Posts Tagged ‘martial arts’

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.

 

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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.

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I have not made time to post in a while and figured I need to get back to it. My training schedule over the last couple of months has been horrible. I have maybe been getting one day a week of jiu jitsu and maybe one or two more days of workouts. I have had some sickness, a child in the hospital, and a relative pass away all here recently. The blog kinda took a backseat to life. Hopefully I am now back in the swing of things.
I will start off with my recent tournament experience. I competed at the Southeast Missouri Open. It was not a large tournament but a good solid start for a first annual region tournament. The guys at midwestgrappler.com put on another very professional tournament. It was well run and well organized. The brackets were good with some tough jiu jitsu matches. Some of the best teams in the Midwest put on some very good matches.
Here is the rundown on how I did. Now understand I am in the blue belt masters division. This division is notorious for not having enough competitors to fill a bracket. So what usually happens is that we get thrown in with the young guys. No big deal. Well on this day they did not have a light heavyweight division, so I get grouped with the heavy/super heavy division. I am by far the smallest guy in this division with the largest topping out at 300 plus. Luck of the draw I get the first bye. My first opponent in the semifinal round is 6’5” 250. Myself I am 5’7” 201. I have to say I played a pretty good match and finished 11-0 on a solid tough opponent. This put me in the finals with only one match. Well with the move in division it placed me in the finals against a teammate. We have the rule as do most schools, we won’t compete against our teammates. So what do you do in this situation, we had an epic rock, paper, scissors battle to the death. Needless to say I am still here and crushed his rock with my paper. So I could not complain about my showing in the gi. Next was what they called an Old Man Superfight. I didn’t have anyone in the light heavy no gi division so I had a teammate from the main academy step and challenge me. By the way, thanks Michael Collins for the match. I was able to secure a darce choke and win the no gi superfight.
So all in all it was a good day and a great tournament. I was able to get some mat time. I felt good even though it had been some time since I had put in any hard training. I also received a very good compliment from a respected higher belt, and that was the best of all of it. It was a good day.

If you read my last post you will see I competed in the Missouri State BJJ tournament this past weekend. I wanted to talk about something that has been very crippling in my life at times. It is dealing with anxiety.  By no means am I qualified to give advice on dealing with anxiety and mental disorders, I just wanted to discuss some of my feelings.

            I have known for maybe the last 3 or 4 years I was developing more and more anxiety, when it came to dealing with stressful situations. Competition being one of those. Competition is not something that was new to me. I grew up playing every sport known to man. I competed in wrestling tournaments, martial arts tournaments, football, baseball, basketball, track, and a few others I can’t remember at the moment. I have searched and searched my memories for any feelings of anxiety competing when I was younger. I cannot think of one time growing up that I truly got really nervous competing. As I got a little older I began competing in MMA matches and submission grappling tournaments, still no memory of any real anxiety with competitions.

            The first time I really remember having any real anxiety for a competition was in 2009. I was scheduled for a pro MMA fight. I worked hard. I was in great shape. My training camp peaked at the right time. My weight cut was pretty rough on me, but I made it thru it. I was relatively healthy. I weighed in the night before at 186 on the dot. My opponent weighed in. We signed all our paperwork and I thought we were good to go. I got a call early the next morning that my opponent’s blood work had not come in like it was supposed to. So the fight was in jeopardy of not going on. For some reason, this came down on me like a ton of bricks. I remember the feeling in my stomach like someone just kept kicking me and kicking me.  I also remember thinking screw this. Why am I doing this to myself?  I didn’t get the yes or no for sure until I got to the building for the fight. It was a relief to be released from the stress. I did not have a big team around me in my fight career at the end. I was always the coach. I tried to alleviate this type of stress in the guys I trained; I just did not know how to do it for myself.  My pro MMA career never took off and I suffered a career ending injury just a little over a year later.

            The one thing that did stick around was the anxiety. I noticed that it crept into my life a little more and a little more.  I was completely out of martial arts for about a year and a half. Then I made the decision to get back to it. I started to rebuild my team with a focus on jiu jitsu instead of MMA. This also meant getting back into competitions.  I had a good group of students and was getting back into the swing of things again until that nasty monkey I had found in 09 started to sink his hooks in and choke my competitive spirit. I had planned on going to a few tournaments, and even went as far as printing out the directions and packed my gi. But each time I talked myself out of going. I would tell myself all kinds of things, like I didn’t have the money, or I didn’t want to leave my family for the day. Now I have always had the support of my wife and kids with pretty much any venture that I had my heart set on. I would talk myself right out of going. At the time my school was very new and granted I had supportive students, they just weren’t ready to compete. So I would’ve gone to them by myself.  I wouldn’t violate one important rule of marriage and jiu jitsu, if your significant other is not a jiu jitsu competitor don’t drag them to tournaments.  So this meant I would have to go alone, with no team. I started to see a pattern with my anxiety. I kept teaching and in a few months I had a couple of students who were ready to compete. I did my normal night before routine. Printed my directions, packed my gi, and got a good nights rest. The day of the tournament was here. We went up, competed, and it was a very good day. I took a first in a second in gi and nogi. One of my students took a gold medal and the other put in some good matches.  I did not even notice one bit of anxiety. I went, it was a good time, and was ready for the next one.

