Thursday, December 30, 2010

"I want to be a fighter that gives people inspiration, to give them courage"

Sengoku Featherweight Champ: Hatsu Hioki

Hio-king: Hioki Takes Sandro's SRC Crown at 'Soul of Fight'

My kingdom for a video of this fight ... Waiting 2-3 weeks for the HDNet broadcast will be murder.

Old School Gracie Challenges from 1996

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Training Day: Wednesday

Before starting a training session, opt for training-specific warm-up exercises, mimicking moves you would use in Jiu-Jitsu. Jumping jacks and those short-motiohn abdominal crunches, leg-raises or lateral crunches have been played out for ages.
--The white page, Gracie Magazine, January 2011, #165

First day back on the mat in a week (no dispatch last Wednesday).

Prof Carlos had us doing a different type of warm-ups to get things started. Old school running, some Arte Sauve moves down the mat (i.e. Granby rolls, which I can actually do years after Stephan first showed them to me), and then a series of partnered alternating triangles, omoplatas and armbars against standing for about 2 minutes each. The armbars were especially brutal insofar as they required the most vertical hip extension. But I'm hoping those drills become a more common part of our warmup - they are similar to (though infinitely better) my "chair jiu jitsu" drills where I drape a gi jacket over the back of a weighted chair and go to work attacking with armbars and omoplatas from the guard.

Over the next few days, I'm trying to get a running start on some goals and habits for 2011. Without making too much of it, I'd like to do better in some critical areas and think I've got plenty of time to make that happen. To the degree that the time spent from white through brown belt is all about building what I like to call a "black belt version" of yourself, there are still a few major aspects of that self to be constructed and there's never as much time as there used to be.

159.6 on the scale, post-train, everything but the coat. Consistently sub-162 post train weight-ins are another goal for 2011.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Monday, December 20, 2010

Training Day: Monday

Single leg takedowns to start the week. The emphasis was on a couple of things: the penetration step/jab step right behind the guy's ankle and drop down on that same leg to knee. Prof. Carlos emphasized especially the collar drag - you actually beging the collar drag before you really attack the leg with the single. The guy tries to escape the drag by posturing up, which actually helps you come up with the leg into the takedown finish.

From the ground, the technique was the escape from rear mount with the choking hand in AND on the bad side. This is the "turn in" escape where you defend the choke at the wrist and, with elbows in control the triceps with a backhand type of grip. Keys here are turning to face your opponent and switching your legs/base. Drive your inside shoulder back into the guy and swim the hand that was controling the triceps underneath to control the body with an underhook.

Good Live Training with Bryan and Glenn. The main emphasis continues to be passing the guard from standing, even if I start to slip into more of a half guard situation. I'm starting to see a few things and feel a few things that I'm looking to develop in 2011, though I'm still not going to the "scoop" side of the "scoop/smash" pass nearly as often as I should. I find myself setting up the opportunity for scoop passes and then just sort of watching the moment pass. There's really only one critical danger - the triangle - and at least in this instance, knowing that danger goes a long way toward avoiding it.

165.0 on the scale post-train, everything but the coat. Heavy, but it is as close to the off-season as it gets right now with Christmas and the annual trip to the Sonoran desert at the other end of the week.

O Final: Eduardo "Portugues" Santoro v. Sergio Moraes

From the World League Pro 2010

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Deep Thoughts on Training Frequency and Volume

Maybe it's the French-Canadian accent that makes me think that I'm really listening to Georges St. Pierre in these videos from T-Nation's Christian Thibaudeau. But I'm finding Thibaudeau's ruminations on training for power and mass to actually be potentially relevant to training for jiu jitsu. Specifically, the notion of how to best use training frequency and volume to achieve the maximum amount of "muscle development"/"muscle memory" in the shortest possible time.

At the end of the day, this is all about the same thing: drill, drill, drill. But in terms of coming up with ways to drill every day, to make each training session a real building block toward a concrete goal, that is the real trick, I think. Rafa Mendes and Draculino talk about it in that Gracie Mag issue on training a little bit. But as far as training more frequently and more efficiently in 2011, spending some time over the holiday's thinking about some of these issues could be time very well spent.

Neural Charge Training
In the simplest terms, the key to maximum gains lies with increased training frequency and volume. Frequency and volume are obviously tied together, but of the two, frequency is by far the most important factor.

