Posts Tagged ‘Bjj’

Rizin Fighting Federation 2 happened a few days ago in Japan. Hopefully marking the return of a full time player in Japanese MMA. This marked the return to the ring for The Emperor Fedor Emelianenko vs. Jaideep Singh after a 3 year lay off. Singh an unknown in the MMA world is an experienced K-1 kickboxer.  The next big fights were  Kron Gracie vs Asen Yamamoto, Bob Sapp vs. Akebono, Gabi  Garcia vs. Lei’d Tapa, and Muhammed Lawel vs Jiří Procházka. This was night two of the extravaganza. Night one was capped off by the loss of one of my favorite fighters of all time. Shinya Aoki dispatched kazushi Sakuraba.

Lets start with the fight that caught my attention.  I have not heard a lot about this card except it was to mark the return to action of Fedor. Fedor looked to be in his usual shape never an opposing physical specimen. Singh an experienced kickboxer looked out classed from the bell. Fedor in usual fashion rushed his opponent finally taking him to the ground and finishing the fight. Fedor was never in trouble and looked to be the Fedor of old. No one would expect him to jump back into a top ten heavyweight fight. It was a nice tune up. The big question is what is next for the Emperor.

The next is one I was really excited to see. Kron Gracie vs  Asen Yamamato. Kron the son of Gracie Jiu Jitsu legend Rickson Gracie is seen by some as the next MMA wunderkind. This fight showed a few holes in Krons game, but from someone known for their ground prowess,  he didn’t look to bad. Yamamto  also new to professional fighting put up a very good fight and looked to be a game fighter. Kron looks to be improving with his standup, but a few holes were definitely exposed. Kron took control as soon as the fight hit the ground. Yamamoto was able o reverse position a few times, but was ultimately caught in a triangle finish by Kron.

Here is the first of the traditional Japanese Pride style fights. And what I mean are the fights that border on freakshows. It is Bob Sapp vs. Akebono. Sapp a giant of a man had made a pretty good run in MMA and K-1 has been relegated to the freak show matches in MMA. This was fought under shootboxing rules. So basically it is an MMA match with no groundfighting. You can do standing submissions and takedowns just no fighting on the ground. This is a weird fight to say the least. The fight is stopped most of the time to work on a cut on Akebono. The even weirder thing is the cut is behind his ear.

The next one is Gabi  Garcia vs. Lei’d Tapa.  This fight was just plain awful. Gabi Garcia came in with a highly touted jiu jitsu career winning multiple world championships. She showed in this fight to have no stand up game at all.  Granted this was Garcia’s first pro fight she looked horrible. She has a long way to go to look to be a credible MMA fighter outside of her jiu jitsu. Her opponent didn’t have much of an answer either. This fight was amateurish at best. Garcia slimmed down for awhile but seems to have bulked back up for this fight at 205lbs. Garcia wins after knocking her opponent down with a flailing backfist and following up with some ground and pound.

The next is Rizin’s Light heavyweight tournament finale between King Mo Muhammed Lawel vs Jiří Procházk. This was definitely a more exciting fight than the semifinal matches. King Mo ended this with a straight right after some wild exchanges on the feet from both men. Mo also controlled the fight on the ground also.

The last and most heartbreaking for me came from night one of Rizin. It was Shinya Aoki vs. Kazushi Sakuraba. Sakuraba now 48 is past what would consider a fighter’s prime. Aoki controlled the fight from the start, taking mount and back mount finally finishing the fight by strikes. Sakuraba has been and will always be my favorite fighter, but it breaks my heart seeing him take a beating like that. Please stick to grappling. His Metamoris match was awesome to watch. I just don’t have the stomach to watch him take those beatings anymore.

All in all the card was not a bad one. It had some definite highlights, but also a few lowlights. I am for a return of Japanese MMA, I just hope it isn’t built on the sweat and blood of MMA legends. Japanese fans are do for a new crop of MMA superstars. Lets hope Rizen can pull that off.



Merry Christmas and happy holidays to all my jiu jitsu brothers and sisters out there OSS

Ok after talking with my instructor a couple of nights ago, we decided I need a gameplan for my next belt. I need a path with clear focus on my strengths and weaknesses. Especially my weakness. I started tracking my progress with a handy little iphone app called Jiu Jitsu Log. So with this I felt like I needed a nice flow chart to go with it. I had seen an article on Reddit (r/bjj) a few weeks ago about grappling flow charts. I had also seen a few in a couple of books like BJ Penn’s mma book. This got me started on my own. It looks a little pathetic compared to some which are mapped out to a couple of hundred positions. But this is my beginning. We picked out two of my weak areas, closed and open guard. I’ve been a wrestler all my life so I instinctively play top and try to beat guys in the transitions. Now I must put together the other half of my game. The first position in closed guard that I am going to start with is cross collar and sleeve grip. The first open guard position will be scissor guard. So if any of you guys reading this has advice on either of those positions please feel free to post. I am attaching my beginner’s flow chart also. OSS.


