lundi 31 mai 2010

Instructional dvd's...the good, the bad, the ugly.

Being very new to BJJ, one thing I've learned is that learning bjj is an art in itself. I grew up in sports, (mainly playing hockey) where learning the game meant diagrams, playbooks and practice. In Hockey, we have offence, defence, power play, penatly kill and basic concepts to work on like skating, shooting and passing.

Jiu Jitsu isn't unlike hockey in that sense. We have offence (positional top game, submission attempts, guard passing, mount & side control, takedowns), defense (guard, half-guard, submission defense, takedown defense) and basic concepts to work on such as grips and hip movements.

With that being said, Hockey is a game of speed, strength and accuracy where Jiu Jitsu is a game of inches, a physical chess match dominated by technique over strength. BJJ is really in the details which is why it takes many years to master.

I'm getting slightly off topic here. I wanted to write about instructional dvd's and youtube jiu jitsu vs taking classes in an actual accredited school training with like minded people working towards the same goals.

I'll admit, I'm a youtube junkie. I can sit and watch clips of matches or bjj techniques all night if I could. That goes with the addiction to bjj that develops over time. (it's a good addiction by the way!) One thing that can't be stressed enough is that nothing replaces having your instructor watch you drill the techniques you're learning. As human beings, our eyes are limited to what our peripheral vision will allow. When training in BJJ, it's usually even less because our opponent might obtruct our view to the point where you need to develop "feel". The problem with learning a technique from a youtube or instructional clip is that sometimes your "feel" can deceive you. An good coach (instructor or professor) will spot these small details, point them out to you and offer solutions to improve your technique. That, in my opinion is why learning in class is the only real way to improve.

With that being said, I do think there is a place for dvd instructional videos and the like. BJJ is a young sport and I've had a hard time finding a book or dvd collection that properly categorized the ever evolving system based on skill level and rank. I was looking for some type of blueprint that I could use as a point of reference where I should be with my training at this early point in the game.

I've been training now since August 2009...nearly 10 months. I've barely scratched the surface and have acheived 2 stripes on my white belt for my efforts to date. With that, I've found a DVD set (2 disks) which outline "blue belt requirements" which I've found to be a decent reference point for someone just getting started and wanting to keep things simple.

Here's a clip of the dvd's which can be found on youtube.

At any rate, I like this for a reference point. In my opinion, Roy Dean's teaching style is very precise and detail oriented...not unlike our instructors. There are also other really good dvd's...another to check out is Demian Maia's "The Science of Jiu Jitsu". On these Demian goes into some good detail on body mechanics, strength and leverage while going through the movements and techniques. Here's a quick clip. that you've checked those out, it's time to step away from your computer and head over to Sudbury BJJ and work these ideas out on the mat. See you there!

samedi 29 mai 2010

Saturday - UFC 114!

Yet another great day spent at the club. The little ninja`s class was smaller than usual today, but that is likely due to cottage season getting underway. The kids had fun as Steve & Jessie worked with them to develop their instincts when it comes to the guard. (both offensive and defensive) The kids had fun. My boys are enjoying the program more with every class. It`s really great to see.

That was followed by the adult class where we worked on sweeps from spider guard. I find myself going to spider guard more often than I`d like. I need to work on breaking my opponent`s posture from my back and working on my high guard game. I`ve got the flexibility for it, I just need to work on getting to that position.

If you haven`t signed up for the club newsletter, be sure to give your email address at the front desk. Andre and Steve did a great job with the first one and it keeps everyone informed with what`s new in terms of schedule, merch, competitions etc.

Last but not least, it`s Saturday night! UFC 114, the grudge match between Sugar Rashad Evans vs Rampage Jackson. My heart is pulling for Rashad, but my head tells me Rampage might have this one. I`m not making any predictions, just looking forward to a great fight.

Oh yeah...and Happy Birthday Tom Cooney!

See ya on the mat!

mardi 25 mai 2010

tuesday night training

Had a great night on the mat this evening. Steve gave us a good pep talk about reminding ourselves of where we`re at with our jiu jitsu and to strive to absorb the small details we learn when we train with the higher level players. (ei, Pat Cooligan, Renzo Gracie etc...) Anyone can watch youtube clips and "learn" the game that way, but unless you`re in class and on the mat, you`ll be very hard pressed to put the pieces together with respect to the little details that are so important in developing your overall game.

