Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Faixa Preta: Prospect Edition - Roberto Satoshi De Souza

Watch Satoshi Defeat JT Torres at the Euro 2012 in Lisbon.

Been seeing his name in the news since brown belt and beating JT at the international stage is proof that he's one to watch.

Mark of the Beast: Rodolfo Vieira Documentary

Watch the man train, speak, and hear from his teammates about his mentality.
Good stuff.

Happy Trainingz!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Takeaways from Rodolfo Viera, Bernardo Faria, and the Euro 2012 Final

Kid Peligro posted a link to Rodolfo Viera (GF Team) and Bernardo Faria (Alliance) in the final of the Euro 2012.

A quick summary of the takeaways:
Faria initially tries a slingshot/armdrag  which misses and he then resorts to pulling half-guard or single leg attempts for most of the match.

Rodolfo points out Faria repeatedly hiking up/pulling up his sleeves to prevent Rodolfo from getting a sleeve grip and the refs call Faria on it.

A good bit of the match is Faria’s single leg/leg grab being stuffed by good balance and takedown defense by Rodolfo. On the way out of bounds, Rodolfo hits at least 1 uchimata turnover/counter to the single leg and what may be a haraigoshi or an uchimata (can’t tell due to the camera’s angle) again later against Faria holding the grip as they move toward the edge.

Incidentally, this grip on the leg, which Faria hangs on for waaaaay too long is how we teach kids to do uchimata to get the motion correct.

It’s a gimmie when you see someone hang onto the leg like that. I often hit this, or grip the far arm and hit a kimura turnover as a counter to the single leg. I've done this in Judo, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Wrestling, NoGi, and the like. It's an effective counter everyone should practice.

At one point, Rodolfo loses position to a single/double leg transition (a similar takedown Claudio Calasans scored on Rodolfo in the Abu Dhabi Pro in one of the few moments Rodolfo’s looked human as of late).

At any rate, Rodolfo eventually settles into a half-guard position and without the underhook he clamps down on the belt then tries to cut through and pass. This fails, and he ends up back in half-guard or quarter guard…gets the underhook….and makes his way to mount.

At that level, it’s interesting to see how fundamentals are still every bit as important.

Happy Trainingz!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

I Need an Old Priest and a Young Priest

Been sick as a dog this week.
Got a stomach flu and I've been simultaneously puking and shitting my brains out for the past several days.

I also got word from my doctor that my knee injury isn't of the "train through it" or "take time off" variety.
It's of the torn ACL variety.

Not the start to my 2012 competition/training year I had planned, to be sure.
To battle off the depression that strikes when I don't train on a daily basis due to sickness, and the depression that strikes when I think about not training for anywhere from 4-9 months after ACL reconstruction, I've been watching documentaries and the like.

Below, is a good one with none other than the inimitable Kurt Osiander. A former teammate/training partner of mine actually trains with him in San Francisco and feeds me quotable quotes by Mr. Osiander via Facebook.

Happy Trainingz and go get some for me b/c I can't.

Monday, January 16, 2012

John Danaher Takes You Inside the Matrix

Read the full article about the seminar by John Danaher over at Submission Control.

For me, when I started Jiu-Jitsu, my background was predominantly in Judo. I had also wrestled for a club team in college and helped coach a local high school program by working out with the kids and doing my fair share of freestyle wrestling.

When I began committing more time to Jiu-Jitsu, like many, I started by looking for moves. Looking for a certain or particular escape. I look for a piece of the puzzle.
Over time, however, you often find yourself more interested in knowing at times what the big picture looks like. Even a rudimentary understanding of what the puzzle should look like will help a brand new puzzle solver complete the puzzle.

With time, you tend to find yourself looking for an approach, or a style in which you approach Jiu-Jitsu. For some it is a passing/top position game. For others it is an open guard game to sweep and/or submit et cetera.

It's easy to find 1001 submissions on youtube. And technique videos have their place.
But, I find myself far more interested in hearing a high level grappler talk about their approach to Jiu-Jitsu, and their philosophy. That being said, when I read the description of a seminar by John Danaher I was highly interested. He's one of those guys that other black belts find themselves blown away by. Much in the manner which I hear black belts talk about how Rickson will explain an armbar or a collar choke, one technique, but his ability to deepen their level of understanding proves astounding.

Back to the article:
Danaher breaks down what he calls high percentage moves. His working definition for a high percentage move is one you see at all levels of competition, at all body types, and succeeds a large(r) portion of the time when attempted.

