Sunday, October 31, 2010

Cindy Hales, Sleeper Athletics and the Emerald City Kids Grappling Championships

GracieMag: No Gi Brazilian Nationals

Here's the coverage from GracieMag.

Brackets are still available at the Federation website. But the full results may not be available until Monday.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Son of Quantified Jiu Jitsu: 4-Week Moving Average

The other thing I like to do with numbers is to track my four-week moving average of training. Moving averages are a great way to gauge a trend, and by applying them to my training, they help keep me in tune with the relationship between the actual effort I'm putting out on the mat and whatever subjective sense of effort or accomplishment I may feel.

What get me thinking about this a little bit is the fact that even though I missed two weeks of training in the final week of training in September and the first week of training in October, as of week's end I will have my four-week moving average of training up to 3.25 a week. If next week goes as scheduled, that average will climb to 4.25.

Above is my four-week moving average of training since August 2010.

X-Combat on YouTube

Talking about watching competition footage online today after training with Elliott and Glen got me thinking about some of the great stuff available on the X-Combat YouTube channel.

X-Combat's Channel

What's especially nice is that most of the competition is in the gi.

Training Day: Friday

A good open mat session to finish the week. Scheduling is going to prevent me from training on Saturday, which means that I'll also miss Prof. Christiano's cardio class. But I'm thinking that I'll get a chance at more Saturday training after the tournament - including the cardio class if they decide to move it to Seattle from Yakima.

Some good training today, ending with a long session with Prof. Carlos. A couple of good tips about keeping the hand closed to avoid the wrist lock when swimming were some of the takeaways. I wasn't able to accomplish a lot in terms of reversals or anything (surprise, surprise), but I was able to defend myself using less energy, which is one of the keys to training with vastly superior training partners. It's something worth remembering beyond the sensation of being in a industrial strength washing machine.

Reviewed some side control/crossbody escapes with Reuben, which was also very nice. I'm determined to help encourage a culture of post-training drilling at GB Seattle; there's no better way to improve your technique, IMO. And the best way to do it is by example. So we'll see what I can do.

It's a little late in the game, but I'm putting together a full-fledged set of gameplans for both practice and competition. The competition gameplan is extremely detailed, and it is taking some real time to put it all together. But the more I read and review the sample gameplan that Lloyd Irvin provided, the more I see how this kind of thing can be very helpful for someone like myself. It's almost like writing an instructional manual or instructional DVD on your own jiu jitsu game.

So far, I've gotten most of the half guard and guard parts down. Guard pass will probably take some time, as will half guard pass. But even if I don't have everything ready in time for the Revolution, the work I've done to this point already is helping me see things with new clarity.

Quantified Jiu Jitsu

One of the things I've really come to appreciate in my three-plus years working with The Daily Planet is the value of quantifying experience.

This is a graph of my training frequency by quarter since August 2008. "Training" includes seminars and competition, as well as classes and Live Training/Open Mats.

I used by quarter data to smooth things out a bit. But even so, it's clear that I'm headed into a period when I tend not to train as much as usual. In part it's because of the holidays. But I know that some of it actually has been weather-related over the past two years.

In any event, one major goal over the next quarter will be to keep the average up. From where I'm sitting right now, November is a "par 19" month. December is looking like a 12.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

More Megumi: Japanese Mount Armbar

Japanese Mount Armbar
Here's a self-described "mini-chop" from Bloody Elbow.

Demonstrating the technique that Megumi used to win her last fight against Lisa Ward is Erik Paulson.

I Got the News: WEC merges with UFC in 2011

Courtesy of Ariel Helwani

Dana White: WEC, UFC to Merge in 2011

Fujii v. Frausto at Bellator 34

The latest interview/profile of P4P top ten MMA fighter, Megumi Fujii courtesy of Bloody Elbow.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Training Day: Wednesday

A nice night on the mat. I'll admit that it is weird to be doing so much half guard. On the one hand (the biggest, most pimp-like hand, so to speak), nothing could be better for my game right now. I've felt alternately alienated from and trapped in my half guard for the past several months, and this much focus on the position and its options is as good as it gets.

