Editor of Fighters Only Mag starts a blog.

Hywel Teague, editor of Fighters Only magazine, has started his own blog, Notes from Ringside. There’s all kinds of MMA and BJJ related goodness in there, as well as the odd scoop that he is able to scoop with his well-connected scooping devices.

I’m lucky enough to count Hywel as a reader of my humble scribblings, and so I direct you to his blog to return the favour.

Coincidentally, if you see Fighters Only on the shelf at your local magazine store, pick it up, it’s a great read. I especially like the guest editorials, especially when they’re written by me.

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Back in the Saddle

Went back to training last night after about 3 weeks of back to back illnesses. No weights, no exercise, no jiu jitsu. Not that I lift anything other than my own flabby arse and a couple of rubber dumbells.

I was interested to go back and check my level, to see how crappy I had got. You tend to get crappy really quickly when you take time off. But it kind of threw me when I was the only jiu jitsu guy in the dojo.

My stupid sensei had decided to go to France for a week and not tell me. Or maybe he did tell me but I didn’t understand, and just nodded my head and laughed as I am wont to do when I don’t understand what someone is saying to me. I learned later that a student had won a trip to France in a raffle, and just gave it to him, so he took it. Fair fucks to him, the guy doesn’t even take Christmas off, so I hope he has a good time, and eats loads of foie gras and truffles and comes back all tubby and out of shape so that I can have a vague chance of beating him.

So I ended up rolling with the Shooto class. The instructor kindly made it a grappling only class. Whether that was for my benefit or not, I’ll never know.

I did alright, better than I thought. Learnt a few things, the main thing being… LEGLOCKS! HOLY SHIT! I couldn’t do anything without getting my legs twisted off like bottle tops. Man, it was ridiculous. I was tapping like crazy, it was like a non-stop tattoo. There was a guy there who had won the Kyushu Abu Dhabi trials and a bunch of amateur fights. He is a monster. Not big, but in amazing shape, and crafty as fuck. He’s like Masakazu Imanari, who he cites as one of his idols, in that he’s an innovative and dangerous grappler who likes nothing more than to twist your feet until your knees go pop. One thing I learned, though… or had reinforced. Don’t play the other person’s game! He would always pull me into guard, or go on his back, wait till I tried to pass, then spin round and leglock me somehow. The first and only time I pulled him into my guard, I triangled him! That felt good. But then he heelhooked me about ten times in a row, and the feeling disippated somewhat.

grappling.jpg

Had a few good rolls with various people. Enjoyed rolling without the gi and experimenting with different stuff. I find it easier, actually, to grapple without the gi. Physically. With the gi, when you roll with someone with a tight game, you have to fight for every inch. No-gi is a lot faster and looser.

Anyway, back in the saddle and it feels great. Except for the pain all over by body, that is.

Judo on Wednesday!

Bob Sapp – Body of a Silverback, Heart of a Hampster

Bob Sapp… wrestling superstar, mixed martial arts legend, former NFL powerhouse, and… ah, who am I kidding.

Bob Sapp… a really, really big black guy whose head looks like a brain when it gets squeezed!

Elite XC recently paid a basquillon dollars for him to get his ass unceremoniously kicked by some random South African guy (probably). K1 literally falls over itself backwards to book him for their big events. And it looks like the new promotion DREAM is interested in him, too.

But why?

Zach over at Fight Opinion compares him to Kimbo Slice. I’d say that’s like comparing a slice of processed cheese to a sharpened, well oiled yellow chainsaw with rusty nails glued on the side in terms of killing/maiming power. They are both the same colour, but that’s about it. Sapp doesn’t even have a beard.

Bob Sapp is the biggest flop in MMA. He has absolutely no spirit. Watch! As he cries when he gets punched. Glare! As he gets knocked down and will do anything to prevent being stood up to continue fighting. Cringe! When the only fights he wins are against very tiny people!

Without further ado, I bring you… Bob Sapp…. Body of a Silverback, Heart of a Hampster.

Bob Sapp vs. Cro Cop

The beast’s strength begins to be “sapped” at about 5 minutes, when Cro Cop starts to land some strikes. Until that point, Sapp had survived mostly by breathing very heavily, bullrushing Cro Cop, and grabbing onto him and shoving him around a bit. Then the strange girly-steps-with-the-guard-up commences, as Sapp tries to inch his way towards Mirko without getting hit. A few seconds later, Cro Cop lands what looks suspiciously like a kick and then a punch. Well, somebody should have told Bob Sapp what this K1 lark was all about because he crumples in surprise and then sits down, whimpering, on the floor where he stays for a while, trying to figure out why the nasty white man is trying to hurt him. (As a side note, Mirko is about as pumped as I’ve ever seen him winning that fight…)

Bob Sapp vs. Peter Aerts

More vintage Sapp. The big man takes on the Dutch Lumberjack, a man who seems to get harder with age. This is a very special Sapp moment. There’s a huge build up. Aerts’ home crowd is P-U-M-P-E-D. The fighters glare at each other. Sapp’s got this glaring business down, I tell you. The match starts. Bob throws all semblance of a gameplan out the window and does his customary over-excited autistic elephant smash brainfart. Aerts falls over, and Sapp returns to his corner, ready for another run. He crashes in, goes for the double leg takedown (not always the best idea in a kickboxing match), and then calls it quits. That’s it, fight over. After a few replays, I realise that Aerts did somewhat graze Sapp’s gigantic chest with his knobbly little knees. The Beast lies on the floor, gasping and crying as per usual, waiting until his count is almost up, then makes a show of attempting to stand up, all the while dreaming of the large paycheck from K1 that he’s going to cash just for falling on the floor. Awesome.

