Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Tournament/MMA Proof Tuesday: Haraigoshi and Uchimata in MMA

This bout is from nearly 3 years ago. At that point, I had been doing Judo for roughly 4 years.

A lot of the internet will tell you they can't use Judo and get countered Judo is hard to use in MMA, that it doesn't have self-defense applications.
They'll say that the whizzer/overhook gets them taken down will get you taken down. 
That they can't do it in training only high level players and Olympic level athletes can use it.
Not true. I've never claimed to be nor would my training partners and coaches tell you I am a gifted athlete.

1:45 uchimata counter to a  body lock/trip attempt from my opponent

4:01 uchimata counter to single leg attempt from my opponent

6:45 haraigoshi counter to body lock by my opponent

I had spent little to no time training without a Gi before this and my previous MMA fight.

The Judo throws were decisive tools for me to secure top position and win rounds in front of the judges by  not only being on top in the mat work, but some of my best punches landed from dominant positions on top, on the ground.

My opponent clearly had wrestling experience and kept after the takedown the whole fight.
My Judo helped me negate those attempts and gain top position when he closed the distance and nearly took me down.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Cross-Training is Heresy!!!!! (I'll probably get banned or my post removed (again) )

Who am I to suggest that doing things the way they've always been done is contrary to the spirit of Judo and Jiu-Jitsu?

Let me start off by saying I've had posts/topics removed by Judoforum administrators that questions the direction of American Judo, its politics and money-driven organizations, and the close-minded attitudes on both sides of the some of the biggest factions of the grappling community in America (BJJ and Judo).

God forbid a forum be a place to question the status quo, challenge antiquated beliefs, or put forth a thesis supported by evidence.

It's still mind blowing to me that two sports that pride themselves on "what works" and competition as an avenue to determine ability (rather than private challenge matches to save face/$) are so inflammatory if you post a video as proof/support of a hypothesis.

Kano and Helio BOTH (as a commenter pointed out) ran extensive advertising campaigns, made challenges, and devised rules to favor their style or their best skill sets in order to garner students, funding, legitimacy and later contracts/teaching.
I know, who is a lowly Judo black belt and BJJ blue belt with mma fights that dares to compete in both and suggest that you can get better at both by cross training!
It is the end of the world, people.
My point, as always, has been the sports have more to gain from one another than they have to lose.
Just as the UFC has brought more to the grappling-related sports than it has taken away.

The strongest responses on the forum represent why both sports still have so much to learn from one another.
BJJ will never be a spectator sport beyond its own community if they butt scoot/pull guard. I watched Victor Estima and Claudio Calasans grab one another's ankles at the Pan Ams this year. For 8 minutes.

I've seen Judo players at the world class level get their half-guard passed and pinned b/c they held on to a leverage-weak/inferior position rather than immediately work to escape/underhook.
I've trained with national and international level players in both sports who remain overwhelmingly deficient in basic areas of standing or the ground that have no developed those skills b/c of a rule-centric mindset.

Judo could learn a thing or two about self-promotion.
BJJ could learn a thing or two about being slightly more spectator friendly. 

Again, who am I to say these things? On a forum. Or on a blog.

My experience (as with most forums) is that when you post an opinion and support it with evidence, the responses tend to fall into a couple categories:

1) : Emotional response followed by examples of world class players that do it better/ commenters questioning who are you to make a claim? - 
"Why are you trying to make a statement at your low technical level? You are opening yourself to ridicule. I didn't see Judo nor even BJJ in that video. I was expecting to see some incredible application of Judo in a high level BJJ competition then all I saw was a weak takedown after someone with zero-level of tachiwaza put himself on your back for a throw. This is no proof that Judo does/doesn't transfer well to BJJ competition.....You should realize that many top-level Judoka and BJJers cross-train in Judo/BJJ. Rodolfo Vieira, the current GREATEST STAR of Jiu-Jitsu (hey, I'm Brazilian, here we call it Jiu-Jitsu, let me drop the [Brazilian] for the length of this message, ok?) trains in judo EVERY DAY. He trains Jiu-Jitsu in the morning, go the gym afterwards, gets lunch, goes training Judo at 16:00 then goes to jiu-jitsu again later at early evening. For him Judo is fundamental....We can also see Roger Gracie, the all-time greatest competitor in jiu-jitsu is a good judoka, a black belt, and trains it regularly.....We have a 2-time jiu-jitsu world champion, Leo Leite, who main sport is not jiu-jitsu, but JUDO, as he is in the Brazilian National Judo Team which is not at all a judo team to forget (we've just got a gold and a bronze at the first day of Judo competition in London 2012)......
Mark Huizinga, one of the greatest judo champions of the later times, and a fierce newaza player too has recently adventured himself in jiu-jitsu. He wasn't able to win over some local brown belts. That even surprised me, due to his great newaza, athleticism and level of judo in general I was really expecting it to transfer to jiu-jitsu competitions superbly and that he would be jiu-jitsu's European champion in no time! But even with such high-level judoka, with some of the greatest newaza on the field, the transfer is not that easy, logical, immediate. It takes a lot of practicing and a different mindset to transfer your judo skills to jiu-jitsu.
....And there is a nasty reason for that: jiu-jitsu rules are tailor made to prevent people from other grappling techniques to win at jiu-jitsu competitions by doing "their" game....So, while Judo skills are GREAT at jiu-jitsu competitions, its transfer is not easy! I can't say a lot for myself because I'm doing jiu-jitsu and judo for more than 17 years right now and I can't talk much about "transfer" of skills from one art to the other because for me it is all ONE SINGLE ART with different competition aspects (and in some jiu-jitsu schools different ideologies, but in many others the same judo pedagogical aspects are present to great extent!).
....I will love to see how Huizinga's judo will transfer to jiu-jitsu in the coming years/months. I can assure you he will have to train a LOT in jiu-jitsu to adapt his throws and positioning and mindset to jiu-jitsu rules. I've seen great judoka BEING "THROWN" in BJJ because in BJJ one can do a throw after entering in newaza, so you can "crawl" to the ground, grab "uke's" legs and "throw" him. It is hard to come up with an answer to that! .....Of course Judo skills can transfer to jiu-jitsu. But it is not immediate, nor smooth as you made you sound, and no, your video is no testament that it does. ...

2) The other common response is: This is an old topic that we have figured out. There is no need for discussion despite the fact that America qualified 5 Judo players across 14 weight categories and we are one of the richest nations on earth with TONS of private funding for the Olympics:
"My strawman comment is regarding the fact that you are addressing an very old debate that is pretty much solved at this time. I see from later posts you are trying to tie in lack of success by American judoka at high level events (WC Olympics). Taiobroshi's post hits the nail on the head. The lack of success of American judo at higher levels is multifactorial. Piggybacking onto BJJs "success" is something that has been addressed for years....Not busting your balls over your post at all, carry on for sure. Just realize that it's an old angle on beating the same dead horse. "

So, things change and they stay the same. Those involved in two sports that (often) look down and condescend those deluded karate/kung-fu/whatever practitioners, end up being just as closed minded about another sport that has its roots in very, very similar circumstances.

