Friday, August 31, 2012

TMA Friday: More 10,0000 Hour Rule & Terrible Ninjas

1) If someone told you they could learn BJJ (with no prior background) from watching a video, you would tell them they're wrong.

I don't know why people think they can learn Judo (with no prior background) from watching a video.
Or that they can learn a throw by only drilling and not doing it live/in a dynamic setting.
That's not how you learn BJJ and it's not how you learn Judo.
Don't be that guy.

2) I blogged about it HERE, the 10,000 Hour Rule:
Despite my knee injury, I've been able to start back doing uchikomi (in the video below) for Judo as well as some footwork drills.
I figure if I can average about 400 uchikomi per session, at 3 sessions per week, I'll hit 1200 repetitions a week, then 4800 per month and have totaled 19,200 uchikomis (and the rate per week will increase as my leg gets stronger, especially the last 2 months before my being cleared for sport again, I'll probably average about 300-500 per day.
There is a lot of debate about static uchikomi on the internetz, I personally feel it is a fundamental part of developing good form and unity of body movement for your tokui waza or "pet techniques". When I regularly compete only in Judo I average about 500 per day 5 days a week and perhaps depending on the content of Judo practice another 200 at night.

On to the TMA Craziness!
Ninjas are probably my favorite Traditional Martial Artists. Their belief in their secret abilities borders on the cult-like. I have also never actually seen someone with Ninjitsu training use it effectively in a dynamic situation. Perhaps, that is their secret. Hmmm.
At any rate, in college, I remember watching the Ninjitsu club doing what can best be described as almost completely wrong versions of classical Judo throws and beginning to wonder if years of Chuck Norris movies had lied to me. I then rolled with several of them and felt like I was tossing small children with degenerative diseases around the room like I was the Hulk.

Nothing like someone teaching Turtle defense that doesn't even know the proper nomenclature.
Good thing people are paying this fraud to teach them "self-defense".
Here's Ninjitsu in theory:

Here's Ninjitsu in practice:

Crazy beard?
Black outfit with multi-colored belt?
Crazy name for Dojo with references to abstract qualities and/or nature?
Reference to invisibility or secret techniques?
Instructor clearly thinks he is teh most deadly person among hundreds?
We have a Ninja!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Non-Interview Thursday: $ So You Want to Make Money in BJJ/Grappling? $

"Do what everyone else does.
Get what everyone else gets."

"If you build it, they will come" is the worst possible mentality to have if you desire success.

I previously posted HERE about sponsorships in BJJ.

And it branches out over to this general topic: making money from grappling (what you love).

This general model applies to blogging, writing, art, Yoga, whatever it is that you wish to monetize and derive profit from other than by mere chance.

To often we glamorize and romanticize the IDEA of making money doing what we love.
The cold reality is that working and making money making more than others, in particular requries the willingness to grind and put in far more hours of work and endure more setback(s) than others will push through.

How many hours do you think Lloyd Irvin has spent brainstorming and looking for the next cash cow?
How much time do you think he has spent looking at effective modes of marketing and models of advertising?
The next marketing appeal, the mentality in his players that has ALL OF US that follow grappling know who his players much time and energy did it require to produce/mentor/facilitate those guys?

I'm willing to bet it is thousands of hours if not more.
And rightfully so he now reaps those rewards.

Before I went to college I had spent most of my childhood studying art. I put together my portfolio and was accepted to a number of art schools for college. However, the process of doing so showed me that the grind of art beyond doing art for its own sake made me hate that process of deadlines, restrictions, and true "work".
I was not cut out to be a commercially successful artist.
No amount of hard work, desire, "wants" or "coulds" mattered beyond that one inescapable fact. 

If you wish to make money doing something, it must be a job.
J. O. B.  
You must treat it like a job.Every day. Not sometimes. Not every other day. Not when it's sunny outside. Not when it's raining and you have nothing else to do.

If you want to work 90 minutes a day teaching BJJ to 10 people, expect to get paid for 90 minutes worth of work a day teaching BJJ to 10 people.

We all had teachers in high school who didn't give a &^%$ phoned it in.
They handed out bull*&^% worksheets. They showed up unprepared or at worst did not know the material very well.
They showed videos, taught easy material, and had little to no expectations.

Teaching in the public school system, unfortunately, in many states is longevity-based pay. You teach each year, and regardless of merit, you receive incremental raises.

Teaching and coaching in martial arts, however, is completely different not quite the same paradigm.

Over time, the effort, and skill which you show will likely reflect in your students and success will then follow in a monetary fashion.

For example:
- My goal is to make money from sponsors.
What do I offer that should warrant a sponsor giving ME (among others) their money?
 How many potential sponsors have I even bothered to approach?
 Did I wear a pair of khakis and a tie and dress shirt? Did I comb my hair?
Or did I swing by GNC after I got done rolling for 90 min's and wore my board shorts and flip flops?

- My goal is to have 300 students whilst I currently have 45.
What am I doing on a daily basis to make those who are unaware that I have something to offer them?
What am I doing to incentivize my students to bring me new students or appeal to potential students that might consider another school that is closer or more convenient?
What am I doing to reach my community and offer a service that they are lacking or perhaps do not even know they are lacking (self-defense, bully prevention, after school care). 

Being the best requires total sacrifice
Due to narcissism we assume that others know we are "the best in the area".
And this may in fact be true.
But that is not enough to convince a white belt to sign on the dotted line with contract when Joe Schmoe is 20 min's closer to his house and does not require rush hour commuting.

What am I offering that others do not?
What am I willing to provide to "sweeten" the deal?

We (in particular as Americans) believe we are entitled to opportunity. That opportunity is mandated by our laws.
We are often unwilling to CREATE opportunities.
When others disparage Lloyd Irvin's marketing, they themselves are unwilling to market or advertise.
They want students to walk in the door and come to them.

We hold it to be self-evident that we are the best or that we have something better to offer than another school.
But the person walking in off the street has no earthly concept of what makes a good BJJ or whatever school.
The truth is not self-evident to them. In fact, they wouldn't know the truth if they saw it.

If you will not arrange your whole life in pursuit of that goal,
it is not your ultimate goal
Why are most Judo programs in non-profit facilities?
How many Judo clubs spend money on advertising?
How many Judo tournaments offer merchandise/make the event a true EVENT in terms of something (shirts, food other than hot dogs, flyers for upcoming clinics, seminars, et cetera) other than people contesting Judo matches.

And then we wonder why no one in America cares about Judo.
Through lack of effort, laziness, or outright apathy, we have watched while Tae Kwon Do, Karate, and (most recently) Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu have out marketed, out witted, and out hustled their way into a market that shows by the sheer number of these schools I see in the Yellow Pages that there is serious money to be made in this enterprise.