            I hadn’t started to figure out what was causing some of my problems at the time. I can look back now and see some of the holes I left exposed in myself.  I do know that stress and anxiety will kill you. It will make you old and miserable way before your time.  I remember making the decision to close my MMA promotion down and then close my school down, hoping to alleviate a good deal of stress from my life, and in turn anxiety that was building in other parts.  I knew my anxiety was putting stress on my life, but I had only truly felt it when I was doing something difficult like fighting in a MMA fight or competing in a grappling tournament. These things were like matches ready to light my fuse.

            Let’s fast forward a few more months. I have had the chance to do something I have never truly been able to do. I have joined a jiu jitsu family. I now have a great BJJ instructor and have become an official part of the Gracie Humaita family.  Although I have not been able to train as much as I would like to lately I had started to put together one of the missing pieces that I personally need to not feel so anxious. I was part of a team.

            I did my normal ritual again of packing and getting ready. I did not feel 100% anxiety free, but I did feel relieved that there were people counting on me, that there were people looking forward for me to be there.  I am really for the first time in years putting this anxiety in perspective. I can see where it put strains on my life, my wife, and my family.  There are a couple of things that have given me the insight to be able to do this. First this blog. It was given me an outlet. Second, my family, without there love and support I would not be able to do the this or the last thing to give me the insight into myself. That would be jiu jitsu.

            I look back now with a new insight into why all of those competitions growing up and early in MMA career were anxiety free. I always had a great team and family support.  That is the one thing a good jiu jitsu family can do for you. Just like it has started to do for me again, it can sweep that monkey off your back, mount him and choke him unconscious.

            If I can offer one major piece of advice, find a jiu jitsu family. Find that support you only get from a family.  I may never get rid of all my anxiety, but I know I will always have people there to help me thru it.

           

Thank you Brian my instructor, JW my Professor, all my Cape BJJ teammates, Colby and Kael my boys, and my beautiful wife, for helping me be free from that monkey and letting me do and be a part of something I love so dearly.

First I have to say another great tournament from JW Wright and the crew from Midwest Grappler. They seem to get better and better. This was a very large tournament and was run very smooth.
I competed today in the Blue belt masters division. It ended up with just me and one other in the division. I have to say I did not come out on the winning end. After some last second excitement I was unable to establish my mounted position and lost 2-0 to an early sweep.
I will post the next blog very soon. I wanted to talk about the anxiety of competing.
Check out midwestgrappler.com for all the upcoming events.

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Philosophy is more than just thought. It is the application of those thoughts. As I walk further down my path of martial arts, I seem to reflect on it more and more often.  My chosen art is Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.  I have found it to be one of the most honest martial arts I have ever trained in.  The BS has been trimmed out and the art has been streamlined in the last decades. Is it the most complete martial art in the world? No. There is no such thing. That is not the point of practicing an art. It has its blind spots and holes just like every martial art. That does not affect what it means to me. Jiu jitsu is philosophy in motion.  It is higher consciousness through harder combat. If you get on the mat and spar and roll with an open mind so many things become clear. Like tonight I rolled with a younger guy about 21. He was strong, fast, and very skilled. I feel like the old scarred lion every now and then. This was one of those nights. The saying in jiu jitsu is don’t get behind.  Well tonight I was behind. What that means is things are going your opponent’s way and not yours.  He was getting the grips, the positions, and the sweeps. Pretty much winning the exchanges. I wasn’t destroyed by any means, but this clicked something in my mind. Here is the essence of martial arts. Here is my chance to better myself. Here is my chance to learn.  After a discussion with my instructor, some of my mistakes became so blatantly evident, I could not believe I was making them or not compensating for them.  This is the application of knowledge in a context of harder combat.  This is the philosophy of jiu jitsu. It is the application of conscious thought.  We rolled a few more times with each time me trying to dissect my mistakes. I did better correcting a few of the mistakes when I could. So what I’m saying sometimes I guess you have to get behind to get ahead.

How to fold a BJJ Gi

Posted: February 28, 2013 in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
Tags: , , ,

Hey guys here is a quick tutorial on how to fold your gi for storage or to pack in your suitcase. My instructor always says no matter where he goes, the gi goes in the bag first. Believe me this has come in handy. I am starting to accumulate a few gi’s (five actually) so they are starting to take up some space. (Not my video)