JOURNAL OF NUTRITION & ATHLETIC EXCELLENCE
SNATCH TRANSFER & ASSISTANCE EXERCISES
ISSUE 27 . APRIL 2007
TAKEDOWNS FROM STRIKES
ROXANNE MODAFFERI JUMPING SQUAT
Volume 3 . Issue 27 . April 2007
JOURNAL OF NUTRITION & ATHLETIC EXCELLENCE
4 Glycogen Replenishment
A framework for goal-dependent glycogen reloading
8 The Snatch: Part III
Skill Transfer and Assistance exercises for the snatch
10 Blending Striking with Takedowns
An excerpt from the forthcoming book Mixed Martial Arts: The Book of Knowledge by BJ Penn, Glen Cordoza and Erich Krauss
19 Interview: Roxanne Modafferi
An interview with the MMA ﬁghter
24 The Jumping Squat
A look at the movement
25 Cooking with Scotty
Recipes for health, performance and longevity from certiﬁed culinary stud Scotty Hagnas
The Performance Menu
is published monthly in digital format by The Performance Menu, LLC.
Greg Everett is an NSCA Certiﬁed Strength & Conditioning Specialist, USA Weightlifting Club Coach,
owner of Catalyst Athletics in North San Diego County, CA, and co-publisher of The Performance Menu.
On the Cover
Yael Grauer trains MMA in James Forbes’ garage. She’s trying to get a teaching job in the fall so she
can make high school kids read Shakespeare. Check out her website.
Layout & Design
Scott Hagnas is owner of CrossFit Portland. He is certiﬁed as a CrossFit level 2 trainer and Circular
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Strength Training (clubbell) instructor. He has been riding BMX ﬂatland for 26 years and counting and has ﬁlmed/produced/edited several series of BMX videos, plus several training videos. He formerly competed in bicycle trials, placing second in amateur in the World Championships in 1990. Cooking is one of his favorite pastimes.
B.J. ‘the prodigy’ Penn is highly regarded by many to be pound-for-pound the best mixed martial
artist in the world. After earning his black belt in just four years and dominating Brazilian jiu-jitsu competition, he entered mixed martial arts and took the real ﬁghting world by storm. Penn is currently coaching the next season of the UFC’s “Tough Enough” reality show on Spike T.V. In his new book Mixed Martial Arts: The Book of Knowledge, Penn shares the philosophy and intricate techniques that have allowed him to defeat UFC champions such as Matt Hughes.
Robb Wolf received his scientiﬁc training at California State University Chico where he earned a BS
in Biochemistry. From here Robb worked as a research biochemist for ﬁve years, which includes his CV lipid metabolism research at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center as well as Paleolithic Diet research with Prof. Loren Cordain of Colorado State University and author of the book The Paleo Diet. Robb is an NSCA Certiﬁed Strength & Conditioning Specialist, CrossFit coach, USAW club coach, review editor for the Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism, co-publisher and Editor in Chief of the Performance Menu, and co-owner of NorCal Strength & Conditioning in Chico, CA. He is a former NASA California State Powerlifting Champion and holds a 6-0 amateur kickboxing record.
Nutrition | Robb Wolf
From Glycogen to Cosmology: Nothing New Under the Sun
Have you ever noticed how increasing variables increases the complexity of a situation? Physicists have struggled with this increase in complexity of seemingly simple systems for several hundred years in the threebody gravitational problem. For those of you who get out a lot more than I do you may not know that it is a fairly simple matter to model how gravity and movement mutually inﬂuence two bodies, say the earth and moon. Now, if you add a third body to the system, like the Sun, things get VERY complex and we must rely on approximations to model these systems and quite quickly these approximations introduce enough error into our calculations to make the system largely chaotic and unknowable. Professor Piet Hut has a fantastic site that introduces the three body gravitational problem and he has a description of solar behavior that is essentially fractal in nature i.e. self-similar at all scales: “The sun can shine for billions of years because nuclear reactions deep in its interior generate the energy that is lost through the sun’s radiation at its surface. On a completely different scale but in an analogous way, stars are lost from the `surface’ of a star cluster by `evaporation’, and there is a similar need to replenish the energy in the central regions. In fact, the mechanism is remarkably similar in both cases: the sun burns hydrogen through slow nuclear fusion into helium, while star clusters `burn’ single stars through a kind of gravitational fusion into binary stars.” I guess it’s a sign of my extreme geeky-ness but I ﬁnd this fascinating. The same processes that govern how a cup of coffee cools are at play on the surface of the Sun and heart of the galaxy. I need to expand on this dork-fest just a bit more but I will make this pertinent to you folks who are interested in performance health and longevity and did not subscribe to the Pmenu with the intentions of learning about sciency stuff! So back to this three-body problem… the difﬁculty with this scenario is keeping track of HOW the elements in the system inﬂuence each other. Imagine two particles, or planets or perhaps magnets, whose gravity, charge or magnetism affects each other. We’ll call one A and the other B (catchy, I know). In this pared down system if something happens to A it has an effect on B and vice versa. This is pretty straightforward and easy to predict and track. Things get spicy when we introduce another element… in avant-garde fashion we shall call this interloper C. So now we have a system in which A inﬂuences B&C, B inﬂuences A&C and C inﬂuences A&B. This may not look like much more complexity but this creates a situation in which it is almost impossible to know exactly how a change in one element will inﬂuence the other two elements— because simultaneous to let’s say a change in A, B is being altered, which changes C… which is feeding back on the original change in A… which inﬂuences B… and on and on. To make a little more sense of this check out this handy three-body gravitational model from the University of Toronto. First just press play for the single planet scenario without changing any of the controls. Pretty cool, eh? Now choose the “three planet” option. Things get chaotic pretty quickly. So what? you might ask. Well, let’s call Sun 1 insulin, Sun 2 glucagon, planet 1 protein, planet 2 carbohydrate and you guessed it, planet 3 fat. Although far from perfect I think this is a compelling analogy of the interplay and complexity of our hormonal system—and in an amazingly pared
