Friday, June 29, 2012

Statistical Breakdown of the 2012 Mundials (& MMA is Bulls*&$)

Statistics are an under utilized tool in BJJ.
A fair number of research projects exist on the internet for Judo, and a fair number of case studeies regarding the highest percentage throws, across weight classes, in various tournaments et cetera.
Jits Magazine, awhile back, did a piece examining the highest percentage of scoring techniques by weight class, and not surprisingly, sweeps were a much higher percentage scoring technique in the lower belts/divisions. It also suggested (like this information) that the takedown thus becomes more important at the higher weight classes.

Anyhow, just watching the Pans or the Mundials, we can all make observations. But often, our own bias, prejudice, whatever, will cloud the actual observations and conclusions we can make about our own sport.

The file-drawer effect: we cast away that which conflicts with our beliefs and emphasize in our own minds that which supports what we already think/know/want to think/want to know. Infinity Kimonos provided a breakdown of some parts of the Mundials. The results are below.

A number of things can be gleamed about where time should be spent for elite level competitors whilst training in the gym: strength and conditioning for the likely duration of matches in your division. How matches get to the mat AND how likely a guard pull or top/bottom position is to decide a match. Which divisions really have the most submissions et cetera.

Some observations/conclusions we can draw:
Featherweight has the highest rate of finishing.
The Takedown begins to figure in at about 1/3 of getting the match to the mat from middle to ultra-heavgy. Interestingly enough, women score more takedowns than any of the male divisions, but this is a much larger cross section of weight classes forming an aggregate/composite group.
The guard puller tends to win in the lower weights but then with middle to ultra heavy, the person on top enjoys a significant advantage/likelihood in winning the match.
Light feather competitors, the guard puller wins more than half the time. This contrasts with middle weight competitors where the guard puller wins little more than 2 out of 5 times, or about 40%.

Again, the chaff we get from the wheat is how to focus our time in conditioning for match duration, how important guard pulls vs takedowns are in our division, or in game planning in knowing how likely a competitor is to pull guard versus say, how likely the person on top is to win.

Food for thought. Do some thinking.

As a featherweight myself, I've gathered that at the elite level, a little over 40% of the time, the guard puller wins. About 20% of the time, the person on top wins. The double guard pull to person who comes on top score about 30% of the time.
This tells me quite a bit about how guys at the elite level in this division are preparing as we look at how the matches play out.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Training Reflections from Brazil

Above is a HL of competitors from one of the places I trained in Brazil.
Gracie Barra Pernambuco.

====== General thoughts on training in Brazil =====
The heat: A double weave for day-time training is pretty much impossible. Bring 2 single weaves. Hanging even a single weave to dry overnight will likely not be enough time to adequately dry as the moisture in the air will mean it is not dry after a night time training session and then before heading to train mid-day.

Diet: Acai is awesome. The fruit and the juice were amazing and fresh everywhere I went.
However, when eating rice, potatoes, meat et cetera, if you are unaccustomed to Brazilian food, it can feel heavy if you overeat and don't eat enough fruit/vegetables to accompany.  Know also, that lunch is considered the big meal of the day, not dinner. Eating out is also cost-prohibitive. Sure, you can find a street vendor with chicken/meat on a stick et cetera, but a sit down restaurant will likely run you $20-30/ or the equivalent in Reais.
Supplements are EXTREMELY expensive there. I saw a tub of protein like this one, that would be about 60 bucks in the USA marked up to nearly $100 in a vitamin/supplement store there. I highly recommend packing what you can rather than buying there. And it wasn't just the brand name: this was the norm.
In general, Brazil's economy is booming and the days of thinking the American dollar's conversion rate will make it a cheap stay are long gone. Anyone who tells you that hasn't been to Brazil in awhile, and expect as the oil rich reserves help boost Brazil's economy and with all the construction for the World Cup and the Olympics, prices will continue to rise.
There is also the "gringo price" for things.
The first place I went wanted to charge me a month's rate for my training there for a week.
It is what it is, and it's just something you should be aware of. That being said, private lessons, can be comparatively cheap for a good brown or black belt compared to what you will pay in the States.

Another HL from the GB PE school I trained at:

Transportation: The busing system is confusing if your Portuguese is weak and the bus driver's will likely be so strapped for time that explaining to you the ins and outs will be dependent on how friendly they may or may not be as well as how good their English may or may not be. Finding those who speak more than passable English can be difficult if you are outside of the major metropolitan areas. I did fine communicating with guys at the gyms I trained at, but stopping a person on the street to get directions was typically limited by my lack of Portuguese and their general lack of English.
Again, this may be different in Rio or Sao Paulo, but outside of those areas, and the airport, it can be difficult.