Go cross train. You will be better than you were before.

Monday's Multimedia Mailbag (Road to the Octagon/Olympic Judo))

When is Bas going to make another self-defense video?

Slow weekend for MMA, but a busy weekend for Judo.

Quickly, here is the Road to the Octagon Special for this weekend's 4th foray onto mainstream television headlined by Shogun "we miss your soccer kick/stomp KO's in Pride" Shogun Rua versus Brandon "how far have I fallen?" Vera who hasn't been the same since Jon Jones cracked his head open with an elbow from inside the guard.

In other news, Jamie Varner who's seen a slight resurgence ( though perhaps a bit overhyped) after taking out the wiley Edson Barboza, will be taking on the crafty himself Joe Lauzon who has derailed more than a few hype trains himself (*ahem* *cough* Melvin "no sub defense" Guillard).

The show does it's best to hype Bader in what will be a fight where the enigmatic Machida who though hasn't looked as sharp as of late, still has more than enough tricks up his sleeve to beat a relatively predictable wrestler-learned-puncher-kicker in Ryan Bader. I mean, Bader got caught off guard by Tito's punching game. Then guillotine'd. This has gimme for Machida written all over it.

In Olympic Judo News:
Gold slipped through 2 time World Champion Sobirov's fingers over the weekend. The Russian, Galstyan, managed to upset him in the golden score (sudden death) with a waza ari (half point) during the semi-finals.
In fact, it was Galstyan that was the first to beat Sobirov after almost 2 years undefeated on the International circuit some time ago.

Arsen Galstyan then went on to beat Hiraoka in 30 some odd seconds to claim gold for Russia.
Click HERE for the match over at Judovision.
Hiraoka had overcome Elio Verde in his semi-final, the Italian then losing his bronze-medal contest to Brazil's Felipe Kitadai.

"Rank Athlete Country Medal moment
1 Galstyan RUS
2 Hiraoka JPN
3 Kitadai BRA
3 Sobirov UZB "

In the 66kg -
Rank Athlete Country Medal moment
1 Shavdatuashvili GEO
2 Ungvari HUN
3 Ebinuma JPN
3 Cho KOR"

Watch the women's -52kg and the men's -73kg HERE streaming on NBC.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Technique Friday: Tai Otoshi & the 10,000 Hour Rule

Start Reading. I've read this book more times than I can count. I've also watched every instructional/clip known to man about this throw.

This post may seem disorganized, but I will do my best to tie it all together coherently.

When I started Judo, as a lightweight, the shoulder throw was my throw of choice. Well, that's not entirely accurate. My first coach was a shoulder throw expert and therefore, I was destined to spend most of my time with him honing that.
A knee injury forced me to abandon the throw for quite awhile and as I switched clubs, I chose Tai Otoshi as my next tokui waza, meaning "pet technique". That is, the throw around which you build most if not virtually all of your standing/throwing game.
Tai Otoshi is a "te waza" or hand technique: meaning that the majority of what makes it work is precision and timing and direction with the hands. The usage of the legs and hip is different from hip throws or foot sweeps in that the only points of contact I have with my opponent are my 2 grips and the brief moment when his shin may hit the back of my leg/calf.
It is a difficult throw for these reasons.

Here I am from about 4 years ago in a local tournament winning by Ippon with my throw of choice: Tai Otoshi - yes, I'm aware in the video it comes off as more of a seio otoshi/type throw, but save the semantics for another day.

And here is another throw for Ippon from the same day 4 years ago, this time a cross grip version to address my opponent's movement:

At any rate, I had asked my first coach what was a throw that had a very tough fall to take/was devastating in competition, and worked regardless of size. Tai Otoshi was his answer.
So, for the next 3-4 years I relentlessly worked at it in the clubs where I trained and practiced.
It's not always so important what throw you choose, only that you commit to doing your very best to approach some level of deeper understanding of the throw, and to know that it will take years to do so.
It took me 3-4 years before the tournament above where I actually used it in competition.
And one day, after getting blocked, stuffed, countered for years on end by everyone, I won 3 matches with it (and it could have been four, but the referee didn't award the throw).
Just like you hear people say, "it just clicked". I had hit the point of deeper understanding that it had become almost completely automatic. It took between 3 and 4 years for it to work a handful of times in one day of competition.

Here is the 3rd Ippon by Tai Otoshi from that day:

Before I hurt my knee, I would routinely during competition season for Judo do 300-500 uchikomis on my own at night or in the morning with some old tire tubes tied together ala this:

for the shoulder throw. The debate rages on about the efficacy of what is called static uchikomis, but I fundamentally believe for solitary practice, they are a great tool.

At any rate, you can imagine anywhere from 300-500 repetitions a day across months out of the year, plus the time in class gets one toward the 10,000 hour/repetition rule.
I recently read Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell, and it espouses this 10,000 hour/repetition rule. 

What is the 10,000 hour/repetition rule? The rule is the estimate as to the amount of time spent invested in an activity/movement/et cetera required to approach some level of deeper understanding/mastery.

How does one go about doing this?
Go to class. Have your instructor critique your basic motions/motor skills for the throw.
Then, over time, you start pinpointing finer points to address.You will also pick up variations in gripping and set ups (different foot sweeps or foot work to get into optimal throwing position).
Then, over time, you start pinpointing how it works against defensive posture, foot sweeps to open up their defensive or stiff arm posture, and how it works against different body types.
Then, the time comes to test it in tournaments (this can begin any time during the above process).
Be prepared to fail. See very failure as one step closer to the goal.
In Jiu-Jitsu, missing the window or failing to execute properly doesn't necessarily immediately end the match. Missing the window to throw, or getting countered by better players in practice symbolically means you lost the match and your tournament day would likely be over.

You were countered and thrown. For this reason, the right mindset in training is to set aside your ego and simply devote yourself to the process. There is little place for pride or vanity in training. It is only an impediment to success. If you fear being thrown you will never attempt the throw enough times and against enough better, more skilled players to develop the timing, precision, control, and instinct for the throw.

The only reason why I do Tai Otoshi with confidence now is the thousands upon thousands of times I did it incorrectly or at the wrong time and gradually found the right feeling, the right sense of timing for when to execute.

The old adage about Edison's 10,000 failed tries to create the filament/light bulb proves apropos. Often, learning the right way is a process of elimination more than any other factor. I eliminate all the wrong ways to do something and arrive at the right way simply by process of elimination. It's not sexy. It's not pretty. It's not fun. And it takes time as well as the willingness to grind through all the plateaus in learning to execute this one throw. You have to see past the leaves, past the dirt, past the rocks, and see the forest you are planting each time you try and fail.