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down format no less. We are not looking at other hormones or environmental issues that change the “settings” on our simple model. Try this: Set up the three-planet run as before and open that same page in another window. In the second window set the mass of Sun 1 to “two” and start both animations. Two things should grab your attention. The ﬁrst is that the two scenarios play out very differently with the increased inﬂuence of Sun 1 (increased insulin) and the second is that the animation looks like something you saw after eating several of Yael’s “Magic Brownies”. All of this was a lead in for a “How To” piece on glycogen repletion. Sorry if that’s an abrupt lane change but that’s where this ride is heading! I’m obviously going to talk about that a bunch but I want to tie all this together ﬁrst since you might be wondering why the analogy using the three-body gravitation problem? Well… it may be a stretch, but I think this illustrates how incredibly complex some of these systems can become with only a few variables and this pales in comparison to the actual complexity of living systems (us). A sub-point is the complexity of these systems is an outgrowth of the interaction of the various elements and how said interaction can change the state and or outcome of the system and its constituents. For example if we increase insulin, how does this affect protein, carbohydrate and fat metabolism? At the same insulin level how do various mixtures of macronutrients, and amounts of macronutrients, affect things like performance, health and longevity? If performance, health and longevity are affected by gene transcription as a consequence of insulin levels and macronutrient amounts and ratios (which is absolutely the case), how does this then feed back and affect hormone levels and how macronutrients are metabolized? Obviously this scene can get very murky and I don’t want to befuddle you with minutia and imponderables, but I do want to analyze all this information critically and remain just a bit skeptical about ANY conclusions. We can draw some sound deductions from much of this material, but it’s always good to remain open to later modiﬁcations and better information. With all that said I want to look at the reasons WHY we might want to approach glycogen repletion in different ways… and if we have different methodologies that must mean we have different goals we might be considering. Why would one want to replenish glycogen stores AT ALL? Much has been written on this topic from a number of very bright people, who appear to split into two camps. The ﬁrst camp advocates aggressive post workout glycogen replenishment with the argument being
that this activity will enhance both recovery and performance. There is no doubt this approach has merits but the methods for determining how much glycogen needs replenishment have not been well developed. Hopefully this article changes that. The second camp advocates no aggressive post workout glycogen replenishment, arguing that this will impair health and longevity due to the deleterious effects of insulin spiking. These folks may be onto something, but they might also have something to contribute to enhanced performance oddly enough.
Performance, Health, Longevity: One More Time
I’ve kicked the concepts of performance, health and longevity around for a couple of years now, but I have never tried to deﬁne what these terms mean. I think this is due to the fact these are common usage words. It’s not like running across procrustean. Great word by the way. This lack of clarity is sloppy and frequently I ﬁnd that a tight deﬁnition of a word or concept can help focus my usage and understanding. I’m not shooting for Webster-type deﬁnitions in this case—those are easy enough to ﬁnd—I want something that just ﬂeshes out meaning a little and shows our nutrition and athletics bias. Performance: How well something does at a given activity. This could be anything from free kicks in soccer to a stock portfolio but for our purposes it is certainly more athletics and training oriented. Typically we are keeping track of some numbers; otherwise we are dealing with opinion. We need some data and comparisons to move into the realm of facts. Health: I’d like to deﬁne health as one’s biological status… perhaps even “ﬁtness” in a Darwinian sense, right now. Today. Longevity: For our purposes at the Performance Menu I’d like to think about longevity as health over a period of time. Now a few points need to be made. The ﬁrst is that these concepts are interrelated and at some points mutually supportive, and at other points mutually exclusive. Said another way we see both convergence and divergence in these concepts. The second point is that these deﬁnitions are not perfect. One could experience longevity in that one lives to be 90 years old… but one’s health may have been terrible for 30 or more of those years and it was only a miracle of modern medicine that one got to lie in a bed and contemplate eternity… for nearly that long. Alternately
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you may have rocking performance and stellar health but you make the mistake of wearing a T-shirt that says “I Support Title IX” into an Iowa wrestling tournament. There goes your longevity. Now that we have better deﬁned the terms performance, health and longevity, I’d like to put forward the notion that we have a few different glycogen reload options, each of which will play to a bias of performance, health or longevity.
detailed. I wanted this to look at total work performed during the workout, factor in some intensity elements such as work-rest pacing to take account of elements like the Cori Cycle in which lactate can be regenerated to glycogen. Well… I discovered why no one else has this information ﬁgured out! There are more variables and more errors involved with trying to tie things down than one can imagine and it’s interesting that an eyeball method can provide some pretty remarkable results. Here is something I noticed: In the above example the relatively low volume workout, 12-72 reps calls for about 43g of carbs (0.6x73kgLBM). That’s about 5 Zone blocks. At the top 360-450 reps workout I’m looking at about 87g, or about 9 blocks. If one is following an Athletes Zone diet it simply means shifting somewhere between 25-66% of ones daily carb allotment to the post workout window. This is all based on my 16-17 block daily allotment and it REALLY simpliﬁes things. If my training session was very intense, I could shift nearly all my carbs to that post workout window. Keep in mind that as total activity level goes up, so does block level. Some special circumstances may necessitate more carbs in total to facilitate full recovery, but this is pretty manageable as one simply deletes fat blocks and adds additional carb blocks like this: For every 3 fat blocks deleted, add one carb block. If the initial large post workout carb meal is sufﬁcient for recovery I would then recommend as many of the remaining carbs as possible come from low glycemic load veggies, and if you cannot ﬁt in all the veggies, add 3 blocks of fat for every carb block deleted. If one is following a seato-your pants method, this boils down to Protein and carbs post WO, protein and fats most other meals. Pretty simple, No?
