Michael Clarke Duncan – A BJJ Man

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I was very sad to hear about Michael Clarke Duncan’s passing today. I heard about his heart attack several weeks back, but I always assumed he would be okay. Not to mention that his family, friends and close ones lost someone dear to them, but he also made a huge impact in our world.

Not just from great films that he starred in, but Duncan is also a cultural icon; especially when it comes to BJJ and MMA. Although the man was a giant among men (6’5 300 lbs), he still loved BJJ (he was a Purple belt) and took the time to learn the art. Here is a man who probably never, ever, EVER, needed to know a ‘lick’ of grappling who respected the art and heralded it. I have seen him many times at UFC events, front and center, and heard about his ventures training with the Gracies and in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

He’s a part of my cultural landscape and I wish him good travels.


Michael Clarke Duncan wrestles Tom Arnold below:

Michael Clarke Duncan discusses MMA, NBA, Boxing and tries to avoid looking at Eva Longoria.

Diego Sanchez vs Roy Nelson

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Wow! I just watched an old video of Diego Sanchez vs Roy Nelson at Grappler’s Quest. It was as intense as an MMA fight.

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.

Two Grapplers apprehend robber at hotel!

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It’s getting rougher for people who rob banks now-a-days. It seems every other week there is a story about a potential crook getting foiled by your friendly neighbor hood grappler. This time, two of our brethren, who were in California for the 2011 No-Gi Worlds Championship, nabbed a down on his luck robber who had just robbed a clerk in the front office.

Although none of the news outlets I watched provided the cashier with any credit WHATSOEVER for his role in stopping the guy, he actually wrapped up the robber with a bear hug after the robber walked out of the office and ‘stupidly’ place his gun in his bag. (I’m not rooting for the guy, but I’m just sayin’.) BJJ grapplers, Brent Alvarez and Billy Dinney, just happened to be walking out of the elevator at the same time the robber was dragging the clerk on his back out of the hotel. They literally walked smack into what looks like a scene from a badly scripted movie. Not only do the trio disarm him, but after the clerk takes the gun away, Brent Alvarez holds the robber down with a Rear naked choke while Billy Dinney holds other body parts down.

Here’s the video with no boring news video in the beginning (note the body triangle at the end):

Here’s one with the news clip (note Billy Dinney does his interview with his medal around his neck from the competition/I would have too!):

In one of the interviews one of the guys said that maybe “they should have just knocked him out” instead of fighting him and holding him for so long.

Here’s Brent Alvarez doing the same thing he did to the robber at a NAGA event earlier this year:

I don’t think it takes much to make Brent Alvarez jump on your back and choke you into submission. I wouldn’t drop anything around him and expect to pick it up without a fight! 🙂

Just Joking!

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.

Times Up – Back to Academia

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

The new semester begins next Monday. All week I have been attending college wide, departmental and discipline related meetings and preparing my curriculum for my students. My BJJ lifestyle of the summer has already been affected.

Yes, I am ready to teach and head back to the classroom but I will miss my Summer of BJJ. This time I really stuck to my statements and attended, on average, three classes per week. (I initially tried going five times a week but hurt my back on the fourth day of the first week and decided maybe three times a week would be best.) I learned many things over the summer but I think the most important thing I learned was to stop holding back.

I don’t mean being a ‘douche’ to my fellow grappling buddies when rolling by being over-aggressive. What I mean is that I learned that I need to use my skills and make my opponents actually work to achieve a position or submission and not just give it to them. I had a tendency to be a back and forth player. After I dominated a position for a while I would let my rolling buddy back into the game and let them work. A lot of this would be to my detriment when I faced equal or higher level players. I realized that most, if not all, did not have the same mindset (and no one told me they should) and I always paid for my approach.

After a particularly bad day this summer where I played this game and ‘got’ crushed I decided to bring it, yeah I said bring it, to every class. I started using my A game and stopped working my B and C games because I wasn’t getting any better at them. I decided to work off of my strengths and become well rounded in my weaknesses when the moments presented themselves (as they always do). After about a week of this I had an eye-opening conversation. A white belt who had a little experience under his belt told me that my game had really changed as of late. He told me he was “unable to stop” me and then he said these words,

“where we had almost been equal before.”

I was flabbergasted. He’s a nice guy and meant no harm by his words but to me it was a shot in the gut. I thought when I was rolling with people and I let them work their games or didn’t always submit them that they knew I was doing it on purpose. I didn’t think they thought I was just not really all that tough (not saying he said that). I thought about all the times I had tried to be fair and ended up fighting for my life in a roll because of it. I realized that a lot of people thought I was really putting my all into it so they put their all in it.