On the other hand, it sometimes feels like your private little cul-de-sac rambler somehow ended up on the Neighborhood Home Tour. And the line of eager gawkers runs half way back up the street.

I got to train with good folks across the board. More Elliott is a good thing, and it was good to train with Benny the Purple and Reuben after not seeing either for what seems like quite awhile. And with Lance at the top of the hill and a new white belt still on his way up, I got a nice range of work in on the margins.

I really think that's important - and one of the things that Rodrigo has been especially observant of over the years. In a perfect world, you spend at least 5-10 minutes against someone whose skill is superior enough for you to be forced to rely on technique, despite the call for athleticism that being overwhelmed tends to induce. And then at least another 5-10 minutes being that someone. Technical. Competent. Masterful.

Everything in between is everything in between. You never know what you're going to get. But to really maximize the training experience, focusing on the margins (the illusion of facing Rickson Gracie and the illusion of being Rickson Gracie) can play a significant role.

162.2 in street clothes post-train. Thursday off. Friday back at it. The Revolution is 2 1/2 weeks away.

Feed Me! The Case for Training Beatdowns

One of the stupidest things I ever read on a combat sports message board was from some MMA tough guy talking about how he improved his butterfly guard sweep.

His solution was to find the "biggest, strongest guy in the gym" and to have that guy sit in his butterfly guard while our narrator struggled to sweep him.

That's it.

It is completely beside the point that the guy was eventually able to sweep the "biggest, strongest guy in the gym" and improve his butterfly sweep. As has been said before, some people make some gains in spite of, not because of, the efforts they put in. I'd argue that as a prescription for the average person trying to improve the effectiveness of any technique, any strategy similar to the one above is a prescription better left unfilled.

Improvement, especially technical improvement, comes not from chopping through tree trunks, but from first chopping through air. In The Talent Code, the author talks about aspiring young tennis pros in Russian talent hotbeds swinging their arms without rackets for training session after training session. The point isn't in overcoming resistance - again, not when it comes to technical improvement. The point is in mastering movement, your own movement. And when it comes to mastering movement, particularly in the early stages, resistance is the enemy.

This goes beyond "500 armbars a month" - thought that's a part of it. It's about making sure that programming takes place in the most friction-free environment possible, as you would in any circuit-building process.

I say all that to say this. There is no less friction-free environment that the competitive environment. Here, obviously resistance reigns.

And, importantly, to the degree that the competition, that world of ultimate resistance, is a microcosm of the training/learning experience of jiu jitsu, the more daily training resembles the competitive framework of evenly-matched competitors, the more the training will resemble a microcosm of the training/learning experience as well.

In other words, if competition represents only a small part of jiu jitsu, then too-regular training with "competition-calibre" training partners keeps the amount of technical development and growth relatively limited. It's "A" Game All the Time. And while there is merit in that from time to time, a steady diet of "A" Game All the Time - especially between training partners who also frequently train together - tends to preclude opportunities for experimentation, for trial and error in which the costs of "error" are low enough for new trials to begin again and again.

By that last I mean this: a brown belt trying a new sweep on a white belt is likely to get more than a few opportunities to try that sweep over the course of a five minute training session. Even if the first attempt or two is completely disasterous, the brown belt is likely to be able to recover, and even reposition himself or herself for another attempt or two. Or three.

On the other hand, that same brown belt trying that new sweep against a competition-calibre training partner will likely get only one shot, maybe two, at that sweep. The competition-calibre partner will adapt much, much faster than the white belt, providing much less room for error as the new techniques are being attempted. In short order, new techniques become shelved if not abandoned and we are back at "A" Game All the Time.

This isn't rocket science. Aside from a few knuckleheads, most people agree that it makes sense to learn new techniques against smaller and/or less experienced training partners first, and then increase the level of the challenge as confidence in the new technique grows.