We scoffed at marketing and the connection to MMA b/c Judo is an Olympic Sport.
We often scoffed at Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu because we know it was new and came from Judo and we thought it was a fad.
And perhaps, it is. But to shut our eyes to why it has been successful is exactly the mentality that has Judo in the US an afterthought amongst so many sporting avenues for children and adults.

And we have watched as people routinely pay $60-85 to compete in one division at a grappling tournament.
And those same tournaments have hundreds of competitors in them.
While a local Judo tournament charges $35 for two divisions and at best has a hundred competitor.

The market was there.
We failed to capitalize.

If you wish to be the best, at whatever it is, you must be willing to grind longer, harder, and more consistently than everyone else, to truly be the best. 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Thesis Wednesday: Adventures in Refereeing Kid's Judo

....except the kids were trying to throw, pin, and choke one another

Refereed my first Judo tournament this past weekend. They were short on referees and I was loaned a Gi/Belt to wear for the day in accordance with the rules.

It was the first time I'd donned a full Gi and Belt since my ACL surgery 2 months ago.
I will admit, it was a strange feeling :
1) wearing a Gi again
2) wearing someone else's Gi and Belt.

The scoring itself and the pace of kids matches became less stressful as the day wore on. Double checking that the score-keeping was accurate, and yelling the scores as to be heard was more difficult than I would have anticipated, however.
Our team's players did well, with virtually all of them earning medals (a tough day considering there were no skill divisions/it was open skill class divided only by weight class). We also won 2nd in overall team points with only 4 adult competitors.

I had a hard time not smiling while I watched the war face of some kids versus the smile that others wore during their matches...I also felt a good bit of sympathy mixed with respect for kids on the verge of tears still fighting through their match with others through the stress of parents, coaches, and teammates (and the opposing sides coterie) yelling at them concurrently.

I saw more time given to mat work than ever before regardless of what you've heard from those who've never been to a Judo tournament and something I haven't seen reach BJJ forums and discussion is that at the national level, there is now a shido (penalty) that can be awarded for a player who makes no effort to initiate mat work after a throw has failed (and is in position to initiate mat work). It remains to be seen if this becomes a utilized part of the referee's toolbox.

Usually what reaches and dominates BJJ-centric discussions of Judo are either misinformed interpretations of rules they've never actually read themselves on the IJF or USJA websites, or second hand hearsay marketing by the likes of Rhadi Ferguson about how the double leg was banned b/c it was too effective and imagine that! he has a DVD about that exact move!. When the Soviet bloc crumbled, the large advent of Sambo players changed Judo, but the double leg (morote gari in the original gokyo) wasn't suddenly the game changer that ended standing throwing despite what some wish to believe about Judo or why don't need to spend more time drilling Gi-specific throws. Myself and most if not all of the coaches I've been blessed to have over the years are proponents of less rules and restrictions, not more.

I saw a small but consistent contingent of competitors wearing BJJ Gi's (a good sign of crossover and the rules about Gi's and patches were relaxed so as to let them compete) and a decent number of submissions ranging from RNC to keylock to some armbars and collar chokes as well (with a solid amount of wins by osaekomi/pin rounding out the mat work - another element of Judo mat work that those who have not competed under Judo rules simply do not understand).

It was a long day of competition with spectacular throws, efforts to transition to the mat, and win by any means possible: be it throw, pin, or submission.
Can't ask for much more than that.

Judo has all the elements necessary to be a spectator sport, a practical mode of self-defense, and a tool for bettering us as human beings.
We just have to continue to work to compete, train, foster competitive avenues for players (regardless of the sport/rule set), and obtain the attention it deserves.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Tournament Proof Tuesday: Rousey's Armbar (Gracie Edition)

Last week, I linked the Eddie Bravo breakdown of Rousey's armbar win over Kaufman. This time, I'd like to look at the Gracie breakdown for comparison.
I'm also interested in seeing how another BJJ-centric player interprets a very Judo-centric armbar.
No one get butthurt b/c I called the armbar Judo-centric.
I've seen far more Judo players (myself included) attack the arm with this sort of transition to the ankle-grab turnover. I've been taught this in BJJ class as well, but for whatever reason, I see more Judo players adopt this approach to taking the arm from the back (especially the turnover part).

1) to see how it is interpreted differently by another person with years of grappling experience.
2) to see how that experience articulates its own personal perspective/understanding of the move.

Great grapplers don't always make great instructors. And great instructors don't always make great grapplers. One of the hardest things to do is to attempt to understand something from another person's perspective. Looking at grappling as a Judo player instead of as a BJJ player. Looking at grappling from a wrestler's perspective instead of a Sambo player et cetera. Seeing the armbar transition as it applies to MMA rather than a Gi-based grappling event, et cetera.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Monday's Grappling Linkage: Disruptive Innovation,the Chicago Open, et al.

 1) Lex Fridman competed at the Chicago Open recently. Some commentary, matches posted, and odds/ends about traveling to compete (a necessity for those who are anything more than recreational players).

2) I try to keep the psychological-mumbo jumbo-science of progress and such-stuff to a minimum, but I came across this post over at The BJJ Mind. 
I'll be posting more about this, but it can be boiled down to the idea/belief/premise that "the worlds of business and technology to describe how newer, “better” ways of doing things will upset existing methods and eventually overcome them."
   - I've talked about the reticence of both sides or different factions of the grappling communities to isolate rather than cross train or experiment.
  - I have met precious few instructors that will send a player/competitor to cross-train or supplement training elsewhere.

3) - run by a good friend of mine and training partner

4) - BJJ-centric links submitted from across the internetz

Monday's Massive MMA Multimedia/News Mailbag

Worthless Apology of the Twitter Day: Jon Jones is sorry to everyone whose weekend, training camp, bank account he royally f&$%#ed. Keep digging that hole, bro. 

Travis Wiuff's Cinderella Man run through Bellator and other regional shows comes to an end via TKO in the first round at Bellator 73. Wiuff holds the unofficial record for fighting more weight classes than anyone else in MMA. Attila (cool name!) Vegh wins a shot at M'Pumbu (yes, the guy Wiuff already beat) to close out the light heavyweight tournament for the year.

In other odd Bellator news but you knew it would happen eventually news, Eduardo Dantas reigning bantamweight champion lost to Team Quest's Tyson Nam down in Brazil (insert reference to the problem of champs fighting outside of their organization).

Shocker of the Day: Rousey says Cyborg can make 135 if she's not juicing/cheating/roiding/whatever.

As I blogged about yesterday, Braulio Estima won his MMA debut:

Sheriff's Deputies say that Chad Mendes sucker punched a man in a bar and have charged Mendes with Battery.
As a witness or otherwise to similar events tells me that just because a cop or a sheriff's deputy says it happens means nothing once everyone heads to court.
It could just have easily been portrayed as a Huerta-esque style event depending on what people said or think they saw after the fact.