Bob Sapp vs. Cyril Abidi

Here’s Bobby wining the only way he knows how… by fighting a smaller guy, and by cheating horribly! He fights Abidi, everybody’s favourite smelly French kickboxer (as christened by Rampage Jackson), and basically gorilla pounds the back of his head and neck with giant, clubbing blows until Abidi’s balance is so impaired–possibly permanently–he can barely stand. Abidi never gets knocked out, by the way… ever. Where most people fall down, Abidi gets KO’d but stays standing. His brain just goes on holiday out his ear. Like the way owls can sleep on branches and not fall off, that’s Cyril.

Bob Sapp vs. Kazuyuki Fujita

Worst nightmare for the Wet Blanket… someone nearly his size, who actually has some skill! Gasp! Groan! Ironhead makes short work of Weird Brain Head. Enjoy!

Bob Sapp vs. Jan Nortje

From this last weekend. Same old same old… Sapp rushes at his opponent. Everything is going swimmingly until his Nortje throws, and lands, a punch. The Giant follows that up with a few more tasty wallops that old Brain Head eats directly in the face. As he crumbles to the floor in a shower of wasted Elite XC dollars, his leg buckles slightly. The ref calls the fight. Sapp protests, strongly enough to save some face (LOL) but weakly enough that the ref doesn’t actually listen to him. Sapp later blames the loss of the fight on his hamstring giving out. That’s a little like blaming a car accident on the dog that came and took a dump on the smoking, twisted wreckage of your car after you’ve smashed it. In otherwords, completely irrelevant.
Here’s to you, Bob. Take those suckers for every penny you can!

New layout…

Let me know what you think! I thought it was time to change, as I had been on the default theme since the start…

Subscribing via RSS should be easy now. If, you know, that’s what you want to do.

More news for Kyushu grapplers

SHOOTO NEWS:アマ修斗 南九州オープン開催決定。関西フレッシュマン日程変更。

Click on the link for info about a couple of amateur Shooto competitions. As far as I can tell, one is in Miyazaki city, on April 27th. There will also be a BJJ competition on the day.

Automatic translation:

Amateur Osamu To Southern Kyushu opening holding decision. Kansai new
commer schedule change.
The first holding of Southern Kyushu amateur Osamu To opening
tournament formal is decided.
This is received and the schedule of the Kansai new commer tournament
changes as follows.

– Schedule content CT/GT of the event remarks Brazilian Jujutsu one
match is to inquire the hall Miyazaki Prefecture Miyazaki city on the
1st Southern Kyushu amateur Osamu To opening tournament sponsoring
Japan Osamu To society cooperation synthesis combative sports Chikada
gym Sunday, April 27, 2008 in the date holding simultaneously 03-5984-
3209.

– Hall Kyoto/PUREBRED Kyoto content CT of the event remarks West
Japan new commer on the 7th Kansai amateur Osamu To new commer
tournament sponsoring Japan Osamu To society April 29, 2008 in the
date (fire/congratulations) is inquired the name change 03-5984-3209.

Original Japanese:

アマ修斗 南九州オープン開催決定。関西フレッシュマン日程変更。

南九州アマ修斗オープントーナメントの初開催が正式決定。
これを受けて関西フレッシュマントーナメントの日程が以下のように変更。

■第1回南九州アマ修斗オープントーナメント
[主催]日本修斗協会
[協力]総合格闘技近田道場
[開催日時]2008年4月27日(日)
[会場]宮崎県宮崎市内を予定
[イベント内容]CT/GT
[備考]ブラジリアン柔術ワンマッチも同時開催
[お問い合せ]03-5984-3209

■第7回関西アマ修斗フレッシュマントーナメント
[主催]日本修斗協会
[開催日時]2008年4月29日(火/祝)
[会場]京都/PUREBRED京都
[イベント内容]CT
[備考]西日本フレッシュマンを呼称変更
[お問い合せ]03-5984-3209

New organisation: The Jiu Jitsu Federation of Japan

JIU-JITSU FEDERATION OF JAPAN =JJFJ=

Click on the link to see.

It’s a new organisation, headed by the man himself, Rickson Gracie, although I think he probably has about as much to do with it as Ronald McDonald has to do with the Teriyaki McPork they have here.

pict_greeting2.jpg

We already have the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation of Japan, which you basically have to be a member of nowadays to participate in most jiu jitsu competitions, especially those run by Paraestra, as Yuki Nakai heads both organisations.

