Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Quest Resumes...

As of January 1, 2010, I will be back in the game with Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. I am going to be starting at a different school, Phoenix Martial Arts. The school is further away, but is much more established than the school I had been attending and seems to have much more of an actual curriculum that you can use to chart advancement and such. My physical goals for 2010 are: 1)Run the ING Marathon in March. 2) If I feel that my skills have progressed to the point that would warrant doing so, to enter NAGA Georgia in September. 3) To take my Jiu-Jitsu to the next level and continue to have fun with it.

I have an incredibly supportive wife behind me in all of this. To help me along my way, she got me some great stuff for Christmas: A kettlebell to do some home weight training with; Saulo Ribeiro's JIU-JITSU UNIVERSITY; BJ Penn's Book THE CLOSED GUARD; The Perfect Pushup set.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Strikeforce on CBS picks

Antonio Silva vs. Fabricio Werdum: I will go with Silva on this one

Gegard Mousasi vs. Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou: I will pick Mousasi. Have never been a fan of Sokoudjou.

Jason "Mayhem" Miller vs. Jake Shields (for vacant Strikeforce middleweight title): A lot of people aren't giving Mayhem much of a chance in this fight. I am going to pick Mayhem to pull this one off by submission.

Fedor Emelianenko vs Brett "The Grim" Rogers: Its hard to bet against Fedor. So I will pick Fedor to win this one.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Lesnar Fears Carwin

I suppose it is possible that "Lesnar has been sick (H1N1?) for the past month and unable to train." But why have we not heard about it until now? I think he is postponing the fight because he knows he is biting off a bit more than he can easily chew with Shane Carwin. Brock is just postponing the inevitable.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

UFC 104 Picks

I am going to go ahead and post my UFC 104 picks here. Not planning to watch the show, other than the televised preliminaries, unless I can find a stream, but am going to follow the results.

My picks:

Televised Preliminaries:

Ryan Bader Vs. Eric "Red" Schafer: Should be an interesting matchup: strong wrestler (Bader) vs. BJJ wizard (Schafer). Being a BJJ guy, I am going to be pulling fot Schafer to catch Bader and submit him, but I am picking Bader to win, likely by ground and pound. (The actual fight was incredibly good, with Schafer withstanding onslaught after onslaught, remaining calm and throwing numerous submission attempts. In defeat, Schafer really gained a ton of respect from the fight world. 1-0 in predictions)

Patrick Barry vs. Antoni Hardonk:> Don't know anything about either fighter. At all. Coin toss. Will pick Hardonk to win a decision. (Another great fight. Barry wins by TKO in a slugfest. 1-1 in predictions)

Main Card:

Anthony Johnson vs. Yoshiuki Yoshida: I hear Yoshida is a technical wizard, but Johnson is just a power machine. I will go with Johnson by TKO here. (Johnson wins by devastating knockout in 41 seconds. 2-1 in predictions)

Spencer Fisher vs. Joe Stevenson: I am a big fan of Joe Stevenson. He could use a good solid win. I think he gets it here. Stevenson by submission. (Stevenson by TKO in second round. 3-1 in predictions)

Josh Neer vs. Gleison Tibau: Not hugely familiar with either fighter. Going to go with Tibau by submission here. (Tibau wins a unanimous decision 4-1 in predictions)

Ben Rothwell vs. Cain Velasquez: This should be a slugfest between a couple of big boys. I think this could be fight of the night. I am going to pick Velasquez. (Velasquez pretty much dominated Rothwell winning by TKO. 5-1 in predictions)

Lyoto "The Dragon" Machida vs. Mauricio "Shogun" Rua: Machida seems to be unstoppable. However, I have kind of a funny feeling on this one. Going with an upset and picking Rua to shock the world. (Well, this one went the full 5 rounds. Machida won the decision, but a lot of people, including Dana White, feel Shogun won the fight. 5-2 in predictions)

5-2...not a bad night of predictions.

Monday, October 19, 2009

New Beginnings: I arise from the ashes

I am planning a new beginning in my training and focus on Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in January. I will be starting training at Phoenix Martial Arts Academy (hence the title), which is nearby and is an established school with a great reputation. I am waiting until January to start back because between now and the end of the year, I have a very full plate (between work, school, and some planned travel). Between now and then, I am focusing on getting my cardio, functional strength, and mentality where it needs to be to try to take my game to a higher level.

I am spending a lot of time analyzing techniques and strategies on Submissions 101 and Youtube. I have also discovered a website, The Wise Grappler, which is intended for the older grappler. Good stuff.

I am running a 5K in Cumming this coming Saturday, which I am excited about. Supposedly this is intended to be a very fast course. We shall see. I am trying to ramp up my running in preparation for the 1/2 Marathon on Thanksgiving. Good stuff coming.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Update---Hoping to get back on track near-term!

I know it has been a long time since I have posted. I have also not trained much in the same span of least not BJJ...I have been doing a good bit of running and working out at the gym but have not been going to BJJ. This has been for a combination of reasons: 1) I have been extremely busy between school, life, and other stuff. 2) My job situation is a bit shaky right now, so I am trying to save a few bucks in the event I end up jobless. Not a good chance of that, but in this economy you just never know or sure.

More soon, I hope!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

UFC 101 Live Coverage

2130- We are watching the pregame for UFC101. BJ Penn has gotten Marv Marinovich as his strength/conditioning coach. No change in my predictions. War Florian!

2135- Forrest Griffin has an incredible attitude going into this fight with Anderson Silva. His attitude is, "Someone is eventually going to beat Anderson. It might as well be me!"

2200-Showtime! The show is on.

Looks like the first fight is going to be Kurt Pellegrino vs. Josh Neer. The first round was a good exchange of grappling. Good stuff. Round two was also pretty good. It ended with Pellegrino taking Neer's back and attempting a rear naked choke.The fight is over. Looks like Pellegrino won. Yes. Pellegrino by unanimous decision. So far I am 0-1 in predictions

Fight #2 Ricardo Almeida by unanimous decision over Kendall Grove. 1-1 in predictions.