Some other general things:
Returning something with or without a receipt is virtually impossible in Brazil. Any store, clothing, supplement, a can of coke, whatever, don't plan on returning it. You buy is yours.

If you look American or like a tourist, you may be targeted for crime. Traveling at night beyond major crowded areas or beyond the beaten path to a club or bar is ill-advised unless you are with a large, large group. If you are out with a bunch of couples, and the guys look soft, well, you might get robbed. It is best to go to and from the places you go directly. Cab to there and cab back. In particular for those that "look" American/European. I did not feel unsafe as I grew up on the west coast in a major city, but those I was with were noticeably concerned about being in certain parts of town past dark, and especially later on past 9 or 10pm.

Take some time to visit a few museums, or some of the niceer places downtown and see the sights.
I was fortunate enough to visit some awesome beaches, some amazing old colonial architecture, and see the country side on the way to a nearby Porto De Galinhas (term for old slave ships/slaves).

You will appreciate some of the easier things about America (like using the bank or dealing with a government agency - even the DMV) after visiting Brazil. The Jiu-Jitsu is great. The food is great. The people I met at the gyms I trained were great and were all super helpful: making sure I was safe getting to and from the gym, inviting me to seminars, asking about my fights, training in the States vs Brazil et cetera.

All in all, if you take all the money you waste in a year on eating out, buying shit you don't need, buying books and going to seminars, you can afford to make a trip to the birthplace of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. No one get irked about me not calling the birthplace Japan. I'm a Judo black belt, and what they do on the mat in Brazil is no longer the same as what they do on the mat in Japan.
They are different sports with enough time spent in isolation, give Brazil it's due.

Here is  HL of another gym I trained at, Kezen BJJ, now affiliated with GFTeam:

Below is a purple belt, nicknamed "Paulista" who I trained with during the day during my week in Brazil at Kezen BJJ. Super nice guy. Tough fighter. He's the guy with the tats on his feet (if you can see, on the left as the match begins). He had a fight coming up when I visited, hope they found him an opponent and he won.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Sunday, June 24, 2012

UFC On FX 4 and UFC 147 Picks: Aftermath Edition

Not a bad night for me bet wise. I picked 10 fights correctly out of 17 total.

In the end, I went with my heart and bet Wand. I nearly lost my mind when he almost finished Franklin in the 2nd round.
Stone and Pague felt like a toss up. I went with Pague as all I'd seen of Stone was him getting tko'd by Jorgensen. Not bad overall. I don't know much about other fantasy leagues on the internetz, but I go with

Moraes decided to be a standup fighter and grab a single leg one time in 3 rounds.
I had a flash thought when picking Hioki (the fav) over Lamas and thought, man if Hioki is believing his own hype, another tough, experienced WEC/UFC guy might beat him.....And it happened. Such is the fight game.

Swanson came out looking as sharp as he ever has and props to him for finishing a tough, durable, dangerous Ross Pearson.

It's been a tough week with Wand looking retirement-considering and Fedor retiring from the game.

How the mighty have fallen.

Friday, June 22, 2012

My Picks for UFC on FX Tonight and UFC 147 Tomorrow

Guida will try to bounce around with his energizer bunny impression. Maynard (of whom I am by no means a fan) will look to work his boxing that hasn't really finished any more fighters than his previously boring wrestling-stifling-wet blanket style.
I think Maynard's hopefully ever improving footwork and tough chin will get him through what are Guida's two strong suits: his takedowns and active, pawing punches and relatively ineffective leg kicks.
Overall, I just think Guida is not gonna take Maynard down and Guida's not going to hug Maynard against he fence like Guida has against Nate Diaz or Florian et al.
Maynard by late TKO as we see Guida gas for the first time.

Dan Miller is going to tap out Ricard Funch. Period.

Ebersole is going to continue his slow ascent up the weight class by finishing or winning a UD over Waldburger. Ebersole's weird style and toughness will cause Waldburger to wilt as the fight goes on.

Ramsey Nijem will win despite how little I think of his personality based on his actions on TUF.

Ross Pearson will win a UD or Stoppage win over Cub Swanson who is the unluckiest guy in MMA.