The performance bias prioritizes recovery and high intensity training above all else. That said, glycogen recovery needs will vary from situation to situation. A hard training Olympic weightlifter may have very modest glycogen replacement needs due to the demands of that sport and the associated training. For example heavy 1-2 repetition sets with long 2-5 minute rest periods will be remarkably taxing on the nervous system but create little inroads with regards to glycogen status. In contrast, a wrestler or MMA competitor who is living in the lactate pathway for multiple 3-5 minute bouts in addition to speciﬁc strength work and adjunctive anaerobic/GPP sessions will have signiﬁcant replenishment needs. A triathalete in race preparation will likely have needs more in common with the ﬁghter than the weightlifter but that will depend upon how the triathalete structures training. Forty minutes spent at or near the “lactate threshold” will require far more glycogen for recovery than 40 minutes spent at 70% VO2 max. Keep in mind different situations and goals require different and sometimes antagonistic approaches to achieve the desired result. Something I have found frustrating is the lack of precision in glycogen replenishment. Most studies simply quote a formula that consists of a 4/1 carb/protein mixture with the carbs weighing in at about 100g. That is a pretty big whack of high glycemic load carbs, and although at times it may be completely appropriate to use this formula, we must also ask are there times when smaller doses are more appropriate? The best thing I have seen was generated by Charles Poliquin and it correlates total volume of work performed to the glycogen repletion need. Here is a snippet from that:
12-72 reps per workout: 0.6 g/Kg/LBM (Lean Body Mass) 73-200 reps per workout: 0.8 g/kg/LBM 200-360 reps per workout: 1.0 g/kg/LBM 360-450 reps per workout: 1.2 g/kg/LBM
Health and Longevity Bias
Since we are looking at longevity from the perspective of “health over the course of time” the approaches to optimize health and longevity are likely similar. In this scenario we are looking at nutrient intake, both with regards to composition and timing, as TOOLS to optimize health and longevity. This may be in stark contrast to the performance approach on a mechanistic level but we may also have something to learn from the performance mindset with regards to enjoyment of life, not just quantity. If we adopt a health and longevity bias, we will rely on hepatic carbohydrate production and VERY low glycemic load carbohydrate for our glycogen repletion. Obviously this will limit our CrossFit-style metabolic
Now I really had a bug up my fanny to construct a glycogen repletion strategy that was much more
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conditioning sessions, but we can still be plenty active and develop attributes like strength, joint mobility and skills on a nutritional approach such as this. I’ll touch on some potential programming to complement the nutritional recommendations that carry a health and longevity bias. Why not the performance? Hopefully you have your performance training ﬁgured out! Back to nutrition. If we are taking in mainly nutrientdense, low-glycemic-load carbohydrate like greens and multicolored veggies, we will receive a very modest amount of carbohydrate to replenish glycogen. We can also manufacture glucose, or at least our livers can, from amino acids and the glycerol back bone of fats via gluconeogenesis. Glycerol will contribute relatively little to this process but it does help. Amino acids from our dietary protein will supply the carbon backbones necessary for the liver to manufacture glucose; however, gluconeogenesis is dependent on what percentage protein accounts for in the diet and overall energy balance. If one is following an Athletes Zone protein intake is quite modest, only about 15% of calories. However this should be adequate to replenish glycogen to a level that allows for about one hard metabolic conditioning session per week. Our key goals with this approach are to minimize glucose ﬂux and, if possible, to induce a state of ketosis as this appears to confer potent adaptive and cellular protective properties via hormesis. You might be tired of hearing this, but including intermittent fasting in this protocol may be an easy way to accentuate the effects of the hepatic-driven glucose production. Intermittent fasting, as I’ve talked about elsewhere, may offer a route to straddle the worlds of performance and health/longevity by increasing insulin sensitivity, allowing for increased muscle glycogen stores which facilitate training, while simultaneously minimizing our exposure to the complications associated with
constant glucose intake. Training to optimize health and longevity should, not surprisingly, be a balanced affair. Something akin to the ME-Black Box template is very good so long as potent metabolic sessions are kept to around once per week. Now this is dependant on the situation as a short workout like Fran, although demanding, is not the glycogen depleter that a 400m run, 30 box jumps and 30 wall-balls for 5 rounds (Kelly) will be. Something else to keep in mind is that activities can be more or less glycogen dependant depending upon how you approach the activity. For example boxing or kickboxing is typically a very glycogen intensive activity; however, one can approach that activity by minimizing how many strikes are thrown in sequence and mixing fairly long rests between efforts. This may look like a jab, cross, round kick and then 5-10 seconds of foot work and movement to allow ATP/CP to be replenished via aerobic metabolism and fat stores. Sledge hammer GPP, wheelbarrow work and sled drags can all be approached in this beneﬁcial but less glycogen-intensive manner. This is much like the training Scotty Hagnas has reported doing at various points of the year when he is eating a lower carb diet. In closing, I think it’s important to remember complexity can be better managed with a clear plan and focused desire. The concepts mentioned above should provide a framework from which you can optimize your glycogen repletion strategies to suit YOUR needs. Also, some woo-woo physicists think our thoughts can actually organize and shape reality. Whether you buy into that or not, clear focus and an understanding of where you want to go and why you are doing things can help to remove you as a confounding element in an already complex situation.
