Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Interview with Cindy "Sleeper" Hales Ahead of Her Return to MMA

Check out this awesome interview with Gracie Barra black belt and MMA veteran, Cindy "Sleeper" Hales.

Monday, April 04, 2016

How Eddie Bravo Saved Sports Jiu-Jitsu

EBI multi-event champ Gary Tonon (left), squaring off against Stephen Martinez at EBI5, is the posterboy for the new, submission-first, sport jiu-jitsu
Shortly after earning his spot in sport Brazilian jiu-jitsu history by defeating Royler Gracie at ADCC 2003, Eddie Bravo shared with the world his vision of a new jiu-jitsu. The irony of his vision - building a jiu-jitsu for MMA - has never been lost on me. That it had little to do with the circumstances through which we'd come to know Bravo in the first place - a major underdog victory via a triangle choke from the guard, in a traditional, point-based, sports jiu-jitsu match - could not have mattered less.

And so the legend of the rubber guard was born. The rubber guard was essentially shorthand for a version of jiu-jitsu, particularly without the gi, focused on maintaining connection with the opponent at all times with a multi-limbed combination of overhooks and underhooks. For Bravo, this system of holding, clinching, entangling, and squeezing could save jiu-jitsu competitors entering the world of MMA from suffering the kind of brutal, ground and pound assault then-typified by a fight like Mark Kerr versus Fabio Gurgel.

As  a cure for what ails jiu-jitsu in MMA, Bravo's rubber guard seems to be a somewhat incomplete solution. What the rubber guard has done however is contribute to a more dynamic, submission-oriented, attacking game from the no-gi guard. This is no small accomplishment.  The rubber guard's focus on using the legs to break posture and avoid strikes, for example, paved the way for tighter triangle, armbar, and omplata attacks - each arguably progressively more difficult to pull off in no-gi contexts. Watch the way Richie "Boogie" Martinez attacks with the omoplata or Nathan Orchard sets up his "Dead Orchard" submission and you'll see what I mean.

And it's also worth mentioning that while leg attacks aren't necessarily considered a "core" feature of the rubber guard, Bravo's friendliness toward not just kneebars, toeholds, and heel hooks, but calf cranks such as the one he attacked Royler Gracie with in their rematch, are also positive contributions to no-gi sports jiu-jitsu. But it is clear that at this point Bravo's rubber guard innovations are largely accomplishments for the sport of competitive jiu-jitsu, not for jiu-jitsu in MMA (for this, I continue to point in the direction of Demian Maia's masterful combination of chain wrestling and grapple-first-last-and-always attitude).

If only Grandmaster Helio would have lived long enough to see this ...
Considered this way, the Eddie Bravo Invitational - or more importantly, the overtime rule-set for the Eddie Bravo Invitational, is the 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu founder's second great gift to the world of competitive jiu-jitsu. To the extent that Sport demands a Winner - no matter how contrived the means to this end - the EBI rule-set has succeeded where other submission-only rule-sets have failed. With a series of sudden-death periods, starting from pre-set positions not unlike the "specific training" used by jiu-jitsu practioners worldwide, the EBI rule-set has managed to produce a "winner" 100% of the time without ever abandoning the emphasis on the pursuit of the finish.

For those unfamiliar, the overtime rules for EBI are essentially this: players alternate attacking each other from an offensively-advantageous position (rear mount with hooks and grips or a armbar from the top position [the arm is hooked but not extended] Bravo calls "spider web"). Here, players still have the opportunity to win by submission or, failing that, to win by a combination of time-to-submission and time-to-escape-from-rear-mount.

What is crucial is that there is no referee or judges discretion in the issuing of points. There is either submission or time (to escape the threat of submission). And while that is not perfect - there are still ways to game the overtime and settle for a "time" victory - it is hard to imagine a rule-set more thoroughly incentivized toward the submission.

You know your format works when you can get away with putting on Superfights between competitors who aren't even old enough to drive.
And at the end of the day, providing the proper incentives is the best we can do (this includes only restricting such events to competitors likely to embrace the spirit of submission-only competition). To the extent that we want a better sports jiu-jitsu - or at least more options for those looking to compete in the world of sports jiu-jitsu - the submission-only format has a lot to offer.

Those of us living in the Pacific Northwest have two great submission-only events - SubLeague in Oregon and Proving Grounds in Western Washington - throughout the year. And perhaps because they are open events, with round robin divisions, that are especially geared toward beginner and intermediate competitors, draws have been less of an issue. But in invitational settings, where players are often more risk-averse, the EBI overtime rule-set is the best way we have seen so far to coax out the ultimate in competitiveness in a sem pultos sem desculpas world.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

COMBATE! PNW Grapplers Get Ready! Q2 Edition

Here are some of the need-to-know events for competitive grapplers in the PNW during April, May, and June 2016. Check back for updates throughout the quarter.

April 2016
May 2016
  • Proving Grounds IX (tentative) - Seattle, Washington
June 2016

Friday, March 18, 2016

Why I (Still) Love Eddie Bravo

If you aren't a 40-something black belt on the verge of becoming a 50-something black belt, then you might not appreciate the beauty of truth here. Indeed, no one has a better sense of their own limitations than a middle-aged grappler.

Eddie Bravo: I go with everything, man. I'm like 'You wanna go that way? Let's go!" And let me see if I can hold on and get a little clinch and then go back this way "Bam!" You know? I'm too old to force my way through anything.