   How hard is too hard. Rolling last night I got my shoulder tweaked twice in just a short rolling session. The first if I would not have bailed out with a forward roll I would be wearing a sling today. The second one, I actually had to verbal tap in a cross between a kimura and a straight armlock.  So here is my question. How hard do you go with someone who is not one of your normal training partners? The guy I was rolling with is a super nice guy and I have no doubt that he was not trying to injure me. It is just one of the things that can happen and does happen from time to time. I have always used the simple etiquette of rolling to the level of aggression of my partner. Then sometimes if I have a super aggressive partner I just play like a stump. Root myself to the ground and play 100% defense.

   The older I get the more I want my sparring sessions to be labeled exclusively as a flow roll, positional sparring, or a competition team sparring session. The flow roll is what I find the most useful for actually learning jiu jitsu. It can only be done with a few specific training partners. These are guys I have rolled with for hours. The next is the positional sparring situation. These can usually be rolled with any partner. This is because you roll with a specific purpose. The variables are limited making it a little safer. The last is competition sparring. This can be done a few ways. Let’s say partner A is competing in a big tourney a few weeks away. Partner B is not competing. Here is the ratio of the level of aggression. Partner A will put forth 65-70% while B will put out 30-35%. This is a time were A gets full resistance, but by B mentally throttling down the chance of injury goes down. The other way is a little more of a gamble. Two guys line up and roll it out till someone taps. This way is always more dangerous. Almost all the times I have been injured while sparring, it has happened this way.

   This simple formula took me a while to really figure out. I basically started out just going into sparring full bore. I never used to look at sparring as a real learning situation. Now intelligent sparring is where you can put it all together. Without this tool jiu jitsu would be as useless as some other martial arts where no sparring takes place. Learn to flow roll and learn to roll at varying intensity. Be sure to throw positional sparring in there too. Rely on good partners who can dial back their aggression. Jiu Jitsu cannot be truly learned without a good partner to study with.

      Well back on the mats tonight. It has not been easy making it to class consistently. I think I have been 3-4 times in the last couple of months. It showed tonight. It was a small class, which is always good for picking up some details. Let me plug a nice little app I have been using for awhile. It is called Jiu Jitsu Log. $1.99 for the Pro version on the Apple App store. I have got in the habit of storing anything I find worth while in this little jewel. Ok back to the subject. I went thru some technique and learned some cool little choke variations. Now to the humbling frustrating part, sparring, I have always considered myself a pretty good competitor, but I felt like I was run off the road then hit by a train tonight. My timing was off and I was one of the worst things you can be, BEHIND. My partner seemed to be about 8 moves ahead of me. I get it. I have not put in much time the last few months, I have mat rust, and I am just a wee bit out of shape. So excuses aside I am frustrated. With more approaching holidays, I know my training will not be consistent for at least 3 weeks. So now I breathe and remember that jiu jitsu is not a destination, but a journey I have decided to take the rest of my life. I hope to teach to both my children and hopefully grandchildren someday. After some meditation and thought, I feel better, until I try to get up. Dang gotta get on the mats more often.


   It has been a few months since my last post. It was a busy time. I put a lot of hard training in on the mats. Had a ton of stuff happening at work, and been busy being a dad and husband. I did get to come to California and compete in the Masters/Seniors Worlds. It was a great experience. Definitely glad I did it and got it out of the way. Now I am more determined to bring home some gold.

   Let me outline the few weeks leading up to the Masters. Three weeks out from the tournament, I am hitting my stride. I feel great. Strength is peaking, weight is down, and I feel like a freaking buzz saw on the mats. Now I’m not a little guy, about 201, so I frequently end up rolling with the gorillas. Now this is not a big deal I hold my own with the big guys. Well on that night I roll with one of the most dangerous type of partner. A very large, very strong white belt. Everyone is given the instruction to be careful and not hurt us old guys since we are so close to the tourney. Well wouldn’t you know it, I’m rolling pop out the side and hit a sweet clock choke. I am deep, and my very large partner kind of spazs on me and tries to roll forward out of the choke. I am so deep into his collar I can’t disengage. Next thing I know my ribs are crushed and I hear a sound like wet leather tearing. My lungs spasm and man I’m hurting. I finally roll myself off the mats and try to recover. The only thing I can think about is damn I’ve booked flights, hotel, and already paid my registration. The pain finally subsides, but this thing is truly injured. I spent the next two weeks barely able to twist and the weight of a four year old on my chest made me want to cry. A week out I decided to give it a try and get a little rolling in considering I was headed to the biggest tournament I’ve ever competed in. It didn’t feel too bad. I started to get a little of that momentum back. But with this time just sitting around my weight had crawled back up a little.