Fight #3- Johny Hendricks TKO over Amir Sadollah at 0:29 into the first round. Possible early stoppage, but it is what it is. 1-2 in predictions.

Fight #4- Aaron Riley vs. Shane Nelson- Fillin fight from the undercard due to Sadollah fight going short. Not familiar with either guy. Took Nelson in a fun bet with Julia. So far Riley seems to be winning after round 1.And this one has gone the distance. Aaron Riley wins by unanimous decision.

Fight #5- Forrest Griffin v. Anderson Silva. Silva knocked out Griffin at 3:23 of the first round. I am now 1-3 in predictions.

Fight #6- Kenny Florian vs. BJ Penn for the Lightweight Title. Fan poll says 70% of fans think Penn retains. I still disagree. We're about to see. BJ seems to have won the first round. Second round is hard to call a winner in. Round three likely goes to BJ. Round four, BJ Penn choked out Kenny Florian with a rear naked choke. I went 1-4 for the night. Oh well.

UFC 101: Thoughts and Predictions

UFC 101 has shaped up to be an interesting card. The card and my predictions for it are below:

Johny Hendricks (171) vs. Amir Sadollah (166.5): Don't know anything about Hendricks. Amir on the other hand won the Ultimate Fighter, submitting CB Dolloway TWICE. Since then, he has been plagued wit injuries and has been unable to fight. I am going to go with Sadollah by submission here.

Josh Neer (155.5) vs. Kurt Pellegrino (154.5): Not hugely familiar with either fighter here. More familiar with Neer, so I will say Neer wins. Not sure how.

Ricardo Almeida (185) vs. Kendall Grove (185.5): Ricardo Almeida has a very strong jiu-jitsu pedigree, having competed and done well in the ADCC among other tournaments. He is a 3rd degree black belt. If Grove can manage to keep it standing he might do okay...However, I predict Almeida by submission.

Champ Anderson Silva (205) vs. Forrest Griffin (205): This should be an exciting fight. Forrest Griffin, while the underdog, tends to win fights that on paper, he should not. Case in point, his fights against Quinton 'Rampage' Jackson and Mauricio 'Shogun' Rua. Silva is a devastating striker, but Forrest is going to come right at him. He is not afraid to get hit. In fact, I think he kind of likes it. I am going to go with the upset here and say Forrest Griffin by TKO.

Champ B.J. Penn (155) vs. Kenny Florian (155): This should also be a GREAT fight. Penn is coming off a loss to GSP. Florian has won six in a row. Both a very dangerous jiu-jitsu fighters. In the last couple of year's Florian's Muay Thai and stand-up have markedly improved. I think it is Florian's time to shine, however. I predict Florian by submission.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Getting back in the game/Big Developments

I am getting started again in the game. It has been really hard since my mom's passing to really get back on track, training-wise. I went last week, trained and rolled. It felt great, but I was definitely out of practice and my cardio wasn't what it had been. I gassed out pretty quickly. Hopefully I can get back into a routine with this again.

Big developments in the fight game. Josh Barnett tested positive for a metabolite from a steroid. This led to the California State Athletic Commission suspending him. This pulled him from the main event at Affliction:Trilogy, where he was supposed to face Fedor Emelianenko. This led to Affliction, being unable to find a suitable replacement for Barnett, scrubbing the entire show. Shortly thereafter, Affliction announced they were ceasing operations as a promotion, although continuing as a clothing company. Shortly thereafter, the UFC announced that they had reached a deal with Affliction to again allow fighters to wear Affliction gear into the Octagon.

Now, the big question is, what happens with Fedor? The only real answer is that he goes to the UFC. Affliction is gone. Strikeforce doesn't have the money to pay him what he feels he is worth. In the past, Fedor's demands (copromotion with M1/Global, which he is part owner of, as well as contracts for others on his Red Devil Fight Team) have kept a deal with UFC from happening. Now, it is really the only option. Fedor announced yesterday that he has a press conference scheduled for today. Dana White has called a presser for Friday. I think a deal with Fedor has likely already been signed and we will get strong hints from Fedor today and confirmation from Dana on Friday.

This means an immediate title shot for Fedor against Brock Lesnar. This will be a HUGE money fight for the UFC. The man most regard as the best pound-for-pound fighter in mixed martial arts (Fedor) versus the immense, powerful, and amazingly fast for his size Brock. That will be something to see.



Friday, July 10, 2009

UFC 100 Predictions

Here are my predictions for UFC 100

Jon Fitch Vs. Paulo Thiago: I am going to say Fitch by TKO (strikes) in round 2.

Yoshihiro Akiyama Vs. Alan Belcher: I know little to nothing about either fighter. It is completely a tossup, but in cases such as this I have trouble betting against the Japanese. I will say Akiyama by submission. Not sure when.

Michael Bisping Vs. Dan Henderson: I hope for Henderson to TKO Bisping and shut his mouth from the incessant bragging he is wont to do.

Georges St Pierre Vs. Thiago Alves: I am going out on a huge limb here and picking the upset. I pick Thiago Alves to knock St Pierre out in the fourth round.

Brock Lesnar Vs. Frank Mir: There is a big difference in this fight between what I want to see happen and what I predict will take place. I would LOVE to see Frank Mir throw submission after submission at Lesnar until the big guy makes a mistake and gets caught and tapped again. I think, unfortunately, Mir is likely to get pounded down by the pure overwhelming power that is Brock. The really frightening part about Lesnar is, with his size, power, speed, and natural gifts, if he can pick up some jiu-jitsu and become a skilled groundfighter, he might be very difficult to unseat. Lesnar by TKO (ground and pound) in the 3rd round.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Wow...Been awhile

It has been nearly 2 months since I last posted. A LOT has happened in the interim. Just a few days after my last post, my mom became ill and was transported to the hospital via EMS. She ended up unfortunately passing away on April 21st. I have spent a lot of time recently processing things, emotionally and mentally. I hadn't trained a bit during this time. Have just been focused on family stuff and getting things back on track. The loss of a parent is a world-rocking experience. It is much different than the loss of a grandparent. I am still having good days and bad days. More bad now than good. Time does heal and also puts things in more perspective. Thankfully, I have a great bunch of friends who have really been there for me during all of this. A real blessing.

