Anyone who knows anything about mixed martial arts is familiar with Fedor Emelianenko. He is by all counts, the most feared fighter in the world. He’s so good, that there are videos on YouTube showing when Fedor almost lost. It’s interesting to see how men nearly beat this Fedor.
I’ve analyzed video of Fedor, hoping to mine some secrets. For one thing, I must emphasize Fedor’s unmatched technical skill. Fedor is rated a Master of Sports–the highest rating of athletic achievement in Russia– in Sambo, a Russian version of grappling which emphasizes takedowns and leg locks. There is no position that he finds himself in that he does not have an escape or counter for. He is a master of locks, chokes, reversals, punching and position.
I noticed form the beginning that Fedor has obviously received training in Russian professional boxing methods. I learned several years ago how the Russians strike differently, and I believe more effectively. I watched some videos by Sambo master Scott Sonnon, as he demonstrated Russian strikes, how they maximize power while using less energy than standard Western striking techniques. They rely primarily on body elasticity and hip rotation as opposed to muscular strength and effort. There is a sight difference in elbow angle and the near-slapping motion creates a “pneumatic wave effect” in body tissue and fluid. Over time, these punches, even when delivered to the body, wear an opponent down–and they hurt like hell. He also incorporates a couple of movements that I’m familiar with as being distinctly Russian in their application to the striker: The knuckle pushup and the pullup for high reps. The knuckle pushup “greases the groove” of a proper punch while building strength and endurance for the proper muscles. It also teaches one to relax in the punch. The pullup builds strength and endurance in an under appreciated muscle used in punch: The Latissimus Dorsi.
Look here for some of his training techniques:
You can see that Fedor trains in a wilderness retreat of sorts. The Russians often take a holistic view of training, one that I myself use. I like to train outside and alone, away from staring eyes, so that I don’t have to be self-conscience about some of the things I do. It allows me to focus and the sounds and smells of the outdoors inspire vigor and awaken something of our primal state. It feels like a vacation and meditation wrapped into one, but at the same time you’re getting work done.
Fedor’s explosiveness and conditioning are unmatched in the heavyweight class. I’ve never seen him gas out. His arms are almost always in the proper defensive position, but one thing I must talk about is that Fedor is not defensive.
Defense is overrated in that it does not knock out opponents. Defense must last only long enough that it enable a fighter to take the initiative and commit to offense. And Fedor never fails to take the initiative. He doesn’t simply bring his arms arms and back to the ropes. He counters, he takes down, he grabs a leg that just kicked. And then he unleashes a cascade of incredibly fast punches, causing his opponent to cover up and risk a submission lock.
So, to break down the primary reasons that Fedor is the greatest fighter on Earth:
1) The best arsenal of techniques of any fighter I know of. Strikes, submissions–anything.
2) Mental attitude. Calm, intelligent and hardworking, possessed of incredible humility. One quote fom Fedor stands out in my mind: “I just want to be useful to people.” He was speaking of the fact that now he is famous, he has helped his family, who was very poor before his fame. He is also, like many Russians, a very spiritual person.
3) Controlled aggression. Not a brawler, Fedor waits for his split-second opening then explodes with a ferocity unmatched in MMA. He doesn’t wait too long and is constantly working on damaging his opponent. The guard position is next to useless–and possibly and very bad position–against Fedor, because his ground and pound is absolute Hell on those that think they can lay on their backs.
4) An uncanny ability to escape and counter. Kevin Randleman suplexed him onto his head. Anyone watching that moment may think someone was ging to die. But Fedor acted as if he’d been hit with a flyswatter and immediately submitted Randleman with a Kimura. When Fedor applies a lock to his opponent, it almost always sticks; his opponents however find Fedor slipping through their fingers like sand.
It’s too bad that Fedor in’t in the UFC. I’d like to see him destroy the Brock Lesnar sham once and for all.