Why does it take roughly 10 years to get a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt?
That's about 10,000 hours. This of course changes some with natural ability and those that train full-time throughout the year as they get in those 10,000 hours sooner than the average practitioner.

I've spent the past 7-8 years working on Tai Otoshi. That does not make me an expert, but it is the beginning of understanding it. I've logged more hours than I can count doing uchikomis, in practice, getting countered, missing the opening, and that...is why I've found some moderate success with the throw. I've asked almost every black belt I know how they understand the throw, any variations they know, and how they were taught the throw. I've sought out every single piece of information there is that I can get my hands on regarding this one throw. This tireless desire to understand at the deepest level this one throw and how/why/what makes it work is the kind of precision of focus necessary to master something. Before the Pan-Ams I spent the vast majority of my time other than Open Mat drilling the takedown to top position to passing the guard. For months on end, with every person I trained with regardless of size or skill level.

Go start grinding.

The fourth (almost) Tai Otoshi of the day, the one that got away:

Late Night MMA/BJJ Update: Frank Mir Vs Daniel Cormier, Paulo Miyao is Too Old

In short, Frank Mir (since he's fought most of the HW division is going to head over and be a gatekeeper/UFC intro for Cormier even though it won't technically be a UFC fight) .
Cormier was last seen taking apart perennial top 10 (not in the UFC) HW contender Josh "I pissed hot 3 times" Barnett".

Other than that, Paulo Miyao (yeah, spiral/berimbolo/inverted guard twin brother) won't be able to compete at the Rio Open b/c he wasn't purple the mandatory 18 months, and already did a CBJJ/IBJJF tournament as a brown belt.

BTW, who is at the IBJJF fact-checking this kind of stuff anyway? Lest, it was a butthurt competitor who scouted it and "anonymously" passed the information along. Sad, but very, very f'ing likely.

     - Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish

Thursday, July 26, 2012

ACL Reconstruction: 3 Weeks Post-Op (And some realities of post-op daily life)

Probably the toughest initial part of post-op life: stuck in the house and inactive

Some brief recaps:

I stopped taking the painkillers within a couple days of getting home from surgery.
The pain was never truly unbearable, more uncomfortable than anything.
When I woke up from surgery and the nerve block for whatever reason wasn't working was the only time I asked for//needed some serious pain medicine.

The nurses and such all try to rush you out of the hospital.
At one point, about 5 minutes after waking up from surgery, I clearly recall debating how it would sound if I said, "You mind if I f***ing sleep a few more minutes. Someone just cut out part of my leg, drilled 2 holes in my knee and then screwed a strip of my tendon with bone on each end into the ends of two other bones."

I was also woken back up (I think) later on by the nurse when it was time to go. This was my only dispute with the hospital site.

At 3 days post-op, I left the house to get outside b/c I had cabin fever like you wouldn't imagine.
I slept mostly 4-5 hours at a time, and my wife would bring me a bottle/cup to pee in. The painkillers mean you don't have to s*** for several days (which let me tell you, the sooner you stop taking painkillers, the less uncomfortable getting back to s******* will be). 

At 3 or 4 days while my wife was at work, I snuck downstairs and did some curls with barbells, dumbbell overhead presses, and used some machines to do some lat pulldowns and seated bench press type things.

At 7 days post-op, I could not even do a leg lift when I saw my surgeon/doctor again.
At 8 days I began doing the leg lifts (10 at a time) and then doing the resistance hamstring curls (using my own hands to provide resistance and to fire the hamstring/calf muscle).
Doing the leg lift from straight off the ground is still difficult but I can do it with only slight bend in my leg.

At 10 or 11 days post-op I could hobble without crutches. I also began driving (but that's because my left leg was the injured leg, and I drive an automatic. I would not yet feel comfortable driving if I had to use my left leg/foot.

By 14 days I was hobbling just fine and doing much more in the gym at my apartment (curls, lat pull downs, curls using a pull-up grip to work my forearms).

At 3 weeks I'm able to bend my knee right at 90 degrees and can almost straighten it as much as my un-injured leg.

Passing the time: I've been coaching my teammates and helping beginners at open mat and beginner class. I've been picking up a lot more about my teammates, their individual styles than I ever did before.
Coaching Judo has been easier as I have a lot more time on the mat doing that, but I've had to work on my ability to articulate what to do rather than just show and explain as I demonstrate something.
Netflix is good, but I strongly recommend some video games to pass the time as well. Set a timer and do your leg/isometric exercises after each hour of playing.
DVD's of the Pans, or the Mundials are fun as you can watch a whole division play out rather than just the finals. I think I've watched my 2007 and 2010 Mundials videos at least 3-4 times through beginning to end.

My leg now feels strong enough to walk without the brace, but the doctor will tell me when the brace is optional for walking around.

3 weeks down.
21 weeks to go.

Interview Thursday with Felipe Costa: From Losing to World Champion

Interview Thursday is here.
Got some interesting feedback from yesterday's post, in particular from Judoforum.com, more on that later. Sometimes I doubt that much of the Judo community in America even cares that we haven't made it to the Olympic Podium nor the World Championship Podium in ages. Or that most of our clubs are non-profits where the teachers do so for free. You can see how this trickles down to retention of kids and athletes in the sport. Clubs want to do what they've been doing for 30 years and watch the sport whither and die out.

Before I digress too much, today features Felipe Costa, a guy who had never won a major tournament before black belt, as he discusses Jiu-Jitsu for smaller players, and the mindset to continue going in the face of adversity and minimal returns/rewards from competition.
This is a favorite interview of mine as it touches on continuing despite not seeing the results you want in competition and what it takes to continually stay on the grind and going back to the drawing board. It also touches on something to which I can attest, which is that training with considerably larger players will lead to injuries. Period.
Without further ado, here is Felipe Costa:

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Tournament Proof Tuesday: Osoto Gari/Sumi Gaeshi in BJJ Competition

This match is from a little over a year ago at another US Grappling event (those guys run awesome tournaments). It ends with me (blue gi)  re-injuring my knee when my opponent hits a low single and impacts the inside of my right knee and I lose via injury despite being up on points. That's the nature of the beast/competition.

Earlier in the match you'll see an Osoto Gari counter following a sprawl by me (:50) and then also a sumi gaeshi (2:08).

Let's start with what sets up the throws/takedowns and then discuss my failed uchimata attempt (3:45).

From the start, my opponent has a pretty standard BJJ bent over/defensive posture. I saw underneath he was wearing a wrestling team t-shirt so I was a little wary of the shot and him trying to shoot off of breaking the grip (which he actually does the first time he shoots). He is doing the standard wrestling grip/infighting and controlling my right bicep by cupping it with his left hand. I adopt a higher shoulder/lapel grip and eventually he unwisely reaches outside my arm (adopting a much weaker grip and conceding my control of the grip on that side).