Recently, I got the itch to get back to training. I also decided the time might be right to consider my options with regard to my training. Last night I went to a different school (a little further away and a little more expensive) and tried a sample class. The school has a very cool vibe and I think I am probably going to join up. Last night, we went over a guard pass, reviewed the kimura (did 2 variations), and then a sweep to be used if someone defends the kimura. Then we rolled. I rolled with the son of the guy teaching last night. 18 year old kid who has been doing martial arts for 10 years and BJJ for about 4. He was very fast and very skilled and I got owned. Although I have been running some during my time away, my cardio was not good. I also noticed my timing is off and I had gotten shaky on a lot of the fundamentals. I literally fell into a triangle choke almost immediately. I stacked him and drove into him, attempting to flip him over, which I did. He immediately transitioned into an armbar and got me, though. The rest of the rolling went pretty much the same way. Felt very much like a newbie but it was good to be back at it.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Spiritual Jiu-Jitsu: Posture Up and Base Out!

Hey readers. This is the second in an occasional series on this blog detailing the spiritual parallels I see in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and grappling in general. Another key factor in successful jiu-jitsu, both Brazilian and spiritual, is keeping good posture and a solid base. Good posture and a solid base can prevent many attacks from your opponent and can make you much more difficult to move and/or sweep.

On the mat, your opponent may have you in his guard. It is in his best interest to break your posture and/or disrupt your base. This can be accomplished by pulling down on your head and keeping you in close to him, or working to compromise a leg or an arm that you may be posted up on. Breaking your posture serves several purposes: 1) It nullifies a lot of your options for attack in jiu-jitsu by not allowing you to move easily into more advantageous positions. It also limits striking or ground and pound attacks if it is a full MMA fight, by not allowing you the distance from your opponent needed to get velocity or power to your blows. 2) It wears you down physically as you struggle to get back to a position you can work effectively from.

In the spiritual realm, your Adversary has the same goals. Breaking your posture and/or disrupting your base spiritually can make you much more susceptible to a wide variety of attacks and traps. He knows this and will employ many techniques to try to do so. Maintaining good posture spiritually comes from the knowledge that, although flawed and deeply sinful, we are, on an individual basis, loved by God enough to send his only Son to suffer and die in our place, freeing us from the bonds of our sin. The Adversary will use the tool of guilt over past transgressions to try to keep our spiritual posture broken. Although God and others we have hurt may have forgiven us, forgiving ourselves is often the hardest thing to do. The Adversary will use that, reminding us of the things we have done, plant seeds of depression and doubt, wearing us down and pulling us into a very dark place spiritually. From there he can take your back, sink his hooks in and you may feel that cold arm begin to work its way into position for a choke.

Maintaining a good base spiritually comes chiefly from actively reading God's Word and from having an active prayer life. The Adversary fears that because with a good base, you will be much more difficult to move or sweep into a position that he can begin to more effectively attack. The Adversary will put other activities, people, or any number of things in your path to try to dissuade you from feeding on scripture and from having an ongoing prayer dialogue with God. Without a steady diet of those two things, your base will become shaky and you can be easily swept over and mounted by your Adversary. From there, the Adversary has any number of options for attack. Prayer and reading the Word must become part of your lifestyle. They are an essential part of winning the battles we fight on a daily basis.

When you feel the Adversary pulling down on you, trying to break your posture by throwing your past up in your face, simply remind him that he is defeated and that you are redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the Universe. A simple way to do so is to say, "Hey, I've got two words for you: John 3:16."

Fight on in the knowledge that you have the best Corner Man in the Universe. He is there to pick you up when you fall, wipe the blood from your face when you are wounded, wet your parched mouth with the Living Water that only He can give, and send you back out for the next round, rejuvenated. At some point, the horn will sound for the final time and you will sit down in the corner with your Corner Man. He will place His arms around you and say "Well done, good and faithful fighter." What a day that will be.

Monday, April 6, 2009


I am really sruggling with being good at this blogging thing. I will try to do better. Again, I have had a lot going on between work, school, BJJ, running, and life in general. Training has been going well. My thumbs are still kind of tender. I have come to the conclusion (self-diagnosis) that I probably have a little tendonitis in them. Last week, I managed to not aggravate them, which was good. I hope that trend continues this week.

Ronin Muay Thai/Jiu Jitsu is moving into its own facility as of today, which is exciting. I will be going tomorrow night and will report on it after that.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Jammed Thumbs and The Peachtree

The last couple of weeks, I have managed to jam both of my thumbs pretty badly while rolling on gi night. Last week, I jammed my left thumb. This week (last night), the left thumb was starting to feel pretty good, so what did I do? You got it. I managed to jam the right one. The right one feels worse than the left one did. It seems to be from grabbing my opponent's gi and having him make a sudden turn, unexpectedly torquing my thumb. So, I am icing my thumbs and taking ibuprofen and/or aleve. This too shall pass. All part of the game.

I am continuing to hold my own with bigger, heavier opponents. They are generally able to get me eventually, but they are having to work for it, which feels good. I got caught last night by an Americana, a few collar chokes, and the like.

I am registered for this year's Peachtree Road Race (July 4th), so I am trying to up my running a bit. I ran it last year, but this year they are returning to the original course, which will end in Piedmont Park. My rough goal for this time is to TRY to finish it in under an hour. I am hopeful I can pull it off, but if not, it is not the end of the world. It'll be cool just to finish it again.

Frank has secured a space for us, right next to the dance studio. We should be moving in sometime in April. Exciting stuff. Tim and I are helping out with the website. Lots of good things happening.