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Coaching the Olympic Lifts | Greg Everett
Snatch Skill Transfer & Assistance Exercises
Now that we’re all experts on the performance of the snatch, we need to look at a few accessories for our training. These accessories can be used to shore up a lifter’s weaknesses in regards to the snatch. There are four movements that have been termed snatch skill transfer exercises by USA Weightlifting: the overhead squat, pressing snatch balance, heaving snatch balance, and snatch balance. In addition to these, we’ll cover the snatch push press, muscle snatch, sotts press and snatch pull. Click the title of each to view a video. Snatch Push Press Because the snatch push press is what we’ll use to position the bar for the overhead squat, we’ll cover it ﬁrst. Alone it can be used to develop strength in the snatch grip overhead position as well as conﬁdence under the weight. The athlete will set the bar on the back as he or she would for a back squat, step back from the rack, and position the hands in a snatchwidth grip. He or she will then bend only at the knees and extend again powerfully to initiate the upward bar movement, ﬁnishing with a press of the arms. Be sure the athlete reaches complete elbow extension and keeps the shoulders elevated with active traps. If the overhead position is weak in terms of either strength or balance, have the athlete hold the bar overhead for a moment before returning to the back. Even if the overhead position is not an exceptional weakness, make the athlete keep the bar overhead long enough to ensure the position is stable. Rushed returns of the bar can mask unrecognized instability or poor positioning. To return the bar to the back, the athlete controls its descent with the arms and absorbs the weight by bending the legs as it reaches the back. Athletes can nearly invariably lift more weight with the snatch push press than the push press because of the more solid platform of the back and shorter range of motion. Overhead Squat The overhead squat is the most obviously beneﬁcial skill transfer exercise for the snatch considering it accounts for the recovery portion of the lift. Because the loading will never match that of the front or back squat, the OHS isn’t useful for developing leg strength, but instead tying existing leg strength into overhead balance and stability. Before beginning the overhead squat, the bar must be situated overhead—since few gyms have racks that would accommodate removing the bar directly into this position, it must be snatch push pressed or push jerked into position. Some choose to push press with the typical jerk or pulling foot placement and move the feet to the squat width once the bar is overhead; others prefer push pressing with the feet already in the squat stance. As the weight increases, the need to use the latter method does as well. With the bar in position overhead, the elbows locked and the shoulders elevated strongly, the athlete ﬁlls the stomach with air and begins descending. As we discussed in earlier installments, the overhead squat like the front squat demands minimal horizontal hip movement—the hips must be kept as close to over the feet as possible with the chest up. Be sure before he or she rises the athlete has actually hit bottom—it’s easy to rush to ascend because of the general heinousness of the exercise with heavy loading. If overhead stability at the bottom is a problem, have the athlete remain down there for a few seconds with each rep. If the weight is light enough, it can be returned to
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the back as is done with the snatch push press. With heavier loads or fatigued athletes, dropping the bar in front to the ﬂoor is wise. Pressing Snatch Balance The athlete places the bar across the back and pushes him or herself down into a squat while extending the arms to reach the bottom position of an overhead squat with as little upward bar movement as possible. The athlete then returns to standing with the bar overhead. The feet begin and remain in the receiving position and do not leave the platform at any time. The pressing snatch balance is of relatively limited use in my opinion. The idea is that it teaches “the feel” of moving under the bar during a snatch. But the only part of the movement ever seen in a snatch is the bottom position, which can be reached in a number of more helpful ways such as the overhead squat and snatch balance, both of which can be performed with far more weight and both of which develop more abilities more closely related to the snatch. The pressing snatch balance is really only useful as an early progression to the snatch balance. Heaving Snatch Balance The heaving snatch balance is identical to the pressing snatch balance with the exception that the lifter heaves the bar with the shoulders somewhat to provide a little more time for their descent under slightly heavier loads. Again, the idea is to keep the bar from moving upward—instead the lifter is attempting to push him or herself down under the bar. The feet begin and remain in the receiving position and do not leave the platform at any time. Like the pressing snatch balance, the heaving snatch balance will not be useful long-term, but is simply a progression to the more beneﬁcial snatch balance.
position, and ﬁnishing in the bottom of an overhead squat. Most likely the lifter will be easily capable of snatch push pressing any weight he or she is attempting to snatch balance. That being the case, it’s important the lifter control the drive on the bar lest it suddenly be found overhead before he or she has even made any signiﬁcant downward movement. If the bar is caught high because of this, have the lifter ride it down to the bottom of the squat anyway. Muscle Snatch The muscle snatch mimics the movement of the upper body during the third pull, i.e. the lifter pulling him or herself under the bar. The exercise is identical to the snatch until the end of the second pull, at which time the lifter continues bringing the bar up to its overhead position without re-bending the knees—the bar and the lifter both move up only. The muscle snatch is an excellent developer of strength for the turnover of the third pull. Snatch Pull The snatch pull is essentially a snatch without the attempt of the lifter to pull him or herself under the bar. The movement is not simply a snatch-grip deadlift—it must include the scoop and great acceleration once the bar passes the knees. This is a somewhat risky exercise because most lifters do not pull the same way they do for a snatch. If a lifter is experienced enough with the snatch mechanics, this may not present a problem, and will provide opportunity to greatly overload a pattern similar enough to be helpful. For new lifters, the movement may be both similar and different enough to produce some neuromuscular confusion, so use caution when employing the pull. If it’s decided pulls are not appropriate, snatch grip deadlifts may be used as a reasonable substitute to introduce overload. Sotts Press The Sotts press begins in the bottom of an overhead squat. The athlete lowers the bar to the back and presses it again to full extension. Because of the awkward shoulder position, athletes will not be able to move as much weight in this exercise as they could in a snatch push press or even a standing snatch press behind the neck. However, the Sotts press can be used effectively to develop balance and ﬂexibility in bottom position as well as conﬁdence and overhead stability.
Snatch Balance The snatch balance is the only one of the three balance exercises that will remain useful in any stage of a lifter’s development. The athlete will start again with the bar racked on the back with a snatch-width grip, but with the feet in the pulling position. The lifter initiates his or her movement with a knee bend and extension as in the snatch push press, but instead of driving the bar up to extension, pushes him or herself under the bar, switching the feet into the receiving
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MMA | BJ Penn
Putting it All Together: Enhance Your Stand-up Skills by Blending Your Striking with Takedowns
B.J. ‘the prodigy’ Penn is highly regarded by many to be pound-for-pound the best mixed martial artist in the world. After earning his black belt in just four years and dominating Brazilian jiu-jitsu competition, he entered mixed martial arts and took the real ﬁghting world by storm. Penn is currently coaching the next season of the UFC’s “Tough Enough” reality show on Spike T.V. In his new book Mixed Martial Arts: The Book of Knowledge, Penn shares the philosophy and intricate techniques that have allowed him to defeat UFC champions such as Matt Hughes. It is the ﬁrst and only book that lays out a complete and comprehensive mixed martial arts system. The following two techniques are taken from the ﬁrst section of his book, which focuses on striking to the takedown. This is an excerpt from Mixed Martial Arts: The Book of Knowledge by B.J. Penn, Glen Cordoza, and Erich Krauss. Victory Belt is the publisher. For more information about the book, see www.victorybelt.com.