But it seems as if more often than not, we're on our own to take care of this work, to get our "white belt feedings" on our own time. More often in structured training, that two hours a day, 6-8 hours a week from bow in to bow out, matching equals (or comparables, smaller brown v.s. somewhat bigger blue) is the order of the day.

There is no doubt a time for iron sharpening iron, as the saying goes. But iron too often in continuous contact with the sharpening effects of like iron swiftly becomes a lesser tool.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Training Day: Tuesday

Message to future sparring partners: please don't grab inside my pant cuffs.

I know it is irresistable to attack my ankles when I sit up in Marcelo guard. And I expect it. But please, please, use a proper grip when looking to control my legs.

A pistol grip is fine. Hooking the outside of the cuff and turning the material out is also very cool. Elliott has a variation on this grip that is stronger and a little easier to get.

But please grip correctly. I've now got three pairs of gi pants this year alone that have seven inch rips at the cuff because of illegal grips. I'm no churchmouse, but at $35 a pop, it's getting to be a real budget item having to buy new gi pants over and over.

So, please, legal grips only. It's a win/win for both of us.

Thank you.

Aside from that, more good training tonight. Pulling half guard was the main technical focus, with Rodrigo preferring the dive with the collar side hand and leg that I'd pretty much given up on after Monday's training. Now it's back on the burner. I'll have to try it both ways and see what I see.

Tweaked my "good" knee tonight doing some no gi with Lance after Live Training tonight. Nothing too crazy: I can walk on it and squat without too much discomfort. But I'm feeling it, and I may be in the market for another knee brace before the end of the week. So it goes.

If all goes well, I'll be back on the mat tomorrow night. Nothing stood out in particular from tonight's Live Training: nothing too bad, nothing too good. That doesn't exactly fortify, but we'll see how things develop over the next several days.

Schembri v. Cooper: October 24, 2010

From the Jiu Jitsu ProGear Open 2010 Superfight between Nino Schembri and Bill Cooper.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Miami Open: Black Belt Ultra Heavy Final: Abreu v. Hall

Trading Day: Monday

Only the Advanced class today. I would have liked to spar and do some Live Training, but by the time the Advanced Class was over, it was time for me to get my hat, as the old folks used to say. No worries insofar as I'll be back on the mat Tuesday and there was plenty for me to think about and integrate from today's class.

The whole session was devoted to pulling half guard, pulling deep half really. The idea is to dive into the half guard using your sleeve grip side, using your collar grip to pull the guy lower and break his posture down. Prof. Carlos had us underhook the rear leg rather than wrapping both arms around the front leg as Jeff Glover prefers in his deep half. From here scissor your legs and drag on the collar to sweep the guy face forward.

One variation on this takedown/sweep was to transition from the scissor to the shin sweep using the pendulum motion to turn the guys leg over and bring his knee closer. Here, you grab the foot with the collar grip and slide under the front leg with your farthest out leg cocked behind the guy's leg at the knee. Carlos had us grab our pant leg to wrap up the leg for more control. But the basic sweep is very similar to the one that Marcelo Garcia has relied on for some time now.

We also did a variation where you dive with the collar grip, but I'm going to ignore that one because I like the sleeve grip dive better: more options, more control.

Lastly we finished up with some basic half guard. In addition to the Old School sweep that I've made my bread and butter, Carlos also showed a butterfly half sweep option in case the guy posts his leg out wide. Most of the time, I've gone to the Twist Back when the leg is posted wide. Having this hook sweep option out of the half butterfly is a nice additional option.

It was also nice to work the transition from deep half to regular half. I am able to scramble to deep half more often than not when in trouble. Being able to get from deep half to regular half will soon come in handy I'm sure.