Roll on.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

This week

This week I trained fairly extensively. I had BJJ Tuesday night, Friday night, and today at noon. I normally don't go on Saturdays but Julia was scrapbooking. I had been working on a paper for school and needed a break and to blow off some steam so I went and rolled for an hour.
Tuesday was Gi night. We did some technique work and then rolled. I rolled with Tim a good bit and was actually able to submit him for the first time. It was a lucky break on my part. He had taken my back, had his hooks in but had crossed his feet. I was able to bring my right leg over and ankle-lock him. He made a silly mistake that I was able to recognize and capitalize upon. But I guess that is what BJJ is all about. Otherwise, again I was able to hold my own with him. Again I was able to get out of the Peruvian Necktie attempts, avoided a triangle choke and a gi choke attempt. He is good at sneaking the armbar in on me, however. He told me that my timing is getting a whole lot better, which is another huge aspect of the art.

Friday night (last night) was no-gi. Frank and Paul and I were there. Paul and I rolled against each other first and I was able to get to his back and sink in a rear naked choke for the tap. We spent the rest of last night taking turns rolling with Frank who basically dominated both of us.

Today was the same three folks. I rolled some with Frank and got dominated again. Lately I have a fascination of sorts with leglocks and I keep grabbing Frank's legs and thinking about trying to anklelock him, which has yet to be successful. Rolled twice with Paul and split the two rolls. He got me with an Americana (tapped more due to a jammed thumb getting torqued than the actual Americana) and I got him with a collar choke. Good stuff.

Frank called me a little while ago and things look very good toward Ronin moving into its own space by the middle of April. More details as we learn them.

Roll on.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Sad News

Was working this morning and happened upon the news of the death of Charles "Mask" Lewis, the founder of the TapOut brand of clothing and MMA gear. Mask and his cohorts have done a lot to promote the fighting arts to what they are today and he will be missed. The full circumstances surrounding the car accident that killed Mask are not yet known. Hopefully drugs or alcohol on his part is not a factor. In any event, a great supporter of mixed martial arts has passed away.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Progress/Shoutouts/An Irish Blessing

My apologies for being so spotty lately with posts on here. I have been very busy with work and school and have had a lot going on in my personal life as well. I am going to try to be a better blogger. I am working on the second installment of my series on the spiritual parallels of Jiu-Jitsu, so look for that soon (hopefully).

I had a good training week last week. Rolled some with Frank and, as usual, felt pretty helpless and got my butt handed to me in a variety of fashions. He doesn't outweigh me significantly (he is around 170, I fluctuate 145-155), but he is very good at USING his weight very effectively. He likes to get into side control and bear down with his weight. I usually turn to my side at that point and attempt to shrimp away. When I do that, though, he almost invariably takes my back and from there it is just a matter of time before he sinks in some manner of choke. However, I also rolled with Tim, one of our blue belts, who I have mentioned in previous posts. I managed to extricate myself from several predicaments when grappling with him. I worked my way out of two Peruvian Necktie attempts (see video below for demo of the Peruvian).

This was good for my psyche, as this is the one choke I have been caught in that has actually put me to sleep. Frank caught me in the Peruvian awhile back and it didn't feel that tight. I went to turn to try to work my way out of it and next thing I knew I was looking at the ceiling with him kneelng next to me telling me I had gone to sleep. Very odd sensation. I am generally one to tap if I know I am caught. I never felt that one coming.

Anyway, back to my roll with Tim. I also managed to extricate myself from a triangle attempt by posturing up and driving forward, flipping him over. Shortly after that, he managed to grab one of my arms and get an armbar on me. But, I feel like my skill level is slowly improving.

On the subject of shoutouts, I would like to say a big hello to Kyle Kaiser and the folks at Anointed Fighter is a website/ministry dedicated to Christians involved with the fighting arts. A lot of really great people on that site, in addition to some professional fighters who are also believers.

I will be going to class tomorrow night and Friday night and will post sometime during that span.

I will leave you with an Irish blessing that the great "Rowdy" Roddy Piper ended his recent interview with with. This blessing kind of made my morning.

To those who love us, may God bless them. And for those who don't may God turn their hearts. And for those whose hearts He cannot turn, may He turn their ankles so we recognize them by their limp.

Roll on.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Lots of stuff going on

Sorry I have been kind of out of the loop. A LOT has been going on. I have been quite busy with work, school, and personal life. I wanted to post an update here, though. The school has closed, but Frank has moved the program. We are now based, temporarily, at the Melissa Berry School of Dance. The room we are training in is kind of small, is on a second floor with a window looking out on a parking lot and mirrors along both walls (it's a dance studio after all), and, is a funny shade of pink. But, it is good to be back in the game. The new school is called Ronin Muay Thai/Grappling. The plan is, hopefully within a couple of months we will be in our own space again. For now, this is an okay stop-gap.

Last night, we went over a couple of basic collar chokes and then rolled lightly. I rolled with this new guy, Paul. He is another pretty big guy (240ish) but I was able to hang with him

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Last night

Was a good class. Frank seemed pretty hopeful that something good will happen in term of moving the program to another facility. I am hoping it happens. He went over the Kimura from guard:

and the Omoplata from guard:

Rolled a bit with Frank. Managed to avoid a few sweep attempts and a couple of armbar attempts. He kept catching me in all manner of chokes, though. He got me in a gi collar choke and I tried to work my way out of it, but the room started to get swimmy and I decided tapping out was probably a good idea.

Tony and I then another semi-epic roll. We went about 7-8 minutes. I was never able to get in a really advantageous position, but I managed to keep him from getting into one by just keeping moving and trying to keep him from using his size and strength. I escaped a guillotine choke attempt and an Americana attempt. He finally caught me with a short armbar and got the tap. But, again, I feel like my technique is improving dramatically.