AND....Ken Shamrock assaulted a woman while breaking up a fight. The kicker is, he didn't realize it was a woman at the time.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

FYI: Braulio Estima Wins MMA Debut

For those that hadn't heard, Braulio Estima won his MMA debut by submission.
"Holland tagged Estima, ...and Estima's knees buckled for a moment. But after that, it was smooth sailing.

Estima landed a takedown a minute into the first round and took Holland's neck as they stood back up. Estima gave up on that and shot for a double-leg takedown, and Holland sprawled it out briefly. But Estima settled in and got to full mount with plenty of time left.

Estima worked for an arm triangle, but Holland fought his way out. But shortly thereafter, Estima passed from half guard to mount and again secured an arm triangle. Not long after that, Holland was out.

Friday, August 24, 2012

TMA Friday: Snake Oil Salesmen in Grappling and Chi Balls

Scenario 1:
You continually get beaten on the mat when rolling with non-Judo players/visiting other clubs. You've also been pinned and tapped out under Judo rules by players from other clubs and despite instructional time devoted to mat work at your club, you have not seen the gains necessary to compete on the mat with other players in your division. Your coach tells you, "well, in a Judo tournament you can just lift them off the ground and get a restart."

Scenario 2:
You continually get taken down at BJJ/Submission Grappling tournaments and you ask your coach why you don't train takedowns more often (in addition: you have a long-time back or knee injury that causes you to fear getting thrown). You want to compete in tournaments but do not wish to concede the 2 points for the takedown.
Your coach tells you, "Well, training takedowns causes injuries. Besides, you can just get better at pulling guard and sweeping from the bottom."

Solution to Scenario 1: Attend open mats at other clubs with players that are clearly better than you on the mat. Pick their brain. Address the positions that you are getting caught in the most frequently.

Solution to Scenario 2: Find a competent grappler with a background in a takedown-oriented style and learn grip fighting. You can out grip a fair number of other BJJ-centric competitors and induce them to pull guard without having to actually fight for the takedown.

Solution 3: Keep doing what you are doing and expect the results to change nonetheless.

In the light of day, sitting at your desk at work or on your futon, Solution 3 seems ridiculous, doesn't it?
It seems to ignore the obvious, the clear, the empirical, the rational.
Yet, we invent reasons to avoid leaving our comfort zone all the time.
We blame the rules of Judo with limited mat work for why we don't spend more time drilling mat work or rolling with non-Judo players. We blame the rules of BJJ for why it isn't worth the time to drill grip fighting or takedowns. We complain that a wrestler or a Judo player pinned us for minutes at a time. We blame the BJJ player for using submissions we don't normally drill at our club. We fall back on those rules very quickly, however, when we "lose" in training and wish to protect our pride or our vanity.

Here's a clip of the pretty thoroughly debunked/myth/fraud/charlatan/mountebank otherwise known as George Dillman:

And what happens when a practitioner tries to use Chi on a non-believer you ask?

Don't buy the snake oil.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Have You Had Your Jits Today? BJJ Documentaries

IBJJF TV - Las Vegas International Open

Fernando Vieira: Evolution of a Champion:

Ricardo "Rico" Vieira:

Thesis Wednesday: The Sum of Our Parts - Judo and BJJ

Judo: provided much of the genesis of Sambo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Olympic sport. Combines throwing, transition, and submission, close relationships to traditional martial arts/values, structure/order to class more consistent, typically see more than one black belt on the mat coaching (in my experience)

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu: rapidly spreading across the USA (and others parts of the world) due in part to MMA's rise to prominence, generates far more in revenue on a per club basis. holds open tournaments for the Pans and World Championships.  Growing it's identity to the general public as good for children's self-defense, and a safer alternative for bully proofing their children than styles of striking.

The purpose of this post is not to inflame internet sentiment (go check out the BJJ vs Judo debate at for that or insinuate that Judo can learn from BJJ or that Judo crosses over well into BJJ and watch the flame war begin).

Disclaimer: The following are some base observations about the things that each style at a club/sport level seems to do exceedingly well in my experience training and visiting various clubs across the state where I live and having followed both sports for a number of years.

Judo: decades upon decades of athletic research, physiological research studies and PhD papers, high end analysis of sport results by throw, pin, strangle et cetera, refinement of children's training and training methodology from childhood to adulthook, typically a greater emphasis on physicality/athletic requirement in competitive clubs, physiology research, weight lifting regimens feature periodization (though Judo has different aerobic/anaerobic requirements than BJJ and strength and conditioning is becoming a more serious component among competitors), worldwide notoriety, has gone through the growing pains BJJ now faces as it rises to prominence

BJJ: growing visibility, seen as a safer (injury-wise) grappling alternative than Judo, intrinsically linked to MMA, has seen more crossover from high profile Olympic wrestlers, Gracies in Action tapes show self-defense application against various "styles", willing to charge more and generate more $, risen to prominence in the age of the internet, easier learning curve at the outset than Judo (in my honest opinion, you will armbar someone after a few months of BJJ but it might be a year or more before you legitimately throw others in your club in Judo),

Rather than pointing out the above to say one is better or inferior, I wish that more clubs would look outside of their box and consider what they can LEARN FROM ONE ANOTHER. If Kano thought he'd learned all their was to know about throwing he would not have sought out different instructors over time and added techniques to the Gokyo as they became applicable. He would also not have had others teach mat work b/c that was not his strong suit. But he did both of the above.

If BJJ had not tested itself against various styles of martial arts, MMA would not exist. BJJ has prided itself on challenge matches and the willingness to test in real-time what works without time limits or rule restrictions.

To close your mind to what other styles do well (be it marketing, advertising, enrollment, children's programs) et cetera is to violate a core principle of Judo and BJJ: what works in real-time.

Kano and Helio both strictly adhered to the "what works and can be diligently trained" philosophy.
Empty your tea cup. Open your eyes. Look around at what others are doing and gleam from them what works or what can be adopted without violating the core principles of your sport.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Technique Tuesday: Eddie Bravo Dissects Rousey's Armbar

Love him or hate him, here's Eddie Bravo's breakdown of Rousey's armbar finish.
Eddie Bravo internet hate aside, the guy is a legit JJ Machado black belt in BJJ.

I'd be more interested to hear what Dan Camarillo the "arm hunter" or Giva the "arm collector" think of her finish as those are two competitors who know more than most of us will ever forget about taking the arm home to put on the mantle, but, breakdowns are always interesting as it's good to hear what longtime grapplers see that most of us probably or potentially miss while watching a fight or grappling match. .