Sam Stout's head movement and footwork will lead him to a split decision or perhaps even a rare TKO over Spencer Fisher.

Matt Brown is going to finish some guy I've never heard of.

Rick Story with his head/face first style is going to wear down and TKO/Submit some guy you've never heard of.

Rony Jason will beat Pepe.

AND Moraes will beat Mutante by submission, late in the 2nd round.

My heart has me going with Wand over Franklin by late TKO in the 4th round.
Franklin comes in great shape and rarely truly gasses (unless getting knee'd to the face by Anderson Silva).

Don't believe the bogus hype that Russow is anything other than a guy who catches guys when they slip.
His big claim to fame is knocking out Todd Duffee a guy no longer in the UFC. Fabricio, unless he does what he did with Cigano and takes him lightly, will eat Russow alive either like he did on the feet when he battered Roy Nelson, or by breaking his arm off on the mat like he did when he caught the Last Emperor.
Fabricio by 3 rd UD or 2nd rd Submission.

Miltinho Vieira will tap out whatever guy I've never heard of in the 1st or 2nd round.

Matt Brown is going to TKO or submit some guy I've never heard of.

Hioki is going to continue his slow ascent to the top by beating Lamas (who I think is a solid fighter).

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Thin Line: Why MMA Shirts Fail

Want to win this shirt? Seriously? You could win this awesome shirt. 
In completely off topic news, Masakazu Imanari thinks Ronda Rousey is cuter than Megumi Fuji.

I was perusing a fan contest for designing some t-shirts for Blackhouse MMA over at Cagepotato (one of my favorite MMA news websites).Predictably, the submitted designs were awesome playing on things like Jimi Hendrix, comic book/graphic art, Enter the Dragon with Bruce Lee et cetera.

Then you look at the t-shirts you win by designing the best shirt...and it looks like the head designer for Blackhouse MMA owns a laptop, had 5 minutes to kill between watching fetish porn and surfing the MMA news, and only knows how to use Microsoft Paint. The awesome fan-submitted designs are below: 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Grappling and MMA Links for your Tuesday Evening

The guy who made me want to be a fighter. The one and only Axe Murderer....Wanderlei Silva.

 The linkage has been MMA heavy this week as with the passage of the Mundials and the Pans and the Pro Trials, the hotbed of the Jiu-Jitsu season is slow for a bit. That, and there are some great MMA fights coming up over the next few weeks.

Dana White Offered Shogun a fight with a Brazilian that no one other than a hardcore MMA fan would have heard of (other than his steamrolling ONE GUY in his UFC debut) and White put Shogun on blast for not taking the fight.

Shogun wants a belt. Fighting and beating a dangerous guy with one UFC fight does nothing for that. So Dana threw Shogun under the bus despite Shogun's impressive resume, great fights with Machida, Henderson, et cetera. Shogun fought Machida weeks after surgery, rushed his UFC debut only to drop a fight to Forest Griffin....for once, Shogun is being smart. Which is good. He only has so many training camps left him it after his mileage from fighting in Pride and numerous knee surgeries.

Why waste it on a fight that does nothing to move him closer to a fight for the belt.

The IBJJF and the Copa Podio are finally getting some legit competition for bragging rights and recognition: the IBJJ is promising a black belt only set of 3 divisions with pay out money as well. I can only assume this is good for the sport as has been the Pro Trials with some competitors who shall remain nameless (rhymes with Modolfo Sieira) choosing to do the Pro Trials rather than the Pan Ams (and who can blame you with money on the line rather than just winning the Pans.

Recreational and even semi-competitive grapplers like most of us don't know shit about having a black belt but barely making ends meet after years of training and sacrifice. I'm glad higher end players have done just what this Modolfo Sieira did and went with the paid event rather than the name IBJJF event. (Though, I will admit, Bochecha's time on the mat under IBJJF rules probably got him the win as the Pans proved a better warm-up for the Mundials than did the Pro Trials with it's 6 minute rule setting, but that is another debate.

Braulio says it takes about 7 years to get good. And by that, he means his definition of good. Hmm, mysterious as always. Get an answer in Jiu-Jitsu...and you get a few more questions to accompany it.

A quick summary of the Brazilian Heavy main card and under card for UFC 147 this weekend.

