Thursday, November 28, 2013

Fear, Sense of Self, and Jiu-Jitsu

A lot of us had doubts before we ever walked into a gym.

Not everyone is tough when they start. Universally, we learn we're not as ________ as we thought we were.
Ultimately, and we've all seen it: that first time someone gets mounted or dominated, or they get tapped out, or they get put to sleep, or especially I saw it in MMA style sparring, you saw who came back the next day, the next week, the next month, and who fought again after they lost a fight.
I've heard a lot of people say they respect anyone who gets in there and fight.
I disagree. Anyone can fight. They lock that cage door, and you will fight. There is nowhere to run.
What is hard is training and preparing like a professional. Training twice a day or more, doing your strength and conditioning, full out sparring, going to Thai class, and making time for wrestling or whichever area in which you're deficient. Having self-control and watching your diet.
I don't respect anyone who fights and is unprofessional. It is inexcusable in my mind.

The toughest thing I've seen many people do is just show up day after day.

The new guys who kill themselves trying to win from day one, that pride, that ego....when it is finally smashed, and it will be, it shatters their sense of self.
You can see how fragile their sense of self is based on how much they NEED to win. They fight every armbar and choke and position like the world depends on it...because it feels like it does in their mind. Their world, their sense of who they are as a man or whatever, is on the line.

Losing feels like death to them, because all of us grapple with a perhaps false sense of self or a fragile sense of self we have constructed throughout our lives. If they lose, the way they wish to see themselves dies/comes into conflict with reality. That cognitive dissonance is highly uncomfortable and distressing.

For others, many who came in accepting there would be humility at the outset and that this would take time, the biggest hurdle is realizing  that size and strength do matter as people get better. We've told ourselves the mantra that technique will always prevail, and yes, perfect technique will prevail. But it is a sport and physics does not fluctuate. When you're tired, hungover, preoccupied with work, or simply your diet was off the preceding day, you should get smashed by a training partner.
Then you get that very first actual realization as to just how long a road this may be. We get frustrated, make excuses, avoid rolling with someone, or avoid rolling when tired or the gym entirely to avoid getting caught.

Realistically, many of us will never be world champions. In fact, the vast majority will not be.
Does that mean that we should let negativity and fear infest our belief and limit our ability to succeed (because that is what it will do).

Cageside MMA Black Friday Clearance Sale (Only Combat Sports Black Friday Sale You Need)

Cageside as I've mentioned before carries a great many products and training gear across the various combat sports.

Check them out tomorrow. A ton of stuff will be on sale.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Palhares Moves to World Series of Fighting: Simple Jack Edition

Rousimar will continue on as a semi-freakshow Nascar style fighter in MMA.
We're all ashamed to admit we're waiting to see someone's knee get exploded or him to freak out and rag doll someone at an inopportune time.

King Kong growls up from the purgatory of freakshow-dom afterlife.
That being said, I don't think the Mike Pierce fight was egregious.
I counted a full 4 seconds but in real-time it feels exceedingly brief.
However, his history of long holds came to comeuppance on the night in question, so overall, I'm not entirely surprised or mystified by it.

As it is, we secretly all know we'll want to know how his next fight (s) turn(s) out.

Videodrome Wednesday: Dan Gable & Travis Stevens

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Grappling Pre-Thanksgiving Odds & Ends

Been working a new sweep from Reverse De la Riva guard - from Gabriel Moraes (the only guy to jump from blue belt to black belt and be world champion back to back: he won the Mundials as a blue belt, then won it as a black belt the next year....yes, that actually happened).

Preparing for the Submission Only Tournament in Richmond, Va. on December 7th, run by US Grappling.
I like being able to go out, sit down, and proceed with the game plan: sweep, pass, dominant position, finish.

Kit Dale Interview:

Gui hitting the Brabo choke (at the Rickson cup) of which I am a huge fan and have tried to model part of my game after:

Gui Mendes Destroying Competition at the Rickson Cup

(IJF) Judo's Answer to Everything: More Rules and Restrictions (Yes. More).

A coach for whom I have a lot of respect was outlining some new rules/changes in place in Texas at the Police and Military Championships, and the President's Cup in Judo.
He's been playing Judo and coaching longer than I've been walking the earth, so when he speaks, I listen.