And in kinda-sorta-slightly-maybe not really-related news, Kayla Harrison is a huge Ayn Rand/Atlas Shrugged fan.

Monday, August 20, 2012

TMA Friday Could Not Wait: Jesus + Self-Defense Demo

For those of you wondering...Jesus and his minister want you to learn gun self-defense.
You are welcome.

MMA Multimedia Mailbag Part II: Odds & Ends

The One and Only Dan Severn

Monday (MMA) Mailbag: Women's Edition

Women's MMA is currently Rousey's World. Other women are just living in it.

 this is refreshing. She had a lot of things to say after Rousey tore virtually every ligament in her arm and bent it 90 degrees the wrong way, but it looks like common sense is telling her she has some things to address before she takes on the female arm collector that is Rousey.

- Watch replays of the event today and tomorrow if you have Showtime or Showtime HD.

- Rousey tells Cyborg to get off the PED's and meet her at 135

- Cybrog refuses meeting at 135 and asks to leave Strikeforce

Rousey Vs Kaufman HL:

Miesha Tate Vs Kedzie HL:

Friday, August 17, 2012

Training/Competing While Injured: Thin Line Between Desire and Stupidity

the stuff that hasn't kept me off the mats (other than the ribs)

Read the full article HERE

Hyperbole or truth?
They simply describe the extent of the injuries but don't go into any diagnoses, which makes me wonder if he has Tito Ortiz syndrom   or if there is some degree of exaggeration. The quotes used are chosen by the writer of the article and are short on specifics:
"The left half of Kim’s body in particular is an emergency ward unto itself. His left knee can only be described as “dangling.” The pain is severe enough that the wrong leg technique with his opponent could leave him with irreparable damage."

"His left shoulder is, if anything, worse. Plagued with problems since 2007, it finally became dislocated late last year [when] Kim landed on his left arm while blocking a shoulder throw. He also suffered ligament damage there....Then his left elbow broke down during training. Repeated impact against the mat left it difficult to flex. A month before the London games, he suffered a ligament break to his left ring finger. ...He also suffers from joint inflammation. ....A devout Christian, Kim prayed every night at 11:11. He wanted the gold."

"After arriving in London, Kim was unable to practice without painkillers and anesthetics. For the gold medal match, his left arm was taped tightly and numbed."

If that's true, I'm curious as to what painkillers are allowed by Olympic Style testing and what are banned.
Since Nick Delpopolo was flagged for Marijuana metabolites and if sporting at this level requires some amount of injuries and thus painkillers, then why would the remnants of something that does not enhance competition (marijuana) be grounds for disqualification yet painkillers that allow a player to compete while clearly and dangerously potentially injured?

The above brings up the uncomfortable reality of high level training and grinding through training and injury before competition, before an MMA fight or whatever other combat/contact sport.

I spent the last 9 months training with a torn ACL, torn meniscus, and fracture in my leg. I managed to train 4-6 days a week that entire time (2x a day during the following summer) and was training full speed getting ready for the Pan Ams in BJJ, despite CLEAR and STRICT orders by my orthopedist/doctor to not get on the mats or compete in a any high level athletic activity beyond jogging and perhaps some weight lifting. I also managed to medal/win matches in Judo, submission grappling, and smaller BJJ tournaments in that span of time.

I've trained pretty consistently with injures ranging from bruised ribs, sprained wrists, rotator cuff damage, torn meniscus in my other knee, numerous broken toes and fingers and still competed in quite a few grappling tournaments with those injuries. I've also fought in MMA when I was clearly overtrained and fought through some knees/kicks to the groin that in retrospect were pretty damaging and potentially could have led to a much worse injury than just losing the fight.

In retrospect I've learned a lot about how much works and does not work while injured, but the fine line is just that.... a fine line between bravery and stupidity. Or at worse, shortening your overall career.

An athlete, has the right to draw the line when and how they see fit, but to young players, particularly those in their teens, I don't know if the above is something to ascribe to or avoid as training at that level and competing in that condition has likely and almost certainly shortened the overall length of his career.

Rick Hawn Profile & TMA Friday

With "Rowdy" Ronda Rousey making waves for both women's MMA and Judo in MMA, there's so much press I'm working on a longer post about her for later.

In the meantime, with all the coverage in MMA magazines about the Olympics, former Olympians in MMA and future potential-MMA fighters coming from this years Olympics, Rick Hawn deserves a full fledged profile.

In 2004, Hawn placed 9th in the Olympics. He came away dissatisfied, moved to train with Jimmy Pedro, and made a run at the 2008 team but missed out due to the selection process. He doesn't elaborate, but blamed the politics of Judo for his not being selected. Rousey has had similar things to say about the politics and the money behind USJA as far as how much goes to athletes (according her the amount is next to nothing) and how much goes to the travel expenses, food budget, and lodgings of those who are basically administrative staff for the USJA on trips abroad as opposed to athletes.

At any rate, Hawn moved over to MMA, quickly racking up an impressive record before moving to the big show.
His first big splash on the national scene was a shoulder throw to hammerfist TKO win in Bellator:

Hawn opened his MMA career at Delagrotte's Sityodong gym but has since made his way to GSP's home away from home, Tristar in Montreal. Hawn recently walked away with Bellator's 155/Lightweight tournament title and will now face Michael Chandler for the belt Chandler himself recently won via finish/upset over Eddie Alvarez.


TMA Friday:
I've made jokes in the past about TMA (traditional martial arts) as so much of it is based on theory rather than application. I do this, in part, b/c I went through the tough but necessary realization that what I had learned in Wing Chun Kung-Fu (how I got started in Martial Arts FYI) left quite a bit to be desired in fighting other trained fighters. If I had to pick a martial art to teach someone who was fighting other "street fighters" and non-trained fighters, Wing Chun is actually not bad. It's against trained fighters that I found Wing Chun started to have some holes. That being said, my biggest beef with traditional martial arts is the lack of full-scale sparring (or close to it) and the belief that you can simply know how to do something rather than train your body by doing it thousands and thousands of times.

That being said, it's hilarious to see there's nothing wrong with a look into what those wacky TMA guys are inventing as of late.

Takedown Defense (I guess against someone with no wrestling experience but who tries to grab your legs?)

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Uninformed Opinion of the Day: BJJ should be in the Olympics because....

Click HERE
for the ( often) poorly written/articulated attempt at something resembling an article on Bleacher Report:
Apparently, BJJ will have more finishes (than TKD or Judo). I've seen plenty of awesome BJJ matches go for 10 minutes and alternately I've been less than enthralled by 8 minutes of inverted guard followed by 2 minutes of action. Some of the best high level matches I saw as of late were the super fights at the World Jiu-Jitsu Expo. But then, I clearly remember Malfacine riding out his 2 points for a takedown on G. Mendes for nearly 7 or 8 minutes at the Pans this year. Scintillating? Not particularly.