I can accomplish everything I need to maximize gains through increased frequency, which in effect equates to also increasing volume. It's far more effective, at the extreme level, to perform three 30-minute workouts per day than to do the same volume in one 90-minute workout.

Likewise, it's more effective to spread the amount of time per week you devote to training over more days than fewer. For example, let's say that you're currently training four days per week for an hour each workout, a total of four hours per week.

I'm telling you, from my experience, you'd make a lot better progress performing six 40-minute workouts per week. You'd make even greater progress training 35 minutes per day, seven days a week.

Face it, when we lift weights, all we're doing is asking our body to react to the stimulus and grow muscle. Which would you rather do? Ask (stimulate) your body to grow four times per week or six times per week?

Again, substitute "lift weights" for "train jiu jitsu" and "grow muscle" to "develop muscle memory" (or circuitry, if you're tracking any of this from Talent Code perspective).

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Training Days (Mon, Fri) and the GB Seattle Promotion, Open Mat & BBQ

The End of Year Promotions, Open Mat and BBQ at GB Seattle 3.0 this year was a blast. The academy was packed with students, with a ton of white and blue belts along with a lot of black belts stopping by, as well. I was afraid that I wouldn't get a chance to do any rolling at first, so I did my solo drills to bide my time before the picture-taking and belt-awarding began. And then managed to get in some quality time with Elliott and a tough Brazilian blue belt I just met that afternoon.

Four new black belts! Casey, Lance, Doug and Alex all got their faixa pretas on Saturday, which was pretty incredible. Bree and Dex earned their blue belts. Benny and Pat got promoted to purple. Nate and Clint both got brown belts. I didn't have the best seat in the house being (a) on one far end of the academy, (b) short, and (c) more than half-blind without my glasses. But a lot of folks made some major accomplishments on Saturday, and that's always fun to see.

It was also Rodrigo's birthday, which I didn't know. He was being a bit discrete about his age - I heard everything from 24 to 44. But it was especially nice for the two ocassions to coincide.

Training this week has been a little on the autopilot side, unsurprising with the end of the year right around the corner. The main focus for me training-wise continues to be generating a real SENSE of attacking the guard from standing. I've been reviewing some techniques that I liked when I first learned them, and seeing if I can reverse engineer them into a basic "attitude" about attacking the guard that goes beyond knowing a specific technique. That's one of the things that's really been helping with my half guard, so much so that I find myself often in position for my favorite half guard sweep even when I'm not "trying" to get there.

So we'll see what comes of it. Although there are more than a few final frontiers for me to traverse, none are more critical right now than passing the guard. And as Marcelo Garcia himself said during one of his classes (and as I remember Rodrigo telling us years ago), if you can't pass on the ground, then you have to pass standing up.

A large part of that is just getting good with the balance game, the apply pressure game. In the December 2009 issue of Gracie magazine focusing on guard-passing, Alliance leader Fabio Gurgel praises Rickson Gracie's guard passing ability by saying:

"(Rickson Gracie) has as his main quality the fact he perceives each adversary's point of discomfort and doesn't lett him get out of this point ever."

That's the goal - every time I'm attacking the guard. "Where doesn't he want to be? And how can put him there?"

Friday, December 17, 2010

Bloody Elbow's Judo Chop: Mark Bocek

Another great Judo Chop from Kid Nate over at Bloody Elbow. This latest installment looks at the top game of Canadian BJJ black belt Mark Bocek in his recent UFC match against fellow BJJ black belt Dustin Hazelett

Judo Chop: Bocek Catches Hazelett in a Triangle From the Mount at UFC 124

I was going to link to Mark's website, but it's one of those website that loads with music and I can't figure out how to turn it off. So here's the URL ( Mind that volume.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Gracie Barra Federal Way Grand Opening

GB Federal Way was easier to find than I thought. The academy is tucked away off exit 143 on I-5 South in one of those sprawling commercial zones filled with retailers both great and small. It was something to see that big gleaming "Gracie Barra" sign right next to the no less luminous signs for teriyaki shops, travel agencies and smoke shops and hair and nail salons.

It was also the first academy I'd ever trained in with windows - though those windows were well-fogged just a few minutes into training. I got a later start than I'd planned, and managed to arrive just in time for the first picture of the day.

