Friday, April 4, 2014

ACL Curse Strikes Again: GSP Part Deux

Well, this pretty much confirms the ACL as the Achilles heel of MMA and professional combat sports competition: GSP will now have his other ACL done. I've read the occurrence rate of ACL injury increases due to imbalances strength and/or otherwise once you've had an ACL reconstructed. Having been down this past myself, my heart goes out to just about anyone who's had this procedure. It's not the pain or the discomfort so much or the keeping your leg straight for what feels like forever, then gingerly slowly getting range of motion back that's simply the sheer time needed for the tissue to heal and reattach itself with that always present little voice in the back of your head that it could simply happen again.

Stuart Cooper: Jiu-Jitsu - A Way of Life

On a serious note, I don't say much about my personal life on here, but I've undergone some serious changes in my personal life over the past year or so. Jiu-Jitsu was a big part of my being coachable enough to get the help I needed to change and to leave behind my old life.

When I didn't value other things, I valued Jiu-Jitsu enough to know and acknowledge that other things were negatively impacting and conflicting with what I believed to be my passion which was being on the mat and by extension becoming a better person.
You can't just try to be great at Jiu-Jitsu and be a *&^%*^ person off the mats. It's not congruent.

Jiu-Jitsu was a big part of that and if I hadn't had the truth I've found there and on the mat, I don't know that I would be in the place I am right now.

I don't know what my life would be like if I wasn't putting on a gi every time I got the chance. For that, I will always be thankful.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Upcoming Tournament Schedule: NC State Championships 04/05, IBJJF New York Open 04/12

Saturday, I'll be working with the always awesome and professional folks at US Grappling. I'll be referee interning, table working, helping set up, and competing at purple belt featherweight for the NC State Championships. They run an excellent tournament that is a blast to do and by far the best run tournament/organization I've been to. Even their submission only events run in a timely fashion.

Assuming registration is still open tomorrow and not capped, I'll also be registering for my first purple belt tournament at the IBJJF level for the New York Open next weekend.

Big kid stuff, I know.
December I moved up to purple belt and I know this New York Open will be a big step up in competition, but life is short and there's no time like the present. If you wait until you feel like you're ready, you'll never pull the trigger.

Monday, March 31, 2014

5 Things I Learned From the 2014 IBJJF Pan-Ams

5. Michael Liera Jr. has a dangerous, traditional, fundamental, basic, solid closed guard
  b. he will submit you once he gets to your back

4. Victor Estima put Leandro Lo in more danger than virtually anyone I've seen (Rodolfo at the Copa Podio doesn't count, he's a heavyweight) since Kron Gracie


3. Handshakes in the finals, 5 out of 10 to be exact are *&^^&^$%.
Don't expect to be paid as professionals if you handshake it out.
Guys who don't even directly train together were handshaking it up.
This HAS to be addressed. No one wants to tune in Sunday to see HALF of the finals decided with two dudes grinning ear to ear both acting like they're the champion.
No, are not. Neither of you are actually.

2. Keenan at Black Belt lost to Alexander Trans in an exceedingly close match. He is one to watch at black belt and had looked very good at the Pro Trials and NoGi against Jackson Sousa in the UFC style NoGi Grappling submission stuff.

1. Lapel-o-plata for 5 plus minutes is slightly more exciting than Braulio's "Galaxy guard" he used to stall the living death out of Rodolfo for nearly 20 minutes at the Metamoris
Honorable Mention: Lovato vs Yuri Simoes


My Metamoris Apologies

I have not hesitated in the past to lambast the Metamoris when I felt it fell short of expectations. That being said, I feel I owe it credit where credit is due when it put on a streamlined, enjoyable, and legitimate attempt at a professional level grappling event for PPV. Jokes aside from the guy they chose to announce, Raka Mat something or other, the fights started right after 7, went quickly, there was a strange vignette piece with Ken-Flo talking about why Jiu-Jitsu is awesome, but overall I truly enjoyed the event.

Zak Maxwell vs Sean Roberts
I thought Zak would take it with a tighter game and overall control as he surpassed Roberts' flexibility. That was pretty much how it went with Zak achieving mount and looking for some good submissions along the way including what looked like a tight armbar.

Gui Mendes vs Samir Chantre
Winner by baseball/brabo variation. Myself and a good friend and training partner were betting which baseball choke/brabo choke variation would be Samir's undoing and Gui made relatively short work of Samir despite some cuff/inside the pant leg grabbing and the like. Gui passed the guard pretty damn quickly and from there the end was nigh.

Dean Lister vs Babalu
Babalu went for it and wasn't overly cautious in his engaging of the leg lock master with Dean looking more listless as the match waned. Having seen

Keenan Cornelius vs Kevin Casey
Made the best of what they could with a last minute replacement. Got to see Keenan grapple, not against Magalhaes, but not Metamoris' fault.

Rafa Mendes vs Clark Gracie was very....."modern". It's disheartening to see two competitors unwilling to try and stand up or kneel and actually pass the guard. I get the strategy at least in part, I get that passing to the back is easier and more direct perhaps than a traditional guard pass, but in a submission only match with no points lost for potentially getting swept, it would have been nice to see someone attack the other's guard. Good perhaps in that it wasn't the Miyao/Keenan level of refusal to really attack and engage with the ankle grab battle...but still, hard to stomach for someone who wants to still believe even sport jiu-jitsu can be rooted in a martial art.

Royler vs Eddie Bravo
I knew based on seeing Eddie roll with Marcelo that he has legit grappling chops. He looked the worse for wear early on hanging onto that bottom half-guard like his young child's life depended on it and Royler sticking to that head/arm/gable grip to pass knee through. Interesting to see Royler forgo attacking/underhooking the inside/inversion arm. The underhook was lost, Eddie went for it like his or his kid's life depended on it, and inverted which eventually led to the sweep.
Something I'll be rewatching with interest in the future. Eventually, Eddie got where he wanted underneath and things began to crumble but Royler was never so much dominated as online pundits might claim or purport. As much as Bravo swept, Royler would get back to top position and ultimately it was an interesting battle of old school jiu-jitsu versus a more modern style. For a guy that purports to teach NoGi/UFC/MMA style submission grappling, Eddie's pants, ankle wraps, and leggings I would assume kinda make that claim a bit disingenuous. I give him all the credit he deserves for showing he has legit grappling skills, but don't call it NoGi if you're pretty layered up from the waist down.