Monday, March 31, 2014

Training Day: Monday

Standing/Self-Defense: Pull guard from standing / Pull guard from standing - tripod sweep

Ground: Back take from closed guard with arm drag

Live Training: Study hall with Robert: Bravo half guard Old School Twist Back, Xande closed guard sweep, scissors sweep

Scale: 169.2

Friday, March 28, 2014

Training Day: Friday

Live Drilling: Guard - Pass Guard specific / Half Guard - Pass Half Guard specific / Side control specific / Mount specific / Back control Specific

Live Training: 8 minutes

Scale: 168.0

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

So Many Reasons to See ... Metamoris 3

It's going to be a great Saturday in the PNW this weekend. We've got the Revolution gi competition in the morning. Revolution no gi competition in the afternoon. And Metamoris 3 at night.

Metamoris 3 matchups:
Eddie Bravo v. Royler Gracie
Rafa Mendes v. Clark Gracie
Keenan Cornelius v. Vinny Malgalhaes
Dean Lister v. Renato "Babalu" Sobral
Gui Mendes v. Samir Chantre
Zak Maxwell v. Sean Roberts

Training Day: Wednesday

Live Training: Closed guard - pass guard specific / Half-guard reverse - pass guard specific / Situational Start Sparring: side control

Scale: 169.4

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Conditioning Day: LSD = Truth

fifty-two minutes / moderate pace / 3% grade

Monday, March 24, 2014

Training Day: Monday

Ground: Armbar counter to scarf hold / Two collars choke / Take the back from turtle

Live Training: 5 minutes

Scale: 171.2

Saturday, March 22, 2014

MMA Submission Hero of the Week: Marcin Held

With the declining rate of submissions in mixed martial arts - and in the spirit of Rafael Lovato Jr.'s Save Jiu-Jitsu campaign - I thought it might be a good idea to start giving a little extra jiu-jitsu love for those guys and gals who are getting it done "the gentle way" in the cage and ring.

The inaugural MMA Submission Hero of the Week Award goes to Marcin Held for his first-round toehold victory over Rodrgio Cavalheiro in the quarterfinals of Bellator's Lightweight tournament Friday night.

Video of the contest is here (until it's not).

A little background on Marcin:

The Prodigy of Polish BJJ and MMA - BJJ Eastern Europe

Bellator 81 Judo Chop: Marcin Held and the Lost Art of the Toe Hold - An analysis of Marcin's leglock game from Bloody Elbow

Friday, March 21, 2014

On Saving Sport Jiu-Jitsu from Itself

There's a lot to like in Rafael Lovato Jr.'s must-hear critique of contemporary jiu-jitsu. The idea that the decline of sport jiu-jitsu coincides with the move of the World championships from Brazil to the United States is just one of the more interesting and provocative points Lovato makes. It really is a manifesto worth listening to in its entirety.

If I differ with Rafael in any meaningful way it's that the changes he rightly seeks won't come about by way of a change in mindset. There are rewards for the kind of jiu-jitsu neither one of us can stand, and until those rewards and incentives are removed or mitigated, the jiu-jitsu we both loathe is likely to endure.

This is why submission only tournaments are important and should spread. This is why Kron Gracie's critique of grip fighting in jiu-jitsu is so illuminating. You want to see some exciting gi jiu-jitsu? Add submission-only rules and stalling penalties for gi grips held for longer than it takes to tie your belt.

TGIF Training: Counters to Rear Mount


Double Leg drill

Armbar from mount
Scoot Counter to Rear Mount (no grips)
Bridge Escape from Rear Mount (grips)

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Training Day: Wednesday

Ground: Armbar counter vs scarf hold / Recover guard from turtle / Back control escape to closed guard

Live Drilling: Scarf hold - escape specific / Back control - escape specific

Scale: 167.8

Post-Training HICT: 25 technical lifts / 50 hipscapes

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Conditioning Day: HICT

box steps / two sets / 10 minutes / 8 minutes 

Monday, March 17, 2014

Training Day: Monday


Live Drilling: Double leg / Armbar from Mount / Choke - Mount Bridge Escape - HipBump Sweep circuit /  Armbar from Guard

Ground: Back Mount Escape (no grips) / Back Mount Escape (with grips)

Live Training: 5 minutes

Scale: 169.8

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Should Closing Out a Division Be a Double DQ?