Managed to get in some good training, as well, though maybe a roll or two less than I would have liked optimally. But today was all about supporting the new school - more that than my own mat time, per se. And in that the day was a definite good time.

My training pace is still just over half of what I'd like. As of today, my four-week moving average is still at about 2.25 - and that for a second week in a row. The main goal for the month, for every month, is 15x. And making par, at this point, will do a lot to help move that average up. Much of this has to do with the training week lost during the bad weather week in late November. But there were at least two or three times since the Revolution when I just didn't "feel the fire" to steal Clint's great phrase.

At any rate, if I can get that four-week average back up above 3.5 by year's end, I'll take it as a win.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Training Day: Friday

Good training on Friday. I worked with Angus for most of the skills 'n' drills portion of the Friday Competition Training. I actually started off with Sean Wilson, who I haven't seen in years. On that note, Michael was also there. It's funny that way with jiu jitsu training. Lives and circumstances change and guys you started out training with - or who were already big time jiu jitsu guys when you started - seem to disappear. So it is always great when lives and circumstances change again to bring these guys - and gals, of course - back to the academy.

A lot of drills to start things off: triangles from spider guard, omoplata situps ... The format for competition training Fridays of late has been to focus on a lot of skills-based agility drills for much of the first class - maybe with some specifics. Then Live Training which, for me, has meant 2-3 rolls.

This week I got in some good time with guys like Brian and Dex. Same issues, especially with Brian, when it comes to using more movement to initiate movement. A part of it is a hesitancy or even an outright fear that if I iniatiate "some" movement, I'll end up getting a lot more movement than I wanted in return, putting me in a "chase" mode that I instinctively recoil from. As always, there's a technical antidote to this as well as a thematic one: being very selective and specific about the kind of space I create when I move and, again, where I plan to close space off in pursuit of something better.

164.6 or so on the scale post-train. Not good, not horrible. Tomorrow is the Open House at GB Federal Way. I'd love to get there early and train all day. Prof. Rodrigo and Carlos are leading one caravan south around 10:45 am. I wouldn't mind arriving at the new academy shortly after they do.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Kid Peligro on Modern Jiu Jitsu and Gracie Combatives

An interesting take that only underscores the wisdom of GB putting self-defense at the front of the fundamentals curriculum.

Kid Peligro on Gracie Combatives
Recently I've been thinking a lot and having a tough time with the current state of BJJ. This problem for me started after the 2009 World Championships, at that time many of the finals lacked the excitement and the drama that normally finals would carry. I thought it was just an anomaly but the same or worse occurred in 2010, when some competitors, using modern techniques, ended up entangled for most of the matches without any action. These matches even drew comments from the normally quiet Japanese reporters as to "how boring the matches were." Of course this was not the case in every weight division and with every fighter; Roger Gracie and some other "Tops" were going for it in all their matches. But a fair number of finals, as I said were super boring.


A very nifty, very straightforward choke from back control.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

A Moment with Master Carlinhos

Training Day: Wednesday

Good training today. Worked with Nick on pulling guard and going to the tripod sweep as part of our return to the curriculum, as well as the armdrag to the back from the closed guard off 2-on-1 control.

Live training was two good sessions with Glenn and Brian. Glenn is always good to train with insofar as he gives me the same half/deep half treatment I like to deliver to the doorsteps of others. Eight minutes of pressure - both standing and ground - but no pass. Very tough guard game in the making there.

To the same end, Brian and I have similarly tight games that also lend themselves little in the way of enduring advantage. Here, my mousetrap struggled against his especially disciplined arm/shoulder defense which is a reminder that I'm going to have to do a better job of provoking more movement instead of just trying to pry my way into a mountainside.

Movement is the weakest part of my game - in part because I'm not the youngest rooster in the yard and in part because I've tended to associate movement with the kind of flashy, ninja-jiu jiujitsu that I really wanted to avoid. But movement doesn't mean flying around. It just means selectively creating space and removing space, one step at a time.

166.6 on the scale, everything but the coat. That's about as heavy as I need to get going into the end of the year.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Parabens Jonathan Brookins!

The Gracie Barra Orlando purple belt is now an Ultimate Fighter.