I am going to concentrate on going to the gym, keeping my cardio up and working on upper body and core strength. Hoping this is not the end of the road for me with BJJ. I feel like I am at the point of having the first tiny glimmers of competence. We shall see.

Roll on.

Monday, February 9, 2009


I haven't posted much lately. I've been kind of busy with school and such. Also just got a bit of bad(?) news. Frank called just a few minutes ago and the school is shutting down as of March 1st. The problem is, Chris, the owner, is stopping paying Frank effective immediately. So, tonight is the last adult class. Frank is more or less coming by to say goodbye. He told me he is trying to work out something with another gym locally to start a BJJ program, but it remains to be seen whether it will happen. I am hoping this is just a small bump in the road in my progress in the art. Due to family and life obligations, a much longer drive would not be feasible to do on a regular basis. I am hopeful and interested to see what the next chapter of the saga brings.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

UFC 94 and meeting Raven

Well, my UFC 94 picks were, shall we say, spotty at best!

The Guida/Diaz fight was a pleasant surprise. I was ever so glad to finally see that cocky little punk get shut up. Clay Guida surprised me and, honestly, dominated Nate Diaz. I was pleased with the outcome, although it was not my pick. 0-1 in picks.

Parisyan/Kim was, honestly, a bit boring. Split deciion by Parysian, although, honestly, I think Kim actually won that fight. 1-1 in picks.

Bonnar/Jones was a shocker. This Jones kid has a future ahead of him. Was very surprised at the outcome. 1-2 in picks.

Machida/Silva was a good one. I was not expecting it to end up knockout however. 2-2 in picks.

Penn/GSP was a bitter disappointment. After all of the hype and after all of Penn calling GSP a quitter, what does BJ do? He lets his corner crew basically throw in the towel for him, not answering the bell for round 5. GSP was passing his guard at will also. Penn needs to really re-evaluate a lot of things in my opinion.

Something else about myself...I am kind of a geek. Or at least, I have some geeky interests. I went to the Atlanta Comic Book Convention this afternoon and while I was down there, I attended an autograph session with Scott Levy, who is perhaps better known as the ECW/WCW/WWE/TNA wrestler Raven. Had a brief conversation with him and found him to be a very nice, cordial guy. I was mentioning to him that he was and is probably the best "promo guy" in the business. Unlike a lot of wrestlers, when cutting a promo, he would rarely raise his voice. He also would not rant and rave. His above-average intelligence and vocabulary were his primary weapons in his promos. He was just a sinister presence who could send shivers down your spine for his portrayal of a sociopath. Two great examples of Raven promos are below:

Below is a cellphone pic capturing my meeting with Scott "Raven" Levy.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Last night's class and UFC 94 picks

I had a pretty good class last night. Didn't perform as well as I would have liked rolling, but I was having some stomach problems so I wasn't at my best, physically. I did have one important breakthough, however. I used a technique Frank had shown me. When in side control, using the arms to block your opponent's knees and keeping your knee near your elbow and letting your knee follow your elbow across as you slide into mount. I actually was able to use that while rolling. I got bucked off pretty quick, but it felt good to make a little technique work.

UFC 94 picks:

Nate Diaz vs. Clay Guida: I think this has the potential to be quite a good fight. Guida has a lot of heart and a lot of skill. Nate Diaz has some sick jiu-jitsu skills. Diaz is a cocky little punk, but it is hard to take much away from him. I will predict Diaz by submission in the second round.

Karo Parisyan vs. Dong Hyun Kim: Not terribly familiar with either fighter. I have seen Parisyan fight and don't believe I have seen Kim. Based upon my lack of knowledge about these guys, it is a tossup, but I will say Parisyan by TKO or unanimous decision.

Stephan Bonnar vs. Jon Jones: Having seen the two classic fights Bonnar had with Forrest Griffin, I have to say that I really like Bonnar. There is NO quit in him. None. I don't know anything about Jones. I will pick Bonnar by first round TKO.

Lyoto Machida vs. Thiago Silva: Not terribly familiar with either fighter. Saw Lyoto Machida fight Tito Ortiz in Tito's UFC farewell and do very well. Based upon that, I will pick Machida by submission in round 3.

BJ Penn vs. George St Pierre: This has the potential to be one for the ages. Their first fight, GSP won by split decision, but in terms of damage done, GSP by far got the worst end of it. He was a bloody mess. The consensus seems to be that GSP takes this fight. I am a huge BJ Penn fan, however. His jiu-jitsu is some of the best on the planet. I am therefore going to pick BJ Penn to defeat GSP by submission and become the first fighter in the UFC to hold two titles simultaneously in 2 different weight classes.

We're going to watch the fights tonight and I will post again tomorrow, reviewing my picks.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

RIP Helio Gracie

Just heard that Helio Gracie, the grandmaster and patriarch of the Gracie family, passed away this morning at age 95. At this advanced age, he was still routinely rolling and doing very well. I hope to be half that active at 95.

RIP Helio Gracie (10/01/1913- 01/29/2009)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Tuesday Night Class: Epic Roll

Went to class last night and had a really good time. We started off with a lengthy warmup (jogging, side skips, running backwards, duckwalks, spidermans, shrimps, and slugs). We then did the "swimming" drill and drilled a couple of takedowns. We then reviewed a little armbar defense and then we rolled. I was a bit tired last night, so I decided in advance that one roll was going to be it for me. But, what a roll it ended up being.
I rolled with Tony, who, as I have mentioned in previous posts, outweighs me by 50+ pounds. It was gi night. We started off on knees and I pulled guard. He pulled the tail of my gi up and attempted the "baseball bat" choke which I was able to evade. I then grabbed his gi and pulled it up and over his head, in an attempt to both impair his vision and his ability to breathe.
He passed into side control and tried to mount me but I was able to transition instead into half guard. At that point, his gi is still over his head. I began to attack his left shoulder, working to try to lock in a kimura. Tony has very flexible shoulders, so the kimura wasn't doing much to him. He finally yanked the gi off his head (at this point the gi top came completely off) and slipped out of my half-guard and back into mount. I bucked and turned and inadverantly gave him my back.

