Month: November 2007

Hubor Handles Monster-Sized Men/Cutting Weight

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This December I will be travelling to Jacksonville and Miami to visit family. So last night I searched for Jiu-jitsu academies in those cities that I could possibly train in while visiting. In Jacksonville, I came across Victor Hubor Jiu-jitsu. Hubor is a Royler Gracie trained grappler and is a “4 x Mundial Champ, 2 x Gracie World Champion,” etc. So when I clicked on his academy’s promotional video (above) it reminded me of how effective Jiu-jitsu is and also why I want to get below 195 lbs.

As I mentioned before, I have a green belt in Judo and I’ve competed in a couple of tournaments (2 to be exact). But I was in the 200 lb division. I weighed 204 then so I had to face much heavier guys and  it sucked. If they fell on you all they had to do was hold and pin you down for 30 seconds to get the victory. For anyone who has grappled, you know it’s not that difficult to hold someone down for 30 seconds, especially if you outweigh them by 30 lbs or more.

Well Huber appears to be at the lower end of his weight class and he was up against some monsters, including Jeff Monson. Although he tapped out or defeated most of the bigger guys (including one guy who easily looked to be about 400 lbs.) it just reminded me that I don’t want to compete at my current weight 225 lbs (6ft). When I boxed I was comfortable at 188 lbs and my walk around weight was about 194.

However, I want to compete at 185 because I like the freedom of movement it allows and skill the weight requires to submit opponents. When I grapple I try not to use my strength and weight so I can make sure I am learning technique and not being a bully. But other guys don’t mind ‘laying and praying’ to win a decision or to make you panic or give up because of their weight.

I saw a NAGA tournament in Palm Beach, Florida in March ’08 that I want to go to so I am going to shoot for 194 lbs by that time.  As long as I am not in the 195 and above category I will be alright.

Jiu-jitsu for 2 Weeks Straight -Training Log

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Check out my grappling books on Amazon: Tapmonster: Ideas about Grappling for BJJ and Submission WrestlersGrappling for Newbies20 Ways to Increase Grappling Skills off the MatThe Lazy Man’s Guide to Grappling and much more.

So now I have been practicing Jiu-jitsu every day for over two weeks.  What have I learned?

I now know that my approach to Jiu-jitsu should be the same as when I played other sports in the past. Whether it was basketball, cross country, tennis, football or other martial arts, constant and consistent practice made me a better and dare I say more dominant player (depending on the sport). I wouldn’t have dreamed of becoming better at any of these sports if I only practiced twice a week.

Yet, that was my approach to Jiu-jitsu. However, these past two weeks I have realized how much doing drills on my own could advance my game. I have witnessed a minor increase in flexibility; added more offensive and defensive techniques and have begun to understand the finer aspects of techniques such as the butterfly guard, triangle, mount escapes and rear naked chokes.

Each day, along with stretches and Jiu-jitsu related calisthenics, I have performed at least 10 reps of certain techniques for a total of 30 reps. I know that I would have never received this much practice on specific techniques just by going to class.

I am trying to imagine the implications of training every day for at least a year. I admire those guys (in class and on videos) that are able to teach techniques. I also want to be a terror on the mat when I go to a competition. I believe this project will place me on that path…

The Ultimate Fighter/Episode 11: “Grossed Out”

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I don’t know what to say about last night’s episode of The Ultimate Fighter. War Machine creates an “Upper-decker” in the Hughes’ teams toilet and then Mac Danzig spits in the perpetrator’s room later on when no one is looking. I understand that they had to provide the backdrop for the physical altercation between Warpath and Jared Rollins, but it was too much.

I contemplated how I would have reacted as a young 20ish person to someone doing what they did to my toilet. When I was in basic training in the Army and we had 52 people in an open bay barrack, it didn’t feel like the army, it felt like prison. Fights included…  So I know that just because they say the place is a mansion, it may not quite feel like one with, what I believe, 16 guys whose entertainment options include randomly trashing the house. Would I have reacted that way? Probably not. Would I have demanded that they clean it out? Of course.

But who am I to pass judgment when I haven’t been cooped up with 15 other random personalities for five weeks.

 Picks for the Semi-finals Next Week:

Matt Arroyo over Mac Danzig (I know that Danzig is the more experienced and crafty fighter, but we’ll see.)

Tommy Speer over George Sotiropoulos (George may be more skilled but Tommy will win with his one dimensional ‘lay and pray’ style of fighting.)

Dr. 90210 (Rey) Earns a Blue Belt

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Check out my grappling books on Amazon: Grappling Games: BJJ & Submission WrestlersTapmonster: Ideas about Grappling for BJJ and Submission WrestlersGrappling for Newbies20 Ways to Increase Grappling Skills off the MatThe Lazy Man’s Guide to Grappling and much more.

While checking out Sha’s Grappling Log yesterday I noticed that it listed video sources for learning submission techniques. When I checked out one of the sources it turned out to be a Gracie Academy Channel on YouTube. Front and center was a big picture of Dr. Rey from the cosmetic procedure show Dr. 90210. The title of it was Dr. Rey’s Blue Belt Test.

Periodically, I checked out the show and followed his progress when he was taking Tae Kwon Do. Everytime I saw him perform some move I thought to myself this guy is going to get himself hurt. On one show he visited the Gracie Academy and wanted to try out his technique on them and of course had his behind handed to him. That is the last time I saw the show.

So imagine my surprise when I saw his face on the channel and the word Blue Belt (especially after six months). I have to admit I felt a twinge of jealously. I have been taking Jiu-jitsu for over two years now and I don’t have any belt. One of the reasons is that the places that are available for me to train in are no-gi. So that is a barrier. In addition, the gi itself plays a role in determining your level in earning belts for most academies. No – gi = No belt for me.