Dana White says exactly what I've said about Chael Sonnen since before the first time they fought: Chael legitimately believes he is the best in the world and that he will talk down/through/past/whatever Anderson Silva. You watch Belfort, Okami, Leites, Maia....those guys were afraid of Anderson. Cote did the best of anyone other than Chael until he blew out his ACL during their fight. And part of it was, he came at Anderson. Chael, like him, find him entertaining, or absolutely loathe him....believes in himself, his ability, his will to win...and it carried him through 4 1/2 rounds against the Spider. Anderson had perhaps, only lost one round in the UFC prior to that, when he was mounted by Travis Lutter. Say what you will, but it's the old Mike Tyson Buster Douglass scenario, where a fighter has grown used to preying on the fear of opponents...and when the man comes along who stares him directly down, and completely lacks fear, he struggles as was the case for 33 1/2 minutes of fighting the first time around. Chael, a guy who has always had middling stand-up, knocked down Anderson Silva. Rewatch the fight. You can't call anything other than the triangle the moments where the Spider even won rounds or part of rounds minus an occasional elbow from the back or an upkick or a leg kick hit moments before being taken down.

And for the gamblers out there, or the fantasy MMA league gamblers out there, the UFC 147 Main Card Betting lines :)

Monday, June 18, 2012

Monday's MMA Mailbag

Love the troll or hate the Spider or um....well, less than 3 weeks til one of the biggest rematches in recent MMA history.

Sonnen's near win over Anderson will always remain tainted by his TRT suspension, but the first fight wasn't close minus a late triangle by Silva. The big question is, was Chael that good that night? Was Anderson that off that night? Was Anderson injured like he said he was? Now that Anderson has seen how Chael dominated him, will the Spider be more elusive and avoid the takedown?

I was initially going to actually bet against Chael until I heard that he was given a TRT exemption for this fight. Chael has won since the Anderson fight, but looked flat, particularly against Brian Stann (a fight for which he did not have a TRT exemption).

That being said, Chael is back on the TRT, and I think this is his fight to lose.
The real question tho', is does Anderson pick Chael apart unlike their first fight when Chael walked Anderson down and put him on his back for 4 1/2 rounds?

That really is the big money question.

Miltion Vieira (tapped by some as the inventor of the D'Arce choke) is making his relatively unheralded UFC debut this weekend on the facebook prelims of UFC for Rich Franklin and Wanderlei Silva.
Click HERE for a bit about him and his debut from over at Sherdog
Click HERE for 8 Questions with Miltinho also from over at Sherdog

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Blue Belt Lessons & Training Log Statistics

Glad to see I'm not the only person tired of watching world class players lay on their backs and grab ankles:
From the coach of the guy who beat the top prospect of Renzo and Danaher: "But I noticed that Victor was the only little guy who won playing on top, and I’m not just talking about brown belts. In the other finals—forgive me if I’m being unfair to anyone—I only saw guys with their buts on the ground trying to win. Horrible, in my opinion,” said Paiva."

On to Lessons and Things I've learned in the past 2 years and several months as a blue belt:

In Class:
 - I get more from training consistently Monday-Saturday than by training balls out twice a day Monday-Thursday and then having to rest on the weekend.

- Injuries have taught me more efficient and less body-straining ways to do things.
Many things we consider injuries are not an impediment to training. Train with a hand in the belt. Let go of the need to win. Being able to reguard, or to pass, or to get to top position without using a hand or a leg, requires a lot of finesse. Finesse is always a great tool to have in your bag.

- It's tough seeing fellow blue belts quit. Good training partners, good personalities. Good dudes.
And they quit and it's another name on the list of guys that have come and gone since you started.
You know how they feel.
For the first time since I started grappling, Judo, and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu....for the first time ever, after tournaments this year...I had moments where I thought, "Fuck this. I don't need this. Fucking fuck this.I'm done with this fucking shit."
My love for Jiu-Jitsu has deepened. But the days where I don't get it, the days where I feel like I've gotten worse have grown proportionately maddening and frustrating.

In Tournaments:
There's a process to becoming a great competitor.
You must combine your conditioning, your technical expertise, your game plan, and your mental belief in yourself.
I once saw tournaments as "another day of jiu-jitsu". But this is not the path to winning. You have to fight hard and believe in yourself, your preparation, your team, your coaches, and that this is your day.
If you are missing one of those elements, a match, or 2 points, or even an advantage can end your day. Each match must be approached like it is the final. Meaning? Don't go crazy....but live and be in the moment. Your complete focus is now necessary.