He then tried to work an arm under my chin to set up for the rear naked choke. I grabbed his wrist and blocked his other arm. I was then able to turn into him and recompose half-guard. We then jockeyed for position for awhile. He finally got hold of my head and began to try for a guillotine choke. I tried posting up on a leg to take some of the pressure off, which was a fatal mistake. He swept me at that point and really was able to sink in the choke. I quickly evaluated the situation, realized there was really no way out and tapped.

Eleven and a half minutes had passed, which was a LONG roll (at least for me). Although I didn't "win", I more than held my own with a bigger, heavier, stronger opponent for a long time. That, supposedly, is what BJJ is all about, so I am very pleased. Little victories! Roll on.

Monday, January 26, 2009

The Spiritual Parallels of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu: The Guard

First and foremost, let me start this post off by sharing something else about myself with you. I am a Christian and my faith is something that is very important to me and very much a part of me. Over the weekend, I was contemplating the many parallels between BJJ and our spiritual lives. I decided it could make for an interesting series of blog posts. The metaphor of mat sports is an integral part of the book of Job, in which Job actually wrestles with God, so these concepts are nothing new.

As Christians, we are constantly under attack. The Adversary, combined with our own sinful natures, throws temptations and other attacks and spiritual traps into our lives on an ongoing basis. We struggle with these attacks, which are often very strong and can come from unexpected directions. Oftentimes, we are tremendously overmatched in these Spiritual Jiu-Jitsu maches and, as with BJJ, the only hope we hav to emerge victorious is to emulate our Master and employ the techniques He teaches us. I am going to diagram these attacks below as they would relate to a typical roll or Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu match.

The Adversary attacks, with a temptation or other trap. Doing what we know to do initially, we engage and attempt to tie up the Adversary, "pulling guard", spiritually.

A good guard, as we know, is an effective means of basically controlling your Adversary and keeping his attacks at bay. When you have your Adversary in guard, you should be working to keep his posture broken and his means of attack limited. However, you don't want to get complacent or lazy with your guard, and you don't want to exhaust yourself by just playing a "control" game with a strong Adversary. I speak from experience both in Brazilian and Spiritual Jiu-Jitsu. Your Adversary is vey strong and anything but complacent.

The Adversary is going to be constantly working to "pass" your guard or otherwise advance his position. The techniques of the Adversary can include bringing people, things, or circumstances against you, which may get you to "open" your guard or give the Adversary an opportunity to pass your guard and move into a more dominant position.

You need to be well-versed in techniques to advance your own position and dipose of your Adversary's attack as quickly as possible. This comes from spending time with your Master and learning from the examples He provides in the great instructional He has written. Also, as with a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu match, during Spiritual Jiu-Jitsu, as you grapple wit the Adversary, your Master is in your corner, calling out instructions. It is our choice whether we take those instructions to heart and follow them. If we do not it is often to our peril.

A way of advancing your position in spiritual jiu-jitsu is, when you feel the Adversary attempting to pass your guard, spring into action. Remove yourself from a person or circumstance that may lead you down a dark path, begin a different activity, pray. As much as possible be proactive rather than reactive to the attack. Go to work to both defend and advance. Sometimes, depending upon the type of trap or "pass" the Adversary attempts against your "spiritual guard", defending the pass may give you an opening for a "submission" a "spiritual triangle choke" if you will:

In this case, using what you have learned from your Master, you have defeated the Adversary's attack. Keep training, however, as another attack could come at any time and the Adversary may employ a new technique that you are not expecting.

In upcoming posts about the Spiritual Parallels of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, we will tackle topics including :

How to respond if your "spiritual guard" is passed
How to respond if your counter to a "spiritual guard pass" does not lead to an immediate "submission"

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Affliction: Day of Reckoning

Well, I have ended up getting to see the Affliction card after all. I am going to blog the show and give my thoughts on it. It is 8:20pm. Am watching the tail end of the undercard.

The undercard main event is Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (Little Nog) against Vladimir Matyushenko. Don't know a lot about either guy. Well, the first round just SUCKED. Neither fighter broke a sweat. The announcers are even mocking them. Well, Nogueira just pulled a TKO in the second round. Waiting for the main card to start.

First main card fight is going to be Dan Lauzon vs. Bobby Green (?). Fixing to start. They are saying this is going to be grappler (Lauzon) versus unorthodox striker (Green). Lauzon took a shot to the cup early in round 1 and took a couple of minutes in timeout. The fight resumed, Lauzon took him down, healthy triangle attempt by Lauzon and a SECOND groinshot by Green. and a THIRD groinshot. Herb Dean (ref) is deducting a point from Green. And, with 9 seconds left in round 1, Dan Lauzon gets a rear naked choke on Green and taps him out. 1-0 in predictions!

Second fight: Paul Buentello vs. Kyril Zedelnikov. Zedelnikov is a 20 year old protege of Fedor's. They even call this kid "Baby Fedor" Might be interesting. So far Buentello is doing a lot of damage with his jab. After Round 1, Baby Fedor is in some trouble. Round 2 is more of the same. Zedelnikov had a brief flurry, but Buentello dominated the second round. In the third round, Zedelnikov was out on his feet, with a cut under his eye. The ringside doctor called a stop to the fight, so Baby Fedor falls. This one I had made no prediction on. Didn't know it was on the card.

Third Fight: Babalu Sobral vs. Sokodjou. So far, Sokodjou is using great takedown defense to keep things standing and avoid Babalu's jiu-jitsu. Round 2 Babalu took it to the ground and got an Anaconda Choke on Sokodjou. I am now 2-0 in predictions! Post-fight interview between Babalu and Tito Ortiz. Tito mentioned the possibility of a future fight between them and Babalu called him Toto. LOL.