I highly recommend you go read the article for yourself btw, rathere than read my paraphrasing.

He breaks down into list form the highest level/percentage moves in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (while using the Japanese terminology ;)

They are as follows:
1) The Roger Gracie mounted collar choke
2) Mounted collar choke to armbar
3) Cross Collar choke from Butterfly guard
4) Double lapel choke from the back mount to armbar

At any rate, Happy Trainingz and give this some food for thought.

For sure, high level grapplers have their pet techiniques like Marcelo's Guillotine, or Langhi's Spider guard, Roger's mounted collar choke, but their attributes, are often what lets them best so many various styles and players.
Their base, balance, grip, precision, pressure.....these are the true hallmarks of a high level grappler.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Day 5 1/2 of 7 on Attacking the L3gz: Bets for Toquinho tonight?

So, assuming Toquinho wins by submission tonight in his fight with Mike Massenzio, what do you think it will be?
I'm going with rolling kneebar following a sweep/heel hook attempt.

Happy Trainingz!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Day 5 of 7 on Attacking the L3gz: The Rise of Toquinho

Found this online the other day.
Appropriate as Day 5 of 7 regarding monsters who prey on legs

The Rise of Toquinho from stuart cooper Films on Vimeo.

Happy Trainingz!

Cachorrao (Ricardo Almeida) On Teaching Jiu-Jitsu

Through his facebook (ah, the new millenium) Cachorrao,Ricardo Almeida, a former UFC fighter, mixed martial artist, & Renzo Gracie BJJ Black Belt had disparaging words for teachers who don't roll with their students.

You can read the original post on Graciemag, and below is the message:

Instructors who don’t train with their students are a fraud.
A lot of the time it’s because they’re scared of getting subbed in front of the group.
The day I get scared of getting subbed I’ll stop teaching.
And I hate tapping out!
It’s not because I’ll think I’m worse if I lose a match or sparring session.
It’s because I’m a perfectionist, and I’m really bothered by technical blunders.
Being a black belt has nothing to do with invincibility; it has to do with the art of improving on what we do and persevering in the midst of adversity.
Have a great week—in and out of the academy.

I've had the fortune of virtually all of my Judo coaches always having been hands on teachers. Both in mat work and in throwing. I've visited clubs where age, weight, or ego has perhaps led to a decline in how often instructors do Judo with their students. Realistically, in Judo, after years in the sport, I understand perhaps not doing standing randori with younger players as the injuries do take a toll (as my knees will attest). But mat work and such should continue to be a part of training through exchange and live rolling.

That being said, I've heard and seen in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu instructors (who are fraudulent belts) that don't roll with students, or that only roll with higher belts. I understand that a spastic white belt can injure a black belt who perhaps makes much of his true income on private lessons. Yet, I am torn in discerning how often an instructor "should" (for who am I to say) be hands on.

Perhaps, as a lighter weight player, my ego has been sufficiently smashed early on that survival and perhaps just winning by dominating positionally and transitioning is enough for me some days.
As a pluma or pena peso weight class, this is a life long understanding.
   - Happy Trainingz!

***AND....b/c I'm continually working on my diet as a tool to aid my training, recovery, and stamina in training: a post also from Graciemag highlighting what Vitor Belfort eats in the mornings to aid the cutting of weight (and it looks delicious!)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Day 4 of 7 on Attacking Below the Belt: Mata Leon Grip the Ankle

I don't actually hit the straight ankle lock in the Gi (with regularity). I prefer the Comprido, or figure four toe hold.
That being said, when I do hit the straight ankle lock, I've found using a grip more like an RNC grip provides more control, torque and ultimately leads to more submissions.One thingI have noticed is that the ankle lock  where you simply clasp hands/latch the free hand over the hand trapping the foot/ankle in the armpit has not proven as successful for me in rolling.

Regular Straight Ankle lock Grip: note the foot in armpit, and typically the hands will lock together. In the picture below the left hand is grabbing the lapel, and the competitor will over then grip his left hand with his right hand. then go belly down and apply pressure/curl the foot and toes back.
RNC-style Grip -
Granted, the above picture is not a full RNC grip, but it affords more control and locks the ankle into place with more control.
When possible, I get almost a full RNC grip where my arm locking the ankle into the armpit actually grips my other bicep.

While we're on the Straight Ankle Lock, a short seminar style video about the ankle lock is here by Lucio Linhares, former UFC fighter.