Striking to the Takedown
Meshing strikes with takedowns is a fundamental component of MMA that far too many ﬁghters neglect. I especially notice this with wrestlers and jiujitsu practitioners. The striking aspect of the sport often makes them nervous, so they attempt to shoot blindly in from outside of the pocket to avoid getting hit. As a result, their opponent defends their takedown attempts time and again and they end up getting hit a whole bunch. With the majority of MMA ﬁghters possessing excellent takedown defense, you’ve got to learn how to move into the pocket with strikes and then transition to a takedown in order to be successful. If you move into the pocket without strikes, your opponent will see the takedown coming. If you shoot in from ﬁve feet away, he will also see the takedown coming. In this day and age, stealth is a must. Don’t ever get locked into striking mode or takedown mode because your intent can be read from a mile away. There is no need to have two modes—they
should be blended together to keep your opponent guessing. Once you learn which takedowns work off which strikes, the number of combinations you can string together become limitless. It’s good to ﬁnd the ‘striking to takedown’ combinations that work best for you, but you should be proﬁcient at shooting in off every punch you throw because you never know which punch in a combo will create an opening to take your opponent down. Having a large arsenal of combos will also prevent you from becoming a predictable ﬁghter. If you only shoot in after throwing a hook, it won’t take long for your opponent to catch on. Every time you throw the hook, he will be prepared to defend the takedown. Another good way to avoid telegraphing your takedowns is to vary the number of strikes you throw before shooting in. Sometimes it will pay to shoot in off a single punch, and other times you’ll want to shoot in after throwing three or four punches. But no matter what combo you utilize, it is important not to force the takedown. If you throw a combo and the opportunity to take your opponent down doesn’t present itself, step
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out of the pocket and set up your next combination. This will sometimes get your opponent thinking that you want to trade punches, which can take some of his focus away from defending the takedown. I cannot stress enough the importance of blending the striking aspect of the sport with the grappling aspect. If you separate the two during training, you will have
to switch modes during a ﬁght. In the split second interim it takes you to switch modes, your opponent can prepare a defense or catch you off guard with a strike of his own. By endlessly practicing striking to takedown drills, you not only eliminate that mental shifting of gears, but you also condition your body to lash out with strikes one second and then change levels to shoot in for the takedown the next.
Hook to Takedown
This is by far my favorite ‘striking to takedown’ combination. The hook is a powerful strike that is hard to defend, but when you combine it with the double leg takedown, it creates a nearly unstoppable technique. When I say ‘combine,’ I mean just that. It’s not a left hook and then a double leg takedown, but rather a ‘left-hook/double.’ The entire technique is executed in one motion. The combination is highly effective anytime during a ﬁght. Sometimes your hook will land but your opponent manages to block the takedown, and other times your opponent will block the hook but you will get the takedown. It is very difﬁcult for your opponent to block both, especially when you become a master at combining them into one motion. It is a perfect example of how the striking and grappling aspects of the game can be blended together to discombobulate your opponent and do some serious damage. Once you get this technique down, practice throwing two left hooks in a row and then shooting in for the takedown. The ﬁrst hook is your power shot, and the second hook is more to set you up for the takedown. If you’re like me, you’ll ﬁnd that it works unbelievably well.
I’m in a standard ﬁghting stance, squared off with Paco in the pocket.
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I turn my hips and shoulders in a counterclockwise direction, loading up for the left hook.
Turning my hips and shoulders in a clockwise direction, I throw the hook. Notice how my left arm is parallel to the ground and my right arm is up to protect my face. As my hook whips around, I carry my momentum slightly forward so I can drop in for the double leg takedown.
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Dropping my level, I explode off my right leg and step my left foot between Paco’s legs. Notice how I keep my right hand up to protect my face from any strikes Paco may throw as I break the distance between us.
As I enter for the double, I wrap both arms around the back of Paco’s knees.
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Using the momentum I generated off my initial explosion, I step forward with my right foot and continue to drive my weight into Paco. As I do this, I reestablish a sturdy base and realign my posture. This will allow me to cut the corner and take Paco down.
I step my left leg to the outside of Paco’s right leg, and then push off my right leg and drive my weight to my left. As I do this, I also drive my head into Paco’s ribs and pull his legs out to my right.
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As I take Paco down, I clear his legs to avoid getting stuck in his guard. From here I will work to establish side control.
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Cross to Takedown
I always prefer to shoot in off a left-handed strike because it sets up my hips, base, and balance in such a way that I can ﬂow directly into the takedown. Executing a takedown off a right-handed strike such as the cross is a little more difﬁcult because it disrupts your wrestling base, which is mandatory for a healthy shot. You can still shoot in off the cross, but you must reset your base before you do so. There are two ways to do this. The ﬁrst is to throw the cross, pull your hand back into your stance, reset your hips, and then drop into a crouched stance and take your shot. The second way, which I show here, is to throw the cross and then step forward with your right foot. This allows you to reset your hips and assume the wrestling posture needed for the takedown. I’ve found that this way is more explosive and direct, but it can change the way you shoot in. If you take a long step forward, you will be in a southpaw stance. A lot of ﬁghters who come from a wrestling background actually prefer this because they are accustomed to exploding forward off their right leg when it’s in front, but I like exploding forward off my right leg when it’s back. In order not to steer too far from the familiar, I will just take a small step with my right foot to cover some distance and realign my base. As long as I haven’t moved into a southpaw stance, I can still shoot in as I always do. It is important to learn both methods because you never know how your opponent will react to your assault. If you knock your opponent backwards with the cross, you might need to take a long step and shoot in from a southpaw stance in order to get the takedown. The more techniques you have tucked away in your arsenal, the better chance you’ll have at achieving your goal.
I’m in a standard ﬁghting stance, squared off with Paco in the pocket.
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Whipping my hips in a counterclockwise direction, I throw a straight right cross to Paco’s chin.
Rather than resetting my base off the cross, I take a small step forward with my right foot. This small step is essential because it not only allows me to continue with my forward momentum, but it also allows me to reset my base and penetrate with a balanced shot.
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The instant my right foot hits the ground, I blast off my right leg and step my left foot between Paco’s legs. As I do this, I wrap both arms around the back of his knees. From here I will complete the double leg takedown—see previous technique.