The article also uses Shinya Aoki and BJ Penn as proof that BJJ is an internationally competitive sport when in reality the world champions have at the black belt/male level have virtually (with a handful of exceptions) come from one country and only come from one lineage of the sport's origin (minus Rodolfo).

The sad (for spectators anyway) truth, just like with high level Judo, is that at the highest level when a point or an advantage, or a mistake can mean the difference between advancing or busting out early, is that a more reserved game plan is statistically the preferred route amongst many competitors.

A sport should be in the Olympics because of its own merits not b/c "it's better (supposedly) than the current sports".

As a spectator, I would love to see Sambo in the Olympics. It has the pace that I wish I saw more of in Judo, has leg locks, and has big throws as well as pretty consistent action and scrambles. Hell, I've seen plenty of Female Sambo matches that were far more spectator friendly than high level Judo and BJJ matches.

I'm not going to go into the plethora of obstacles for BJJ to enter the Olympics (the lack of PED testing which according to Caio Terra is adamantly blocked by the superstars of the IBJJF), no qualifying system in place, what will the rules be, what about NoGi et al) but what I don't want is backlash to a sport that is still in many ways sorting itself out as a competitive sport. We call BJJ a combat sport, but it will not appear that way if it turns into 8 min's of leg scissors or 9 minutes spent clinging to an advantage.

If anything, I'd support the Abu Dhabi Pro Trials format which produces faster paced matches, but alternatively often makes the takedown more important, but can make it easier to stall out on a sweep or a takedown.

Interview Thursday: Shameless Plug Edition

With the cat out of the bag in my personal life (that I have a blog), today's interviews (sorta) are of my 2 coaches. Borrowed from my gym's website, get to know Royce Gracie Black Belts, Billy Dowey and Jason Culbreth. My two mentors in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

MMA News Flash & Thesis Wednesday: "Professional" Competition

If anyone recalls, Rodolfo Vieira (reigning world and absolute champion) skipped the Pan Ams of 2012 in favor of the Abu Dhabi Pro Trials. Let me repeat.
He skipped the 2nd biggest Gi specific BJJ tournament in the world (that is also the closest warm-up for the Mundials) to compete less than 2 months before in a moderately different rule set.

Ostensibly b/c making friends with the biggest patrons of the sport ( Sheik Tahnoon and company) and getting paid (assuming he won) was a more tantalizing proposition.

The IBJJF has realized the trend as it appears on the horizon and answered the calls of its elite poster boys for cash prizes to winners. They've announced an IBJJF Pro League.

Judo recently has also seen the advent of cash prizes for those that make the podium as well.

Grappler's Quest has turned into an event known across North America due to the level of competitors it attracts. Cash prizes mean that not only do people with names and reputations show up, but I've found, the matches are pretty serious as that added incentive of $5,000 and your reputation on the line lead to shall we say "spirited" competition.
The NYC Absolute with it's 10,000 cash prize attracted some serious NoGi competitors and was much talked about amongst the grapplers that I know personally. I saw a fair bit of talk, speculation, and interest across various social media and grappling forums.

There are those of us who will suckle at the teet of the sport for the sake of sport and are not professional level grapplers ourselves  and we also demand the highest level of competition and the best prepared athletes.
Why does American Judo lag behind other countries?
The organizations in other countries fund far more training than the USJA and similar organizations do here. Athletes in Judo in other countries have far more corporate sponsorship. Athletes in Judo in other countries (at the highest levels) make 6 figure salaries and are true, paid, professional athletes.

American Judo wants to do what it has done since Judo came to the United States then we sit back and wonder, complain, b*tch, regarding the level of our American delegates in Judo.

At the club level, at the local level, Judo programs have shied away connecting Judo to MMA, from making sure that the public knows it is the birthplace of Jiu-Jitsu.
Judo has done much to insulate itself from the general American public. To say that Judo cannot be in every school or every neighborhood flies in the face of the Tae Kwon Do schools I see in every other strip mall.
Tae Kwon Do is proof to the commercial viability of the martial arts.
The birthplace of true, Olympic champions is in the kids programs. 

I've lost count of the TKD demonstrations and kiosks I've seen at malls, in schools, and after school programs. The mere fact that when people find out I do Judo they ask if that's like TKD says more about the ability for TKD to self-promote itself.

If you do what you've always done, you'll get the results you've always gotten. Travis Stevens progressed pretty far into his bracket and made the semifinals only to lose to his rival Ole Bischoff, and for those that watch International Judo, Ole Bischoff is a top level elite Judo player. And yes, I'm aware Kayla Harrison took Gold. However, Delpopolo ( with or without the metabolite positive test) busted out in 7th place I believe. We have occasionally over the years (with Swain and Pedro leading the way) medalled in Judo.

America is a country that reaps more medals in more sports than virtually EVERY other country in the world.
Do not tell me we don't have the athletes, the drive, or the components to produce gold medalists in Judo.

But as someone who watched most of the 2012 and 2011 Grand Prix's in Judo, I saw very, very few American competitors. The Grand Prix's are the time for International competition and time on the mat with players around the world. Training is just that, training. Visiting the Euro clubs and Japan but not competing at those big, trial run events is like working out at the Olympic Training Center but not going to the World Championships. Or doing the World Championships but doing one International level competition that year to prepare.

For Judo and the other sports to continue to evolve and for us to send delegates to compete on the World Stage, they must have the opportunities (competitive and financial) to prepare at the same level as their competitors.

Mid-Week MMA News Flash

Rua Versus Gustaffson, Penn Versus McDonald and Daiz vs Henderson booked for UFC on FOX 5.

Bellator's champ Curran Injured, Freire awaiting new opponent (wants Warren rematch). 

Fight Card booked for next ONE FC event: It's got everyone from Aoki to Bibiano to Arlovski to even, yes, the inimitable Tim Sylvia. But that's not all! It has Gregor, Igor, and Rolles Gracie and even Jens Pulver.

Mayhem Miller found naked in a church. Sigh.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Tournament Proof Tuesday: Single leg/Outside Trip & the Bulldog Choke

This was my first fight in MMA. I start off in the corner to the left of the frame, wearing the white Muay Thai shorts.
I had driven up to see some fights with a buddy of mine and had my gear with me in case we stayed and I was going to do some training at a local gym.
Turns out, some of the fighters backed out.
They asked if anyone in the audience would step up and I thought "why not?"

My opponent cut down to 145, I stepped on the scale weighing 138. As I overheard from the guy who was wrapping hands upstairs my opponent had a fair number of amateur boxing and muay thai bouts to his record. Ah, Virginia and the days of the ringer.

