Month: May 2008

UFC 84 Predictions: I think I nailed this one!

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BJ Penn vs. Sean SherK:  BJ Penn of course!

Sherk had trouble with GSP and Matt Hughes because he had a shorter reach than these guys and because he couldn’t handle their strength. I believe BJ Penn has more core strength than Sherk (although they use it differently) and he has better hands than the “Muscle Shark.”

Wanderlei Silva vs. Keith Jardine:  Silva

I believe their awkwardness nullifies each others fighting skills. Wanderlei is a better Muy Thai fighter and striker but Jardine’s unorthodox style catches fighters by surprise. Wanderlei’s tendency to throw “party punches,” to borrrow a phrase from Eric Apple, allows others to catch him with straight shots. However, Wanderlei’s ability to recover is what I think will save him.

Wilson Gouveia vs. Goran Reljic: Gouveia

Goeveia has talent and skill and I believe that he will easily overwhelm Reljic who appears to be a “bread and butter” fighter. He uses the basics and is keen on defense. I wish I had more info on Reljic but I give the nod to Gouveia who’s Muy Thai skills can give a novice fits..

Tito Ortiz vs. Lyoto Machida: Machida

Although I really want Ortiz to win, Machida’s style just doesn’t lend itself to being an easy victory for Tito. Machida will win the stand-up battle and he won’t give Ortiz the type of strikes he can expect from every other fighter he’s fought. Machida’s BJJ is also under-rated. Unless he can hold Machida down for three rounds he’s not going to win. Although I wish Ortiz would win because I believe that he is absolutely right about Dana White and so he can be very marketable when he leaves. It will give whatever organization he goes to a lot of credibility and will help break the UFC monopoly.

Thiago Silva vs. Antonio Mendes: Silva

Silva is over-rated (at least for the UFC). I believe he believes he is better than he really is (e.g., his victory “over-celebration” when James Irvin knee blew out). Although he is undefeated. However, I can’t find anything on Mendes so I will give Silva the nod based on familiarity and his propensity to win by luck.

Ivan Salaverry vs. Rousimar Palhares: Salaverry

Salaverry has been one of my favorite fighters, who never fights, ever since I saw him tap out Tony Fryklund. He is always gracious and a ‘class act.” His opponent is an unknown talent from Brazil. He’s rather short in comparison to Salaverry and Salaverry’s stand-up is pretty good so I have to go with Ivan.

Rameau Sokoudjou vs. Kazuhiro Nakamura: Sokoudjou

Nakamura’s Judo has not worked for him in a long time. He is also a 185 pounder at best. Sokoudjou has a good history of sending PRIDE fighters into parallel universes and with Nakamura’s penchant for wearing costumes, I am sure he has a spacesuit for his journey.

Rich Clementi vs. Terry Etim: Clementi

As much as I would love Etim to show “No Love” to Clementi and send him packing, he always manages to pull out the victory. I see no reason why Etim should win. Clementi’s after victory antics with Melvin Guillard and his refusal to tap gloves with Anthony “Rumble” Johnson rubbed me the wrong way. He’s one of those guys you love to mildly dislike ( It’s not that serious).

John Koppenhaver vs. Yoshiyuki Yoshida: Yoshida

I am sorry but I cannot see Koppenhaver lasting long in the UFC.

Jason Tan vs. Dong Hyun Kim: Dong Hyun Kim

Kim fights like Lyoto Machida and he is 6″3″. I think he is going to give Jason Tan a ‘beatin.” They didn’t fly Kim in for nothing…

MMA Live on ESPN

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JiuJitsu365: I watched a pretty interesting show called “MMA Live” on ESPN.com. It was pretty interesting after you get past the first three minutes where the host says “MMA Live” about a hundred times. The co-hosts were Kenny Florian and Franklin McNeil (a sports writer). Both Florian and McNeil were a little awkward at first, but they worked out the kinks near the end of the broadcast. It is a shame that it is online and not a regular show on ESPN but it will do for now.  

Oh by the way, Franklin McNeil makes a comment about women’s MMA which I think is garbage. I think his thought process also highlights why women’s boxing never could build up steam.

Here is the link: MMA Live Episode 1, MMA Live  Episode 2

 

Block with your hands and not your face…

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When I used to box (many years ago) sometimes I would play around with the lead hand down defense.  I would use a lean and a shoulder to block or avoid incoming blows (e.g., Pernell Whitaker). I usually did this when the head trainer, Frank, would turn away for a moment. However, I would never use it in an MMA or kickboxing match.

In the latest installment of the “Iron Ring,” a show that proves I will watch anything that contains MMA, a fighter named “Boogie” keeps his hands down with disastrous consequences.   For him….

Sit-throughs: One of the slickest moves ever invented..

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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.

The sit-through is a move that I love to do. When I can pull it off it feels like a magic trick. I first used it after studying a wrestling book about 3 years ago. Since I never wrestled I didn’t have the opportunity to learn it as a child or teenager, so I look at the move with awe. I still get excited as Joe Rogan watching Kendall Grove locking in a Darce choke when I see someone using the move to escape out of a bad position.

The Upa (Bridge): Can you do it when you’re tired?

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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.

The upa or bridge, when properly executed, is an awesome way of disrupting an opponents balance, setting them up for a sweep and helping to secure a sweep. However, in my experience of practicing BJJ and watching boatloads of submission grappling and MMA videos, it is highly underused.

Whenever I remember to use it in practice it always surprises me how effective it is. I also know that at certain points in grappling, and I suspect in MMA, conditioning affects its use. The more tired a person is, the less likely it will be used.  I have often noticed that many people can only upa or bridge a few times when another human being is on top of them, then their attempts fizzle out. This is fine in grappling class because you can always work for another position. However, in MMA we have seen people get smashed even when a couple of upas could either prolong or prevent the inevitable ‘beatdown.”

