Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Training for the PanAms and some other Odds & Ends

Been training hard for the Pan-Ams. I got super sick with the flu about a month ago and lost 12 pounds in 5-6 days of being as sick as I've ever been in my life. It was a healthy reminder how much we take our good health for granted. Being able to eat, sleep, and go about my day normally was something I missed incredibly after a couple days of being sick.
Not being able to train for nearly a week straight was unbearable. Those who train hard are constantly struggling to find the balance between hard, dedicated, consistent training and pushing the envelope to the point of injury, exhaustion, and true over-training.

But, post sickness, I've managed to train 6 days a week the past 3 weeks straight, with only Sundays off to rest.
I finally hit the wall Monday night when I had to acknowledge that another 6 days in a row was not advisable nor intelligent. I had hit the point of physical overwork and mental overload.
Nothing was clicking: I struggled to do the things I normally do without thinking like break grips, establish my grips, my head was down and my spine wasn't aligned when I hit my takedowns....I didn't hip out, make angles, inactive cetera. Or, that last little bit of energy to finish taking the back from the bottom, or getting to top position in a scramble rather than just fall back and look to sweep I took a night off from training.

Monday - I do a quick 5 round workout consisting of a circuit of bench press, rows, then 400m sprints.
Then I'm in the Gi from 730-930pm. Roughly 15-20 min's with positional rolling like mount escapes, guard passing, sidemount escapes etc. Then another 15-30 min's of free rolling with my training partners.
Tuesday -  I go to Judo and do some quick rounds of 2-3 min rounds of matwork, then about 10-20 min's of takedowns or exchanging throws.
Wednesday - Again in the Gi from 7-830pm, usually about 20-30 min's of free rolling
Thursday - another 5 round circuit workout of 3-4 exercises like overhead press, curls, squats, or good mornings/russian twists. Then I'm back in the Gi for a repeat of Monday's drilling positions/rolling, then 15-30 min's of free rolling.
Friday - free rolling in the Gi for 30-40 min's
Saturday - free rolling in the Gi for 30 min's.
Sunday - REST
At any rate, this is my training preparation during an average week.
Links to video/interviews from around the interwebz:
Armlocks from Catch Wrestling with Billy Robinson and Josh Barnett

Fedor's latest Sambo match (you know you are at least mildly interested despite his precipitous fall from grace in MMA)

Background on Lloyd Irvin's latest wonder kid, Keenan Cornelius.

Interview with Lloyd Irvin regarding: 2012 Houston Open, Lloyd Irvin's training methodology, PED's, etc.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Going to the Motherland & some Interviews

An interesting article about living/working(illegally) in Rio from over at On The Click Here.

Without a work visa (notoriously hard to obtain) or a degree in English, few jobs on the up and up (legal) are available to visitors. If you're on a tourist visa you are specifically barred from working while you are there to train/visit. Like with all things, that doesn't mean it's un-possible, but it will take some enterprising and entrepreneurial skills to make it happen.

Import/export, managing a house, finding varying ways to pay for room/board/training are all necessary if you want to scrape by and maximize your training time.

Some interviews for your Tuesday Afternoon:
Wagney Fabiano. Click Here

Relson Gracie. Click Here

Rising super young competitor Edwin Najmi

Monday, February 27, 2012

Helio Gracie Documentary & UFC 144 Ballin' or Busted

Take some time and watch a great documentary on the one and only Helio Gracie.
Jiu-Jitsu has made me a better person, a more caring and humble person, and calmed my more self-destructive side. It has protected me in my MMA fights, given me something of value to seek and strive and pursue, and has literally changed my life. Take some time, watch, learn, and give thanks.

on UFC 144:

I picked 4 fights correctly. Guys like Boetsch, Imura, Lee, and Hunt all played live underdog roles to a "T".
Talk about stingrays/live underdogs on one card. The Okami, Kongo, Yamamoto losses were all what I thought they could be: upsets by a mistake/getting caught.
That's why they call it a fight, right?
And that's why I don't bet real money on MMA anymore, unless the line is just too good to ignore (when Dominic Cruz fought for the belt the first time, or when Mike Brown fought Urijah etc).

