“If I keep my elbow low, I go straight through it — I’m gonna go straight through the defense. So I don’t need to bring my elbows up. I’m gonna keep my elbow low. I’m standing square…I don’t need to twist (my hand).”
Bas Rutten (former UFC Heavyweight Champion)
Sebastiaan “Bas” Rutten is a Dutch retired mixed martial artist, kickboxer and professional wrestler. He was a UFC Heavyweight Champion, a three-time King of Pancrase world champion, and finished his career on a 22 fight unbeaten streak.
He is currently 51 (three years my junior) and still a badass.
Of the UFC guys, he is one of my favorites, for his no-nonsense truth telling and brutal ring style. His specialty was hitting the liver, which is something I also like to train as a Muay Thai kick. For me, this would be a target of opportunity or second action target. In Wing Chun, we don’t kick much, since its dangerous (up on one leg). But sometimes, the opportunity presents itself. And kicking is one of my strong suits.
For Bas Rutten, these liver punches and kicks were power money shots. Guys would go down and not get up when 200+ pounds of Bas Rutten kicked them in the liver.
I’ve been watching his Big DVD of Combat series (an 8 video set which I got from the library!).
I’m always on the lookout for Wing Chun-style actions in use by UFC guys and here is a classic example.
In his striking section, Rutten basically advises a square stance (WC style). He advises this because he believes a side stance has less capacity for power generation. He throws in a lot of shoulder and hip rotation, but basically stays square. He even had two lines of tape on the floor to stand on, which reminded me of Sifu Wong’s Wing Chun – The Science of In-Fighting DVD.
Later, he also advises fighters use a sun-fist style punch, keeping the elbow down. His main reason for this was that raising the elbow is a telegraph. His other reason is that if someone has a high closed guard. its easier to punch through if you are using a straight elbow down punch with the hand in a vertical position.