I use my higher grip to keep him bent over and relatively out of position to do much from this range.
He pulls guard and I begin to address the pass but he changes his mind and comes back up with a weak single leg grip. I try my outside trip with an over the back grip that I usually hit to get the other guy moving, see how he reacts. At :38 you can see he has the inside grip but my elbow tucks inside and his high on his lapel, again negating any control he might have.

It's only when I break his 2 on 1 grip on my hand that he takes the opportunity to shoot and gets semi-deep on my hips. But as I sprawl and we come back up, I take whatever grip is available (overhook/whizzer/whatever) and step across for a osoto gari-ish takedown into top position.

I get top position and get greedy/try to slide directly into mount, forgoing the underhook battle b/c of the grip I had during the throw.
By 1:11 I'm in quarter guard, trying to open the space and slide into mount.
Around 1:30, I'm way too high in mount and he gets his right elbow inside as well, making enough frame/leverage to escape.
Like my coach often says, "the problem with Jiu-Jitsu, is that it works."

My opponent escapes and we're back to the feet.
At 2:04 I hit the slowest sumi gaeshi in history and come to top position to begin addressing the open guard.

Let's move on to my fatigue-induced failed uchimata combined with a poor grip and exposing my back.
As we get to our feet, I am out of position, he steps around and I go for my uchimata counter (3:45). But my grip is weak and my back exposed.
He won the takedown b/c as we came to our feet I was hunting for my left grip.
He had both of his grips set. I did not. And thus, my counter failed.

One last bad thing: at 4:45 when I walk forward I cross my feet, meaning I step forward alternating my feet. This is why I am unable to sprawl effectively when he shoots. Due to fatigue and lack of concentration on my part (ala Bochecha and Rodolfo), I am caught off-guard, leading to my knee injury. Crossing your feet the way I do here in walking forward is a cardinal sin at the higher levels of Judo.

Osota gari counter off the sprawl (the best time to attack is immediately after you've been attacked.
Sumi gaeshi to top position.
Passed the butterfly guard.
Allowed opponent back to his feet 2 times too many and paid the price by losing AND getting injured.
Late in establishing grip led to a weak-counter which led to being taken down.
You'll also notice the curve of my back. My posture is moderate at best many times when I'm on top. Head down, butt sticking out IS NOT the way to play your top game. Spine straight, hips forward creating pressure IS THE WAY to play your top game.
Crossing my feet when walking forward leads to being unable to sprawl effectively and being taken down b/c I'm not in the position to effectively counter.

Monday, July 23, 2012

That's Why It's Called "Gambling": UFC 149 Hangover

My picks are to the right. I managed to pick 6 correct and missed 5.
I don't count the Nick Ring bout as a correct pic. My man got busted up all kinds of ways in that fight.
I'm at 45-41 (correct/incorrect) in picking winners over the past 7 UFC events. Not terrible, but hardly blowing up the world of MMA gambling picks.
Yes, I picked Faber over Pegado. I was worried about Barao's cardio for 5 rounds.
Barao looked every bit the champ in this fight. He was in control virtually the whole time and never once seemed to fluster.
He seemed to pick up speed and confidence as the fight wore on. I think he may just have the skills to pick Cruz apart (and I am probably Cruz's number one fan. I've been saying he would have the belt since I first saw him fight in the WEC). Faber really tried to turn it up after the 2nd round. You could see he was thinking he would lose another 5 round decision. He never stopped trying...but he was simply outclassed by a guy with crisper striking, a more diverse attack, more combinations, and stellar takedown defense. Period.
- a guy that's gotten by on athleticism, that's now close or 30ish years old, finds a tough road to tow. That and running what I assume is likely a similar training camp for the past however many fights....Urijah's fight with Cruz was the only one punctuated by takedowns and scrambles the way he used to fight more frequently. The stand-up style of Faber has become predictable and relatively easy to negate for the fast bantamweights he's facing these days. He still beats 8 or 9 of the guys in the top 10 I feel like, but that will likely start to slide over the next couple years to where he beats 7 or 8, or 5 or 6 of the top 10 guys at his weight class.

* Ring lost that fight worse than Forrest lost to Tito (at least Nick didn't steal Rogan's mic after leaving the cage and getting bitched into going back in there). I hate saying this, but Fuck Forrest. Fuck his books. Fuck his persona he put together. His goodwill with fans should just about be gone b/c of the persona he put forth and how short he has come to being what he presented (and the financial gain as a result). A professional fighter like Forrest who runs out of the ring like he did after Silva. And did it after the fight with Tito which was going to be his last? Before the decision is announced?
Your days as professional prizefighter are behind you. Retire.
As for Nick Ring, he just looked atrocious from the start. You could tell he didn't think Court would get the better of him standing up and he drained his confidence. 

Kuivanen and Carraway - I just bet based on their finishing rates and how they finished without watching any tape of either of them. 

Riddle continues to impress. I thought he'd spend more time slugging like he did in his last fight which against a guy with some KO's/TKO's on his record was going to be dangerous but here, he did very well, varying his takedowns and only engaging in firefights from time to time. Well played, good sir.

Ebersole came out looking like he had just ran a f'ing marathon before the fight. That's what making weight 2x in a month does when you cut a bunch of weight. I was concerned how it would affect him but just couldn't justify betting on the unheralded James Head against a guy that put the fire to the veteran Chris Lytle.

I figured Pineda's experience against Mike Brown meant he could beat some guy I'd never heard of. Wrong.

In my perfect MMA fantasy world I imagined Jimmo finishing the fight in serious fashion and doing a robot dance after. He did that, and did it in only 7 seconds. Mind blowing.

The prelims were pretty entertaining with finishes and such but then the main card was one of the worst in recent memory. Mainly b/c guys like Lombard and Ebersole not only looked s*** but did virtually nothing during the fight and and based on the look on their faces didn't seem to give a flying f***.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Monday's Multimedia Mailbag!

Yes. It is Monday...and yes, the weekly escape from working for the mysterious man and his minions in faraway ivory towers has passed. Back to work wretches.

But if I can block out the pain of Lombard's UFC debut/loss to Boetsch (who will not fight for the belt, mark my words), you can sip your tepid coffee and see some highlights from the weekend's razmatazz bonanza of cage-contained face-punching and related combat/grappling sports news. 

To help with the brutal boredom inducing main card of UFC 149, here is the only GIF I could find of Ryan Jimmo's robot celebration dance after a 7 second KO of Anthony Perosh.

I could post about Lombard's choice to showboat and pose and pretend he was a champion in the UFC in his first fight and get outworked by Tim Boetsch, but it's a painful memory to watch and I'd rather pretend I didn't get excited for a UFC debut this one last time.
 Time for some multimedia to get us through our coffee mugs and make the bright office lights slightly less painful. Without further ado......

