Discovering The Rare & Ancient Triangle System (Ft. Nordine Taleb)

February 23, 2024 by VAHVA Fitness

We had the opportunity to learn a very interesting fighting style from the former UFC Fighter Nordine Taleb. This ancient fighting system could be older than Muay Boran! 

One day, we were doing pad work inside the boxing ring with our kickboxing coach and next to the ring, inside an MMA cage, we saw an experienced looking fighter coaching and sparring another professional fighter.

After the training session, we started talking and inquired whether he could coach us as well. This happened last summer... and since then we started getting coached by the former UFC fighter Nordine Taleb.

Over the last 6 months, we have learned a lot from him and continue to improve our MMA & martial arts game in general. Imagine that at the time, Taleb weighed around 100 kilos and at the height of 6'1'' (1.85 m) he was intimidating to spar with to say the least.

If you don't know who Nordine Taleb is, he had a long 14-fight career in the UFC where at his best he was in the Top 15. He has 7 knockouts in his record and still today he has the highest takedown accuracy in the UFC of all time. 

He fought against many big names such as the former Middleweight UFC Champion Sean Strickland and was a training partner to the current UFC Middleweight Champion Dricus Du Plessis.

Most knowably, he was a long time training partner of Georges St-Pierre who is considered one of the greatest mixed martial artists of all time. So obviously, he has lots of experience training & fighting at the highest level of martial arts.

One day, during our coaching session while talking about elbows, Taleb demonstrated an ancient Triangle Fighting System he had learned in Thailand.

We were blown away and surprised by the effectiveness of the system and have already adopted some parts of it to our own game.

This style could be older than Muay Boran – an ancient fighting style of Thailand that precedes Muay Thai. In some ancient Muay Boran forms you can actually see glimpses of the ancient triangle system but nothing substantial.

In reality, you would never fight your hands constantly glued together. Rather, you would use parts of the Ancient Triangle System in different scenarios as a part of your fighting style.

Especially the blocks seemed super effective and practical. Even the arm/shoulder lock felt very tight which seemed effective as long as you can catch your opponent's forearm between the triangle.

"There is no superior martial art, there is only a superior individual." - Nordine Taleb.

eero westerberg vs. nordine taleb

One thing Nordine Taleb said was that he doesn't believe in the superiority of a style but rather in the superiority of the martial artist. The reality is that no style is perfect and rather it is the martial artist who makes the styles and techniques work.

Even with this Ancient Triangle System, in order to use these techniques effectively, you already have to know how to fight and do the basics. It's the same with every other style or technique.

Lots of traditional martial arts whether it's Karate, Aikido, Monkey Kung Fu or other styles have techniques and elements that can be useful to a martial artist.

You would be surprised how knowledgeable many MMA fighters are about traditional martial arts and how they cherish the traditional techniques. Not every MMA fighter is a former wrestler with a heavy overhand right.

Taleb, for example, has studied many styles from Aikido to Kung Fu and meticulously practiced arts such as Capoeira and Muay Thai (in addition to the other common styles of MMA).

Taleb especially focused on learning Muay Thai and used to live 2.5 years in Thailand practicing this art. This is where Taleb learned the Ancient Triangle System after he saw a fighter from Laos dominate a Muay Thai fighter utilizing this exact system.

The same goes for us, our personal fighting styles are a combination of Boxing, Karate, Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu, Monkey Kung Fu, Muay Thai, European Kickboxing, Wrestling, BJJ, Judo and even Capoeira.

"People have only seen the arsenal I brought to the war"

Nordine Taleb shared this analogy: imagine a hitman who needs to exterminate someone but his target is always in a public space.

The hitman cannot just bring a machine gun and start shooting – he needs to use the right weapon in the right circumstances to eliminate his target and to accomplish his mission with the least amount of risk possible.

Similarly, as a martial artist you cannot use every weapon you have against every opponent. Styles makes fights and some techniques just don't work against every opponent or they are too risky to pull off.

"Discipline yourself to use only what is necessary to use." - Nordine Taleb.

This is especially true for MMA where you are fighting against trained killers. Tristar Gym of Canada (the original gym of Nordine Taleb and Georges St-Pierre), was known for their strategic approach to fighting.

If you had an upper hand in wrestling or grappling, you would take the opponent to the ground and dominate him there. If you had an advantage in striking, you would aim to keep the fight standing. This was fundamentally the approach of GSP and Nordine Taleb.

This has also become clear to us being coached by Nordine Taleb. In the beginning, he has taught us only the most vital and important aspects of fighting because without the refined fundamentals you won't get anywhere.

Today, we are training in the freshly opened gym of Nordine Taleb called TNT MMA. This place is located in Dubai, UAE and can be found on Google maps.

If you are looking to take your martial arts skills or MMA experience to the next level or just want to get started in learning practical martial arts, you cannot find a better coach in the city.

Stay strong.


samuli jyrkinen

About the author 

Samuli Jyrkinen

Samuli is the ninja behind the scenes (photography, videography, websites, program platforms and more). He has been training religiously for over a decade and has a firm grasp of physical and mental fitness. You will find our story here.

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