Tuesday, December 09, 2008

The Fighting System of the Undisputed King of MMA - Fedor Emelianenko

This book entered the market a couple of months ago with surprisingly little fanfare. Fedor is pretty much at the top of the game and a look at his game is something most people would really like to see. With the Aussie dollar suffering, I figured it was going to be a while before I got hold of this, but in a wonderful surprise - I received an early Christmas present fom Victory Belt and here I am reviewing it for you.

The book is the usual, high quality Victory Belt fare. It is 270 pages of the usual colour photography and has six to ten photos per page. The book opens with the traditional introduction. Like all Victory Belt books before it, the introduction lets the reader take a look at Fedor and his philosophy. It didn't surprise me to find that Fedor believes in old fashioned hard work and desire. Nor did I find it surprising to see him giving credit to other fighters for their skills and even to understate his own. I was happy to see, though, that he seems genuinely honoured and thankful to be in the position he's in. The introduction paints a picture of a true champion and role model.

The book then divides itself into six major segments, each one subdivided three to five times and each of these containing half a dozen or so techniques. The first section of the book is on striking. It is subdivided into sections on punching, kicking and checking. The techniques covered in this section aren't really any different to ones I've seen published elsewhere. There are a few more punches than most books and there is a twist to a few of them, but for the most part, the techniques are simple and effective.

The book then delves into counters for strikes. There are fifteen counters explained for punches and five for kicks. This section then leads into striking attacks, which covers punching and kicking combinations. As per the first section, the techniques themselves are simple and not that different to what you've seen before. However, this is where you begin to see Fedor's stamp - in his counters and combinations.

Next, the book covers the clinch. There is a significant chunk dedicated to the Muay Thai clinch, which Fedor obviously considers very important - even if his technique is a little different to the conventional Thai method described in other books. Then, the book goes on to throws and takedowns. This is where we really start to see Fedor Emelianenko's individuality. I could clearly identify a number of these techniques from his fights. The techniques are fairly conventional in wrestling and Judo circles, but his setups and finishes can be quite unique.

The next two sections cover ground techniques. The first from the top and the second from the bottom. The first part of the top control section is on ground and pound. Awesome! Fedor's GnP secrets are about to be spilled! So this part is ten pages long and concentrates on techniques to free yourself to strike from inside the guard. What the...? Where are the secrets?

Of course, the secrets are all here. Fedor's sectret is that he does simple well. Very well. This section goes on to describe the other half of Fedor's GnP secret. That is, his threat as a grappler. His guard passing is covered, as is his side control, half guard, back and mount techniques. There's a little GnP in these later sections, as well. I especially like the way he throws a hook to the head into his half-guard pass.

The thing I like about this book is that it covers all aspects of the game and doesn't focus on one area. It also shows the real Fedor - at least I can identify much of what's in here from his fights. Fedor's Fedor's striking and clinch work are quite individual. Also, his ground technique seems a little "agricultural" compared to some BJJ style guys, but he (and this book) distill it to the very essentials. And those are what counts.

Victory Belt has set a high bar for itself in terms of production. I gave the Karo Parysian book a hard time for its photography, though. This suffers some of the same flaws in terms of costume and background, but there has been significant improvement in the photos' content. Where the photos in Karo's book weren't always effective in showing details, this one is a lot better.

All up, I like this book. As you might expect from a fan of the man. Much like BJ Penn's book is great for getting a look at how to string together a MMA game for the Jiu Jitsu guy, this does the same thing. This time, though, it's more about clinch and the top game - which I'm sure you'd expect from Fedor Emelianenko. The most important take-home for me, though, is about work ethic and attitude.

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