162.5 on the scale post train, everything but the coat. Three weeks to go, I'm pretty much were I should be. I've been brushing up on some escape details, things to work on over the next couple of weeks. Today's class was definitely a building one in terms of techniques I can put to work immediately.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Miami International Open Results

Team Winner: Gracie Elite
Black Belt Absolute Winner: Roberto Abreu "Cyborg" (The Avengers)
Other Black Belts Winners: Ryan Hall (Brasa) won gold at feather/pluma. JT (Lloyd Irvin) took gold at light/leve.

Read the rest of the results here. There were no Brown belt lightweights competing in Masters or Seniors divisions. Ariel Sexton of Athletic Advance took first in the Brown belt adult lightweight.

The next big event in the states is the World Jiu-Jitsu No-Gi Championships in two weeks (November 7th). More info of the No Gi Mundial here.

Low Spider Guard Pass

Courtesy of Gracie Barra Idaho

Oregon Open Results

The Oregon Open results have been tabulated and are posted here

Not a whole lot of familiar names, save for Eric Loar (Impact JJ) at Purple Featherweight, who I've competed against at least two or three times back in 2009, and Anthony Tran, two divisions up, also representing Impact JJ.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Training Day: Saturday

Made it to the academy a little late, so I just took the Live Training class after a full UBS/LBS stretch. Both Rodrigo and Carlos were nowhere to be seen, but Jesse was leading both the class and the Live Training afterward. Live Training was mostly specific work, King of the Guard, King of Side Control, that kind of thing. I actually spent most of the time training with Pedro and Doug (both of whom have become pretty regular Saturday training, training partners.

That said, some of the best work was done after Live Training, going over some specific and technical stuff with one of the newer guys. This has traditionally when I've gotten some of my best work done. Too often, rolling with guys who are bigger and/or better leads to a restricted game of focusing on just your strengths alone at best or, at worst, just your escapes and defenses.

And while there is a place for that kind of thing, it makes far more sense to mix it up so that you are almost always getting a change to roll with someone against whom the trial of new techniques is not likely to end in futility.

With three weeks to go, I'm trying to focus in on those areas that most need improvement in order to perform better in November than I did last July. Jeff is running a Master's division, which I'll sign up for if it helps the school win points, but that I'd just as soon avoid otherwise. At least until I earn my black belt, I'd rather just be in the pool with the rest of the brown belts.

Leg Strategies v.s. the Spider Guard

Friday, October 22, 2010

Training Day: Friday (Or,

"The dearest ambition of a slave is not liberty but to have a slave of his own."
--Sir Richard Burton

159.2 on the scale post-train.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Schembri v. Cooper Superfight This Sunday

Courtesy of the Jiu Jitsu Pro Gear Open 2010 this Sunday in San Clemente, California.

More on Nino here. More on Bill the Grill in this YouTube interview.

Catch the live stream of matches from blue, purple, brown, black and the Superfight here.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Training Day: Wednesday (Or,

My Own Private Silva-Aldo Moment.)

A nice night of training today on Wednesday. In most respects, it was a repeat of Tuesday night's training, which was perfectly fine with me. Everything I know about skill acquisition - verified by the research in The Talent Code - shows that repetition is the key to mastery.

Call it muscle memory. Call it circuit building. Call it whatever you want. But as far as becoming truly great at anything is concerned, drill baby drill.

Or, at least, develop some halfway decent familiarities that will keep you from doing something stupid. For example, every match I've been in where I took the initiative turned out relatively well (wins or close losses). By contrast, every match where I've let the other person control the standup, control the guard situation, has been a disaster.

So the goal for training is to develop a "first-strike" capability from standing, and an invulnerability to the most common dangers of the guard, especially sweeps.

All of this boils down to a jiu jitsu that spends a lot of time standing - both when it comes to securing takedowns and passing the guard. And as ironic as that is - that my success on the ground is intimately connected with my success on the feet - it couldn't be clearer that this is true.

I've done a little work in this regard conditioning-wise, judo footwork for active rest, for example, and tempo single leg squats to improve lower body muscle endurance. But there are some other things I can add in, at least to the degree that I'm buying into this latest assessment of what will work for me on the mat going forward.

