Friday, March 20, 2015

MMA Betting Man's Picks - UFC Fight Night 62: Maia vs Some Guy/My Next Superfight Booked/EBI 3 Bracket

Let me be frank in saying I do not like betting on the Brazil cards of the UFC. I've been to Brazil (Recife to be exact). I love Brazil.
The problem with Brazil-heavy cards is what they usually have in entertainment value (a lot of stoppages and finishes) they lack in bet-ability. The guys have strange records with a ton of finishes/wins over guys you've never heard of nor can you find footage of and a lot of time it's usually a toss up. Without a lot of footage or even when footage exists, said footage is of them beating up some can.

That being said, on a personal note it's another busy weekend ahead: I work the door downtown Friday night, then ride with my buddy to referee and compete out of town, then back to town to work the door again Saturday night at a different bar, then Sunday I bartend from 630-close.

I'm ill that the Eddie Bravo Invitational starts at 7 something EST but glad that I'll be making money. 

A good friend of mine is in town for the weekend from Maryland, so I'll be at open mat on Sunday to catch up with him.

The following weekend I have a Gi match as entertainment for the masses and Jiu-Jitsu people in the house attending the Bull City Brawl in Durham

Eddie Bravo Invitational 3 Bracket - This Sunday, March 22nd

Watch it HERE:

Thursday, March 19, 2015

DVD/Instructional Review: Lucas Lepri Championship Guard Passing

The guard passers I've studied the most are Gui Mendes and Lucas Lepri.
I've watched every available match/footage of them on the internet. Multiple times.

Early on, Rafael Lovato and his pressure passing and concept of fighting/getting to a starting or headquarters position had a big impact on how I look at the spaces/positions between techniques in Jiu-Jitsu.

Every month or so I take a few hours and go back and rewatch their passing games as they've evolved over the years.
I never fail to notice a bit more, or see smaller and smaller details in terms of how they may grip a leg, or how they may be setting up a pass, or hopefully, occasionally I pick up on a sense of HOW they combine their various guard passes.
There's a lot of intangibles in studying competition footage, however, I am a firm believer that you can pick up underlying subtleties and commonalities by soaking in footage.

My Rafael Lovato Pressure Passing DVD review has been a continual hit based on my traffic to this site, and it's high time I hit another DVD review.

Let me preface by saying I don't digest a lot of pure instructional material.
In fact, it takes me many sessions to digest just a couple moves or in this case guard passes.

It's a blessing in a curse to admit that I'm enamored with a particular competitor before I begin analyzing their content. I may have specific components of their game which I wish they would focus on, or perhaps it could sway me to resist the urge to criticize the content.

At any rate, here we go:
I've broken down my review into further sub sections and cheesily ranked them by belt color:
white belt - hardly worth watching or noting
blue belt - middle of the range. not bad but not great or good. passable is the best adjective here, often feels like a review with perhaps a few details you may normally gloss over.
brown belt - worth watching and noting, seems like some effort was made in this area and often has an "ah ha!" moment or clarifies a gray area for you.
black belt - excellent. top notch, about as good as you could expect or want.

Production Quality: black belt - looks good, clear audio, feels like you're sitting right there and watching Lucas explain the move/details to you.

Elaboration on Theory: white or blue belt at best. I'm a big "why?" person in understanding why a competitor prefers say being on top or pulling guard. I like to and really, honestly, need to know their why to better retain the information. This is not a knock on Lucas, but as cheesy as it sounds, some of the analogies Rafael Lovato Jr. used I can still remember almost verbatim in my head and that is the proof that it worked as an analogy. I can remember it something like a year or two later from one or two viewings.

Length/Number of Techniques: black belt - deals with open guard, DLR, closed guard, et cetera.

Depth of Explanation for Individual Techniques: black belt - good instruction, clear and easy to follow

Ease of Use in Rolling: brown belt 
Used several of the guard passes within a week or two digestion but prefer a system of techniques which chain together in a bit more obvious manner, again, I'm reminded of Lovato's instructional which really shined in that regard. 

