Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Zak Maxwell vs Alexandre Pulga Superfight at World Jiu-Jitsu Expo

I'll say this for the IBJJF. This expo, with both the list of superfights and the IBJJ Pro roster.....it is awesome.

And the roster keeps building:

"The latest addition to the schedule is a superfight between American Zak Maxwell and Brazilian Alexandre Pulga.
The match is set to be a 15-minute match under IBJJF rules.
The World Jiu-Jitsu Expo takes place October 18-19, at the Long Beach Convention Center
Three IBJJF events will take place during the Expo: IBJJF Pro League, the American Nationals Kids and the Long Beach Open.
Nine superfights are also already confirmed:
Gianni Grippo vs. Augusto Tanquinho
Nino Schembri vs. Vitor Shaolin
Robson Moura vs. Marcos Parrumpinha
Tim Spriggs vs. Leo Nogueira
João Assis vs. Rolles Gracie (no-gi)
Caio Terra vs. Jeff Curran
Samir Chantre vs. Baret Yoshida
AJ Agazarm vs. Bruno Frazatto
Kit Dale vs. Ricardo Rezende"

Because You Didn't Ask: The Irony of Outrage Over Slamming in the Children's Division

When reality doesn't meet expectation:

This is a sport where your child may get tossed on their head or neck en route to the ground.

This is a sport where many schools do not teach breakfalls properly or routinely enough.

This is a sport where another child will attempt to choke your child unconscious or break or hyperextend their elbow or shoulder joint.

I see adults still reach out with their hand when being thrown (good way to break your arm or dislocate the elbow), or land with the point of their elbow (shoulder damage or dislocation or rotator cuff damage).

I've seen guillotines in children's division that appeared far more dangerous than any other portion of the match.

What I saw in the match was a kid try to jump guard and as he did it the other kid almost immediately turned it into a takedown.

What was inexcusable is the referee being unaware that the child was unconscious.

Particularly in children's divisions, the first rule is and will always be keep it as safe AS POSSIBLE.
The goal is to train tomorrow.
The goal is to not become injured.
The goal is to not have a concussion.

All of these are things we hope for, but this isn't checkers or backgammon or table tennis.

You have put your child into a combat sport.

These things will happen.
If this sound unsympathetic, you are not reading my words.
You put your kid into football, statistics show, it is the highest rate of catastrophic injury in high school/amateur sporting competition.
You put your kid into cheerleading, statistics show, it has one of the highest rates of catastrophic injury in high school/amateur sporting competition.

Do your due diligence as a parent.
Understand the reality of the sport in which you are placing your child.
Understand that even under the best of circumstances, serious, potentially maiming injury, and perhaps on a long enough time line,  catastrophic injury will occur.

This Week in BJJ 64: Gianni Grippo

Monday, September 22, 2014

Monday Morning Videodrome/Productivity Killer: UFC 178 Countdown, Dominick Cruz Comeback, et al

The brash self promotion-minded Irishman in the vein of Ali takes on his first real stern test to move toward a title shot. Poirier as missed a few steps along the way but is the first (IMHO) real genuine danger to McGregor's hype train.

Alvarez wastes no time in taking a fight that could put him up for a title shot. Cerrone...well, Cerrone tends to lose these kinds of fights. He beats Alvarez, no one cares because they'll say Alvarez was fighting in the minors. He loses, it's a big "W" for Alvarez and a reminder that Cerrone misses the mark in making his way to fighting for the title every time. Either way, it will be a fun stand and bang affair to be sure.


The least heralded of the UFC's title holders, Johnson faces another challenger in the dwindling supply of the pipeline of guys worth him facing in his division. Other than a rematch with McCall who recently had his hand operated on, I don't honestly know who else there is for him to legitimately fight. But, that being said, it will be a fun fight to watch as long as it lasts. I see Johnson catching Cariaso in maybe the 1st or 2nd round.

Near and dear to my heart, I remember watching Cruz in the WEC and thinking, "that guy will have the UFC strap one day". An ACL tear or two later, followed by a groin tear, and he's largely been forgotten despite never having actually lost the belt.
Having gone through ACL surgery, I can't imagine the heartbreak of a second tear right as he was about to return from the first one.


Friday, September 19, 2014

Because You Didn't Ask: Toro BJJ's Blue Belt Journey Comic & BJJ Sponrsorship(s) Redux

On that note, something I've heard and discussed amongst others, the concept of sponsorship in BJJ.
I stumbled across this from over at BJJNews.com (the first place you should go when you get to your office/cubicle/open your eyes in the morning followed shortly thereafter by my blog *ahem*).
You hear high level guys talk about it. You hear low level guys talk about it. You hear commentators talk about it. At any rate, some food for thought is here from an actual company who has pockets which could provide sponsorship

At the end of the day, if you have a "take take take" mentality, that will shine through and a company worth its salt will not sponsor you. Or, at best, a non-descript no name company will through you a Gi or two or an entrance fee, but that will be about it. Relationships, to flourish, must be synergistic. They must be symbiotic. Hopefully, both parties/organisms/whatever will benefit.

