity–then you come out of the pose with the same focused concentration.


How you start is just as important as how you end.  It’s like you are a welcome celebrity at a party:   you enter with finesse,  you skillfully work the crowd, you exit with grace and dignity well before the party implodes.


How does this apply to MMA?  Well whether they know it or not, most successful fighters have developed the same innate knowledge of core power and control that a seasoned Pilates practitioner has.  They have excellent proprioception.  


Proprioception  means “one’s own” perception and is the sense of the relative position of neighboring parts of the body.


A good fighter is aware of their balance point whether they are standing, falling, or on their back.  Additionally, they can sense the moment their opponent is off-balance and use that knowledge to win control.


Often when learning ju jitsu, the most confusing part of a technique for beginners is knowing which hand to grab and which way to turn to establish a joint lock.  It is seemingly counter-intuitive, hence the need for martial arts training.  It is not uncommon to be entangled with your opponent and wonder which foot is your own.


In this class we will not be actually rolling with partners.  I like to think of this class as a Pre-Requisite to BJJ (Brazilian Ju Jitsu) and MMA.   To avoid injury and work with proper body mechanics toward your goal, you need to start at the beginning with good technique.  Pilates training does just that.

We will start from the ground and work our way up.


Andre Ward is an Olympic Boxing Champion and my instructor, Erik Lee, knew Andre Ward’s father.   He tells this story:  when his son, Andre, first came to him to learn how to box, the first thing he told Andre was:


“First you are going to learn how not to get hit.” 


Defense, defense, defense.  The last place you want to be is pinned to the ground with someone “Raining the Pain”.  Today we are going to work on strength and flexibility drills that will get you ready to spring out of harm’s way.



Maria Young Ace Certified Personal Fitness Trainer, Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher (500) Independent Contractor providing the following services: Office Management, Bookkeeping, Web Design, Marketing and Instruction in Yoga and Martial Arts for children and adults. Black Belt, 4 year program, LockBoxing. Maria studied under Erik Lee and won Grand Champion at the Kuk Sool Tri-State Tournament in 2006. Experience Certified Yoga Instructor: 700 hour level. At Piedmont Yoga, Maria’s main instructors were Richard Rosen, Rodney Yee, and Clare Finn. To them she is eternally grateful. Richard Rosen, founder Piedmont Yoga Studio & editor of Yoga Journal says: “Among the 30...students Maria was always among the more assiduous and adept.  If you’re thinking of adding Yoga instruction to your program, then I highly recommend Maria for the job.” College: CSULB: B.A. English Literature, UC Berkeley: M.A. Comparative Literature