A former Judo player hits an inverted Heel Hook at Bellator. What is the world coming to?
Karl Amoussou (aptly named the "Psycho") gets the submission with an inverted heel hook after tripping his opponent off the kick.
Amazing when you see something that is diagrammed in an MMA stand-up book and it works like clockwork. To make the BJJ players feel better, click HERE for a video of Amoussou losing to Jacare in short order by armbar. 

Matthew Riddle hit a sweet head and arm choke (or arm-triangle if you prefer) after Clements missed a spinning elbow/punch/whatever. Riddle tied it up, stepped around, put him down and squeezed to finish.
I've routinely hit this in MMA sparring with 16 oz. gloves on, so when people tell me no one ever hits the standing arm triangle, or that it's a fluke, I tell them "bullshit".

Here is the inimitable Ilias Iliadis training montage to motivate you to train hard after (probably resting over the weekend).

Go train hard. The scenic hillside/mountain/valley view from Georgia is optional.

In Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu news, Leandro Lo (winner of the Lightweight Copa Podio Grand Prix) won the Copa Podio's Middlweight Grand Prix down in Brazil. In related news, Guto Campos beat the noted Abi-Rihan earlier in one of the event's two superfights.

Who has two thumbs and won BOTH the LW and MW Copa Podio Grand Prix events?
This guy.

Jiu-Jitsu Taboo: Parting Ways with Your Instructor(s)

Just say No?

In my office at work, there is a picture of Carlos Gracie Sr.
I tacked it up on the wall to see everyday first then when I walk in with my coffee.
It lists the 10 commandments of Jiu-Jitsu.
I think I tore it out of a Graciemag I bought a year or two ago.

The number 1 thing on the list is: Thou Shalt Not Turncoat on Thy Teacher (I'm paraphrasing).

Loyalty to the team, your instructors, the sport, and in the end, being true to yourself are the true tenants of Jiu-Jitsu.
To quote Spider-Man's uncle, with great power comes great responsibility.
There is also the much quoted "To who whom much is given, much is expected."

At any rate, loyalty, particularly in the days of Brazil when there proliferated many schools and teams and they were vying for students, respect, money, and fights break out in public places, loyalty in terms of teaching and technique was paramount.

The apparent challenge by Waldemar Santana of Helio (a family outsider taught more than just the self-defense applications) has stuck out over the years as the epitome of this rebuking of loyalty.

That is the long version.
The short version is that there are times when you must do what is best for you and your progression in Jiu-Jitsu (or Judo, or Wrestling, or Sambo, or whatever).

The instructor does not look out for the welfare of his students.
The instructor treats students with favor that proves deleterious to others.
The instructor misses class often, shows up late, clearly does not respect the teacher/student relationship.

The reality is that instructors are humans as well. And like it or admit it or not, they are still on their journey through Jiu-Jitsu. The black belt does not signify perfection, only the steps towards mastery (though, like Golf, there is almost never if ever a perfect game). The black belt is not a license to abuse or disregard any more than a white belt is a license to do those things.

I feel a lot more pressure to truly answer questions in Judo when asked, b/c I know the expectation is different when a less experience player asks me as a black belt. The difference between what I knew as a brown belt in Judo versus now is probably like debating if/how Batman could beat Spider-Man.

But, how I view the question probably has changed as I know I am viewed a bit differently as well. Someone who has known me since a brown belt probably holds me in the same esteem they did now that I have a black belt.
A new player to the club likely simply assumes I am a trustworthy source of information based on my belt.

At any rate, there may be times, when you are forced to consider leaving a team/your instructor for a variety of reasons.
The key thing, is to know that it should not be undertaken lightly.
Give it time. Understand that all schools go through trials and tribulations and growing pains.
The loss of an assistant instructor, the moving to a new facility, the things that come with being a part of a team, are all tests in your journey through a life of being on the mats.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Gripfight Friday: Know Your Basics

Whether you compete in Judo or BJJ, or both, over time you will come to understand the importance of gripping. Even in NoGi, watch Marcelo Garcia fight for wrist control. He immediately breaks off grips even in NoGi FIRST, before virtually anything else.

At any rate, if you have an understanding of the basics, you can induce a lot of guard pulling and sitting down by virtue of the fact that your opponent feels uncomfortable.
Thus in training, with this, you can dedicate more time to guard passing and gripping to assist your passing than when in preparing for a tournament you prepare for every single position known to man.

As Jimmy Pedro shows in the clip below the basics are:
1) Just b/c you grab your opponent's Gi DOES NOT MEAN he automatically gets to grab yours. He may grab your sleeve or adopt an inferior outside control of the lapel/outside elbow, but you do not simply concede his grips to get yours.
2) Inside elbow/inside control

I posted this on Tuesday to show the basic uchimata to top position to submission. If you watch the video again, you'll see my left elbow flared up to prevent my opponent from grabbing my lapel with his right hand (because that is his lead hand).
As I cross grip (reach with my rear hand to feed his lapel to my lead hand/power grip) you'll notice as we circle he actually grabs my sleeve, and I am forced to break the grip and hunt for his sleeve again. I obtain the sleeve and control it until he stays close enough that I get my high collar/power grip that I've been hunting for. 

At that point,  he is so far out of position and I have come to control the center of the circle, the uchimata is relatively easy.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Get to Know Hector Lombard: UFC 149 Countdown Video Edition

What's that? If I destroy and/or dominate Boetsch I might get a title shot?
Weapons set to "kill" and "beast" mode.

So, despite the fact that most of his great KO's are Bellator footage and the UFC can't use it to hype him for this weekend, Hector Lombard is featured on the UFC 149 Countdown show.
When the signing was first announced, I blogged about it HERE.

In terms of high profile/high expectation signings, Hector is probably the most recent one in memory with this much expectation riding on him/surround him. Brock had a lot of hype, but he did not have the background as a professional prizefighter to warrant as much high hopes as is the case for Lombard.

Detractors/doubters point to much of his record is over less than stellar opposition but he does hold wins in smaller shows over name guys like Brian Ebersole, Kalib Starnes, James Te Huna, Joe Doerkson, Trevor Prangley,  and Jay Silva (all current or former UFC fighters). "Shango" has only lost (by decision) twice. I haven't found footage of those fights, but losing a decision in a smaller show can be like flipping a coin depending on who's reffing, who's judging, and what country or state you're fighting in.

How Lombard gets it done: Lombard brings a lot of KO's, heavy hands, and a typically aggressive style. He is literally, despite the overuse of the analogy/hyperbole, built like a Tank. Despite being an olympic Judo competitor for Cuba earlier in his life, his aggressive T-Rex arm hooks and punches have demonstrated their power in his 17 wins by TKO/KO.

