The Kettlebell Figure 8 For MMA Striking

The Kettlebell Figure 8 For MMA Striking

Our friend Joey Alvarado is back to talk about his Kettlebell Figure 8 for MMA Striking. Joey was one of the first to incorporate kettlebell training into his jiu jitsu and called it Kettlejitsu. Joey discovered you can mimic fighting movements with kettlebells, thus building the muscle and breathing needed for fights. Joey was astonished at how well the two worked together and definitely ahead of his time as kettlebells are just now being accepted by some in jiu jitsu.

When Joey first saw the Figure 8 to Hold movement (demonstrated below) his first thought was how much it reminded him of an uppercut and he got to work on The Fighter's Figure 8. This movement can serve as the basis for a lot of other kettlebell movements because it is from the same stance that most kettlebell exercises utilize.

Start with your basic, shoulder width stance and you will perform the movement with a hinging motion demonstrated below. By using your hip hinge as opposed to just being hunched over and feeding the kettlebell between your legs, it works your core in an entirely different manner than the swing. Having a strong core is one of the most important aspects of combat sport training.

Joey Alvarado demonstrates the Kettlebell Figure 8 for MMA Striking with his Powder Coat Kettlebells

How To:

Grab the bell by the corner and feed it to your other hand so you can grab the opposite corner from where you initiate your grip. If you grab the bell by the center you risk grabbing your own hand when you feed the kettlebell through your legs and drop the bell. So, grabbing by the corner reduces the surface area you are covering up.

Start with a light kettlebell. Like most kettlebell movements, it is best to start light so you can master the movement first before really challenging yourself.

After practicing the Figure 8 you can progress to The Hold which is bringing it back to the top for a slight pause before bringing it back down again (pictured above). Upon mastering these basics move on to the Bottoms Up Uppercuts, Ballistic Uppercuts and The Fighters Figure 8 which are all pictured above.


About Joey Alvarado:

Close to 10 years ago, I went to purchase some kettlebells from an old company called My Mad Methods (MMM). MMM was located inside of a gym called MBody Strength owned by Marcus Martinez and Mark de Grasse. I met Mark while I was there and asked him if he would take a look at a specific kettlebell program that I had been developing with my students at my former gym SoCal MMA and he agreed, so I proceeded to show some of the kettlebell movements and flows I had developed and his eyes lit up! Mark asked if he could film some of the movements, I agreed and within a few minutes Mark looked at me and said, “We need to do a dvd.”

I was blown away! I just wanted to see what he thought of the exercises I had developed, I certainly wasn't expecting to land a DVD deal! This led to his company My Mad Methods producing my first 2 DVD's. The Comba Kettlebell Systems DVD we created was the first of its kind to showcase newly developed kettlebell movements and principles taken directly from MMA and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and was sold all over the world, I released another DVD dedicated to body weight training called Shadow Jitsu. My Mad Methods created such a buzz that it gained the attention of a little nutritional supplement company called Onnit. They purchased MMM (along with my DVDs and articles) and brought in Mark de Grasse to create the Onnit Academy where some of my articles are still posted today.

Sensei Alvarado also owned and operated the premier mma gym in Northeast Los Angeles, SoCal mma and fitness for ten years. Master Joey is now teaches BJJ/Kettlejitsu at BJJ/MMA legend Alberto Cranes gym, Legacy. BJJ Burbank. You can find more by Joey at and his YouTube Channel

Here is a list of Joey's accomplishments:

  • Owner/Master trainer of SoCal mma and fitness
  • Bjj black belt under Roger Machado
  • Black Belt No Gi World Champion
  • Black belt Hapkido and Tae Kwon Do
  • Brown/black belt Kuk Sool Won
  • Former Cage of Fire lightweight pro mma champion
  • Black Belt no gi world bronze medalist
  • Black belt SJJF world bronze medalist
  • Black belt National silver medalist
  • Ibjjf no gi Brown Belt world champion Senior 2, American national Gi champion, American national no gi champion
  • California Open Champion
  • Las Vegas Open Champion
  • Nevada State Open Champion
  • Long Beach Fall Open Heavyweight Gold Medalist
  • Houston Open middleweight gold medalist
  • European Open Silver Medalist
  • Las Vegas open silver medalist
  • Grappler's Quest Best Of The West Gold medalist
  • US National Silver medalist
  • Son of Former #6th ranked pro boxer Joe Medrano
  • Creator of the Combat Kettle-Jitsu and Shadow-Jistu dvds

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