Fourth Fight: Vitor Belfort vs. Matt Lindland. Belfort knocked him out with a left about 20 seconds into the fight. Lindland was kinda gorked out for a few minutes after the fight but eventually got to his feet. Nasty. 3-0 in predictions!

Fifth Fight: Josh Barnett vs. Gilbert Yvel. Exciting first round. Barnett worked a lot of BJJ and ground and pound. Yvel was lucky to make it out of the round. Round 2 Barnett spent most of the time in full mount pounding Yvel, but didn't finish it. Round 3, shortly into the round, Yvel taps out from strikes. 4-0 in predictions!

Sixth Fight: Main Event: Fedor Emelianenko Vs. Andrei Arlovski for the WAMMA world heavyweight championship. Fedor drilled Arlovski with a very sudden right as Arlovski went for a flying knee and knocked him out. Very sudden end in the first round. Wow. Goodnight! 5-0 in predictions!

Back Injury/Affliction: Day of Reckoning

Banner 2 Banner 1 go!

First off, tonight is Affliction's second show: Day of Reckoning. It should be a dandy. Not planning on probably watching it live, but will be interested to see the results.

Last night, I went to class, rolled with Frank and sustained a back injury. During the roll, he took my back and flattened me out. I resisted and felt a pop-pop-pop in my back. It felt more like a hard chiropractic adjustment than anything else, but I am kind of sore. I am hoping it is just minor. I was hurting bad last night when I got home but it is not nearly as bad this morning, which I am hoping is a good sign. I didn't get to roll much last night because of that, so not much to report on the training front. We went over the D'arce choke and Arm Triangle choke from side mount:

As far as the Affliction card, here are my picks:

Fedor Emelianenko vs. Andrei Arlovski: FEDOR. I think Arlovski will put up a good fight and it will last more than one round, but Fedor will continue to be the man.

Josh Barnett vs. ? Yvel: BARNETT. Barnett is likely to dominate this guy.

Vitor Belfort vs. Matt Lindland: BELFORT. A good fight. Might go the distance. Belfort by decision if it does.

Babalu Sobral vs. Sokodjou: BABALU. Babalu will win this by submission.

Dan Lauzon vs. ??: LAUZON. The Lauzon boys train and fight hard.

We will see how good my picks are.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

First clas/rolls, Post-"Plague"

Went to class last night for the first time since the creeping crud descended upon me last week. It was a good class and very well-attended. We reviewed the short arm bar, the triangle choke (which I struggle with a bit due to having short legs), and transitioning from triangle to arm bar if your opponent defends the triangle.

We then rolled. I rolled with Alan, Tony, and Keith. Alan is basically a Mexican stand-off, which gets a bit boring. Tony is bigger and heavier, so ultimately he usually gets me based upon power. I rolled with Keith and got mount on him. I went for an Americana on him and he defended it. I decided to try something subtle and continued to focus on the Americana as a distraction while trying to also trap the near arm. Once I had the near arm trapped, I begin to slowly position my feet, got them where I wanted them and then quickly moved to an armbar and got the tap.

That was the first time I have really attempted to be deceptive while rolling and managing to pull it off felt pretty good.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Pushup Challenge

I had taken the pushup challenge last week and managed to do 25. I started week one of the program just now, which, after six weeks, will theoretically have me able to rattle off 100 consecutive pushups. We shall see. Session 1 went well. I was able to go through all 5 sets with no struggle. It'll be interesting to see how it gets as I move along in the program. It'll definitely help with my upper body strength. I am excited to see what sorts of benefits that brings. Resuming BJJ tomorrow night. Decided to give my body one more day of rest to finish getting over the sinus crud.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Sickness May be Abating, UFC and submissions, etc

This sinus infection has had me down for the count all this week. My throat has been raw from the sinus drainage and my head has felt like it is in a barrel. I did not train at all this past week, partially because I have felt lousy and partially because I didn't want to potentially spread my "plague" to others by close contact. I am going to probably go tomorrow (Monday) night though. I am feeling better, definitely not 100% but better. I am looking forward to getting back to training.

There is a disturbing (to me) pattern I see forming in MMA (UFC in particular). The art seems to be taking a move away from submissions and more toward ending fights by striking. Now I realize that a lot of the "casual" fans want to see these guys slug it out and that they get bored and restless when fights go to the ground, mostly because they haven't taken the time to educate themselves on the intricacies of the jiu-jitsu game. I also realize that there are a lot of more "serious" fans who love the striking and ground and pound game. I don't mind it if there are some submission attempts and some jiu-jitsu thrown in as well. But, if I wanted to watch boxing, I would watch boxing. The last 2 UFC cards, exactly ONE fight has ended by submission. The Mir/Nogueira fight from UFC 92 by all logic should have been a jiu-jitsu classic. Instead it ended up being mostly a kickboxing fight with Mir winning by TKO. I can't help but think the fighters may be being pressured to keep it standing. Is the Mixed in Mixed Martial Arts being watered down?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Friday Rolls and Being Sick

Went to class on Friday and rolled a bit with Frank. It ended up being more of a social session however. One of the younger folks in the class demonstrated a lack of some basic knowledge about a few things and Frank and I tag-teamed a history and political science 101 class. I escaped a pretty good rear naked choke attempt by Frank which felt pretty good.