My wife had been saying for a couple of years that people don’t know I am going easy on them, but I figured they had to know. I stood corrected.

As a result I stopped playing that game. If I have the tap I take it. If I have the position I keep it. I am not malicious but I am on a mission.

As my epiphany gained strength I realized that upper belts who doggedly pursue submissions are upper belts because they doggedly go after submissions. They maintain positions and they pursue the taps until they get them. They don’t give up positions to make their partners feel better.

My game has improved as a result and I have improved as a grappler. I still have a lot of balancing to do but I believe I am on the right path.

Open Mat – March 6th

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I went to open mat expecting a light workout and roll but I am beginning to realize that I should expect the unexpected on these days. Five white belts were testing for stripes; Big Josh, Dan, Vick, Cedrick and Melissa. Smiley asked us (Art, Jamie, I believe Andrew helped and me) to help roll with them (or rather jump them) during the grappling session. Before that I drilled with Art and he showed me one or two guard passes that he uses.

When it was time for us to ‘jump’ the white belts it turns out that they had to roll for 15 minutes. I began the roll with Vick and he went all “Grrrrrr” on me. I had to tell him to relax because he had a lot of time left. They would roll one minute with us and one with each other. I probably shouldn’t have, but I Tomoe Nage’d one of the guys. I let him down easy though. They all lasted 15 minutes with no problems as most of them come to class at least 3 times a week. Congrats to all of them.

On another note. I found a blaring hole in my game while flow rolling with Art. One, I need to work on defending my guard from the bottom while the other person is standing up. I usually end up on top so I don’t practice sitting down and letting guys approach my guard. When we drilled with me sitting and him standing it didn’t take long for him to bypass my guard. I used to fold my leg like a chicken wing when people would try to pass so I could block most attempts. But when I injured my knee while using that technique I vowed to never do it again. I have to come up with new defenses.

Second, I have always been a sucker for knee-on-belly so when Art used it I had no real defense. I vowed to master defenses for this and came up with some remedies that I will talk about in my next post.

Open mat was more than I expected but just what I needed.

*I wrote about my boxing days at Psychology TodayRecognizing when you’re in the Pros

I couldn’t believe I screamed like that!

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I haven’t posted in a bit as I have been preoccupied with my JiuJitsu365 Twitter Page.

But to recap these past few weeks I have been attending class once a week on Fridays. Due to a hyperactive schedule this past month as well as battling minor injuries I decided to limit my participation until Spring Break. 

Well this Friday, after I left my office, was the official beginning of Spring Break. I headed over to Combat Athletix and everything was going well. I led the class during the stretching phase of warm-ups and drills went well. We learned self defense moves to the Full Nelson and three variations of a guard pass. My partner during the drills was a new guy, who is in law enforcement. He said the extent of his training were the basics they teach you in law enforcement. He was a big guy though (about 6’1 and 250+).

When it was time to roll, I suggested we start on our knees since it was his first time. He was pretty strong up top when we started to grapple so I decided to just get into the roll by pulling him into guard. What was funny was that he was able to immediately use the guard pass we had practiced in drill. So I shifted gears and recovered my guard. He tried one of the passes again and I decided to go for a butterfly hook so I could get the sweep. I folded in my left leg and as I did this he rested his entire body on my chicken winged leg.

A loud popping and cracking sound, along with my scream, reverberated through the room. Everything that was going on in class stopped. In terror I jumped up onto my good leg trying to see what happened. Smiley, Joe (the guy I was wrestling), Josh and someone else who I can’t remember came to my assistance. No bones were sticking out, I could still walk and had full mobility but I could feel something wasn’t right and my knee started to get warm.

I now wonder what my facial expression was because they were all trying to reassure me that everything would be okay and not to worry about it. I then began, like Caleb at the Fightworks Podcast, to think about the scream I let out. Joe, the guy I was rolling with, actually sat with me for about 10 minutes or so while I recuperated. He kept mentioning how bad he felt. I told him don’t worry about it and to make sure that he comes back. I let him know that I had been doing this since 2004 with no major injuries and that sometimes these things happen. It was ironic as I was reassuring him that all would be well and to not worry about it. 

As I write this on Sunday, I have plans to visit an Urgent Care Facility in the morning since self treatment hasn’t seemed to work. I can walk around so I ‘know’ that it shouldn’t be ‘major’ but I know that something is up.