Joe Rogan: That's probably the smart way to do it, though, right? That's the traditional way of jiu-jitsu-

Bravo: It's the survival way of jiu-jitsu! My jiu-jitsu is becoming very survival now. My guys are fucking me up, now. I'm getting tapped out all the goddamn time, now. The only way I can tap out certain purple belts is if I have gas. If I'm tired and I take a round with one of my purple belts, I'll be fucking on survival mode the whole time, man. My guys are coming with fire, now.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Register By Friday for Submission Only Proving Grounds Tournament in Seattle

Not only does the Pacific Northwest featuring some of the best grappling in the country (if not the world), but also the PNW is lucky enough to be the home of TWO great submission-only tournaments. Sub League in Oregon is one. Proving Grounds in Washington is the other.

Proving Grounds VIII is a little over a week away. If you're in the PNW and looking for an opportunity to compete in the awesome submission-only format, then Proving Grounds is the place to be on March 26, 2016.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Get Ready for Wrasslin'!

For the past few years, "March Madness" has meant more than "The Big Dance" for me. I still draw up a bracket for the men's NCAA basketball contest. But lately my TV - and real-time attention - have belonged to the wrestlers.

I've caught a few matches in the last few weeks and months courtesy of ESPNGo/WatchESPN. And while the selection isn't overwhelming, it's just enough to keep you sated until the NCAA Division I Wrestling Tournament arrives in the spring.

So with that in mind, here's a little something for those whose palates, like mine around this time of year, prefers the competition on the sheathed polyurethane mat over the action on the parquet floor.

Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Acid Sunday: Turkish Bath

long slow distance (LSD) / 45+ minutes

Saturday, February 20, 2016

HIIT Saturday

db one-arm snatch / 10 reps / 5 min

db row / db bench 10 reps / 5 min

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Acid Thursday

long slow distance / 45+ minutes

Monday, February 15, 2016

HICT Training: Box Steps

Box Steps / 2 sets / 8 minutes

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Acid Saturday

long slow distance / 45+ minutes

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Acid Wednesday: A Poke At You

long slow distance / 30+ min

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Acid Saturday: See Emily Train

long slow distance / 3 miles

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Acid Thursday: "When the Truth is Found ..."

LSD (long slow distance) / 30+

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

HIIT Hump Day

thrusters / upright rows / 5 minutes

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Acid Tuesday


LSD 30+

Monday, January 25, 2016

On the Minute Monday

thrusters / upright rows / RDL  / 10 minutes

DB bench / DB row / DB curl / 5 min

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Acid Saturday

LSD 45

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Acid Tuesday

Berardi complex / LSD 30+

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Thinking About Competing in the First Revolution of the Year?

Your "8 Weeks Out" begins today.

Be a part of the premier competition event for grapplers in the Pacific Northwest: The Revolution XXX, Saturday, March 5th.

Saturday, January 09, 2016

Acid Saturday: "Shadows Run from Themselves"

LSD (long slow distance) / 45+ minutes

Thursday, January 07, 2016

Acid Thursday: Meeting of the Spirits

LSD (long slow distance) / 45+ minutes

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

COMBATE! PNW Grapplers Get Ready!

January - March 2016
Note: IBJJF San Jose International Open - January 30-31 / IBJJF Pan - March 16-20

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Acid Tuesday: "These Are the Answers"

LSD (long slow distance) / 45+ minutes

Monday, January 04, 2016

On the Minute Monday

6 single-arm db snatch / 6 minutes

6 thrusters / 6 upright rows / 6 minutes

Sunday, January 03, 2016

Acid Weekend: "It is Not Dying"

LSD 30+ / 45+ / 45+

Thursday, December 31, 2015

The Daily* Oss: Kron Gracie Returns to MMA

Competing at the Rizin Fighting Federation event, Kron's triangle choke victory gives him a 2-0 record as a mixed martial artist.

Also on the card, Gabi Garcia made her MMA debut, finishing Lei'd Tapa by TKO in round one.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

2016 PNW Grappling Season Begins Jan 30 with Ground Warrior Submission Challenge

The top notch talent of the Pacific Northwest is still the best kept secret in American grappling. If you're interested in doing your part to help put PNW grappling and jiu-jitsu on the map, there's no better way to support the art than by supporting PNW grappling events.

Starting off the PNW grappling calendar is the Ground Warrior Submission Challenge in Salem, Oregon on January 30. Sponsored by the Oregon National Guard, the Ground Warrior Submission Challenge is a submission-only, round-robin event. Entry fees are $55 for gi OR no gi, and $85 for both until January 1st.

Prices increase by $10 on Monday, and another $10 after January 18th, so if you're planning on competing, act soon to take advantage of early bird savings.

The Ground Warrior Submission Challenge is in its third year. Gracie Barra Washington/Federal Way's Phil Raby took home gold in the men's brown belt division last year. Superheavyweight gold medalist Shaun Kiatvongcharoen from Impact Jiu-Jitsu won the men's purple absolute division. Among top women competitors, Hannah Sharp of Renzo Gracie Portland won the purple lightweight division.

Check out the full results from seasons one (2013) and two (2014) - including no-gi and children's divisions.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Getting Better and Throwing Down: A Striking Coach Talks Training

Luke Thomas: If there were no concerns about brain injury or beating the body down, would you still taper back on some of the sparring?

Brandon Gibson: Yeah, a lot of these guys I see spar from almost a conditioning element or moral-psychological development. I don't know how many go in and spar with purpose or intent to work on X, Y and Z and implement A, B and C. I think they just get in with guys who are the sparring partners that want to impose their will and they try to impose their's right back and they leave too many miles in the gym.

I'm an advocate that if you're going to spar, you should spar with intention on getting better. You should go in there with a game plan that will be applicable to your upcoming fight, not just go in there for the sake of throwing down.

Check out the rest of the interview with striking coach Brandon Gibson here.