U.S. Open XV Results

U.S. Open results in full are here:

U.S. Open XV Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Results

Big dogs include Black belt absolute winner Marcel Fortuna (Ralph Gracie), women's brown-black division winner Angela Sauermann (Pitbull Jiu Jitsu), and Vernie Inocencio (Gracie Humaita/Rocha), who took the division I'd've been most likely to compete at: brown belt lightweight masters (30-35 yrs)

Props are due also to a bunch of local folks I recognize, including James Foster of Foster BJJ; Brian, Michelle and Zach from GB Ballard, and Brian of the NW Jiu Jitsu Academy (who I met once in the Las Vegas airport of all places).

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Training Day: Tuesday

Sort of best of times, worst of times in training tonight. The coursework was great, a lot of judo, focusing on both the osoto gari and the footsweep, and then using the footsweep to set up the osoto gari. Rodrigo was especially good on the footwork, the 1-2 backward then 3 step forward and then swinging the throwing leg in and back on the osoto gari, for example. That kind of thing makes it easier to remember and to drill independently.

On the ground, base-switching half-guard passes continued to be the focus. Here, Rodrigo added the switch to the knee cross or Royler pass if you get caught up in the watchdog position.

Live training was a different story. I trained with Lance, Rodrigo, Elliott and Benny - tough matches all and admittedly there wasn't as much left after training with Rodrigo as I would have liked to have. No excuses - if for no other reason than all that is pretty typical business as far as I go. Still, it's the kind of thing that reproduces question marks in one's head at an unpleasantly alarming rate. It is strange to have no formal relationship with expectation, yet find myself living in sin with disappointment.

162 on the scale post-train - everything but the coat. I did remember to order a new set of gi pants, though it won't be long before I'm desperately in the market for a new gi, as well.

Lapel Choke from Side Control

Monday, October 18, 2010

Training Day: Monday

A good start to the week with some nice technical setups for the standup game and some good details for passing the half guard.

The standup was a combination judo attack: ashi barai and osoto gari. First you take a step forward/outside jab step on the sleeve side (as you would to set up osoto gari). Pull up on the sleeve and down/in with the collar. You're working for a step forward from his far leg. That's the leg you target with the ashi barai/foot sweep.

The combination comes if he defends the foot sweep. From here you go on to attack the nearer leg with the osoto gari.

On the ground we focused on the switch-base half guard pass. Here, one of the nice details had to do with pushing the top leg away to open up the hips for the pass, and then switching to the bottom leg pressure (which should be at least partially trapped by your free leg after you base-switch) if the guy is insistent on holding his half guard locked around your ankle or lower leg.

Good training today, even though Monday's have that rush-in, rush-out character that makes the early class a little less fun compared to the late class or Saturday sessions. That said, I'll be back at least once if not twice for the early class this week, as well as my Tuesday session tomorrow evening.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Between the Dogfight and the Deep Half Guard

With four weeks to go before the November revolution tournament, I'm in a pretty good position to start focusing in and scaling down my game. It really is a matter of programming yourself, of eliminating every thing that doesn't contribute to the goal of getting to the side, pummeling for the underhook, whipping up and forcing the Dogfight or diving for the single leg game of the deep half.

Working with a white belt a little bit after training on Saturday, I was able to work some half guard passes that Rodrigo showed us years ago but that I never really put to work in practice. It wasn't much, but in that three minutes I trained that one guard pass more often than I had in three years.

To the extent that my jiu jitsu is single leg/half guard related, there's no reason not to master as much of it as I can. And a large part of that is simply sticking to the lesson at hand, day after week after month.