Great sweat...felt good. Can`t wait to get back.

Stay healthy my friends.

lundi 24 mai 2010

2010 Renzo Gracie Invitational & Cauliflower Ear

The long weekend is done and I`ve got my bag packed to head back to the club. My diet has been suffering over the last few weeks, but I`m determined to end the month of a good note. The countdown is on for the 2010 Renzo Gracie Invitational in New York City on June 26th. I have my ups and downs on the mat. Somedays I feel good, other days I feel like I can`t find my step. Am I ready to compete? I don`t know that I am...but I think it`s time to jump in and see where I stand. We`ll see how training goes over the next few weeks. Win or lose, a weekend in NYC with the team sounds like a good time.

Random thought of the day...

You know you`re addicted to Jiu Jitsu when you spend time on youtube watching people drain their cauliflower ear. I don`t have any yet, but in this sport, it`s a possibility every time you roll on the mat.

vendredi 21 mai 2010

Werdum vs Terere - Mundials 2004

Fabricio Werdum is fighting Fedor Emelianenko next month. Here`s a video from the BJJ Mundials from 2004. A match vs Fernando Terere. Might be one of the more bizarre matches I`ve seen. It speaks for itself. Enjoy!

dimanche 16 mai 2010

Pat Cooligan seminar May 2010

What an awesome weekend! Pat Cooligan and Matt "Hammer" Hache made their way from OAMA for our spring weekend seminar. I`d attended my first seminar back in the fall, so I knew we were in for something good.

Pat lead 3 hours of training yesterday where we worked on some fundamental mistakes he`d observed during our grading process. We worked on guard passes and drilled option after option. In the first picture, Steve Joncas and Matt Richer listen intently as Pat explains a technique.

For day 2, Hammer took the lead for the first part of the session. He showed us what might be my new favorite takedown among other things. We also focused on flow from one move to the next. Jiu Jitsu is like a chess match where you must react to your opponents move with the appropriate response. The end goal being on the right side of the "check mate".

For myself, the day ended with another stripe being added to my belt. As a white belt only 9 months into training, I don`t put alot of emphasis on ranking, but if I said I wasn`t excited about it, I`d be lying. I`m technically halfway to blue belt which I`ve set as a goal of mine for 2011. Will I get there? Eventually yes...but we`ll see how long it takes. If I`m able to continue at the pace I`ve been going, I think it`s reasonable to think I can.

In the next picture, John Cole (head instructor from Sudbury MMA) and Steve (head instructor for Sudbury BJJ) have a chat about the awesomeness of the day.

Here`s me getting my 2nd stripe. Steve is laughing from a joke Pat cracked at my expense. Good peoples...

This last picture is a group shot from day 1. Team Renzo Gracie Sudbury!

jeudi 13 mai 2010

New Renzo Gracie Interview

Thanks to the UG for posting a link to this interview.

“It Comes From the Heart, Every Time”: A Conversation with Renzo Gracie

Posted by Tommy Hackett on May 13th, 2010

There are a few figures in the MMA world which require no introduction. Fewer still are all but universally admired.

He’s quick to deflect any such praise, instead casting favor to his family and their art which has changed the martial arts world — but Renzo Gracie, who enjoyed his first visit to the Seattle area last Saturday to conduct a jiu-jitsu seminar, may just stand alone to many of us.

After the seminar, the legend smiles his way through requests from area fans — everything from autographs, to questions about technique, to a request for a chokeout. In a brief Total-MMA interview, Renzo laughs as he’s reminded of some of his vintage MMA battles — including a win over the man who helped put the Seattle area on the MMA map, Maurice Smith. In the 1990’s, Bellevue’s Smith had won titles in UFC and Battlecade, and actually released instructional videos marketed as the solution to the Gracie family’s dominance. They eventually met in 1999 in Japan’s RINGS organization.

“He made those videos, ‘How to Beat Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu,’ to tell everybody how it’s done!” Renzo laughs. “And, I armlocked him! (laughs) But I love the guy. He’s a great competitor and we were very fortunate to have him in the game.”

Renzo expressed his love for his family’s art and the MMA arena when he came back to compete last month in UFC 112, at age 43, nearly 20 years removed from his debut bouts in the vale tudo rings of his native Brazil. As he puts it, “I hadn’t done a push up for two and a half years! I signed up, and six months later went to the fight. I lost 40 pounds and was able to get into decent shape, just not enough to finish the fight!” The laugh this time is a little caustic.