I woke up yesterday morning with a sore throat and painful swallowing. I was working from home yesterday and I took some time to run to the doctor and get on some antibiotics. Throat is still sore and my head feels like it is in a barrel, but I am a little better than I was. I will probably go back on Friday.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Learning To Breathe

It has been brought to my attention that when I roll, I have a tendency to hold my breath for long periods of time, which apparently makes me turn all manner of funny colors. This is something I am not doing intentionally, because, who in their right mind would? It is something, however that I am trying to become conscious of as I roll. Oxygen is an important thing, even more so while engaging in strenuous activity. So, when I go to class tonight, I am going to continue to focus on respiration and oxygenation. :-)

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Last Night and Taking The Challenge

Last night had a very good training session. It was Gi Night, which is always a challenge. The weight of the gi and the additional sweat equity it drains from your body makes it a night that sometimes seems like it will never end. I had some very good experiences however, which I will get to shortly. Last night, Frank reviewed the traditional armbar from the mount (see video below)

and the single underhook guard pass (see video below)

After the technique reviews, we drilled a bit, running the "gauntlet". Two guys in the middle, pulling guard. Other folks rotating in trying to pass or submit. The guy in guard is trying to sweep or submit. I ended up rolling a bit with Tim, a newly minted blue belt. I ended up getting into a bad position, in the guard with one arm in and one arm out. He tried to throw a triangle choke but I was able to posture up and keep him from finishing the choke. He then tried to transition to an armbar, but ultimately I was able to escape from that predicament. He ended up getting me shortly thereafter with another armbar, but I prefer to dwell on little victories.

Then, I rolled with Tony, one of the newer folks at the gym. Tony is 200lbs plus, so he has quite a bit of weight on me, not to mention a strength advantage. We got into a bit of a scramble for position and I ended up in the mount on him. I grabbed his gi collar and got a collar choke. I didn't have a very deep grip on the collar, so the choke wasn't that tight, but it was enough to get him to tap. So, for the first time I was able to submit someone a good bit larger than I am. Tony is a good guy and someone who I think I am going to enjoy rolling with.

Today, this morning, I was looking in the message forums on Lockflow, and noticed that someone had posted a message about the 100 Pushup Program and 200 Situp Program. The idea is that you see how many consecutive pushups and how many consecutive situps you can do. Based upon this, you start the program detailed on the website, which takes 30 minutes per week. You go for up to 6 weeks, depending upon how many you could do to start with. Then, at the end of the program, theoretically you should be able to do 100 consecutive pushups and 200 consecutive situps. I am a bit sore from rolling last night, so I am not going to take the tests until this weekend, and will plan to start the programs next week. I will let you know how I do when I take the tests. In the meantime, check out the site:

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Choking Out A Pitbull

Kid in California was out walking in the neighborhood and saw a girl and her dog being attacked by a pitbull. The kid waded right in and applied a rear naked choke to the pitbull. The girl and her dog are going to be okay. Great story. Gutsy kid. Read about it here

Monday, January 5, 2009

Aches, Pains, Injuries, Recovery, and Age

As I mentioned in my first post, I am 39 years old. I got started doing BJJ in May, while I was still 38. I am the oldest person in the class by a few years. The physical toll that Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu occasonally takes on the body sometimes makes me question why I do it. Thus far, injury-wise, I have popped out 3 rib heads (did that pretty early on) and hyperextended my neck when somebody stacked me and pushed forward hard. While I am very far from old, I am not as yong as I once was and it takes the body a little time to recover and recuperate. I just ty to listen to my body and do what it is telling me. Truthfully, though, the benefits have far outweighed the toll. I am probably in the best shape of my life (due to both running and BJJ), I have a great hobby, I have made a lot of friends, and I have a goal to work toward.

Being the oldest guy in the class really isn't that bad. It IS kinda funny the times that I am rolling with some of the real young'uns in the class and it hits me that I am old enough to be their father. Now THAT is sometimes enough to make one feel elderly.

Roll On!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Running and Rolling

A bit more about me--I also enjoy running. I recently completed my first half-marathon (The Atlanta Half-Marathon, held Thanksgiving morning, November 27, 2008). I was on a pace to finish in under 2:30 (my rough goal), but around mile 10, my right calf muscle seized up. I stopped and tried to stretch it, but every time I would start to run on it again it would spasm after the first couple of strides. I ended up having to "power walk" the last 2.5 miles. I finished it in 2:50. I am planning on running the ING Half Marathon coming up March 29th and am hoping for a better result.
The running has helped with cardio (although I still gas somewhat during rolling), so it all works together nicely.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Last night

Went to class (no-gi) last night and we had a few new people in the class so Frank went over a few basic moves:
the bridge and roll escape from mount (see the video below)

and the Americana shoulderlock from mount (see the video below)

Although I had done these moves before a few times, it is always good to review them. The 2 new guys both outweigh me by a considerable margin so I really couldn't do much against them. Two of my foci this year are going to be strength training and also fexibility. Julia and I are going to start going to yoga classes and I am hoping that will help with flexibility.

I rolled with Frank for a bit last night while the 2 new guys drilled the moves they learned. He caught me with an armbar but I was able to partially fight out of it (I got his leg off my head and was trying to escape). He was able to readjust and torque the arm to ultimately get me to tap, but it felt good to at least make him work a little for it. The subtle differences that the position of an arm or leg can make are one of the things i LOVE about this art. Good stuff.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Goal for 2009-Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Blue Belt

Hey. My name is Matt. I am a 39 y/o guy living in suburban Atlanta. I have been studying the art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for six months now and have been tremendously enjoying the challenge. It is both a very physical and very cerebral art, as well as a very effective self-defense system. Although I have been studying BJJ for 6 months, I am still very much a newbie at the game and still end up getting tapped out most times when I roll with people. I do think that my game is starting to improve a bit however. I have set a rough goal for myself to test for my blue belt (second level) by the end of 2009. This blog is going to chronicle my training, my thoughts, my aches, my pains, my injuries (minor, hopefully), as I journey toward that goal.

I am blessed to have a wonderful, very supportive wife, who, when I return from training does the ritual "bruise check", with our half-joking mantra that if I don't have a new bruise, I am not training hard enough. We both enjoy watching MMA, such as the UFC, old PRIDE videos, etc. I have a tendency to get a bit bored if a fight stays standing (yes, I am talking to you, UFC 92!), much preferring to watch the fighters grapple and try to submit one another rather than trying to win by strikes, ground and pound, etc. BORING! Some of our favorite BJJ practitioners include BJ Penn (Julia's favorite), Kenny Florian (my favorite), Demian Maia, etc. I am going to try to post here frequently with my thoughts and updates on training. Thanks for viewing!