At any rate, I'd done some amateur boxing, done smokers for boxing (unsanctioned fights in gyms, that are essentially unrecorded fights), and been consistently training  Muay Thai to complement my Judo.
I'd wrestled briefly in college as part of a club team, occasionally putting on my Gi to do Jiu-Jitsu after Muay Thai class, and had never rolled NoGi. I'd never done any kind of MMA style sparring or putting it altogether. I was diligent about Muay Thai but I did not have the patience for Jiu-Jitsu. I liked the bang bang bang pace of Muay Thai and Judo and honestly, had not realized the benefit in training Jiu-Jitsu as a result of the influence of some of my coaches up until that point.

To think that I took an MMA fight is pretty laughable in retrospect, but I wanted to try the things I did over the years in training, and fortunately it worked out.

At any rate, you'll see in the first round how basic my ground game was at this point. It consisted of turtling up to avoid punishment and exposing my back to escape being mounted. I managed a single leg off of a kick, but my opponent got back up and then managed a body lock/reversal but over-rotated and ended up mounted.

The most tired I've ever been in my life was after the first round.
I remember thinking, "how in the *&^% am I going to survive another 3 minutes?"
Fortunately, the slowest single leg ever I pull off was something I'd gotten to doing while working on my mat work in Judo to counter a sprawl.

I'd seen several of the guys fighting before me that day completely expose their necks/backs and I remember thinking, if my guy does that, I'm going to jump onto the neck like a rattlesnake.

Well, every dog has its day.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Sensei Roy Responds to the Critics

Roy is a friend of mine, and in real-life, one of the best coaches I've had the luck of coaching me matside at tournaments. In real grappling tournaments when he's being serious he's coached me to plenty of wins at various tournaments while my coaches were on other mats.

But, here, he's being awesome and hilarious:

Some other nice  REAL TMA for your day

Monday's Multimedia Mailbag

I went 6-4 with my picks Saturday night.
Though, I don't really count Henderson's win b/c honestly, he lost that fight fair and square in my opinion.
Ken Stone won't be getting my bet anymore, after seeing him get TKO'd again by a guy I've never heart of.
Shields won but hardly looked impressive insomuch as he couldn't finish Herman despite having his back and mounting him at different intervals after getting early takedowns in at least 2 of the rounds I can recall despite having had a few beers at that point.

Oh, and Dos Santos Vs Cain Velasquez II is booked for the end of the year card on Decembter 29th.

Highlights from Saturday Night:

Frankie Edgar (not quite robbed, but not getting the nod from the judges) vs Ben Henderson

Donald Cerrone rescuing victory from the jaws of defeat with Guillard

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Predict the Hangover: UFC 150 Edition

Ittttt's Time.

Anyhow, for my picks I have Henderson finally putting away Edgar (unlike the last bunch of Edgar fights in the UFC) as he'll pour it on more this time and batter him more convincingly for a 4th or 5th round late stoppage. Henderson has become more and more dominating in each of his UFC appearances. A hard to submit guy with a guillotine has become an animal throwing kness, punches, kicks, takedowns, submission attempts and punches along with the kitchen sink. This fight will be a bloodier, more dominating version of the first.
Edgar wakes up with a hangover via 4th or 5th round TKO.

Those discounting Shields are counting his poor UFC showings at 170 and a bad weight cut against Kampmann. Before that Shields was serving guys like Lawler, Daley, and dominating Dan Henderson double Gin & Tonics for trips to the promised land of Blackout-ville. Herman will likely on instinct finish a takedown following some strikes that get through Shield's porous stand-up defense. Shields will quickly turn the tide and finish Herman. 
Herman wakes up with a hangover via 2nd round submission.

I think as long as Cerrone doesn't turn in a mind numbingly stupid performance like he did against Nate Diaz, he'll tap Guillard in a round or two. Guillard was mounted with little in the way of defense inside the first round of an unheralded newcomer to the UFC in his most recent UFC appearance. He won't escape such a position against Cerrone. Cerrone has one of the best transition to submission games in his weight class (watch his first fight with Ben Henderson for proof among others), and Guillard seems impossible to not avoid dumb lapses in judgment in his fights.
Guillard wakes up with a hangover via 1st round submission.

Jared Hamman wakes up with a hangover after 4 min's of the first round due to taking one too many shots to the chin/face/jaw.

Eiji Mitsuoka is bartending tonight and Nik Lentz is on a bender.
Nik Lentz wakes up with a hangover via split decision.

Bermudez wins against a guy I've never heard of.
Hayden wakes up with a hangover the likes of which you have after your first weekend in college.

Justin Lawrence dishes out a TKO stoppage to the guy with the creeper 'stache.
Creeper-stache aside, Holloway gets TKO'd in the 1st or 2nd round for another freshmen weekend type college hangover.

Okami is serving up penny draft tonight and some guy I've never heard of has a fistful of dollar bills and some girls from his college dorm on his arm that he wants to impress.

Dustin Pague and Ken Stone are also getting tossed some softballs and lightweights which should make them look like the best damn bartenders on the prelims in the business.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Interview Thursday: Ryan Hall

Whilst I was chilling at US Grappling Richmond this past weekend, I was lucky and fortunate enough to look over and realize Ryan Hall was sitting next to me.
I thanked him for his triangle series back in the day as it was the first video I ever saw that got me consistent submissions as a lowly white belt.

At any rate, I figured he should be the centerpiece for Interview Thursday.
He struck me as a completely normal guy, who was surprised I even recognized him.

Oh, and Hector Lombard was injured (so as to explain his dismal performance against the guy he was supposed to buzzsaw in his debut).

Cerrone thinks he has dibs on Pettis after (he assumes) he'll beat Guillard this weekend. Cerrone should beat Guillard unless he turns in a fight like he did against Nate Diaz.

On to Ryan Hall borrowed from Open Mat Radio:

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Quick Links & Thesis Wednesday: Status Quo?

Quick Links for your Wednesday Morning at Work:
Women getting some press-love from the MMA media machine on Showtime

Click HERE to watch the Countdown Show to this weekend's Ben Henderson Vs Frankie Edgar Rematch

I went 6-3 for picks on the UFC on Fox 4. Omigawa, whom I chose against my better judgment, dropped a split decision to Gamburyan. Nam Pham did his usual switcheroo by winning a fight just often enough to keep his UFC job. Ulysses Gomez lived up to his nickname and blew my pick for the 125 lb bout.