Happy Trainingz!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Middle Fingers of the Diaz Bros. & Last Minute UFC Picks for Tonight

An awesome/hilarious/terrible post over at
Check it out. Semi-NSFW. Click Here.

Oh, and my picks for the UFC Tonight?
Despite the fact that Edgar has always found a way to win, I'm going with Bendo b/c of how he crushed his last 3 guys in the UFC. After the beating he put on Guida and Bocek, I'm a wholesale believer in the Bendo hype train.

Choo Choo!

  • Champ Frankie Edgar vs. Ben Henderson (for lightweight title) - Bendo by Submission - 4th round
  • Ryan Bader vs. Quinton "Rampage" Jackson - Jackson by TKO
  • Cheick Kongo vs. Mark Hunt   - Kongo by grinding, terrible, lackluster decision
  • Yoshihiro Akiyama vs. Jake Shields  - Akiyama by decision
  • Tim Boetsch vs. Yushin Okami  - Okami by sticking jab + right hand and pressing Tim against the cage
  • Hatsu Hioki vs. Bart Palaszewski    - Hioki b/c he's supposed to win in front of the hometown crowd and Bart-imus finds a way to lose the fights when the pressure is on
  • Joe Lauzon vs. Anthony Pettis   - split decision for....hmmm, tough. Um, Pettis by stick and move strategery!
  • Takanori Gomi vs. Eiji Mitsuoka - Mitsuoka b/c Gomi has been terrible lately
  • Vaughan Lee vs. Norifumi "Kid" Yamamoto - Yamamoto b/c I don't even know who Vaughan Lee is
  • Steve Cantwell vs. Riki Fukuda  - Riki b/c Cantwell has looked terrible lately
  • Chris Cariaso vs. Takeya Mizugaki  - Mizugaki b/c he's only lost to guys like Faber and other top flight guys
  • Issei Tamura vs. Tiequan Zhang  - Zhang b/c he's the Jeremy Lin of the UFC's hopes of expanding into the homeland of Chairman Mao. 
- Happy Trainingz!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Next Level (?) & IBJJF TV - Episode 1: The Houston Open

Watch Gui Mendes dominate and finish another world champion.
One of the staggering things to my brain is the difference in skill and application even between 2 elite level black belts with elite level competition experience. On paper, they are roughly equals despite some difference in weight and/or height. Yet, the outcome is undeniable. You often hear DJ's on the radio, or advertising for weight gain at GNC say things like "to the next level!" or "take your game to the next level" and I always ask myself "what the f***" does that even mean? Well, Gui Mendes is that next level. It's incredible.
While I'm patting myself on the back for hitting a calf roll sweep on another blue belt (much bigger than myself), this guy is crushing another World Champion and making it look relatively ABC, 123.


IBJJF TV's First Episode, with interviews & such from the 2012 Houston Open

And some links to what I've been watching lately: wrist locks and Fredson Paixao:
- Fredson competing in Japan.
- A piece from over at the Jiu-Jitsu Laboratory about wrist locks.
- And a clip of Fredson showing a wrist lock.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Your Wednesday Morning Video Mailbag

Hump Day is here. Thanks god for coffee in the morning. Trained a lot lately. Trained hard Mon-Friday this past week, competed (& managed to medal) Saturday, rested Sunday, and back on the grind Monday. Been diligently working my guard passing and getting in a couple days a week of Judo despite my injury. It's been tough, but as it turns out, I'm competing in the PanAms in BJJ at the end of March.

I find that when I train consistently, 5-6 days a week, despite fatigue and sometimes missing a position or the juice/gas to finish something, in general, I'm ahead of the curve when rolling. My awareness while rolling and my adjustments come more quickly, require less energy and so forth.

The hilarious training/demonstration/montage of Women Ninjas in Iran. Click HERE.
Taking a break from videos advocating the destruction of Israel from the face of the earth....we get Ninjas.

Roberto Satoshi De Souza on BJJHeroes. Click HERE. 
A guy I mentioned awhile back. His performance at the Euro 2012 (beating Langhi, Torres in the same day) thrust him into (more) spotlight than before. Some matches of his not on are available after the brief bio.