Some changes are old (listed below from the video embedded), the ones directly below are new.

As I've said before, Judo's move to further define itself apart does just that. It insulates Judo from the broader grappling world. What will remain are a few powerful nations that professionally fund/train their athletes in a very specific sport. Instead of the plethora of countries which will medal along with the powerhouses, you'll see Japan, Cuba, Brazil, Korea (perhaps Mongolia) routinely outperform the others.
Judo's broader global appeal I think will wane, much like how complicated the rules are now for various styles of wrestling in the Olympics. Having even the basics of things like leg ride, back position and the varying time lengths can be maddening to a layman who asks some basic questions.
I don't have much desire to compete any longer simply due to the ever lengthening list of rules to remember that in many ways are antithetical to solid, effective grappling (ala the banning of the bear hug, or that touching the leg even when clearly accidental is an automatic Disqualification).
It is so complex now, even for someone who's been competing for 8 years or so that I doubt I will train and compete with anywhere near the regularity I once did despite having had some success in returning to black belt competition at the regional level.

I understand (much like the IBJJF found out with Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu rules) that efforts should be made to address the state of play). That being said, the answer is not always more and more and more rules but rather less restrictions as that ultimately allows for the biggest variety of contest.
But, that is my personal opinion.
The reality is this: You can either make it easier or harder for people to compete in your sport.

-- New Rules from this past weekend --
Mainly when playing the edge, you must attack your way back in or be penalized by a shido.
Before, the referee would only penalize if you were going out of bounds to avoid engaging or perhaps if you were driven to the edge several times and were in active.

Unorthodox grips like the bear hug and belt gripping or cross gripping are still dicey.
The bear hug or clasping the hands to throw is illegal. Cross gripping and belt gripping must be IMMEDIATELY followed by an attack.

Leg grabbing even when clearly incidental is automatic disqualification.
You cannot break a grip with two hands.
The amount of time to score/win by pin is less now.
Rolling out of bounds does not negate the pin IF it began inside the boundary.
You are NOT allowed to shake hands.


Saturday, November 23, 2013

Reminder: 5IVE Grappling NoGi Round Robin Free Stream begins at 6pm EST


Hard to disagree with that.

A free stream is a great way to get people into your product/event. <--- Click Here

Keenan Cornelius, Jackson Souza, Gary Tonon, James Puopolo, and Beneil Dariush all go at it round robin.

Copa Podio did us all a favor with bringing back the advent of Round Robin.

It makes for a far more compelling product to me anyhow.

Tonon comes out as the people's champ with a great showing at ADCC. Keenan and  Puopolo coming off ADCC/NoGi Worlds showings et cetera.

IBJJ Pro League Adds Victor Estima & Pe De Pano

December 8th Comes Forth

Rooster/Light Feather/Feather currently features Caio Terra, Laercie Fernandes, Moraes, and Rafael Freitas.


Shlemenko Stops Marshall, Machovsky Picks up B League Belt, Machida's Brother's Knee Flies

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Throwback Thursday - My 2nd MMA Fight

How times change.
One of the guys from my gym who fought on this card has since turned pro, now trains in Vegas with Drysdale.
Another friend of mine from this card is fighting on Bellator tomorrow night.
I'm slowly but surely getting back to 100% after knee reconstruction.

This is my 2nd fight. I start off on the right, with the black and grey shorts.
I hit a nice uchimata to reverse a single leg attempt, and also hit a good haraigoshi in the 3rd round.
At any rate, this was before I had much Jiu-Jitsu training (if any), and had never trained without a Gi/sem Kimono.

Monday, November 18, 2013

UFC 167: GSP vs Hendricks Full Video Highlights

I headed north to DC to visit some friends and fellow Jiu-Jitsu enthusiasts. I got to train at Yamasaki Academy and have a rare Saturday night off to watch a UFC:

Watching the as of now much ballyhooed GSP/Hendricks, looking at GSP's face is not the only measurable standard of judging a fight.