The same is true with the game from top. I'm starting to get a nice little suite of techniques that I like from certain positions. Now is the time to develop "the sensibility" as Rickson calls it, the invisible stuff.
The most interesting aspect of jiu-jitsu is – of course the techniques are great – but the sensibility of the opponent, the sense of touch, the weight, the momentum, the transition from one move to another. That’s the amazing thing about it.
That and the PDA are what can minimize the difference in age, strength, speed or even skill. It's what makes it possible for Rickson Gracie to still amaze brilliant jiu jitsu martial artists half his age who are steeped in the most innovative technical manuevers of the day.

I'm not saying that I can be as talented as Rickson Gracie. But I haven't had to compete against anyone as good as Cobrinha or Marcelo or Roger, either.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Training Day: Saturday

Great competition training Saturday morning. One of the nice things about training on Saturday (other than the fact that it is Saturday) is that you get to train with a lot of folks you don't usually get to train with. A part of my determination to make ATT (Always Train Tuesdays) as much a maxim as ATM (Alwasy Train Mondays) is to get more and more exposure to different jiu jitsu from different teammates.

So today I get to train with Pedro for the first time, Doug for only the second or third and Professor Christiano for only the second time, as well as a few other folks like Wellington who I haven't trained with in months.

My jiu jitsu is still very reactive, however much it has improved over the choose-your-time- period. This is one of the reasons why I really struggle against unfamiliar jiu jitsu (as in tournament competition) and one of the reasons why Saturday training is such an asset. In addition to the quality of sparring partner being consistently high, I'm almost always in unfamiliar waters and having to either become all the more sharp in my reactions or, ideally, become better at imposing my game.

A lot of this has to do with developing a black belt calibre guard out of the bits and pieces of half guard and hooks guard I've peddling for the past five-odd years. Bringing some balance to my half guard and continuing to evolve the 2on1 will go a long way toward cobbling all this together, and there were a few good things out of today's training that are evidence of some progress (especially grip breaks using the knuckle peel strategy, and using the Guy LaFleur to insert hooks out of closed guard).

159.8 on the scale post-traing, everything but the coat.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Training Day: Friday

Managed to get in some good training with some familiar faces on Friday. I'm starting to feel more and more back in the flow of things, though I'm not entirely out of the woods health-wise. Rodrigo mentioned that he had been trying to fight off something for the past few days himself. That coupled with what I've heard about other folks catching the seasonal cold makes me feel a little better about missing the time I've missed over the past few days.

One of the things Friday's training did remind me was that it is going to be nice to be getting some sessions in on Saturday and Tuesdays. You get the sense sometimes that your time in certain situations has run its course for the time being. And while Fridays remain great time to train with a lot of great folks, it is worth being aware of when your jiu jitsu may have worn out its welcome with another jiu jitsu.

There's nothing that can be done about those 1 + 1 = 1 situations, other than to minimize them. But you can limit their psychological impact by increasing the number and variety of training partners, making it easier to see efficiency and purpose where others may only see a fear of abandoning the tried and true.

161 and change on the scale post-train. The scale is in the public domain, so to speak. So post-train weigh-in's will be fully-dressed, but without gi jacket. Given that we're all adopting the IBJJF weigh-in rules (Revolution and Seattle Open), it may be worth my while to go ahead and take a full weigh-in post-train, sweat-drenched gi jacket and all.

Grapplers at Work: Shields and Askren

Scramblers Delight: Jake Shields and Ben Askren Train for Their Upcoming Bouts

Courtesy of Bloody Elbow

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Burien Top Team the White

Just got outbid on a brand new blue Gracie Barra gi over on ebay. I'd never buy a blue gi under normal circumstances. But the opportunity to get a new gi for half price was pretty hard to resist (and the free shipping was a hell of a kicker).

So I'm just treating this as another sign from the jiu jitsu gods that this jiu jitsu wizard will remain in white.

More on Marloes

Courtesy of Sherdog

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Training Day: Tuesday (Or,

Walking into Gracie Barra 3.0 these days reminds me of nothing so much as the UFC Training Center in The Ultimate Fighter reality show. I almost expect to see larger-than-life, monochromatic paintings of Carlos Sr., Carlos Jr., Prof. Feitosa and Mamazinho hanging from the ceiling and fixed to the walls.