Boetsch is pointed to by  many as being a durable, tough guy who will be a stern test for Lombard in his UFC debut as he has 4 fights in the Octagon already.
I am less than impressed as Boetsch was losing the fight with Okami until a well-time uppercut turned the tide. The stoppage was definitive, but Boetsch in most of the fight leading up to that, however, was not.
He's beaten Okami, a fight I'd say he would lose more than half the times out of 10 if they fought, but that's about the most he's made out of his Octagon time other than decisions. I don't see him being a legitimate threat to stop Lombard. Lombard however has the power to stop plenty of people at 185 as his record proves.

How Boetsch gets it done: decision-ing Nick Ring, Kendall Grove, and Todd Brown (a guy who lost 3 in a row in the UFC) in his UFC wins  and in the meantime dropping kimura/submission to Phil Davis (a bright star but largely unfinished diamond in the rough).

I see Lombard tagging Boetsch early and swarming him for a TKO in perhaps 3 1/2 minutes.

A small bit of MMA lore is a gym war that took place between Lombard and (Heavyweight) Josh Barnett. The two apparently battled it out for quite awhile and resulted in Lombard leaving Paulson's place.

Looking forward to a new name to debut in the 185 lb. class in the UFC this weekend. Anderson's 37, and his time in the sport is waning. An aggressive, potentially ultra violent striker makes for an interesting potential stand-up as Lombard does not seem afraid of anyone on the feet.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Alliteration Tuesday: Tito Talks Testosterone Replacement

Kills me to say this.....but Tito Ortiz, yes, Tito, has a point

I blogged about it here, earlier. Aaaaaaaaaand, it has reared it's ugly head again.

For those that didn't know, Tito got robbed (one last f*ck you from Dana White) in his last fight before retirement. Then to top that off, he finds out after the fact that Forrest (yeah, the "professional" fighter who embarrassingly ran out of the cage after losing to A. Silva and Tito) was on TRT for their fight.

I have NEVER been a fan of Tito. At all.
But, he has a point. And he was robbed by the judges (decision paid for I'm pretty sure - Dana has a long, long, long memory, ala the way they robbed Huerta on his last fight in the UFC).

At any rate, Tito's point: "You're allowed to be six times over an average? You're gonna be six times over a normal person? Let's play on an even field. I mean, since day one that I've been competing, I've always been on an even field. Why, all of a sudden, can a fighter be higher, six times the amount of an average person?"

Monday, July 16, 2012

Tournament Proof: Uchimata to D'Arce choke in BJJ Competition

This was from a Submission Only event held by US Grappling in Virginia, November 2011.
I'm in the Blue Gi, Blue belt division, Under 149 lb's:

I cross grip for my lapel grip then as I establish my sleeve grip, I begin circling to my right, which forces my opponent to follow as he begins to search for his grips.
**** By "cross grip" I mean that I reach for his lapel with my rear hand. In Judo, we rarely reach for the lapel we desire with the lead hand as this can lead to your being on the receiving end of a footsweep. I've actually footswept guys in NoGi divisions as they reach in to tie up with me. It really does happen.****

At :17 I feel him circle into me and his posture feels weak, so use my lapel grip to reach over his back and set up a stronger, more powerful/dominating grip and begin to bend him over/kill his posture even further.

At this point, you'll notice how wide his feet are (wider than shoulder with), they are square (on the same line/plane), and he is sitting back on his hills/butt sticking out, head forward of his waist and feet. This is the ideal posture for your opponent to set up an uchimata (and ouchi gari, kouchi gari et cetera).

He than makes the fatal mistake and steps back behind what will be my reaping/lifting leg for the uchimata with HIS left foot. The rest is pretty basic:
I land in half-guard and from learning the hard way in earlier matches, immediately pummel/lace my power grip right hand back inside to hunt for the underhook on the far side (otherwise he takes my back). He beats me to it, I lose the underhook race, and I settle for bringing my elbow down to kill his underhook ("escrima" they would yell at me in Brazil).

My opponent lets me keep him pretty flat on his back despite having the underhook and his weak/lazy underhook is what sets up the D'Arce. His head is bent down and his spine curved, letting me slowly tighten up my D'Arce grip.

Unlike the way some people do it, I like to lock the D'Arce and step over into mount making it a slightly different kind of squeeze. I've been told it feels closer to a guillotine than the way the D'Arce normally feels (to me it normally feels like scissors clamping down on my neck).

At any rate, here's an example of how some basic, fundamental of Judo: cross grip, circle away, and when the opponent follows you establish a power/high/dominating grip, and take advantage of poor posture and defensive stance to land on top, score points, and begin to pass the guard.

Happy Trainingz!

Roger Gracie's Strikeforce Report Card: C+ (and other complaints)

A match made in Awkward MMA Commentary Team Heaven

The submission may look like it's coming....but you are w.r.o.n.g.
For those that watched, the first two rounds were identical.
Jardine clumsily came forward and Roger got the body lock then hit an outside trip with so much ease it looked Jardine had never done much grappling (despite the fact he's never been submitted in MMA).

Round 1: Roger has Jardine mounted for quite awhile. He tepidly lands a few elbows and punches because...y'know, it's MMA and stuff. 
Round 2: Roger has Jardine's back for quite awhile. He punched a few times but does not finish.
Round 3: Roger jabs and backs away until time expires, happy to take away a decision win.

Result: Other than an uppercut landed by Jardine and perhaps a stiff right hand, Jardine literally offered almost no danger in the fight. Jardine was his usual giraffe on roller skates coordinated self which made watching Roger struggle to tap him all the more boring/mystifying to watch.

Roger (at this point) shows no signs of having the killer instinct to actually fight top flight guys in MMA. And while he looked slightly more comfortable than against King Mo (when he got KO'd), he still virtually only relied on his jab, utilized a few more kicks, but blamed being tired in the 3rd round on cutting 18 pounds in one day.

For someone who has competed in Jiu-Jitsu for most of his adult life, that's not an excuse.
That's like saying, I didn't check my diet for weeks before the fight so I had to wait 'til the last minute and sweat out the weight of a toddler, that's why I got tired.

No, you were unprofessional and mismanaged your weight cut. You f'd up, bro.

Woodley did well, even knocking Marquardt down at one point, but Marquardt in turn caught him with a flush right hand I believe, and Woodley never regained his confidence; eventually Marquardt him him with some short elbows and punches against the cage and brutally finished him in emphatic fashion. Interested to see how the formerly undefeated guy comes back from such a decisive KO/TKO.
This for me was the best part of the main event/main card broadcast. Both guys got hurt. Both guys showed flashes of dominance, but watching Marquardt compose himself as a veteran and slowly take control of the fight is what it's all about. A few more tricks in his sleeve and a bit more composure from his dearth of experience.

Shhhh.....I know Greg Jackson gave you this terrible gameplan.
Speaking of enigmatic Greg Jackon gameplans, the normally stalking, come forward punching Tim Kennedy inexplicably virtually conceeded punching with the champ, Rockhold, and virtually only looking to duck under/hit the takedown while backpedaling virtually the entire fight. Unsurprisingly, Kennedy lost a unanimous decision in much the same way he did against Jacare: inactivity.


