Friday, October 21, 2011

The Count: BJJ by the Numbers

If you don't keep a training log, you should. I've been keeping one with my workouts, submissions, sweeps, things I've been submitted with, and strength and conditioning workouts for the past 2 years (almost).

At any rate, you'll notice over time that trends or patterns emerge. You'll also have statistical date to draw conclusions about the progress/evolution of your game rather than generalizations we tend to make about ourselves when sitting around playing Battlefield Bad Company or playing beer pong with training partners.

You might think you're the armbar King or the triangle Jedi master, but in reality, you've only submitted white belts or the occasional blue belt for the past 3 weeks with your submission of choice. Obviously, there would then be work to be done in addressing your set-up, what positions in which you then secure the triangle etc.

Perhaps you've decided that getting off your back is your new mission in life (as it was mine after my 3rd MMA fight). I've spent virtually every roll session starting off my back for the past year and 3 months. At this point, it takes a long-time purple belt to keep me there. I'm not saying this b/c I'm the BJJ wizard, but even in rolling 100% I've seen progress and experience at escaping this position and getting to top position. As a result, maintaining top position whilst looking to submit is my new mission.

Writing down on a daily basis one submission or one position, or one sweep which you will try on every training partner has the added bonus of holding us accountable.
It also helps organize training for upcoming tournaments and addressing how much BJJ you actually know and/or attempt/do in training. Seeing that you are 3 weeks out from the next Submission Only or In House tournament might convince you to stay on the mat for one last roll or three at the end of the week. It might convince you to get up early and make it to Open mat on time or skip the fifth beer the night before.

You might think your back escapes are "good enough"....but if you decide to start with your back taken by every guy in the room, you may find that it bears a bit more attention.

At any rate, happy trainingz.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Your Grandfather's Submission Game

I'm not here to debate the effectiveness of various submission styles. Having spent time doing Judo, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Submission Wrestling, and some limited time in Freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestlings....if it's grappling I am a fan and will spend time learning about it.

From Pankration to Jiu-Jitsu matches to rough and tumble to vale tudo and the like....grapplers have long figured into the toughest man in the room question asked among men the world over.

Whether it's Count Koma traveling the world over, the Catch as Catch Can Carney wrestlers, or Vale Tudo matches in Brazil, the toughest man in the room often knew some grappling in one form or another.

Here's to those that came before whether they wore a Gi, a singlet, shoes, went barefoot, wore a belt, fought at carnivals, on tatame or whatever the case may be.

Happy Trainingz!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

"He used too much muscle. He relies on his athleticism."

Have you said the above?
Be honest. No one's watching you read this. Answer this question silently if you must.....

-That time the wrestler came in and held you down on your back with his head on your chest for 5 minutes.
-That time the Judo player came in and played only the top position, barely engaging your half-guard then cartwheel passing to north-south and pinned you.
-That time the strong blue/purple (gasp! even white perhaps....) belt came in fresh at the end of class, slipped on his Gi and you were rolling for the 2nd time that day.

If you're like me, you've said the above at some point in time...or some variation of it.

This is whiner talk.
It is an excuse.

A fight is physical. A tournament is physical. Jiu-Jitsu is a combative sport.
Blaming your loss, submission, being dominated by position on the physical is an attempt to negate the reality that your Jiu-Jitsu was compromised by something other than the textbook answer or technique.

One of the things one of my coaches said that still rings true to me is the following:
"There are 2 things in particular that win tournaments that I have NEVER had a black belt teach in detail or seen taught at a seminar: 1) spazz and 2) stall. You absolutely have to do these things to compete at a high level and win (hell, watch the white and blue belt divisions as your next local tournament. At some point you will stall with a minute left and or spazz-scramble to avoid a back take et cetera.

My point? The other guy may rely on conditioning, muscle, size, and/or athleticism. That is not an excuse for the failure of your application of Jiu-Jitsu. If all it takes is for someone to move a bit faster, be a bit stronger, or grind with constant movement for 5 minutes and stifle your game... you have holes in your Jiu-Jitsu which must be addressed. 

If you only have expert or solid technique for 5 minutes there is a hole in your game.
If you can be dominated by someone your size or close to it of the same rank simply b/c they are stronger/more athletic, you must learn to address this deficiency. Excuses will not win matches nor fights nor divisions in tournaments. Excuses will not prevent the bitter taste of being dominated by someone with "less(er) technique.

You should be glad there are guys that come after you like every class is the Mundials.
I've been armbarred viciously in tournaments due to laziness on my part and forgetting that some guys come after that arm like it's holding the key to unlimited vag or never having to work again.

We forget that with all the camaraderie and such, this is a combat sport. We are here to win, to dominate, to choke, to make limbs go against their anatomical design. The art of the finish is to render unconscious or maim.