It was also great to be back training at night. As much as I love the early class, the late class is where I came in, so to speak, and there's still nothing like a great evening training when the Live Training or Open Mat feels like it could go on for hours into the night. I got to work with Clint on the same takedowns from Monday (ouchi gari / ouchi gari counter to ankle pick), as well as the guard pass against the sitting guard (smash knee at sharp angle, scoop opposite leg to belt grip, outside shoulder to midsection), going both smash side and scoop.

Live training with Lance (first and last), Clint and Brock. I could feel the two-week layoff, but I was glad to close down the mat. That bodes well for having the stamina to train hard for the next few weeks leading up to the November Revolution.

It will take some time to integrate some of what I've been studying off-mat. Right now, I'm focusing on tightening up the half guard game: the Rodeo and Dogfight positions, as well as the Twist and Tackle, and I'll see what Marcelo guard and Glover guard I can add to my game over the next week or two (I'm hoping for Marcelo's shin guard sweep and Glover's Homer sweep - maybe with today's guard pass (The Week Four? The Smoop?) to avoid the inevitable triangle attack.

Unofficial weight around 156-157 at home after training. A great place for me to say for the next month and a half or so.

Marloes Coenen: Strikeforce Women's 135-pound Champ

Forgive me for sounding a bit barbaric, but in a world in which too many mixed martial artists feel as if they need to apologize for submitting their opponents rather than knocking them out, and guys like Shane Carwin brush off tapping to a choke because he still "kicked Lesnar's ass" in the first round, I'm giving Marloes Coenen all the benefit of the doubt when it comes to her armbar victory over Sarah Kaufman last weekend in Strikeforce.

Coenen: 'I Didn't Feel her Tapping'

Courtesy of

Monday, October 11, 2010

Training Day: Monday

Back on the mat after almost two weeks off due to illness and recovery ... According to Rodrigo, we had quite a few guys who were out sick over the past week - including Rodrigo himself, who just got back on the mat to train this past Saturday. I know that there were a lot of UW football players who were also sick according to the folks over at KJR-AM, so there was definitely something wicked going 'round here in Seattle.

My first training at the new GB Seattle 3.0. I really, really love the new facility. It's spacious and roomy, combining the best of the Tully's location (GB Seattle 1.0) with the best of the "Treehouse" a few miles north (GB Seattle 2.0), and then upping them both with new amenities and an overall "feel" that is going to be great to train and compete in.

I took the Advanced Class today. We are on Week Four of the Advanced curriculum, working on the ko uchi gari takedown, the ankle pick off the failed ko uchi gari, and a smash 'n' scoop butterfly/sitting guard pass that's a bit similar to the underhook/overhook pass that Mike Fowler shows on his DVD. Professor Carlos emphasized one detail, pinning the shin of the smashed leg with your inside shin to avoid the half guard. But the pass was similar in many ways.

The technical part of the class ran long, so I wasn't able to get in any training today. I'll pick that up tomorrow night, I'm sure, and it will be nice to roll out some of the work I've done on improving my half guard and 2on1 guard games.

1st Emerald City Kids Grappling Championships

Two new grappling/jiu jitsu tournament series are launching this month. The first was the 1st Seattle Open over at the new and improved Gracie Barra Seattle academy.

And the second is this one:

Sleeper Athletics Presents the 1st Emerald City Grappling Championships
Tournament Date: October 16th
Weigh ins: 10:30-11:30am
Tournament starts at noon
Rules meeting immediately before tournament

Cost: $25 for one division or both divisions

Registration ends Oct 14 11:59pm / No day of registration

For more info, contact Cindy at

GracieMag: 100 Things You Should Do Before Reaching Black Belt

100 Things You Should Do Before Reaching Black Belt
With a gi, a can of spray paint and an idea in mind, the GRACIEMAG team put together one of the best-selling issues in the publishing house’s history in 2007. The cover story was a compilation of 100 things practitioners should do before reaching the coveted rank of black belt.