   I own four digital scales, and I was getting four different weights. It was a range of six pounds difference in them. Now I was getting more and more freaked out. I knew I would have a long plane ride and a day and a half of not eating if I couldn’t get my weight sorted out. I was stressing out big time. Fortunately I was not the only guy from my team to bring a scale so we were able to compare and bam I was seven pounds under. This was a tremendous relief. Now on to the tournament.

   If you have never been to a large IBJJF tourney it is worth doing. I did have a horribly long wait in the bullpen before competing, but this was my only complaint. I did not do as well as I hoped. I was up 5-0 on my first opponent when I went for a knee cut pass to side and was caught in a baseball bat choke and well went night night. It really sucked, not for just the fact of going out but the fact my wife, children, parents, and friends were all watching online. Of course they were totally freaked out, but I was fine. My opponent ended up finishing 2nd on the day. This definitely gave my some confidence that I belonged there. I just got caught and that is a true testament to jiu jitsu.

   The next really cool thing about going to the Masters is the fact I got to hang out Royler Gracie’s house, watch some lessons, and check out his private office with all of his memorabilia. It was definitely a great trip and cannot wait to do it again. I am super thankful to have such a wonderful team and instructors. If you are ever in St Louis check out Gracie Humaita St Louis or Cape BJJ and Fitness in Cape Girardeau Mo


The first things people usually ask me about Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is what is it and how do I get started.
If you are interested in bjj, start off with a little research. Start with a simple internet search on exactly what bjj is and if it is something that you want to give a try. I always make sure people have more exposure to jiu jitsu than what they get from watching the UFC. Granted the UFC has given bjj a lot of exposure. Sometimes the casual fan is not fully acquainted with what Brazilian jiu jitsu truly is. I want to build the jiu jitsu community and the only way is through education. The history of Gracie Jiu Jitsu is another good place to start.
After the basic education, the next thing a person needs to do is find a reputable gym. Look for jiu jitsu as close to the source as possible. What that means is find an instructor that is as close to the original Gracie lineage as possible. Time to do more research. Not to say someone further removed from the Gracie line couldn’t be a good instructor or that it couldn’t be a good school. It is just a good measuring stick of a quality school. Look for affiliations, look for quality equipment, and look for quality instructors. In this day and age of information, there is no excuse for not doing your homework on local schools. If there is no school close that is associated with a large group or association, try to find as much information about the schools you do find. Most quality schools will have a presence online. Then with websites like Yelp and others, reviews are a lot easier to find. Check to see if the school has a website. If so check out the instructor. See who he is associated with. See where he has trained and with who. I’ve know some very good instructors from smaller schools who just couldn’t afford some of the large association fees.
The next step, go visit the schools. Most schools will let you try a few classes if you want, but at least watch a class. Watch how the class is structured. Watch how the instructor teaches the students. Do they offer a beginners class? If you get a chance, talk to some of the other students. Try to get a feel for the school. Do you feel comfortable there? Do you feel comfortable talking with the instructor? Do they offer classes that will fit your schedule? Find out if you have to buy an academy gi or do they require a certain color gi. Do you need a gi to start classes or will they let you do a few classes without one. Once you decide to join a school this should definitely be your first purchase.
After you decide that this might be the place for you, now you have to handle the business transaction. Make sure you get all of the details. What are the monthly dues? Do they offer any specials? Do you have to sign a contract? Do they use electronic bank transfer? Are there any other fees associated with signing up? Some schools charge students a membership or association fee when joining. Make sure all the costs associated with the school are down on paper. Always make sure to look over any contracts before you sign up. Check to see if there is a fee if you want to cancel your contract. A lot of electronic bank transfer contracts have to have a 30 day notice to cancel. Then some will take an extra month out after you cancel. Make sure you ask all of these questions and more. Then get it all down in writing. Knowing all of these things up front will make your joining a school a lot more pleasant with no unexpected surprises.
This is just the first step on the journey. Be prepared. Do your homework and check out all of your options. Ask questions. Make sure you find a school that fits you. Jiu Jitsu schools are not always one size fits all, but remember jiu jitsu is. Now you have chosen a school. You have got your brand new gi. Time to hit the mats and train.