Open Mat

In MMA, does a smile (at the face-off) mean you will lose?

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According to a study conducted by Michael Kraus and David Chen (via BPS Research Digest), MMA fighters who smile at the “pre fight” matchups are “more likely” to lose their fight.

Coders for the study were asked to assess whether fighters were smiling during their pre fight matchups (without knowing the fighters or the outcome of the bout). Then the researchers studied UFC statistics and found that the smiling fighters were more likely to lose their fights. The results were not major, but enough to question if the findings have merit.

According to the BPS Research Digest, fighters who bared their teeth were “more likely” to be:

1) “Knocked down”

2) Wrestled to the mat; and

3) Hit more times

The fighters who hadn’t smiled were “more likely” to “excel and dominate” according to the BPS Digest article.

The article also stated that people who bet on fights tend to favor the non-smiling fighter as well. The researchers posit that smiling is a cue to the other fighter that you are submissive, lack aggressiveness and lack hostility.

I find this very interesting and wonder if it also applies to BJJ and submission grappling by default.

What are your thoughts?

BPS Article: Smiling Fighters are More Likely to Lose

Check out my grappling books on Amazon: Grappling 101: How to Avoid being Bullied on the Mat,  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.

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In the Mix Again: Professordom & BJJ

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I am back into the mix again. The semester has begun and I’m into full professor mode.  I really enjoyed the break. I was able to attend all of the morning classes during the month (3 x a week).

I don’t have that luxury during the semester, but I have a few other options available this time around. My training facility, Combat Athletix, has started a new open mat that will take place on the third Saturday of each month. I will also go back to the open mats held at Gracie Jacksonville as well. Finally, I am going to sign up for some private instruction in February. This should help balance out the gaps that occur in my training due to my profession.

Open Mat: Jacksonville Gracie Jiu-jitsu School

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Last Saturday I attended open-mat at Jacksoville Gracie Jiu-jitsu School, an academy operated by Luiz Palhares. I had a real good time. In all there were four of us. I asked their names a couple of times so I could remember, but I can only remember one now; Joe who was a purple belt and who also assisted Prof. Palhares during the seminar held where I train. The other two guys were striped blue belts, Professor Palhares’ son, a real nice guy and another who showed me a few special techniques I will discuss in a moment. (Sorry about forgetting your names.)

The guys were casual and laid back, which has always been the case when I have visited someone else’s academy and one of the reasons I appreciate BJJ as much as I do. The first thing that struck me is that they were very technical. They were working on a technique involving pulling your opponent’s arm past your head in guard which can lead to a sweep or an armbar. After that we started rolling.

Professor Palhares’ son (blue belt/one stripe) invited me to roll and before I knew it I was involved in a death match. We weren’t wild, but he had a style which involved standing up constantly, spinning around for position, knee on belly, etc. Since we had on the gi I also had to deal with the disorienting effect of someone constantly tugging on my collar or sleeves. One thing I have always remembered though  is that it is okay if a person establishes one grip but never two. So I kept spinning on my back and breaking his grips while trying to defend and mount some sort of offense. Since he played a standup and “slightly” acrobatic game I was able to get a few sweeps and takedowns from the bottom.  I would say I lasted for a good five minutes or so before being tapped.

Next I rolled with the other blue belt (two stripes), who was about 6’1and said he weighed 225 pounds(Correction: His name is Steve). Since he had a torn miniscus, we rolled light. He offered a lot of technical advice while we were rolling. He coached me through a sequence for escaping the mount that I hadn’t tried before. Although I knew the techniques, I have never used them in combination. He also took me to the side and showed me a defensive technique for “older guys.” He said it was designed for guys over 40. But since we were both 35 I guess he thought I was old enough. I am definitely adding it to my game. Since I am not a fan of Muscle Jiu-jitsu, this will surely come in handy.

It is always great to train with guys who have totally different games. I had quite a few epiphanies and had the distinct feeling that my level of play has risen. Here’s what I learned:

I can stand up when sparring (for guard passes, knee on belly, etc. ) It’s obvious, but I don’t do it.

I need to start using combinations.

I need to start using grips to my advantage since everyone else does (especially since I have taken Judo).

A defensive technique for older men (I didn’t give the name of the technique so older guys can keep whatever advantage they can:)