No go pick up a kettlebell or do some bench presses. Do a grappler's circuit with some free weights.
Happy Trainingz.

Ask a Black Belt

Great video with some interviews/questions for guys you should recognize:

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


sam·u·rai  (sm-r)
n. pl. samurai or sam·u·rais
1. The Japanese feudal military aristocracy.
2. A professional warrior belonging to this class.

Went and saw some fights this past weekend. Buddies of mine won. It was a good night for our fighters, team, coaches, and training partners all around.

Was talking with a buddy who said he "respected anyone who had the balls to fight." I agree to a certain extent. Having fought 5 times, I've come to see amateur fights a bit differently. You see guys compete that clearly have not put in the time, energy, sparring, and training to be a mixed martial artist.

They lose via exhaustion. They do not even know how to stand and base. If they do, they haven't drilled it enough times under duress that it's become automatic. They don't do a mount escape. They give up the back b/c they literally have no idea how to escape from mount and a torrent of punches raining down.

Sure, mistakes happen in the hurricane speed that a MMA fight feels like. There is no shame in losing nor defeat.
There is shame in not having properly prepared.

It's easy to get in the cage and fight. The door locks. The referee signals the timekeeper. You have to fight.

6-8 weeks of intense training, striking, sparring, drilling off the cage, takedowns, Jiu-Jitsu, diet, and strength and conditioning, however? That is where you see who trains like a professional and who doesn't.

I've lost before. I've taken considerable punishment in some of my fights. I was never so beat up that I couldn't head back into the gym and train on Monday.

Why? Because I prepared for the bad scenarios.

Happy Trainingz!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Your Martial Art Sucks (Accept it)

Grab my wrist. No, my other wrist.

Much like talking to a devout Christian or a devout Atheist, talking to a hardcore TMA (Traditional Martial Artist) about a lot of their beliefs regarding fighting is usually a waste of time. Even getting them to admit they might be wrong is a tough feat indeed.

It's hard to admit you've wasted years of your life and that you are probably no better at defending yourself in a fight/dangerous situation than you were before.

On that note, having gone through that myself, coming from Wing Chun to amateur boxing to muay thai to MMA, get over it.

Vale Tudo fights in Brazil put to rest the idea that eye gouging will defeat a grappler (Zulu tried it and Rickson "put the choke to heem, man"). As a side note, taking someone down in a street fight isn't always the best option other. I got my bottom right rib broken via soccer kick to the back after I took down a guy in a street fight and his buddy ran up on me.

At any rate, as a tribute to TMA's versus MMA and such, here we go:

Wing Chun Master versus former UFC fighter David Loiseau's corner man (seriously)

Having been soundly choked out inside of a couple min's, a ninjitsu practitioner is now ready to use his deadly techniques.
Q: What will happen?
A: Mata leon inside of 40 seconds.

Wing Chun vs Muay Thai with predictable results

Are TMA practitioners better prepared than someone who knows nothing?
Are they as deadly as they like to walk around thinking?

Thursday, October 6, 2011

ADCC Submission HL - Thanks

Don't get Roger'd: Do the Roger-ing

Awhile back, I was sitting on the mat, talking to one of my instructors. In passing, I asked him what his favorite submission was. In true black belt fashion, it wasn't a flying armbar, an inverted 50/50 omoplata to Comprido/toe hold. It wasn't an inverted triangle nor was it an inverted guard sweep to kneebar.

Nope. It was a scissor sweep to mounted collar choke.

In true blue belt fashion, I curiously asked why.
He said that to him, what was great about Roger Gracie was that he dominated world class athletes and competitors with simple basics and make them look like white belts.
He said something to the effect of, "when I mounted collar choke you, I have beaten all of your defenses, I have surpassed all of your knowledge and escapes....and you look me in the face while I put you to sleep, tap, or quit."

Simply put, I have dominated you no differently than a white belt, and choked your bitch ass.

On that note, I found a clip of Roger Teaching his mounted collar choke, and then another from Trumpet Dan (that guy has some great instructional stuff available on youtube for free :) Go check it out.

Roger teaching what he does to elite level players

Trumpet Dan's breaks it down real slow-like

Happy Trainingz!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Move of the Day: Kimura (More than Just your Grandfather's Submission)

Coming from Judo, it makes sense in retrospect the Kimura was a submission I fell in love with. It's a versatile submission in the sense that whether or not I get the tap, I still often use it to transition out of a bad position, and more often than not, transition to a dominant position and/or armbar follow-up ala Sakuraba's win over Randleman in Pride -

Here's Saku getting the sub on Royler
Here's Saku getting the sub on Renzo

Recent ADCC winner, Dean Lister, on his version of the Kimura

My personal favorite: Standing Kimura

And last but not least - 12 min's of the Kimura with Sakuraba