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Interview | Yael Grauer
Interview with Roxanne Modafferi
Roxanne Modafferi is an MMA animal. She was the NAGA ﬁghter of the year for 2002, placed third in the Smack Girl World Remix Tournament in 2004 and was a competitor in Abu Dhabi, the largest grappling tournament in the world, in 2005. Modafferi is the only ﬁghter to have defeated Jennifer Howe (which she did not once, but twice), ending Howe’s 11-0 winning streak and taking her IFC Women’s MiddleWeight belt by triangle choke in the third round of her rematch in March 2005. On February 17th of this year, Roxy won a battle against Cassandra Rivers-Blaso in Los Angeles at Fatal Femmes Fighting, earning the lightweight belt in what was the ﬁrst all-women’s cage-ﬁghting event in the world. She has eight wins and three losses and currently trains at Wajitsu Keishukai Honbu in Tokyo, where she teaches English for Berlitz. She also writes an excellent column for BoutReview. Video: Modaferri vs. Howe Round 1 Video: Modaferri Vs. How Round 2 & 3 Video: Rematch with Megumi Yabushita
When and why did you decide to start ﬁghting? I’d started doing Tae Kwon Do when I was thirteen because I thought it was cool to beat up the bad guys like the Power Rangers. I did that for about three years. After that phase passed, I started getting into the more spiritual ‘art-form’ aspect of it, and tried out Kempo Karate for a year and a half, Uechi Ryu for a mere two months, and ﬁnally Judo for about three years during high school. I’d done some kickboxing in my Kempo class, but Judo was truly the sport competition aspect of martial arts, and I entered dozens of competitions across New England as a test of my skills. I’ve always been competitive in sports. After I graduated from high school, I found a Royce Gracie Brazilian Jiu-jitsu association in Adams, Mass, and when moving to college, couldn’t ﬁnd a dojo conveniently near my University, The University of Massachusetts in Amherst. Luckily, Kirik Jenness, the master behind mixedmartialarts.com (and mma.tv— The Underground), ran an MMA/submission grappling
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school in Amherst, so I graduated to MMA. Now, I ﬁght MMA, the ultimate test, to grow stronger. Plus, it’s fun. I have to say that Karate was fun, but didn’t prepare me for MMA. Jeremy’s School of Self Defense in Massachusetts, where I took kickboxing, really raised my level, as well as kickboxing at Cross Point Kichijouji in Japan. All last year Dio Uesugi gave me private boxing lessons, and I just started going to Ranger Boxing Gym. Unfortunately, the latter is over an hour and a half from my home. Where are you training now and what are you focusing on? I’m training at Wajitsu Keishukai Tokyo Honbu which is known for producing killer grapplers and MMA ﬁghters with sick ground games. I’d like to think my grappling is improving. I’m trying to focus on submissions and ﬁnishing the ﬁght, plus improve my all around game and stand up. What does your training look like? Our gym is run by Ryusuke Moriyama, but every week one of the pro-ﬁghters teaches class. Some like drilling, most don’t. On the other hand, I’m exposed to fun. I arrive at Wajitsu Keishukai Headquarters in Ocha no Mizu around 7:00 PM, after an hour and ﬁfteen minute commute. Around 7:15, we do basic stretching together in a circle for ﬁve minutes or so. The basic bend over the leg, stretch the neck, arms, etc. Then, leg circles, bicycle kicks, and lots of Indian-push-ups.
Following that, we do break-falls and rolls for the next ten to ﬁfteen minutes. Everyone gets in two lines and does somersaults down the mat, followed by backward rolls, standing on hands, rolling backwards, cartwheels, forward (judo-style) rolls, shrimping front back and side, and ﬁnally front drags. After that, we get into partners and do the airplane, where I balance my partner above me, with my hands under their arms and my feet hooking inside their thighs. I use their body weight to do chest presses (also using legs). We do that 30 to 50 times, depending on who’s teaching, followed by negumo, which I don’t know the English for. One partner kneels on all fours (in the turtle position) and the other person sits on the back. Then, the other person practices sliding under them, and climbing back onto their back, as if they were taking someone’s back in a ﬁght to get a rear choke. They go around in the same direction like 5 times and then reverse. Sometimes we do standing negumo, which is harder. One person has to stand up, and the partner jumps onto their back. Without touching the ground, the partner clinging has to climb under their arms, and around to their front, doing a full rotation three times. After warm-ups, the pro teaching class shows a few techniques and we drill them for about forty ﬁve minutes. At about 8:30, the technique class ends and sparring begins. Off to the side, the pro ﬁghters who’d been hanging around stretching jump in and do a quick version of our break-fall warm-up, and then begin to spar. We do this until ten or ten thirty. How often do you train? I train at the dojo four days a week. Sundays and Thursdays I take the technique class followed by sparring, Saturdays are just free sparring days, and Mondays are the pro days where people spar a lot but with higher intensity. On the days I don’t go to the dojo, I usually run up and down ﬂights of stairs at my ofﬁce—sometimes just on my way to work, or sometimes I make a special trip to the ofﬁce to do that. I also go to Gold’s Gym to lift weights, do cardio and hit the heavy bag. Usually I make it once a week to the gym unless I’m too injured to go to the dojo, in which case, I try to go to the gym every day. Any good conditioning drills you use?
Roxeanne with Hideki Kadowaki, a pro who has always given her great advice
I have pretty good stamina, so I don’t focus on conditioning especially. If I do, I just get exhausted
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and can’t function in normal life (I work almost every day), or I can’t do technique classes. I ﬁnd the normal sparring days are enough, plus it works my cardio to run up and down the ﬂights of stairs and do jump-roping at the gym. Before competitions, Dio, my boxing coach, has me hit the pads a lot until I get tired. Do you ever really relax on training or are you always in shape and close to competition level? I only relax when I work myself to sickness. It’s a problem, actually, that I can’t relax. I have a full time teaching job, plus training, and I’m trying to write a book. How do you start out preparing for a ﬁght? In preparing for a competition, I try to train as hard as I can without getting injured, as I have a nasty habit of doing. I try to run stairs more, do a lot of sprawls, focus on boxing and stand up technique. I also spar with Takayo Hashi as much as possible. She is an incredibly powerful woman in the dojo who is like me in almost every aspect of size, skill and dedication, except that her power level is off the charts. Do you have to cut a lot to make weight before a ﬁght? I used to have to cut ﬁve pounds (of fat, not just water) for competition, and if I don’t have a ﬁght for a long time, I inevitably gain weight. Once there’s a signed deal, though, I have no problem getting down to the weight in advance as long as I have about a month, and I can maintain that weight. Nowadays, I ﬁnd myself on the lower end of the 135 weight limit, and my opponents are cutting down to ﬁght me.