Onto the Thesis:
I've posted at various times on different grappling forums, Sherdog, Judoforum, et cetera.
The make-up of the forums range in seriousness depending on the moderators and the style of martial arts allegedly trained by most of the serious commenters. The internet, as always, remains the wild west of martial arts. The last bastion of those who pretend, hide behind anonymity, and say what they think rather
The internet with it's armchair experts can be like walking through Dante's Inferno with Raoul Duke as your personal guide. At any rate, the internet is a powerful medium, but one that must be challenged, plugged through, and perhaps, if someone out there seeks an answer (silver bullets are few and far between), they might just take the plunge and go check out a gym.

The first obstacle those that have started training and managed some moderate competency in that system or gym i s when you challenge the status quo, or challenge what long-time practitioners see "as the way things should be done" comes the common "who are you to question the methods?"

A valid question. But, if Helio had not taken it upon himself to teach class one day, how might Jiu-Jitsu now be different?

If Carlson or Helio had not been willing to back up their claims in competition, where would vale tudo, mixed martial arts, and Jiu-Jitsu be?

If Count Koma had not traveled the world there might not be Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?

If a Russian man had not traveled to the Kodokan, Sambo would not exist in the capacity it does today (which later influenced Judo with the collapse of the Soviet bloc).

- The obvious answer is you, as a lowly practitioner are none of those people...but then, in their own time, neither were they. We blow them up in our minds to these myths and legends, when at the end of our day and simultaneously the start of their day, they put on their gear, showed up to train, and for a long time just did that.
But over time, they had questions. They decided to step outside of the box.
And the world is better for it.

The tie that binds the above men is they were unsatisfied with their own knowledge and mastery.
They believed in finding, trying, failing, and searching...and ultimately distilling what they saw down into an roughly organized system. And testing those techniques against unwilling opponents.

Their actions demonstrate a belief that there is no "one answer'.
Not to make this an argument of semantics, but the "one answer" is to "always look for more answers or be prepared to question what you know".

When Kano felt unsatisfied with the training he received, what did he do?
From "Jigoro Kano ...started his training in jujitsu at the age of 17, but his instructor, Ryuji Katagiri, felt he was too young for serious training. As a result, Katagiri gave him only a few formal exercises for study and let it go at that. The determined young man was not about to be put off so easily, however, and finally wound up at the dojo of Hachinosuke Fukuda."

"The 19-year-old... soon joined another branch ...Over the next two years, Jigoro Kano ate, drank and slept jujitsu, practicing night and day at the point of exhaustion. ...Kano decided to move on, feeling he still had much to learn and wanting to study rather than teach."

Those familiar with samurai films see the clear parallel of the wandering student, in search of a master. Luck, fate, determination, and chance bring him to the home/dojo/school of someone from whom he learns. Circumstances beyond his control force him onto the next stead, the next challenge, but he continues doggedly in pursuit of this elusive truth, of more knowledge. For "more knowledge" or the state of being open to "more knowledge" is the only real truth. 

"This generation gives a rebel his grave, the one after gives him a monument, and there is no exception to it."
Keep your mind open. When you think you know everything have nothing left to learn, or your style knows everything there is to know because 90% of fights go to the ground and somehow has ALL the answers, because it is an Olympic sport and thus commands more respect than other grappling styles you sound like a Scientologist arguing with a Mormon over whose beliefs make more sense.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Just Say No!: Nick Delpopolo/Metabolite Edition

Well, Phelps has company. And Nick Diaz.
Nick Delpopolo failed an IOC/Olympic Drug test for marijuana metabolites.
He claims he unknowingly ingested food containing marijuana before leaving for the games.

It is what it is. Insert jokes here I 'spose.

Tourament Proof Tuesday: What Mistakes in Judo Look Like

The above is from March of 2011. I hadn't competed since the previous August.
I'd just finished a round of BJJ tournaments but opted to compete anyway b/c time on the mat is always good time.

I'm the smaller/shorter player (wearing the white belt) and this was the next weight division up from my natural weight class.
You can tell immediately my legs are much too far apart rather than adopting an upright stance.
You can see clearly that had my opponent been a competent uchimata player, I would have been toast in about 7 seconds.

I'm also lazy about my cross gripping (feeding the opponent's lapel to my dominant hand with my rear hand) and as a result I end up in neutral grips with my opponent (where we each have a hand on the other's sleeve and lapel). Neither of us is anywhere near optimal throwing range and position, hampered even further by his being taller yet playing more bent over than I, the shorter player.

Compounding that fact is that my style of play makes clear I don't really know how or what I want to do. My feet aren't moving (foot sweeps) and I'm lost out there as we move around the mat. My timing is off and I'm not really setting anything up except for the occasional over the back grip his posture gives me.

You can also see I make virtually zero effort to transition to mat work even when in top position.

The referee calls "matte" (stop) and I relax, then my opponent hits a semi-suplex. I'm hoping to pull a penalty or something else to get him to open up his game as he's playing even more bent over than I am.

At any rate, at 3:08 I hit an uchimata-counter to an outside trip for a waza ari (half point).

You'll notice in the 2 scoring attacks by me (at 3:08 and 4:20) I control his left grip at the outset of the gripping exchange. When he adjusts his grip, I adopt my position-ally stronger grip, throw, and score.

I neglected to follow the gripping sequence. I simply walked forward, and put my hands out to grab my opponent. My gripping was lazy. I didn't circle, move my feet, I went for virtually no foot sweeps. My posture was atrocious. 
And on a technical/game planning level, I simply did not have one. I had not decided and specifically trained the combinations that are tested at the local level of tournaments.
It was an ugly match on my part and proof that the fundamentals create the opportunities for good Judo and avoid many of the positions and situations that lead to losing matches.
I was fortunate my changes in gripping for stronger grips led to 2 scoring opportunities.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Monday's Multimedia Mailbag

Just Machida....being Machida.

1) I posted about it yesterday regarding Rory McDonald's "cut" in training and having to pull out of his bout with BJ Penn....and now the plot thickens as now Rory McDonald and BJ Penn are bickering over when the fight should take place. BJ chimed in with:
Just BJ Pen.....being BJ Penn
"I would like to wish Rory a speedy and healthy recovery and request a postponement of our fight to the Rio card. To Rory, let’s stay with VADA and continue through with the program from now until we fight"

 2) On to the multimedia!

Machida KO'ing Bader

Shogun taking his time in putting away Vera who made a better showing of himself than virtually anyone other than his family expected

AND....the man who has the UFC Record for Fight Night Bonuses, Joe Lauzon finishing Jamie Varner

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Conspiracy Theory Sunday: Rory McDonald NOT Fighting BJ Penn

Performance enhancement in Sports: It has become a daily reality of world class/elite level competition.
The Olympics are no stranger to it this year with the controversy over the 16 year old swimmer from China (not helping were allegations at the Olympics in several sports of cheating by the Chinese). Some of you will recall my post HERE about the lack of PED testing in Grappling and my post here about BJ Penn agreeing to fight Rory McDonald. And I stand by my thinking there, that Rory would beat the brakes off of BJ.