Denis Kang and his "93 Guard". Click HERE.
From over at - a quick highlight/intro to what Kang calls the 93 Guard. I never cease to be amazed at all the varieties of guard in BJJ.

Happy Trainingz!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Rodolfo Vieira: Faixa Preta & Fundamentals

You hear a lot about Roger Gracie and (recently) Rodolfo Vieira in Roger's absence.
For more on Rodolfo and his relatively meteoric rise to the limelight in BJJ, click HERE.
And for a documentary on the man himself and his current trainingz, click HERE. 

I'm not saying Rodolfo doesn't deserve his current standing as the best in the world, but until Roger and he face off....well, we are all left wondering who is the best.

At any rate, what is of note regarding BOTH MEN is how the two guys, in general have relatively "basic" games.

Roger's mounted cross collar choke and top pressure and Rodolfo's takedowns and passing are deceptively basic.

I've included this recent qualifying match from the Abu Dhabi Pro Trials from Brazil (Gramado I believe) as proof of Rodolfo's deceptively basic yet crushingly effective game.

On the foot sweep:
His opponent has an inside grip which is typically the stronger grip in stand up, but as he goes for the foot sweep and Rodolfo is taller, this is actually his undoing as he comes down to his side

On the mat:
Rodolfo cracks open the remaining half-guard using his free foot and a pant leg grip at the knee and establishes side control.

Rodolfo nearly steps into mount, gets put into half-guard then slides into quarter guard/near mount.

Rodolfo gets the underhook, does what we call the Tripod at my gym, nearly achieves mount, gets back in quarter guard/near mount, then using the underhook does the cut thru/knee through pass into side control.
Moments later he briefly hits knee on belly, then slides into mount and hunts for the arm.

Rodolfo misses the arm, maintains top position, gets his underhook again, AGAIN hits the cut thru/knee through pass into side control then moments later is threatening knee mount again.

Rodolfo isolates the arm, presses the face down and does the step around armbar I'm pretty sure I learned my first week at Jiu-Jitsu.

The whole thing takes less than 3 minutes.
Pure domination using basic components/techniques of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

Faixa Preta indeed.

I'll be working on my knee thru/cut through passes, establishing my underhook, and the step around armbar this week.

Happy Trainingz!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Ricardo "Cachorrao" Almeida - Head/arm control to butterfly sweep

From over at Graciemag

I've been playing a lot of high/shoulder/half-triangle type guard when I'm on the bottom as of late.
Ala this:
 And this:

Mainly, from this position, I hunt for what we call at my gym "the gift wrap".

From here, I'll sweep as in the video above, or look to finish the armbar/triangle or a keylock from the locked triangle.

At any rate, the above head/arm control to butterfly sweep Almeida shows is another threat/option as I'm hunting for my sweep or submission from the bottom and one I used to use quite a bit more often.

Seeing someone like Marcelo Garcia use the butterfly sweep or the scissor sweep in Gi and NoGi at the highest levels of the sport reminds me that the basics are called the "basics" for a reason. They are simple, effective, and the principles behind them work in a variety of situations.

Happy Trainingz!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Monday Morning Video Mailbag

If you're like me, you dread checking your work email on Monday morning. Typically, I go several days without checking my email. This means that Thursday morning may or may  not have been the last time I checked it. What this causes is a deluge of things that should have been done days and days ago.....on Monday morning.

Add that to the fact that I worked about 2 days last week and you get the picture. I have, selflessly, compiled some video links from across the internetz for your viewing pleasure. Watch. Learn. Reflect!

Ary Farias on his BJJ lifestyle, Atos, and 2 slick chokes using your own lapel
   - more on Ary Faria from BJJ Heroes

Highlight of World Pro Trials with Irmaos Miyao
   - the Miyao Bros. facebook page :)
   - Miyao Bros. Berimbolo Insanity Doomsday Armageddon!

Roger Gracie on learning BJJ via youtube/Berhimbolo et al.

Draculino says "Gracie Barra is the best"
    - for those needing some background on this prolific figure in BJJ

Tips on competition for white & blue belts from Queens MMA

And a video from the Euro 2012 of the guy I'm watching a lot lately, Roberto Saitoshi De Souza

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Sporting Event Riot for your Saturday: Brawl after Lazarte Casimero in Argentina

Nothing like a good ole' post sporting event full-scale riot for your viewing pleasure.