It's a 5 round fight.
10 point must system.
Things like octagon control, effective aggression et cetera are all taken into consideration.
I just don't think GSP's win was the biggest robbery or job in mixed martial arts et cetera.
Watching Hendricks shoot maybe 1 takedown in 5 rounds is on him. I'm not sympathetic he decided to back pedal for 5 rounds and didn't get the decision. He was barely doing anything the last couple rounds. No knees. No kicks. Pawing with his right hand, occasionally winging his left hand then back to backing up. Blah.

I did okay with my picks. Rashad quickly stopped Chael. Robbie beat McDonald (upset according to some). GSP won a close decision. Ali Something-or-other beat Tim Elliot.

Koscheck blew my picking of the main card correctly by winging that huge right hand and just hanging out afterward then eating that monster hook.

Friday, November 15, 2013

UFC 167 Picks and Progostications: DC Grappling Road Trip!

I'm headed up to DC for the weekend to see some friends/fellow Jiu-Jitsu enthusiasts. Looking forward to training at Yamasaki Academy. That being said, I'll actually get to see the GSP/Hendricks fight as it happens rather than sit on my phone at my second job and avoid my facebook newsfeed along with Instagram and all over social media outlets until I watch the fights the following day.
My picks and prognostications for the event that is UFC 167:

GSP by 4th round TKO/stoppage as GSP breaks him down and Hendricks grows weary and frustrated. 
Rashad picks the slow and plodding Chael apart with speed and circular movement.
Robbie Lawler upsets Rory McDonald. Some point out Robbie's feasting on Voelker, well, I submit that Rory hasn't done much other than batter a never really was a 170 lb welterweight BJ Penn, and didn't even finish him (though neither did Nick Diaz). Rory's stopped who? Mike Guymon? He won an uninspired borefest over Jake Ellenberger. Rory's lone loss came to Condit, exactly the dangerous kind of fighter Robbie Lawler probably has more in common with.
I'm picking Koscheck to out/over right hand Tyron Woodley who's brutal stoppage at the hands of Nate Marquardt showed some elite level deficiencies.
Ali Bagautinov b/c those Russian guys bring a diverse attack to MMA.
Dunham will batter and stop Cerrone who won't shy away from a gun fight and does poorly against aggressive, forward-moving fighters with durability (exactly Dunham).

Thales Leites will catch Ed Herman who can never seem to piece together consistent W's and will over believe his abilities on the ground.
Figueroa will KO Perez.
Ebersole will out plod Rick Story who is a shell of the guy that beat Hendricks awhile back.
Sergio will blast Will Campuzano who is a perfect FOIL for Sergio to look good but have a pretty solidly guaranteed win in his UFC debut.



Thursday, November 14, 2013

Johnny Hendricks Refused VADA Testing, Accuses GSP of PED's

That's the summation of it.

He tries to spin some reasons why that would make sense ala he got tested in college. He looks fat. He's never been accused by people in the past (seriously, those are the reasons he says he's not clearly not on PED's).

However, if he really wanted to show it, all he had to do was.....the....drug....testing.
His lone argument is that the Nevada State Athletic Commission (yes, those jokers) told him not to do it.

He says the schedule is all hard and that it's inconvenient....then says how it somehow means GSP who's undergoing that same more rigorous drug testing is the one cheating.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

NoGi Worlds/World Jiu-Jitsu Expo Superfights/Random Grappling Links

I worked both Friday and Saturday night at my other job(s), then woke up and trained for the Submission Only in Richmond, Virginia put on by US Grappling the first week in December, the 7th.
If you're within driving distance, you should compete. It's a great day of Jiu-Jitsu and submission grappling.

That being said, I've seen none of the contests/matches fights from this weekend's Jiu-Jitsu expo.

Onto the random grappling links:

Robson talks the focus for white, blue, and purple belts out there.

Some guy's experience training down in Brazil

Gilbert Durinho Burns Talks beating Leandro Lo/NoGi World Championship

World Jiu-Jitsu Expo Superfight Results:

From Graciemag:
"Phillipe Nover vs Efrain Escudero tied after 20 minutes of no-gi match.

João Miyao defeated Eduardo Telles 2-0 on advantages on their super fight.

Keenan Cornelius caught Lucas Leite’s arm within the last two minutes of their super fight.