So my question is how can one train to execute multiple upas or bridges when they are under pressure? When training I am sure most of us can hammer out 30 to 100 bridges in warm-ups without breaking a sweat. But when we have a fully resisting opponent of the same weight or higher on top of us, it’s not so easy.

As an experiment, I grabbed my 65 lb heavy bag and held it perpendicular to my body, with it resting on my stomach. I then began bridging backward. I reached 30 reps and then I began to feel fatigue. My lower back muscles began to tire and just about gave out as I reached 40 reps. Although my legs could have continued for a little while longer, my back muscles would not allow it. So perhaps deadlifts and more squats would help.

By itself, 40 bridges with a 65lb heavy bag may (or may not) seem sufficient for grappling. However, I wrestle guys who often weigh well over 200 pounds. It is easy to see that after grappling for a few minutes and then trying to defend against a mount those 40 reps of 65lbs wouldn’t stand for much.

So how do you guys train so you can pull off that upa or bridge when you are at your weakest?

This is why I love No Gi.

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This video highlights why I love no-gi BJJ. Although they were going a little faster than I like to roll, it encapsulates why I love to practice the art.

Pendulum Sweep with Armbar

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Jiujitsu365: In my last academy (I am looking forward to Jacksonville now.), the assistant instructor used to achieve this pendulum sweep as well as corresponding armbar on many people, including me. He used to do all of the motions simultaneously so it took me a while to figure out the complete move.

After a few times of being submitted, I instinctively began to avoid propping up on one foot while trying to pass his guard. While reviewing the Renzo and Royler Gracie’s book, Brazilian Jiu-jitsu – Theory and Technique, I finally saw the full technique, which helped me to fully defend it.

The above video reviews the technique.

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

Kazushi Sakuraba: Slapping on the Kimura

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Kazushi Sakuraba always posed a significant threat in PRIDE and it pains me to see that he continues to fight way past his prime. But who I am I to tell someone to stop doing what they love to do and also pays the bills?

Anyway, what made him particularly scary as a fighter was his ability to slap on a Kimura from almost any angle. It made trying to take him down a nightmare. I always wondered how he slapped it on so quickly and I learned how he did it from this video. I believe that he actually wanted to give fighters his back from a sprawl so he could lock a Kimura on.

Brilliant…

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

Redbelt: Possible Spoilage (If you haven’t seen it..)

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I have mixed feelings about “Redbelt.”  First, I must state that my wife, who often tires of hearing me talk about Jiujitsu, said it was “really good.” My wife even waited for me to walk by her in the theater and then tried to grab me around the neck like the main character, Chiwetel Ejiofor, did to the attorney character.

It is a good movie and was written by someone (David Mamet) who was truly interested in the art. I also believe he stayed true to his vision and I am grateful for him creating the first “major” motion picture devoted to BJJ.

The film was geared more toward the self-defense aspect of BJJ and pragmatic ways to react toward violence. It also focused more on the honor and tradition more characteristic of Asian martial arts. From listening to Mamet’s interviews on the Fightworks Podcast  and other interviews on Youtube and elsewhere this was intentional.

I guess this is where I felt the twinge of longing while viewing the film. The focus was on the training of people who would use the techniques for a living (policemen/bodyguards/movie extras). The regular Joes and Janes, who I believe constitute the majority of participants in the U.S., received minimal focus. My wife argued that the movie was “a call for returning to the basics” and that things (like promotions) can turn into a “zoo” otherwise. I guess that was highlighted by the idea of tying up body parts and blind folding fighters in a state sanctioned fight. It was legitimate as a tool to help train police officers in how to properly react to defiant handcuffed prisoners but a retarded theme for a professional fight.

In my experience, BJJ schools have never been as serious as the academy in the film and I don’t know if the academy was portrayed in this fashion for the purpose of the movie or what Mamet and other “elders” in the art would like to see as a new direction for BJJ training. I must also state that even though I do not view BJJ in the traditional Asian martial art sense, it still has many traditions and values that are expressed and must not be violated just as in the more traditional arts (e.g., Karate, Tae Kwon Do, etc.)

But I cast no apersions against David Mamet. I enjoyed seeing what I love to do being addressed in a serious way.

Post note: I thought it was hilarious that he was reviewing knife fighting techniques the night after he was “stabbed.”  

Ending a Chapter….Ready for a New Beginning

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I just finished submitting my grades (online) for the classes I taught this semester. I officially signed out of the college yesterday and don’t have to spend another day on the campus or commuting to that small town. I am ready to move on.

We just returned from J-ville this past Monday and were able to secure the house we wanted in the area we wanted. It is a well planned neighborhood and it has tennis courts, soccer fields, basketball courts, a golf course, gym, water pool park and sidewalks everywhere. I can now convert exercise into a lifestyle instead of a chore.

As a professor, I don’t have to teach over the summer so I will be enjoying myself to the fullest over the next 3 1/2 months before I return to work. This month I will be concentrating on working out at the gym and increasing my endurance, strength and flexibility. After the postponement of the tournament in April I continued the 100 reps a day for about a week before I converted to my 30 reps routine that I had been doing from the beginning.

I have to admit that I have lost some of my drive since the tournament was postponed. I also don’t feel too great about entering tournaments based on live grappling once or twice a week. I have been training on my own doing reps everyday, but I need to train “live” with more regularity.

I can’t wait for this move because I “need” to train and there’s an abundance available where I am going. May 15, 2008 will be the sixth month anniversary of this J365 project and I need some more objective measurements.  I know that I have improved in many ways but without any stripes or belt improvement, tournaments or regular “live” training  (more than 1 or 2 times a week) it is hard to know.