Jon Jones Uses Karate Again 1

Tuidi in MMA – Shoulder Wrench
Chibana Chosin performing the shoulder wrench in Naihanchi Sandan

I make no secret about my dislike of UFC Light Heavyweight Champion, Jon Jones. He is arrogant, condescending, disrespectful, and likes to skirt the edges of the Unified Rules of MMA. That said, he seems to be the most frequent user of old-school karate techniques. Normally, this is restricted to his hand-fighting, rolling elbows, and oblique/shovel kicks and side kicks to the legs. Tonight, though, he broke out a new one–a tuidi (joint manipulation) technique that utilizes the outward chudan-uke (mid-level receiver) motion to wrench the shoulder. While he was able to keep fighting, this technique injured Glover Teixeira badly enough that it bothered him for the rest of the fight, and it certainly distracted him in the moments immediately after it was applied (which is what it’s for, really).

The real irony in this is that, although he frequently uses a few techniques from old-school karate, Jon Jones is actually quite susceptible to some old-school karate techniques, himself. Specifically, he like to place his fully-extended hand on his opponent’s head to keep them away when they start to land punches. This has always worked very well for him, except in his fight against Alexander Gustafsson (shown above) where Jones did not have a reach advantage. It also has the added bonus (for him) of putting his fingers into his opponents’ eyes. He feels safe doing this because he is standing and striking, but he would never extend his arm in such a way while grappling on the ground because he would be put into an armbar. This face-pushing technique that he utilizes so frequently is actually the exact scenario that we train with for putting someone into a standing elbow-press armbar (hiji osae gatame, found in the stacked-hands position of Naihanchi, seen in the GIF below) in my dojo. He also likes to do the same fully-extended pushing against his opponents’ lead hand, which makes the lock even easier to get to. Someday, just once, I want someone to put him in that lock.

Hiji osae gatame (elbow press armbar) demonstrated off a push to the chest

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About Noah

I began training in karate (Shuri-Ryu) in the Summer of 2006. Subsequently, I started training in judo, kobudo, and iaijutsu within the next 6 months. During my training there, I earned the rank of Sankyu (3rd Degree Brown Belt) in Shuri-Ryu, Gokyu (Green Belt) in judo, a certification in the use of the bo, and passed proficiency tests for the four tachigata of Shinkage-Ryu iaijutsu. I moved to Arizona in the Summer of 2008, and continued training and researching karate at home. I continued regular training in judo at a local club until 2010, when I was able to start training in Shorin-Ryu with Sensei Richard Poage. I have been training with him ever since, and currently hold the rank of Shodan (1st Degree Black Belt) in Shorin-Ryu under him. In addition, I began studying KishimotoDi under Sensei Ulf Karlsson in 2014.

One thought on “Jon Jones Uses Karate Again

  • Anonymous


    I love to follow the MMA competition, mostly when there’s karate fighters like yourself (you Noah) in the Octagon. I have a different reaction to Jon Jones than you. I look at Jon Jones this way.

    One, he’s an enormously gifted physical athlete. The physique, the athletic ability he has is 1 in a million. Tactically on that score, you (rhetorically, his opponent) are up against a far superior opponent.

    Two, Jon is a mental fighter. He consciously trains and thinks while fighting on many levels. This quality alone make Jon a very dangerous fighter / opponent and sets him apart from the majority of the MMA competition.

    I also believe Jon Jones is beatable and that traditional karate can do it. IMHO, the sport karate fighting that you displayed in your Shodan test WILL NOT do it. Incidentally, I loved the transition that your Sensei made to grappling / ground fighting in the later part of that test.

    On Jon Jones ego, in contrast to your appraisal, I think he’s remarkably well composed given the superior natural talent that he’s gifted with AND his well-earned championship accomplishments and success in a very punishing sport / field. Debating Jon Jones character doesn’t really interest me, especially when the MMA is really an entertainment business where hyjinx is promoted.

    SCENARIO: Jon Jones extends his guard hand out pointing his fingers in our face. What do you do? That’s what interest’s me. Traditional karate is the art of self defense. Yet, Jones’ MMA opponents, including Lyoto Machida (sport karate fighter) are confounded. MMA followers complain what Jones is doing may be against the UFC rules.

    The principles of TRADITIONAL KARATE are bigger & broader than any MMA ruleset. There’s your answer.

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