Rafael Lovato Jr and Murilo Santana tied after a 20-minute sub-only no-gi match.

Caio Terra wrapped up day 1 with a complicated shoulder lock to win his super fight against Nam Phan.
“I wanna thank him for agreeing to fight under my rules, the IBJJF rules”, said Caio after the match

Bruno Malfacine went pass Jeff Glover’s teasing and managed to get a guard pass and a sweep to win his no-gi IBJJF rules fight with a 5-2 score. After the fight, he said: “It’s hard not to get aggravated by Jeff, but if you do that’s when he gets you”.
The second super fight ended with a submission by Dean Lister over Tarsis Humphreys. Under ADCC-like rules, Lister used his famous heel hook to get the finish.
The no-gi super fight between Paulo Miyao and John Fitch was a 20-minute class, we can say. Miyao tried almost every attack in his book but couldn’t get the finnish. Fitch defended with bravery and recognized Miyao’s value after the match by raising his hand.
The last super fight was a tactical battle between Leandro Lo and Jake Shields. The UFC fighter remained on top almost the whole time and Lo tried a series of sweep and foot attacks but no submission was achieved."

MMA Multimedia Mailbag Monday: UFC 167 Countdown/Primetime Full Episodes

Primetime has the GSP + Big Rig Goodness
Countdown chronicles the above mentioned guys along with the other notable supporting cast that is McDonald vs Lawler, & Rashad vs Chael: Rashad vs Chael - McDonald vs Lawler - GSP vs Hendricks -

Friday, November 8, 2013

Bishop BJJ: Apocalypse Miyao/Miyao @ Black Belt Highlight

Check it out. Bishop BJJ is one of the other sites ( being the first) I routinely check in the morning

Palhares out, Tarsis Humphreys in/Freakshows take many forms

The Leg Locker has lost it's co-star. The Simple Jack of submission grappling and MMA, Palhares is out due to weight and a shoulder injury, but mainly due to the injury I'm told.

I was curious, to be sure, but the booking always had that Elephant Man/King Kong Freakshow type appeal to it....let's be honest.

I'm not saying I wasn't curious or would not have watched it, but, let's call it for what it was.
We were all waiting and hoping to see a Nascar styled devastating wreck or to see an Elephant Man/Quasimodo style freak out win, lose, or draw. In fact, had Toquinho showed up, competed, won or lost or drawn, and nothing happened....we would have been disappointed. The mob wanted blood in some proverbial or figurative form.

As replacement, we get the bearded guy who hurt Romulo's knee a few years ago.

"Main Achievements:
  • World Champion (2010);
  • European Open Champion (2010);
  • 2x World Pro Cup Winner (2009 Weight and Absolute);
  • 3x Brazilian National Champion (2006, 2009, 2010);
  • 2x Pan American Champion (2006 Weight and Absolute);
  • World Silver Medallist (2009);
  • Brazilian National Silver Medallist (2013);
  • 5x World Bronze Medallist (2004 Brown – Weight and Absolute, 2005 Brown – Weight, 2007 Black – Weight, 2008 Black – Weight);
  • Bronze Medallist at the ADCC Finals (2007);
  • 2nd Place ADCC Brazilian Trials (2007)"

Thursday, November 7, 2013

UFC Fight Night T3H Tr00ps: Kennedy vs Natal - Full Video Highlights

As far as why I'm not a professional gambler: Kennedy got a 1st round KO. Masvidal lost close decision ( I honestly felt he won). Romero's size and power proved too much for Ronny "Jason". Yves Edwards got caught with a lead hand uppercut whilst bobbing and weaving.
Don't be fooled by the highlight. Masvidal pressed the action minus a spinning back heel kick, a lead overhand right, and having his back taken off a spinning back kick in the 2nd round.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

UFC Fight Night 4 T3h Troops - Tim Kennedy vs Natal Picks & GSP vs Hendricks Primetime Part 2 Video

Well, fights are on Fox Sports 1 tonight at 7pm.
I'll be at Dave & Buster's to watch and enjoy.

My picks are as Follows:
Kennedy will win a semi-competitive fight over Rafael Natal.
2 Women will fight. Sorry ladies, I don't watch women get punched in the face, I'm squeamish.
Romero will win a wrestling-heavy decision over Ronny "Jason".
Khabilov will win an exciting fight over "Gamebred" Masvidal (who I still miss the "Miami Hustle" reality webisodes they did".
Michael Chiesa will submit some guy I've never heard of.
Krause will win via KO.
Rivera will KO Roop.
Yves Edwards will beat some guy you've never heard of.
Bermudez will continue his slow ascent to a title shot.

MAIN CARD (FOX Sports 1, 7 p.m. ET)
PRELIMINARY CARD (FOX Sports 1, 5 p.m. ET)


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

This Week in BJJ: AJ Agazarm, Otavio Sousa.....

Palhares Out of BJJ Expo Superfight - Leglock Bonanza Cancelled :( ACL Ligaments rejoice!

Caio Terra: The Sex Panther of NoGi Worlds, Finals Match

Caio's won the NoGi Worlds 6 of the 7 times he's competed.

Think about that.


Katsunori Kikuno gets Opponent for UFC debut

One of my favorite DEEP/Pride Fighters makes his UFC debut soon: Katsunori Kikuno.
His traditional martial arts persona along with some legitimate wins and finishes will make for some good marketing if the UFC chooses to utilize it.

He is a black belt in Judo and Kyokushin Karate.


Monday, November 4, 2013

World NoGi Matches ( Leandro Lo, Puopolo, Durinho et al)

It'd be nice if we could spread out the ADCC and NoGi Worlds but hey, why not cram them into the relatively low key fall tournament grappling schedule?

That being said:

Bellator (Non) PPV Results & Naga Charlotte 2013 Tournament Reflections from this weekend

In what is becoming a regular theme of my weekends, I competed at a grappling tournament out of town, worked at my other job, and missed a major MMA card.

I correctly called Emmanuel Newton to take it from King Mo (there's always TNA/impact/T&A?/whatever-wrestling I guess), and Alvarez showed his finer, sharper days are not in fact over by taking a decision over Chandler. Joe Riggs used his a million fight experience advantage to take another win over some guy in the finals of a show no one I personally know or know through facebook bothered to watch.

Results: 1st in the adult blue belt -149, 2nd in the 30+ blue belt -149 after not getting some sweep points in the closing seconds of the final for what reason I'm uncertain.

Despite having a black belt in Judo, I'm not one of those guys that goes to a Jiu-Jitsu tournament to prove I can take down some guy down. I also find the sweep into a pass transition often has more control than a big throw. Other times, rather than play take down battle, I'd rather just get to the Jiu-Jitsu. As it is, I go for my usual Kurt Osiander DLR sweep but he steps over, but in doing so, his knee is up so I enter into deep half. From there I Bernardo Faria sweep, to over under pass after he thwarts my windshield wiper/knee through transition. I've took mount out of instinct rather than game plan. From there I kicked off to side mount and went to a kimura transition I've just started drilling. As it is I missed it but got to the back/halfway there and worked my Ezekiel/single lapel choke from the back but with time running out and being up something like 16 points, I was a bit hasty to get the finish and he spun into my guard.  


In the match below: I pulled guard to sit-up guard, and he flattened me back as I spun for deep half. He felt pretty strong and SUPER tense, so I relaxed and fed my grips and relaxed. I could tell he was waiting to back step and hip down the moment I uncrossed my legs to come up into my Bernardo Faria sweep. It's a counter more athletic guys (often with Judo or wrestling experience) go to. So, I was patient, and adjusted and adjusted and adjusted until he hipped down with the free leg (a less common counter in my experience but one some guys will go to) and hit my sweep. I expected more resistance as I came up but he began the Judo player/white belt half guard deathlock leg squeeze of death, at several points both using the Lockdown on my leg, straightening it out and simultaneously overhooking my arm and grabbing my lapel. Granted it stopped my pass but it also locked him into position. I got impatient and went to a half guard pass I rarely use and he swept me. I was up on advantages (?) not sure, but with time running out and him still in full blow stress/flex n' bust out mode, I relaxed and rode out the points without exposing myself anymore after giving up the sweep due to hastiness. One thing I'll say for Naga, the short time definitely gets into your head a bit if you let it.


Saturday, November 2, 2013

Leg Lock Bonanza: Dean Lister before his superfight with Rousimar Palhares

3x ADCC champion, and now a silver medalist in the ADCC as well. He's also 37 damn years old.
Gives me hope to reach my peak as I fade into the twilight of my 30's which I've just begun after ACL reconstruction.

Anyone notice he has a semi-Brazilian accent...but he's American?

Interview while out at Phuket Top Team, right after his ADCC performance:


Friday, November 1, 2013

BJJ Eccentricities Volume 1: My Gi Hierarchy

It seems strange (and then again perhaps not) but I have my hierarchy of gi's in my closet.

If you're like me, you wash all your gi's on one day of the week (this almost never happens), but when you do, they all hang dry...and the week's training begins, and you already know which gi you can't wait to wear.

On that note, a good friend and guy that I respect is designing the next Toro BJJ Gi for CagesideMMA. Check it out.
I have two favorite Gi's and the rest, I use depending on a few factors.

For Judo, I always wear a Judo-style Gi.
This isn't snobbery, but rather, a light weave or single weave BJJ gi, I'm absolutely certain would simply not stand up to constant grip fighting and repeated throwing in class.
Also, they tend to rub against my face and neck and chest more consistently during Judo class and as such the one time I wore a BJJ gi top after forgetting my Judo gi top in Judo class, was the absolute last time.

White Mizuno Eurocomp - my oldest Gi. Bought this after someone picked up my Judo Gi top accidentally at a tournament. Has lasted for nearly 7 years with some refurbishing and stitching repairs but is on its last legs. Had to pull it from the regular rotation and save it for Judo tournaments b/c it meets the Gi inspection standards.
Blue Mizuno Eurocomp/hand me down - tailored Gi pants to match. I bought this from an old instructor. No telling the age, but the cotton is beaten in to the point that it's actually one of my softer Gi's and is by far my favorite to wear.

Blue Toraki Gi Top - a gift from a training partner who had outgrown it. Wears and has a feel very similar to the Mizuno Eurocomp which is why I like it so much. The Gi I currently wear the most as it's a balance between durability and preference of feel.

Vulkan Pro Light - gift from a friend, needed a Gi to wear during kids class b/c my Judo Gi's are too rough. Single weave. Preferred Gi for summer days in the gym.

Blue Mizuno Eurocomp - heavy b/c I do not wear it as often. Feels considerably heavier when I wear it at the end of the week. I wear it before tournaments in training b/c it is cumbersome and somehow, perhaps it's mental, really seems to force me to work harder when rolling.

Toro BJJ/Cageside Gi - my preferred Gi top for teaching kids. Very soft (compared to the Mizunos I favor) and has never scuffed a face of which I've been made aware. 1 1/2 weave I believe. Feels very light and feels great in training.

White Fuji Gi Pants - from my original Gi - almost 8 years ago. Belt loop missing, beaten in, but still working just fine. Made to last.
The Gi in which I've competed the most often in BJJ.

Bellator PPV = Island of Dr. Moreau, and Picks/Prognostications for Saturday's (Non) PPV Card!

As fate would have it, we get a semi-PPV worthy card on regular TV on Saturday.

I have Emmanuel Newton beating King Mo again. I just think King Mo gets in his own way and will find a way to lose again. I don't really think this will happen, but perhaps, I just think Newton is a bit underrated and King Mo is overrated.

Strauss will get beaten by Curran who is better at everything and better positionally everywhere.

Chandler will beat Alvarez again. I see Chandler getting stronger reach fight and Alvarez's best days are slowly but surely fading. Alvarez's best days are behind him and regardless of his claims he had distractions in the last camp, blah blah, the contract negotiations and the like probably haven't helped his overall disposition this time around.

Joe Riggs will beat some guy from the TV show they were both on that no one I know who does Jiu-Jitsu or MMA mentioned watching.

Graciemag Friday: My God, this Carol Gracie (Oh, and The Leg Locker starring Dean Lister and Palhares)


Something about Jiu-Jitsu Lifestyle...or something....uh, or......whatever. Teaser trailer for Dean Lister vs Rousimar Palhares.