Based on the experiences of well-established teachers, the article offers the boldest of goal outlines for unconditional Jiu-Jitsu lovers.

At the behest of readers, we re-edited the article, updating some points and revising others. Re-read it, reflect and have fun.

Another Triangle Choke Escape

Courtesy of GracieMag and Gracie Barra Parana:

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Return of the Son of Want Ye Revolution?

This year, for the first time in any local jiu jitsu tournament, Leap LLC will be offering a Masters division for competitors over 30. It will be interesting to see how those divisions fill out across the different belt levels. I can imagine some decent brackets at white and blue belt, at least.

2010 Pan Jiu Jitsu No Gi Championship Results

With the no gi Worlds coming to the West Coast version coming next month, here are the results of the Pan in New York.

2010 Pan Jiu Jitsu No Gi Championships

Team Renzo Gracie came in first place, with Team Marcelo Garcia winning Masters/Seniors and Female divisions. Alliance took the Juveniles title.

In my division (lightweight brown belt senior 2), Edwin Rodriguez of RGDA took first (and third in the open). Black belt adult winners were as follows:

Light Feather: Caio Terra
Feather: Henrique Rezende Costa
Light: Jonathan Torres
Middle: Lucas Lepri
Heavy: Diego Gamonal Nogueira
Super Heavy: Marcus Vinicius Oliveira
Ultra Heavy: Victor Costa
Open: Pablo Popovich

And here are Brown/Black Female first place winners:
Feather: Donna Picerno
Middle: Emily Kwok
Open: Emily Kwok

GracieMag: Rei Braulio on Sweeps

What principal quality does a good sweeper need to have?

Braulio Estima: What quality sweepers cannot do without is perception. Of course, having a broad array of movements and combinations helps, but it's perception of how an opponent carries himself in a match and especially in your guard or half-guard that will give you an advantage. You need to make it so he enteres your game.

Read the rest in issue #163 of Gracie Magazine

Monday, October 04, 2010

I Was ...

I don't know if it's just in being sick and trying to actively recover from my shoulder injury. Or just the general, snarky, smart-ass tone I feel as if I hear and read in just about every opinion on every thing I come across. Or the routine depersonalization of 21st century wage employment. Or even just the end of summer and the coming long days of autumn.

But I can feel more than a modest amount of negativity creeping in around the corners these days, and I need to remember that identifying that enemy will go a long way toward winning any fight with it if it ever does arrive in range.

Being at the Seattle Open last week - in my guise as coach rather than competitor due to my lingering cold - was exactly what the swami ordered in this regard. Outside of my family, of course, the academy is really the only other place where I feel right, where I think that what should be valued, more often than not, will be valued.

Sure, I've had my moments of frustration - as you would in any family. But there has never been a time when I didn't know that, with a little time and a little patience, everything would work itself out for the better as long as I kept at it, and remained focused on my goals and values in the context of the best the academy could provide.

There are a lot of reasons why I began training and a lot of reasons why I continue to train. But one of the most recent reasons has to do with the lifestyle, or what I've come to interpret "the lifestyle" to be as embodied by those I admire most who live it. And while some of the expressions of this lifestyle - in GracieMag, for example - lean a little toward the corny sometimes, compared to the mental sh#t that I live from time to time (with apologies to Trick Daddy) "corny" is looking better every day.

As the wise men say: I'll be who I be. But hopefully a little less. And hopefully a little more.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Ladies and Gentlemen, This is Wanderlei Silva

Sherdog Mini Big Nog Interview

Catch up on the latest with Rodrigo Antonio Nogueira in this "5 Questions" interview from

In this exclusive interview with, “Minotauro” discusses his recent knee surgery, Chael Sonnen’s derogatory comments towards him and his twin brother and the upcoming matchup between his longtime training partner, UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva, and Vitor Belfort.

Read the complete interview here.