What was your toughest ﬁght? My toughest ﬁght was either Tara LaRosa or Laura D’Auguste. My brain wouldn’t switch gears enough during the ﬁght, and I got dominated trying the same strategy. I was so bent on trying out striking that I didn’t go for take downs when I should have. Actually, for Tara I should have stopped my failed boxing attempts and gone for more take downs. For Laura, striking was actually working, and I saw it, but for some reason, I couldn’t push my advantage. It’s hard to say because there’s really no single thing I did wrong, and it’s hard to analyze your own ﬁght. Who would you like to ﬁght? A lot of people. Everyone. Namely, Laura D’Auguste again, Tara Larosa again, Shayna Baszler, Tama-chan, and Hitomi Akano. Anyone and everyone in my weight class, actually. I might even be able to go down a weight class to 58 kilos, but I think I want to stick with 60 kilos for now. I’m going to be the best female ﬁghter at 60 kilos! What are your strengths and weaknesses? I get hurt a lot in training. My strengths are my energy and my ability to get a lot done. I need to ﬁnd more time to sleep, though. I have a strong drive, which also works against me in the fact that it doesn’t let me rest. I apply my internal drive, or ‘itch’ to be productive to my training and life. It’s taken me far! My strength in ﬁghting is my grappling, MMA, and ground and pound. It’s fun. Maybe I get that from my training experiences at Kirik’s New England Submission Fighting, where Dave Roy would get in my guard, suddenly pop me in the head, say “Ha ha!” cover up so I couldn’t hit him, then bonk me again, say “Gotcha!” and then guard again. What have you learned from ﬁghting that has helped you outside of the ring? The main thing I’ve learned is that even if you get knocked down, you’re not defeated if you get back up. You have to push and work hard to get what you want. I developed a lot of self conﬁdence that has helped me in my teaching job. I feel like I can handle any problems. I remember when I ﬁrst started teaching children at work. Usually we teach adults, and I didn’t have as much training with children as I would have liked, and
Yoko Takahashi, Roxanne, and Masako Yoshida
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serious, but some places have guys who don’t want to hit a girl. That sucks. The guys who are hesitant to hit girls are usually the ones who only train for fun in the normal classes. The pro ﬁghters, at my WK dojo, for example, usually have no problem. Size of training partners makes a difference, too. If you are a 115 pound girl and everyone at your gym is 180 pounds and up, it makes for rough nights of training. I went through that and now enjoy technical sparring sessions with the best 160 pound grapplers in Japan (Tetsu Suzuki, for example. He fought in Abu Dhabi 2004). What are your own biggest challenges? My biggest challenges are improving at boxing, because I don’t really like it, but I know I need to practice it anyway. I also get injured a lot, so I’m always struggling with feelings of desperation, frustration at being surpassed by my female peers, and anger at my own body for being weak and not allowing me to train and do what I love. Who do you admire in women’s MMA and why? I admire Megumi Fuji, for one. Her skill level is higher than most men I’ve seen. She is super friendly and works really hard; she’s always working on training and getting better. I also admire my teammate Takayo Hashi. I want to be as strong as her. All the male ﬁghters at my dojo respect her as they would a guy, and never go easy on her whatsoever. She almost knocked me out in practice—something which had never happened, even in my competition. Any tips for women who are just getting started in MMA or other combat sports? Yes, have your favorite style and enjoy practicing it! But know that you have to cross-train these days in order to have a chance to hang with the pros. Training for a ﬁght should suck if it’s done right. However, it’s important to keep the fun in mind or it becomes unappealing to train. You gotta love it! You gotta hunger for it! But you also gotta love the pain! What do you see as the future of women’s MMA? I see it growing. Even organizations that are hesitant to host women’s ﬁghting, such as the UFC, I think will come around to make money. I think they’ll see the ﬁnancial opportunities in that more and more people want to see women’s ﬁghting as a sport and part of mainstream MMA, and not just two chicks in tight clothes hitting each other.
Dio, Roxeanne and Hashi couldn’t handle them effectively in the beginning. I was in tears before going into the classroom of a particularly difﬁcult class. Then came one particularly hard boxing class with Dio, where I limped home with a horrible headache, feeling like I’d been hit by a truck. The next day when I had to teach a kid’s class, I thought, “Nothing could be harder than that boxing class!” and it was a piece of cake. My conﬁdence in teaching kids shot from like 2 to 7 overnight. Tell us more about your boxing coach! Dio held me to a really high level. In one way it was good because it pushed me to grow stronger, but being a beginner, I couldn’t physically move the way he demanded in training, and I felt frustrated. He taught me the basics of boxing and how to defend myself. I owe him a lot—always met my schedule, wrote lesson plans, and cared a lot about me and my progress. Classes with him were always challenging and I always learned something new. He’d also fought MMA, so he knew what I needed. What do you think are the biggest challenges for women ﬁghting? I think the biggest challenge for women is two-fold. One is to ﬁnd the chance to get out into the MMA market, compete and be taken seriously. In the past, the general public saw women ﬁghting as cat ﬁghts, just for looks and fun. Now it’s different, and it’s our job to educate them that cat ﬁghts are no longer “in”. The second biggest challenge is training. If you ﬁnd the right place, men are willing to train women if they’re
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What are the biggest differences between ﬁghting internationally and ﬁghting in the states? If the organization is bigger, things are better planned and more professional. This is the same anywhere. American fans scream louder, though. The Japanese seem more respectful but also have a ﬂashy element inﬂuenced by pro-wrestling and wanting to entertain the crowd, where the Americans want to be all rough and tough. I know the Japanese, especially people from my dojo, love to dress up like anime characters, and even wear costumes shaped like vegetables and mayonnaise bottles! What kind of work do you do in Japan? My job teaching English at Berlitz, Japan, is great. You have to know psychology, the best way of teaching to keep a student from being frustrated when they can’t communicate, and also be able to explain grammar to a student using English only. That’s the main Berlitz rule: No Japanese! I made it a chant in one of my kid’s class when they were talking too much. “No Japanese! No Japanese!” and now the kid’s yell it at each other when one of them starts speaking in Japanese. Also, I taught the kids to raise their hands and shut up when
I yell, “Silence!” I started this “game” when they got unruly and stopped listening. Whoever raised their hand and shut up ﬁrst got a point. I tallied the points, and at the end of class, gave them an extra sticker. I stopped doing the sticker thing, but I don’t think they noticed. Hahaha. If you recall, I had said I was ‘scared’ of teaching kids. Now, I’m really into it (to a degree—I have my favorite classes.) For example, one day, I said, “In the word ‘write,’ the ‘w’ is silent.” They heard ‘silent’ and all screamed “SILENCE!” Four sets of hands shot up in the air, and they looked at me expectantly, waiting for me to give them points. I was shocked into silence (pun pun). Pretty funny stuff! I love a few kids classes the most, but in general I like teaching adults better. At least they don’t stop paying attention if I don’t play with them. What are your plans for your post-ﬁght career? My plans for a post-ﬁght career are to open my own dojo, write a lot of novels (I like fantasy novels), and translate. This is when I’m old, mind you.
