UFC 113 Preview: Bloody Elbow Book Review: Lyoto Machida's "Machida Karate-Do Mixed Martial Arts Techniques"

Machidakaratedo_mediumI've been looking forward to this book for a long long time. Victory Belt released their Machida DVD set well over a year ago. Well my review copy finally arrived and I'm pleased to say it's everything I expected.

Machida Karate-Do Mixed Martial Arts Techniques is your typical Victory Belt publication -- great photographs, crystal clear step-by-step explanations of each technique, good organization, color coded pages for easy reference, etc.

Most importantly they really seem to have figured out how to distill the most unique aspects of a fighter's style into a training method. For those of you who train and want to add a little bit of the undefeated UFC light heavyweight champ's patented elusive striking into your game, this is the book.

This promises to be the first of a two part series. The second book will focus on the pure Karate style of Machida where this book focuses on the techniques he applies to MMA.

Me personally, I don't train but I still find these books to be invaluable study guides to help me understand and appreciate what I'm seeing. Stand up techniques -- particularly footwork -- were for a long time a totally mysterious aspect of the game to me. Now, thanks to reading a goodly number of technical manuals including those by  Fedor EmelianenkoGreg JacksonErich Krauss and  Anderson Silva, I'm beginning to get a better handle on the art of footwork.

Machida's book is definitely a master's class on footwork. Literally every single striking technique illustrated in this book begins by stepping such that you have a clear positional advantage over your opponent. Just as Helio Gracie's innovative jiu jitsu system emphasized always seeking dominant position, Machida's approach to striking hinges entirely on being somewhere you can get a clean shot at your opponent and he can't reply in kind.

But for all of the subtlety and nuance of Machida's style, it's also a surprisingly brutal system. The strikes are designed to inflict injury and the combinations just up that ante. The sections on the Muay Thai clinch are especially brutal and illustrate that Machida Karate-do is a very pluralistic system that synthesizes useful techniques from a variety of arts besides karate, especially Muay Thai, jiu jitsu and sumo.

The book also includes a number of Machida's patented karate sweeps and trips which, if mastered, can give anyone a true "leg up" on the competition. Of all Machida's techniques, I think the sweeps and trips have the most potential to be widely adopted by more MMA fighters.

All in all, this is yet another excellent Victory Belt publication and I recommend it for all the Shoguns on your shopping list.

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