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The Danaher Dilemma: Garry Tonon’s Shootboxing

The Danaher Dilemma: Garry Tonon’s Shootboxing


When Garry Tonon began to make the move from Jiu Jitsu to MMA there was no question that at the time he was among the absolute best grapplers on the planet.

And even though he wasn’t the first Jiu Jitsu star to make this transition, the meteoric rise of the Danaher Death Squad from within the Jiu Jitsu world led many to keep a close eye on his progress.

The question on everyone’s mind? Whether or not the Squad could replicate the success they’ve had in the Jiu Jitsu world in MMA. The answer thus far has been a resounding YES.

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Proof by Garry going undefeated in his first 5 fights, finishing all of his opponents. Which can no doubt be attributed to the teachings of John Danaher.

A recurring concept throughout John Danaher’s “Enter the System” is that of creating a dilemma. Putting your opponent in a situation where they’re forced to make a choice. Door Number 1 or Door Number 2.

Forced, because if they make no choice at all the consequences will be catastrophic. And a serious dilemma because it would also be equally catastrophic if they choose incorrectly.

The primary dilemma that we’ve seen in Garry’s short time in MMA has been from within his Shootboxing. He creates the dilemma with a series of feints, strikes, and shots that all stem from a slight dip in his stance. Better known as a level change.

Some commentators have referred to Garry’s footwork as erratic and unorthodox. However, there is definitely a method to what a traditional striker might see as madness. The continual footwork and head movement are the base of everything.

Head movement and level changing feints are what start everything off. Feinting a level change forces your opponent to wait until you actually shoot before they can react.

Sprawling too early to defend a takedown when your opponent hasn’t taken a shot will result in front headlock exposure. In ONE Championship where knees are allowed on downed opponents, this is definitely a bad enough situation to make you think twice about taking that risk.

Next, firing big strikes off of those level changes. Overhands, Upper Cuts, Kicks. These are all big power strikes that must be respected. Not defending shots of that nature can very easily lead to the end of a fight.

Finally, shooting for a takedown from those level changes. Powerful shots from the outside that easily cover the distance in a mere instant. Not defending them will result in one of the best grapplers on the planet now being on top of you.

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Combine those three together and you’ve now created a serious dilemma for your opponent. If their hands come down to defend a takedown they risk taking powerful shots to the head. If they keep their hands up to defend the strikes they’ll be in no position to defend from takedowns.

The icing on the cake is that you can even create further dilemmas within your shots and strikes. Striking to the body or the head. Shooting in to create contact, then quickly separating and firing strikes. Leaving your opponent in a state of total confusion.

In Garry‘s most recent fight with Yoshiki Nakahara, he put this system on full display. Combining a dozen level feints with level changing strikes before finally taking a shot in to snatch up a leg. The setup worked so well that Nakahara had almost no reaction to the shot, allowing Garry to quickly lock up a fight ending heel hook.

Check Out The Fight Here:


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