Longo details the ‘Destruction’
When former UFC Anderson Silva broke his leg trying to kick UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman at UFC 168, many people felt it was a fluke, like turning an ankle mid kick. However, in an interview with Luke Thomas, Weidman’s coach Ray Longo detailed the technique behind what has been dubbed ‘The Destruction’.
Luke Thomas: What is the origin of the ‘destruction’ moniker?
Ray Longo: The origin, I’ll give you for how it came to be for me. I was a Jeet Kune Do practitioner under, technically, the lineage of Dan Inosanto, who was under Bruce Lee. And I think Bruce, or at least Dan, had incorporated a lot of Filipino martial arts.
They have a concept in the Filipino martial arts that comes from knife fighting, which is called ‘defanging the snake’. If you can defang the snake, obviously the snake can’t hurt you. There’s a thing called ‘destructions’ where – and it’s been around forever, I didn’t make it up. I’m just giving it to you the way I learned it. I think Paul Vunak at the time was the guy that was really pitching it. This was back in the 80s. From the waist up, anything that comes in your elbow takes care of and anything from the waist down your knee takes care of.
When your knee is in a flex position, it can withstand a lot of pain. So, more the concept is if a guy is punching at you, you can parry the punch or slip the punch. That’s a defensive maneuver. With the term ‘destructions’, it kind of takes a defensive posture and makes it an offensive posture. When a guy is coming to punch, you now look at that as a target, not as a ‘get out of the way’.
Anybody who’s sparred, anybody who’s done kickboxing, how many times you can kick the guy in the elbow with your instep, you’re out of the fight. You break your instep. It’s not something that’s a mystery. It’s not something that’s been around. It’s meant to be a deterrent. Again, I’m going to go from the waist up. If a guy throws a punch, if I can somehow guide that punch into my elbow, he’s not going to be able to punch me anymore. From a self-defense aspect, that’s kind of like the origin of it.
No matter how big your fist is, you’ll never beat my elbow. And the same thing applies to the low line with the knee because I’ve been through this before, clanging shins with anybody stings. I never had good shins. If you place your knee on the guy’s shin the right way, it’s going to be a deterrent.
When you break a guy’s leg any time, that’s not really the objective. It’s just really to make them think twice about kicking you. That’s really it. It’s not really like you can look at it as a mystery. Even at the basic level of Thai boxing, you want to get the highest part of your shin on the lowest part of the guy’s shin that’s kicking you.
The downside with doing the destruction is you need the attribute of really good accuracy and awareness because instead of blocking with your whole shin, you now have to take your knee tap and point it on the guy’s shin. That’s not easy to do.
LT: There’s a suggestion by some that this particular technique is ‘unsportsmanlike’, but before we get to that particular allegation, do you believe striking in mixed martial arts is predominantly influenced by the culture that comes from muay Thai?
RL: Well, I definitely don’t think it’s unsportsmanlike. Listen, the MMA business, that’s a hurt business. You’re taking your elbow and you’re smashing it off a guy’s face. I don’t know, is that sportsmanlike or unsportsmanlike?
You want someone taking their elbow and smashing you in the face with it? No, I don’t think so, but this is the sport we’re in. Again, to go shin on shin, to me that stinks. I don’t think it’s unsportsmanlike. It’s what you have to do to defend yourself.