Oh, and speaking of his Royal Majesty the Exalted King of all weight cutting failures, Anthony Johnson is assuring everyone now that he's at 205, he'll be making weight. Sure, bro.
I have an M-1 Championships Belt I'd like to sell you, just pay the S&Handling.

GSP to work on boxing again (I'm very excited to see him jab more fighters for 5 rounds or not finish guys like Jake Shields who have barely passable stand-up skills).

In good news, Daniel Cormier, olympic wrestler (minus the part where his kidneys failed from weight cutting) will be fighting for Strikeforce Sept. 29th. Hopefully, soon enough we'll see him in the UFC.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Thursday, July 12, 2012

BJ Penn Retirement Alert: UFC 152 feat. BJ Penn vs Rory McDonald

This is your face after fighting the coward, Nick Diaz. BJ's words about Diaz being a coward, NOT mine.

BJ is looking up at the clock/waiting for the beating to end, Diaz is still being a coward.

If you remember watching BJ looking up at the clock while taking a hellacious beating from Nick Diaz, you'll know what I mean. You may also remember BJ calling Diaz a "coward" after the fight, despite Diaz handing BJ his worst beating since GSp made him quit (then BJ got his mom to testify to the commission that GSP greased and tried to kill her son. True story. Sadly).

BJ's talked retirement after losing to Frankie Edgar, to GSP, and to Diaz.
This will make 2 decisive beatdowns in a row for the Hawaiian, 1st American BJJ black belt, and 2 weight class UFC champion.

I'm calling it now. BJ will retire after Rory beats the brakes off of him. Rory has too diverse a game and too much gas in the tank for BJ's boxing and shuck and move style he's adopted against most of his opponents as of late. I see BJ eating a knee to the face while his big head ducks too low, and Rory comes flying in to capitalize. BJ was lucky against Diaz who has a largely one-dimensional (thought highly effective stand-up style against anyone not named Carlos "Prefontaine" Condit) style on the feet.

You heard it here first.

Interview Thursday: Lloyd Irvin & Jimmy Harbison

Decried. Respected. Doubted. Detracted. Called a Con man. An internet marketer. What have you, whatever.
The verdict may be out on Lloyd Ivin's character, but anyone who takes a guy you've never heard of (Keenan Cornelius) and coaches him through a system whereby he wins weight and absolute at the Euro, Pans, Worlds, Brasileiros (and weight at the World Pro) is a man that you should listen to as to how his mind works.And, as Lloyd reminds the audience in the interview, Harbison did a similar feat in the brown belt in 2011.

Internet marketing or not, there is truth and insight to be gained. 

Above all, Lloyd comments on not making fucking excuses.
Many of us are recreational players.
But some of us, those that are on the cusp of training semi-professionally could benefit from some of Lloyd's no nonsense talk.

If you train 2-3 days a week, the above is not for you. If vacation means getting drunk all day and chasing pussy wherever you are, then the above is not for you. However, if you are like me, and you fill your vacations training 2x a day, and plan trips around places you can train. If your vacation is built around a major tournament, then you should watch the above. It may give you the motivation to truly begin setting your lifestyle around grappling and competition or just being the fucking best that you can fucking be. This isn't for everyone. But, the approach to training, the deliberate training, the focus on weaknesses and aspects of your game requiring improvement, can help everyone who steps foot on the mat.

Notes on the President's Cup/The Ills of American Judo

Found this over at Judoforum.com:

"June 11, 2012

President’s Cup Notes

It has been many a year since I have been around “the judo scene” in the USA. Since retiring from competition in 2004 I have gone to watch the 2008 Olympic Trials in Las Vegas and the Golden State Championships once. Yes, like anybody else who still “knows a few people” I have heard the positives and negatives about USA Judo and I have never been a cheering section fan of the USJA or USJF per se either. What I am is a Judo guy, a family man. If I show up to a local judo club I feel like it is my duty to give back to people, help people figure things out; “coach a kid up,” help teenagers find their way to college via Judo like I did, talk to parents, watch what is going on and see if there is something my particular set of skills might help with. I am somebody with a real life limited financial budget and no desire to spend time away from my wife and kids if the experience is going to be mediocre.
This past weekend I was able to watch quite a few decent matches at the President’s cup. I saw an interesting 60kg division work itself out, two decent 66kg players who are familiar with one another have a solid match and then a highlight reel walk-through the rest of the round robin, a 90kg final that was a US Nationals repeat and worth the price of admission, a near stunner at -100kg as a local kid (who in all honesty needs to train much harder) nearly defeated the tried and tested Japanese giant, and an 81kg division that had some legitimate talent on display across the board.
In other words, while the divisions were embarrassingly small there was some real quality to be found and some excitement. So, now we get to the real heart of the matter. The problem and the solutions.
Problem. This was the fourth straight month with a major USA Judo event. March was host to the National Collegiate Judo Association Championships and the USA Judo Scholastic Championships. April featured the USA Judo Senior, Masters and Kata National Championships. The US Open and Miami World Cup were held in May. And, now in April we had the President’s Cup. In July there will be the Junior Olympics as well. Not to mention, there were multiple E-level events such as the Pedro, Morris, Liberty Bell and Midwest championships.
In other words, nobody with an actual job and the need to put food on the table or a roof over their heads could have possibly attended all of these events. No matter the reasons, this is just simply horrific planning and something that should be seen as completely unacceptable within the US Judo world. To think that the collective event planning minds within USA Judo saw this schedule and actually believed that this stood a chance to work is utterly shocking. And that is without consideration of the current economy.
So, what is coming up in September? October? November? December? January? February? That is right, there pretty much cannot be anything. USA Judo will vanish for the next six months and then come back around to possibly irritate people all over again if this is not solved. So, I guess I need to provide a solution.
1. Fire the people who thought this was a good idea in the first place. If somebody in the private sector arranged major events in a manner like this, events that needed a national audience of moderate income families to attend and finance, then they would be out on their rear and so too should the brainpans who suggested this for USA Judo. Any business needs to be in touch with their consumers and this type of event planning shows that that is clearly not the case.

2. Space the events out. There are four major events and twelve months in a calendar. I think this is pretty doable math. Let us begin with April, since everybody within the US Judo community knows that April equals the nationals. May, June, July should host the next event. August, September, October can be host to the next event. November, December, January can host the final event of the cycle. Imagine if everybody, in every club across the USA could know when these events were coming, look forward to them, save money to attend them and actually go! AMAZING!