One of the great innovations of the IBJJF Pan 2014 tournament was a double disqualification in the men's master light feather finals that sent rivals for first and second packing for the bronze, and boosted the Pair Formerly Known As Third Place Winners into a contest for gold and silver.

The most appropriate, if not accurate, point about the double DQ suggested that the two players, both in guard (of course) were essentially "daring" the referee to call repeated stalling penalties. The referee more than met the challenge, handing out double stalling penalty after double stalling penalty against the would-be leg wrestlers until eventually calling both "competitors" to their feet to administer the disqualifications.

And while this was not the first double DQ for stalling in a high level competition, the solution, giving the third place finishers the chance to compete for first and second, was novel. And something I'd like to see more of.

The stalling penalty is fundamentally a penalty for refusing to engage. What is a greater refusal to engage than to refuse to even begin the contest when your turn is called? And so much the worse if the contest in question is the most important one of all: the one that decides a champion.

So if two competitors reach the finals and refuse to compete, why not let them eat bronze? They still get their place on the podium, and the hardware for smartphone photos with teammates and fans. But we as fans of sport jiu-jitsu get what every sports fan in every legitimate sport gets - now including Division I college football: a final contest.

Half of the finals in this year's adult male black belt division were division close-outs (I'm generously including the Absolute division, otherwise it would be more than half). Light-feather. Feather. Light. Medium-Heavy. Heavy. All wrapped up without a final match to determine a champion. That is madness.

There are more modest solutions than the one I'm proposing. Teams could be limited to a single entrant per division per school to prevent close-outs. More divisions could be added to give teams better ability to spread their top competitors around (allegedly Atos' Andre Galvao competed at Ultra-Heavy this year for just such a reason).

But radical times call for radical action. And if 5 out of 10 closed out divisions isn't radical, I don't know what is.

While the IBJJF is busy trying to keep black belt riff raff out of the Worlds, the Federation might want to spend a little time figuring out how to ensure a final in at least half of its matches.*

* This does not include the women's divisions which, for a variety of reasons, did not have a single division-close-out. That said, I'm willing to bet that the ladies would give us a final regardless of who was on the other side of the handslap and fistbump.

Tabata: Press and Pull

Thrusters / 20s work 10s rest / 8 cycles
Dead Pulls / 20s work 10s rest / 8 cycles

Friday, March 14, 2014

Training Day: Friday


Live Drilling: Double Leg / Armbar from Mount / Standing Armdrag to back / Choke from Mount - Mount Bridge Reversal - Hip Bump Crossover Sweep

Live Training: 5 minutes

Scale: 166.6

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Training Day: Wednesday


Ground: Bridge Mount Escape / Cross Choke from Mount / Armbar from Mount

Scale: 168.4

Monday, March 10, 2014

IBJJF Brackets Are Up

Props to the IBJJF for continuing to improve the technology that delivers this data to the rest of us.

IBJJF Pan 2014 Brackets

Training Day: Monday

Self-Defense/Standing: Double leg takedown drill / Single leg takedown drill

Live Drilling: Mount/Escape Mount to Specific Training

Scale: 170.6

Sunday, March 09, 2014

Post-Pan BJJ Competition Opportunities in the PNW

Revolution XXIV - March 29
Pacific Lutheran University Olson Auditorium, Tacoma, WA
Registration deadline: March 24

7th Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu American Cup - April 5 and 6
Independence High School, San Jose, CA
Registration deadline: March 31

Sub League Qualifier 1 - April 12
Liberty High School, Hillsboro, OR
Registration deadline: April 7

Chase Performance, Not Fatigue

As I look to emerge from what feels like a partial jiu-jitsu hibernation, Christian Thibaudeau's take on high-frequency training as it relates to bodybuilding seems like good advice for (relatively) high-frequency training as it relates to any high-intensity activity.

And especially jiu-jitsu. Fatigue is the friend of some sort of training, especially when maintaining technical competence is not the priority. But there is often a misplaced fatigue fetish when it comes to training, a syndrome that leads too often to poor but hastily executed technique.

I don't think that gets anybody anywhere. HICT training, resistance training as a secondary goal, 45min+ LSD training ... all of these are worthwhile activities for fatigue-chasing. But if we agree that more training > less training when it comes to skill improvement, then strategies that "activate rather than fatigue" are going to be the more valuable ones over time.