Photo by Dave Mandel. Courtesy of

Monday, December 06, 2010

Ryan Hall Interview at Grappling Weekly

An excerpt:
BD: You had mentioned to me that you believe guard passing is your best skill, if you were to go back a few years and look at the forums and see all the hits for Ryan Hall and your success with the triangle and inverted guard and what not, it’s completely different with your mentality now. You’ve gone through a transformation and have changed since then. Your whole jiu jitsu philosophy has changed. How did his all come about?

RH: I agree with you on your statement about my change in Jiu-Jitsu mentality. I feel like my game was developed improperly at the beginning. I’ve had to do a lot of fixing and tinkering with my game, but I’ve always looked at the best guys to see what they are doing and why, basically try to become more like them. What’s really allowed me to improve is developing a deeper understanding of all of the movements I know and how they fit together into a cohesive framework and strategy–this has been the key for me. I was forced into introspection when I had surgery on my wrist in the end of 2008, keeping me off the mat with no training for 8 months.

Read more Interview with Ryan Hall

Training Day: Monday

Live Training was cut short by an accidental finger (or three) to the eye. If ever I needed a reminder of why I wear my eye patch every single time I train (and I don't), today was one hell of a memorandum.

Feeling better a few hours later. My whole eye is sore rather than just my cornea, which is a good thing, and I should probably spend less time in front of this computer monitor tonight (though the alternative is and likely will be the great Monday Night Football game between the Patriots and the Jets.) But the real test will be REM sleep several hours from now.

More work from the back today. The sitout from a failed sprawl and the turtle rolling escape from back control, mostly. Live Training was a good stint with Brian before the forementioned eye poke.

That's it for now. I just got an e-mail from GB Wear telling me that their brand new line of gear - including gis - will be ready in February. This pretty much means that the chance of GB actually putting on a halfway decent sale this holiday season (decent = "including gis") has slid from its perennially low level to the dark side of zero. But, then again, you never know. I also got an e-mail from GracieMag telling me not to despair and that my magazines (plural) will arrive by Wednesday.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Training Day: Friday

A lot of drilling for competition training this Friday. We worked moves like switching from side control to knee on belly, moving from knee on belly on one side to knee on belly on the other (mostly as a conditioning drill), then some oldies but goodies like the armbars from mount that I don't think I've done in a year. A little King of the Hill specific to round things out (our group was escaping the clock choke) and that did it for the coursework.

I spent the Live Training session going over the basics of Rap Star with Jaime, mostly focusing on getting to the side and working for omoplatas and general shoulder control. It started as a discussion on countering Flat Pass, but branched out pretty quickly to deal with the overhook half guard position in general.

A good session if not a hard session, so to speak. Except for a few moments during the drills, I didn't break much of a sweat which isn't a great way to go into the weekend. But there's plenty of training to do next week, especially with the Invitational Tournament a week from Sunday in Fife.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Training Day: Wednesday

A good day on the mat - and my first since Saturday. We spent the entire session with Prof. Carlos working on triangle chokes, which was a lot of fun. I'm very much in favor of this kind of training. Personally, I wouldn't mind if all we did was train a single technique for a week - that's what's going to really make different moves stick over time. In any event, today was a great training day in that regard.

Worked with a couple of relatively new white belts, which was nice and pedagogical for me. A little specific and live training with Alex, Brian and Dex, and that was it. I was able to work both some deep half as well as some of Lloyd Irvin's mousetrap, and I'm thinking that both are likely to play bigger and bigger roles in terms of what I do on the mat.

Was in a little bit of a hurry to leave, so no weigh-in today. I'll be back on the mat on Friday at the latest, so we'll see just how many lbs I'll be taking into the weekend.

Gracie Barra Federal Way Open House Dec. 11

Professors Kevin Smith and Shawn Joseph are holding an Open House at the newly, rebranded Gracie Barra Federal Way (formerly South Sound Jiu Jiu Jitsu). The Open House begins at 11: 45 a.m., Saturday, December 11th. The address is below.

2016 So. 320th St #A
Federal Way, WA 98003

Google Maps assistance here

Rolled Up with Budo Jake and Romulo Barral

One thing I need to spend more time with over at Budo Videos is their great "Rolled Up" series starring Budo Jake.

The current episode features Jake meeting with Romulo Barral. More open guard than your heart can handle.

Part 1

Part 2