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Movement Highlight | Greg Everett
The Jumping Squat
The term jumping squat is used liberally to describe a number of different exercises. The one with which we’re concerned here is performed from quarter depth under large loads. This allows us to greatly overload ﬁnal leg and hip extension in order to improve the power of the jerk and the second pulls of the snatch and clean. If you’re concern is simply general AKP, a normal squat stance will work. If you’re performing the exercise speciﬁcally for weightlifting, use your jerk or pulling stance. Set the pins in a power rack to a height that stops you at a quarter squat. You can also use jerk boxes1. Using a belt is wise considering the great loading and ballistic nature of the movement. Typically jumping squats will be performed with the bar racked on the back. Position yourself under the bar and push the hips forward under the bar to assume the power position (the torso will need to lean forward somewhat because of the bar placement—don’t try to get it perfectly vertical). Fill the stomach with air and jump as high as you can, trying to slow the bar’s descent back down to the pins upon landing. With serious loading, you won’t come far off the ground, but drive like you’re expecting to hit the ceiling. Make sure you’re moving straight up. If you’re not, your hips are not under the bar as they need to be. If you’re feeling bold and indestructible, experiment with jumping front squats. Be sure to use a reliable power rack and a durable but cheap bar—I recommend dropping down under the bar as it returns to the pins instead of trying to control it. This is where the mythical jerk blocks can be very helpful. Perform for 1-3 sets of 2-3 reps. Use as much weight as you can handle while remaining explosive. If your feet remain stuck to the ﬂoor, drop the weight—this is a power movement, not a strength movement. Video – Aimee Anaya Jumping Squat 160kg x 3
(Endnotes) 1 It may not be obvious, but that was a joke. Jerk boxes are about as common as three-dollar bills.
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Cooking with Scotty | Scotty Hagnas
Portabella mushrooms can make good substitutes for hamburger buns. Here is a simple hamburger meal Rochelle and I whipped up in our cabin on our recent honeymoon. We just used one mushroom for the bottom “bun”, but you could use two if you’d like it to look a bit more traditional. Time: 20-25 minutes • • • • 3 portabella mushrooms 1 lb ground buffalo (or beef, turkey, etc.) 6 slices tomato lettuce
• • •
1/4 C chopped onion 2-3 cloves chopped garlic 1 Tbsp olive oil
Put the ground meat into a bowl, add the onion, garlic, pepper, and any other spices that you wish. Mix well, then form into three patties. Place the olive oil in a skillet, cook the patties, ﬂipping often, until done to your liking. I like to ﬂip the meat often to prevent any excessive browning, and serve it done rare. Set the burgers aside when done, covering with a plate so that they stay warm. While the burgers are cooking, prepare the “buns” and any vegetables that you wish to top the burgers with. You’ll want to cut the stems out of the
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mushrooms ﬁrst, but you can save them to use in a different meal if you wish. We just had tomato and lettuce on hand to top these burgers with, but you can garnish your burgers any way you like. Place the mushrooms into the skillet that you used to cook the burgers, cooking for around 2-3 minutes per side in the juices from the meat. Plate the mushrooms then add the meat and condiments of your choosing. A bit of steamed broccoli rounded out this particular meal. Zone info: 3 servings at 6 protein blocks, 4 fat blocks (this will vary with your selection of meat), carbs are negligible.
In last month’s issue, I wrote a simple recipe using tapenade, a rich olive based spread. I have since experimented and come up with a simple, quick, homemade version. This allows you to avoid the canola oil that all pre-made versions seem to come with. Time: 10 minutes • • • • • • • 6 oz black olives (1 can) 1/2 C pimento stuffed green olives 2 Tbsp capers 1/2 tsp red wine vinegar 1/2 tsp fennel seed 1/4 tsp mustard powder 2 Tbsp olive oil
These are versatile, tasty, and quick. I usually use the calamari rings from Trader Joe’s. This recipe uses one bag. The seasonings here are just a suggestion, you can alter it a bit based on what you have on hand. Time: 8 minutes • • • • • 1 lb calamari rings 3 Tbsp minced shallots 2 Tbsp minced ginger 2 Tbsp olive oil pepper
Place all of the ingredients except the olive oil into a food processor. Chop ﬁnely, but not excessively. Place the tapenade into a jar, add the olive oil, and mix. Store in the fridge, then enjoy on eggs, veggies, stir frys, and more. Zone info: Whole recipe yields - 38 fat blocks (57 grams), 1 carb block.
Place the thawed rings into a pot of boiling water, cook for 2-3 minutes. Mince the shallots and ginger while the rings are cooking. Pour the water and calamari thru a strainer, set aside the strained rings for a moment. In a skillet, saute the shallots and ginger in the olive oil for 2-3 minutes, then add the calamari rings and pepper and continue to cook for around one minute more. Be careful not to overcook the calamari rings! Zone info: 2 servings at 5 protein blocks, ~ 9 fat blocks
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