While Renzo ended up losing that bout to Matt Hughes, he may have scored the most memorable line of the evening in his post-fight interview. Asked by Joe Rogan if he wished he had taken more time to prepare or fought an easier opponent for his comeback, a battered Gracie asked with a grin, “But then what kind of fighter would I be?” The crowd roared in approval.

Asked to recall the moment, he simply says, “It comes from the heart, every time, you know. This is a sport that I love.”

“I’m looking forward to fighting again toward the end of the year,” Renzo says, adding that he doesn’t know against whom he would battle, or exactly when it would occur. But he has another five bouts left on his contract. “They’re going to propose me someone, and I’ll be more than glad to make it happen.”

“I’m trying to go down to 155 (lbs.),” he continues. “I fought Matt Hughes and was 169 on the day of the fight. I believe I can push myself to be 155, and do it healthy, do it the right way, you know?”

2010 has also been marked with continued succes as a trainer. In addition to sharing some credit for the success of Georges St-Pierre, Renzo has seen his black belt Roy Nelson won the most recent season of Ultimate Fighter, and even more impressively, Frankie Edgar just defeated BJ Penn to take the lightweight title. This weekend, Renzo’s attention turns to his cousin Roger, and another familiar face at his New York academy, Braulio Estima.

“Roger (Gracie) is fighting next week. He’s training with us, him and Braulio Estimo. Braulio is fighting Shine in North Carolina, same day. It’s going to be an interesting weekend. I’ll be with Roger and Ricardo Almeida will be with Braulio. Oh man, they’re training very hard. He’s commiting himself at 205. It’s going to be an unbelievable battle. Ricardo Almeida will be fighting Matt Hughes at UFC 117 (in August). So it’s going to be very interesting. We will have a full year of competition.”

Still, he finds time for seminars like this one. His love of the art of jiu-jitsu, what he calls “an unbelievable way to make people better,” seems to motivate him — but so does learning.

“Oh yeah, I’m still a white belt,” he says, somewhat shockingly. “Every time I come to a seminar like this, I am able to improve myself… to correct things I’m doing wrong. By looking at other people I can make it better, you know. It makes me understand better the moves… teaching is actually learning.”

“I believe this is the greatest sport in the world,” he says of his family’s art. “Take your time, join, train, you’re going to fall in love. It’s addictive. You’re going to see the jiu-jitsu adapt to your personality, the way that you are. The next thing you’ll see is the greatest sport you ever did in your life. And it’s the rest of your life. That’s the funny thing. You don’t train for five or six years. You train forever.”

Renzo has motivated so many in this game, from this seminar’s attendedees, to the royal family in Abu Dhabi, who have begun establishing jiu-jitsu for physical education in the United Arab Emirates school system. (Renzo classifies that accomplishment as something the Gracie family dreamt of doing in Brazil — “and now, finally it’s happened.”)

So, who does he look up to?

“I have a lot of heroes, my friend,” he says with a smile. “Even Maurice Smith! He started the game late and he did unbelievably. Matt Hume, he was a very tough fighter but he was an unbelievable teacher. There’s people who really matter, really make this sport. Those are among them. My family, who are always on my side and in my corner. I can’t even thank them enough, you know.”

It begins and ends with family for Renzo Gracie… and it begins and ends with love.

Special thanks to Rodrigo Lopes and Gracie Barra Seattle for helping arrange this interview.

lundi 10 mai 2010

Back from Montreal

A few days off the mat and I`m starting to feel some withdrawal. My body has been recovering slowly from what I can only describe as a sprained ribcage. It`s been lingering for a while, but hopefully it`s on the mend.

Spent the weekend in Montreal and attended UFC 113. I`ve said it before, but the UFC really knows how to put on a live event. The undercard was solid, but not great for the Canadian fighters who went 1 for 7 on the night. You can get a good recap of the nights events by going to this link.

I`m looking forward to getting back to the club this week. This weekend is gearing up to be a good one with two 3 hour seminars with Pat Cooligan, Renzo Gracie blackbelt from our parent club, Ottawa Academy of Martial Arts. I`m not sure what we`ll be working on, but what I do know for certain is that I`ll end the weekend with more knowledge than I had moving into it. Saturday night will also see the club putting on some Muay Thai demonstrations. The two previous events we`ve put on have been well received and seen a packed house. Ask anyone from the club for details. Come out early!