Training Log:
In nearly 2 1/2 years of tracking my submissions, tournaments, training et cetera:
I have logged:
398 armbars
251  triangles
150  keylocks
99 cross collar chokes from mount
96 rear naked chokes
82 Comprido/figure four toe holds
78 single lapel choke/variations of the ezekiel choke from half-guard, mount, back control, etc.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Graciemag Gives Keenan Cornelius His Due

I've blogged about him HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE....and.....finally, it has happened.
Graciemag has an article articulating just how much Keenan Cornelius accomplished as a purple belt this year.

"Having overcome Paulo Miyao of Cícero Costha team by a narrow margin, Keenan is now the simultaneous holder of the following gold medals:
Europeans 2012 – weight and absolute
Pan 2012 – weight and absolute
Brazilian Nationals 2012 – weight and absolute
Worlds 2012 – weight and absolute
An unprecedented achievement. May your brown belt be nigh, KC!"

As it is, I'm competing tomorrow, my last competition before knee surgery.
Wish me luck.

- Happy Trainingz!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Otavio Sousa - BJJ Black Belt World Champion

As no surprise, since I've been posting about him since forever ago.
Otavio Sousa, Gracie Barra Black Belt, world champion at every belt (now including black), won the Mundials as a middlweight over Calasans at black belt.

No easy task as Calasans plays the rules/game as well as anyone in all of sport Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Keenan Cornelius: A Year & a Belt in Review

Say what you will about Lloyd Irvin, but his results sure do speak for themselves.

Well. I've posted about him HERE, HERE, and HERE.
I saw him as the next big thing from Team Lloyd Irvin annnnnnnd, drum roll.......he has had quite the year.

And the short of it at this point is, the man, Keenan Cornelius, has won the weight and absolute categories at purple belt at the Euros, the Brasileiros/Brazilian Nationals, The Pan Ams, and the Mundials at weight and absolute.
Not to mention he wont the purple belt at weight at the World Pro.

Amazing. Incredible.
It is simply what it is.
I bet some brown belts have some deep, dark, shameful thoughts right now about the upcoming year of competition.

Shogun vs Vera to replace Thiago Silva & other MMA Oddities

You know the size and skill mismatches of Pride were paid for with every fight ended by knees or stomps to the head of a downed opponent.

In case you hadn't heard, Mauricio "Shogun" Rua is no longer fighting Thiago " submits non-human piss for a PED test" Silva.
Instead, Shogun will face Brandon" I was once a heavyweight but haven't done much since hugging Couture for 3 rounds and getting my face cracked in multiple places by Jon Jones" Vera at the UFC on Fox 4 in August.

Oh, and this just in, Josh "everytime I leave the big show of the UFC it's because I get LNP'd by better wrestlers" Neer says this time he's figured out how to beat the boring lay n' pray wrestlers!
He's going to hit them in the face.
I'm not kidding. That's basically what he says in the interview.
Man, those LNP wrestlers will never know this is the NEW plan for them!
Unless they read this post. Damn.

Ian McCall is excited to finally finish/decide that fight with Demetrious Johnson (that guy that Dominic Cruz is just a little bit better at than everything and beat with a broken hand) that they made special rules for so it would have to be decided that night...but then a judging/scoring/adding up fucking numbers with a pencil and paper mistake happaned and they have to fight. again.

This is the world champion elite level of the most effective martial art?

I was going to write a big thing on sport versus self-defense, but I think we on some level as grapplers must acknowledge this leg scissor flying butt scoot to foot grab for 8 minutes is fucking ridiculous. Be a purist. Tell me how I don't get the intricacies of the sport. Whatever. You're just too deep in the dogma of "Jiu-Jitsu is the best evaaaa" to acknowledge the absurd level to which the rules are currently played AT THE MOST ELITE LEVELS of the sport. Period.

Bochecha: En Route to winning weight and absolute from blue to black

In case you didn't know, Bochecha has won the Mundials at every belt from blue to black. At weight and at absolute.

That's all there is to know about that.
 Here's his match over Rodolfo if you haven't seen it. People are calling it the best match of all time. Judge for yourself:

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Keenan Cornelius Wins 2012 Mundials at Middleweight

FIRST Keenan Kai-James Cornelius - Team Lloyd Irvin
SECOND Diego Mendonça Perseguin - Núcleo JJ
THIRD Jonathan Satava - Alliance Ecuador
THIRD Arthur Sousa - The Avengers"