Overall Rating: brown belt. I've learend a ton just by watching Lucas Lepri compete over the years, and it does have a greater dearth of techniques than the Lovato Pressure Passing system, but I have consistently used the information I got from Lovato's system over the years and will continue to use more than some of the guard passes I picked up from this DVD.

Let me be clear in saying that I can see other practitioners preferring this one to Lovato's due to the brevity of Lovato's which does feel short in comparison to the standard length/depth of a lot of instructionals out there. At any rate, if there's an underlying system to what Lucas does (which I'm sure there is as he is a 2x black belt world champion) a few moments to elaborate on that would have gone a long way. I'm an educator by trade and understanding the why is even more important to me than the how.

Winning, Losing, & Positive Disintegration

The picture above, with Leandro winning the Worlds: at one point, Michael Langhi hadn't lost in like 2-3 years. Lucas Lepri won the Mundials at black belt all the way back in 2007 and again this past year in 2014. Leandro is the current top dog, and now has gone up to middleweight and trumped Otavio Sousa but he presses on, trying to win the absolute and making it all the way to the final of the Pan Ams Absolute against Bernardo Faria. 

My point is that each of those 3 guys has had moments at the top of the podium. Each of them were "the guy" at one point. But it's always in flux. It's always in a state of movement. 

This post really resonated with me. Richard Branson, like Elon Musk, is a guy I follow and listen to quite a bit. It's interesting to see how the mind of someone like that works.

The long ride to a tournament in Chicago......
an even longer ride back if you don't perform well
They reason from essential truths and see not obstacles or the "why not" but ask simply "why" .

 "'8. Richard Branson: “When most people think about taking a risk they associate it with negative connotations, when really they should view it as a positive opportunity. Believe in yourself and back yourself to come out on top. Whether that means studying a course to enable a change of direction, taking up an entry level position on a career ladder you want to be a part of, or starting your own business — you’ll never know if you don’t give it a try.'"

This brings me to the concept of "positive disintegration": "Dabrowski's theoretical framework views psychological tension and anxiety as necessary for growth."

It's been a tough year at purple belt as I've mentioned on here several times. I've yet to win my division but I have a box of 2nd and 3rd place medals and even had days where I didn't win a match.

This past weekend thought recovering from being sick, I competed and managed to almost medal in the absolute. For me, knowing I was under the weather and the like, I was happy with my performance. I have to believe that I keep grinding and doing the right things and that I'll get "lucky" but "luck" is just the result of beating on your craft for hours and hours and hours.

I always remember Caio Terra saying how terrible he was at blue belt and that his instructor gave him his blue belt out of pity.....and Keenan Cornelius saying that he was at purple belt for a couple years before he really won anything of note and he had gotten so frustrated that he didn't even think of winning anymore, just that he would fight so hard in losing that his opponent would lose their next match after beating him due to exhaustion.

I could lose every match I ever have at purple belt and the only person who will care is the past version of myself whose ego cared about losing in a moment in time which will have then passed out of existence. It's not a way to rationalize losing to protect my ego, but rather an attempt at maintaining perspective.

Cobrinha had never been submitted at black belt in competition in his weight class. He had only been submitted by Rodolfo in NoGi at the Abu Dhabi Pro in the Absolute if I'm not mistaken. Cobrinha was fighting so hard to avoid Mendes' passing him after a Berimbolo Rafa got the arm. There was a time when Rafa was the brown belt coming up and Cobrinha was the multi-time black belt world champion who dominated everyone in his weight class. Eventually Rafa got him. 

Fix Your Jiu-Jitsu: The Side Switch

Just stumbled across this while *ahem* looking for Pan Am matches on youtube.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Come to the Bull City Brawl March 27th (and see me compete)

I'm booked to face a guy for whom I have a ton of respect, Mr. Dirty White Belt himself.

It's what they call a superfight, which I think is the dumbest term ever.
It's purple belt, US Grappling rules and I'm super excited. Jeff trains all the time, attends a lot of seminars and is a consummate Jiu-Jitsu nerd/afficionado. 

But Really Though....

The struggle is real.....