Recently, I was working at my other job and a friend who has a number of friends who are sponsored in skateboarding and snowboarding asked why I wasn't sponsored. She asked how long I'd been training, how long I'd been competing and with incredulity in her voice asked why I wasn't sponsored. Consider that she has no working knowledge of Jiu-Jitsu, as a sport, the rules whatever. Yet, Jiu-Jitsu is a niche sport, but wasn't that also the case once and perhaps to some extent still the case for skateboarding and snowboarding. Sure, they have a bit more exposure and visibility with the X-Games and the now Summer and Winter Olympics notwithstanding. But long before they had that exposure, athletes were receiving money to rep certain brands et cetera. And sometimes, you can think you know more than enough about a topic and not see it with fresh or unbiased eyes. Depth of knowledge doesn't always mean that you see the topic or area better or more effectively and in fact, too much knowledge can almost or perhaps outright become a source of diminishing returns.

It was a valid question. Rather than react out of defensiveness or justify why I'm not sponsored, I had to attempt to look at it without a filter, without my supposed knowledge of truths I specifically hold to be true about this question.

I see white and blue belts sponsored or so they claim. I may not personally want to rep those brands, but there are certainly brands I would like to represent or benefits to be gained from representing those brands.
Regardless of what excuses I might make, the following truths remain: Jiu-Jitsu is a niche sport but one with a rabid fanbase. I own something like 9 Gi's. I know plenty of white belts who shell out money for Shoyoroll Gi's. Hundreds and hundreds of competitors routinely fly across the country and even the world sometimes to compete in what amounts to amateur level competition (meaning it is not directly awarded prize money).
We can use the comparison to other professional sports or niche sports to rationalize why you or me or whoever is not sponsored, or we can see those for what they are: excuses.
The guy I beat 30-0 last weekend at US Grappling Chicago was allegedly a sponsored fighter by RevGear.
I've competed and seen white and blue belts and other purple belts and above sponsored.
At the end of the day, there are guys with more, less, or the same Judo, Jiu-Jitsu, and MMA background/resume as myself that are all sponsored.

I didn't honestly have an answer for her.

But it has started some fundamental questions I need to ask myself?
What brands so I actually support and am I willing to support?
I don't like tacky brands with a million logos.
I don't like MMA-themed gear.
Coming from Judo, I prefer a clean Gi with little flash/flair, and beyond that, it is legitimately important that I believe in the quality and durability of the product and that it's something I actually use.
What do I intend/am willing to offer a brand in exchange for their support?
What do I expect in return?
I work a full-time job and a side job. Jiu-Jitsu is still something I see as a passion of mine. I am wary of making the jump to seeing it as my livelihood and here is why.
Before college, I put together my portfolio for art school/college. The process of deadlines and the pressure of outcome expectation made me view art and the act of creation out of more necessity than simply desire made me view my passion in an entirely different way. I don't know that I'm ready to have Jiu-Jitsu be seen as something more work/job than desire/passion and monetizing your desire/passion like with all things comes at a price or at least an exchange.
Another sticking point for me is autonomy. A friend of mine who shall remain nameless, gave a rash guard to famous Jiu-Jitsu competitor but he couldn't put it on or take a picture wearing it due to sponsorship obligations.
This may sound silly, but I want to wear the Gi I want to wear and the shirt I want to wear.
At any rate, perhaps, I'm just a bit too much Kron Gracie for my own good and I'm destined to be largely unsponsored as I journey through Jiu-Jitsu.

I've plugged Toro BJJ on here a number of times because 1) I know the owner and 2) I've used their gi and other training gear over the years in both Jiu-Jitsu and mixed martial arts. I've seen their line of Gi's since the beginning and still use both the Gi tops I have of theirs and wear them on a weekly basis. I learned about the whole Gi construction process with the owner of Cageside MMA/Toro BJJ and got a lot of insight into what it actually takes to get a quality line of Gi's from inception to reality.
The owner of Toro BJJ started his own company. In his warehouse is a fully functioning Jiu-Jitsu academy.
In short, it's the type of company I've always respected.

I've got a pretty big announcement concerning some competition news for yours truly, and a busy month and a half ahead with hopefully at least 3 times in the next 6 weeks in Greensboro, North Carolina, Delaware, and Virginia.

- Good luck and happy trainingz


Thursday, September 18, 2014

UFC Fight Night Japan: Does Japan's MMA/UFC Hope/Pride Lie in its Women?

Rin Nakai for you female MMA nerds is coming to the UFC.
I'm actually mildly interested.
I haven't given much coverage to women in MMA on this blog but that's simply because I don't watch much women's MMA.
It's a personal choice and let's leave it at that.

At any rate, Rin Nakai makes a big ole' jump into women's UFC/MMA in facing Miesha Tate.

Hats off to the ladies.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

UFC 178 Johnson vs Cariaso, McGregor vs Poirier, Cerrone vs Alvarez: Extended Preview for the Most Stacked Card in Awhile

In less than two weeks, what looks like to me, the best bang for your buck UFC card in recent memory takes place:

Flyweight title fight.
Alvarez makes his long awaited UFC debut against Cerrone in what has to be a good fight.
McGregor's hype train continues gains momentum or derails.
Tim Kennedy takes a SERIOUSLY dangerous fight against the ridiculously heavy-handed and wrestling standout Romero who looks like a LHW when he cuts weight.
Dominick Cruz returns after 2 ACL surgeries and surrendering his belt.
Masvidal who I love to watch fight is on the card. Patrick Cote from my younger years is on the card, and the entertaining Ebersole fight Doomsday.
I'm out of breath just putting all that out there. Below is the extended preview.

"main CARD
Pay-per-view, 10 p.m. ET
preliminary CARD
UFC Fight Pass, 7 p.m. ET
Manny Gamburyan vs. Cody Gibson "