Happy Trainingz!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

7 Lessons/Wisdom from Flavio Canto

A quick break from the 7 days of foot locks post:

A post over at Graciemag with some thoughts from Flavio Canto, Olympic medalist and Pan-American Medalist.

1. LEARN TO BUDGET YOUR TIME In 2011, Flavio Canto had to live with a knee injury, a serious bacterial infection in the injured area, four surgical operations and a lengthy period of recovery. But that didn’t diminish his discipline and dedication one bit, as he kept up his training, presented on the “Sensei Sportv” TV program, taught judo and Jiu-Jitsu at his Instituto Reação outreach project, and took seventh at the Judo World Championship in Paris. Canto is a master of the art of getting the most out of the hours of the day, living by the credo, “If I like it, I’ll find time to do it.” You can do it, too. Concentrate on what’s important, eliminate wasted time, and live a more fulfilling life.

Flavio always wanted to make a difference and fight against the plight of the underprivileged that was stuck in his face every day, living amid the inequality rife in Rio de Janeiro. He’d hand out meals, collect clothing, trudge up favelas to try and teach the kids to read, and only after years of this did he realize that the martial arts were the greatest weapon he had for his cause. “What I did wasn’t much, it didn’t make major changes in anyone’s life,” he told reporter Pedro Só of “Trip” magazine. “I found myself when I came to the understanding that judo could be used as a tool for social inclusion,” Canto often says. Don’t waste time with what you only do well. Focus on what you’re great at, and you’ll make a difference.

Canto was born in Oxford, England, and his move to Rio was decisive in shaping the way he sees life today. He breaks it down: “The misery in Brazil, which to many is just a normal part of life, always shocked me.” If you’re feeling disheartened or stuck in a rut, one reason could be that you’ve been looking at things from the same perspective for too long. Take a trip, compete against different people, practice aspects of Jiu-Jitsu you used to scoff at. Changing your point of view is always a healthy thing to do, and often it can revolutionize a life.

Flavio designates obsession as his greatest flaw. “If I can’t get a position into perfect placement, I very well may stay up all night till I’ve got it the way I want it.” Be loaded with defects like Flavio Canto is. Perhaps with your game will get more and more like his, as shown in the video.

“In 2000, when I lost the tryouts for the Sydney Olympics, I realized my world hadn’t come to an end,” begins Canto, “I saw that I could use the extra time for a bigger project. That was when I started Reação.” Today the institute Flavio oversees is installed in four major low-income communities in Rio de Janeiro: Rocinha, Tubiacanga, Pequena Cruzada and Cidade de Deus.
According to close friends of his, Flavio knows every one of his students’ names.

Reação came to be when Universidade Gama Filho university invited the judoka to teach at the Rocinha favela, for an outreach project called Educação Criança Futuro (Children Education for the Future). “That was when I realized the power sport carries, from the feedback I got from the parents,” remembers Flavio. “The more aggressive and rambunctious kids became more stable—sort of like what happened with me. I wasn’t easy, I went through a phase where I’d get into a lot of fights. And I got beat up a lot too.” The lesson is that it’s never too late to change your ways. Withdraw from what does you harm, and dedicate yourself to growing as a person, Jiu-Jitsu practitioner and a professional.

The pleasure Flavio Canto gets from teaching isn’t limited to discovering gems like world runner-up Rafaela Silva, 19, of the Cidade de Deus favela, polished up by Professor Geraldo Bernardes. Rafa, tipped by experts to be an Olympic champion down the road, is just another one of the students Flavio learns from every day. “I learn much more from them than I teach them. They make me a less selfish person, more humane, basically a better person,” Flavio told “TPM” magazine one time. And he wraps up by teaching what drives him these days: “For every life we see transformed there’s the feeling we’re doing so little, that so many more lives could have undergone such changes. It’s a feeling sort of like the one from ‘Schindler’s List’. That’s why we keep demanding more an more of ourselves.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Day 3 of 7 on Attacking the F33ts: Masakazu Imanari

Starting in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu after having done Judo, I forget when I first became familiar with leg locks. I knew a rudimentary ankle lock moreso for a turnover than a submission, but that was about it.

I had occasionally seen them in MMA and submission grappling tournaments, but knew little if anything about them. As I got ready for my 3rd MMA fight, one of my coaches went over some basics of the heel hook as it was the most dangerous of the leg attacks legal in MMA in my home state where I would be fighting. As it is, the figure four toe hold/"Comprido" is my favorite foot/leg attack in terms of having submitted with it in training.

