Sunday, January 25, 2015

UFC 183 Extended Preview: Nick Diaz vs Anderson Silva

Don't be afraid to fail.
Part of me finds this fight hard to fathom.
Silva has fought as high as light heavyweight and frame-wise, looked bigger and taller than the LHW's he's faced.
The other part of me, wonders, can Nick Diaz somehow topple a man who was undefeated for such a length of time as Silva?
I don't know, but I'm intrigued. The hype machine and videos for this match-up did what I didn't think was possible....make me curious. A week from Saturday, we find out.

Monday Morning Hangover - UFC on Fox 14: Gustaffson vs Johnson

Man, what a hangover for some of the fighters and gamblers out there.
Hendo is not the same man without the TRT. I think the back of the dreaded head shot that can wobble anyone AND Hendo simply not taking a punch the way he once did are also to blame, but Hendo's days as an elite fighter have come to a close.

It occurred to me during Gustaffson's walkout when he checked his hair in the camera that he was perhaps less worried about Johnson's power than he should have been. It reoccurred to me when he winked and nodded to Johnson in the center of the octagon during the referee's instructions.

I had also forgotten the fights in which Johnson once actually hurt or tagged brutally knocked the other guy out.
Ultimatley, I have given Johnson a ton of static for missing weight and getting booted from the UFC. Now, I must give him his due props.
He beat the unarguable number 1 contender for Jon Jones' strap, and stopped him in one round, something Jon  Jones did not do.
I also didn't think Gustaffson would sit right in mid-range the way he did to get clipped that that short punch that bgean the beginning of the end as it were.

But, that's why they call it a puncher's chance.
Unlike McGregor who had a guy gleamed for him to bust wide open but be durable, Johnson has legitimate KO power and more 1st round KO's and -1 minute stoppages than anyone in UFC history (a fun fact I didn't know until the teleprompter informed me mere minutes before the fight).
At any rate, overall, I went 6 for 10 with my picks, which in gambling world is slightly above where you need to be at a minimum. On the other hand, it's also called gambling and I essentially wagered that non-TRT Hendo had enough starch in his punches and Mousasi's not enough to win my parlay bet (Hendo, Bader, Gustaffson).

And one last one for the purpose of information:

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Takedowns for Jiu-Jitsu: Keep it Simple, Use Your Feet

Over the years, anyone who knows I'm a black belt in Judo and used to compete regularly asks me what takedowns I like for Jiu-Jitsu. My answer is always the same.

I look for low risk opportunities to knock the guy down.
It doesn't have to be pretty, it just has to work, and by "work", I mean but him on his back.
Knowing that at any moment in the match he can simply sit down or jump guard, it's silly to waste a ton of energy dragging him around the mat like my life depends on it.

I'm not saying I don't see big, huge, audience-thrillings takedowns in Jiu-Jitsu. I'm just saying I don't see them very often.
You see some nice cross grip seionages by guys like Rodolfo Vieira. But up to this point, he remains an outlier because I see few other guys effectively using it.
I could make a cool video with some sweet takedowns from Judo that you virtually never see in competition at the higher belts, but why?

At any rate, my takedowns are virtually always set up from a low risk (I define low risk as a low risk of counter/low risk of me ending up on bottom after a reverseral) foot sweep.

The three components of effective throwing, to me, remain always: effective gripping, good posture (this changes a bit due to the posture/stance/guard pulling in sport Jiu-Jitsu), and getting the other guy MOVING (and if he doesn't move, get him moving by attacking his feet).

An object in motion is much easier to move than a guy with the death grip in flat-footed land.
If he's stiff, tense, uncomfortable on the feet, I use my feet to get him moving. In each of the videos linked here you see my feet initiating the takedown. The beauty, or rather, the advantage of flat-footed opponents with bent over posture is that their feet are stationary targets. So while this gives them seemingly strong, defensive grips, their posture is poor and their are slow moving once you begin targeting their feet to set up your takedowns.


And in NoGi, the rule is the same. I use an arm drag/pull to get my foot entry and trap the foot to hit and over/under type grip to end up on top.

Specialization: Tokui Waza, Tai Otoshi, Judo, and 10,000 Hours within Training Methodology

We do a lot of drilling at my new academy, Zenith BJJ. Most of class time is spent drilling, actually. Morning class is almost exclusively drilling. My coach has a wrestling background. I started grappling coming from Judo. The concept of tirelessly grinding out focused repetition on a set of positions, submissions, and transitions, or throws was how I started in grappling.

When I was actively competing in Judo, I logged at least 300-500 uchikomis or "fit-ins" as we call them each day (outside of class time/practice). In class when instructed most of my mind capacity/focus is on fit-ins or set-ups for my chosen throw, Tai Otoshi. You can practice against a wall, with a partner, with rubber tire tubes (the way I did) or with elastic bands.  The throw which I have unequivocally and undoubtedly spent more time and energy studying and trying, failing, and attempting is Tai Otoshi. I enter with a modified, almost Sei Otoshi grip, rather than the steering wheel circular kazushi motion often taught classically. I'll let hardcore Judo purists debate what to cal it.
Whatever it is, this is my speciality. I can explain how I set it up against a right handed player, against a left handed player, in a circular motion, going sideways, diagonal...whatever. No matter what I am doing on my feet, if I am playing my A game, everything has this throw in mind as the end goal. It took me roughly 3 years of practice and failure to begin scoring and winning with this technique in competition. I have acked any black belt with whom I have trained how they do it, how they were taught, and how they teach it and I take it in and balance it with my current knowledge.

This is mastery. That is not saying that I have this throw mastered, or that I know everything, or that I am the best.
To me, "mastery" is the deliberate, methodical pursuit of progressive improvement.


Jits TV Cribs: Buchecha

A day in the life....


Friday, January 23, 2015

Brazilian Nationals: Paulo Miyao, Claudio Calasans....


UFC on FOx 14: Picks & Predictions & Prognostications, Oh My!

As usual, I've predicted way more finishes than will likely occur.
Whatever. My main picks and my parlay are here.
I've got Gustaffson, Henderson, and Ryan Bader.

I like Johnson's power, but his wins, and notable wins in his prior UFC run came from outsizing and rarely making weight. His wins at LHW are not exactly notable in the UFC: Kingsbury and Lil' Nog.
He's dangerous and he is definitely a can opener.
His record though requires more analysis than just the highlight reels of finishing ridiculously undersized men.
He's faltered when he's faced top tier competition and I see Gustaffson breaking him mentally and finishing him here. Phil Davis wanted no part of exchanging with Johnson. Lil' Nog has never impressed me in the UFC. His non-UFC list is washouts or never was guys at the big show level.
Not to be unnecessarily harsh, but, he's still in development in my book.

Phil Davis has not filled in the holes in his game. Ryan Bader has only lost to top guys (other than a bizarre loss to Tito Ortiz *shakes head*). I see Bader picking up another win here. When you've only lost to title holders or's hard for me to think Phil Davis will beat you here.