Saturday, December 31, 2011

Meditations on Dream, Or

the nightmare of not a single fight in UFC 141 meriting a Submission of the Night bonus ...

NEW YEARS EVE, Burien. I'm watching the Dream broadcast for New Year's Eve (24 hours afterwards) and not missing elbows on the ground for a minute.

Truth told, vale tudo > MMA, as far as I'm concerned (and I love MMA). So my vote against elbows on the ground in MMA has nothing to do with a tenderness of spirit. But to the extent that MMA is a "sport" rather than a "fight", I think banning elbows on the ground in MMA would create an even more watchable "sport" than the one we have now (especially when it comes to ground fighting).

Ever since MMA fighters were allowed to wear gloves, MMA stopped being a "fight". Sometimes I try to imagine what the functional equivalent of "gloves" would be for a jiu-jitsu fighter or a wrestler. No slamming to escape a submission? No standups and too much "dancing" on the feet stopped and "restarted" on the ground or in the clinch?

Just sayin'. Back to Dream. Go Crusher.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Road Back for Big Nog

Minotauro Back to Light Training
Twelve days after undergoing surgery on his right arm, having had it snapped by Frank Mir at UFC 140, Rodrigo Minotauro was already back to light physical training. According to his trainer Luis Dórea, the former heavyweight champion is already pedaling away on an ergometric stationary bike in the United States, where he is recovering from a surgical procedure to correct a fractured humerus.

Better Not Pout I'm Tellin' You Why ...

Caio Terra's Comin' to Town

Who is Frank Mir?

With apologies to the fictional industrialist ...

Where Does Frank Mir Rank Among MMA Grapplers Now?
Over his career, Frank Mir gave us three of the best submission finishes ever seen on the heavyweight level in mixed martial arts. I see his technical skill, obvious horsepower and respect his ruthlessness in victory, but wonder if there are caveats with his victories. Are they as impressive as they seem? Where does Mir rank among the landscape of MMA grapplers - or even within the heavyweight division itself?
Full disclosure: As someone who was born-again into jiu-jitsu after spotting Frank Mir on the cover of Muscle and Fitness eight years ago, I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for the guy.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Jiu-Jitsu Resolutions for 2012

1. Consistency

A training top line of >80x from January 1 through July 30 to set a new training year record of >147 training sessions, averaging >3x/week.

2. Focus

Southpaw passing. The "Toquinho". Lateralus/Sagittal.

3. "Sound Body"

Pre- and post-training conditioning/stretching a la Carlinhos, a la Jordan, a la Ali.

Frank Mir's Box of Toys

"Box of Toys" was allegedly Jack the Ripper's chilling reference to his victims during his reign of terror in 1888.

In a twisted way, Frank Mir's reference to the breaking of Nogueira's arm as a "bag of chips" almost felt like a civilized version of same.

Mir Talks Nogueira Injury

UFC 140 Judo Chop: Frank Mir Uses a Kimura to Break Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira's Arm

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Black Belts Bowl Overhand!

I'm warming up the bones for a treatise on being a two-week black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. The theme is perspective.

There's a saying that a high school senior is more mature than a college freshman. In my not-always-obviously-humble-opinion, not every new black belt has always kept this in mind.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: I could not be more thrilled, motivated and grateful to train with the folks I've been able to train with over the past six-plus years. I think about my teammates. I think about what some of the black belts have told me over the past few weeks, and how they've trained with me over the past several years. And I tell you what: I hear a lot about what a lot of people around the country put up with trying to learn jiu-jitsu. And from a certain perspective, training at GB Seattle since 2005, I have it easy. No drama. No nonsense. All I have to do is work hard every day. And I grow.

You know when it hit me that I had really earned a black belt in jiu-jitsu? Not when Prof. Rodrigo first put it on (I was too scared to look down, for fear it would turn into a snake like in The Ten Commandments), but awhile later when I had finished a little training and was back in the locker room getting changed. I had just wrapped my gi jacket with the belt (as I've done for years) and tucked it into my gear bag with the rest of the sweat-heavy gear.

I'm standing there, looking down into that same gear bag I've been toting back and forth to training for years, to tournaments, to seminars ... that same torn, re-stitched and gorilla-taped gear bag hauled back and forth to Bonney Lake, Fife, Tully's location, Airport Way, Bellevue, Ballard, Olympia ... and I'm asking myself: What is that black belt doing in MY bag? Wrapped around MY gi jacket, next to MY towel, MY knee brace and rashguard?

It's a silly little image that I'm still getting used to.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Here and There

I've literally been writing my brains out for The Daily Planet since October, and many nights after training I simply haven't had the energy to type another sentence. Suffice to say, I've got a lot to type about right now, plenty of here but more there than you might think given the circumstances.

For now, there's this: I am in a near-transcendent state of gratitude and humility every time I arrive at Gracie Barra Seattle. It's a good way to be.

A few changes at the blog for the new year. Nothing that spectacular, but hopefully a few adjustments for the better for all involved.

ADCC 2011 Highlight

ADCC 2011 Highlight from stuart cooper Films on Vimeo.

Monday, December 05, 2011

The Gentle Art

Saturday, December 03, 2011


Friday, December 02, 2011

Thinking Mendes

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Training Day: Thursday

A nice working session for training tonight. Prof Rodrigo had us working on specifics right after the warmup: 2 minute guard/pass guard (sweeps only) for a few rounds each, then a few rounds of mount/mount escape, side control/side control escape, and back mount/back mount escape. A break for a few minutes, then another circuit.

I'd love to be able to train this way once a week. As I always say, sometimes you feel as if your brain can't take any more data at the end of the day. And being able to come to the academy at least once a week and just move for an hour or so is really nice. Good working with Joe for the first round and Frank in the second.

Got in some good work in Live Training, also. Ran into an interesting video on YouTube that I'll post tomorrow. It was a guy talking about the three things that most impressed him about the Mendes brothers jiu-jitsu. Any way, a lot of what he had to say stuck with me as parallel to my current aspirations, controlling spacetime and taking the back.

I'm starting my 2012 jiu-jitsu resolutions early, and on a rolling basis. One of them is to do a HICT workout after every class. I'm going to start slow and work my way up to a good level (something similar to what I was able to do with box steps, for example). But most importantly I want to do (a) jiu-jitsu specific conditioning as much as possible, and (b) be consistent in both performance and gradually increasing the intensity over time.

Tonight I did two rounds of 5 minutes of hipscape laps with about a three minute break in-between (HR 34/25, 35/25). The goal will be to work up to two rounds of 10 minutes, with a five minute break. For now, the only exercises that make sense are hipscapes and maybe technical lifts. I'll alternate between those two after each training, get them up to 10 minutes each for a little while, and see how it goes from there.

159.7 post-train (and post-HICT).

Rafa Mendes: Bottom Half Guard with Kimura to Back

Was trying to work on this sweep with Chaim Tuesday night, but couldn't make out the details. Found this video today that makes it a lot easier to see how he gets the roll to the back (i.e., ducking his head back under the kimura lock before rolling upside down.)