3. Combine the junior and senior events at least twice a year. Yes, there are events the parents want to have all to themselves to see their “judo buddies of old” and there are events that should be all about kids too. One senior only event, one junior only event and then two combined events would allow the spacing of events to work and it would allow families to afford the sport of Judo once again. The US Nationals remains for seniors only. The Junior Olympics remains for kids only. That leaves the international events, scholastic event and the President’s Cup to be combined. But, to be honest, we can do away with something and figure this all out. Combining the US Open, Miami World Cup and Jr. International is common sense. Have a weekend where kids and families can come to watch the best in the world and where we can showcase what our kids can do. This leaves the President’s Cup and scholastics. Which, honestly, are perfect to combine. So what if the same people may compete in against each other twice in a weekend. Let the college and HS kids fight it out and then let them all fight it out against any grown adults who want a chance at the young whipper-snappers. Oh, and, the scholastics should always be held on the campus of an NCJA campus whenever possible. If you are out to grow Judo, then host the events in a place that will make the High School kids actually want to do Judo when they are 19, 20, 21 plus years old… Show them that places like Texas A&M, Tennessee, West Point, SJSU, etc. all have Judo teams for them to consider.

4. Go back to the old way of running tournaments. The real issue of why attendance numbers have gone so far down at USA Judo events, and why USA Judo is raising entry fees and why they are trying to have so many events is because nobody is going to them. But, why is nobody going? Why did a C-rated USA Judo event in the Southern California area have less attendance than a local Judo tournament held last weekend? Less than half of what the CA state championships had in Fresno a few weeks ago? Oh, that’s simple, in the eyes of people outside of Colorado and Miami, USA Judo has become a society of snobbish prudes. They have become the awful “Big Government” that nobody wants to be around or deal with or help. There are several reasons for this, so I will explain just a few here.
A) They did away with the reciprocal memberships. When people could join the USJA or USJF and then only need to spend a few dollars more to join USA Judo people were happy to join. Now they have to pay $50 bucks or a family membership just to go to a few events once in awhile? Why bother?
B) They did away with local control. Somehow, somewhere along the line USA Judo decided they “knew best” in Colorado Springs and Miami. Now, I don’t know about you guys, but I never went to Colorado Springs for anything other than the US Open or a training camp back in the days. I don’t know anybody there who knows how to organize a national tournament better than the local communities who get together all of the time to help one another out. I don’t know anybody at the OTC or national office who can put on a better event than the San Jose Buddhist Memorial or Midwest Championships or Liberty Bell. So, why is it that USA Judo over the past few years has decided to destroy something that was never broken in the first place? Was it to create jobs for people in Colorado? Was it to supposedly have some control? Over what? And, whatever the reasons are, it has absolutely failed over the last eight years so it is time to scrap the system and go back to the days of having state organizations bid for the events and then split the profits with USA Judo. At least then the local communities would actually want to show up and support the tournaments—at the very least. And, hotel discounts might actually be discounts, not higher rates paid to hotel chains so that officials from USA Judo can get their suites for free.
C) Get rid of the USA Judo Tournament Organizing Committee. Do you really think having somebody sent by USA Judo to collect $12 at the door was a good idea? Do you really think that the way events are being run now is better than what they were before? I’ve been attending these events since I was ten years old. And, from what I’ve seen, the old “Ladder Tournament” which was run by a local judo organization on behalf of USA Judo would have put this “President’s Cup” to shame. It is gross and disgusting and should not be tolerated.

5. Make the USA Senior National Championships a Domestic A-level event. Make it the most important event, period. So incredibly important that anybody, no matter who it is or what international medal they have won, who does not attend and make it to the podium is not allowed to represent the USA at A-level events internationally for the entire year. If you want to have an injury clause for it, then you say the player who misses the podium at the Nationals cannot compete internationally until s/he makes the podium at one of the other events such as the President’s Cup or US Open. In other words, the person cannot compete at the Miami World Cup, or any other Olympic qualifying event, if they do not make the podium at the US Nationals. It is completely unfair to the event organizers and to USA Judo to have their very best players just decide to skip out and say “the rest of you are not good enough for me to be on the tatami with.” The winner of the Nationals gets first bid on A-events and full funding to Paris, Germany, Moscow, or Kano—whichever event is selected for the entire USA National Team to attend.

So, there you have it. My take on the President’s Cup… An event that could have been so wonderful, should have been awesome, had all the potential to be a truly great thing… and, USA Judo screwed it up, again, and instead lost thousands of dollars to host a major national event that was smaller than a local NANKA tournament."

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Wednesday's Grab Bag: Who are Gunnar Nelson and Hector Lombard? And Megaton Knows Kouchi Gari

No, seriously guys. The purple lipstick matches my tie.
Gunnar Nelson to the UFC. Renzo's black belt who earned his faixa preta in 4 years (?). He's got a perfect record thus far, so here's to hoping we see some more top flight grappling in MMA (*ahem* Roger Gracie....)
   - an extra treat: The Icelandic Guillotine. Is is the grappling equivalent of the Troll Hunter? Is it as rare as a unicorn? Or is it just a folk tale to scare children. Click and find out.

For those unfamiliar with Shango, here is the UFC's newest most hyped MMA import: Judo Olympian, Hector Lombard:

And here is Shango doing some Judo from quite awhile ago:

To mix it up, here's the one and only Megaton teaching a nice kouchi gari from the feet to get the two points in BJJ competition without exposing your back:

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Tuesday's MultiMedia Mailbag: Judo, Brazlian Jiu-Jitsu, & MMA

Today I bring you a smattering of the various media that's been bouncing around in my brain over the course of the week:

1) A gripfighting sequence b/c gripfighting on the feet is woefully misunderstood by most BJJ players. Just as wrestlers hand fight, with a Gi, you must grip fight. Shocking, I know.

2) The gripfighting sequence sets up a drop knee Ouchi Gari (also taught by Jimmy Pedro) that I like for BJJ as it doesn't expose the back:

The arm across the opponent's body (from the first clip) sets up a 2 on 1 grip, or a Russian (for the wrestlers out there, then you hit the drop knee Ouchi gari/inside trip).
Some of you will say that you don't want to get caught up in the guard. I've found that in competition if I start my step over the leg in the transition to the mat, I get to half-guard, get my 2 points, and then work to pass.

2) The Inside BJJ podcast feat. Lloyd Irvin (he discusses his side of the DJ Jackson faux countdown I posted about here), Andre Galvao on being DQ'd, et al.

3) A preview from over at Sherdog for the UFC on Fuel TV (I know, I don't have the channel either) for tomorrow night feat. a possible 185/middleweight contender bout between Munoz and Weidman.
My quick picks are Munoz b/c he's too much too soon for Weidman. Simpson by better wrestling. Vaughan Lee b/c Dillashaw is is own biggest fan. Carmont by late stoppage IF he weathers the Vemola maelstrom. Te Huna by violent TKO (I think he'll strike while the iron is hot and Beltran recently got the same from Lavar Johnson). Dos Anjos via better wrestling than Njokuani. Assuncao b/c he is a beast. And, Damacio Page by vicious TKO in the first or second round.