Stay tuned!

mardi 4 mai 2010

Montreal this weekend!

Heading to Montreal on Friday for UFC 113. This will be the first live card I attend where GSP isn`t fighting. With that being said, the Bell Centre will definitely be rocking for more than just the main event. I`m looking forward to just about every fight.

Jason MacDonald vs John Salter: I`m pumped that The Athlete is back. He was cut after his loss at UFC 97 the last time the promotion was in Montreal. He always puts on incredible fights so I`m hoping he pulls out the win and makes another run in the middleweight division.

Yushiyuki Yoshida vs Mike Guymon: potentially an interesting fight though both fighters haven`t done anything to stand out behind preliminary card fighters to date.

Tim Hague vs Joey Beltran: Again, glad to see Hague back in the big show. He was cut after his fight with Tuchscherer, but I thought the fight was too close to warrant the exit. I predict he`ll win this fight rather easily. Beltran won his debut vs Rolles Gracie, but didn`t look anywhere near impressive in that fight.

TJ Grant vs Johnny Hendricks: This one has alot of potential. Both fighters have alot of gas in the tank. Did you know TJ is from Sydney Crosby`s hometown? (I didn`t care either...go figure).

Marcus Davis vs Jonathan Goulet: Goulet is a hometown boy, but I can`t see him winning this fight. Both fighters are coming off losses so it`s likely a loser leaves town match. The crowd will be behind Goulet, but I like how Davis fights. I take him to win this one.

Joe Doerkson vs Tom Lawlor: Doerkson, another Canadian fighter on the card is a journeyman fighter. He`s got a ton of experience, but he`s never been able to win the big fights. Lawlor is becoming better known for his ring entrances than his actual fights. I read a post from him on the UG that he`ll be coming out to music which will apparently make Canadians take notice. (he`s going for the wrestling bad guy theme here...should be funny).

Patrick Cote vs Alan Belcher: This will be a war. I`ve ran into Cote twice over the last year and asked him about training and his comeback. (my wife and I were in customs with him in Vegas after UFC 100...I then ran into him at Wreck MMA in december. He didn`t remember me. Go figure! haha This will be a tough fight, Belcher is a beast...I predict a 3 round standup war. Hoping Cote pulls out the win.

Kimbo Slice vs Matt Mitrione: These guys will stand and bang. I kinda like both of them. Although I thought Kimbo was a real joke when he was headlining for Elite XC, he`s a student of the game and looked great vs Houston Alexander. I`m anxious to see how much more he`s evolved. Meathead Mitrione is also fun to watch and he`s just a big dude. He looked great in his debut knocking out Marcus Jones...let`s see what he can do vs Big Ferg. I`m not picking a winner here...I just want to see a good scrap.

Sam Stout vs Jeremy Stephens: Back to the technical fighters with this one. Stout has picture perfect Muay Thai & kickboxing. I love watching this guy fight. Stephens can also fight, he had a good one vs Joe Lauzon. I`m predicting a similar fight to that one. Pulling for Stout for the win.

Josh Koscheck vs Paul Daley: this fight will be for a shot at GSP. Georges has already beat up Kos, but I think the AKA fighter will likely avoid Daley`s heavy hands and pull out a win to earn himself a rematch. Another awesome matchup.

Lyoto Machida vs Shogun (the rematch): I believe Rua won the first fight so he`ll be hungry to take what he believes is rightfully his. Lyoto is a very smart fighter so I`m sure he`ll have a new gameplan to counter what he did wrong in the first fight. Will Shogun finally put a dent in Machida`s win-loss record? Everyone loses at some point. I think Shogun has the antidote for Machida`s Karate. I`m predicting a new light-heavyweight champion on Saturday night. SHOGUN!

Man...when I look at the fights on paper, this card improved over the last few weeks with the additions of MacDonald and Hague. Just about every fight could be fight of the night. The UFC says it alot, but this card is truly stacked.

Keep an eye out for my report on Monday morning. It should be a great weekend!!

See you in Montreal!

samedi 1 mai 2010

this is funny...

watch the whole video...jiu jitsu rules.