I did some research and found that foot locks and leg attacks in general have long been viewed as cheap, a move of the suburbs, less qualitative than other submissions in the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu arsenal.
I'm a big fan of "what works" and that if "it works" then it's not all that cheap, lame, gay, or whatever else one might say to decry it.

A bit of history on the footlock and leg attacks from wikipedia and Oswaldo Fadda:
"Despite being regarded by the Gracie family as an outcast, Fadda managed to open his own academy on the outskirts of Rio on January 27, 1950. He and his students began specialising in the use of footlocks, an often ignored part of the jiu-jitsu curriculum. The next year, Fadda felt confident that his school was ready for the next step and issued a challenge to the Gracies through the media: "We wish to challenge the Gracies, we respect them like the formidable adversaries they are but we do not fear them. We have 20 pupils ready for the dispute... Fadda's team emerged victorious, making good use of their knowledge of footlocks, in which the opposition was lacking."

Since I've decided to devote a week/7 days worth of posts to attacking below the belt, the time has come to discuss Masakazu Imanari, the "10th Dan of leg locks" as he is known.

He has something like 9 submission victories via toe hold or heel hook in MMA and highlights of his grappling tournaments make clear he wins with them in non-MMA matchs as well. He also has wins by RNC and armbar as well.

Masakazu on wikipedia
Masakazu's fight record on sherdog

The Definitive Masakazu Imanari Interview via The Grappling Dummy (a great website and online store in it's own right):

Happy Trainingz!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Rousimar "Toquinho" Palhares: Hype video for UFC 142/Rio

Off topic, but a recent interview with former UFC welterweight contender Karo Parisiyan on his ups and downs in the sport, training, and life.

Building off of yesterday's post about attacking the feets/knee/legs, I came across a pre-fight video montage with Palhares (recent UFC heel hooker, David Avellan kneebar-er, vicious ADCC competitor et cetera).
Similar to the previous video the UFC put out about him where he chronicles his struggles, this one features the inimitable Murilo Bustamante offering some thoughts on Palhares as well.

Not since Masakazu Imanari has a mixed martial artist with an affinity for crippling leg locks been so successful.

And...here's the longer, 10 minute Palhares UFC Brazil video the UFC put together.

Happy Trainingz and spend a few days attacking below the belt.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Leg Locks: Attack the F33ts, Ignore the Naysayers.

Keep laughing...the foot lock seems less humorous after you can't walk.

I'm not a big time seeker of leg locks in rolling, but when they present themselves or when nothing else I'm doing from the bottom is working, I'll sweep from the kneebar position. If I'm having trouble passing the guard, or the guy has defended the ankle lock well, I'll switch to the Comprido, or figure four toe hold as it's also called.

At any rate, weeks ago, in the gym, we were lined up, then paired off, and the rules were to roll until someone gets tapped. After at least 20 min's with another blue belt, we were at a standstill. From bottom, b/c of my knee, my go to triangle wasn't an option,  and from bottom his armbar defense was better than my armbar offense.

He was shorter, stockier, and a good bit heavier and close in technique. I'd get to half-guard, sometimes to sidemount, then mount, but with my knee injury, I couldn't maintain mount and hunt for a collar choke the way I normall would.
I'd get swept or stuck in half-guard then swept b/c I had to careful with my injury and couldn't fight the half-guard position by basing out.
After about 20 min's, I hit a Comprido/figure four toe hold. Then I did the same to the next 2 guys I rolled with.

That being said, Judo has leg locks, depending on who your instructor is and what rules they abide by in the gym.
Back in the day, one of my Judo coaches taught me a turnover or two from what I now know to be a straight ankle lock. It's a bit different from Mifune's turnover to what is basically a boston crab, but it is similar:


Richmond BJJ has a brief article about the efficacy of leg locks in BJJ as well.

That being said, passing guard to side mount then mount or back taking should be your priority.
However, you may face a player who's guard retention is better than your guard passing.
You may be down on points. Or, perhaps, he leaves his foot exposed right near the start of a match....Capitalize! Finish the match and continue on to the next portion of the bracket.

If you finish someone with a legal submission be it choke, armbar or foot lock, it is part of that division and legal. The recent ADCC was proof that especially in NoGi, leg locks are an absolute necessity the way wrestling is.
If the mantra of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is "what works".....then a personal or inherited prejudice to foot locks is only overlooking and ignoring a set of submissions that work, even at the highest levels of the sport.
As with most things in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and submissions.....respect them you must....or disrespect them at your own peril.

Happy Trainingz!