However, after my initial shock and a minute or so into the video I became happy for the guy.  I even felt a little warm on the inside. I will be in a city one day (soon) that offers BJJ with the gi and that has opportunities for people to train 5 to 7 days a week if they wish. So I will have my own moment to bask in earning a blue belt as well.

Jiu Jitsu, Flying Submissions and MMA

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Check out my grappling books on Amazon: Grappling Games: BJJ & Submission WrestlersTapmonster: Ideas about Grappling for BJJ and Submission WrestlersGrappling for Newbies20 Ways to Increase Grappling Skills off the MatThe Lazy Man’s Guide to Grappling and much more.

I was reading a guy’s blog (, detailing his Jiu-jitsu exploits, yesterday and it had a neat little video where a guy in a jiu-jitsu tournament tossed his opponent up into the air from an open guard, twisted him mid-flight and sunk in an armbar when he landed. I followed one of the links to the jiu-jitsu club, ACC, and they had more of the same type of fantastic movements.

While reading the November issue of Ultimate Grappling magazine last night I ran across an article where the author asserted that fancy Jiu-Jitsu moves will get you hurt in MMA. I don’t know if I agree. I have watched thousands of MMA fights (KOTC has at least 3 DVD sets with over 100 fights in each one and I have seen them all plus many other shows) and I have seen some pretty slick moves from MMA fighters.

I think that if you are sloppy and careless, flashy Jiu-jitsu or grappling moves can leave you with a loss on your record. However, if certain moves are applied at the proper moment and you have had positive results in practice with them, I think flashy moves can work.

For example, how many times have you seen someone get ‘Superman’ punched?  That punch should never work, but it does…

Another Hughes and GSP Rematch

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Disclaimer: The UFC is a privately owned company and they can do what they want. Also I would never try to hinder any fighter from making any money.

Now, with that out of the way, let’s talk about how solid of an idea it is to have a rematch of Georges St Pierre and Matt Hughes. I disagree with it on many levels. First, we have seen this match up twice. GSP dominated in the first until he made a careless mistake and was arm-barred. The second fight was more of the same. Do we need another match up? It is a dull combination for me and it further supports my idea that the top ranks of MMA has become incestual and that only the fighters who are on the ‘totally’ arbitrary favorites list can fight for titles.  Yet, the UFC has fighters such as Karo Parisyan or Rashad Evans who have to keep proving themselves just in order to get a shot.

Second, what is up with these interim titles? How does one qualify? How do you become a contender? If the UFC is going to schedule fights according to their idea of who they (Joe Silva and Dana White) think is marketable and what they think people want instead of a legitimate ranking schema then they should say so. They shouldn’t decide indiscriminately and then behave as if it is legitimate.

I appreciate the UFC and what it has done to bring MMA to North America. However, every time I visit their website or see interviews with Dana White and he or one of the authors that they feature on their websites act as if these types of matches are a gift from a divine source, I feel like a used car salesman is trying to sell me a lemon. But even though I am talking “all big and bad,” I may still purchase the pay-per-view and make lemonade.

I told you, I am a grappling fanatic and a MMA fan.

What’s Better; Repetition or Always Changing it Up?

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While performing my solo drills I began to think about how many Jiu-Jitsu and submission grappling classes are run. From my experiences I have observed that many classes start with a warm-up of varying length, a drill session and then some sparring to work on those drills. Of course, every academy is different. But from my experiences or from those I have heard from others, hardly any schools cover the same type of drills repeatedly.

Many people have covered this issue extensively but I am not convinced either way. I appreciate the diversity from learning so many different submissions and positions. I also like it when I am able to nail a technique through repeated practice.

In my new approach of (daily) drilling techniques, like escapes from the mount, I have found that I have become more effective against live opponents. In a sense I have broken through a plateau but I wouldn’t rush to say one way is better than the other?

Any thoughts out there? 


Biting to Escape the Mount Aargh! Aargh! Aargh!

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I was watching a YouTube video on mount escapes this morning put out by Mark Hatmaker. I also have at least three of his submission grappling and MMA books. Although Hatmaker’s statement was almost made in passing, he did mention that you could bite an opponent as a way of making them distracted enough so you could hip escape, etc. Hatmaker deals with self-defense too so this makes common sense, but the casual way he said it caught my attention.

This video (7 min.) has a number of techniques that can be used to escape the mount…

Out in the Cold/Staying in the Loop

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My class meets on Tuesday and Thursday, so naturally Thanksgiving meant no class. However, a few of us agreed to meet up this Saturday at 8AM. 

I was the only guy that showed up.

I also left early the day we were discussing it because I had family flying into town. It is possible that they changed the time and they had no way to contact me. So I am going to work on establishing some contacts so I can stay in the loop.

I went through calisthenics and drills at home to make up for it.

Flexibility, Tapouts and Submissions

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I am still concentrating on mount escapes as Houston Alexander’s and Thiago Silva’s fight in UFC 78 is still present in my consciousness. While watching the above video and practicing the movements I also thought about flexibility and the role it plays in the ground game.

Quite often, I get in a sticky situation when grappling and attempt a move that requires flexibility. Perhaps I’m mounted and I want to roll back and use my legs to remove my sparring partner; a guy in my guard plants his hand on the mat and I spin for an omoplata or just some other general move that requires hip flexibility. Sometimes, I am unable to pull these moves off because I have reached the limits of my flexibility.

I know that there is an entire set of submissions that I could pull off but lack the flexibility to do so. This video reminded me of this and increasing my flexibility has moved to the top of my list.

Check out my new books, The Lazy Man’s Guide to Grappling and Grappling for Newbies on!