Now, I was all ready to begin railing on the organisation. “Great! Another 5000 bones to pay for a flimsy membership card just to pay even more money to enter their competitions.” But I actually read through the site, and basic membership (including the card and access to tournaments) is free. This puts a whole different spin on things… Free membership makes the stuff on the ‘About us’ page actually seem genuine.

You can begin registering online, for free, in English, on May 1st. You can find it under the slightly suspicious menu tab, “How to Failiate.” Sounds ominous.

I’m pretty sure that Axis is going to be closely aligned with this federation, as Rickson is the head of the Axis family of schools in Japan. Until now, the IBJJFJ has been the only big dog in town, and the organisation that puts on the most BJJ events, so there have always been Axis people fighting at them. That makes me hopeful that us lot, the IBJJFJ lot, the Paraestra lot, will go ahead and sign up so that we can join “their” competitions. I notice they have one in Fukuoka on June 29th.

I’m going to check with my coach, but I think I’d like to sign up.

Jiu jitsu in daily life.

I’m not a big believer in “Martial arts makes you a better person”, a theory that many martial artists subscribe to.

Funnily enough, most of the people that espouse this idea are arsehole kung fu nerds who turn out to be two-faced wankers without the faintest idea of what respect and loyalty actually is.

Case in point: “You must respect this guy because he is old and Chinese and he owns the school.”

Me: “Can I train with him?”

Kung fu guy: “Don’t be ridiculous! He doesn’t waste time with beginners.”

I mean, WTF?

At my jiu jitsu dojo, nobody even mentions the word respect, but when the owner of the school rolls with everyone in the room and ties them into knots despite being much lighter than most of them, respect is deserved, and comes easily. I’m reminded of the awesome (but badly punctuated) tattoo Enson Inoue has…

enson.jpg
“Real power, strength, and heart can’t be given…it must be taken.”
Anyway, I’m rambling. Point is, the kind of respect you give someone after they have kicked your ass (in a nice way) is different to the fake respect you give some old kung fu guy just because he fits your image of a kung fu master.
I’m still rambling. The point is… I believe that your priority in learning martial arts should be to learn how to fight. The other aspects, (health benefits, relaxation, enjoyment, social) are secondary. Don’t get me wrong, they are definitely the perks of training. But to lose sight of the “martial” part of martial arts is dangerous. Some people want to do martial arts for spiritual nourishment, for relaxation, for health etc… to them I say, go do yoga! Take up golf! Knitting! Anything! But the martial arts are for fighting.
Ah, it has been so long since I’ve spoken on the subject, I’ve forgotten how to do it.
Just go to Bullshido and figure it out yourselves.
So anyway, the actual reason for this post.
BJJ is making me a better person, in many ways, but one way in particular that I’ve been noticing lately.
If you want to get good at BJJ, at some point, you need to start paying attention to detail. You need to do things thoroughly. You need to know the difference between kind of doing a move (and wondering why it doesn’t always work), and doing it completely and thoroughly without leaving any part out or forgetting any part or doing it sloppily.
There are so many different ways to look at even the simplest of moves. The triangle, from basic to detail:
  • Put his head and arm between your legs and squeeze.
  • Put his left arm across your belly, hook your left leg over the right side of his neck, your right leg against his left shoulder, hook your foot under your right knee and squeeze.
  • Put his left arm across your belly, hook your left leg over the right side of his neck making sure you are covering his carotid artery, your right leg against his left shoulder making sure that it is pressing on the artery on the left side of his neck, hook your foot under your right knee as deep as you can, pointing the toes up and squeeze your thighs together.
  • Put his left arm deep across your belly, hook your left leg over the right side of his neck making sure you are covering his carotid artery, turn your body so that you are looking in his earhole, your right leg against his left shoulder making sure that it is pressing on the artery on the left side of his neck, hook your foot under your right knee as deep as you can, pointing the toes up, and squeeze your thighs together but keep your calves in tight, pull down on his head, set up the sweep if you need to…
The list goes on and on.
And the thing is, if you are a sloppy bastard in your daily life, you’ll be a sloppy bastard in jiu jitsu. Right now there is a giant neon arrow pointing at my head as I type this. But lately, I have been making a conscious effort not to be so sloppy. Because it is easier to try to be efficient and do things properly 100% of the time than to turn it on only for jiu jitsu. It’s better (for me anyway) to train myself to just try to be a better person all the time. And it’s my desire to improve in jiu jitsu that is driving me to do this.
The things that I am doing are not major, but they are definitely improving things in my life. When I do a job, I don’t leave it half finished like I used to. I spot a piece of fluff or rubbish on the floor and I don’t leave it for my missus to pick up like I used to. When I wash the dishes I don’t pile them on top of dry dishes and hope that no-one will notice. I don’t leave a single flap of toilet paper on the roll just to get out of changing the roll like I used to. I don’t staple banana skins to the side of the rubbish bag like Homer Simpson to get out of changing the bag, like I used to.
Et cetera et cetera.
Um, the end.