Young Guns & Gossip Hounds: What to do both on the mat and off

You know you liked it. This was back when Lou Diamond Phillips & Emilio Estevez were still cool. 4 or 5 DUI's aside, Keifer Sutherland is still cool.
If you want to be successful, you have to learn and follow the traits and beliefs of others who have been successful.

Jimmy Harbison of Lloyd Irvin's Academy is a great example. As a brown belt he won the Grand Slam of BJJ that is the Pan Ams, Worlds/Mundials, and the Euro. Impressive for anyone. What's also impressive is the stories of how he went underground in terms of distractions in his life to focus on Jiu-Jitsu. That and his age being in the early 20's.
More on Harbison's relatively meteoric rise to prominence through Brown Belt.

Harbison VS "the Jiu-Jitsu Outlaw" Barbosa - coincidentally, I saw this match in person as I competed as a blue belt at the Pro Trials in New Jersey that day.


It's a dirty word in the world of men, and rightfully so.
The urge to participate in gossip abounds in the gym. From who tapped who to why so and so left and trains elsewhere. It may have to do with an incident during training or someone censured by an Instructor. It may have to do with a visiting member of a different team/gym. Whatever the case may be, it is a virus, a cancer, and an unavoidable ill of combat sports.

Here is an article about Shawn Williams and Hollywood BJJ parting ways. I post the article not to continue the vicious cycle of gossip but as an exhibit of how quickly a statement or fact like someone announcing parting ways becomes a firestorm of gossip. Anonymous claims via the internet or otherwise, gossip is prevalent in BJJ. You've probably read similar articles about Koscheck leaving AKA, and Camarillo leaving as well. Camarillo and his feud or bad blood (whatever you call it) with Ralph Gracie is also relatively well-documented both in Camarillos' Guerilla Jiu-Jitsu book and on the internet.

I saw the politics and gossip in Judo before I committed myself to training Jiu-Jitsu full-time. With different coaches under one roof, and different mindsets, variances in techniques et cetera, it's practically inevitable.

My point being, in the gym, your job is to train, represent the team, and outside the gym and off the mats to represent your team and your coaches.
It is not to spread lies, repeat what is told to you in confidence, nor talk about who tapped who.

There is a fine line between repeating what you are told and gossip mongering.
When in doubt, keep your f*cking mouth shut.
Your job is to train, represent the team, and help your teammates.
And remember....those who gossip to you....will gossip of you.

 - Happy Trainingz

Monday, February 6, 2012

2012 IFJ Paris: Stall Your Way to Victory Edition!

That was close...they almost realized I had no intention of doing anything other than STALLING.
Note: the above is(are) not the alleged suspect(s).

It was a busy weekend with the UFC and the Super Bowl and my starting training for the Pan Ams in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. I had a week out of training due to sickness, so I spent a week getting back to rolling, getting my lungs back, and the like.

I hadn't had a chance until earlier to watch any of the Tournoi De Paris 2012 Grand Slam.
I should've just not tuned in.

The first two matches I watched from the 66kg with David Larose of France were atrocious.
See here and see here.

I warn you, if you like legitimate attacking, aggressive Judo, this is not for you.
All parties are to blame initially in the matches, but once Larose is up on points, he clearly, deliberately, and effectively does only exactly enough to avoid passivity penalties.
He gets a referee's decision against the Korean player b/c the Korean is so frustrated with Larose's stalling he finally gets sloppy and gets countered.
The match against Sergey Lim has some of the most clear and blatant stalling/grip fighting to avoid engaging I've seen at this level in a long time.

It's boring. It's fake. It's stalling and deliberate optical illusion-ery pretending to attack at it's shallow, dark, empty, heart.

Between this and the last world championships....I honestly am highly disappointed.

I have serious concerns about the upcoming Summer Olympics if this is what the high level players are competing like in the 6 months before the summer Olympics start. These last big tournaments are supposedly the events to fine tune the game plans for various styles and players.

The matches I've seen thus far were about as lackluster and anti-climactic as the Nick Diaz vs Carlos "The Natural Born Runner" Condit non-fight that took place Saturday night.