Now, comes the story that shortly after agreeing to VADA testing before the upcoming bout Rory has pulled out.
At any rate, I didn't immediately think " OMG RORY IS ON PED's!!!)!(*#(@#".
But until I see a twitter picture of the cut that requires an obscene amount of stitches, I will remain, how you say "suspicious".
I'm certain a graphic picture of the stitches will flood twitter later, but until then, many will doubt Rory. I would have never jumped to that conclusion a few years ago....

I've heard similar claims in the past that the reason GSP only fights once a year or so is b/c more frequent fights would make the process to cycle off nearly impossible.

It's sad that we as fans have grown so suspicious of cheating and doping and PED's that the conspiracy theory is now that they're likely cheating.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Friday News Flash: Ze Mario Sperry Takes it Back to Black, Olympic Judo 2012,

You may not have been following the MMA-coaching revolving door drama that is gym life, but the one and only Ze Mario Sperry will be helping the self-dubbed Blackzilians down in Florida. You'll find at the link that Cyborg has predictably been making his way up from Fight Sport as well. I haven't seen Cyborg in previous news from the gym so Ze's appearance my have the long-time self-supporting brown belt (now black) seeking some mentorship.
Ze is well know in BJJ, vale tudo, and in the history of the combined sports thanks to Day of the Zen, likely the first documentary many of us saw (other than Choke).
Here is the inimitable Ze in Day of the Zen:

For those that missed it, here is Hiraoka losing to Galstyan in the final of the 60kg in the Olympics for Judo. Amazing how quickly it ends in the last match of the bracket.
It's a mindblowing few seconds that decides the match.
Galstyan hits uchimata but Hiraoka kills it. Then grabs for the Khabarelli pick-up, Galstyan avoids and right as Hiraoka shuffles his feet, Galstyan steps across to set up the harai-makikomi.
- A lifetime of training, and a match, decided in a split second.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Kayla Harrison Wins Gold in Judo

Not much more is necessary to say.
America's first gold medalist in Judo.

Click HERE for the match (assuming the strange NBC/youtube partnership hasn't moved it or requires you to login with your cable provider information)

And she did so against the home crowd advantage. Doesn't get much tougher than that.
Congratulations. Well played. 

Play "Predict the Hangover": UFC on FOX 4 Edition

Last time around, our ignominious winners were none other than Hector Lombard, Nick Ring, Urijah Faber, and Brian Ebersole.

Who's it going to be? Who do you think will fall short on Saturday's 8pm UFC on Fox 4?

I'm going with Bader, Vera, Manvil, Varner, and Josh Grispi as the short list of those who will fall short. Granted, I'm something like 45-41 over the past 7 UFC events when it comes to picking winners and losers.

- Shogun blasts through Vera who realizes very quickly he doesn't want to even try to withstand the Shogun swarm. I see Vera trying to clinch when things get rocky, Shogun having none of it and pelting him until it ends in short and brutal fashion.

- Machida is still one of the best and I believe he only struggled against Rampage due to a choice in training camp to utilize different footwork over the first 1 1/2 rounds.

- Manvil Gamburyan will finally leave the UFC where he's rarely looked like he belonged.

- Varner, though resurgent is only a fight away from a slide that was halfway to Jens Pulver status.

- Josh Grispi hasn't been the same since Dustin Poirier ran roughshod over him. I don't know what changed from the WEC to the UFC, but he has looked every bit the shell of his former self.

Interview Thursday: The Truth about BJJ Sponsorships with Gustavo Dantas

Why should someone give you money to compete?

A year or so ago, a friend of mine asked me about getting sponsored/sponsorship money for an upcoming MMA fight.
It was his first fight. He had competed intermittently in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, et cetera (not to be a pessimist, or a doubting Thomas, but you can pick up a rock and find such a person).

Bear with me, as this will sound negative to start, but it will get more positive.
My wife and I have a saying, "there is money just laying around".
That is to say, if you are willing to ask, look, bargain, and search, you will find ways to pick up money.

Before I digress any further from my anecdote, I asked my friend an honest question:  
Why should someone sponsor you?
He looked at me, clearly uncertain as to how to respond.

I wasn't doubting at all that he could obtain sponsorship as I knew he was well-rounded and it would be a good fight.
What I was asking, was "what does a company or a person have to gain by sponsoring you for a bout of Mixed Martial Arts on a set date/time?"

In other words, let's suppose you sell "adspace" or sponsorship on your shorts, a walkout t-shirt et cetera.
What are you proposing to give in return for this business and their $50 or $75 or however much money?
If you are selling something, the person buying (should) expects something in return other than gratitude.

This had not occurred to him.
If you are just asking for money, call it that.

If you are legitimately advertising for them, you know roughly 400-800 people will hear your post-fight interview.
If you are selling x number of shirts that will advertise their business amongst your gym's members or the shirt will be worn at local grappling tournaments, whatever, then say that.
If you know that winning means your picture will be on a website, wearing their brand on your post-fight shirt, then find out the daily/monthly traffic for that site and include that information.

In other words, you sell both the intangible supposed revenue in the form of a logo on an item/shorts/t-shirt and specifics as to what you will say/do/refer to them in the number of people you reach with your endeavor.

Examples of what I offered in my proposal (yes, like a resume and actually printed out):

1) I will thank you specifically and your service/product in my post-fight interview
2) I will post on my facebook information about your company and how it proved instrumental in my training and/or daily life in the weeks leading up and after my fight.
3) my facebook which has x number of friends and affiliates and I will post a weekly statement about specials or discounts at your business
4) if you have a blog/what is your daily/monthly viewership and you will have permanent adspace for their business/specials/discounts on your blog that will be viewed on average x number of times per day.

You'll find that most businesses who already know you and you frequent are willing to spot you a fistful of dollars in exchange for some small advertising space on a t-shirt.
- examples of businesses I approached: the tattoo shop where I've had most of my ink work done, the used bookstore I frequent during the days I have off, and the coffee shop where I spend most of my free time reading.
I started small but went to 6 places that I knew multiple employees, I knew the manager would recognize me, and I felt they would be more inclined to support a consistent customer.

Larger brands, must be sold (and no, that is not a bad or negative word) as to what they are gaining by choosing to sponsor you rather than every other person who fits a similar description in your chosen sport/athletic endeavor. 
REMEMBER: Money is LAYING AROUND. People PART WITH IT EVERY DAY. You just have to be willing to ask them if you can have some in exchange for something that may benefit them in some big or small way.

Below, Gustavo Dantas elaborates on a the basics that I've put and gives you a progression of how he built up his sponsorship starting at the blue belt level.

And Part II: