Saturday, November 29, 2014

Who I'm watching, What I'm learning, What I'm training....

Been studying a lot of Lucas Lepri and his passing lately. In fact, I've watched every match of his I can find on youtube/the internet. In particular looking at how it's changed from his worst appearance in the finals of the mundials (2007 against Vinicius I think), his repeated matches over several years with JT Torres, and culminating with his matches against Satoshi and JT at this years Mundials. He's become far more insistent in how he passes and his passing game appears relatively narrow (in a good way) with the positions he gets to and the manner in which he breaks down the open guards of those he faces.

I've been working on my mentality toward competing by watching a lot of Malcolm Gladwell and reading research regarding expert/skill acquisition.

Ericcson in addition elaborates on the tenants of what that 10,000 hours actually means: notably things like desire, time spent honing your craft consistently, and deliberate practice (along with expert feedback/mentorship).

The takeaways (among others) are that mindlessly training hard is not the best use of training time. Forming a systematic approach to training and being open to feedback and match analysis, however, are ways to optimize training. Training one way, or just grinding in the same drills are also not the most effective use of your training time.

I've been going back and rewatching matches for my entire year at purple belt. Looking not only for mistakes but also where I've been effective: namely with a few exceptions my open guard sweeps have been considerably more consistent than my open guard passing. Where I've gotten caught and/or where I've lost matches has begun with being swept while passing with only about 3-4 matches where I was not able to get the sweep. In the matches where I couldn't get the sweep, I didn't chain together my open guard sweeps and various types of open guard, ala DLR, Reverse DLR, deep half, spider, et cetera.

I made some hard choices and quit my weekend job to be most rested for my referee and competition opportunities and also not mix up my sleep schedule by working downtown weekends then back to my full-time job during the week.
I've begun drilling 3-4 days a week in the morning for about 90 minutes in addition to training at night and on the weekends.

Phsycially, I've been drilling my guard passing and combining my knee through guard passing with a backstep pass and some other nuances to my guard passing. I've been logging anywhere from 60-80-100 reps at a time in sets of 20. 

Friday, November 28, 2014

My Next Superfight Booked: February 28th Toro Cup - Durham, NC

Details being ironed out, but I'm on the card. Something along the lines of 15 minutes submission only, points or submission for 5 minutes if no submission in the first 15.

Pretty *(&% excited. Want to give a big thanks to Cageside MMA/Toro BJJ for the awesome opportunity.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving! Backstep Pass from Roy Marsh

Roy is the guy who actually started my passing game.
He showed me a head down, very pressure-driven knee through guard pass.
This pretty much was the first pass I could hit with any regularity and now I don't even know how people pass if they don't do some variation of this.

At any rate, enjoy.

Kron Gracie MMA Debut Set for December 23rd in Japan

Well, the Rickson progeny will make his debut. 

Both Kron and his opponent will be making their MMA debuts. 

"Kron Gracie, Son of MMA and jiu-jitsu legend Rickson Gracie, will meet Hyung Soo Kim in a lightweight bout at Real Fight Championship 1 on Dec. 23 in Japan, the promotion announced."

It looks like they're adopting the Royce Gracie attitude toward MMA - which is to eschew crosstraining.

"'He’s focused, he wants to bring jiu-jitsu back to MMA," Gracie said. "He’s not doing crosstraining to work on his weaknesses. He won’t start boxing, kickboxing, wrestling. He will use his jiu-jitsu to neutralize the wrestler, the striker, and work on his expertise.'"

"Roberto Satoshi, who competed against Jake Shields at Metamoris 5’s secret match, will also compete at the event, facing Jeong Doo-Jae in a lightweight contest. BJJ champion Gabi Garcia is also expected to make her MMA debut at the event, but her opponent is still yet to be announced."

Monday, November 24, 2014

"Do they have Donkeys in Australia?": Metamoris 5 & Copa Podio Monday Morning Hangover

Copa Podio and it's streaming issues will make sure no on trusts ordering their show.

Leandro finished with a cross collar choke and Preguica beat a ridiculous list of names.

In Metamoris results, Tonon got the tap but what followed was not a fire and brimstone string of submissions.

Jake Shields also had an impressive match with Satoshi who looked a bit sheepish afterward. I thought it was an exciting match and Jake Shields shows he's an MMA fighter with legit credentials (not that anyone doubted that before).

The Rory and JT match had it's moments but what's with these MMA guys showing up in poorly chosen grappling shorts and looking flabby as all get out?

The big winner of the event was Matheus Diniz who really put the work to Vinny Magalhaes. I don't see and don't want to see Magalhaes on another Metamoris card.

As a sport Jiu-Jitsu enthusiast watching part 5 or 6 or of however many matches Keenan and Yuri have had was exciting. Keenan looked like perhaps he'd overtrained a bit for this one and was not as fresh looking early on, but that training at Atos that looks like a room full of killers paid off and Keenan looked better and better as the match wore on.

Anyhow, somehow, I was left a bit disappointed.
Watching Saku and Renzo, and Renzo redeeming himself was powerful, but perhaps I just wasn't in the mood for a night of submission grappling and sport Jiu-Jitsu. I'm unable to ascertain what specifically about the show was lacking. The production was good. The pacing also felt streamlined. The matches were close and had a lot of back and forth by and large.

I'm left with Jeff Glover's voice in my ear asking Kit Dale, "Do they have Donkeys in Australia?"

Friday, November 21, 2014

Metamoris 5/Copa Podio Predictions

 I'll zip through Copa Podio:

I think Gianni takes it over Miyao which actually goes against the conventional wisdom I'm seeing online.

I think Leandro beat Durinho despite the fact that Durinho has edged him out in their previous matches. I think Leandro's newfound "size" and every increasing strength plus Durinho's MMA focus will see a more athletic/more powerful Leandro get to Durinho's back. I've read interview where Durinho at least in words seems dismissive of Leandro, but Leandro has looked great, only barely being edged out by Keenan in the absolute at Mundials then recently coming back to defeat him at the NY BJJ Pro.

I see no reason why Preguica won't recapture his title. 

Metamoris 5:

I think the Secret Match will be.....drumroll please.......Kenny Florian versus Sean Roberts
Garry TOnon will likely finish Zak Maxwell. Zak is tough and in the gi I would predict a draw, but Garry in the NoGi is no joke. I think Garry takes this one by toehold off of a heel hook set up.

Some random guy versus Vinny? I think Vinny wins this unless he gets frustrated and breaks mentally like he did down the stretch against Keenan who frustrated him just enough to see Vinny begin to crack.

Yuri now faces Keenan and as much as Yuri has been on a tear, I see nothing from Yuri's recent matches to make me believe he'll pass Keenan's myriad of guard/lapel/whatever-you-call-it maze of legs and lapels and hooks and feet and grips.
I see this one going to distance as all of their encounters have been close.

JT vs Rory is interesting in that Rory is considerably heavier than JT. JT if he had a sharper leg lock game I would actually be picking to win, but I think Rory's beast mode size and strength will thwart much of JT's game until perhaps the last 4-5 minutes.

Kazushi "The Gracie Hunter" Sakuraba versus Renzo?
This is honestly which guy has more mileage left in the old man gas tank.
Kazushi's frightening losses at the end of his career to guys the size of Wanderlei and others....I's hard to say. I think also, Renzo has a better stable of competitors and guys with which to prepare.
That being said....Kazushi is mercurial and unpredictable.
I mean, who do you find that rolls like that guy?
I'll go with Kazushi by unconventionality with some bizarre submission most of us have never seen before.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The (Re)Dawn of Low Guard Passing: Paulo Miyao vs Leonardo Saggioro - Rio BJJ Pro 2014

With the advent of the Berimbolo and other standing guard pass dangers, it always seemed predictable that low/knee down guard passing would become the norm.
Even for a hardcore sport Jiu-Jitsu fan/follower, it's not the most exciting Jiu-Jitsu match to watch.
The relentless pressure, patience, and insistence needed to impose this type of game, particularly against a wily and crafty bottom player like Paulo is a protracted and tense but visually perhaps boring 10 minute display.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Monday Morning Hangover: UFC 180 & Bellator 131

I watched Bellator Saturday night. Yep.
I didn't watch UfC.
My buddy and I rode back from US Grappling Greensboro, sat down, and tuned in to Cable TV's SpikeTV Bellator broadcast.

Neither of us felt like dealing with the morass of your typical UFC-going casual fans at a sports bar and in no way do I regret my decision.

 The card was in no way worth leaving the house and venturing into the semi-cold nor standing up at a bar for 3 hours nor was it worth shelling out 40+ $$ to order it at home.

I didn't and don't care about Ellerberger, the exploding cauliflower ear or the guy who pooped his pants in the UFC that night. A couple of freak occurrences don't make the card somehow now a woeful letdown from anything other than what it was never, namely a card warranting a PPV. The UFC could have done far more for its fan base by streaming it or broadcasting it whatever for free or with commercials and calling it what it was: a card to build the Mexico-MMA/Latin America market.
The card as a PPV is laughable. As a consumer, I didn't support it with money and opted to watch a much more worth my time card for free on CableTV (free-ish?).
We live in a time for MMA where over-saturation means I had two other options for MMA on TV that weren't PPV and I'm okay with that. 

No amount of Cagepotato or otherwise trying to sell it as more than what it was will convince me otherwise.
The UFC put on a sham of a show Saturday and if you tuned in, they  have no reason to stop.

The Bellator fights were entertaining, the commercial breaks are never as bad the UFC's on free/cable TV and I had fun watching them, and watching Ortiz vs Bonnar sad as it was..somehow I found oddly gratifying. I honestly can't tell you why unless it's along the lines of why people watch videos on Narco Mundo websites. I got to watch Melvin Manhoef in action, King Mo beat up and finish some guy slightly less skilled than him. Tito vs Bonnar, and Will Brooks in a strangely ended fight against Will Brooks in their rematch. What's not to love?

Am I sad I didn't spend hours of my night waiting for the UFC's main event? Not at all.
Anyone who says this card had more than one actual fight worth being excited about is lying out the side of their mouth.

We're practically going without a UFC until December 6th, and no Bellator until mid-January.
There's a TUF Finale with Frankie Edgar vs Edson Barboza, Brad Pickett, and Joseph Benavidez on the card as well before then, but honestly UFC fans are waiting until December 6th for the rematch between Hendricks and Lawler and Pettis vs Melendez. In other action Urijah Faber will knock off another ladder-climber and Travis Browne returns to action.
main CARD
Pay-per-view, 10 p.m. ET
Johny Hendricks vs. Robbie Lawler
for welterweight title
Anthony Pettis vs. Gilbert Melendez
for lightweight title
preliminary CARD
FOX Sports 1, 8 p.m. ET

The week following we get the (if he makes weight) debut of Henry Cejudo, plus:

Monday Morning Hype: BJJ Scout Breaks Down Metamoris 5: Sakuraba vs Renzo

Ooooh, I can barely wait.
And Copa Podio is the same day.
I do think the clash of styles that BJJ Scout emphasizes means we'll see an exciting match. Two great BJJ players or two great wrestlers, whatever, can lead to a stalemated, truncated match at times. I don't see that happening here. 

Friday, November 14, 2014

Turning Adversity into Success with Malcolm Gladwell & Miyao Bros.

Malcolm Gladwell speaks on the apparently insurmountable versus the reality of facing overwhelming opposition, and how difficulty proves integral to success:

Miyao loses I don't know how many times....loses many battles...but wins the war in the form of the brown belt absolute world championship when it matters most.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Bellator Finally Taps a UFC Card


I'd rather watch the SpikeTV broadcast of Bellator this weekend than UFC 180.

It really and truly simply comes down to that reality folks.

UFC 180 on PPV brings you:
"main CARD
Pay-per-view, 10 p.m. ET
Mark Hunt vs. Fabricio Werdum
for interim heavyweight title

How many of the above names do you recognize other than the first 3 fights?
Now let's look at Bellator:

Bellator 131:
"main CARD
Spike TV, 9 p.m. ET
Will Brooks vs. Michael Chandler
for lightweight title
I would 100% rather watch Will Brooks vs Michael Chandler  and Manhoef execute some guy than sit around and wait for Werdum vs Hunt. I have about zero desire to see Ellenberger vs Gastelum, though Bermudez vs Lamas is interesting if Bermudez moves up the ladder with a win. To put it bluntly, this card is ONLY above a Fight pass card because of the main event. Even that is a replacement, but this card was always built around one fight.                                                                                              

Metamoris 5/Copa Podio Middlweight Groups Drawn - November 22nd

It's the same day as the Metamoris (seriously?) but the Copa Podio's groups have been drawn.
Much like the IBJJF and Abu Dhabi Pro (the Pans, Abu Dhabi Pro, and the Worlds in the span of about 3 months out of the year, we get two awesome events on the exact same day.

Remember, in the Copa Podio, it's Round Robin where you face everyone and who garners the most points across the division then moves on to the final.

It also includes two 20 submission only superfights:
Leandro Lo vs Gilbert "Durinho" Burns and Gianni Grippo vs Joao Miyao.
Preguica will look to win his title again/keep it but there are some very tough guys in it for him: notably :"
Submission win = 4 points
Points or advantages win = 3 points
Draw = 1 point each
The match length is six minutes. Here is how the distribution of athletes played out:
Diogo Moreno (past GP finalist)
Diego Borges (past GP finalist)
Claudio Calasans
Jon Satava (brown belt)
Luiz Panza
Felipe “Preguica” Pena (current champion)
Gregor Gracie (past runner-up)
Patrick Gaudio
Thiago Sa
Erberth Santos (brown belt)"

Claudio Calasans Asian Open Absolute Final vs Abraham Marte

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Deconstructing the Fail: Bull City Brawl 16/Purple Belt Superfight

Tough match. Weight discrepancy aside, I didn't chain together my open guard attacks nor was I persistent enough in getting off the bottom and he was better at sticking to his gameplan/series of passes than I was at chaining together my sweeps from open guard. I have no one to blame but myself.

Win or learn.

At :40 I hit a nice deep DLR to sweep/come up on top. I wanted the backtake but he defended and conceded the sweep, but I don't removed my initial DLR hook/actually I remember him gripping that ankle and feeling like I couldn't extricate it.

1:00 I shoot the same bullet from my arsenal but he's hip to it this time and it's no dice. I set up my cross grip and look for my usual half-guard up/over the top sweep but he's heavy and hips back and doesn't bite when I push into him.

1:41 I don't invert as quickly as I should when he isolates my right hip and I'm forced to turtle to avoid giving up the pass

1:47 I beat the backtake and look for a butterfly sweep, but he's got a stockier build and is heavier enough to bit his hips/turn them down and negate my lift and use it to initiate a pass

2:28: I let him crowd my hooks and he runs my legs to chain into his next passing attempt

3:30 I use his back take to come up on top, then circle to north south but I let him get under me and he spins for a back take I miss some opportunities to shoot my omoplata as I come out of inverting that honestly I need to back and have someone better than me look at because I had been hitting it in training during my preparation(s).

6:00 I get to closed guard to look to finish with a minute left, feed the lapel, hand over the back/collar to attack the neck and set up and armbar/keylock, but as he defends I shoot underneath to windmill sweep but he posts out/and I miss the transition.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Weekend Shogun Heartbreak: Video Highlight Edition

Being a Shogun fan is like....well, domestic violence jokes or other not PC references is rough. Debuts in UFC and loses by RNC to Forrest Griffin.
Brutally stopped by Jon Jones.
Loses some insanely close fights to Hendo.
Now these last two.

Monday Morning Cubicle Productivity Killer: UFC 180 Countdown Videos

The card is honestly pretty "meh" other than the Interim title bout.
I hate to be that guy now that I'm not working my weekend job downtown and actually can see the UFC PPV's and UFC's on Fox again.
Granted it had Cain vs Fabricio before, but I mean, the card was always weak from its inception.

I'll be reffing and competing in Greensboro NC for their points tournament this Saturday. It's honestly hard to say if I'll make a point to stay awake for the main card. I literally do not recognize the names of anyone outside of 3 fights on the main card. 

"Mark Hunt vs. Fabricio Werdum
for interim heavyweight title
Alejandro Perez vs. Jose Quinonez
"TUF: Latin America" bantamweight final
Leonardo Morales vs. Yair Rodriguez
"TUF: Latin America" featherweight final
The WSOF card the same night is on Cable and by comparison has about the same number of guys I recognize:
 "NBC Sports Network
Dave Branch vs. Yushin Okami
for middleweight title
Justin Gaethje vs. Melvin Guillard
for lightweight title
Jessica Aguilar vs. Kalindra Faria
for women's strawweight title

Friday, November 7, 2014

Interview with Marcelo Garcia's Brown Belt Squad of Dream Chaser/Killers

Some super neat/slick stuff from the next crop of Marcelo Garcia's group:

Flashback Kron 6 Degrees of Kevin Bacon BJJ Matches (Where Are They Now?) & Upcoming Tournaments

Tomorrow night I'm doing a 10 min Gi Purple Belt match submission or points to win at an MMA event here locally in Durham, NC.

Next weekend I'm competing and reffing with the fine folks of US Grappling in Greensboro on November 15th.

Above is Kron vs Beneil Dariush at black belt, in the Abu Dhabi Pro Trials.
Interesting to note Beneil is now in the UFC and Kron makes his MMA debut later this year in Japan.

Above we see Kron beating Otavio Sousa at brown belt, fast forward and Otavio is two-time world champion (though recently thwarted by Leandro Lo who continues to move up weight classes, and Kron has beaten Otavio in a moral victory in a submission only 20 minute match at the Metamoris and in the ADCC by guillotine. 

The last US Grappling event of the year is December 13th in Richmond, Virginia and it's Submission Only.

A Day in the Life: Woolf Barnato

A buddy of mine who trains at Ralph Gracie told me about Woolf last year the last time we ran into one another.
Then, lo and behold, I see Woolf in the finals of the Pans or the Worlds (I can't remember off the top of my head) at brown belt.
Crazy stuff.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

BJJ Kumite - Where Are They Now? Victor Silverio

Notwithstanding poor association to the Jiu-Jitsu "team" that shall remain nameless on this blog, Victor Silverio is featured on the most recent BJJ Hacks TV Piece. Below, I've also included a snazzy match of his from the Rio Open.

I was recently up at US Grappling Delaware/Diamond State Games and saw members of the above team competing. They won matches and divisions.But, y'know, if at the end of the day I was aware my coach had been present for a gangrape and his rationale for his innocence was that he wasn't erect....all the winning in the world would taste like battery acid.