Saturday, March 08, 2014

Tabata: Pull

Dumbbell High Pull Snatch / 20s work 10s rest / 8 cycles

Friday, March 07, 2014

Pan Masters: Me and My Imaginary Friends

I call the competitors of the Master 4 division of the IBJJF Pan 2014 tournament "my imaginary friends" not because they don't exist, but because, in terms of the Pan, I don't.

I always like to get the measure of the division I would compete in if I participated in the Pan, something I've never done and probably will never do. It's easily the only opportunity in the world I'd ever have to compete against guys my own size and age. The division includes a couple of pretty active guys: Adimilson Brites, who won the Euro Master 4 lightweight division this year, and Gardner, who came in third at the same event. Also noteworthy is the comeback of Ricardo Guimaraes, who was battling stomach cancer just two years ago.

And I don't mind saying that last note suggests more than a few things, arguably the least important yet most relevant of which being the fact that competing at the Pan - even just once - is probably something I need to do before I'm done.

Being on the road so much with my new Clark Kent/Peter Parker seems to both make it more AND less likely that I'll make the time in March for the event (in between business trips to London in February and San Jose in April). But maybe more important is finding the kind of training time that would make a Pan appearance worthwhile. I'm still struggling to come up with a new training regime more than a year after moving from the Daily Planet to the Daily Bugle.

In any event, I'll be tuning in to the live Pan coverage starting next week, cheering on Professors Carlos and Griff, Coaches Angela and Ed, and teammates Gordon, Phil, and John - along with a host of others. I may even do a little live tweeting or FBing to help friends find friends on the mat, imaginary or not.

TGIF Training: Escapes


Headlock escape: Frame escape
Headlock escape: Hook escape

Mount bridge escape: Front choke

Live Training:
5 minutes

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Eddie Bravo on Metamoris, Royler, and the Best Guard in MMA

I'm not convinced that Bravo's rubber guard suite of techniques is the answer to the challenge of winning mixed martial arts contests from the guard.

But I have an infinite amount of respect for him for raising the issue and continuing to innovate his way toward a solution. If there is a Mount Rushmore of American jiu-jitsu artists, Eddie Bravo deserves a spot on it.

And now that he's got a match coming up, returning him to competition for the first time in years, we're fortunate to be hearing a lot more from him than usual.

Eddie Bravo's Metamoris 3 Guide for the Casual BJJ Fan
That's what I've constantly been working on. It's been the biggest hole in jiu-jitsu, which is why we dropped the gi 10 years ago. We focused on that glaring weakness, the bottom game. There's a huge difference in bottom game with the gi and without it, especially when you add strikes to the mix.
There are so many BJJ blackbelts in MMA, but submissions from the bottom are very rare. We, as a community, should focus on making the bottom game more effective and dangerous.
Read the rest here.

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

If Youth is Wasted on the Young ...

... does the faixa azul sometimes feel wasted on blue belts?

Results for the Proving Ground's first qualifier for the 2014 season are in. Congratulations to everyone who participated. As far as I'm concerned, from the moment you step on the mat to compete, you're a winner.

That said, I'll admit to being more than a little bummed out that more people didn't come out for the event. I have no idea what the promoters are feeling about the turnout or how it compares to last year's. But while I've come to expect little participation beyond purple belt, it was shocking to see a single blue belt division that consisted of three different weight classes.

Take it from someone who's been there: there is no better time to compete than when you are a blue belt. When you're a white belt, everything is just a panic. By the time you get to purple, as Fabio Gurgel famously pointed out, it's starting to become clear who the academy superstars are. And if you are not among their number, then this is when the idea of keeping track of your competition record will start to become much less appealing.

Grandmaster Helio allegedly preferred to wear his blue belt rather than his black belt when training. He had his reasons. But when I think about those most pure moments of my jiu-jitsu upbringing - especially where competition and competition training was concerned - nothing comes close to my years at blue.

Training Day: Wednesday

Self-Defense/Standing: Stepover Headlock counter to shoulder lock

Ground: Mount escape

Live Drilling / Specific Training: Mount/Mount Escape specific alternating with Mount start to Sparring

Live Training: 5 minutes

Scale: 168.2

Saturday, March 01, 2014

Professor Cindy at the Proving Grounds: March 2014

Training Day: Saturday

Live Drilling: Cobra Guard Armdrag vs. Standing / Pull Guard to Nicolini Sweep / Pull Guard to Nicolini Sweep to Single X Guard entry

Scale: 168.8

Post-Train: 50 technical lifts / 100 hipscapes / 50 technical lifts